A Discount Store Celebration of My Girl Parts

Y’all, I’m ashamed to say that, after years of struggle, I’ve managed to take the small things for granted. I still smile when I’m able to buy the name brand Spaghetti O’s, when I only have to work 40 hours a week, when I get to spend an evening reading next to my husband, instead of rushing to an awkward first date. Yet, somehow, I’ve taken one of life’s many blessings as a given. Y’all, for 31 years, I have been living under the assumption that my girl parts were not up for public discussion… and I was mistaken.

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Now, don’t get me wrong. There is, of course, a clear distinction between “public” and “family.” The ink had barely dried on my divorce papers, before my brother informed 23-year-old Belle that all the good ones were taken, so if she wanted to get married and have kids, she’d better get on it. The entirety of my twenties, in fact, were peppered with not-so-subtle suggestions that I procreate, even before Jake and I were engaged. Just last Christmas, my Aunt Dee sat down next to me, as I was holding my baby niece, and demanded “What about you? What’s your timeline? When are you having babies?” in lieu of silly pleasantries like “Hello” or “Merry Christmas.” Belle’s Girl Parts have been a favorite family discussion topic for years. Truth be told, save for my dad, the lot of them have had a stopwatch on my uterus for the better part of the last decade.

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As for Jake’s family, who are far more old school than mine, I’ve actually been pleasantly surprised that they’ve only just begun to hint that we should get on the baby train, after two years of marriage. Though they don’t quite have the gall of my family, the comments are getting increasingly less subtle, and honestly… that’s okay. While it bothered me to hear these things from my own family, when I was working on my career and figuring out what I wanted from life, I never held any true ire or resentment. As blunt and nosy and opinionated as both sides can be, it’s forgivable… because they’re family. A foundation of nearly every familial portrayal in media is that they suck at boundaries, because they love you… and I can handle that. What I cannot handle, however, is the same lack of boundaries from the cashier at Dollar Tree.

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Folks, I’ve worked retail, and still very much work in customer service, so I try to be courteous. When I get to the register, I put my phone down, greet the cashier, engage in any small talk, say thank you and just generally try not to act like an entitled ass. Usually, I receive the same respectful treatment, from someone who will likely never see me again, but still makes an effort to create a pleasant interaction by smiling, making chit chat and ignoring my purchases. So, last week, when I stopped in to grab a card for a coworker’s last day, I thought nothing of it when I piled a few ovulation tests on the conveyor belt, cuz why not? They’re a dollar and I’ve long since passed the time in my life where I’m embarrassed to buy tampons or condoms. Just as I couldn’t care less when a customer asks me for books on demonology and antique dolls (or I at least keep quiet about it), I know cashiers aren’t interested in my budget fertility experiments… or are they?!?!

Cashier # 1: “Oooooh! Are you trying to have a baby?!?!”q1zsbb8
Me: “I… um… I guess so?”
Cashier # 1: “That’s so exciting! I always said that if I were going to have any more, I’d do it that way, so I could know exactly when they were coming. I’ve got an IUD now, though, so I’m good for five years.”tenor-1
Me: ::I literally do not even know your name:: “Oh, um, yeah I actually had one of those for a little while.” ::Why the hell am I telling this woman about my birth control?::
Cashier # 2: “What’s going on?”
Cashier # 1: “She’s trying to have a baby!”babyishbountifulgarpike-size_restrictedCashier # 2: “Oh, that’s exciting!”
Cashier # 1: “Yeah, I had to use over-the-counter options before this, because I couldn’t use anything else.”
Me: “Yeah, that happens sometimes, I know everything else made me sick.” ::Are we really talking about your condom usage?::giphy-2

… and then I thanked her, wished her a good day and left with my bag o’ pee sticks. That’s right, y’all. It is so ingrained in me to be a good customer, that I thanked the cashier who asked me “How ’bout that vagina?” My When my Aunt Dee asked about my timeline, I had the presence of mind to clap back that Jake keeps putting it in the wrong hole (Merry Christmas!), but a woman I’ve never met blasts my sex life over the loud speaker of a local discount store and I wish her a good day.

When did this happen?!?! When did my fertility become something that not only my family asks about in a pesky, yet somewhat endearing way, but strangers think makes for appropriate small talk?!? I’m all for lifting the taboo on pregnancy, liberating “expecting” 50s housewives from their mumus, and encouraging breastfeeding moms to make themselves comfortable in public, but there is a difference between oppressive taboos and basic privacy! For instance:

Telling a woman she should hide her pregnancy shames her for something she should be celebrating.

While humiliating a woman for feeding her baby in a public courthouse makes a healthy and natural activity taboo, asking a woman if she’s planning to breastfeed is prying into a private personal decision.

Congratulating someone on their pregnancy announcement shares in the joy of a growing family, but asking her about her girl parts is invasive and uncomfortable and I shouldn’t have to tell anyone that!

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Naturally, I went home and shared this story with Jake.
Me: “Next month, you get to buy the ovulation tests.”
Jake: “If it happens again, just tell them you’re breeding your dog.”

ew

I’ve been pretty hesitant to revisit this Dollar Tree, though, even with it being so close to work. While a part of me wants to perform some kind of expansive social experiment and buy increasingly awkward items from various cashiers, another part shudders to think what will happen when I actually do get pregnant.

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How Alcohol Poisoning Reminded Me How Good I Have It

Jake and I had a great day on Saturday. We went to a festival in Springfield, ate fried food and candied nuts, watched Netflix, and then walked around the park to make up for the calories we’d consumed. We had a pretty low key night ahead of us, when I checked my phone to see that Catherine, Laura, and Gail were calling me out for a night on Catherine’s patio. I’d promised I’d come, even last minute, if they sent me the invite and Jake, in all his good ol’ boy charm, was game, especially since Gail’s Terry would be there, so he wouldn’t be the only cock in the hen house. Conveniently enough, we’d just been to the liquor store and were more than prepared for this BYOB with whiskey and coke and the small bottle of Strawberry Smirnoff I’d bought to mix with Fresca… only I’d forgotten the Fresca.

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I remember a great deal of the night. I remember Jake arguing politics with Catherine. I remember sitting in the grass with Laura, talking about her marriage. I remember making fish sticks when we got hungry drunk and walking around the block. I remember teasing Gail about her newfound veganism and Terry about their five year engagement. I remember playing on Catherine’s daughter’s swing set. I’m so glad I remember all of that, because I had a great time… until I didn’t.

You see, I also remember judging my shots without a glass and drinking straight from the bottle. I remember wondering why I wasn’t feeling it more. I remember feeling good and drunk and then thinking I really didn’t want to be any more drunk, but that I didn’t have to worry, because the bottle was empty anyway. I remember Laura realizing this and making me stick my finger down my throat… Jake trying to carry me inside, after Laura’s failed attempts to rouse me… and throwing up. I remember that last one the most. The rest of the night was just a blur of pain and humiliation… and apologies, because y’all, I am a grown ass woman. I have no idea what I was thinking. I haven’t even been close to that drunk since the summer of 2011, when Gail, Malik, and I decided to mix shrimp and peach vodka to celebrate my new apartment. Even then, I had an excuse in the fact that I’d lost about 60 pounds and had no concept of my new tolerance. I’m 29, not 19. I don’t even get drunk enough to be hungover anymore, let alone lose the ability to stand or speak. I’m not that girl. I chase chick beers with water and ibuprofen, not vodka with vodka… and thank goodness Jake and my friends know that…

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… because through all the misery and mortification, what I remember most clearly was Jake and Laura working to get me inside and clean up any mess in Catherine’s house, all while assuring me that I didn’t have to apologize and it was okay, that I’d be okay, because losing that kind of control is terrifying. Ashamed, I begged them not to laugh at me or tease me. Laura spoke in motherly tones while cleaning up vomit. As I dry-heaved, Jake held my hair, rubbed my back, and told me over and over again that I didn’t have to be sorry or embarrassed, because he’d done far worse. The two of them sat in the kitchen sharing their own cringe-worthy drinking tales as I fell asleep on Catherine’s couch.

