Featured

Seriously Though, How?

How are you still single?

Anybody else get this question a lot? Like, on the regular? I do. All the time. And I’ve never really known how to answer it. I usually feel like saying “If I knew, I wouldn’t be single ” but that feels snarky and like I’m unhappy with being single, which is not necessarily the case. Besides, people aren’t usually trying to be rude. In fact, I think that a lot of them actually mean it as a compliment. They think, “You’re so friendly and smart and attractive, how come someone hasn’t scooped you up yet?” I get that. It’s just not really a helpful or productive question. Here are examples of questions that are more productive:

“Would you like to have dinner with me?”

“I’ve got tickets to this concert, do you want to come with me?”

“Who’s your favorite Game of Thrones character?”

I know that third one is unrelated but I would much rather talk about Daenerys and her dragons than why I haven’t found a suitor.

But I digress.

Why am I still single? I find myself wanting to answer earnestly, but I just can’t. The snark just comes up like word vomit and I have to hold it back. So I usually say something like “Oh just bad luck I guess” or “I guess I haven’t met my someone yet” which makes me want to actually vomit. Which reminds me of my first Hinge date.

That’s what this blog is;  a series of uncomfortable dating stories. My stories.  Some are merely awkward, some are cringeworthy, some have made me consider lesbianism (despite my Subaru driving and softball playing, it just isn’t meant to be.)

So here it is in weekly installments; my long winded answer to the question

“How are you still single?”

How Are You Still Sane?

Or rather, just, ARE you still sane? Just checking in. How’s everybody’s quarantine going so far? Has it been as distracting and off-topic as this post is about to be? 

It actually hasn’t been the worst for me and I know I’m very lucky to be able to say that. I’ve been staying up in Lake Tahoe with my mom and sister. I didn’t want to be in my studio apartment by myself for weeks on end, so I retreated to the mountains (my home town, not a vacation home, for all of you out there flooding small towns with unnecessary visitors during a pandemic induced quarantine for which our tiny hospitals are not equipped.) 

I’ve been having a lot of ups and downs; feeling like this is the best time to write and then not being able to sit down and write a fucking word. Everyone is putting pressure on everyone else to be productive right now, and I have to say, it’s fucking stressful. As a creative type, and particularly, a writer, being holed up in the mountains indefinitely seems like the perfect time to get some writing done. Right? These are the things that writers kill for: solitude and an empty schedule. I should be able to finish my screenplay re-write, knock out the first draft of my novel, get second drafts going on my sitcom pilots, pump out more dating stories for my blog, and start that one-woman show I’ve been wanting to put together no problem. What’s my excuse? 

Oh right, the GLOBAL PANDEMIC. 

And currently, this giant fly that keeps buzzing around the loft where I am currently sitting and attempting to write that I thought I smacked on the first try but now is just endlessly taunting me by flying just out of reach. I know he’s just trying to get outside and now all of a sudden I sympathize with the fly. He’s trapped inside. He doesn’t know he can’t just fly out through a screen and a locked window. All he knows is it’s sunny outside and that’s where he’s supposed to be. When will this be over? When will I get to be outside again? Is she really using a fly as a metaphor for humans going through quarantine? Is there really even a fly buzzing around her right now? 

SQUIRREL!

How easily I get distracted these days. 

Normally, I am home by myself all day and this allows me to get a lot of writing done. But right now, I am at home with my mom and sister. And we like each other. And we talk a lot. And we go for walks. And we watch a lot of House Hunters. We ran through all the regular House Hunters and now are onto House Hunters International. Literally planning our escape from this country and simultaneously praising the fact that we live in California and have a governor who is handling the pandemic as responsibly as possible while cursing the fact that $200k won’t buy you an empty shack here but will get you a beachfront house with a pool in Costa Rica. 

SQUIRREL!

I don’t want to be so presumptuous as to assume that any of you actually noticed, but I didn’t post my blog last week. I usually post on Wednesdays (well, I did before quarantine, now I don’t even know what day it is), but last Wednesday, Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign for president. And I was sad. 

So no, I didn’t feel like writing a post about another botched first date. This may come as a shock to some of you, but it’s difficult for me to write light, funny stories about bad dates when I am feeling sad and hopeless about the future of our country. I don’t enjoy exacerbating the hopelessness I’m feeling at a macro level by delving into my failed love life on a micro level on top of it. Here’s something else you’re bad at, in case you’d forgotten…

You know what IS good though? I am writing testimonials for two of my closest friends who are using this time to market and launch their own bad-ass businesses. I am so proud of and inspired by them. And if I can’t focus my mind on my own projects, at least I can write about how great my friends are.

OMG you guys the fly is so loud though!

I AM DISTRACTED. 

I do want to give kudos to my awesome friends who are kicking ass and taking names right now. Another friend is a nurse practitioner who is working in a parking garage in the Bay Area doing drive through swab testing for coronavirus. She is also a mother of two boys under age three and a rambunctious golden retriever. Her husband is a doctor as well, and is working on the front lines at Stanford hospital. I AM SO PROUD OF MY FRIENDS! They have found ways to kick ass and take names through this whole ordeal. It’s also her birthday today so Happy Birthday Claire! And to all of you celebrating birthdays during quarantine.

But I also want to give kudos to those of you who are just hanging on by a fucking thread. This is hard. This is scary. This is like the beginning of a disaster movie but the ending hasn’t been written yet, and we’re all just waiting for the writers to finish the fucking ending so that we can start making our plans and either really step the panicking up a notch by buying more toilet paper for our bunkers or scaling it down because we finally know when baseball season will start and we can hug people again. 

But this isn’t a movie. It’s real life. And I don’t know about you guys but I go back and forth between consuming way too much news and media and going into a full-on tailspin and then overcorrecting by being the consummate ostrich with my head buried deep in the sand. 

I THINK I KILLED THE FLY!

I write comedy for a living. (Well, I try.) Yes, I know that now, more than ever, we need comedy. I also know that it’s hard to shake off all of the negativity that is swirling around every single day and write something funny and uplifting. 

OH MY GOD THAT FUCKING FLY!!!

I was wrong. I didn’t kill the fly. 

Is this another metaphor? We thought the fly was dead; that all was lost; that it had fallen, incapacitated, to the bottom of a box of my mom’s old engineering blueprints, never to be seen again. 

But no, this fly is resilient! It will not be smacked by a long sleeve t-shirt fresh out of the dryer and knocked into oblivion. It will lay low, stay quiet, just long enough for me to think that it’s dead, but then it will fly again! Haha!

Are WE the fly? (Wait, does that make me the Coronavirus? This metaphor is getting weird…) 

The point is, it’s time to lay low. If that means being productive for you, great. If that means going through the entire Netflix catalogue and not creating any sort of masterpiece, that’s okay too. Just remember to bathe. If you’re somewhere in the middle, like I am, and are having some productive days and then other days where you just accept the fact that you’re going to binge an entire season of Schitt’s Creek and eat a lot of peanut butter, then you do you. Be nice to you. We’ve never done this before. We don’t know how it’s going to play out, and that’s scary. 

But if that fly can evade me and my evil t-shirt weapon, then surely we can survive this unprecedented, bizarre, frightening, but also kind of peaceful in its own way, pandemic. And maybe we can be stronger, kinder, and better for it on the other side. 

I miss you all. Hang in there! Until we meet again. ❤

Single in Roma

If you read my last post you know that it took place in Florence while I was traveling abroad for a total of four months, and my next destination was Rome. I had left the safety of my travel group to meet my friend Danielle in Florence for a few days, but I was going to be traveling solo in Rome. I had three days to do whatever I wanted, and as it was my first time traveling completely by myself, I was excited but also a little nervous. This may seem like the perfect set up for a Roman holiday with a beguiling, passionate, Italian man with a sexy accent and loads of chest hair, but I’ll tell you right now that it’s not. On this holiday, I made a new friend, a fellow unaccompanied American girl, and she and I conquered Rome together.  

I had been to Rome twice before so the city wasn’t completely unfamiliar to me and I kept that in mind when choosing a first solo international visit. I booked myself a bed in an all-female room in the Yellow Hostel, which is known for young people and having a bit of a party vibe. I had a previous experience with an almost too-empty hostel in London that had completely skeeved me out, so I decided to err on the side of noisy partiers rather than a creepy, empty hostel in which I might have to share a room with just one weird stranger. 

