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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?”

Opinion Piece: Gun Control

I know this site is supposed to be about my dating mishaps and whatnot, but I just couldn’t sit down and write about something that feels so insignificant when my brain is consumed with something else. This is not a finger-pointing, argument inciting piece. Just my opinion on something that has made me feel very sad, and very afraid.

There were two more mass shootings over the weekend. This is a real headline from CNN.com: “At least 31 killed in US weekend mass shootings”. US weekend mass shootings sounds like a roundup of the activities that happened over the weekend. It doesn’t sound like what it really is, which is mass murder. And we’ve all become desensitized to what that actually means because we are all so defensive about our positions on gun control, the second amendment, and what we think is the answer. All we do is argue now.

It breaks my heart that there were 31 people murdered for absolutely no reason over the weekend. 22 of them were just shopping at Wal Mart at 10:30am on a Saturday. Not to mention the shootings that happened in Chicago the same weekend that were hardly discussed because, well, they weren’t mass shootings, just regular shootings.  

I have been reluctant to post anything about these shootings because I don’t want to get into an online argument with someone who has a different opinion than I do. That doesn’t mean I am closed minded or ignorant to the fact that my opinions are just that; opinions. They are not facts. I know that. No one’s opinions are facts, and yet many people today treat their opinions as such. 

It could be the subject of gun control, healthcare, racism, or immigration. No matter the topic, people are just arguing with each other. Everyone thinks their opinion is the only logical way to look at a situation, and so none of us will listen to what anyone else has to say on the subject. There’s no more discussion or healthy debate, let alone compassion or mourning of the victims, just arguing and finger pointing and everyone is calling everyone else racist. I can’t take it anymore. So I am being vulnerable and sharing my opinion with you, and hoping that it will be met with understanding and not contempt.

I watched a video online yesterday that was a response to the calls for gun control. Did I feel the urge to comment and add my opinion? Only for a brief second. Then it passed, because I didn’t want to engage in an ongoing comment squabble with a stranger who is never going to listen to what I have to say about my own feelings. I’m not saying that I’m right or that I have the answer to this question of how to solve mass shootings. Of course not. But I do have a response to this video that I saw. 

The man was saying that all of these mass shootings are happening because the people doing them are pure evil. Agreed. Then he said that it’s wrong to take guns out of the hands of the people who need to defend themselves. That’s where he lost me. That might make sense if the sought-after gun control had anything to do with the concealed carrying of a handgun, for which you are registered and have a license. I’m assuming that is what this man was referring to when he was saying that the only way to fight people with guns is to have more guns so we can shoot back at the shooter when these attacks start. 

I have a couple issues with that train of thought. First of all, not everyone wants a gun. Not everyone knows how to use a gun. I have never owned one, I don’t want to, and I don’t want to live in a world where if I don’t carry a handgun around all the time it is now my fault if I get murdered at a shopping mall. Or a movie theater. Or an outdoor festival. Or a concert. Or a school. Side note; are children supposed to carry guns now, too? 

Second of all, even if I bought a handgun, was trained in how to use it, and carried it with me wherever I went as devotedly as I do my cellphone, that’s no match for an AK-47 assault rifle. By the time the shooter is shooting, who amongst us, aside from trained snipers and maybe James Bond, would have the reflexes and wherewithal to not only avoid being shot, but pull out our handgun,  locate the killer, train it on the active shooter who is presumably walking and spraying bullets, and shoot to kill? That is some summer movie blockbuster shit, and as someone who has no combat experience or training, I’m gonna go ahead and say that no, I would not be able to do that. That’s like trying to kill someone with a knife who is throwing a hand grenade at you. 

Now, if that same killer was also carrying a handgun and had to take his time aiming so as not to waste his limited bullet supply, then yes, it’s reasonable to believe that a civilian with some proper gun training might have a chance to take him down. But even then, that civilian has to make the choice to go after the killer rather than fleeing the scene. What if they’re with their family? Are they going to get their children to safety or are they going to stay behind and kill this guy? That’s a decision I hope I never have to make. 

And yes, I’ve heard the argument that outlawing guns won’t help because the people who want them will get them anyway. But how do we know that? We’ve never tried it. (Yes, I know they passed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 through 2004 but that only applied to weapons manufactured after the date of the ban’s enactment, so still somewhat limited.) Regulation as a barrier to entry or purchase is the simplest way to deter someone from obtaining what they desire. 

