Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Why the more things change, the more my hair stays the same

The last seven days have been spectacularly un-blogworthy. I've noticed that at this time of year, other people tend to post Christmas re-caps and state their New Year's resolutions, but the fact of the matter is the holidays around here are not particularly merry, and I'm pretty sure no one wants to hear about how I plan to eat more fruits and vegetables in 2010. In fact, I'm going to be honest with you: this is pretty much a throwaway post. I just wanted to knock that last post down from the top spot, because GAH. And also, GAH. I mean, the reactions and the comments were great; so great, and I value each and every one of your perspectives and advice, even the person who called me "icky." Which, fine, I guess she didn't call me specifically "icky," rather the act of sleeping with "someone you barely know," which I hardly think is the case here, especially since I am not sleeping with someone that I do know. But my point is that I appreciate even that comment, since it just shows that there are so many different people and ideas and thoughts and opinions in the world. And with that many people and ideas and thoughts and opinions in the world, the "right" answer can only be the one that is right for me. (I am not sure what that answer is yet, by the way, just that whatever it is, everything is going to be pretty much alright. Or, you know, it won't. Neither one would surprise me.) Anyway, like I said, I value the feedback from that post, but I'm sort of sick of looking at it, and sometimes I worry about first-time readers clicking over and whoa, emotional and dramatic and revealing waaayyyy too much personal detail, am I? Well, here, let's talk about something much less pathos-inducing, like...

In other news, MY HAIR. On Christmas day my sister's boyfriend got a hold of a picture of all of us taken on some Christmas years ago, and immediately started laughing. "Your hair," he said. "You still have exactly the same haircut!" And yes, yes I know I still have the same haircut I did when I was five, I AM AWARE. I immediately jumped to the defensive. "Oh, what, should I cut it all off, bleach it and dye it pink, then?" I said, not so subtly referencing my sister's latest failed strawberry blond venture. "Uh, no," he said, taken somewhat aback. "Um...no." This came at a touchy moment, as I've been feeling particularly un-pretty lately: haggard, broken out, and just plain old, and so I decided something had to be done. In lieu of other, more drastic, and more costly measures, I headed to Target and left with a pack of Crest White Strips and a box of hair dye. I used to dye my hair on a pretty regular basis, but at this point it's been my natural color for years, and so I hesitated to do something too drastic. I carefully read the advice on the box: For best results, stay within a shade or two of your own hair color, and if you are hesitating between two colors, go with the lighter one. I did this, and ended up with a color creatively titled "light brown." That's right, I spent $10 to dye my hair the exact same color it already was. A final analysis reveals that it is now actually slightly more light brown than it was before, but not so that anyone other than me would be able to tell. So, now I am old, broken out, haggard, and I have boring hair. No wonder my new (fill-in-the-blank) won't sleep with me. (Ba dum bum!)

In other other news: I got a text from North Carolina guy the other day. Remember him? We met, crushed, hooked up? (Icky! I am so icky!) Well, I did actually see him again after that. Did I forget to mention that? I may have accidentally-on-purpose forgotten to mention that. So, I saw him when he was in town again, last month, and then felt bad about it because I didn't know where things were going with James. Jimmy. Whatever. As it turns out I still don't know where things are going with Jimmy/James/whatever, and this other guy, Pete, sent me a text asking if I would be around on Jan. 2nd or 3rd. He wants to give me my Christmas present. (I've already asked, and no, apparently it's not a euphismism.) A Christmas present. I'm pretty sure even my new (fill-in-the-blank) Jimmy-James isn't giving me a Christmas present.

And the plot thickens...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Why is he acting like sex is a four-letter word?

I've always been pretty good at identifying the exact moment a new relationship dies. Even if the nails aren't all yet in the coffin, even if nothing specific has been said and we are still going along, acting our roles and playing our parts, I can still hear that death knell ringing from miles away.

He is no longer playful and sweet. Our "relationship" has suddenly aged by years overnight. We've gone from mix cds and non-sequiturs to perfunctory phone calls, dry-lipped kisses, and absolutely no sex. Now when we go to bed he gives me a peck on the lips and a "'night babe." Oh, we've talked about it, sure, and come to no useful conclusion. Sex complicates things, he says. It speeds things up, heightens emotions. He just wants to get to know me better, first. He wants to be sure. He wants to do it, don't get him wrong; he really wants to. But he doesn't just jump into these things lightly, and he doesn't want to be pressured into it, either.

