Category Archives: Girl(friend) Power

Dear Ms. Love n Happiness: the case of the runaway spoon

Today’s dilemma comes to us from the dredges of the dating world.  Not really a shocker. It is a truth universally acknowledged that dating sucks a big one and we all put up with it because no one, no matter how independent they claim to be, wants to be alone.  If this is not a truth that you don’t personally subscribe to then I don’t trust you.

Dear Ms. Love n Happiness,

I have a friend who was dating someone new. There was no communication on his part for some time except a few posts on Facebook.  Then one night she called him up, he came over, they spooned and then he left. They set a date for coffee the following weekend. The day before their coffee date he left a friendly message on Facebook, but didn’t return her phone calls to confirm the coffee date. She thought nothing of it because of the spooning incident, I mean if you’re gonna spoon then coffee is certainly not a big deal, right?

Coffee day rolls around and the guy completely stands her up! She called and bawled him out on his voicemail. In return he blocked her from Facebook. A middle-aged man acting like a child. Any advice for my jilted friend? She is left confused and angry.

Thanks,

A Friend

Dear Friend,

Thank you so much for your question! I am sorry for what happen to your friend. I don’t think I have ever been stood up by someone. Well, except for that  time my own boyfriend stood me up when we were supposed to meet my family. Whatever. I am not bitter.

Getting stood up by some chicken shit is inexcusable now a days. I mean for Gawd‘s sakes, we have text messaging which makes it both easy and fast to lie! Now, I am not sure what your friend said when she “bawled out” this dudes voicemail, but in general Facebook blocking should be reserved only for the most persistent of stalkers.

And the cherry on top of the big ‘ol insulting-ass cake? All of this happen post spooning. In this girls opinion spooning is pretty sacred stuff. I’d rather kiss a guy and have him go around telling people my tongue was fuzzy, or perhaps go on a group date where the guy flees screaming “I never want to see you again!!” But THIS after spooning?  Ugh.  I feel your friends pain.

That being said, it’s time for your friend to brush the dirt off and move on to the next one. Would it help for your friend to think in the terms that her sucky experience is but a small microcosm of a far greater sucky entity? Because as we acknowledged before: dating sucks a big one. And it makes perfect sense that it would.

First of all, you’ve got the whole communication thing, which is tricky enough for people who have known each other for a life time. We certainly don’t know how to communicate with this new person!  Questions start racing:  “What do I say?”  “How much truth is too much truth?” “Will she think I am being rude if I tell her I don’t really like to spoon?” ” Should I tell her I am allergic to coffee?” Often times the racing questions become overwhelming and at this point we (read: mostly men) have a tendency to drop off the face of the planet.

Then you have got the date itself. You’ve got a wacky conglomeration of strangers thrown together, each with their own dating past, their own sets of fears and insecurities and sometimes their own personality disorders.  Often times there are  hormones and alcohol thrown in the mix and voila! —  you have a recipe for a potential disaster!  Like the girl who once approached the bar I was tending and demanded, “Quick! I need two shots of Jack! I am on a terrible date!”  Um, the worst part? This was said in front of her date. I poured three, one for each of them and one for myself to wash down the bitter taste that was rising in the back of my throat.

So we have a pretty good idea why dating sucks: people can be weird and love is complex.  We also know why we subject ourselves to the potential torture: potential romantic bliss or at least a good meal. But how do we make this process less painful?

I don’t know.

Sorry, but that’s the truth. I don’t know.  I am sure there are a lot of theories on how to date out there, books of rules and what not.  I don’t believe ’em. I am about to marry a man I met in a greasy grimy pool hall. I have dated a few men who looked perfect on paper, and quite possibly were perfect, but I guess I don’t do well with perfect. I have friends who have known each other for years and never thought once about liking each other romantically. They are now married with a perfect little cupid baby boy. I know a couple, complete soul mates, one is a New York City business woman and the other is a bona-fide cowboy. They met on Match.com. Don’t get me wrong, if one of those guides works for you or your friend, then sweet! But, I doubt that the same book would work for all three of your best friends.   I believe that love is way too vast to put in a one size fits all category.