For example, a 15-year-old kid trying to buy alcohol at the convenience store. He tries on his own, gets turned down. So maybe he finds an older friend with a fake ID? No luck. So, he resorts to shoulder tapping. Maybe he finds a stranger who will buy him a six pack of beer, but maybe he doesn’t. And there are a lot of people who would give up before that.

I’m not saying that our legal restrictions of alcohol are perfect, but they do limit the amount of people acquiring alcohol who are not supposed to have it. If you have to go out of your way for something, it is a deterrent. How many hand grenade attacks have you guys heard about in the news recently? Or not recently, for that matter. I haven’t heard of any. I looked it up and as it turns out, hand grenades are classified as a Destructive Device, or DD. According to Wikipedia;

“In the United States grenades are classed as destructive devices, a form of Title II weapons under the National Firearms Act. They must consequently be registered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, are taxed, and are illegal in states that ban Title II weapons. While in principle it is possible to legally obtain and possess hand grenades in some states, in practice they are not generally available.”

Maybe that’s why we never hear about mass hand grenade murders. They are regulated. Does the military need them? Absolutely. Do civilians need them? No. Also, how are AK-47s not classified as Destructive Devices? 

I did not grow up in a gun loving household and so I am fully aware that I have very different perceptions of guns than those who did. I have friends who are hunters. I dated a guy who liked to go to the gun range or go skeet shooting from time to time. I tried it with him a couple times. It wasn’t my favorite thing, but I never stopped him from doing it. 

My Dad was a sniper in Viet Nam. It wasn’t something he talked about often but it obviously had a profound effect on him. The only guns he owned were his rifle that he kept from Viet Nam, which never left the back of his closet (and was never loaded), and a pellet gun that he would use to scare off any bears or coyotes that might come across our property and pose a threat to our pets. That is the gun culture in which I was raised. I know that other people have different experiences with guns, and that’s why I am not here pronouncing my feelings facts.

I know that there are people out there who have had their lives saved by guns, or have saved the lives of others with guns. They can do a lot of good. I understand how much that can affect your feelings towards guns. But we just have to remember that everyone’s experience is different. Proclaiming that the solution to this problem is that we all carry our own weapons around is not a realistic response for a lot of people. 

I support your right to carry a concealed weapon if you are licensed and trained and if that makes you feel safe. I do. Everyone deserves to feel safe. But I personally do not want to carry a gun, and I don’t want to live in a country where I feel like I have to.  So, for those of you who grew up around guns and don’t want them taken away, please just understand that a lot of people did not grow up around guns and they are very scary to us. Please try to understand that we want to feel safe too, but we all have different ideas of what makes us feel safe. 

In my opinion, gun control is not about attacking anyone’s rights, it’s about trying to make us feel safe. Please don’t take that personally or hate those of us who rely on the police and the military to do the shooting. Not all of us are prepared to be our own militia, and I don’t think that we should have to. 

If you have read this all the way through and want to leave a comment, opinions and feelings are welcome. Insults and arguments are not. I’m not stating anything here as a fact, so please don’t respond as though I am. All I want is for us to try and understand each other a little more, because whether we remember it or not, we are all in this together.

Bob

Let me tell you guys a story about my very first online date. Ever. Of all time. Where it all began. And the rest, as they say, is history – or an endlessly frustrating path of hope, excitement, disappointment, confusion, ghosting, and just a sprinkle of creepiness. 

I cannot remember this guy’s name so I am going to call him Bob. I choose Bob because I don’t want to overlap on the names of my blog posts and it seems unlikely that I will go out with a man in his 60s who wears Hawaiian shirts and loves Jimmy Buffet. (Is that not what you guys picture when you hear the name Bob? Just me?) At least not until I’m also in my 60s, wearing a lei and drinking a margarita at a Jimmy Buffett concert alongside him. 

Anyway, Bob and I met on OKCupid. That was the first online dating website I ever signed up for and it was at my roommate’s behest. I had broken up with my college sweetheart of five years and it was time to get back out there. So I did. Reluctantly so, but I did. 

At the time I was waiting tables and worked almost every single night, so I had to set up a weekend day time date with Bob. We agreed to meet at a for breakfast on the Venice boardwalk. I was nervous for my first online date ever. I was also nervous to just get back out there in general after being in a relationship for so long, but I had to leave the nest sometime. 