When he first said it a couple weeks ago, I was ok with it. Just another week or two, he said. And so I waited. But it's been two weeks, and he's still saying it. And now he barely touches me at all. Now he just goes to sleep. We should be passionate, mad, crazy about each other, but instead we are both on the defensive, both waiting to see how this thing will turn out, steeling ourselves for the end.

Oh, it's all in working order, if that's what you're thinking. Some early reconnaissance showed everything to be of the correct size and proportion. Fully functioning, too, as I found out in another, apparently acceptable, non-intercourse sex act. Because that's ok, but apparently penetration would be too intimate.

"I feel like..." I said, my face turned away in the dark, "I feel like you're not even interested in me, like you're not attracted to me at all." I tried to keep my voice steady, but every other word hinted at tears.

"How can you say that?" he asked. "I tell you all the time that I think you're beautiful; I send you texts telling you how sexy I think you are." That's true. Hey gorgeous, he'll say. Hey beautiful, hey sexy, hey angel face, doll face, peaches, precious, peanut. He has a hundred names for me, and not one of them is Rachel.

"I just want to wait until I'm sure the time is right," he said.

"But how will you know?" I said.

"I'll know when I know," he said. "I'll just know."

"Well I wish I knew what test it is that I'm supposed to be trying to pass."

"We've only been together a few weeks," he said. "Would you typically be trying to have sex at this point in a relationship?"

Way to turn it around there, I thought. He might as well have said, Are you always this much of a slut?

"That's not a fair question," I said. "There's no such thing as 'typically.' And besides, usually it would just happen, naturally."

"Yeah," he sighed. "Yeah."

So is that it? I wondered all day yesterday. Is it over? Hours and hours went by and I didn't hear from him, and I was sure it was. But then he texted, said he was having a crazy busy day. And so we've been carrying on in the usual way, only it's not fun, anymore.

He called me tonight, asked me when I am going home. Tomorrow, I told him. For a week. Are you going home tomorrow, too? I asked.

"I'm on my way home right now, actually," he said. "I was going to leave tomorrow, and then I would have spent the night with you, but I have to get home tonight. I just have so much stuff to do."

"Oh," I said. "Oh."

Then he brought up our conversation from the other night; he felt weird about the way we had left it. And so we tried talking about it, but talking only made it worse. To me, it feels like a power play. He has the upper hand and there's nothing I can do to change that. Either he will continue to withhold, or he will eventually decide that the time is right and in a grand gesture of benevolence finally grant me the "gift" of his sex. But I don't want it like that. There is no good outcome here. We're both backed into a corner, and the only way out is away.

"So, I guess we'll see how it goes when you get back," he said, hesitantly. Because suddenly we are awkward, ill at ease with each other.

"I guess so," I said.

I said goodbye and fell back onto my bed, and instead of picturing his smile, his lips, his broad shoulders, the only thing I could think was, It shouldn't be like this, it shouldn't be this hard, it shouldn't be like this.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Why you should not read this post

He will not read this. He says he doesn't want to read and I will take him at his word. If he ever changes his mind I will delete this first. This doesn't need to be seen. This is my neurosis, my paranoia, my self-doubt. This is a journal entry-turned-blog that probably should have stayed a journal entry. But, like every worry that niggles relentlessly at my insides, I know I will feel better after I get it out. This is my magma, my lava, my bile.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I am happiest in the moment right before he walks through the door. The anticipation is exhilarating in its possibility, and in comparison reality can only ever pale.

I want more, already. It's never enough, and I can feel myself greedy, ever expanding, with always more space to fill. It may not even be possible to fill it, maybe no one can. Alone I was small and manageable, but then he came and now I am huge, vast, limitless. I try to hide it but I am ever hungrier.