It’s said that you have to kiss, er spoon, a lot a frogs before you find your prince/princess. Maybe yours is the very next frog? My best advise is to not take these dating dilemmas too personally, have a sense of humor and believe that one day these dating injustices will be nothing but really good stories to tell a special someone over a cup of coffee.

♥ n ☺,

C.

ps

What about you guys? Got any dating horror stories to share? Comparing notes on crazy can be really helpful!

Annnd, keep your questions coming! @ms.lovenhappiness@gmail.com

And I suppose we can all just be grateful we are not dealing with THIS:

new tradition making: one of the perks of being old.

I used to tell myself a lot of things about myself that simply were not true.  I used to say, in my typical Cynical-Cindy way, “Eh, I’m not really in to the holidays. I don’t really go out for the whole tradition thing.” I envisioned myself more of the Thelma and Louise type. On Thanksgiving Day I’d be more likely to saunter into a gin joint in some far-flung border town and order the bar a round of shots than to cook up some dead bird. Let me tell you, that was fantasy. Pure bull shit, really. As it turns out, I love tradition about as much as an Alabama church lady loves deviled eggs.

This brings me to:  The Second Annual Thanksgiving Deviled Egg-Off.  This is a relatively new tradition where creativity, competition and everyone’s favorite picnic food unite for a good old fashion throw down:

Like any good contest there are rules, most of which we made up as we went along.

Rule Number One: There are to be no repeating recipes. This rule was promptly vetoed by Fiancé, who argued rather convincingly that was like saying that Grandma couldn’t make her famous fruitcake every year.  I don’t like fruitcake much, but he did have a point.

Rule Number Two: All entries must be named. There were She-deviled Eggs, Domino’s Pizza Eggs and something called Shmeggs. Don’t ask. Contestants had to give a little presentation about their eggs over a bull horn. Even though there were less than a dozen of us, a bullhorn just makes things seem more official don’t you think?

Presentations went something like: “These eggs are fresh from a local farm and topped with prosciutto made from pigs that were fed only chestnuts.”

or

“These eggs come from places so far away we have never even heard of them. They are pumped full of hormones and ingredients you can not pronounce. There is a lot a fear and rage inside each of these eggs.”

 Then it was time to vote. After we discussed different categories and a lot of complicated formulas that looked like logarithms, we finally settled on the ‘ol put a ballot in a hat method. There were ten guests and yet seventeen ballots were counted. The winner took home an original piece of art (magic marker on copy paper) and a full belly.

oh and did I mention the amazing table scape??

The rest of the holiday was chock full of more fun traditions. Some old, like my cornbread dressing and canned cranberry sauce. Some new, like combining the card game Apples to Apples and the liquor 99 Bananas into one stellar drinking game. (Maybe we should start calling that Fruit Salad?) Some ill-advised, like staying out far too late the night before said cornbread dressing and deviled eggs are to be made. Picture if you will me in my robe and my sleepy fiancé in his underwear desperately trying to peel eggs and chop celery in our tiny kitchen. And some completely foreign, like me at a college football game, watching as 150 year old trees get toilet papered and people take tailgating to a level I had never knew possible, and – gasp! – enjoying every second of it!

Now is the time that people all over the world are starting the preparations for their upcoming holiday traditions.  As I write this people are busting out menorahs, flinging tinsel, hording wrapping paper and booking extra appointments with their shrink. In the days to come people will be buying Wal-Mart out of outdoor lights, annoying coworkers by incessantly humming Christmas carols under their breath, dusting off the ol holiday sweater, and slaving over the annual family newsletter. The air around us is alive with tradition and I find myself wondering: what in the heck I ever had against it anyway?

Oh, wait, I know. Because tradition is a tricky little minx. Sure, that cornbread dressing is delish but in order to eat it do we have to sit around with a table full of Sad-Sam’s or Angry-Andy’s?  We look forward to feeling warm and fuzzy, basking in the glow of a fire as we  roast chestnuts (not that I have ever roasted a chestnut in my life, but you get the point)  only to wind up feeling let down and empty after all the nuts have cracked. So many us developed the tendency, like myself, to Grinch-out a bit and just say Bah- Humbug to the whole tradition ordeal.

