Candid Karina

{October 27, 2009}   Who’s That Girl?

I have always prided myself on not being “that girl”. You know the one. The girl who’s sole purpose in life is to find “the one”. No matter where she is, or what she is doing, she’s on the lookout for Mr. Right.

The success or failure of any night out on the town depends solely on whether she met a guy, and if there are no available single men present, then the evening is a bust.

I have never been that girl.

When I am out, with friends, by myself, or among my family, I am out for the purpose of enjoying myself. I go about my business, sometimes completely oblivious to the number of eligible (or otherwise) men in the room.

I’m not on the prowl, never have really been, and if a man happened to approach me, that was simply considered a nice bonus to the evening. Unless he happened to be creepy, in which case, it just added humor to the situation.

And yet, lately, I have to admit that I’m seeing more of “that girl” in me. Still not solely focused on “the hunt”, but more aware of my surroundings. It appears the “single man” radar has been turned on, and I’ll be damned if I know how to shut this thing off.

Perhaps that annoying little biological clock which I swore I wasn’t programmed with has indeed awakened in me. Maybe seeing 35 right around the corner has kick started some sort of timer. Maybe it has nothing to do with that, and everything to do with my new found confidence in this new, slimmer body of mine. I’m once again feeling flirtier, and therefore more hyper aware of potential flirtees?

Whatever the case, I find that I’m more focused on the opposite sex, on “potential talent” as my friend Traveler calls it.

When I head out now, be it to the grocery store or a night out with the girls, I’m paying attention.

And the thing that really gets to me is, I’m also aware of my disappointment when, at the end of any such outing, I come up empty. No “talent” to speak of, no potential “Mr. Right” anywhere in sight.

Even more disappointing are those rare occasions when I meet someone with all the right potential only to discover he’s wearing a ring. (I met one such gentleman this weekend in the midst of my travel disaster Thursday, and he was simply adorable, charming, flirtatious and…married).

And there’s that…I’ve never been one to notice wedding rings before. EVER. And now? One of the first things I look at.

When did I become that girl? And how do I make her go away? Cause I’m pretty sure I don’t like her invading my body. She’s not welcome and she’s kind of annoying.


I’ve been single for a long time. A LONG TIME.

Most of this time has been by choice, I made a conscious decision to take some “ME” time and take a break from the constant struggle and pain of relationships and dating. I needed to focus on me for a little while, so I could get to a good place before I was ready to share my life with someone.

I’ve been told that was the smart thing to do.

The problem, however, is that as I focused on myself, I also got older.

Now, I don’t particularly have a problem with my age. I’ll proudly announce that I am 34 years old and not even flinch. I’m loving my 30’s, having the time of my life, and honestly, look and feel better now than I ever did in my 20’s. I’ve taken control of myself, my body, my attitude, my career, my life is mine.

However, as if dating in your teens, in college and your 20’s wasn’t hard enough…try doing it in your 30’s. Cripes has the game changed.

For starters, I have no idea where to even begin. Long gone are the days of hanging out at nightclubs and dancing with a stranger, exchanging numbers at the end of the night. The excitement of a fresh batch of classes every semester, introducing a whole new group of eligible men are a thing of the past. Most of my friends have “coupled off”, so even girls’ nights out with a possibility for some flirting are a rare occurance. And no longer does anybody have any single friends left to set anyone up with (not that I was ever a fan of the dreaded set-up).

So, what is a girl to do? In the age of the internet, everyone keeps telling me to try online dating, and as much as I believe it can be a great vehicle for some, it just isn’t for me. I’ve always needed the more organic method of meeting someone face to face, having a casual encounter and going from there. “Forced” matchmaking has never worked for me.

I find myself, therefore, just going with the flow. If I am to meet someone, it’ll happen “when I least expect it”, or so everyone tells me.

Like, at a flea market?

This past Saturday I spent the afternoon at a flea market with my friend WEST Virginia (W.V.). As we were leaving, walking toward my car in the parking lot, I made eye contact with a hottie walking toward his car with his buddy. We proceeded to do that whole looking back and catching each other looking thing all the way to our cars. We laughed about it, and he made his way over to us for a quick chat. I ended up giving him my phone number, because…why not?

I’ll be honest, I walked away from that little scenario feeling pretty darn good about myself. Turns out yours truly has still got game. W.V. just laughed at me and told me how awesome I was to be able to pick a guy up like that. I just thought it was funny, and enjoyed the fact that I could once again do that…it’s been a long time since I’ve had the confidence to follow through on flirtation. Not so long ago, I would have looked down at my feet, hurried to my car, and driven off.

And for the record, no, flea market boy has not called me. Why a man takes a phone number and then never calls has always boggled my mind, but that’s another post, for another time. I won’t lie, I’m slightly disappointed. But don’t worry I’m not dwelling on it, there will be others. This is just one more small step in my journey into dating. After such a long hiatus, I couldn’t have expected it to be too easy, could I?

Hmm…anyone up for the flea market this weekend?

{September 15, 2009}   Why I’m Single – In this town

There are many reasons why I’m single at this point in my life.