In a fitting bit of irony, now that I think I am maybe, at long last, finally over my ex-boyfriend, I meet a boy who's maybe still in love with his ex-girlfriend. I asked a question last night and got him talking, talking, talking, not looking at me, lost in space, and for a second I thought how easy it would be to be a shrink. "And now you're going to think, 'Oh, here's this guy who's still in love with his ex-girlfriend,'" he said. No, I thought. I didn't until you just said that. But now I do.

"Aww, you'll find someone," he said to me later, jokingly, perhaps, but I recoiled as if he had hit me. I don't know how he meant it, but it hurt like a blow. It's not me, he was saying. Was he saying? I don't know.

That old dose of reality.

James. His name is James, because, of course it is. It feels wrong to call a grown man Jimmy. It feels right to call him James, but so right it also feels wrong. No easy solution. I've tried both, hesitantly, and settled instead on "babe." We've fallen so quickly into the parlance of lovers, though we aren't, not yet. We sleep wrapped around each other like lovers, share morning breath kisses, but he wanted to wait. Another week dictated by biological imperatives, and we are still waiting. Soon? Soon. When? He leaves and I never know when I will see him again, though that is my own insecurity talking.

At first he seemed too good to be true, and maybe he is, but now we have gotten used to each other, and maybe he is bored with me, and we haven't even slept together yet. Except for all the sleeping next to each other. Just enjoy it, I tell myself. Enjoy it while it lasts, for as long as it lasts. That's all you can do. It's all about expectation after all. If you expect it to last forever you will be disappointed. Expect it to end tomorrow, and every day it doesn't is a gift.

I have been alone for so long. I cannot reconcile these two parts of myself. It's all or nothing, and the girlfriend part of me grows, is gluttonous, and consumes the single part of me so that there is nothing left. If anything were to happen I would have to start over again from scratch.

My girlfriend, he called me last night. My friend, he corrected himself. My girlfriend, my friend, my girlfriend, my friend.

I am lost, shrinking, somewhere between the two. I am lost, waiting for someone to find me, to call my name, waiting to be found.

Is this too much? Too honest? Too soon? And so I share it with a thousand strangers on the Internet, and he will never, ever need to know.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Why I'm out of the blogging closet

It's not that I have writer's block, exactly. I'd call it more a crisis of conscience. To be more specific: it's feeling stranger and stranger to continue writing about someone behind his back. I'm entering murky waters here. In the over two and a half years that I've been writing here, I've never felt the need to censor myself. For the most part, I give it to you straight: the good, the bad, and the tear-stained and ugly. Every once in a while over the past two and a half years, I've wondered what would happen to my blog, my writing, if I ever started dating someone for long enough that keeping my blog a secret from him would start to feel like just that: a secret I was keeping. I never came to any reasonable conclusions, and up until now, it hasn't really come up. The closest I came to that was Hervé, but he was easy: I knew the whole time that we were only temporary, and he didn't even speak English. It was just easier not to say anything. And now, in light of new events, I find myself wondering all over again. Not that I am ready to 'fess up to everything with my new guy, not at all; there will be no gun jumping here. (Or so I thought.) (Foreshadowing!!!) But now I have to look at everything I post as something that may potentially be read by him someday, and that is a weird, weird feeling. How would he feel reading what I've written about him so far? I have to hope that he would be ok with it, considering it's all been fairly glowing and complimentary. But what if you discovered that, unbeknownst to you, specific details of your personal life had been spilled all over one small corner of the Internet? And what if, say, you had probably never even read a blog before? Would you find it all baffling? Vaguely disturbing? Unsettling? These are all things I have been thinking about lately. So far my guy has been very lovely and loving and laid-back, but you never know what someone may consider as going too far. You just never know with people, do you?

It will all have to come out eventually, I decided, if things keep going the way they are going. But not yet. I will know when the time is right, and it's not now. (I thought.) But you know what happens to the best intentions. One minute you're watching youtube videos of whistling puppies and surprised kittens and dogs riding skateboards (and seriously, if those videos don't turn you into a mushy, sobby blob of molten goo then you are made of stone, people, stone!) and then you're saying, "Hey, you want to see a video of my sister's dog barking while my dad plays the harmonica?" And then you open your video folder and click as quick as you can, but not quick enough, because then he says, "Hey, what's DoW contest?"

"Oh, um, nothing," I say. "Hey, look, it's my sister's dog!"