On my first day, I booked myself a tour of the Colosseum and the Forum and headed over early in the day. I paid extra for the Colosseum tour where you get to go down below, into the maze where they used to keep the slaves and the gladiators and the hungry lions and tigers that they would sick on the gladiators. It was unreal, thinking about how old the structure was (almost 2000 years; they started building the thing in 70 AD!), how many people had passed through the exact spot I was standing; how starkly different their lives had been from mine, whether they were a slave, a gladiator (still a slave) or a starving wild animal being raised up through the floor in a giant lift. I took way too many photos as I pondered and wandered.

Once I completed my Colosseum tour, I headed out to meet up with my next tour group that would take me through the Forum. There were dozens of tour guides holding signs up in the air, herding tourists like cattle, and I had no idea how to find mine. I read my ticket over a few more times and headed towards the sign that seemed like it would be my tour. I waited a few minutes amongst other seemingly clueless tourists, until I was approached by a tour guide. 

“Oh, I already have a ticket for a tour.” I offered up, assuming he was trying to sell me a ticket. He smiled at me, and I was a little confused as to whether or not he was just a ticket selling guy or an actual guide. He looked about as Italian as I do (which, if you don’t know me, is not Italian at all), with blonde hair, blue eyes, a few extra pounds on him, some scruff, and a very casual, American-looking outfit of a t-shirt and cargo shorts. 

“Let me see your ticket” he offered. I was hesitant, but he sounded American and in the sea of foreign languages drifting around my ears, it was a bit of a relief. I showed him my ticket and confirmed that my reservation was not with him. He didn’t seem to mind. “Well, you’re welcome to join my tour group. We’re leaving now so you don’t have to wait around, and I’m a much better guide than whoever you’re supposed to have anyway.” He smiled wryly. I studied him, slightly confused, and on the defensive because we’ve all heard the stories of tourists getting swindled in heavily trafficked areas. It happened to me on my first trip to Italy and I was not going to let this guy rip me off.

“Why do you want me to join your group? I haven’t even paid you.” He smiled calmly. “I make most of my money off tips anyway, so there’s still time for that. Plus, you’re cute.” I was taken aback at his frankness and recoiled a bit more. I looked at him, questioningly. He laughed at my unease.

“I get it, you’re a woman traveling alone and you don’t want to get ripped off or taken advantage of. I promise I’m not trying to do either one of those things. I just think that you’re cute and you’d have more fun on my tour.” I smiled at him and decided to relax. It’s not like he was trying to get me to go into some dark alley alone with him, there were literally dozens of people on all sides of us. Plus, I liked his gumption and decided he’d be an entertaining tour guide. I was right about that. 

The tour was great, and he was very knowledgeable and funny. By the end of the tour, it felt like some members of our group were friends and we were talking about our plans for the rest of our trip. Our tour guide, let’s call him John because I can’t remember his real name, had the perfect answer for us. 

He offered a sunset walking drinking tour of the city, every evening at 7pm. If ever there was a tour that sounded custom made for me, this was it. Just take my money! I signed up for the tour and hurried back to my hostel, wanting to change out of my workout clothes and into something a little nicer (and cleaner). I showered and threw on a green dress and boots, grateful for the unseasonably warm April weather in Rome, and headed out for my tour. 

We met in the city near the Colosseum at a small market that sold alcohol and snacks. We all purchased our own drinks, I chose a small (ish) bottle of white wine with a screw top for convenience, and we were off. John showed us some of the smaller, less noticeable but equally as historically significant elements of the city, starting with Stumbling Stones. 

These were brass stones inlaid with the cobblestones that marked the location where Jews had lived and worked before they were taken from their homes during the Holocaust. They were small, flat, brass stones, engraved with the words “Qui Abitava”, meaning “Here Lived”, followed by their name, birth date, and death date. I would have completely missed them and walked over them on my own, and was grateful that John pointed them out and told us their story. John showed us all kinds of small things like that, pointing out statues and explaining their meaning as we went. 

One of the best things about this tour though, strolling through the beautiful streets of Rome at sunset while sipping my wine, was that I met the other solo traveler who would become my Rome buddy, and Stephanie and I spent the next three days exploring, eating, drinking, and laughing. I would have done all of those things by myself, just without the laughing and company, and this changed my entire experience in Rome. 

Stephanie and I started chatting while we purchased our drinks from the market and that’s when I found out she was traveling alone, she was from New Jersey, and she was pretty fucking cool. We bonded on the tour when we came to an open square that looked like an active archaeological dig, except that it had been inhabited by dozens of cats. John told us that these cats used to live at the Colosseum, and I remembered when I had visited on my previous trip to Rome that the colosseum had, in fact, been occupied by lots and lots of cats. They weren’t in the way or anything, mostly basking in the sunshine where the old marble seats used to be, but as you scanned the colosseum you would see cat after cat dotting the horizon.

Evidently the city officials had grown tired of this and relocated all of the cats to this square/dig site, where they appeared to be living quite contentedly.  They weren’t feral or aggressive, they just didn’t belong to any humans. Some of them would walk right up to you and pose for photos, hoping for food.  It was quite a remarkable sight to see the dig site itself as well. Mere feet below the city streets of present-day Rome lay an entire world, and this was a spot where you could bear witness to that.

As we finished up the tour, we returned back to our starting point and ended at a pub to have a drink with John. He had invited the whole group to stay but only a few of us did; the solo travelers and young folk. We sat and drank and talked and when John revealed that he had a scooter, Stephanie was thrilled. She wanted a ride on that scooter, and John was happy to oblige her. 

He took her for a quick spin around a few blocks and then returned to take me for a spin. He had helmets for both rider and passenger; the big, bulbous, goofy looking kind that were white with a red and green stripe, mimicking the Italian flag. We took pictures on the scooter and were ready to call it a night, but John was a little disappointed and clearly had been hoping for a rendezvous with one of us. 

I can see how this would work on one tourist girl after the next; a sunset walking tour with wine, followed by a scooter ride through the cobbled streets of Rome, but neither one of us was into him so we thanked him for the fun evening and headed out. I was grateful that John had goaded me into joining his tour group though, because otherwise I never would have gone on the sunset walking tour and made my new friend. Stephanie and I exchanged numbers and made plans to meet up the next day.

Our plans happened to coincide nicely, and Stephanie and I both wanted to head to the Spanish Steps, do some shopping, and just wander around the city. We made our way to the Trevi Fountain and tossed our coins over our shoulders into the water, making secret wishes to Triton and his seahorses. We visited the Pantheon and its accompanying fountain, then continued on to the Piazza Navona, a former stadium from the first century (!) that now serves as a busy marketplace lined with shops and restaurants, and featuring the Fountain of the Four Rivers in the center. This is another massive statue featuring four river gods, each representing a river from the four continents that had been reached by the Roman Catholic church; the Nile (Africa), the Danube (Europe), the Ganges (Asia), and the Rio de Plata (Americas).

We had a delicious lunch featuring the best calamari I’ve ever had, followed by gnocchi and a delicious pasta and washed down with an Aperol Spritz. Pro tip: Aperol spritzes are a great deal in Europe, as they are heavily featured during happy hour and usually run you about five Euros. We ate our meal facing the bustling square and listened to the musicians playing their violins, cellos, and stand-up bass, while children danced around them and dropped tips into their instrument cases as instructed by their parents. It could have been a pretty romantic scene, but we were both glad just to have the company of a new friend with whom to enjoy it. 

After our late lunch (we were really living like Italians) we wandered down towards the Tiber river, and on our way we stepped into a shop that featured mostly clothes and accessories, but had a glass case of what looked like marijuana. Stephanie and I saw it and exchanged a look. It was relatively inexpensive and even though we couldn’t fully communicate with the shopkeeper to get an answer as to whether or not it was, in fact, marijuana, he seemed to think that it was and it was cheap enough that we took a chance. Turns out Stephanie and I were both part time stoners who were jonesing for some weed! We took our purchase and set off to find a market that would sell rolling papers and a lighter, then found a place to sit down by the river. 