In fact, just about everyone I know has an opinion about my single status. I’m not willing to settle, the right guy just hasn’t come along, it’ll happen when the time is right or better yet, when I least expect it (that’s a joke), I’m too picky (I’m eternally being told this one), I need to get out more (laugh with me if you know just how ridiculous this one is), I’m not looking hard enough, I need to stop looking so hard, I intimidate men because of how independent and successful I am, I should just be myself, I should try internet dating, I should never do internet dating, I should let them set me up with their cousin/brother/uncle/neighbor coworker, they don’t know any single people to set me up with…well, you get the point. Everyone has input into the situation, as if this was a group project.

Truth be told, I’m perfectly comfortable being single, and don’t spend the majority of my days looking for (or even really thinking about) Mr. Right. That being said, I’m finally at a point in my life where I am certainly open to meeting someone.

And yet, now that I have decided that I am ready and willing to re-enter the dating scene, I’m finding it a bit hard to do so. Meeting someone just isn’t as easy as it used to be in my 20’s.

Somedays, I look at all other aspects in my life, I look at other people around me, I look at other couples and I wonder why am I single? What is it that keeps me from finding “the one”.

Other days, however, I realize exactly why that is. It takes but a walk down the street, a conversation with a friend, or a stroll through my local grocery store to remind me why I am indeed single.

So, I bring you my new segment here at Candid Karina. As I navigate the waters of re-entering the dating scene in my 30’s, I’m pretty sure I’ll have plenty to share with you as to why I haven’t yet found “the one”.

And what will then happen to this segment when I do find “the one”? Well, I wouldn’t worry too much about that, after all…it could be a while.

For example, to kick things off, let’s start with today.

In the spirit of quieting the “you need to get out more” voices in my head, now and again at lunch time, I decide to go for a walk through the downtown area where my job is located.

Mind you I’m not going out “looking” to meet someone, but I figure if I go take a walk to clear my head, and mingle among the rest of the “downtown lunchers” anything can happen right?

Right. Except. These are just a few tidbits of the conversations I overhear as I take my little walk:

1. Walking by a group of guys and gals, probably in their mid-20’s: “So-and-so got arrested last night again” – “What did he do this time?”
2. Walking by two guys, who were obviously trying to get the attention of a girl passing by “Come on girl, we can go smoke a blunt, where do you live?”

And you wonder why I’m single in this town?

{June 10, 2009}   What if I told you…

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my ex, Cognac.

There, I said, I admit it.

I’m not entirely sure why he’s been residing so constantly on my mind, but there it is, he’s been ever present for the last few weeks.

I have my theories as to why he’s hanging around in my mind, but I think the gist of it is simply that I’ve realized I’m ready. Ready for what, you ask? Ready to fall in love again.

No, not with him. I’ve been there, done that. Twice.

That ship sailed, hit an iceberg and sank. Hard.

No, my thoughts on Cognac are simply about the feelings, not the man. Because for all the faults Cognac had, the love was real.

I think all these feelings have been stirring inside me for weeks now, trying to find a way to come together and make sense. For me, being the ever independent, completely content with my life style, single girl, it’s never easy to focus for too long on feelings of loneliness. Even typing out that word seems false to me. I’m rarely ever lonely. Alone yes, but lonely? That’s hard for me to accept. I revel in my alone time, the quiet, the freedom, the ability to do as I please.

If for a moment I get a tinge of loneliness, I pick up the phone, turn on the computer, and surround myself with family or the friends I’ve collected over the years as a single girl.

For I am blessed to have the most amazing family and friends a person could ever ask for.

So loneliness? Seems ridiculous that I should ever utter that word. It’s certainly not about loneliness, but there’s that quiet ache inside for something more. It’s been so quiet, for so long that I barely ever hear its cry. But now and again it does manage to get a little louder, to make itself heard. Lately has been one of those times.

I wasn’t aware of it at first, so slowly was it creeping up on me, with memories of Cognac perhaps, subtle hints, tiny pangs. And then I got the call. A friend of mine, 10 years my junior, got engaged this past weekend.

Chew on that for a minute, because I’ve had to do just that. Let it sink in. Swim around in my brain for a bit.

My immediate reaction was pure and unselfish joy. How amazingly wonderful for her. So in love, so young, so excited and deserving.

And then. A pause.

So young. So in love. How wonderful for her.

A pang.

So young. How wonderful.

And there it was. What about me? When will it be my turn?

It lasted only moments, and I put it out of my mind. After all, I love my life. Love every moment of my crazy, hectic, spontaneous, eccentric, creative, fabulous single life.

I’m also a firm believer in that old adage of “if it’s meant to be”. “It’ll happen when you least expect it”. Etc. etc. I’ve never been one to “look” for love, it’s always found me unexpectedly and in the most wonderful ways. I don’t believe in focusing all my energy finding “the one” and in the meantime missing out on life. I just live. And because of that, I have the most amazing life, the most amazing friends, experiences, memories, and plans. Life is good.

So, the momentary pang of “what about me” passed quickly enough. Or so I thought.