But here is the great part – the Bob Crotchet, George  Bailey, wonderful, wonderful part – that I am just now beginning to understand: I get to create my own traditions now. Be it gin joints and shots or dead birds, they are MY traditions.

So, lets start with a few of the traditions I will not be partisapating in this year:  or any other:

I will not be driving all over town busting my ass to see multiple facets’ of family, some of which are not that pleasant to be around any way, because otherwise I would be sick with guilt.

I am no longer under any obligation to clean, cook and decorate my brains out for the never quite satisfied lover.

I will never again bust my ass on Christmas Eve buying cheap filler gifts at the mall just so that I have something to give the never quite satisfied lover’s Aunt Ethel who is always telling everyone that I am going to hell because I live in sin.

 No more pretending that Uncle Roy is not drunk. Never again will I silently nod my head in agreement when Aunt Rita says “he’s just really tired” when he passes out in the mashed potatoes.

There will be no more silently praying to disappear or wishing to join Uncle Roy in blessed un- awareness as I listen to Uncle Keith spew all sorts of hate disguised as religion and politics.

 And with all of the ghosts from holidays past outta the way, I have so much more room to create whatever traditions I want.  Like Deviled-Egg Offs and Early 90’s Pop Sing-a-Longs-Thons. Who knows? Maybe I’ll get really into outdoor light displays à la Clark Griswold, or take up a toy drive. But one thing is for sure, this year I will be counting all my many blessings and enjoying all the room I have made in my life for love.

And what about you guys? What are you purging and what are you creating this season? I’ll be featuring your creative holiday traditions as well as humorous holiday horror stories here!

Send ‘em to me at: ms.lovenhappiness@gmail.com

Annnnnnd here is a little something to get you in the spirit:

Chicken Soup for the Soul or Dear Ms. Love n Happiness,

Dear Ms. Love n Happiness,

You seem to have been around the block quite a few times and you certainly like to give out a lot of unsolicited advice, so I was hoping you might be able to shed some light on a relationship situation for me. I’ve been with my boyfriend for a little over a year. I’m not sure what to do anymore; I just don’t feel like he loves me. I can’t pinpoint exactly what it is that makes me feel this way but sometimes his behavior make me wonder if he cares one way or another about me or our relationship.  I’ve gone out of my way to show him how much I care.  I’ve begged and pleaded for him to show me a little bit of emotion, to let me know he cares in return. When I bring it up all I get in return is a blank stare. He tells me I am dramatic, that I have watched too many romantic movies and that life is not like the Notebook or Sleepless in Seattle. So, what do you think? Am I expecting too much or am I in denial of the fact that I am being settled for?

                                    Signed,

                                                Settled

 Dear Settled,

I am intrigued by your ability to both offend and engage me in just one paragraph! I’d also like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to feel as if, even only for a moment, that I am an expert at something. If that something is icky relationships then so be it! I’d also like to qualify any advice I give with the disclaimer that I rarely know what I’m talking about and that I am much better at analyzing strangers “situations” (which, by the way is a word that gives me the Heebiejeebies ) than I am at applying the advice to my own life. But you opened up Pandora’s Box, so here goes.

I once had a boyfriend who I suspected of  settling for me. For simplicity sake, for future reference and just because I find it fun to say, I will refer to him as Mr. Wrong.

Like you, there were certain things Mr. Wrong did that made me feel like he just didn’t care. The first time I met Mr. Wrong, he saved my number in his phone with my name misspelled. At the end of our relationship it was still misspelled. Telling, no?  Just a few weeks into dating he invited me over for dinner and left me waiting outside his door for over thirty minutes while he ran to the store for beer and ground beef. Did I mention that I didn’t eat beef? Once he broke plans with me to go out to a hot new restaurant with some of his friends. He called me late at night to tell me he was bringing me a surprise.  

Surprise!  Here are my leftovers and this is a booty call.