Unfortunately, Stephanie and I are both terrible at rolling joints, so after way too long we were left with a pretty lumpy, unevenly filled, puffy-ish joint. Didn’t matter, we were stoked. It was time to light it up! The papers burned so unevenly though that it would burn all the way down one side and not through the middle, the actual flowers, and we were stumped yet again. We returned to the market in search of something pre-rolled and found some pre-rolled cigarrillos. We bought a pack and emptied one out, filling it with our “weed”, and that sort of worked. 

We had also purchased a bottle of wine from the market and this time decided to sit up on the bridge over the water and watch the sunset. We sat on the wall of the stone bridge, attempting to smoke our makeshift joint, giggling, drinking our wine straight from the bottle, and just having a care-free evening. Passersby glanced at us but didn’t seem to be bothered by the open container or whatever you would call what we were attempting to smoke. The Romans were just relaxed, making their way home or to dinner, and we were greeted with smiles. 

And then one passerby stopped to talk to us. She was a beautiful blonde woman in her late 20s-early 30s, and she walked over to us to ask if we knew a good place to grab a drink nearby. Her name was Sanne, (she told us it was okay to call her Sunny once we mispronounced it a few times) and she was from Amsterdam. Stephanie and I laughed at ourselves as we explained to her that we were just tourists trying to figure out how to smoke this sad little joint and invited her to join us. Ironically, Sunny didn’t smoke, but she did share some of our wine with us. We told her we weren’t sure where to find a drink but that we were happy to wander with her until we found a watering hole, and just like that, we became a trio. One drink turned into many, and before we knew it, we were drunk and dancing at a bar, as if we had known each other for years. 

Stephanie and I had booked a tour to go to the Vatican City the next morning. You what’s not a fun place to be when you’re hungover? The Vatican. It’s crowded, it was hot, and you’re on your feet ALL DAY LONG. Of course we had booked a tour and not just walked through on our own, which had perks like skipping the line that wraps a half a mile around the street surrounding the Vatican, but also meant that we were moving much slower through the museum instead of just skimming at our own pace and sitting down whenever we saw an open spot on a bench.

By the end of the tour, we had seen all the sights; St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, the Pope’s balcony. The hangovers had worn off and mostly fatigue remained. We grabbed a quick bite and then stopped by a market to grab more wine and cups and headed to a park to meet up with Sunny. Once we arrived at the Caffe del Pincio, a beautiful park up on a hill affording beautiful views of the city, we were pleasantly surprised to find an outdoor stage with an Earth Day music festival taking place, apparently free of charge. We found a spot on the grass and drank our wine, alternating sitting on the grass with dancing near the stage, watching the sunset from atop the hill, and watching fire dancers in the piazza down below attracting crowds near another architectural masterpiece in the center of the square. 

It was accidentally picturesque, and again, would have been incredibly romantic with a partner, but was honestly just as enjoyable with my newfound traveler friends. We wandered down the hill, found a restaurant, and treated ourselves to the most decadent meal I’d had yet in Rome. Fried artichoke, caprese salad, pasta, gnocchi, lamb, gelato, and tiramisu. We shared all of the dishes and a couple bottles of wine, and it ended up being a pretty perfect day. 

That was my last night in Rome, and so I parted ways with my new travel partners in crime. We stayed in touch for the next few months and I even met up with Sunny again when I visited Amsterdam a month later. Stephanie returned home to New Jersey to start her new job, resuming life as usual. We aren’t in touch much anymore, but I wouldn’t hesitate to call either one of them the next time I’m traveling, and they are both welcome in my home any time they pass through California.

Being single in a romantic city isn’t bad, especially when you find friends to share it with. This was my first time traveling completely by myself, and though I had been a little intimidated by the prospect of it at first, as I just went about my plans and sightseeing, companionship found me. It’s a unique experience traveling alone, and even though mine was short, I had more fun with my unexpected new friends and just playing it by ear than I ever could have imagined. Chalk it up to one more life experience I got to have as a single woman that I never would have had if I were coupled up. See? This single thing isn’t so bad after all. 

Joao

Two years ago I went on a four month trip to Europe and South Africa. It was one of the best experiences of my life and given the current state of things, I’ve been doing some serious reminiscing back to happier times. In particular I’ve been thinking about Italy, as it’s been in the news so much recently and is one of my favorite places in the world. Lucky for you guys, I had a romance (well, not so much a romance as an interaction worthy of the blog), so for this week’s post, we’re going to Italy! 

I met Joao on my first night in Florence. It was one of those encounters where at first, you’re all about it and by the end you can’t get out of it fast enough. You know those ones? Yeah. Joao is a Brazilian DJ living in Florence who knows my friend Danielle, who just so happened to be visiting Florence while I was living in Croatia. This was geographically convenient so I told her that I was going to meet her there whether she liked it or not.

Danielle lived in Florence for a couple of years so she knows the city, she knows locals, and I was excited to experience Florence more like a local and less like a tourist! Her dad was joining her for the trip too, but would be staying with his friend Bernardo, and I met them both along with Danielle at the train station. Danielle and I got our own cute little Airbnb close to the Duomo and city center, and we were so excited for our girls’ weekend in Firenze!

We arrived in the afternoon and went straight to our apartment to freshen up, drop our bags, and then headed out to meet up with her friends. We found them at an Irish pub, which made me laugh for some reason (When in Rome, ya know?) and immediately we had drinks in our hands and were headed downstairs to grab a table. Danielle caught up with her friends, and after a while there were a few more dudes who had showed up and were hovering near our table. One of these dudes was Joao. 

Joao had dark eyes, long eyelashes, tan skin, a cute smile, a flat brim hat, and a sexy accent. We didn’t talk much at first, but after a few drinks everyone started getting out on the dance floor. The music that was playing wasn’t great, so Joao hopped on the sound system and started to DJ, and pretty soon he had everybody dancing. Every once in a while he would pop out from behind the DJ booth – well, folding table – to come dance with me and Danielle. 

The visits got more frequent and the dancing got more, um, friendly, if you know what I mean. Joao was a very good dancer. I’m pretty sure that’s a requirement if you’re Brazilian, so I shouldn’t be that surprised, but I was really enjoying myself. It may have had something to do with the seven or so whiskey sodas that I consumed, but I didn’t mind when Joao would run over behind me and grind on me like we were teenagers in a club. I would flirt with him and then turn around and dance facing him for a bit, all smiles and batting of the eyelashes. 

He was so much fun and so into me. He was really putting on the moves, coming in closer and closer, and I think he even snuck in a couple kisses. I say I think because, again, seven whiskey sodas. Normally I don’t like kissing dudes I’ve just met in a room full of people, but I think it’s safe to say that my inhibitions were lowered and I was onboard with this Italian romance thing. Or Brazilian, same idea.

I was slightly missing the mark on this “When in Rome” thing but I guess that’s how it goes when you’re in Florence. 

As the night wound down and we were getting ready to leave, Joao was glued to my side. He insisted on walking us home, and since he lives in Florence and would theoretically know his way around, we let him. BIG mistake. As I mentioned before, Danielle used to live in Florence and was fairly certain she knew how to get us home, but Joao didn’t seem to believe her. He usurped the navigation responsibilities from her once we had left together and led us a different way home. AKA, he walked us in circles. Thirty minutes later, Danielle was pissed off, Joao was confused, and I was officially over it. I did not want some Brazilian dude in my bed any longer, I just wanted to go pass out. Joao kept insisting we go this way or that way, and finally Danielle put her foot down. 

“Our apartment is that way!  I’m going that way. Kelly is coming with me. You do whatever you want.” We went her way and miraculously, were home in five minutes. Joao followed us, and at this point it was so late (4am, maybe?) and had taken us so long to get home that I didn’t have the heart to just send him on his way. So he came up with us. 

Our Airbnb had one bedroom and a pullout couch in the living room. Danielle took the bedroom and Joao and I were on the pullout. I tried just going to sleep but he wasn’t having that. Not in an asshole way, he just really wanted to make out with me. I tried to convince myself, this is how you have stories to tell about adventures in foreign countries! And I made out with him. 