But I’ve found my mind refocusing on that question more than once since that call on Saturday night. And with that Cognac haunts me. Sneaking up unexpectedly. A song that reminds me of him, a word he used to say, those memories we keep. And I know it’s not about him, it’s about the feelings.

I suppose it’s time I realize that I’m ready and maybe that I want it all a little bit more than I’ve been willing to admit, even to myself.

So there you have it.

Now what?

Oh, how I missed dating. No, really, there’s no sarcasm in that statement. None. Not even a little…okay fine, I’m full of it.

Dating sucks.

The highs, the lows, the giddiness, the anxiety, the anticipation, the disappointment…I’m already enough of an emotional basket case without throwing me into such a volatile world.

Add dating into the mix and I’m mood swing city over here.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all bad. I thoroughly enjoy the attention, the getting to know you stage, the flirting and the thrill of the unknown. There’s even a small part of me that can appreciate the expected moments of anxiety, you know the “will he call” and “what did he mean when he said that” moments.

Hashing it all out with your girlfriends, figuring out the guy code, trying to decide if he is or isn’t just that into you.

It’s all part of the game, and taken lightly, can be fun.

But, it is a game. And unfortunately, most games end with someone winning, and someone losing.

Which brings us to “The Boy”. The 25 year old boy yours truly had a date with this weekend. Remember him? Of course, how could we forget.

So adorable was he, so into me, that when the opportunity arose for an impromptu coffee date on Friday afternoon, he cancelled plans to go to the gym to meet up with me instead.

So we had coffee. We had a lovely time and sat and chatted for a little over an hour. Easy conversation, flirtation, even plans for future dates were discussed. Our plans for Sunday were confirmed, and we parted ways promising to chat via text later that evening, while I was out with friends, and he was working.

On paper, it all went well. In fact, I tell you that if you had been sitting in that coffee shop watching us interact, you would have thought “cute couple, they’re into each other”.

And yet, yours truly walked away from that coffee date with a feeling that “the Boy” was just not that into her. Don’t ask me what did it, I couldn’t tell you. He said all the right things, the body language was positive, there were no outward signs. Call it women’s intuition however…I just knew.

I’ll spare you the details, because they are boring and unnecessary, but before Friday night was over, it had become obvious I was being blown off. He still didn’t say much, but the tone between us changed completely. Gone was the flirtatious air in his messages and texts, and instead we entered the territory of curt, basic communication.

By Saturday, however, he seemed to have abandoned all interest in pretense. The communication stopped all together. I never heard from him again. AT ALL.

Yes, I was officially blown off. He didn’t just flake, he flaked in a major way. The “so into you”, no game playing, straight shooter I’d been getting to know…was a phony.

Now, before you start to feel sorry for me, let me assure you that you do not need to. Obviously, upon meeting me for coffee, something changed. Likely he realized that I did not look how he’d remembered me to look. Quite possibly, I didn’t measure up to his fantasy induced memory. I’m okay with that. I know I’m not a supermodel, and not every man’s fantasy. I can handle that.

Yes, the ego takes a hit, but, to be honest, I think I look pretty damn good at this point in my life, and if he wasn’t attracted, well, so be it.

But it was the complete switch, from the portrayal of the “good guy” who was so into me, straight forward and mature for his age, into a silly little coward of a boy who couldn’t even send a text message with a lame made up excuse cancelling our date, that shocked me.

No, I take that back, shock is too strong a word. Disappointed me.

I would at the very least, have expected a proper blow off. The disappearing act? Weak.

And yet, this morning I’m smiling. I spent my weekend packing for my cruise. I tried on my short little dresses and my cute little booty shorts, and I realized that he’s a fool. I may not be a supermodel, but I have the whole package. I am strong, independent, intelligent, loyal, fun, caring, kind hearted, and damn it if I don’t have a hot little body for a 34 year old after all my hard work this last year.

Truth is, all this? Way too much for a little boy to handle. I should have known better. I need to be talking to grown men. Besides, as my friend “The Disciple” pointed out to me “He was too short anyway, at this point, you need to think genetics girl, you want a tall man”.

But, no regrets. I said it then, and I’ll say it again, from this point forward, I go all in emotionally. Life is too short to “play it safe” and hold back. I want to experience things, and feel them, and enjoy them without focusing too much on the what if’s. As quickly as I can jump in, I can jump out. Bounce back, move on.

I might as well enjoy it while I’m in it.

If I’m going to do this dating thing, I might as well give it my all. Don’t you think?

So, here it is, just a couple of days away, Valentine’s Day. The day of roses and chocolate hearts, candlelit dinners are expensive jewelry gifts. A day for lovers and romantics alike.

But you? You’re single.

Therefore, by all accounts, you should stock up on your favorite flavor of ice-cream, some sappy romance movies, a bottle of wine and a box of tissues, because you, my dear, are spending Saturday night at home, feeling sorry for yourself.