And… I was late for our date. Not horrendously late, but in my twenties I was pretty much 10-15 minutes late to any social engagement, and about 5 minutes late to work. Without fail. But I was charming and an otherwise excellent employee so I always got away with it. 

I was just about to text him and let him know my adjusted ETA when he texted me, and let me know that he had arrived. 20 minutes early. 

Shit. 15 minutes late isn’t THAT bad, unless you’ve already been waiting for me for twenty minutes, then it’s like I’m 35 minutes late and that makes me feel like a stinking hot pile of garbage. 

Not the best way to start a date, with my tail between my legs, rushing around Venice trying to find parking, and hustling my ass over to the café and breaking a sweat in the process. Hi, I’m your late, sweaty date. Nice to meet you, Bob.

I think he could tell that I felt pretty badly about being late because he was kind and didn’t make any snarky remarks. But still, the dynamic felt like he had the power and I had to prove myself to him. 

I ordered as quickly as I could and we got to the small talk. Yay!

Bob worked as a tugboat captain, which I found very amusing. That’s one of those job titles I’ve only ever really heard of in cartoons, and I had some questions to ask him about it. He filled me in on his days of running the ship (literally) and towing boats in and out of Long Beach Harbor, and it turned out to be not as wild of a job as I had imagined. He just tugged boats all day. Pretty self-explanatory. We moved on to other subjects.  

Bob was a big, buff guy, so it was clear that he kept active. But he did have a bit of that top-heaviness going on. You know, when they have the legs of a gazelle holding up the pecs and arms of the Hulk? Yeah, it was like that. 

I studied personal training in college and have always been fascinated by the human body, so we got onto the subject of kinesiology and working out. He mentioned he had torn his ACL a few years back and I asked him how he did it. He did not want to tell me.  Like, really didn’t want to tell me.

I immediately thought of all the scandalous ways he could have injured his knee that he wouldn’t want to tell me on a first date. 

“Come on, tell me the story!”

“It’s not a good story” he just kept saying. 

“The more you say that the better the story gets in my mind. You should probably just tell me. “ 

He eventually acquiesced, sighed, and told me.

“I hurt it getting out of a chair.” 

“Like, you fell out of the chair while you were having sex with someone?”

“No, I was just getting up.”

“Was it a spinny office chair and somehow you lost your balance?”

“Nope. Just a regular chair. I didn’t fall down. I just stood up and tore my ACL.”

“So, you didn’t step on a marble or anything?”

He stared at me.

I blinked. He was right; that was not a good story. 

But it did explain the disproportionate top and bottom situation he had going on. 

“I told you it wasn’t a good story.”

I laughed. 

“You weren’t kidding. That’s a really boring story. You’ve got to come up with something better than that.”

He looked at me like I was crazy.

“Just make something up! Who cares? You could switch it up every time, have some fun with it! You tore it skiing in the Swiss Alps… You tore it having a silent disco outside on the beach… You tore it falling off a yacht… umm, Pirates…???”

My voice trailed off. I was not getting any implication from his body language that he was even mildly entertaining the idea of making up tall tales about injuring his knee. Swashbuckling or not. 

It’s possible he thought I was crazy starting in that moment. 

Since he wasn’t amused by my wild imagination, we moved on. Turns out he wasn’t amused by much of anything. The conversation was a bit dry, just like his knee story. 

He did seem to enjoy mansplaining to me why it was better to sit next to each other at a bar than across from each other at a table when on a first date. You see, ladies, he explained to me that we would have easier access to touch each other and invite physical chemistry if we were sitting next to each other. But since there was a table between us, our physical touch was restricted.

Uh, ya think that was an accident? You don’t have to tell me how to strategically position myself so as not to get groped by a stranger I met on the internet. Women have been utilizing the table as a pseudo-bodyguard/buffer for centuries thank you very much.

But I digress. The date went on a little longer, but it did not improve. When it was time to leave, we split the check and he walked me to my car. I was parked at a meter and we stood on the sidewalk for a moment as we bid each other farewell, forever. 

All was well and done, and then we had our awkward goodbye hug. I think it was obvious that I didn’t want a kiss from him because he didn’t try anything. I was in the clear! Until we pulled away from each other after the hug. Bob’s face suddenly contorted and he looked at me like I had punched him in the gut. 

“What was that?” he asked me.

“What was what?” I had no idea what he meant. 