  Eventually I would get fed up and confront him with these behaviors. His response was to tell me that I’d read one to many romance novels, which just shed further light on the fact that this guy did not know me at all. I was a Literature major and I was too busy trying to translates Chaucer’s middle English, or attempting to figure out what in the hell was wrong with Hemingway to read romance novels. Or, he would hand me this line about how it was not him, it was me. Mr. Wrong explained that the real reason that I was offended that he always used all the hot water and that he still saved voice mails from ex- girlfriends was because I didn’t love myself enough. Sounded like BS, but he was older and believed himself to be wiser so I figured he knew what he was talking about.

I swear, a guy reads one article in your O Magazine and he can twist that shit around and use it against you in ways that will make you doubt your sanity. Perhaps I was off my rocker a bit. What young, hot, smart and capable woman gives years of her life away to a guy who always uses the last of the hot water before you can shower, does not know your friends names and does not know how you take your coffee? Please, don’t buy into the load of hoo ha about why he does not know what you take in your coffee. It’s not because men are from Jupiter or because he didn’t have a close relationship with his mom. He does not know because he does not give a shit!

As much as I value my coffee, it was actually chicken soup that put me over the edge. I was struck down with a horrible stomach bug and had to speed several days and nights in the fetal position on the floor of my bathroom. When I finally recovered enough to think about how empty my belly was, yet too weak to  do anything about it myself, I put in a call to Mr. Wrong to request some chicken soup. He was out but told me that he’d wrap up shortly and bring me some soup. Hours passed. I woke up around three o’clock in the morning and stumbled across the room to retrieve my ringing phone. I had missed a phone call from Mr. Wrong. Praying he was on his way with chicken soup, saltines and ginger ale I listened to his voice mail:

“Hey, uh, they didn’t really have any soup at the bar,” he slurs, barely comprehensible over the loud music in the background, “so I brought you something else. Look outside your door. Call me when you feel better.”

I open my front door to find an ice-cold chili cheese dog, half-eaten order of french fries and a warm Bud Light tall boy. I promptly lost my shit.

I fired off a text message that read: “Take your chili cheese dog and shove it up your ass. We are over.”

The height of maturity, I know.

(Look, the cute puppy relieves tension!)

I wish I could say that at that point I walked away for good and I never dealt with anything similar again. But that would be a lie. After Mr. Wrong dropped off a peace-offering of a  case of condensed chicken soup and gave me a brilliantly crafted part apology part blame speech, I continued to stand by my decision to take less than I deserved.

 I was dedicated to drawing out my suffering. When Mr. Wrong and I did finally end, guess what? All the same crappy behaviors and feelings that were there from the beginning were there at the end and I suppose I could have saved myself a few scars and a few cans of soup along the way.

So, what does all this mean for you, Dear Settled? I recommend that you take a look at the advice that Mr. Wrong gave me many years ago. Sure, he was trying to take advantage of  the power of Oprah, but he had a point. I didn’t love myself enough to demand a good relationship. And I don’t mean demand in some sort of deranged diva way that expects the world to be handed to her on a cushion with a tiny tiara and a fillet minion. I mean, deep down, I must have not thought I deserved real love. Why else would I knock myself out begging for scraps?

Too many romantic movies and books? Please, it is not as if we expected them to stand outside our house with a boombox playing \”In your Eyes\” or haunt a wind-swept moor on our behalf à la Wuthering Heights.  We just wanted more than questions and canned soup.

And finally, I find it curious that we spent all this time worrying that they didn’t love us, wondering if they felt as if they were  settling. When did we stop to consider, perhaps we are the ones who have settled?

♥ & 🙂 ,

C.

And we could all use a lil of this in our lives. . .

Unintentional Other Woman

June and Ward Cleaver (Barbara Billingsley and...

Image via Wikipedia

Lynn finally got her ass out of a less-than-lustrous long term relationship. It was not horrible. I mean it’s not like he cheated on her, or beat her, or had some alternative life style that she happen to stumble upon one day when she wondered into their basement on a whim. But she got out anyway, because she had this nagging suspicion that she deserved something better. This, in my opinion, makes it even more ballsy.