Because you are single, but you are not bitter, depressed, lonely, miserable and pathetic. In fact, the other 364 days out of the year, you are actually an intelligent, successful, stylish, independent FIERCE woman. A woman who walks with her head held high, proud of her accomplishment and prepared to take on the world. Single or not, dating or in between relationships, you KNOW who you are, and you love being that girl. You’ve got it all together, and if a man hasn’t come along just yet to realize what a perfect catch you are? Well, that’s just fine with you, because you know that when, and if, it is your time, you’ll get the catch of the century. And until then, you’re perfectly comfortable in your own skin, living life as it comes at you.

But, Valentine’s Day is here, and with it, the insecurities, the expectations, the disappointments. Because no matter how fiercely independent we single girls are, on Valentine’s day, everyone wants to receive roses at work.

As a bonus, this particular Valentine’s Day happens to fall on Saturday, so, if you want to go the route of ice cream and tissues, you can. You don’t need to show up to work, and you won’t even have to watch your coupled up co-workers receive flowers at their desks. The single-girl gods are smiling down upon you this year.

But, how do you survive another “lover’s holiday” as a single girl? Here are some ideas.

There is, of course, the option of just going about your day, ignoring the fact that it is Valentine’s day, not paying much attention to the hype of a Hallmark created holiday. That is an option, but let’s be honest, you’re not deaf, blind or dumb, and you are well aware what day it is.

So, let’s go ahead and embrace the day, turn Valentine’s Day into your very own cause for celebration.

Gather the troops – Round up your other single girl friends and hey, if you have them, single guy friends, single gay friends, whatever, after all, you’re all on the same boat, right? Be it one, or ten, make a date, and set only one rule: No “Woe is Me” mentality allowed this evening.

Get dressed up – Everyone knows that when you look good, you feel good. So do it up. Dress to the nines, dress to impress, dress to kill.

Have a plan – Due to the nature of the beast, restaurants, movie theatres and perhaps even bars and clubs will be crowded tonight. Plan ahead, make reservations where necessary, buy tickets in advance, be prepared. Select a movie that you can enjoy without having to share the room with a bunch of lovey dovey couples, because even those of us most secure in our singledom are bound to be affected by obvious displays of affection and romance. Choose a restaurant with more of a fun vibe, versus the candles on the table, violinist in the corner type.

Seek alternatives – Think of all the places you’d love to go on a romantic valentine’s date. Got them? Good. Now cross those off your list. Think of the places you know most husbands and boyfriends would love to take their dates but know better than to even attempt it for fear of spending a week in the doghouse. Got those? Yep, that’s exactly where you want to go. That hockey game, action flick, paintball tournament you heard about? Odds are the crowd at these places is either going to be single men, (and women), or couples who are not so much in the lovey dovey stage of their relationship, so they’ll be fun to be around, Valentine’s Day or not. Yes, I know this sounds sexist and gender role prejudiced or whatnot, but let’s be honest, it’s Valentine’s Day and even the sportiest of girls is expecting to be treated to a romantic dinner at a nice restaurant on this day if she has a man in her life.

Try something new – always wanted to try sky diving, pottery making, or snow shoeing? Always wanted to check out that new dance club, take a drive out to that weird diner, or attend that midnight showing of Buffy the Musical? Tonight’s the night. You’re breaking tradition already by not letting the holiday turn your Saturday into a “mopey” day, so add a new adventure to your list. What have you got to lose?

Have fun – this is the most important thing. No matter what it is you decide to do tonight, make it fun. After all, you passed on the option to stay home and sulk, didn’t you? So, enjoy yourself.

A few don’ts:

– Don’t wear all black and refer to the day as “Black Saturday”, it’s not going to do anybody any good.

– Don’t send yourself flowers. There’s nothing wrong with buying fresh flowers for your home, or desk, but if you do it today, you’re just going to feel pathetic when you get them with the card signed “you know who”…yes, you know who, and really, it didn’t work to make you feel better, did it?

– Don’t indulge in the ice cream/chocolate/comfort food myth. All you’ll gain from these is an extra 2 lbs you don’t need.

– Don’t hunt for a last minute date just so you can have one. It’ll put unnecessary pressure on both of you, and it’s a waste of what could otherwise be a perfectly good first date.

– Don’t hang out with that one friend, you know the one, who is going to spend the entire evening bitching and moaning about not having a boyfriend AGAIN this year. Leave her at home with the ice cream and the romantic comedies.

– Don’t, whatever you do, watch romantic comedies that evening. Honestly, why would you do that to yourself?

– Don’t hesitate to give out your number to the cute guy in front of you at the hockey game, or send a drink to that other one, watching you from across the bar. Just because you’re single this Valentine’s Day, doesn’t mean you can’t be celebrating an anniversary this time next year.

-Don’t worry, this day only comes once a year, and as much as you may think you’re going to have a miserable time, just remember one thing, it’s not any better for your coupled off friends. Or did you forget all the fights and disagreements this holiday caused your past relationships? See? You’re bound to have a better time if you just put your mind to it.

SO get to it! And then come back here and tell me how you spent your V-Day. Oh, and for those of you in relationships? I want to know how you spent your V-Day too, good, bad or ugly, I promise I won’t judge. 😉

As far as what THIS single girl will be doing? I’m taking my own advice, I’m heading to a college hockey game with a group of single girl friends. Dinner, flirting with college boys, and just having a good ol’ fashioned girl’s night out. How can that NOT be a good night?