“That face you made.”

“I didn’t make a face at you.” I genuinely did not make a face at him.

“You just looked at me like, ugh, eww.”

“I sure didn’t.”

He looked at me sideways; distrusting. 

“I guess that’s just my face.” I shrugged.

He stared at me for a second like he wanted to either say something more or just punch me in the face, but couldn’t because I was a woman. I took that as my cue to turn around and walk to my car. Date over. And that was my introduction to online dating.

If only he’d seen the face I made when I got into my car by myself. 

Scott

I went out on a frozen yogurt date the other day. I like to live dangerously. This was actually my first Bumble date ever. My first Bee, if you will. His name was Scott and he was 37, white, cute, but also had this spiky circa 1999 hairstyle going. No frosted tips, but I wouldn’t have been surprised if he showed up wearing a puka shell necklace. 

He was one of those guys who looks very attractive in a couple of his photos and then somewhat questionable in the others. He ended up looking somewhere in the middle, but his hairstyle pushed him closer to the questionable end of the spectrum. Oh, and so did the weird thing that happened right before our date started. 

I parked on the street about a block away from the frozen yogurt shop and walked down the sidewalk. As I was approaching the shop, I saw a man who looked a lot like Scott (at least from the photos) standing next to a black SUV talking to a woman. He had the same spiky hairstyle, which is what caught my eye and made me think it was him. But then I saw him canoodling with the woman and kissing her goodbye. I quickly whipped my head away, not wanting to look like a creep. Well, I guess that’s not him…

I continued on towards the shop, crossed the street, and didn’t see my date so I grabbed a seat at one of the plastic tables out front. I sat for a few minutes and didn’t see anyone looking around for me. I did see the guy from the black SUV standing out front of the yogurt shop, but obviously that guy wasn’t looking for me. I waited another minute, and the guy walked right past me. He didn’t even look my way, which made sense to me and further confirmed that he was not, in fact, my suitor. 

I texted Scott. 

“I’m here. Just waiting out front.”

After a moment, I got a weird text.

“I’m standing right behind you.”

I turned around and who do I see, but the guy from the black SUV with the spiky hair who I just saw kissing another woman. Or at least, that’s what I was 100% convinced I saw. 

My brain could not compute. I couldn’t even pretend to gloss over or ignore it. I was almost speechless in the sense that I literally could not process what was happening, and since my brain couldn’t figure it out, I had to say something. The first words out of my mouth to my date were, 

“Wait… (long, confused pause) Weren’t you just kissing someone over there?”

He looked at me, likely trying to discern if I was serious or not. 

“What?” 

 I did not relent.

“Yeah, sorry, I know this is weird but I’m pretty sure I just saw you standing over there by that black SUV, talking to a woman, and then kissing her goodbye as I walked past.” 

He laughed uncomfortably. 

“Well, I parked over there” he pointed in the opposite direction of the black SUV.

“But I saw you standing over there looking around, and then I saw you walk by me while I was sitting here”

“Yeah, I was standing over there waiting for you. I was looking for you.”

“If you were looking for me then why did you walk right past me and not even look at me, or, I don’t know, say hi?”

“Well once you texted me I thought it would be funny to pull a prank on you. So I walked by you and stood behind you and that’s when I sent you the text that I was right behind you.”

Are you guys confused? Yeah, me too. Strike one.

At this point I was ready to just call it. I was completely turned off by him and figured he either had lined up back to back fro-yo dates and was just making out with another woman right in front of me, OR he was really offended that I would even suggest such a thing. Either way, I figured he probably didn’t want to have a sit and chat with me anymore. 

But he did. He motioned towards the shop and opened the door for me as I sputtered in confusion, apparently incapable of discerning whether I even wanted to stay or go. But he wanted to stay, and I knew he had driven up from the west side to Sherman Oaks, so I felt bad, and I stayed. 

I’ve never picked out frozen yogurt flavors so quickly in my life. Usually I take three sample cups (sometimes more, don’t judge me) and taste all the flavors that pique my interest. Not this time. Scott had the audacity to just skip right over the sample cups and hand me a regular cup. Strike two. Normally I would have grabbed them myself, but samples are for lingering and enjoying yourself, and I really just wanted this whole interaction to be over. 

Either I’m right and this guy was on another date and kissing someone else right before me, which made me mad and a little disgusted, or I was wrong and had accused him of something he didn’t do, which made me feel embarrassed and stupid. Either way, I didn’t feel great. 