I for one have rarely (perhaps never) had the maturity to say, “Hey- this is just not quite the direction that I want my life to go in, I think there is something more out there for me.” No, I was the type to hang on until the very bitter, bourbon-induced- broken-window and shit blowing up in my face, end. I had to make it abundantly, some would say overly, clear to myself that this relationship was NOT going to work. It was easy for me to confuse love with other things. As in, “Oh, I just love him so much that I am going to stay with him despite the fact that he got mad at me and let the air out of my tires.”  Now that I am oh so much older and wiser, I can look back on incidents like that and realize: I didn’t love him. I stayed because I didn’t believe that there was anything better out there for me. I mean, who else was going to love me so much that they would go out and buy 10 cans of fix a flat so I could get to work?

So Lynn believes and she leaves the lack-luster relationship and eventually is ready to dip her toe back into the shark infested waters of dating. Enter the new guy, I shall cal him: Mr. LOL.

At first Lynn is not really that in to him. I am relieved when she tells me this because, to put it as nicely as possible, he is a cheese dick. There are 200 hundred text messages from him in a matter of three weeks.  He calls her pet names like “baby” and “gorgeous” which just seems creepy.  In my world, if I have not burned at least one dinner for you and you have never gone to the store on a tampon run for me, then sorry, but it’s too soon for “baby.” He also punctuates every sentence with a: ! and most often follows that up with a, you guessed it: LOL!!! Is this a man? Or a fourteen year old girl?

As it turns out, it could have been his fourteen year old daughter.  Mr. LOL informs Lynn yesterday that he is in fact married with kids. Ugh. Sucker punch to the gullet! “I am so, so sorry!” I tell her. “Eh, no big deal,” as stoic as Jay-Z, Lynn says, “on to the next.”

But it is a big deal- because she had the gumption to believe that there was something better out there then a boyfriend who didn’t believe in her. And what is the first flipping thing that awaits her in the supposed sea of single men? A friggen cheater and one who does not even have the decency to identify himself as such in the first place. If you are gonna be the “other” woman/man, you damn well get to decide that up front.

I try to make her feel better by relating a similar story that happened to me years ago. Out of nowhere comes this dashing Brazilian dentist who tries to sweep me off my feet. Literally. He once tried to tango with me in a pub while all my friends sat around drinking PBR and feeding change into a jute box. I suppose this sort of behavior sounds romantic in theory, but it was way too much after a very short while. Something did not feel quite right. One night, while out for my Birthday, he informs me that he is married with a child. I leapt out of his car, stood in the pouring rain, where I proceeded to repeatedly kick the tires of his overpriced tin can sports car until my friends came out of the bar and drug me inside.

And these are not isolated incidents. It’s not like I have done a formal survey, but just yesterday I found out that this has happen to three other friends. That’s five unintentional other women just on Thursday. This of course, does nothing to account for the wives and children and even future relationships that will be shaken by these cheaters. Because they will be found out. They always are. I will never forget the day I was 15 and Ward Cleaver, aka, my Grandfather, waltzed into my bedroom and informed me that he had been “Guilty of a brief indiscretion.” If June and Wards relationship was not safe, then whose was? The effects of these “indiscretions” as people like to call them last longer and go further than any lonely housewife or horny husband might realize.

And just one tiny effect is that it chips away at our collective faith in love. It slowly erodes the belief that there is something out there for each of us, and that when we find it, it will not end in two hundred LOL-ING!!! texts messages to another woman.

I say to Lynn, “Frigging cheater, it just fires me up. Oh, well there ARE good ones out there. Shit like this just makes you even more grateful when you find one.”

“True.” She says.

I hope she believes me. And for all of our sakes, I hope she keeps believing in something better.

 And now, something so terrible, I can’t quit watching. Freeeeak:

 

Breaking up is hard to do.

vintage girls in black skirts

Image by deflam via Flickr

Breaking up: it’s not just hard it’s horrific, and like grief and Pampers, break-ups come in stages. First there is the pre-break-up stage. For women in particular, this stage can drag on for what seems like an eternity. “I don’t know, I just don’t think he is going to change. I don’t know what to do; I think I should leave him.” If my girlfriends had a dollar for every time they heard me say that in my twenties, I think most of them would have paid off their student loans. If I had written down every piece of seemingly brilliant yet unheeded relationship advice I doled out to my girlfriends during their relationship woes I could have written a book on the topic; I could have been a twenty something dysfunctional Dr. Laura.