{February 4, 2009}   All The Boys – Follow Through

It was never about him anyway. GQ, I mean. That whole thing about asking him out? It was never about him, it was always about me. About whether or not I could/would actually do it.

And you know what? I SO did it.

Let me back up a bit.

Previously on Candid Karina’s Dating Mis-Adventures, we talked about crushes. We talked about my cliché’d crush on Coach, the personal trainer at my gym, and then we talked about GQ, the car salesman. The one I was hoping I’d have enough guts to actually ask out for a drink.

To be honest, even though I felt I really didn’t have much to lose by asking him out, I still didn’t really think I’d have the guts to follow through and do it.

And yet, when he called a few days later to follow up on the car sale, I found myself feeling brave. After a brief explanation of why I would not be purchasing my car through his dealership, GQ proceeded to give me a good natured hard time. “After all the work I put in for you, you’re not going to buy a car through me? That’s just wrong.”

After informing him (also good naturedly) that nobody asked him to do any work on my behalf, I also told him that I did feel badly, but that’s just the way it would be.

“You should feel bad, it’s not right”, he said flirting
“I do…I tell you what” said I, taking a deep breath and plunging in “let me make it up to you, let me take you out for a drink”.


GQ: (after a pause) You want to take me out for a drink?”
Me: Yeah, I can’t buy my car from you, so the least I can do is buy you a drink, don’t you think?”
GQ: Yeah, absolutely, that sounds great. I gave you my cell number, right?
Me: Yes
GQ: Cool, call me sometime.

And then GQ got all professional again, as if his manager was standing over him listening in…all about the car, blah blah blah.

I gave him a break, figuring he was at work and I would call him later in the week. No worries, right?

Less than a half hour later, however, I received a text message from GQ: “I’m free this weekend”.

SWEET! Yes, I’ve still got IT.

I replied “This weekend is a bit insane for me, but I could do Sunday?” (note the question mark)
GQ: You tell me.

So far so good, right? And then my friend Traveller reminds me that Sunday was Superbowl Sunday. Now, to me that means absolutely nothing, I don’t watch football all that often and New England wasn’t in the Superbowl, so I had zero interest in that game. However, I realize most people don’t feel the same way I do, so I figured I should address this, in case he had Superbowl plans already, you know? So a quick text was sent to the effect of “Just realized Sunday is Superbowl, does that still work for you?”

And that, ladies and gents, is where the trail ends.

I received another phone call from GQ the next day, but it was all business. Dude was still trying to convince me to come buy my car at his dealership. The conversation was pleasant enough, but it ended without a sale on his end. When he realized I was definitely going elsewhere, he said “Well, okay, that’s all I was calling about”.

Well, isn’t that nice? Okay then, still no response to my last text from the previous evening, but he then ended the call with “Call me sometime”.

I haven’t.

No particular reason why I have not. I just haven’t felt like it. I, quite obviously, don’t have a problem with a woman making the first move. I do, however, have a problem with doing all the work. I put myself out there. He showed interest. And then he fizzled out.

If he’s waiting for me to do all the work, eh…I’ve lost interest. It’s not that I would mind calling him, or following up. It’s just that he sort of left me hanging, and…I just don’t feel the need to put myself out there yet again without some kind of encouragement from his end.

Does that make sense?

And besides, as I said at the start of this post, it wasn’t really about him anyway. It was about me.

If we had connected and gone out for a drink, that would have been a nice bonus, but it wasn’t about the outcome so much as it was about the actual act of asking him out.

Because I did it. How much do I rock for that?

Let’s talk about crushes. Let’s talk about that silly feeling we all get when we’re 12 years old and we get that first glimpse of a boy, and suddenly there are butterflies in our belly and our hearts are beating just a little bit faster. AH, the crush. What a sweet, silly, innocent thing of childhood. Or is it?

What happens when you’re thirty-something, single, and just poking your toe into the dating pool after a long absence? And you get a glimpse of that guy across the room, the one who stands just so, or smiles with that twinkle in his eye, and suddenly, there are butterflies in your belly and your heart is beating just a little bit faster. Is it still a crush if by all accounts you can be considered a grown woman?

Isn’t it?

Personally, I like a crush. I enjoy the giddy feelings, the nervous anxiety, the sudden flush to my cheeks. I get a giggle out of the little girl in me coming out to say “I think I have a crush”. How silly, and enjoyable it is.

And as someone who has been in a bit of a rut with my self esteem the last few years, the fact that I am now considering myself crush worthy, allowing the butterflies to form, and wondering if maybe, just maybe, I’m causing some butterflies of my own…well, that’s kind of nice to experience.

The great thing about a crush though is that it doesn’t necessarily mean you are interested in acting upon it. The pressure is off a bit on a crush, because it might just be someone you want to observe from a distance, and never really pursue anything with. For whatever reason, you may know this person is all wrong for you, but you can still enjoy the feelings that the crush evokes in you. Safely. From a distance.