Clothes started coming off, including his hat, and that was when I realized how little hair he had. And how drunk he was. Whoa buddy. His eyes weren’t focusing and he was trying to go down on me and I just had to keep stopping him because it was AWFUL. 

I suggested maybe we skip all of the “foreplay” since he couldn’t get it up anyway. (I didn’t say that last part out loud.) I was not disappointed, in fact I was relieved, and very much ready to go to sleep. He was not. He kept pawing at me way too aggressively and I wondered how an attractive, 35-year-old man had made it this long without learning how to touch a woman. 

I told him to stop. He was drunk and didn’t get it. I told him to stop again and then I did the thing that girls sometimes do when they’re with a dude who won’t take no for an answer. 

*Disclaimer: This is not a date rape story. I do not in any way mean to imply that. I am referring to the amount of enthusiasm that some men have when they take a woman home and they don’t want to admit that maybe they’re just not sober enough to be a good lover. They don’t want to give up, so we have to force their hand. I did this by faking sick, because I’m a grown up.  

I pushed him away from me and suddenly grabbed my forehead and my stomach. 

 “What’s the matter?” He was concerned.

“I don’t feel well.” I took a dramatic pause for effect. “I think I’m going to be sick.” I got out of bed and went to the bathroom. I brushed my teeth and washed my face and honestly, probably threw up too but I don’t really remember. I had a lot of whiskey on a semi-empty stomach. 

I really took my time in there before I came back to bed, hoping he would be passed out. He wasn’t. I climbed into bed and rolled over onto my side with my back to him. He slid right over and spooned me. I told him to stop. He backed off. Then he cupped my ass.

I told him sternly, “Do not touch me. I don’t feel well and I’m going to sleep.” He backed off. I passed out pretty much immediately, slightly dreading the awkwardness that would be my morning. Fortunately, Joao was up at 7:00 and had to leave for work! He got up and dressed and then woke me to kiss me goodbye. It was sweet, he was gone, and I fell back asleep until 11. 

Eventually I got up and wandered into the bedroom to find Danielle. We were both just wrecked. Heavy drinking takes a heavy toll when you’re in your early thirties. She asked me about Joao, I told her, she cringed. We showered and headed out. Luckily, we were in Florence, city of cappuccinos and amazing food, two of my favorite things when I’m hungover. 

As the day went on, Danielle kept getting messages from Joao asking what we were doing and if I was with her. I checked my Instagram and saw that he had added me and sent me a message. He wanted to meet up again. I could think of nothing worse. We blew him off and told him we had plans of our own. Which was true. 

We walked around the city, saw a string quartet doing covers of current pop hits, ate amazing truffle pasta with white wine, shopped the outdoor markets, and met up with a friend of hers for a drink. Later we went for dinner with Danielle’s dad and his friend with whom he was staying, Bernardo. Bernardo was a very kind Italian man with two sons, a fifteen-year-old and a twenty-one-year-old.

The restaurant was as if I had designed it from own imagination of wonderful Italian stereotypes; cozy and warm, dark wood and light walls, all the guests seemed to know each other and the waiters, their charming Italian accents drifting through the air, house wine flowing, and the most delicious plates of food I had ever seen drifting endlessly out of the kitchen.  

Everyone at dinner spoke Italian except for me, so I sat quietly at my end of the table and just listened, drank wine, and ate a ton of food. No joke, someone actually commented about how much food I was eating and I laughed. It’s not every day I’m eating actual Italian food in Italy, so I ate as much as I could. (I ended up gaining what felt like 10 pounds in the week I was in Italy, and it was totally worth it.) 

I was seated at the end of the table next to Bernardo’s sons, and they spoke a tiny bit of English but were both pretty shy. Andrea was the older one. He was blonde with blue eyes, scruffy, very tan from working construction all day. He seemed very sweet and was checking on me to see if I needed more wine. Of course I did, but I was too afraid to ask the waiter. 

The waiter was a friend of Bernardo’s, and he was also the owner and chef of the restaurant. The head honcho. A large, jovial, sarcastic Italian man who made fun of everyone at the table and was the star of his restaurant. He also didn’t speak English so I was terrified to flag him down and ask for another white wine. I was also embarrassed to be drinking white wine in Italy but red wine was giving me killer heartburn and it was a sacrifice I just had to make. Andrea must have seen the internal struggle I was having because he asked the waiter for me, and so I got my second and third glasses of wine. 

We ate multiple courses of food, presented family style and spread all over the table. There was a charcuterie plate the size of a small coffee table, piled with meats and cheeses. There was bruschetta and paté, grilled vegetables, bread, and olive oil, and then there were the main courses. The owner asked us if we wanted pasta or meat and naturally we said both please. He brought us a Florentine steak (when in Florence! I did it!) seared to perfection, medium rare, dripping with juices and delicious flavor. Then he brought us three pastas. There was a pistachio pasta that I had thought was pesto at first, light green in color and creamy in texture, a meat ragu over pappardelle, and a short rib pasta that melted in your mouth. I was in heaven. 

I thoroughly enjoyed that meal, and since we were there with Bernardo, the bill was taken straight to and handled by him. I thanked him graciously and emphasized how much I had enjoyed everything, and he chuckled, saying he “could tell I enjoyed the food.”


The next night while we were out, I got a text message from a number I didn’t know. It was Andrea, the older son from the night before who had ordered me more wine when I was too afraid. I didn’t know how he would have gotten my number, but then I remembered Bernardo got it when I had met him at the train station the first day. Andrea had asked his dad for my number and wanted to go out with me. 

I was flattered but surprised since we had hardly spoken to each other, but maybe I came off as mysterious since I couldn’t say very much? Noted. He wanted me to have a drink with him. I told him I had plans with Danielle that night to go see her friend’s band play and that he was welcome to join us. He did, and Bernardo and Danielle’s dad also came. We watched the show and had a few drinks, then the dads went home and we all hung out and had more drinks. A LOT more drinks. 

Joao had been messaging me on Instagram all day, wanting to meet up and “do what we didn’t get to do the other night.” Yikes. Needless to say I was not into it, but I felt bad so I invited him to the show. He showed up so late, after the band was finished, and we were all standing outside drinking and smoking, comfortable and drunk and having a good time. Joao just stalked up silently and stood next to me, as if claiming me. He didn’t greet me or anyone else, he just looked pissed that I was there with other guys. It was instantly uncomfortable.

I said hi to him and asked if he wanted a drink. He said no rather aggressively. (Anti-whiskey-dick maneuvering, perhaps?) So we stood there and I continued chatting with the group while he awkwardly sulked nearby, sober and angry. After a while we went inside and Andrea wouldn’t let me or Danielle pay for a single drink, yet somehow I had more shots? I hadn’t seen Joao in at least thirty minutes and assumed he had left, until I went back into the other room and saw him just sitting silently by himself, looking very pissed off. 

Danielle and I decided it was time to go home, and Andrea and Joao took that as their cue to follow us out. Oooh, this is awkward… It was clear they were both thinking they were going to spend the night with me, when in reality, there was no way either one of them was going to. However, Andrea was way too drunk to drive home, so we told him he could sleep on our couch. Joao seemed to take this as an invite to stay over too, and he literally followed us all the way home. I thought he was being chivalrous and walking us home and thanked him for doing so, stating it with some finality to let him know that he was not invited in. Not to mention we had barely spoken all night, so I didn’t feel that I had given him any reason to believe he was going to end up in my bed that night. When we arrived at the front door of our Airbnb, Danielle had had it, and she laid down the law. 

 “Kelly and I are going to bed. Together. Andrea, you are sleeping on our couch because you are way too drunk to drive and I’m not going to let you sleep in your car, if you even know where that is. Joao, it’s time for you to go home.” 

I stood next to her in the doorway nodding to confirm her words. Joao looked at me, hoping for another answer, and I shook my head.

“I’m going to sleep. With Danielle.” I said as sternly, yet gently, as possible. He was pissed. He huffed and puffed and glared at Andrea, who was completely oblivious to the situation, then stormed off. Ciao Joao! Danielle and I put Andrea to bed on the pullout couch. He reeked of cigarettes and whiskey and had no idea how he got there the next morning. 