I woke a few hours later to find Jake in the kitchen and told him I wanted to go home. After 30 minutes of gathering my stuff, we headed out, before Catherine, Gail, or Terry woke to witness my shame. Jake helped me up the stairs and onto the couch, where he was once again unbearably sweet to me as I recovered from just that short trek.

Me: “I’m so sorry. Thank you for being so nice to me.”
Jake: “You don’t have to be sorry.”
Me: “Will you be nice to me tomorrow, when I don’t feel good?”
Jake: “I will always be nice to you.”

Still drunk, I showered and changed as sunlight filtered through the window.

Me: “I’m so sorry. Are you going to break up with me?”
Jake: “I wouldn’t dream of breaking up with you.”

That afternoon, Jake came into the living room to find me with a throw-up bowl in my lap, texting Laura a thank you.

Jake: “How are you feeling?”
Me: “Bad.”
Jake: “Well, the good news is, you don’t have to worry about how many calories you ate, yesterday.”
Me: “I’m embarrassed.”
Jake: “Oh, I’ve been much more embarrassed. Do you remember what you drank to make you so sick?”
Me: “All of the vodka.”
Jake: “Were you just drinking straight from the bottle? Did you think you were a saloon owner in an old western?”

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There is no way I would’ve had more than a fourth shot, had I been using a shot glass, let alone a sixteenth.

Gail texted to ask what time I’d left that morning and I realized that Laura hadn’t told anyone about the events of the previous night. She’d kept my humiliation private. Jake spent the rest of the day watching Harry Potter with me and taking brief breaks to check on the Cowboys game, as I failed to keep down pretzel sticks and water… and wondered how I got so lucky to have such amazing people in my life. Those two are both getting homemade peanut brittle this weekend.

Sex. It’s just a blog post about sex.

Jake and I have been dating for exactly eight months. Despite this fact and our many sleepovers, we have not had sex. It’s not that I’m a prude… okay it’s not just that I’m a prude. It’s precautionary. Jake probably has a pretty average sexual history for a 31-year old guy. I’ve insisted he never tell me his number, explaining in a somewhat stereotypically irrational woman way that if his number is three, every time he introduces me to someone, I’m going to wonder “Is she one of The Three?!?!” If his number is 33, then I can only assume that he’s had sex with all of them. It’s not a source of contention in our relationship, though. Quite the contrary, we regularly joke about it.

Me: “Does it bother you, when I tell you what I like?”
Jake: “No. Not at all. I’m glad you let me know… unlike all the other women I’ve been with.”
Me: tumblr_m6cwxjwe1r1qaimf2o4_250
Me: “ALL the other women you’ve been with!”
Me: jackie-stoned-laugh
Me: “There’s a conveyer belt next to your bed!”
Me: cracking-myself-up
Me: “It’s like a WHO CONCERT in your room!”
Me: ellen

As you can see, I’m not particularly bothered by the number of women Jake has seen naked. I just don’t want the details. I also don’t want anything else, which is why I started the Gardasil vaccine course six months ago from this Friday. If you’re unfamiliar with Gardasil, the basic gist is that after three shots, given over a minimum six month period, both men and women are protected against HPV, which is the cause of cervical cancer and cannot be reliably tested for or treated. Gardasil is generally given at ages 11-13, before people become sexually active. In fact, the FDA has decided that the average American has had so much sex by their 26th birthday, that they’re no longer worth even attempting to protect.

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With the vaccine being so new, I never got it, assuming that was Future Belle’s Problem. Then I met Jake. Luckily, I was able to find a physician who would approve Gardasil for off label use, so that eventually, Jake and I could have sex. Honestly, it was sort of a relief, at the time. I mean, as inexperienced as I am, the idea of sex with Jake was a bit daunting. That could just be Future Belle’s Problem, too.

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Y’all. I don’t remember how to sex!

It’s not that I’m not looking forward to sex with Jake. If anything, the last eight months have left me certain that we’re not only sexually compatible, but also truly in love and I’m glad for that. It’s just… I’m 28 years old and I’ve only had sex with one person… five years ago. Five years ago, I was morbidly obese and so was he. There are only so many positions that are even possible for elephants. For realz, y’all, we were very large people. Most of the time, my ex-husband didn’t even want to have sex, because as Gail puts it “sex is like a super fun workout massage.” I got turned down nine times out of ten, which killed my self-confidence. When we did do anything, it was always the exact same: one of three positions, under five minutes, and I was not… prioritized. So what’s not to look forward to, amiright?!?! Sure… except for the fact that I barely remember where the penis goes. I read a lot of romance novels and when I think about the logistics of certain sexual positions, I literally cannot figure out what’s happening. Where does the girl’s leg go and how can that be comfortable? Wouldn’t that hurt your back after a few minutes? How do you get any leverage doing that? Wouldn’t the table tip? What do I do with my arms?!?!

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Why didn’t I have more sex and refine my skillz while I could?!? My friends either tell me I’m overthinking it and it will come naturally (which is entirely useless advice, because I want diagrams, complete with angle measurements, damn it), or they join me in my own self-mockery.

Laura: “You only lose your virginity once.”
Me: tumblr_mmd67t6hli1qdg9dlo1_500

Me: “What if I’m bad at it?”
Jake: ::rolling his eyes:: “You’re not going to be bad at it.”

Well… no help there, either. I watched some porn for tips a few months ago. I’m pretty sure it was the worst idea I’ve ever had, because I know I don’t look like that. Naturally, I’m convinced that every woman Jake’s ever been with was a size 2 and wore Victoria’s Secret wings. I even tried to buy sexy underwear.

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It did not go well. In fact, after I bought a couple of pretty (but sensible) bras and panties, I checked my credit card statement, panicked, and returned everything, because I’m paying out of pocket for birth control and the Gardasil shot this month.

Responsibility: 5
Sex Appeal: -5

So, here I am… with the same old undies and no idea what I’m doing. I suppose my awkward delivery of the wrong words has brought the boys to the yard so far…

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… perhaps Laura is right and I could self-medicate, though perhaps Xanax is a little extreme.

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Really, though, the man’s seen me sobbing because a zombie ate a goat in The Walking Dead. He’s wiped my tears when I’ve gotten drunk and weepy. He’s heard me attempt and fail at dirty talk. Could I really embarrass myself that badly?

It’s just… if you’ve never been on a roller coaster, it doesn’t matter if your first, or even your second, only has the one loopty loop. It’s gonna be a good time. But if you’re a… roller coaster aficionado, it’s possible you’d be disappointed or even bored by just the one loopty loop, especially if you waited eight months to get in the park. I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH MY ARMS, LET ALONE HOW TO LOOPTY LOOP!

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Skorts, Kisses, and Mommy Issues

Y’all remember skorts, right? They were pretty popular in the 90s and looked like skirts, but had shorts built in, so that the boys wouldn’t see your Little Mermaid panties when you hung upside down on the jungle gym. Well, I’m here to tell you that if you ever find one made for an adult, it is not proper zoo date attire.