On the flip side, there are times when a crush can develop into more. You can take a crush and realize that the feeling is indeed mutual, and then suddenly, you’re no longer just crushing, you are now flirting. And how much fun is that?

But, of course, you’re thinking, “All this talk about crushes Karina, but we came here to read about who YOU are crushing on, so will you just get to it already?” Okay, okay…yes, I have a crush. In fact, I have two. And I’ve decided to share them with you because maybe that’ll force me to actually act out on at least one of them. Because at the moment, I’m lacking the nerve to make a move…so, maybe you can give me that little push I need.

I’ll tell you about my crushes first.

The first is totally innocent and not the one I see myself acting on. It’s clichéd and silly, and simply one that just makes me giggle, so I’m enjoying it from afar. I’ve got a crush on a personal trainer at my gym. I know, how obvious. But it’s not what you’re thinking, “oh, of course, a personal trainer, they’re all hot”. True. But this one, we’ll call him “Coach”, is not your typical personal trainer. He doesn’t have that “I’m so hot” air about him. He’s very down to earth and was obviously not the “jock” in high school, so he comes across as more approachable. He’s also extremely funny. So with that, is it any wonder I got a crush? He’s adorable, and a bit of a flirt as well, but he also happens to be about 10 years younger than me. So, I’m enjoying this crush for what it is, silly, fun, a distraction, but not something I’m likely to pursue.

Although…well, you know, I wouldn’t exactly turn him down if he were to ask me out for a drink. I’m just sayin’.

However, as my budget is about to take a major step in the “tightening of the belt” direction with my brand new car purchase which is in the works this week, there are no immediate plans for future personal training sessions, so Coach and I won’t have any more one on one time for a while. Thus, I’ll have to crush on him from afar for now.

The second crush, however, has potential. That is, if I don’t chicken out it does. This past weekend, as some of you know, I went window shopping for a car. The salesman I dealt with on Sunday, when I took the car for a test drive, was a hottie. Not just in the sense that he’s a good looking guy, which he is, but he had a certain flair about him that you don’t necessarily see too much of here in suburban New England. You all know I’m all about fashion, so when this man approached me not in your typical car salesman uniform of suit and tie, and sleazy wink…

but instead in dress pants, button down shirt and a black scarf and matching kangol type newsboy cap…(no, this is not him)…
I was immediately intrigued. Looking all dapper and very GQ”, even mom (who’d come with me to look at the car) was impressed. So GQ and I sat down to chat about the car, and mom and dad walked away to, as mom would tell me later, give us some space, since “he was obviously flirting with you”. I think he was more likely simply doing the car salesman thing, trying to get a sale, but then…there was definitely flirting involved.

Anyway, before I left the dealership that day, we exchanged numbers, for the purposes of the car sale, of course, and I went on my way. Turns out, however, that I will not be purchasing my car from his dealership, without getting into any of the boring details, I’m going through my work to get the car, and they have contracts with other dealerships, so I will not be going back to GQ to purchase my car.

However, GQ does not know this yet, and he has since called me to inform me that they got in a car in one of the colors I was interested in looking at, and would I like to come in and take a look at it. He left a voicemail, and I have yet to call him back.

Here’s where I need that push from you, because here’s where I’m bound to chicken out. I’ve decided to call him and tell him that although I won’t be buying at his dealership, I’d like to make it up to him and take him out for a drink. I mean, what have I got to lose, right? If the guy’s not interested, it’s not as if I ever have to see him again. Easiest rejection to deal with is the kind you never have to come face to face with again, isn’t it?

What do you think? Should I do it? Well, yeah, I know I should do it…but…will I do it?

Ah…the magnificent power of the crush.

Well, here it is…I’m going to give this dating thing a try in 2009. I said I would in 2008, and even had that ill-fated mystery date back in January, but then, well…obviously I had other things to work on before I put myself out there for the dating world to see.

But now, well, now I’m ready, and it’s time.

I’ve lost almost 20 lbs, and with that weight loss, I’ve also been able to let go of a lot of my self-esteem issues. There are some that still remain, because well, that’s just me being me, but I’m now able to walk with my head high, smile on my face, making eye contact with people.

I spent 2008 working on myself. My inner self, my spiritual self, and my physical self. I changed careers, I formed new friendships, I reconnected with old friends, and I made peace with ghosts from my past.

In a sense, it was boot camp, and now I’m ready to join the front lines.

I began to realize that I was ready to “hit the dating scene” when I found myself flirting with Donnie Wahlberg as he autographed my wrist. I mean, if I can flirt with my teen crush, I can flirt with just about anyone, don’t you think?

Then, a few weeks ago something happened that made me realize I am back in “dating form”. Small thing. Silly thing. I got a crush. On someone from my past. Someone I hadn’t seen in a long time. Someone I may never even see again for all I know. But he made me blush and giggle like a school girl. It was official, I had a crush on a real live, non-celebrity, he actually knows my name, man.