Then comes the actual breakup stage. In my case I usually crossed over from the pre-break up stage when I had absolutely no choice to remain in the uncertain agony of the unknown. My exes had a good way of making things clearly known. Such as the time I came home to find my live in boyfriend in our bed with another girl. Perhaps this is why I have never understood these people who are able to be friends with their exes. There is not a lot of room for friendship after you have chased a naked girl out of your bed with a candle stick.

Then there is the wallowing stage of the break-up.  Symptoms include: Crying, drinking, blaming, making bad decisions and burning up the phone lines to anyone who will listen. And even though all you want to do is crawl into bed and sleep for days, there is a lot of work to be done after a breakup, you have to sort through all the stuff.  Do you throw away pictures? Do you return the clothes they left at your house? Is it ok to ask for your cooler back or do you just go buy a new one?  Should there be a law that your ex should have to buy you a new bed if he screwed another girl in yours?

Eventually you have cried and raged all you could and with the encouragement of your girlfriends you peel off your ugly yoga pants and make a triumphant return. You are like Rocky Balboa; the world seems to be playing your song everywhere you run. Until you run into your ex. Back on go the ugly yoga pants, back to blasting Jeff Buckley and bottles of wine.

At this point your friends usually swoop down and rescue your ass. They sit by you on the couch while you eat cereal in your pajamas at two-thirty in the afternoon and they act as if they would rather be nowhere else in the world. They defend your honor to random people. “She has just been through a hellish break-up! Pee outside!” they shout at the person pounding on the other side of the door when you have been in the bathroom too long trying to recover from your public crying fit. They take away your phone and will not allow for any desperate whisky dialing. And the beautiful thing is you would do this for them too, in a heart-beat. And it does not just pertain to boys. You have stood by each other during death, family dysfunction, addiction and even natural disaster. No questions asked because this is what you do. They are your girls.

And with your friends support and with time, eventually you recover from your break-up. You get to the point where you (almost) forget what happen. Should you run into your ex when you are out it becomes more of a minor inconvenience then a catastrophe.

However, what is truly catastrophic and thankfully far less frequent are the times when the break-up is with one of your girlfriends. The only break-up I have never truly recovered from is the break-up of friendship. It just makes no sense. Sure, two people who were romantically involved could turn volatile when things don’t work out. But two friends who have shared secrets, swapped stories, wiped tears and held each other up through the years, for them to suddenly become strangers seems the saddest shock of all. Betrayal by someone you thought was a friend brings about an acute sort of agony, like the sucker punch you never saw coming. And to make things worse it is not socially acceptable, at least outside of junior high, to go through a hellish break-up with a friend. There is no period granted to you where it is ok and even somewhat expected for you to sit around forlorn and heartbroken. You can’t go returning boxes of borrowed sweaters and left behind hair dryers in the middle of the night There are no songs about two friends breaking up to blare until the neighbors call the police. You just sort of pick up and carry on and pretend like the biggest slap in your face didn’t sting a bit.

It’s possible that I “dated” some of the wrong friends. Perhaps I should have seen some of the red flags we always cite in the dating world in my friendships. Maybe I was not as good of a friend as I could have been because I was too swept up in whatever rollercoaster relationship I was riding at the time.

Sometimes in our teens and twenties it felt like girlfriends were just another accessory, someone to walk into a room with or to hang out with until the boy we were pining over asked us out. Even amongst the most laid back of girls, there could be cattiness and jealousy.  Often times we just didn’t know how to really be there for each other, we were still figuring out how to keep our own heads above water.  When I stepped into a new age bracket several things became very clear to me. And the importance of my girlfriends are at the top of that list. You are few in number but huge in heart and I am so very grateful for you!  I can only hope that I can be half as wonderful to you as you have been to me. We are in a long-term relationship now! There is no breaking up with each other’s asses so I guess we will just have to work things out.  So, whadaya say? Date night?