Me: “It’s actually a skort and has shorts sewn in… they don’t usually make them for adults. I got it at Goodwill for three dollars.” :: Fuck. Why am I telling him this? :: “I just didn’t have any shorts and I didn’t want to wear a dress to the zoo.”
Jake: “Why not?”
Me: :: Because my thighs will rub together all day like Jiminy Cricket and I won’t be able to walk tomorrow. :: “Um. It just sounded really uncomfortable.”

If you decide to wear a skort on any date, shut the fuck up about it. Bee tea double ewe, the skort didn’t even help. My thighs still looked like raw hamburger meat the next day.

Jake and I had a really great date at the zoo and it was my treat this time. I received a free pass for two when I gave blood, which admittedly had a steeper price than originally thought, when I passed the fuck out on our last date. I managed to make it through the zoo, however, despite the insane heat, with just the one asthma inhaler stop. As much as I want him to come up with an idea occasionally and didn’t want to discourage Jake from doing so, the zoo was pretty much the worst idea for July in the South. Yeah, yeah, all of the animals were out and Jake realized that my reaction to every single living creature is pretty much “It’s so cute! Look at the ears!” We had plenty to talk about and I got to tease him about his hunting… sometimes inappropriately for a public place.

Me: “It’s a LION! Put away your gun… wow… I said that really loudly.”

It was also a lot of walking in the heat.

Boys just don’t think about this stuff, particularly ones who work outside, but I’m a librarian, y’all. I have pretty much zero reason to be outside right now unless I want to, which usually involves a pool. So, while I had a great time and Jake humored my desire to look at every animal, never complaining when we got lost and backtracked, I was just a bit self-conscious by the time we left. Worse, when we went to lunch, I was shivering like it was fucking Winterfell.

Jake: “Are you really that cold?”
Me: 

There’s just no hiding what an indoor girl I can be, folks.

After lunch, we went to another movie, Trainwreck this time. While the movie was absolutely hilarious, I am so glad we didn’t see it on an earlier date.

… yeah…

After the movie, Jake also bought dinner (there go my bragging rights about covering the zoo) and took me home. At this point, I asked him to come inside and was quite proud of myself for not clarifying that this was not a sexual invitation. I’d just cleaned and organized my apartment to a point no man would even realize, so I was comfortable having him in my space and we all saw how our last porch conversation turned out…


I’m just gonna pencil this in under Shit I’ll Never Live Down.

Jake suggested we watch a movie and we sat on my couch with his arm around me and watched two terrible horror movies on Netflix. Regardless of poor quality, I scream like a fucking banshee at the slightest provocation in horror, as Jake had already seen on date three, during the Sinister 2 trailer.

Me: “Last time my neighbors saw you with me unconscious on the ground and tonight they saw you go inside and heard screaming. ‘He didn’t even have the decency to drug her this time!'”

:: cop gives previously uncooperative girl ice cream and she starts talking ::
Jake: “So all you have to do to get the girl to open up is give her ice cream?”
Me: “I’d open up for anyone if they gave me ice cream… not physically… that’s what they really mean by ‘we all scream for ice cream.'”

That’s right, Belle. Keep talking.

After the second movie, Jake turned off Netflix and finally kissed me… on date six. One thing led to another though and kissing pretty quickly led to making out. Honestly, it was a little awkward at first, which was most definitely all my fault for not knowing what the hell I was doing and overthinking technique. You know what doesn’t really lessen that awkwardness? Apologizing for it. Jake was really sweet, though, and when I pulled away to tell him that I didn’t want things to go too far, he completely respected my wishes… quite a bit more than did. Yeah, I was a good girl and said the words, but the signals I was sending weren’t exactly aligned. Still, while Jake could’ve easily taken things a little further, he pulled away and said we should stop. It’s a good thing, too, because while I’m comfortable with where it went, I would not have been had things escalated.

Though it was around 1:00 in the morning at this point and Jake needed to be up early, he stayed and talked with me for at least an hour. I’d told him that he was essentially the second person I had ever kissed and I think he could tell I was feeling a bit vulnerable. It was nice and I walked him to the door, where he kissed me before he left. I texted Gail and we made plans to go out the next day so I could give her all of the inappropriate details.

Now, I love my Gaily. She’s my best friend and my sister in every way that matters outside of a chem lab. My first inclination was obviously to tell her everything. My second, though… well, my second was to call my mom. Things with my mom aren’t good and I just don’t think we’ll ever heal that rift unless she gets treatment for the severe mental illness she insists she doesn’t have. I know that… but I still wanted to call her up and tell her all about the boy I met and how he opens doors and he gets my humor and he wasn’t turned off that I apologized for being a bad kisser. In every way, Gail’s the better choice, be it for the initial gossip or the three days later reassurance that the fact that Jake had only texted twice that day didn’t mean he thought I was a whore and never wanted to see me again.

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Still, I, the girl who insists that emotion belongs with the last fucking Horcrux…

Me: “I actually miss him, which is just disgusting. Ugh.”
Gail: “Oh, yes. ‘Emotions! Ewwww.‘”

… cried some genuine and gut-wrenching tears that I couldn’t experience the joy of sharing this moment with my mother. I did so while watching That 70s Show and sniffling to the dog that I wished Kitty Foreman was my mom… a ritual I usually save for birthdays and holidays. Then, I dried my eyes, went out with Gail, and shared and laughed over every detail… perhaps a bit too loudly.

:: pulled up to a stoplight, with the windows down ::
Me: “I wasn’t wet. I was hot. It’s… the way the fabric goes. It was like a WEDGIE. IT WAS LIKE I WAS DRY-HUMPING A WED—.” :: look out my window to see the driver next to us has his down as well and is staring :: “Go forward. RUN THE LIGHT.”
Gail: 

Me: “You’re going to tell Terry about this, aren’t you?”
Gail: “Oh my God. I’m going to tell my seventh child about this! I am going to have seven children just so I can my seventh one about this.”

Fluid Engineer Gets a Name and I Get a Mild Concussion

Last week, I had my first ever fourth date with Fluid Engineer, who will now be known as Jake Granger. That’s right, folks. He gets a name.

Me: “His last name is essentially a Harry Potter reference.
Gail: “Oh, my God. This guy isn’t even real! His last name is Ravenclaw! You’re completely delusional!”

I didn’t report on date four, not because it didn’t go wonderfully, but because I was in the middle of an internal battle against my tendencies toward self-sabotage.

Date four was great. I had the idea to go to the science museum, not thinking about the fact that it’s summer and it’s far more directed at children this time of year. When I realized my mistake, I felt awful, because Jake had spent $30 for the two of us to get in and it was my idea. I apologized a couple of times, but he genuinely didn’t seem to mind. We enjoyed the exhibits as best we could, as adults, laughing at the earthquake generator that’s been in place since I was a little kid. It felt like standing on top of a Mack Truck engine and I cackled like a mad woman about how it was exactly like an earthquake. We had time to see a planetarium show and Jake made up for my numerous faux pas with one of his own.

Jake: “Do you speak Latin?”
Me: “No. Why would I speak Latin?”
Jake: “Because you’re Catholic.”

I did not handle my amusement with grace. To be fair, Catholics in the south are few and far between, unless you’re near Mexico.