I didn’t really share much with you about that crush because well, there isn’t much to share. I honestly don’t know if/when I’ll see him again, and mostly, it wasn’t about him. It was about me. About those feelings I hadn’t felt in a really long time. And about the fact that I realized I missed those feelings.

A baby step. When you’ve been out of the dating scene as long as I have been, it’s baby steps to get back in, you know?

And then this weekend, last night, another step.

I was out Christmas shopping, and it turns out Target was having a special on good looking guys. Who knew?

OH, you want details? I’ll give you details.

I was walking toward Target, when I walked by an attractive man who smiled at me. New me, new rules, I made eye contact and smiled back, and went on my way. So then I’m in Target, in the electronics department and I see him there, which I thought was strange, because when I first saw him he was walking AWAY from Target, right? But, hey, whatever, I’m not reading too much into things, I’m busy shopping. But he walked by me once again, and I got the impression he wanted to say something, but then changed his mind. I continued to shop, but now I’m smiling because well, you just sort of know by then, you know? So, then the third time we walked by each other he goes “Excuse me,” and I was like “Yes?” and he goes “You’re beautiful”. And let me clarify that he said this not in a “yo baby yo” sleezy way, just in a very straightforward way, you know? So I was kind of taken aback but I said “Thank you” and he asked my name, then he tells me his (we’ll call him Blue). Then he asked if I had a boyfriend and I said no and he goes “why not?” and I said “Don’t know, just don’t” and he was like “ok” (like cool, whatever). Then we chatted a little more, turns out he’s from the same town I live in, and then he goes “So, can I take you out or call you sometime?” and I hesitated only a bit and said “You can call me,” (because hey, what have I got to lose at this point, right?). So I gave him my number, and then we chatted for another few seconds and he looked at my hands (I had a ton of things in my hands/shopping) and said “Well, I won’t keep you, I’ll let you get back to your stuff, but I’ll definitely call you” and I said “definitely do”. And that was that.

I haven’t had that happen to me in a very long time, years, in fact, so it was pretty cool. Good for my ego, that’s for sure. Even if he doesn’t call, I’m good with that. And even if he does call, and turns out to be a total weirdo, I’m okay with that too, cuz I’m sort of already expecting that…you know? And who knows, he could actually turn out to be normal too. 😉

He’s about 6 ft tall (I’d guess), probably around my age (guess again), dirty blonde hair and the most beautiful blue eyes. Good looking guy, not a pretty boy, but certainly attractive.

But again, this isn’t so much about him as it is about me. If he calls, well, then of course I’ll tell you all about it, and we’ll see what happens. But this is about how I had forgotten what it felt like to be approached by an attractive stranger and be made to feel like a million bucks. I had forgotten that totally giddy feeling in your stomach when you walk away after just having given a man your phone number. I’d forgotten, most importantly, how much fun I used to have with dating.

See, I’ve been dreading getting back out there, but now? I’m kind of looking forward to it.


{January 29, 2008}   All The Boys – The Slick One

Let me tell you about Slick. I briefly mentioned Slick in passing in this post, but I think it’s time you meet him. I met Slick in high school, therefore, you should know a little bit about who I was in high school.

The short version is that I was one of the smart kids, but not one of the “nerdy” ones. I wasn’t popular, but I was also not ridiculed. In fact, I was in all the classes with the “popular” kids, and they all talked to me and knew who I was…during school hours. After school, I was pretty much non-existent and not a part of their circle. I had my own circle of friends, and we pretty much referred to ourselves as “the outcasts”, but we each had an “in” in our own way. Whatever. You need to know this, because you need for know that for me, high school wasn’t anything at all like what you see in teen movies. I didn’t play sports, I didn’t go to dances, I didn’t really belong. I just sort of was there. And with the exception of “first kiss guy”, I didn’t have boyfriends. I had crushes, oh, I had lots of crushes, but no boyfriends. And I was young, naïve, and influential.

Enter Slick. Slick was on the soccer team, and where I went to school that meant that although he wasn’t one of the members of the “In Crowd”, he was still pretty popular, he just ran with a different crowd. The soccer team had a popularity all its own. They were division champs, the best in the area, and they knew it. And they had the groupies to prove it too. I met Slick because his best friend had one of those on-again/off-again things with a friend of mine. It was mostly off-again, but then, that was probably for the best for her sake. And yet, Slick was different. He was slick, no doubt about it, but he was a good guy. I’m pretty sure he told me right off the bat that he had a girlfriend (who went to another school), and we sort of stuck up a friendship. But it was the sort of friendship that involved my bemoaning the existence of his girlfriend, and him flirting shamelessly with me and sending me mixed signals. I spent much of high school in a state of love/hate with Slick. I wrote many a poem about my tortured feelings for him as well. Ah, such is puppy love.

Nevertheless, nothing ever came of it, high school ended, and I moved on. Until one day, my sophomore year at college, I ran into Slick again. I can’t even really remember how we reconnected, but we did. And by then, things had changed a bit. For starters, he no longer had a girlfriend. And I? I was a different person now. I had other “does he or doesn’t he” situations preoccupying my mind. Man, I was a sucker for those in my youth.