So I grabbed my frozen yogurt as quickly as I could, threw some mochis on top and walked to the register. Scott was waiting for me with his frozen yogurt on the scale. He had the smallest dollop of chocolate yogurt and, like, one strawberry. Good thing I didn’t get my normal serving size of frozen yogurt…

Suffice it to say I was not in a good head space. I pulled my wallet out. 

“I feel like I should buy your yogurt, you know, since you drove all this way and I accused you of kissing someone else…” awkward chuckle. I was trying to lighten the mood, see if he could laugh about it yet, because if he couldn’t, we were not going to make it through this date. I got a half chuckle. More of a smirk, really, but he didn’t seem amused. 

We sat down at one of the tables inside because it was hot outside. One of those white, plastic, sterile tables with the same chairs to match. I hate those tables. It feels like I’m dining in a hospital cafeteria.

I asked Scott about his work, which got him talking, and since he works with writers we had a pretty good flow to the conversation for a while. We talked about movies and TV shows and things seemed to be recovering. But then we had a subject change and took a U-turn right back into bumpy territory. 

Scott told me that he used to be a body builder. It did come up in the conversation naturally, but he turned out to be quite the humble bragger. He told me about how he just tried it as a hobby and ended up winning contests. And he told me about how his cheat days were on Sundays at Hometown Buffet. That’s fine, but I grew uncomfortable when he began his commentary of the other patrons at Hometown Buffet.

Now, I’ve never been to Hometown Buffet, but I used to be a pretty big fan of Sizzler in my youth, so I have an idea what goes on in there. Scott was commenting about how he would go in for his cheat meal and get gawked at. 

“You know, I would go in there all lean with like no bodyfat on me, and then, well, you know what kinds of people eat at Hometown Buffet…”

He looked at me to make sure I understood. Pretty sure I got the gist. We could have moved on from there. But he decided to go into greater detail, telling me a story about one woman who approached him and warned him not to eat there all the time unless he wanted to “end up like her.” 

He put his elbows out wide and put his fists on his imaginary “hips” that were a foot away from his body on either side. 

“She walked up to me like this – she had to be 300 pounds, these are her hips, they’re way out here because they’re so big you know – ”

And I’m just looking at him, nodding hurriedly and pursing my lips, looking at the grandmother and grandson sitting at the table next to us, hoping they couldn’t hear how callous this guy was being. 

“I told her, I don’t eat here everyday lady, just once a week” he continued, as he laughed smugly.  Strike three.

I’m just picturing this guy, sitting at a Hometown Buffet, alone, judging everyone around him, stuffing his face with cornbread and apple pie and telling himself how much better than these people he is. 

And then, he asked me if I wanted to see a picture of him in his body building days. Before I could answer he was swiping through his photos to find one. I sat quietly, waiting. He mentioned that he hadn’t put one of his body building pictures on his online dating profile and I quickly agreed that that was a good call. He looked surprised, so I clarified.

“Why would you? You said you did this 12 years ago. It’s not what you look like now anyway.” 

And then he showed me the picture. Holy shit. Not in a good way. This guy was HUGE. Like, biceps bigger than his head, quads the size of a tree, chest and lats so thick he couldn’t even put his arms down. 

I am aware that this is the desired physique when competing in body building, but I have always wondered what it’s like to be so buff that you literally cannot rest your arms by your side. I almost asked him, but I thought better of it. I did, however, tell him that if he had included that photo on his Bumble profile that I definitely would have swiped left. 

As it turns out, I should have swiped left. I wanted our date to be over but I couldn’t seem to make my exit until he said he had to go pay his parking meter so we could stay longer. I think I still felt guilty/stupid from the whole “Did I just see you kissing someone else or not?” debacle that kicked off our date. Oh, did you guys forget about that?  Yeah, that was fun. 

He never actually said that it wasn’t him, by the way, just that he had parked somewhere else. Honestly, I’m still not sure if I was being crazy or he was being shady. But I have to believe that somewhere, he and that other lady are enjoying themselves on a date at Hometown Buffet right now. 

Richter

As you know, I live in Los Angeles. As you also may have heard, there was a big ass earthquake – I’m sorry, TWO big ass earthquakes – last week. One was at 10:40am on the 4thof July (6.4), and the second one was the next day at 8:20pm (7.1). And HOLY SHIT. 

