Tuesday, February 26, 2008

19 Things Men Should Never Do Around Women/On Dates

MSN had a post today on 19 Things Men Should Never Do Around Women. I wonder where they came up with 19? Like 10 wasn’t enough, and they just couldn’t come up with the 20th?
Regardless, I found them a little uninspired, generic, and non-applicable. This list included things like "say your mom is your best friend" and "do celebrity impressions". I don't know what men these writers have been hanging around (the writers were probably men), but there are many many worse things men do around women then mimic Steve Carell. Therefore, I’ve compiled a list of 19 true offenses,have happened or arguably could, and most definitely never should:

1. Check your Match.Com emails on your Apple iphone
2. When faced with the question of what to do next after a generic dinner at a chain restaurant, say, “Heavy petting.” (actual real man story)
3. Talk about anything having to do with bathroom activities
4. Rate me on a scale of 1-10, then rate my friends
5. Ask me my bra size/clothing size before we’re in a committed relationship
6. Wear jean shorts
7. Text continually while I’m talking to you
8. Say your last girlfriend was a lingerie model
9. Comment on my weight
10. Talk about how hot 15 year old girls are unless you are under the age of 18
11. Talk about sex in a previous relationship
12. Reveal that you believe women are the lower species
13. Say “moist”
14. Ask us if we’re crabby because it’s “that time of month”
15. Wear jean shorts (this has to be continually re-enforced)
16. Tell me you think I’m hot, even though other people don’t
17. Notice my dramatic haircut a month later while we’re having sex
18. Tell me you used to be homosexual or a woman (I can’t imagine)
19. Hook up with me to have me wake up in the morning to you pleasuring yourself to porn.

Friday, February 22, 2008

I Just Don't Understand These Pick-Up Lines!

I admit that I would be a sad dateless chap if I were a man. Coming up with approaches, pick-up lines and the such that aren't cheesy, annoying or overused would be a horribly difficult thing. Now, I realize that women pick up men as well and we aren't in the 1920's...but I just don't do that. No good at it, never will be, happy most men do the work.

That being said, I still have a very difficult time understanding some of the strategies guys come up with. For instance, once in college I was walking through my favorite bar to check things out, and a man jumped out of nowhere, fondled me, and then told me I had the perfect chest. And he looked at me seriously while doing so! Normally I am quite quick on my feet with comebacks, but this just left me speechless. He then proceeded to the whole pick-up dance, asking my name and stats. Of course I jumped on him and demanded he take me home or lose me forever. Obviously that isn't true, but if that was his true intention-which I believe it was-how in his mind did he think this was the sure way to go about it? Stunning.

Last night I had a happy hour with a few friends (happy Hour in my world lasts until at least 10pm). As the night neared an end, my friend and I did the walk of judgement out of the bar. You know the walk- it's when you leave a single scene bar and everybody checks you out and sizes you up as you leave. Anyway, a guy was sitting at the bar and talking with some girls and guys and reached out and grabbed my arm as I walked by.
"Hi. My name is John." Holding on to my hand, he just smiled at me. His teeth glowed because he was so tan.
"Hi John."
"You're really cute." Staring continues. Huge grin continues.
"Thanks. Bye." And I continued on my way.

Now, part of me thinks this was a good tactic. I mean, the guy saw an opportunity and took it. No bullshit, just straight up telling a girl what he thinks. And he looked really proud of himself. But really, what did he think I was going to do? Sit on his lap and tell him I've been waiting all night for a guy to tell me I'm cute? If I were good at picking people up-which I'm not-I would have stopped the person of interest and said something along the lines of, "I see you're leaving, but I have to admit I find you really cute. Here's my card, maybe we could meet here sometime when you're not leaving?" That might be a successful pick-up.

I'd be interested to hear some other stories...the ugly and the successful. What works? What has been the most ridiculous pick-up experience you've been witness/subject to? And, how do women pick up guys?

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The First Date

The first date: conjures up feelings of both dread and anticipation and easily a host of other mixed emotions. Will he be as good-looking as I remember (since I met him after four martinis, details are fuzzy)? Will he be funny? Will we have stuff to talk about? Uh.