Still, before I knew what happened, Slick has pulled me right back in. The one who got away, and he was back. He had a knack for saying just the right thing, at just the right moment, to convince me that he was a good guy, and the guy for me. And yet, he was just slick enough to keep me at arm’s length, never promising enough so that I couldn’t get too comfortable. Love/Hate all over again.

Love: Driving our two cars, him in front, me behind, in a downpour, so he can drop his car off for his mother to use, and I can drive him back home. Stop at a red light, he runs out of his car, up to mine, and asks me to roll my window down. I do so, he leans in and kisses me, runs back to his car. In a downpour.

Hate: I get mad because while we’re hanging out at his house, he spends 20 minutes on the phone with some girl he says is a friend. After assuring me she’s only a friend, he adds “besides, you can’t get mad, you’re not my girlfriend”. Always putting me in my place.

Love: We spend an hour digging his car out of the snow, where he’s been stuck in my parent’s driveway, after driving through a blizzard to see me off the night before I go away on a trip. We get the car free finally, he jumps out of his car, runs over to me and hugs me, kisses me, we land on the snow…scene straight out of a movie.

Hate: The whole time we were….well, whatever we were…he had managed to joke enough about my dancing that I was embarrassed to do it in front of him. ME, someone who has always been proud of my ability to out dance ANYONE at ANYTIME. Me, the girl approached by complete strangers at night clubs and asked “Where on earth did a white girl learn to dance like that”. I never danced with him.

Love/Hate…over and over again. He’d pull me in, just to toss me back, like a fresh water fish on a nature show. It wasn’t until years later, when I was with Cognac, that I’d realize how abusive our relationship had been. How blinded by what I thought was love was I, that I lost myself in the process. I let him set the boundaries, I let him break them, I let him tell me how much or how little I should feel for him. I was like a puppy, begging for attention, wagging my tail when I received the slightest affection, sitting dejected in a corner when he couldn’t be bothered with me. In the meantime, I neglected the warnings of HIS friends that I should walk away. HIS friends telling me I was too good for him. HIS friends telling me that I was only going to get hurt.

It was one of his friends, The Bullfrog, who had in time become more my friend than his, who finally called me one day and said “K, you need to know something”. The Bullfrog, who had a thing for me, but I wasn’t willing to see it, because I was so wrapped up in Slick. The Bullfrog, with a heart of gold, and a smile to die for, who held my hand as he broke my heart, to save my soul, by telling me the truth. What I needed to know was that Slick had allegedly knocked up another girl. A girl I had suspected him of being with, but had been told time and time again was just a friend. But I knew better. And yet, I stayed in our…whatever it was…our limbo. But this, a baby? This was going too far. See, with this, I could no longer turn a blind eye and pretend. Still, I needed to get to the bottom of things, I needed to hear it from the horse’s jackass’ mouth, didn’t I?

I called him.
He answered.
I asked him: “What’s this I hear about you getting some girl pregnant?”
He replied: “Yeah, I’m going to be a dad.”
SLAP! (my face stinging from the impact of the words).
Matter-of-fact. Happy almost. Laughing a bit, I think.

My heart? Broken. My pride? Non-existent. It was over.

For months Slick would continue to call me, try to convince me to…what? Forgive him? No, he hadn’t done anything wrong, I wasn’t his girlfriend after all, was I? Give him another chance? No, he was with her now, he just wanted to see me again, didn’t want to lose our (laugh) friendship.

I never did forgive him. Not to his face anyway. I got over it, I learned from it, I became a stronger person for it. But from me he never heard another love-sick, pathethic word. He never saw me cry, I didn’t yell, I didn’t ask for an explanation…I just moved on. It had been long enough for me in that tormented state, I was done.

Years later I’d run into him here and there. A club one night, where he told me his girlfriend and daughter were out of town, did I want to come back with him? I laughed in his face, and walked off. A party another time, where I’d; perhaps emboldened by a few too many kamikaze shots; approached him, he told me I looked fantastic, I grabbed hold of one of his short little dread locks and said “What’s this shit on your head?” My friend laughed hysterically and pulled me away. Another night at a dance club, he stopped me, told me I looked great on the dance floor. “Where did you learn to dance like that?” he asked. “I always danced liked that, you just couldn’t see it”. “Who are you here with?” he asked looking at my girl friends. “Them,” I said pointing around… “And him”, I motioned to Cognac, in all his 6’2”, muscular hotness, who winked at me as I signaled him. “Oh, shit”, said Slick “I’ll be walking away now”.

Oh, the sweet sweet taste of indifference. Best served cold, they say. Or is that revenge? Either way, it worked wonders for my no longer broken down ego.

It has now been, gosh, nearly a decade, since our last encounter. I’ve forgiven him his youthful arrogance. I’ve forgotten most of the abusive behavior. I remember mostly the sweet moments. The fact that he was, to date, the best kisser. And the gift he gave me. Because from him I learned never again to forget myself. Never again to allow a man to control my life, my heart, my self-respect. I learned so much more than I lost. And if I had to do it again? I would.

Only this time, I might have kissed The Bullfrog.

et cetera