Our last day in Florence was spent tasting over 30 flavors of gelato at the Gelato Festival in Piazzale Michelangelo. I have to say, ending my trip eating spoonfuls of gelato on a beautiful day in a picturesque square with a statue of the David and a view overlooking the entire city of Florence was the perfect way to end my trip, and I could almost forget about my attempt to “Do as the Romans do”, or rather, just do a Roman. Besides, I would have a chance to remedy that when I headed out for Rome the very next day. 

Corona

Wow. This week. Just, everything about it. What a time to be alive! The stock market is crashing, Coronavirus is striking fear and panic into the hearts of apparently everyone, and that obnoxious primary election is still going on. On top of that, it’s raining in Los Angeles. 

(Yes I know we need it but no I don’t like the rain. That’s why I live in Los Angeles.) I can’t help but look at my cat, basking in the sunshine, completely unaware of all of the world’s problems, and envy him.

It’s a tough time to be a person who pays attention to the news, and I don’t know about you all but I’ve been waffling between feeling like I must follow the news closely and be up to date on all of these things, and wanting to fly to Costa Rica and just bury my head in the sand forever. Balancing that fine line between my need to be informed vs. the temptation of pure, blissful ignorance. For real though, can you imagine how cheap it would be right now?! (I just checked. Roundtrip from LAX is like $200. Adios amigos!) 

Okay I’m not really going to check out and disappear to a beach somewhere, as much as I’d like to, but I don’t really know how to feel about all of this. I find it no coincidence that just as I was beginning to consider re-downloading the dating apps and getting back out there, Coronavirus struck. That’s right, I’ve been on a dating hiatus, I just didn’t tell you guys. I realized after some reflection that my attitude and expectations surrounding dating were 100% negative, and that’s no way to go into something and achieve any kind of success.

So I stepped back, deleted the apps, and have been doing a lot of personal development and introspection. More on that in another post, but the point is, I was finally ready to get back out there and then the universe was like oh, ummmm….. maybe not right now? I can’t imagine a worse time to date than in the midst of a global flu outbreak that can be transmitted by physical contact, which, if we’re being honest, is literally the main objective of dating. 

As of yet I had been mostly unaffected by Coronavirus. Of course I’ve seen the news, the memes, the fear-mongering headlines, but I hadn’t been too concerned with it myself. I’m a healthy thirty-something woman with a strong immune system, no children, and I don’t cross paths with the elderly on a regular basis, so I had no real reason for concern. But then I left my apartment and went out in public, and wow did that change my perspective. 

I needed some groceries so I took a trip to Costco. Big mistake. Do NOT go to Costco right now. First of all, the parking lot was full. I mean FULL. There are few things as disheartening as a completely full Costco parking lot (well, there are more and more now), and when I used to live nearby I would just leave and come back another time. But I had driven thirty minutes to get here, so I was committed. 

I parked way in the back and headed in. There were hardly any carts left, which was alarming by itself, but then I was greeted by an employee wearing a mask over his nose and mouth and handing out disinfectant wipes for everyone to use on the cart. As I wiped the cart down and made my way into the store, I saw another employee directing traffic straight to the back of the warehouse. 

“Water, straight back. Water, straight to the back” he kept repeating. 

It kills me a little bit every time I go to Costco and see people carting around cases of bottled water anyway, because it is so incredibly wasteful and unnecessary, but it was just compounded this trip. Almost every single person in there had two cases of water in their cart, except for the few of us who clearly had just come to Costco to do some regular shopping and were caught off guard by all of these people preparing for disaster.

But seriously, my personal feelings about single use bottled water aside (it’s a waste of money too ya know), is there a water shortage that I don’t know about? Yeah, I know, Coronavirus. But water? If we were preparing for a natural disaster like an earthquake or something that might cause an extended power outage or disrupt the availability of running water in our homes, then it makes sense to me. But, a flu? Have people forgotten that we have running water in our homes? And that we can drink that water? Brita or not, that water is drinkable. This aspect of the doomsday mentality was making no sense to me. 

I continued on into the store and to my left was a wall of workout clothing that was all on sale. Leggings, sweatpants, shorts, sweatshirts, etc. Okay Costco, I’m pickin’ up what you’re puttin’ down.  If you are going to get the flu, you might want some moisture wicking clothing to wear while you are suffering through a virus that will make you sweat your insides out. *That’s not really how it works, please don’t quote me and start telling people that Coronavirus will make you sweat your insides out. 

As I approached the back of the store, I could see that they had an assembly line of employees helping with distribution of the cases of water, which was conveniently located next to the toilet paper (or, where the toilet paper used to be.) 

Anyone else finding the irony in people bulking up on both water AND toilet paper? Just me? 

Last on my list was Emergency. I drink one every day (Coronavirus or not) and just happened to be out. I couldn’t find it. I asked an employee if they had any left and he muttered “We’ve been out for like three days,” implying that either I was an idiot for beginning my Coronavirus preparations so late, or that everyone else was an idiot for having started at all. *Cue sassy eyeroll… Oh, and there’s no one here with me to match it. 

After I left Costco, my mood was less than enthusiastic. But once I got home and had dinner with a friend and watched part I of the Bachelor finale, I felt better. Maybe not better, per say, just distracted, which I believe is exactly the point of shows with no intellectual value to them such as the Bachelor. 

Here, turn off your brain and watch this! There are no political opinions here, no references to climate change (except that the finale was taking place in Australia and I kept thinking, were they there while the wildfires were burning?), no news updates about Coronavirus, and no one telling you that the stock market is now empty.

That’s it folks! We’re completely out of stock(s)! They got cleaned out with the bottled water and toilet paper. 

The next day I ended up going to a concert with a friend. I hadn’t thought that I was worried about Coronavirus, but suddenly, sitting in that theater filled with people I didn’t know, rather, whose handwashing habits I didn’t know, I became pretty paranoid. 

We grabbed some wine from the bar and headed to our seats, and the bartender offered us lids. She said it was so that we wouldn’t spill, but once we sat down, I realized I wanted to keep the lid on mine in cases and germs happened to float through the air and land in my drink. Five minutes later, I swear I felt something spill on me. A light spray of someone’s beverage from up above? We were sitting in an upper balcony but there was one more above us, and I was certain that either; 

a) An infected person had just spilled their drink on me or 

b) An infected person had just sneezed on me from above

Either way, AAAAAAHHHH!!!

I sat there frozen for a moment, but no one else around me seemed to notice anything. I was suddenly very glad that I left the lid on my drink, as whatever it was that did (or didn’t) spray down from above could not have landed in my cup of wine. (And yes, I kept drinking my wine.)

But then I grew very conscious of not touching my face, and of course whenever you think about not touching your face you have all of those little phantom itches pop up and you just must scratch your nose, eyes, ears, etc. I was just using my knuckle or the back of my hand, trying to remember if my hands had come in contact with anything besides my wallet when I had paid for the drinks… I was suddenly glad to not be holding hands with someone, imagining the little oven that would cook up germs in the space between our sweaty palms.

Later, there was a very loud bass drop and I thought it was an earthquake for a quarter of a second. Oh no! Coronavirus AND an earthquake?! Maybe I should have stocked up on bottled water after all! Every muscle in my body tensed up as I braced myself, then I realized it was just the massive sound system and not a natural disaster and I let go of my neighbor’s hand. Sorry about that. Purell?

I don’t know about the rest of you Angelenos, but I am a little traumatized from those two earthquakes last July and whenever a big truck passes by my apartment and rumbles a bit, I brace myself and look over at my earthquake kit, waiting patiently for me by the front door, that contains enough for me and my cat, not another human, and serves as one more reminder of my eternal bachelorette-dom…

I calmed down after a few minutes; the initial paranoia passed. The show was great. (Keane was the band in case you’re wondering, and they are great live.) And now I’m back to not stressing about it. But I’m also sitting in my apartment right now, not exposed to anyone’s germs but my own. And a fair amount of cat hair, if I’m being honest, but at least I know my cat doesn’t have Coronavirus. Can animals even get Coronavirus? 

*Googling… 

According to CNN, “There is currently no evidence that pet animals can be a source of infection of COVID-19 or that they can become sick.” Phew.