Usually I have a pretty good outlook on these things. The way I see it, there are generally two possible outcomes. The date can go swimmingly well, obviously a favorable result. Or, it can go really bad, which I find very humorous. Like the time a guy took me to a cheesy Caribbean restaurant and told me it was time for us to start a serious relationship. In the most polite way I could, I explained I wasn’t really looking for a serious relationship. He freaked and starting telling me he used to date Victoria Secret models. Then when driving me home, he almost ran over an old lady and got pulled over by the cops. Of course he got in a fight with the cops, got arrested, and the cops had to drive me home. Some would maybe be afraid to ever go on a date again, but I find it hilariously funny.

Last evening I had the pleasure of facing another first date. And it was a real date, not the meet for drinks type of thing. He actually picked me up in a car, made reservations at a restaurant and planned after-dinner activities! I was impressed. Things were looking good. Dinner was nice, conversation flowed easily and nobody said anything weird. Stage two of the date brought us to a jazz club, stage three to a bar. I should state at this point in the story that a little bit of alcohol was consumed. I’m sure most Dating Guidelines would say the lady shouldn’t drink more than a couple drinks, just to keep from embarrassment, roofies and bringing up not-first-date-appropriate conversation. I had probably 4-5 drinks. Over 6 hours though! Don’t judge. I’m a seasoned professional.

Anyway, as my date slipped out of our booth to use the restroom (and I noticed his really nice shoes), I reveled in my accomplishment of a good first date. What a triumph! But how odd for me, as nothing normal ever seems to happen to me…

And then suddenly, my ex-boyfriend appeared next to me in the booth. It was like a horrible magic trick, I don’t even know how he got there. Suddenly he was just sitting there, right next to me. Smiling. We chatted about current life, he couldn’t believe I didn’t know it was his birthday, etc. I was still in shock that people could now magically appear in some time travel miracle, so I can’t remember too much. Then of course my date returned from the bathroom. And the ex-boyfriend kept on sitting there. Still smiling. I had to introduce them. Then the ex relented in his cocky way saying “he better let me get back to my date”. I then had to explain to the date who the ex was.

Thus, a new type of date emerged for me last evening. Now dates can be categorized as follows:
1. Really good
2. Really bad, thus really funny
3. Nicole Style (Good with expectedly bizarre occurrences, as nothing normal ever happens to me)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Valentine's Day is a Big Deal

I never knew Valentine’s Day was such a big deal. It was in 4th grade when I got to decorate a pretty box and go to school and collect cards and candy and hopefully a “you’re cute” from a boy. But if you have 4 days straight to be stuck at home with nothing but network television, you’ll be convinced that Valentine’s Day ranks right up there with Christmas. In fact, I’m astonished we don’t have the day off with all its importance. Martha, Rachel Ray, even Matt Lauer have convinced me that I must be preparing and analyzing Valentine’s Day for weeks!

What’s funny is that Valentine’s Day is like Kwanzaa to me…it just doesn’t apply. I watch the countless commercials for chocolates, body lotion, perfume, pasta, digestive products (to help with over indulgence)- all insisting that the big V-Day will be better with their products, and glaze over with irrelevant disinterest. Every daytime show for the entire week (maybe longer) has been instructing me on the rules to a sucessful holiday. The hosts have been proclaiming Happy Valentines day to their guests since Monday! What does that mean exactly? Like, “Happy I hope someone loves you and gives you chocolate and stuffed animals later this week”?

After doing some research on what Valentine’s Day actually is, the results are a little inconclusive. It seems to stem from a poem Chaucer wrote to honor the first anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia. He was 13 and she 14, so I kinda wonder if their brains were even developed enough to understand love. Another search says that using the language of the law courts for the rituals of courtly love, a "High Court of Love" was established in Paris on Valentine's Day in 1400. The court dealt with love contracts, betrayals, and violence against women. Judges were selected by women on the basis of a poetry reading. How romantic, violence against women.