I have lived in California my entire life. I have slept through most of the earthquakes in my lifetime and been awake for maybe four. Two of which happened last week. And last week, they shook me to my core (pun intended.)

Now, you might be wondering why I’m writing about earthquakes on my blog about being single and wondering why the hell this is relevant… Well, nothing reminds you just how single you really are like being home alone with no one but your cat when a big ass earthquake hits. Also, it’s my blog and I want to talk about earthquakes. 

I don’t know about you guys, but whenever something alarming happens to me, my brain goes into hyperspeed searching for answers. It’s like an unhelpful C-3PO, coming up with both the best outcomes and the worst. For example, when the first earthquake hit, I was at home, getting ready to go meet my friends at the beach. I was grabbing my beach chair, sunscreen, and Hydroflask full of Tito’s, when the shelves and paintings on my walls started to shake. 

My first thought: What the hell are my neighbors doing?

I don’t live in the most sound-proof building.

Second thought: Oh, wait it’s an earthquake.

I didn’t move. I continued standing in my dining room. 

Third thought: This will be over any second…aaaaany second…

And then the rolling started (and no, I wasn’t on Molly). I mean my entire building started swaying beneath my feet. Not violent shaking, I didn’t feel rattled or like I was going to be knocked over, but the ground was swaying beneath me. 

It felt like being on a boat. A big boat. More specifically, a cruise ship on a windy day. Maybe after a banana daiquiri or two. You’re walking down the Lido deck and this big-ass boat hits a swell, and the whole boat moves but it’s so big that it’s not harsh or abrupt. You’re still on your feet. It’s smooth, but also disconcerting. Except when it happens on land, it’s a bit more unsettling. Boats are supposed to move; buildings are not. 

At this point, I decided I should do something to make myself safer. I looked around and saw my cat, sitting on the ground staring out the sliding glass door, seemingly unfazed. 

Fourth thought: Ummm, excuse me Remi but aren’t you supposed to have like a sixth sense and alert me moments before the earthquake?! Worthless.

I walked towards my bedroom and stood in the doorway. That’s supposed to be the safest place, although it has to be weight-bearing in order to be safe, blah blah blah I had no time to check so I stood in the doorway. 

The swaying continued. I started to get a little freaked out. 

Fifth thought: Wow this is going on for a long time. At least I’m dressed and I have shoes on. Doesn’t matter, it’s about to end. 

The swaying continued. 

Sixth thought: Oh my God what if this is it? Where’s my earthquake survival kit? It’s in the closet. Okay. STILL SHAKING?! 

I started feeling slightly lightheaded.

Seventh thought: I’m all alone! What if this is the big one and I’m all alone? Should I go outside? Should I stay here? Where is my cat? What if I can’t find him afterwards? OMG he’s not wearing his collar!!!

And then the swaying stopped. The building settled back in, and all was quiet. I popped my head back out into the living room to see if Remi was okay. The damn cat was sitting in the same exact spot. He had not moved. Wasn’t looking around to see what had happened, didn’t even have his ears back in that bitchy cat way. WORTHLESS. Adorable, but worthless. 

I waited for a second, wondering if I should alter my plans or do something because of the quake, but I couldn’t think of anything so I just grabbed my stuff and headed out. There wasn’t any activity for the rest of the day that I felt.

Fast forward to the next evening. I had gone out to sushi with my friend Michelle and we came back to my apartment to watch a movie. We were sitting on the couch, fully relaxed, when Michelle jumped up. 

“Do you feel that?!”

“What?”

I paused the movie and jumped up but didn’t feel anything.  

“It was just an aftershock.” Michelle reassured me. Makes sense. They say there are always lots of aftershocks happening after an earthquake. Actually, there are tiny earthquakes happening pretty much all the time. If you go to the Griffith Observatory, downstairs near the Leonard Nimoy theater and all the planet displays, they have a seismograph and a screen that shows all of the seismic activity that has occurred in Southern California over the last hour, day, week, and month. (Hot tip: it’s a lot.)

We resumed the movie. Not more than five minutes later, it happened again. 

“Do you feel THAT?!” Michelle asked me with a lot more emphasis.

Oh yeah, I felt it, even sitting on the couch. We both jumped up and did pretty much the same thing I had done the day before. We stood in the middle of my living room and waited for it to be over. When it did not end immediately, we looked at each other and started for separate doorways. I stood under mine again and Michelle was under the doorway directly across the living room from me. 