"Was that your ex-boyfriend?"

"Um, no, it's my old roommate."

"So, what is that?"

"It's...I didn't want to tell you yet."

"Oh. Ok. Well, I won't push it."

"Oh," I say, relieved. "Thanks."

"But you'll tell me later?"

"Yeah."

Then we watch a video of a hedgehog eating a carrot. "Are you moving?" he asks quietly, looking down at my leg.

"What?" I say, confused. "You mean, am I physically moving right now? Am I moving my leg?" I do tend to have a fairly annoying knee jiggling habit, and so I look down, but everything appears still for the moment.

"No, I mean...are you moving away?"

"What? No. I have a lease until August. Why?"

"Well, you said you didn't want to tell me yet."

"Ohh. No, that's not it."

"Are you dating someone else? Did you kill someone?"

"Wha-? No, look...fine. I didn't want to tell you yet, but, well...I have something to tell you."

"Yes?"

"I... I have a blog."

"Ok."

"And...I write about my life, and well, lately...I've written about you."

"Ok."

"Everyone really likes you!"

"Yeah?"

"Well, probably mostly because I keep telling them how great you are."

"I'm not that great."

"Well, anyway...that's it."

"Ok. Well, I won't try to find it or anything."

"Oh...ok."

"Can I ask you a question?"

"Sure."

"What is a blog, exactly?"

So, at least now that is out of the way, and he was much less horrified than I had feared. What I didn't anticipate was exactly how uncurious he would be about it, freaking out a bit when he thought I was going to pull it up. "No, don't show me!" he said, flinging his arm over his eyes as I reached for the keyboard.

"I wasn't, er, going to," I said, slightly baffled.

I mean, wouldn't you want to know what kind of rumors the person you were dating was spreading about you all over the Internet? But then again, as I find myself saying over and over...this guy is pretty much the exact opposite of any guy I have ever met before, so perhaps it's only fitting.

So what do you think? Is this a carte blanche to keep on writing the only way I know how- open, honest, and uncensored- without fear of repercussion? I don't know. What I do know is this- the boy is still pretty great, and this blog is back in business, baby!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Why I am not used to this

On our third date he gave me a mix cd. On our fourth date he brought me chocolate and gave me not one, but two (TWO!) back massages. We hung out at my house and listened to music. We went out for sandwiches and then came back. We kissed, we cuddled, we watched Spinal Tap. In other words, it was pretty much the perfect day. It is weird to have found someone this good. My carefully constructed defenses are breaking down bit by bit, but still, it is weird. I am not used to this.

I am used to oafish, selfish, hot and then cold. Guys that are aggr
essive, or stingy, or pathological liars. I am not used to presents, compliments, and back massages, and honestly, my first instinct is to brush them off, to brush him off. What Groucho Marx said about not wanting to belong to a club that would have him as a member- I get that. Completely. If he likes me this much, clearly there must be something wrong with him. My first instinct is to search out the flaws and magnify them. "Oh, he's a right-leaning independent." "Oh, he misspelled 'you're.'" But these are not reasons, these are excuses. These are my walls, my defense mechanisms. But when these are the worst flaws I have been able to find, then clearly the problem isn't with him.

He's a clown. He makes me laugh. You know how in high school sometimes they have those Mr. (X) High School contests? He was Mr. High School (or as I like to call him, my little pageant winner). In college he was the only white guy on the step team. I thought this was so awesome that I asked him to show me his step moves out on the driveway, and he was kind enough to grudgingly (oh so grudgingly!) comply. In short, he's funny, he's nice, and he's just plain likeable. I am not used to this. But I am getting there.


He still hasn't let up with the questions. I've gotten used to the non-sequiturs, but every once in a while he will still surprise me. The other day he called me a couple hours before he came over. "How do you feel about peanut butter?" he asked.

"Really?" I asked. "You had to call me just to ask me this? I'm trying to get out the door for a job interview, and you want to know my opinion on the topic of peanut butter? I mean, this couldn't have waited? Well, fine, I guess. Yeah, I like peanut butter, is that what you needed to know?"

Two hours later he showed up at my door with chocolates. They were filled with- you guessed it- peanut butter.