But at the “heart” of the matter, the U.S. Greeting Card Association estimates that approximately 1 billion valentines are sent out worldwide each year. That’s a lot of card buying, a lot of postage buying. So perhaps, when feeling this holiday excludes my participation, I can look at it as Help the Recession Day. I can help America by spending my dwindling dollar on pretty paper products and contribute to a more vibrant economy.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Big Girls Don’t Cry…Until We're Sick

Have you ever seen the Sex in the City where Samantha gets really sick and is in her apartment alone and finally defeats to an all out cry fest? That was me Saturday.

Suspicious symptoms had been creeping in for a couple weeks, and I could feel the hard work of my body fighting the mystery off. I really hadn’t suffered from anything (viral or bacterially anyway) all winter- and well, I was feeling pretty cocky. I was sure it had been my clove of roasted garlic & dried fig a day.

Then it hit me. It started with painful breathing during an early AM workout. How annoying- so I cut the cardio to 45 minutes. By 12pm I was in the center of my bed unable to move. My skin hurt, breathing hurt, my eyes hurt, my BONES hurt, my muscles felt like I’d just done the Ironman, and I had a fever so high I was sweating and chilled and drifting into weird consciousness states. It was then that I started to cry. And wow did I cry. I cried harder than I’ve cried in a very long time. Why was I crying exactly? I guess partly because I felt sorry for myself, and partly because I realized how utterly hopeless we can be when our body decides to play mean tricks on us. I suppose another reason was the sheer loneliness of being sick. Once you’re of a certain age, you can’t really complain or get sympathy for being ill…as we’ve all been there/done that. Really the only people you can be a baby with are your significant other (non-existent) or your mom (unfortunately passed away). The absence of cable or movies or magazines or books that aren't deep, heavy novels may have also contributed to the crying. In fact, I'm sure it played a big part.

Yet, just when I thought I was going to die alone in my apartment from dehydration and a fever (how embarrassing), my Grandmother called. Immediately she sensed how ill I was and sympathized and worried about me. Do you have soup? Don’t go work out! Do you even have juice? Then she sent my Dad, who brought with him a stock of drugs so large he looked like he was starting a meth lab, and more food than I've ever had in my posession. And the juice was even low-sugar!

It was the most wonderful thing in the world. It made me realize that those instincts to be nurtured, babied, sympathized with- you never ever grow old of.

Then I started crying when Kanye sang at the Grammy’s. I may be going a little overboard with this crying thing…

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Really...I Just Want to Grocery Shop

I love pretty grocery stores.

The beautiful rainbow of dew spritzed fruits and vegetables, well groomed aisles sporting carpet rather than linoleum, an impressive absence of fluorescent lights, the word “organic” scattered throughout. I literally can spend hours in the Monet of markets, thoughtfully contemplating what culinary masterpiece I can create from the plethera of goods. When there I am, deep in critical decision making on whether to go with an Asian Pear or Bosc, and I accidently make the crucial mistake of eye contact with the gentlemen next to me. NEVER make eye contact.
He sees the opportunity, quickly asking, “Do you like cats?”
“No, I don’t. Sorry.” I offer a small smile, but divert my attention back to pear pondering. I am really intent on these pears. He does not give up that easily. Closer in he moves.
“Well, I need to find a home for my cat. You look familiar, have I seen you before? You may have seen me, I was on the news last week. I’m also a professional juggler.”

I’ll spare you gory details of most of the story, but the ending was not pretty. As I continually dodged his questions and made small gestures to suggest I was in a hurry, didn’t want to talk, and was downright not interested, he refused to surrender. I would escape to a new aisle only to find him wandering towards me. How did he find me so quickly? Was he multiplying by the minute? I was being stalked. In a grocery store. I ultimately fled to the top floor and hid for 15 minutes by the vitamins. True story.

And this is just one incident. In the past 3 months I’ve also been offered business cards, given a strawberry Jolly Rancher, and followed in two circles around the imported cheese section in grocery stores. I don’t know what these guys are reading in Maxim, but some people really just want to grocery shop! I am not there to pick up men. If I was wearing a Juicy Couture tracksuit, had on Jessica Simpson hair extensions and asking you to help me carry my basket of chocolate covered strawberries & condoms- I could understand. But the worst part is the insistent denial of the situation. Do you really think I’m playing hard to get while picking out yeast-free bread? Is that sexy?