Okay, the pets are safe for now. I still can’t decide if I need to be panicked about this or if I should treat it like the regular flu. I have always been a bit of a germaphobe and washed my hands a lot, so I’m already fulfilling most of the hand-washing guidelines. I will admit it’s nice to sing myself a song every time I wash my hands though. (I’ve been using “Oops I Did It Again”) 

So far I’ve been adhering to my regularly scheduled life. But maybe I should hunker down? I feel like if I was in a relationship there’d be no question: We are going to Netflix and chill until this is all over. The only germs we’re swapping are with each other, baby! But I’m not, so it’s completely up to me. Oh! The sun just came out and now it’s a really beautiful day and all I want to do is go outside…

I’m conflicted. I’m sure some of you are too. Let’s just try and keep ourselves and each other safe. Pro Tip: I read something that said if you can’t afford to get tested for Coronavirus you can go donate blood. It’s free (obviously) and they have to test your blood before they give it to another patient, and they will inform you if you have any bloodborne illnesses. So you can feel good about helping someone in need and also confirm that you don’t have Coronavirus. Or at the very least, you don’t have to pay money to find out that you do have it… But you don’t.  

In the meantime, I’m not going to download the dating apps just yet, in case you were wondering. If this is the universe telling me to take some more time off, it’s a bit aggressive but I feel like I should listen to it. So the hiatus continues. And that’s okay! I’ve gotten quite accustomed to all of this self-care and free headspace. Besides, I should be grateful that I’m single, because that’s one less set of germs that I have to worry about…

WWGD?

Yesterday was Super Tuesday. Politics are all I can think, hear, read, or talk about. It’s exhausting and mostly depressing and I am desperate to feel hopeful again. I’m a Democrat, as you may have guessed by my feelings of hopelessness, but wait! Before you go running for the hills and click the X outta here, this is not going to be a political bashing of any candidates. No, I do not like Trump, and I voted for Bernie, so you know where I stand, but this is not a political blog, it’s a dating blog, and dating is about love, and love in general has taken a hit. I’m blown away by the polarizing environment of politics today and the effect that it’s having on not just dating, but the way that we treat each other overall. 

When I was younger, I always wished that I could have grown up in my parents’ generation. Yes, they are Baby Boomers, and I know we’re all out here making fun of Boomers today, but that’s a very recent development, at least in my book. I admired the marches and the protests and the organization and the changes that the Boomers made happen. I was fascinated by the idea that my Dad went to Viet Nam as a sniper, but disagreed with the war after returning and became a hippie. Like, full on with the long hair, mustache (the mustache stayed, the long hair did not), and even a headband in some old pictures I’ve seen. 

When he returned from Viet Nam, the political tension in the US was so high that he wouldn’t even tell people that he had been in the Army. And he had two Purple Hearts! Soldiers returning from home were treated badly, as if the war had been their idea, their plan, for their benefit. 

I can’t think of many things more disappointing than shaming a young man (or woman) returning from serving our country in a foreign land; laying his life on the line, being hit by bullets and shrapnel, watching men in his squad be killed, having to kill, not being able to trust the ‘hungry’ children coming towards you for fear they were tricking you and holding a grenade instead of an open hand, all because it was their duty. They were serving their country, following orders, and being greeted not by welcome the home parades that the WWII vets received, but by angry protestors flipping them off, yelling at them, and blaming them for the war. It was misplaced frustration that got taken out on the soldiers, and I fear that it’s happening today in a different way. 

No, we’re not taking it out on soldiers anymore (at least not that I know of), but we are taking it out on each other. We live in such a polarizing time with such a, I’ll say, unique president, the likes of which we’ve never seen. People are angry and frustrated, scared, hopeless. And yet other people are proud, holding their heads high, supporting the president, and espousing his rhetoric. Some people feel like we are at the end of the world, and others feel like this is the world they’ve always wanted. How can this be? How can we feel so vastly different about the state of our country today?

I know it’s impossible to get everyone to agree, but when did we become so angry at each other? Politics have always been a touchy subject, but never in my life have they been a subject of such disparity that I would count a person out as a potential suitor based on who they support politically. But I do now. That’s hard for me to say out loud, or write down, for all of you to read, but it’s the truth, and I know a lot of other people who feel the same way. We’ve reached a point of what feels like no return; where if you believe one ideology and I believe the other, we are such fundamentally different human beings that we will never get along. Maybe it’s a perfect filter, or maybe it’s becoming too big of a division.

My boyfriend in college voted for Bush both times. I didn’t like it, but it wasn’t a deal breaker. We didn’t yell at each other or shame the other one for their beliefs. We talked about why we felt the way we did and learned that we actually agreed on a lot of things, and disagreed on a few. 

These days, I don’t think it’s possible for a Bernie/Warren supporter to date a Trump supporter, and it’s coming from both sides. We both have had so much hate and anger and frustration thrown at us from both parties that we can’t even keep our heads on straight. And now, the fighting is spreading into the Democratic party. It’s not good enough to be a Democrat; if you support a different candidate people are now coming after each other and telling them how they’re wrong. It’s stressful and it’s too much!

I’m not saying that liberals and conservatives need to go out on dates and marry each other, but I do think we need to reassess where our anger is being directed. Right now, we’re directing it at each other. Trump supporters hate liberals; Liberals hate Trump supporters; Warren supporters hate Bernie supporters; Biden supporters hate Warren and Bernie supporters, and the list goes on. We all hate each other, or are at least acting like we hate each other, and I don’t know about you guys, but the cost it’s taken on my mental well-being is heavy. 

I am an eternal optimist. Well, at least I try to be. These days I have to remind myself of that. We have a lot happening right now, with climate change, healthcare, border security, foreign wars, homelessness, and the list goes on and on. We all have our opinions, but instead of sharing them or discussing them, we shout them at each other, usually on the internet, and we place the blame on the people who disagree with us, rather than the people who are actually doing the governing. 

And the result has been separation, alienation, and black and white lines drawn between who we will even SPEAK to and who we will not. Which brings me back to dating. Not just dating, but the interactions that we have with people every day, whether they’re strangers, acquaintances, friends, or family. It feels like a minefield that we have to delicately navigate for fear of blowing up a relationship at any moment. Friendships are ending, family members are writing each other off, and love, in general, is leaving our lives.       

If you’ve read my blog at all in the past, you know I haven’t had the best luck in love. But guess what? I keep trying. I have not and I never will give up on love. And just because I don’t have romantic love in my life currently doesn’t mean that I don’t have love in my life. I have SO much love in my life! My family, my friends, my cat! (It’s actually Remi’s 10th unofficial birthday today/8th adoption anniversary, in case you were wondering.) I love the mountains, I love the ocean, I love music, I love dancing, I love writing, I love laughing, I love being healthy, I love where I live, I love my freedom, and I love that I get to be alive at all. And I’ll bet a lot of you love those things too. (Not cats, I know. Don’t worry I love dogs too I just don’t have one right now.) 

Maybe if we can focus on these things that we do love, that we do have in common, that we are willing to fight for, we can find some common ground again. We can find our way back to a society that respectfully disagrees, rather than hatefully argues. 

I know it’s unrealistic to think that we’re all going to realize that “What?! You love sunsets too?!” and then all will be right with the world. That’s not what I’m saying. What I’m trying to say is that we are all focusing on the negatives, the differences, the things that separate us. Maybe we could try to focus on the positives, the similarities, and the things that unite us. 

My Dad was an optimist. He came back from Viet Nam when he was 19 years old. He went through hell while he was there and he was treated with disrespect when he returned. But you know how he chose to look at life? With gratitude. Gratitude that he was alive; that he was free, that he got to go to school, that he got to play the drums in a band, that he could choose where to live, who to love, that he had two healthy daughters, a happy marriage, and that he could take care of his family.

He kept a burned, warped old can on his desk, and when I was a kid I asked him about it. The can was in his pocket when he was hit by shrapnel from a nearby soldier stepping on a mine. The can saved his life by taking the hit instead of his femoral artery. It was a can of apricots. He kept the can to remind him every day how lucky he was, but he never touched apricots again.