I am officially an ass. He, for some reason, doesn't seem to mind. Which makes him, sort of, a little, dare I say perfect? I dare not. But it does make him really, amazingly, overwhelmingly good.

I am so not used to this. But I am getting there.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Why I'm bewitched, bothered, and bewildered

So, in addition to confusing your and you're (also to/too, and there/their/they're, but hey, who's judging), it turns out that he works in sales and also coaches the lacrosse team at the local community college. He also plays volleyball and lacrosse competitively, a fact evidenced by a strong chest and lovely broad shoulders. (And Internet, I love me some broad shoulders.) Some Internet sleuthing turned up the fact that during his college years, in addition to graduating on the dean's list, he was elected Captain and MVP of his lacrosse team, and President of the Student Athletic Leadership team, and that's, umm, just a little bit hot. All that aside, however, it turns out that we don't really have much (read, anything) in common. He: hunts. Restores classic cars. Says he's an independent, but gentle probing reveals fairly conservative (gasp! ick! horror!) leanings. I've never seen him without a hat on. He doesn't really read. He likes music, but... different music. Internet, he has never eaten Indian food. I know. I know!

And yet... and yet... He's out there. He's weird, man. But he makes me laugh. On our first date he bombarded me with questions. When was your last relationship? Do you like to cuddle? Once I blinked back the shock, I decided to roll with it. Two and a half years ago. Yes. After we said goodnight he sent me a text: I have more questions for you. I smiled. I bet you do, I replied. We planned for a second date on Wednesday, but on Monday he texted, said he would be driving through Mythaca in a couple hours and hadn't eaten yet. Did I want to get something to eat? He didn't want to wait until Wednesday to see me. On our second date he asked me what my dream wedding would be like. (Weird! he is so weird!) "Haven't really thought about it," I said. Though obviously he had.

"It's just I've been to so many really fancy, boring weddings," he said. "What do you think about a theme wedding?"

"Like a luau?" I said dubiously.

"Or like a sock hop," he said. "Or something cool."

"A sock hop?" I replied increduously. "No. No way."

Then he invited me to his friend's New Year's Eve party, over a month away. I mumbled thanks and remained non-committal. One thing he didn't do was kiss me, though I would have kissed him, had wanted to ever since the first date.

On our third date he gave me a mix cd and invited me to come hang out with him at his parents' farm, an hour away. "I don't know if you'll want to drive down there and back," he said. "But, you could just spend the weekend there."

I gasped, choked a little, and then politely demurred.

He never lets me pay. Never, not once. After insisting that I at least pay for the movie last night, we hip-checked each other all the way to the ticket window, where he slid his card under before I could even get my purse unzipped. I know that as a good little feminist this should make me angry, but as a partially-employed French teacher in tough economic times, I am merely relieved, and grateful beyond words. And, really, I have not talked about money with him, just the fact that I am looking for a part-time job, and suddenly he turned serious and said, "Well if you ever need anything- and no, I mean it, money, anything- you tell me." I turned prune-faced and head-shakey, because of course, of course, I would never take money from him, not after three dates, not after three years, just, no. And it's not that he has so much money, because I'm pretty sure he doesn't, and I don't think he was trying to show off or impress me either, it's that he's just that...nice. Which is scary, because I'm sure he could find plenty of people out there to take advantage of his niceness. But, like I told you: he's weird, man.

He seems almost unbearably simple sometimes. He has simple tastes, simple desires. But then, he does have dreamy blue eyes and the most lickable smile. He texts me regularly throughout the day, and part of the night too. At first I hated it, but now I find myself looking forward to that tell-tale beep-beep of my phone. He's two years younger, playful, cute, and puppy dog eager. Internet, he made me a mix cd. And really, I don't know what's going on right now, I just know that I'm having a hell of a hard time concentrating on these damn tests that aren't going to grade themselves.

Oh, and after the third date- he kissed me. All I have to say is: more, please. More.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Why I left my heart in Seattle

Seriously, what is that?

Strangely, not the best combo.

The best ten minutes of the trip. You can't tell, but this is a swing zip line. So much fun.



This is me. Swinging. And shrieking. Cinematography by Jamie. (Thanks for humoring me, darling.) Video editing by me.