After the science museum, Jake clearly wanted to continue spending time together, because he suggested a movie and dinner. There are a lot of experiences that tell you a great deal about someone’s character, such as an accidental trip to a pricey children’s center, but I think one of the most telling is how someone reacts to a bad movie. If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you know I get genuine joy out of mockery. I mock things I like, so when we saw Self/Less, I got a pretty fair glimpse into Jake’s sense of humor, as he laughed right along with me at the nonsensical plot. We hadn’t kissed yet, but when I started to shiver, he put his arm around me and I pulled away to lift the armrest between our seats and make things less awkward. It was nice, without going too far. I know, I know. It was the fourth date, but I’ve kissed like two people ever.

Dana: “You haven’t kissed him yet? You’re gonna lose him.”
::one week later::
Dana: “So how’s your beau?”
Me: “Oh, I’m not telling you anything else about him.”
Dan: “What?!? Why not?”
Me: “Because you told me he was going to lose interest, unless I put out.”
Dana: “No, I didn’t.”
Me: “Come on. That was hardly even an exaggeration. That was practically verbatim.”

We ended the date, still with no kiss, but we talked in his truck and in front of my apartment door for ages. He never hinted at wanting to be invited in and we just continued to enjoy each other’s company. I had a great time.

Y’all, I don’t even know what was going through my head, but two days later, I was looking for every reason to blow this guy off. I’ve never been on a fourth date and Jake still hadn’t kissed me, so maybe I was worried that we were moving along too far without discovering whether or not we had any chemistry. Maybe I felt self-conscious, because I didn’t understand what I was doing wrong. I internalized my frustrations with myself (because no matter how I tried, I still couldn’t find anything wrong with Jake) and checked out a couple of really harsh dating books about how I’m going to die alone, because I’m a bitch. I even tried to tell myself that I was really 33 and had traveled back in time for a second chance with this great guy. Finally, I had some time with Gaily, who I can’t seem to avoid telling everything.

Me: “I don’t know what the fuck is wrong with me. It’s not that I’m convinced that this is the last guy on the planet that could be compatible with me, but there’s just nothing wrong with him and I still want to sabotage things, because I’m a stupid cunt! He opens doors for me, pays for everything, laughs at my jokes; I liked being with him and enjoyed having his arm around me and I’m going to be eaten by house cats!

Aside from just verbalizing all of the wonderful qualities Jake had, I also asked Gail if she’d ever had the inclination to bolt in her early days with Terry.

Gail: “Well, you know that I’m a first date kisser…”
Me: “So they say, you whore.”
Gail: “Well, we were on our third date and Terry still hadn’t kissed me. It was starting to make me really self-conscious. I got to the point where I felt like I was done if he didn’t kiss me soon. I think that was the only problem, though.

After talking things through, I felt a lot better about the whole thing and was thrilled that I had continued responding to Jake’s texts and made plans with him for Wednesday night: date five. We were going to dinner and to see Ant-Man. Once again, I was excited to see how things went. The moment of truth rolled around and…

I can’t figure it out. I don’t know what was wrong with me, because I really like this guy. He’s funny, intelligent, and quietly chivalrous. He humors my weird exaggerative rants and my Family Guy-esque breakaway side stories. He seems to really enjoy being around me and find me attractive and he’s really pretty cute. He took the wrong turn four times and never showed any truly scary road rage. At the movie, he raised the armrest himself, much earlier in the show, and we sat with his arm around me through the majority of it. He didn’t even mock me when I buried my face in his chest and covered my ears, because I knew the lamb wasn’t gonna make it. It was just comfortable and I can honestly say that a lot of that getting-to-know-you awkwardness has faded. All we had left was the kiss.

Jake drove me home, we talked in his truck for awhile, and once again, we stood by my door and talked for ages. He never asked to come in and we even commented on how bad we are at ending things at a decent hour, but how that’s a good sign. Jake had his arm against the door by my head and I was sure he would kiss me… when I started to get really, really dizzy.

I gave blood the other day. It’s been really hot in the South this week. I had deliberately been trying to drink less liquid that day, because it’s embarrassing to pee 13 times on a date. You know what else is embarrassing?

Me: “I’m really… I feel really light-headed all of the sudden. I think I need to go inside.”
Jake: “Okay. Are you alright?”
Me: “Yeah. I jus-”

… and I woke up on the concrete to Jake asking if I was okay and telling me he was going to call 911.

Me: “Nope. I’m good. Don’t call 911.”
Jake: “You’re good? You just passed out. You hit your head pretty hard.”
Me: “Don’t call 911.”
Jake: “Well, I’m not going to now that you’re talking to me. You wanna sit up?”
Me: “You know… actually, I think I’m good here for a second.”
Jake: “Okay, no rush.”
Me: “I’m really sorry. This is super embarrassing. This is awful.”
Jake: “Don’t apologize. It’s fine.”
Me: “Wow. If we hadn’t been talking for two hours, this would look really bad for you.”

Oh, yeah. I made a date rape joke.

Me: “I don’t just like… do this. This isn’t like… a thing.
:: in hindsight, this was a lie, cuz this shit happens to me constantly ::
Jake: “Well, that’s good to hear.”
Me: “Did I fall on my hand?”
Jake: “I don’t think so, why?”

20150723_014002

Jake helped me up and watched to make sure I got up the stairs safely. I calmly and rationally got a glass of water and texted Gail.

7-23-15 2

I’m pretty sure Jake took the date rape joke more seriously than I intended. Who’d have thought, right? I’m certain he’d have come up with me to make sure I was alright, had he ever been in my apartment. He did offer, but I was too embarrassed to accept. Apparently I scared him pretty badly, but I don’t think he wanted to risk it appearing as if he were taking advantage of the situation, based on his morning text to see if I was okay.

7-23-15 1On the bright side, it appears he still wants to see me, so my awkwardness at least brings this boy to yard.

I need to be crystal clear, here. At no point did I actually fear that Jake had drugged me. For one, while I wouldn’t trust the man with my PIN just yet, I do pretty much trust him not to rape me, or I wouldn’t be letting him drive me places. Two, it had been hours since I’d eaten or had anything to drink and at no point was Jake alone with any of it. Three, I’m no Olivia Benson, but I’m pretty sure that men who do drug women don’t wake them fully clothed on their front porch by gently patting their cheek and insisting they’re going to call 911. Finally, that’s not how date rape drugs work, because I felt completely fine five minutes later (aside from the head trauma). No. Jake is not a sexual predator. These things just happen to me. I am just a dork… with a mild concussion, busted knuckles, a bruised shoulder, and still no kiss.

Gramma: “Maybe you can just tell him you swooned.”

Yeah. I’m a fucking Disney princess.

Disastrous Dates with Dell: the Importance of Honesty and Attraction

There was a time, when a truly awful date for me was a delightful blog post. Lately, though, I’ve noticed a shift in my thinking. I suppose it started with Engineer 114, around the New Year. After he bailed on me for no reason, after weeks of texting while he was out of the country, I was both furious and completely done with him. So, I got back on PoF and, by chance, reconnected with Politician, who I happened to have just begun messaging before I got involved with 114.

Politician and I met after a few weeks of messaging He was 35, had never been married, worked at the state capitol, was protestant and didn’t appear to take issue with my Catholicism. But… he was 35 and unmarried and he hadn’t been engaged, or in extensive schooling, or serving his country. When he talked about settling down, it was in a vague sense, like a man 10 years younger. “One day”, he might like to get married and have children. I’m sorry dude, but if you’re from a small town in the South and you’re saying “one day” at 35, it’s just not something you want. That’s cool and all, but don’t date the gal who’s aiming for that. Perhaps he realized this mistake, though, because I never heard from him after our date. We didn’t have a bad time. We talked. It was nice. I left on the thought that I’d be willing to go on another date, if he asked, but knew I wouldn’t be disappointed if he didn’t. I was right. I wasn’t.