My Dad died in 2012 of a brain tumor that may have been partially caused by his exposure to agent orange. (I’m not making the claim, but there is a study happening that’s examining the connection between Viet Nam vets with brain tumors and their exposure to agent orange.) 

I often wonder what he would think of the state of our country today. I wish that I could ask him how to stay positive; that I could turn to him to pick me up when I’m feeling beaten down by the hate and anger that surrounds us all today. But I can’t. So I want to do what I think he would do.

WWGD? (What would Greg do?) 

Find the good, spread the love. 

It’s okay to disagree with people, but it doesn’t mean you have to treat them badly. It doesn’t mean you have to hate them. It doesn’t mean you don’t have anything in common with them either. We are going through a tough time as a country, there’s no doubt about that. So let’s try to make it a little easier on ourselves, on each other, by leading with love instead of hate. If you can’t muster up love (understandable), maybe just neutrality. Let’s try not to jump straight to anger when we hear something that differs from our beliefs. 

Besides, if my Dad could be a soldier and a hippie, a drummer and a lawyer, a dog lover and a cat lover, all in one lifetime, I think that we can all find some common ground.

Daniel

This is the story of a symbiotic relationship. You know, a mutually beneficial agreement between two living things, who agree to exist together and perform services for the other one that they cannot perform for themselves. (Well, in this case they can, but it’s really not the same.) It started out as mutualism, where both individuals benefit, but then took a turn towards commensalism, which is where one individual benefits and the other is neither harmed nor helped. It’s all very scientific, isn’t it? Okay it’s not really I’m just talking about friends with benefits.

We met in an acting class, like probably half the FWB/failed love stories in Los Angeles. He was the new guy. I was the stage manager. Our teacher told me I should assign him to a scene to get him involved in the class. Naturally, I assigned him to mine. Partly because I was a good stage manager but mostly because he was very cute. He was about 5’11” with an athletic build, blue eyes, dirty blonde hair, and just the right amount of stubble framing his perfectly dimpled chin. I know butt chins/dimpled chins aren’t for everyone, but I’m a fan. My first “love” (or so I was convinced when I was 14) also had a very pronounced butt chin, so apparently I have a thing for them. 

My friend Fred and I were doing a scene for class from Will and Grace where Grace has taken a lover, named Daniel, and he is leaving in the morning. Naturally Will catches Grace trying to sneak Daniel out and they all exchange sarcastic pleasantries as the two men meet and Will teases Grace about her life choices. I was playing Grace, Fred was playing Will, and we just needed someone to play Daniel. It was a small part, perfect for a cute new guy. So I cast him in the role. Side note: His real name is not Daniel but I’m just going to keep calling him that for both clarity and to protect the innocent. 

We met at my place for rehearsal and I liked Daniel immediately. He was funny and easygoing, eager to learn the scene for class. In the script, Daniel kisses Grace on the cheek when he leaves, so naturally we ran that part a few times. There was chemistry, even with a cheek kiss. Ooooh that’s fun.

Fred later told me he thought that Daniel and I were going to hook up after he left rehearsal. We didn’t, but that made me chuckle. Just the idea that I could have electric chemistry with someone that was so obvious to another person made me feel like a celebrity, or some version of myself that people noticed and wanted to know more about. 

When we did the scene in class, it was well received. Laughs all around. But our teacher wanted Daniel to kiss me on the lips. 

“What is this kiss on the cheek? I want to see passion!” he implored. 

Uhh, twist my arm! I. Was. THRILLED. Also nervous though because I had to do the scene again, right there in front of the class, and actually kiss someone that I was very attracted to for the first time with an actual audience. But we did it, and it was a good kiss. I knew I wanted more kisses after that. And we got accolades for our performance, although if I’m being honest, it wasn’t ALL a performance. 

My birthday came soon after and a bunch of us went out drinking and dancing. My sister was in town and was supposed to share my bed with me, but she got kicked out by a drunk me and Daniel crashing through my bedroom door. We froze; stared at each other. I gave her that look that little sisters give their big sisters when they want them to do something for them; silently pleading with my eyes, both for her to leave the room and also not be mad at me. She of course did because she’s an amazing big sister, and as soon as she headed out to the couch and closed the door behind us, we just stared each other down, hungrily. 

I waited for him to kiss me, but he just looked at me. I laughed semi-impatiently. 

“Are you gonna kiss me or what?!”

As the uncertainty left him, he grabbed me, pulled me into him close, and kissed me hard. It was the most passionate kiss I had ever had. My only movie kiss, where we couldn’t wait to rip each other’s clothes off and devour one another. And we did. Four times. Four great times. In the morning, in the hungover sex haze, I happily rolled over to wake up to him. So we did it again, and lay there kissing until he said it; the sentence to shatter my fantasy: 

“We should probably just keep this casual, since we’re in class together and everything.” 

My heart sunk. All the butterflies flew away. I wanted to protest, to tell him that I really liked him, tell him that I hadn’t had chemistry like that with someone in a really long time, maybe ever; tell him that I’d like to give things a shot between us. But of course I didn’t. My reply was that of the passive, people pleasing 26-year-old that I was; “Oh, yeah, for sure. That’s totally fine.” 

And so it went. We became friends with benefits. Yay! Every girl’s dream!

Me secretly pining away, wanting more, but at the same time genuinely enjoying our friendship. I never resented him, never felt like he was using me, never slept with him if I didn’t want to.  We were actually very close. Neither of us really dated other people, just casual flings. We tended to come back to each other. Then he got an actual girlfriend for a while and was so uncomfortable around me he apparently forgot how to even be nice to me. We spent less time together. They broke up; we came back to each other. We were writing together, filming sketches and other projects, having fun, being productive. 

Then we stopped seeing each other (naked anyway). The last time we slept together I felt like he just half assed everything. It felt like the kind of sex that old married people who are sick of each other are supposed to have, not the kind you can justify shoving your feelings aside for the sake of a passionate rendezvous for; not the kind we had started out with. There was no effort, certainly no checking to make sure that I had been taken care of. He just took care of himself and rolled over and went to sleep, and that was the first (and last) time I would sleep with him and regret it. 

I didn’t sleep with him again after that for years. We stayed friends and fortunately it didn’t ruin anything, but I just didn’t want to sleep with him anymore. My romantic feelings had long faded and I was happy with our comfortable friendship. Then he met someone and dated her for a while. A serious girlfriend. I was happy for him but also a little sad. Maybe we never would get our shot, but did I even want us to have a shot? Wouldn’t we have tried it already if we were going to try it?

Then they broke up. I never knew her name or anything about her, just that she lived in Chicago and he went back and forth a lot to see her. After the breakup he returned to LA permanently and reached out to me, wanting to get together. I didn’t actually know what his relationship status was and assumed we were just meeting as friends. But he made sure to clear that up. 

When I saw him, he seemed different, at least in how he approached me and our time together. He treated me like his girlfriend; paying for me, inviting me to an intimate birthday dinner with his close friends, holding my hand, and having passionate, albeit drunken, amazing sex with me. Oh, we still got it…

I thought, maybe this is it? Are we giving this a real shot? I was excited but trying not to be. I hadn’t even considered the possibility of us dating in a very long time, but all of a sudden it seemed like a reality. They always say you’ll find love when you’re least expecting it…

He called me and texted me more in the next few days, both witty banter and making plans to come see my standup show at the end of the week. Then all of a sudden, radio silence. I texted him to see if he had gotten his tickets for my show yet, not wanting to sound clingy but genuinely needing to know the headcount for my show. 

His response made me cry laugh. Mostly cry, but also laugh; both at myself for letting me get my hopes up; for allowing him to make me want something that I had long since dismissed and hadn’t even wanted anymore, and at the utter finality of the situation. I just couldn’t believe my luck.

What did it say, you’re wondering?

“Hey Kel, I just found out that my ex-girlfriend is pregnant and I have to move back to Chicago.” 

Ooooof.

Gut punch. Game over. 

My mind was spinning. What do I even say to that? Was he serious? 

Sooo, does this mean you’re not coming to my show? 

LOLZ

Sorry…?

No wait, congrats?

Wait SERIOUSLY?!

Whew, I really dodged a bullet! 

Enjoy the Windy City?