I really don’t want to have to start renting kids, wearing sweats, or pretending to be schizophrenic at a grocery store to enjoy my time. Please don’t make me. Now, if you’re hopelessly handsome, look like George Clooney and are interested in gourmet cooking- you may casually ask me about exotic mushroom varieties. I may just be interested in that…

Monday, February 4, 2008

Who Was That Girl?

As I’ve mentioned, most people I know are married or engaged (another one just today- congrats!). I am also not a particularly outgoing individual when it comes to the dating scene. You would NEVER see me approaching a man and making a move. I’m seriously like a 6th grader. If I see a guy who I find attractive, I can barely even look at him. It’s not that I’m scared to look at him, because I am not shy, but for some reason I am embarrassed to admit that I feel fondness/attraction/likeness to someone. I know. This makes things difficult. It’s hard being me. Sigh.

Last Friday night I had the rare opportunity to go out with a group of single girls. This was a big treat, a new and unexplored civilization normally only to be seen on television shows. Immediately in their presence, I felt different. Somehow being around these fun, outgoing, gorgeous women made me feel fun, outgoing and gorgeous. Their energy became my energy, and soon I was openly looking at guys and oh-my-god, actually smiling. And I wasn’t embarrassed, afraid, or ashamed. The night was fabulous. By the end of the night I wondered to myself, “Who was that girl?”

How amazing to realize the awakening of a hidden identity. Sometimes we forget in our day-to-day roles the suppressed egos we possess. Daily, weekly and monthly I must be a co-worker, a sister, a daughter, and a friend to people with lives that are much unlike mine. I play up those qualities that are recognized by my social circle (for me quirky & sarcastic girl) and hide others. Thus in this routine, I lose parts of me. I adapt, as humans do, for survival, all the while shedding those qualities that don’t seem to be of use in this life I’ve fallen into.

Funny thing is- I do remember who that girl was. She existed ongoing my freshman and sophomore years of college. I used to think maybe I remembered those as the best years of my life because I was in college, partying all the time and free from the confines I felt growing up. But maybe there was more to that. Maybe it was the best years of my life because I was at my best.

I really liked that girl. I think I’ll let her out a little more…

Friday, February 1, 2008

This is Not An Episode of The Bachelor

I admit enjoying a good episode of The Bachelor once and awhile. Generally it has to be mid-season, as I can’t take the discomfort of watching women who “fall in love” after talking to a man with veneers in .5 seconds. I really can’t take the end episodes where chicks are ready to donate kidneys for a chance at a proposal for a guy they’ve been in a polygamous relationship with for a month. But the episodes where they play dress up and go on dates to Paris and get diamond necklaces- that’s just good fun fantasy. I try and avoid listening to the conversations and just look at the pretty pictures.

Unfortunately, I think this show has had an influence on men. I’m here to tell you: You are NOT on an episode of The Bachelor.

Just today, a friend of mine had an old flame show up at work un-announced. She very skeptically went down to talk to him (in the ultra romantic setting of the lobby), where he threw compliments at her and spoke of missing her and how he needs a great date for the evening and he’ll have his limo come pick her up. Tonight.

I’m sure in his little pinhole of a brain he thought he was being super romantic. Just showing up, offering a grand date to a woman that is supposed to swoon in adoration at the mere chance to escort him for the evening. The fact that she hasn’t talked to him in a year didn’t seem to cross his mind. Or the fact that he’s married. Or his three children waiting at home. Apparently, in this chap’s world, just being Him, in what he imagines is an ultra exceptional existence, is enough.

Um, it’s not. At least not for quality women.

You have loads of money? Good for you! I hope you worked hard for it. You’re chiseled and charming and look like you grew up in a Ralph Lauren add? Congrats, I’m sure it’s easy to get dates. But really dude, stop thinking you’re all that. We are smart enough to know that your embellishments (money, looks, good shoes) are only shiny distracting objects covering up the truth of the matter. We are not all Bachelorettes waiting for the red rose.

So sure, have the limo come pick me up. Then I’ll go and pick up my friends, some champagne, and have a great night. Thanks for the free ride!