After Politician came Oil. Oil and I had chatted on Tinder last fall. We’d been texting and I dropped off the face of the earth, because seriously, dude, it’s Tinder. I recently found him on Match, and although he looked familiar, I couldn’t recall where I’d seen him and sent a message. When Oil explained that we’d talked before, we quickly set a date to meet. This time, I thought things went really well. We met for coffee at the Starbucks inside Barnes and Noble and walked around talking and looking at books. He’d gained some weight since his pictures were taken, but he wore it well. We laughed and seemed to get along. I left with a good feeling about the whole thing. Then, he began the Fade Away. For realz, yo, if you don’t intend to see someone after a first meeting, just shut the hell up. Don’t string them along. It’s worse than just never talking to them again. I quickly realized what he was doing and responded just enough that he could build on it and sent no more when he didn’t. If a man’s not interested in me, I’m sure as hell not chasing after him. I was disappointed, though. I mean, he’d gained at least 20 pounds, so any issues with my appearance would’ve been downright hypocritical. The conversation flowed. Why was that not at least worth a second meeting?

…. aaaaaand there it is. I’ve officially reached the point I’ve been trying to force myself to reach for the last year. I am finally to a place where I’m willing to go on a second date with anyone who wasn’t a mountain troll or a complete ass. Therefore, when someone else isn’t, that’s a bad date, because what could he possibly be seeking, beyond laughter and surprisingly few awkward pauses? Did we just not have that “spark”? Because that’s bullshit. The “spark” is another word for Love at First Sight or Soulmates. It’s pretend. It was crafted to sell YA novels about teenagers dying of cancer. The only real connection one can hope to have with a stranger is conversational. If that exists and you aren’t willing to pursue it, then have fun dying alone… which is exactly the sentiment that lead me to the other extreme in my absolutely disastrous dates with Dell.

Dell was 33 years old and not very attractive in his photos. He was successful and had a lot of nerdy hobbies mixed with a lot of country hobbies. He was sociable and seemed to be putting in a real effort. I told myself that appearance was secondary to these characteristics and I still feel that that was correct. The man wasn’t hideous in his photos. He was shorter than I’d prefer, but taller than I am, at 5’7″. He was stocky and appeared to be a little heavy, but mentioned a lot of active hobbies. Almost every photo had his niece in it, so he was clearly close to his family and liked kids. I had high hopes that personality would ultimately take over and then I would find him attractive.

Dell and I first met for dinner at the same restaurant where I met Politician. I got out of the car, headed for the door, and my first thought was that it couldn’t be him.

Y’all, there have not been a lot of dates where I’ve considered just turning around and leaving. This was probably only the second… because this man was not “a little heavy.” He was easily 40 pounds heavier than his least flattering photo… at 5’7″. I’m 5’6″, so 40 pounds on him is the equivalent to 40 pounds on me, and it was all in his belly. I wasn’t going to be shallow, though. It wasn’t even Gaily’s voice this time that asked me if I was really going to write this guy off over something trivial. I mean, clearly, I was just focused on appearance because it was our first meeting. If I wasn’t going to give him a chance, then I needed to leave right then and not let him buy me dinner.

As we took our seats and I fervently told myself that I was being too critical, Dell struggled to slide into the booth and, I am ashamed to admit, the first thing that popped into my mind was…

I wonder if his erect penis even clears his belly.

I felt horrible for even thinking that, but my ex-husband was morbidly obese and it’s a thing, folks. I spent four years with someone who had to ask to be seated at a table every time we went out and that’s all I could think about for the first 10 minutes of our conversation as I distractedly answered so many questions it felt like I was being quizzed. Finally, I realized that Dell wouldn’t be playing Quizmaster if I’d join the fucking conversation and I pulled my irreparably damaged by divorce head out of my ass. From that point on, I was a delight. I asked questions about his life and his former career as a policeman. I told him about my career and was pleased that he was respectful and interested. The conversation felt a little forced, but I blamed my lack of physical attraction. We talked about our hobbies and ironically, staying in shape came up.

Dell: “I’ve actually gained 20 pounds in the last few months.”

Um… yeah. I noticed. Apparently, so did he. It, however, was still not only 20 pounds since his photos. I would not be surprised to discover that the man was just barely into the morbidly obese category. Now, I’ve been morbidly obese, y’all. A few years ago, I lost over 90 pounds. It’s not that I hate fat people. I’ve been fat people. I’m still not skinny people at a size 8/10. I have also never lied about it. He clearly knew that his photos were not an accurate representation of him. After all was said and done, I even showed Gail.

Gail: “Well, yeah. You can kind of tell he’s heavy in this one. He looks pretty big there.”
Me: “No, no, no. I saw that one. I was prepared for that one. It was that plus 40 pounds.”
Gail: “Oh. Wow.”

At this point, I was legitimately frustrated with him. I was in a really awkward place, because he wasn’t honest. I didn’t want to blow off what was otherwise a very nice guy just because of his size, though, so I agreed to a second date the following week.

Over the next week, I ended up convincing myself that I’d exaggerated the entire thing. It wouldn’t be the first time. I mean, the guy was nice and chivalrous and successful. Surely, I was just being a bitch and I’d realize the error of my ways when we met again. Spoiler alert: no.

We met last Friday at a local sushi restaurant and I was actually looking forward to realizing how wrong I was. Dell was going to walk up and I was going to see that, although he was slightly heavier than his photos depicted, it was nothing so drastic. Then, I saw him walking to the door and thought that his size just couldn’t be healthy. He looked physically uncomfortable and was visibly sweating. At 33 years old, I was already looking at this guy and worried about his physical well-being. It’s not just appearance. I want to be able to chase my children around the backyard. I want to be able to go to Disney World and not stop every 30 minutes for a rest, because the cardio of leisurely walking is just overwhelming. I know what that’s like, because I’ve fucking done it. I’m not going to lie, either. It’s embarrassing. It’s embarrassing to explain to someone that your reasonably young husband is breathing so hard because of walking. It’s upsetting to never be able to go on a roller coaster because the belt won’t fit across his lap. It’s embarrassing to watch your date’s booth slide across the floor from the table as he sits, because the seat isn’t bolted down and he doesn’t fit.

This time, the conversation did not flow, at all. It was much more obvious that we were forcing it along. I wished I hadn’t come. I felt just as lied to as I did on the first date and I felt like a horrible person for the fact that this was such a deal breaker for me. I’m not delusional. I know that pretty much everyone looks better with clothes on. I even prefer a slightly overweight man to a slender one. I just wasn’t attracted to Dell at all and felt genuine resentment at his blatant dishonesty. Again, I was sociable and fun and polite. I tried. I really did try, but when Dell asked if I needed to get back to my niece (where I’d been before the date) or if I still wanted to go do something together, I bailed. I couldn’t let the man spend another dime on me, when I knew I was done. I told him I’d promised Catherine I’d meet her at the bar for her birthday. He walked me to my car and we talked about going minigolfing this week, as a third date. We made tentative plans. He leaned in for a hug….

… went to kiss me…

… I turned away…

… and it was the most uncomfortable thing that has ever happened in time. 

I went to the bar that night, where Catherine and our friend Laura both asked how the date went.