Womp, womp, womp, another one bites the dust.

And that was the end of our symbiosis. He was never supposed to be mine. 

Ian

Ever been through a really long dry spell and made a bad judgment call as a result? Yeah me neither. Except for this one time… In consideration of the fact that my definition of a “dry spell” and your definition of a “dry spell” may be quite different in terms of actual amount of time passed without having sexual intercourse, “hooking up,” or “getting some,” I think we can all agree that dry spells are no fun, and they sometimes fuck with your head a little bit (aside from other, obvious body parts.) Well, that was me on this particular Friday. Enough time had passed that my standards had been lowered. I was going out to a bar with my girlfriend, I didn’t have anything I had to do in the morning, and I was determined to find a guy at the bar. And I did. 

His name was Ian. He was not conventionally hot, but there was something about him that I liked. He was on the thin side, with long salt and pepper hair (PS: apparently I’m going through a long-haired guy phase), a weird hat that I guess could be described as somewhere between a fedora and a boater hat; it had a brim all the way around but was flat on top. What do you call that? Anyway, he was also wearing a weird hoodie that looked like a poncho with sleeves. Yeah, it was a look. But he had this cute smile and he kept catching my eye from across the bar.

My girlfriend Steph was not a fan. I told her I thought he was cute and she chuckled, “We do have different types, don’t we?” We ended up moving around the bar and were standing closer to Ian, when an old guy approached trying to squeeze into the bar to order a drink. We helped him order and started making conversation and he said he had a single son we should meet. He just couldn’t believe we were both single (!), and looked around the bar to ask us who we wanted to talk to. Quite the wingman, if I’m being honest. Coincidentally, Ian and a friend were standing right behind our new old friend, and he tapped them and introduced us all. And bam, we were off to the races. 

Ian and I talked for a bit and I discovered that he’s a skier. So THAT’S what it is! Maybe I could tell he was a kindred spirit? Or maybe his outfit just suddenly made sense to me; he was dressed like a ski bum in LA. Idunno. But naturally, we talked about skiing for a while. He got a little competitive and arrogant though, which was annoying. He automatically assumed he was a better skier than me, even though I was practically raised on the slopes of Squaw Valley and my sister was literally a pro-skier and he was a weekend skier from SoCal. But I digress… This isn’t about skiing egos. This is about me not walking away from a guy who is clearly annoying me. 

A little while later Steph decided to call it a night. This was after she’d had two vodka martinis plus a vodka soda and I’d had two Manhattans plus a whiskey soda. She asked me if I was good to stay and I said yes. I wasn’t that into this guy, but I wasn’t necessarily out either. 

I stayed and talked with Ian for a while and then I asked him if he was staying or going. I was ready to leave. I was drunk, I had found a target, the target was seemingly interested, and I was ready to move to the next step. Why stay at the bar until 2am when you already found your contender at 10pm? He was a little weird, a bit awkward, and I had to be real straight forward with him. So I asked him point blank, “Do you want me to come home with you?” And he said “Yes.” Then he added, “I’m just going to go home and listen to old music. Do you like old music?” And I said, “Yes I do.” I didn’t realize that he meant that that was literally ALL he wanted to do. 

When we got to his place, I was a little surprised. Ian had mentioned to me at least three times each that his parents were wealthy when he was growing up and that they both had died very close together. So, I was expecting a pretty nice place. No, that’s not why I went home with him. I wasn’t planning on knowing this guy long enough to reap the benefits of his so-called wealthy deceased parents, but the expectation had been set. So when we arrived at his apartment and it was small and dark and had a bit of a weird smell, I was surprised. 

I can’t even express to you guys just how much this guy talked about his dead parents. Look, I have a dead parent, so I get it. It sucks. But he just kept bringing it up. He would mention again that they had only died a few months apart, that they both had cancer, that they were the best parents a boy could ask for, that they paid for his college and when he dropped out they weren’t even mad about him wasting their money, then they paid for him to go to music production school or something like that, and now he works as a ski boot fitter so I don’t know how he ended up there but that would have been a more interesting addition to the story than him telling me for the umpteenth time that his parents are both dead. He literally had tattoos on both of his forearms with the day, hour, minute, and second that each of his parents had died.  I’m all for honoring their memory and whatnot, but that’s a bold move, Cotton. 

When we arrived at his place Ian walked over to his wall of records and asked me what I wanted to hear. I was in no mood for trying to impress some hipster with a record collection, of which I would never have sufficient knowledge to impress him, so I just threw out some of my old favorites that my Dad used to listen to; Paul Simon,  Neil Diamond, Fleetwood Mac, Mamas and the Papas, etc. I really didn’t care. I wasn’t there for the music anyway. But boy, was Ian laboring over this music selection and slighting me in the process. He said my preferences were just like every other woman’s; based on what my dad liked, blah blah blah. I jokingly told him to stop judging me and then he got all defensive about me judging him for being judgmental. I dropped it for the time being. He put on Paul Simon and finally joined me on the couch for more backhanded comments and awkward conversation about his dead parents. 

I went to the bathroom and had a moment of reckoning; IS THIS WORTH IT?! I stared at myself in the mirror, a little disheveled and drunk but not bad. I wanted to go home. But I also really wanted to end this dry spell. I had come this far right? I looked at myself in the mirror and said (yes, outloud) “You’re staying.” Then I walked back out into the living room to join him on the couch and immediately regretted it. 

He said something else judgmental, reminding me that he was superior to me in all ways, and I told him I was just going to leave. Then he got all sad and tried to get me to stay, and I told him I’d almost left four times. “FOUR?!” he just kept repeating, shocked that his cynicism and arrogance weren’t sweeping me off my feet. He walked over to me and kissed me, and then I was really confused because he just stopped after a second and walked back around the coffee table to sit on the couch and never touch me again. I was growing impatient. Not that I had to have it right then and there because I couldn’t resist his charms, but because if we were going to do this, I wanted to get to it and either get it over with or be pleasantly surprised and actually have an orgasm that I didn’t give myself. 

It was not to be. He just stayed on the couch next to me and didn’t kiss me again. I ready to go home. Done hearing him talk about his dead parents. I had even mentioned that my dad also passed away from cancer while he was talking about it at some point, trying to connect with him, and moments later he asked me if I still had my father. “Um, no. He died of cancer. I just said that… Well, I think I’m going to go.” I pulled out my phone to call a Lyft and he smacked it out of my hands like a flirtatious 11 year old. But still, no moves were made. I was done. I picked my phone back up and called my Lyft, and Ian wanted to make a game out of trying to guess the license plate. (In case you doubted my complaints regarding the caliber of conversation we were having.) I played along, gave him hints as to each letter and number, and when I arrived at the letter ‘K’ I thought, this should be easy. 

“Okay, this is the first letter of my name.” He didn’t say anything. He sat paralyzed on the couch next to me, facing forward, not looking at me. I turned towards him and raised my eyebrows. “The first letter of my name.” Still nothing. And then, a very uncertain “L?” I didn’t say anything at first. I legitimately couldn’t tell if he was just slighting me again a la “The Game,” or if he really didn’t know my fucking name. Turns out he really didn’t know my fucking name. Not even the letter it started with. Not even like a “I know it starts with a Ka-sound, like Katie?” Nothing. 

“Do you really not know my name?” I looked at him. He was so uncomfortable I almost laughed but I was too annoyed to laugh. “Seriously?” He was racking his brain. “I did know it at one point in the night but I forgot it.” Wow. “Okay well I’m going now.” Good thing I called that Lyft already. 

“I’m so sorry, I don’t want you to be upset. I like you too much for you to be upset.” Clearly, I can tell how much you like me by the fact that you’ve been insulting me all night and you don’t know MY FUCKING NAME. He stood up and insisted on walking me out. I told him there was no need. He followed me anyway. The Lyft driver went to the wrong street, of course, dragging out this awful farewell. Ian was feigning concern over the driver’s ineptitude and saying he liked me too much to let me get in the car with someone so incapable. Once the driver arrived, I just walked away from Ian. No hug, definitely no kiss, no nothing. I saw him open his mouth and thought for a split second that he was going to ask for my number, but then again, what would he even save it under?