Me: “Um. It was fine.”
Laura: “Fine?”
Me: “He was really nice. There just isn’t really anything there. He wasn’t very honest in his photos and there’s really no physical attraction. I don’t know how important that is.”
Laura: “It’s important. It may not be the most important thing, but it is important.”

Dell didn’t message me after that.

Me: “He went in for a kiss and I… um… may have turned it into an awkward hug.”
Gail: “Yeah. THAT’S why he hasn’t messaged you.”

I told Gail about the guilt I felt over not continuing to see him.

Gail: “It’s not as if you were married to this man and then ditched him when he gained weight. You’re just not willing to date a man who lives an unhealthy lifestyle. You’re not willing to start a relationship with all of the problems that come with that and that’s okay. You don’t owe him anything after two dates.”

So, obviously he picked up on my lack of interest, which is most definitely for the best. I hope he realizes why, even subconsciously. I hope he gets the spontaneous urge to upload some honest and recent photos, so that the next date he goes on goes better. So many stereotypes about online dating focus on women lying about their weight, but never (straight) men. It is equally and quite fairly frustrating to a member of either gender, though, to be shown a picture of someone to whom they think they can develop an attraction and be faced with a completely different person. I stand by both the man and the woman who feels angry or misled, because it really is an awkward place to be. We insist that appearance doesn’t matter at all and while I do believe we over emphasize it, if you can’t imagine wanting to see someone naked at 33, it’s unlikely to be any better at 43. I don’t regret that second date, because I’m left with no doubts that there wasn’t anything there; but also because I realize that while it’s great to put aside aside the trivial and meet the guy who’s 5’7″ or losing his hair or doesn’t have model good looks, ultimately attraction cannot be forced. I maintain my policy of going on a second date unless absolutely certain it’s not happening. I just may need to be a little more accepting of the latter. There were certainly less substantial reasons not to consider him.

Me: “I know it’s stupid and I would never blow someone off for just this, but… he said he loves Christmas Vacation. You know how much I hate Christmas Vacation.”

If I’m gonna sit through that terrible fucking movie, he’d better be even the slightest bit attractive to me.

“Whatever happened to the last engineer?”

… not to be confused with The Last Engineer. I’m sure I’ll date more, seeing as how that’s all that exists among men, but this is the dating story I never really told, despite once regular hints that things were going well.

If you’ll recall, I first met Engineer 114 (we’re numbering by tens now) around Christmas break… in person, that is. We’d been texting for well over a month, because he’d been working a job in Texas. While I don’t normally chat with men for so long before a first meeting, E114 was super apologetic about how long he’d been gone, insisting that he almost never works out of state. Since Christmas was nearing and I was buried under piles of burlap and nursing hot glue burns, I figured I didn’t have anyone else pursuing me, nor the time to pursue anyone else, so why the hell not?

By the night of our first date, however, Christmas was only days away and I had run myself ragged with substitute teaching, working at the library, crocheting four Olaf hats, two Elsa hats, a football beanie, and crafting four personalized burlap wreaths. I knew I’d agreed to dinner, but I just… didn’t wanna.

On my thirty minute commute from work, I gave myself the usual pep talk, which is almost always in the voice of Gaily.

Be nice. Give him a chance or cancel now and don’t waste his time. The worst that can possibly happen is you pay for your own meal and you go home. You will meet someone new. You will be pleasant. You will not die alone. 

Despite said pep talk, though, I was exhausted and postponed the date by about 30 minutes. E114 was perfectly fine with that and it gave me some time to decompress from what is a surprisingly stressful job and get a little cuter. Even more convenient, the restaurant E114 had suggested was directly behind my apartment, so the commute was minimal. Not surprisingly I arrived first… and was absolutely convinced I’d been stood up again. Finally, my date walked through the door and he looked just like his picture and didn’t seem disappointed in me. We all know that’s the first test.

E114 was friendly and just opinionated enough to manage a conversation with me, without it turning into an argument. He didn’t seem to mind my awkwardness and laughed at my jokes. That’s a rare find, folks. I’m funny, but I’m not exactly P.C. I told him about being a librarian and he told me about the commercial pumpkin farm he ran with his dad. What can I say? It’s the South, y’all. In general, it really was a great date. It was a dinner that lasted three hours and he seemed eager to meet again, when he walked me to my car. While I, of course, told Gail everything, I wasn’t up to blogging about it. I was pleasantly surprised and I’ll admit, I had my hopes up.

Our next date didn’t happen right away, but E114 kept messaging and asking about my Christmas. We shared pictures of family get togethers and planned to meet again before he went out of the country after the new year. He assured me, once again, that this wasn’t the norm and I figured I couldn’t very well complain that a man hadn’t turned up an opportunity to make bank just so he could get to know the girl from Plenty of Fish. I even assured him that my divorce was primarily caused by a refusal to work, so I truly didn’t mind his schedule. Finally, we set a plan. We would do something the Sunday after Christmas. It was vague, but he was willing to commute, so I wasn’t too upset that he wasn’t willing to be the one who made the plans in an unfamiliar city. So, Sunday morning we messaged back and forth with a touch of “what do you want to do?” and seemed to have settled on a movie at the mall, followed by dinner. I went to Mass and the gym and then received a message explaining that E114 had to help his dad with taxes involving the pumpkin farm and he needed to postpone “if you don’t mind.”

“If you don’t mind”, at this point in a relationship, is a total throwaway comment. If I mind, I’m clingy and crazy and I don’t understand familial obligations. As annoyed as I was with being ditched at the literal last minute, I texted Gaily and Catherine about it, and was perfectly polite to E114, figuring a one time occurrence was forgivable. My coworker even made the point that he might have been uncomfortable explaining to family that he was seeing someone he’d met online so soon. Fair enough.  A couple of days later, however, he still hadn’t suggested new plans, so I had to inform him that if he wanted to do something before his trip, we needed to set something up, so I could plan my week. We settled on dinner in Springfield, just north of Shetland and bowling in the city. I wore jeans. I was appalled at the idea of wearing jeans in general, let alone on a date.

Dinner and bowling went great. During dinner, I caught myself searching for flaws (read: being a judgmental bitch). While even in hindsight, I still think blowing your nose at the dinner table is unforgivably disgusting, The Voice of Gail intervened and asked if I was really going to let something so minor keep me from getting to know this guy.

I loosened up a bit over bowling. We laughed and talked and really had a great time. It was a fantastic activity to share with someone you’re considering in a romantic capacity. I can be extremely competitive, but with sports, it’s always in jest… because I suck at them. I don’t want someone coaching me on bowling, because I don’t care that I suck. I don’t care if I lose. I enjoy ridiculously over-the-top smack talk if I win. It’s just fun. I was pleasantly surprised to find that, while E114 was a former athlete and had a strong work ethic, he didn’t seem put off by my “meh” sports mentality. It was a good night and I hoped we’d get together again when he got back from Aruba.

Over the next few weeks, E114 messaged daily. Early on, I asked point blank if he wanted to do something when he got back. I wasn’t interested in being entertainment while he was bored in another country. He said definitely and when he received a wayward text to Gail, accidentally demanding his presence at a local bar and grill in 15 minutes, he said he’d love to when he got back. Finally, the week of his return, nearly a month after our second date, E114 eagerly made plans. He’d get back on Thursday, spend time with his family on Friday and Saturday and we’d go to a museum on Sunday. What a fun date… that that would have been.

E114’s flight was delayed until Friday, about which he was texting me up until he landed at our local airport. At no point did he mention changing Sunday’s plans, so I didn’t think to ask. It was his idea. On Saturday, though, I sent a text to confirm. When I didn’t get a response, two hours later, I sent another.

stood up again

So, that was the end of E114. There was no apology, not even the throwaway “if you don’t mind” and I never heard from him again. It turns out “women just can’t handle my schedule” really meant that they can’t handle being such a low priority that they get stood up without reason or apology. I love a hard worker, don’t get me wrong. I made an effort to keep in contact for nearly a month in order to get to know this guy, not once complaining about the fact that his return date kept getting pushed back. We’re not kids anymore, though. This isn’t just another day with no responsibilities or plans. I cleared my schedule for him, on my only day off, at his request. Not only did I not get a response when I asked, but his only reason was that he made better plans. Seriously, dude? Go suck a bag of dicks. I’m not a show on your fucking DVR, there to entertain you when you’re ready. We had plans.

Gail is… well, she’s just the perfect best friend. She was rightfully outraged and has declared E114 to be her least favorite of the menbecause he led me on for a month. Looking back, I realize now that while E114 mentioned children numerous times, he never seemed interested in the wife part of that equation. Maybe he claimed he’d be willing to move from his hometown, but considering the fact that I was ditched twice for non-urgent family plans, I don’t see that happening. He doesn’t want a wife. He wants an incubator.

I wish now, that I’d been more forthright in my response to that last text message. The next woman will just get a story about how women can’t handle E114’s commitment to his family. I wish I’d been clear and told him how disrespectful that was to my time and feelings, how I’m no longer interested in getting to know him because he’s inconsiderate and has poor time management skills. I don’t want to date the guy who’s gonna bail on me two hours before my Gramma’s birthday party, because he has to help his brother move a sofa. He’d even mentioned the fact that planting season was nearing anyway, so I can’t imagine how he thought he’d fit in dating a few months later. I’m not even gonna lie. I totally fantasized about getting Catherine to find E114 on Plenty of Fish, make plans, and cancel at the last minute for a ridiculous reason. “I’m so sorry. I have to drive my roommate’s sister to get her dog groomed.” The only reason I didn’t ask is that she probably would have done it.

That is why I never told my beloved readers about E114. He wasn’t very nice and it hurt. I felt embarrassed and very much like I’d been used to ease his boredom while he was in Aruba. I cried and I’m not really a crier. Fortunately, God gives us what we need when we need it and just an hour or two later, Andy messaged me. That relationship has become as platonic as it can possibly be, with me giggling like mad over the misunderstanding that led Andy to have sex with a woman who’d slept with his brother and Andy explaining that that he “levels up” with every woman he dates. He calls it “Pokemoning.” So E114 ditched me hours before our museum  date. Whatevs. I got to zoo with Andy.

THIS LOOKS NOTHING LIKE WHEN MARILYN MONROE DID IT!

When I was in the 9th grade, during confirmation class, our youth minister told us to anonymously write down the last time we expressed our sexuality. He didn’t give examples. So it was, that, after he had begun to read them aloud, I realized I had completely misunderstood the assignment.

“Brushed my hair.”
“Put on cologne.”
“Did my make-up.”
“Discussed it and all it contains, with my best friend.”

Ugh. It has been twelve years and I’m presently thinking “Zetus lapetus, Belle. You may as well have told them you discussed pubic hair length with Gail… and name five 15-year-olds who talk like that!

In truth, it may not have been that bad, but I’m remembering it through the eyes of my mortified 15-year-old self, who knew just how obvious it was who gave the weirdly suggestive answer, as quiet descended and everyone glanced her way.

Fortunately, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to just accept frequent embarrassment as a part of my existence on this planet. I mean really, you’ve got to develop a thicker skin when you regularly have moments like the time I blurted the following words to a group of new coworkers…

“I adore Woody Harrelson. I can just never decide if I’d want him to be my lover or my dad.”

Unsay it! Unsay it!

I have accidentally referred to the book Fifty Shades Darker as Fifty Shades Deeper multiple times, while speaking to customers. In fact, making that topic as awkward as possible has become a unique skill of mine.

Me: “Have you read Bared to You? If you’re looking for something in the same genre as Fifty Shades, that’s what I would recommend. It still has a lot of the same themes and focus, but it has more… dep-… I don’t want to say depth… it just has more meat to- NO!”

Yes. Bared to You has more meat to it. I bring the poise.

It’s not so bad, though, being me. Sure, there was that time I got tangled up in my own purse and seat belt, accidentally hit the panic button on my car before dropping my keys underneath it, and everyone stared as I tried to disentangle myself…

… and that’s why I don’t sport, folks. I’ll add that Gail just stared at me with a raised brow and called me Jessica Day, from The New Girl, offering nothing in the way of actual assistance.

The main perk to such desensitization to humiliation, though, is that it really just makes everything funnier… which was a godsend when I found myself having a Dreaded Girl Moment on Wednesday.

Oh, yeah… I went there… in a public restroom… while substituting at the high school.

There I was, pulling my dress over my head in a bathroom stall, hoping for no visible signs of the gunshot wound between my legs and, because this crap is routine for me, my only thought was that I just did not have time for this. You see, while I have enjoyed the single life, its main source of stress is that, literally, everything is my responsibility. That means I work two jobs to pay the bills and feed myself, the latter of which only happens if I can find a time to go grocery shopping. Wednesday was one of those exhausting days in which I substitute teach from 8:30 to 3:35, only to have 45 minutes remaining before I head to the library. Fortunately, I’d been granted with a combination lunch break and planning period, meaning I had an entire hour and a half off, in the middle of the day. I could’ve gone home, put my pj’s back on and watched Big Bang Theory on the DVR, as I regularly do, but I desperately needed food, y’all. There just was not enough time in the day for a damned Judy Blume moment.

So, I said a quiet prayer thanking Jesus for the fact that my dress remained presentable, because he totally concerns himself with these things, and weighed the options. I considered texting Gail, because I can’t make decisions by myself…

… and finally admitted that there was just no alternative. I had to go commando… in a dress that was not designed for such style choices… in freezing weather. Fortunately, I did not have to continue teaching while risking some kind of bizarre entry on the sex offenders website, because my hour and a half had begun. One dilemma remained, though: did I go home to get underwear, only to realize I didn’t have time to run my errands… or did I prance around town hoping for a windless day?

Hmmm….

Oh, come now. We all know that I chose productivity over sensibility and I’ve got to tell you, commando grocery shopping is pretty low on my list of recommended activities. Outside of a first date, I am not an exceptionally self-conscious gal. I’d like to lose a few pounds, but overall, I’m comfortable with myself… until I’m wearing a clingy dress and no panties in an Aldi. This is, in part, because I tend to wear pretty unflattering briefs.

Me: “Ugh. If I get into a serious relationship, I’m going to have to buy so much underwear.”
Gail: “Why?”
Me: “Because I don’t wear cute stuff, since no one sees it. I mean, can you imagine? We’re making out, he starts to slide his hand up my dress, pulls away and asks ‘Are you wearing a… one-piece bathing suit?

At least I thought they were unflattering, until I realized what I looked like without them.

I look like a sack of oranges. Are all women this lumpy? Oh, em jingles, I’m going to have to be naked in front of a man one day. Actually, I’m pretty sure I look more attractive naked. I am so not buying candy.

There is no way people can’t tell I’m not wearing underwear. I mean, where’s the pantiline? Wait. People try to hide the pantiline, don’t they? 

Why is that man staring at me? How clearly can he see the outline of my individual ass cheeks? 

I never realized how breezy dresses are. This is going to be the worst frostbite ever. 

WIND! NOOOO! THIS LOOKS NOTHING LIKE WHEN MARILYN MONROE DID IT!

I think I’m pretty unique in my ability to get myself into these situations, y’all. I mean, at that moment, how many people were accidentally grocery shopping with a breeze on their lady bits? I feel like the answer was just the one. It’s like every now and then I have some sort of Freaky Friday moment with a quirky sitcom character, only that woman’s life is controlled by censors and there is no genuine danger of flashing her babymaker to a group of elderly women picking up their prescriptions. Ideally, I’d just make the one quick trip, grab what I needed and run home to my cheap cotton sanctuary, but Walmart was right next door. If I was going to go through the discomfort of grocery shopping with trembling lips (you’re welcome for that), I was damned well going to finish.

Finally, though, after my naked dash through Narnia, I made it home just in time to put away the groceries and veil the goods. I will say, however, that after running around town with a Donald Duck style naked bottom half, I have a new appreciation for the warmth of Hanes. It was a transformation, the likes of fucking Cinderella, y’all. I, of course, told Gail my story and got little in the way of a response at the time. No worries. She was apparently just busy and waiting for the perfect moment.

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She thinks she’s the sweet one.

What I Bring to the Table

For the most part, all I ever write about is bad dates… because that’s all I ever have. I also just don’t feel comfortable writing much about a guy I’m still getting to know. My blog is 99% humor and I don’t feel like it’s particularly respectful to tell the blogosphere about any of the embarrassing or funny things he might have done or said on a good date… so I’ll tell you all about the ones managed. Enjoy.

Belle on a date:

Do the fleece-lined leggings make me look like Gail when she wears support hose to bars? 

He’s three minutes late. I’m so getting stood up again. 

“Hi there. I’m glad you made it.”
Shit. It just sounded like I was giving him hell for being late. I’d better explain.
“Oh, I wasn’t like giving you a hard time for being late. I meant I was glad you were able to find it. I didn’t get us a table yet.”
Umm… yeah… cuz I’m not at a table. So glad I clarified that. 

Am I saying dude too much? I feel like I’m saying dude too much. Stop saying dude.

I don’t want to swear, in case he finds it offensive, but I feel like it’s just too soon for “oh, em jingles.” 

“I just love Seth Rogen’s dry sense of humor. That’s very much my humor. I was at Thanksgiving, talking to my cousin, who’s really artsy…”
No. No, no, no. You are not telling this story. STOP telling this story. 
“I asked him if he had any tattoos, yet.”
Find a way out of this story!
“When he told me no, that he wasn’t really into tattoos, I told him, very straight-faced, that I just had the two on my feet…”
Oh, there’s no way out. Just don’t grab your breasts for emphasis as you say it. 
“… and of course the bear claws under my breasts.”

How dorky is the “Awesome Librarian” t-shirt? Is it less dorky if I wear a football sweatshirt over it? 

Why did I suggest bowling?!?! I have to wear pants! I never wear pants, especially not on a date! I look like a fucking hobo! 

Oh, em jingles. Owning my own bowling shoes does not make me look cool. 

Wow. I am really bad at bowling for someone who owns their own bowling shoes. Is it cheating to use the eight pound ball if I still suck this much? 

“One time, I don’t even remember why we did this…”
Noooooo. Not another story!
“Gail didn’t have any plans and I had this date at the pub downtown. She was in a bar mood, so….
Say something else. Say, literally, anything else.
“… she basically secretly tagged along to spy on my date.”
NO MORE TALKING ON DATES!

Who gave Belle the talking stick?!?!

An older coworker heard me discussing my dad’s job with another coworker. 
Me: “He’s too old to be on poles. He’s 54.”
Coworker in Her 60’s: clearly offended, having not heard the whole conversation “He’s too old for what now?!?”
Me: “Climbing poles. No! He’s a lineman! He’s not like… too old for the planet.”

Discussing baby name acronyms at work…
“Well, I knew a guy in high school whose dad was in the police academy when he was conceived… there were less awkward ways to word that, weren’t there? Well, he was in the police academy when his mom got pregnant. Um… anyway. His initials spell LAW.”

“September 14, 1985? That’s so funny. That’s…” Riiiight here was when I realized how very creepy the statement was going to sound… “… um… that’s my best friend’s first boyfriend’s birthday. I mean, that was like seven years ago, but I doubt his birthday has changed. It’s a little weird to say that, isn’t it?”

::Text message with Malik after he told me about his efforts to combat the meth problem::
Malik: I can’t afford anything at the moment.
Me: I hope that’s because of the car and not all them drugs. #totallyjoking #sortof #iloveyou
Me: Basically, how’s the sober life going? Still fun? You should draw more. I like seeing your work.

“If you liked Fifty Shades, though, you’ll love this one. I really preferred it. It had a bigger plot, just a lot more… I don’t want to say ‘meat’… depth. Wait! I don’t want to say that either!”

Them: “Has Gail lost weight?”
Me: “I don’t know. I don’t often… weigh Gail.”

Talking about an old kitten with a coworker, who happens to be overweight…
Me: “Mimzy was the sweetest cat. She was a little furball… like a blowfish.”
Karol: “That’s what my kids call me.”
Me: :: in horror :: “They call you blowfish?
No. No, in fact, they call her Mimzy.

The day I met Niki…
Me: “Ugh. I hate that bitch. She’s an awful person.”
Niki: “She’s actually a really good friend of mine.”
Me: “Huh. Well… there’s no saving that, is there? I’m sorry your friend is such a bitch?”

Coworker Janet: “Before you eat one of those cookies, there’s cheesecake in the fridge.”
Me: “Yeah, I tried it. I didn’t like it. It had a weird citrus taste to it. I mean… unless you made it. Did you make it?”
Janet: :: laughing :: “No. I don’t know who made it.”

Me: “Ugh. I hate those boots with no heels. They look like elfin slippers.”
Gail: :: makes a stretching noise and extends her leg out in front of her, showing her ‘elfin slippers’ ::
Me: “Well… huh. I hadn’t noticed those. There’s not much I can say, is there?”

:: talking on the phone with Gail ::
Me: “Okay, I’m gonna let you go, so I can eat dinner, since it’s been proven that eating while distracted causes weight gain.”
Gail: :: mouth full :: “MMMkay. I’ll talk to you later.”

:: my cousin’s 8-year-old son is begging her to let him stay with his grandma, after already having been refused ::
Me: “Ugh. You see, Delia, this is where you tell him he’s adopted, so he’ll be so upset that he’ll be too distracted to keep asking.”
Too late, I realize that her son’s father is not is actual father, so he is technically adopted and does not know.
8yo: “What?!”
Me: “I’m kidding, sweetie. You’re not really adopted.”
Thank goodness my cousin approved of the bold-faced lie. I totally threw him off the scent. You’re welcome, Delia!

Picking up my debit card, after forgetting it at the restaurant where Gail and I had dinner. She had accidentally tipped him $10, instead of $5.
Me: “Well, can you run the card so I can leave you a tip?”
Waiter: “No, that’s okay. Your friend actually left me a pretty big tip.”
Me: “Oh, yeah. She actually did that by accident.”
Waiter: “Oh, well now I feel bad.”
Me: “No, no. She tips everyone hugely…”
Ugh. That sounds terrible. JUST STOP TALKING.
Me: “In fact, you should probably be pissed she didn’t tip you more.”
Translation: Oh, don’t get the wrong idea. It was no reflection on your service.