The floor started to sway again. We were on a boat in my living room for the second day in a row. I mean, I’ve always thought it would be fun to live on a boat, but come on. 

This time, Remi noticed. He hovered low to the ground and walked to the middle of the room, looking at me, then Michelle, then back at me. He was bugging out. I called him over to me but he just hunkered down even lower. Worthless.

The swaying continued for what felt like a long time. A VERY long time. I began to grow uneasy. I wouldn’t say that I panicked, but I was definitely scared. I have never been worried for my life during an earthquake, and this time I was. 

Michelle saw that I was starting to get scared. I was lightheaded again and my hands were shaking. I felt ridiculous. 

“Breathe, Kelly. Just breathe.” 

She kept me calm. We stayed in our doorways. I looked at my shoes, wondering if I should run and grab them or stay put. I thought about where my earthquake kit was in the closet. The shaking and the lightheadedness increased. 

Finally, it ended, and I realized I was crying. I was really scared. I can’t even begin to recount all of the thoughts that went through my head this time but I can tell you that they were not good. Except for one; I was so glad that Michelle was there with me! If this had been the big one, I felt infinitely better knowing that I had a friend there with me to navigate the aftermath. Not to mention, a tough, self-sufficient friend who I imagine would be a great partner to have in any disaster or apocalypse. She gave me a long hug, and it made me feel better.

And then it hit me; This is why I don’t want to be single forever. I want a partner to face the hard times with me. It’s not about needing someone to take care of me, it’s about having someone there to keep me calm when I start to freak out. Or vice versa. Because telling someone else to breathe reminds you to breathe. You can’t tell someone to calm down and then continue to freak out yourself. It’s just science. 

Once I drank some water and calmed down, I put my earthquake kit right by my front door, along with my cat’s carrier and a pair of shoes and socks. Just in case another aftershock hit that happened to be bigger than the original earthquake. I was shook. 

As I slept that night, I woke up for no reason. I sat up suddenly, and then felt my bed shaking. Or so I thought… My cat was lying on the bed next to me, dead asleep, but I think we’ve established that he’s not a reliable replacement for a seismometer. I waited a few seconds, contemplated jumping out of bed and putting on a bra, but the “shaking” stopped. I sat up for another moment, bug eyed, then decided to lay down. 

I couldn’t sleep. I now had adrenaline coursing through my veins from the activation of my fight or flight response, and since I had done neither, it took a while for my body to calm back down. Here was another moment where I wished that I had someone lying in bed next to me (other than my cat.) Even if it was a phantom earthquake, it would have been nice to have a human man wake up with me, laugh it off, and then wrap me in his arms and lull me back to sleep. Or, since we were already awake, maybe burn off that adrenaline in another way… 

Either way, it would have been nice to have someone there. 

Which brings me back to my original theme; I’m still single. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy, surrounded by wonderful friends and family, and very fulfilled. But I don’t want to be single forever. This was a stark reminder of that.  

So even though we took a slight detour this week into earthquake territory, don’t worry, next week we will be back to tedious, awkward, disastrous dating stories. I’m not giving up, because I’m not planning on navigating these fault lines all by myself. 

Levi

These days, we’ve all been ghosted. Well, most of us, I’m assuming. And if you haven’t, no need to share that with me. I’m super happy for you. If you’ve never been ghosted, you’ve probably ghosted someone else, so now you get to know what it feels like from the side that gets haunted. My first time was so long ago I had never heard of the term ghosting. I’m not even sure if it was in our lexicon yet, which is part of why it was so confusing to me. 

I met a guy on Ok Cupid. His name was Levi and he was a tall, cute redhead with blue eyes and a beard. A little beard, not a monster beard. More than scruff, less than a lumberjack. I was really excited to meet him and was actually looking forward to this date. 

We met up for dinner and he was even cuter in person than online. A reverse catfish! Sweet! That never happens! I was shocked and pleasantly surprised. He was kind and sweet and funny.  We hit it off instantly. We were talking so much we had to keep sending the waitress away because we hadn’t even looked at the menu yet. Yep, we were those people. 

After the third time, we decided we should focus on the menu and get the ordering out of the way. We started with cocktails. They had a craft cocktail menu; you know, the ones that have eight ingredients each and cost $14 or more. We both debated our drink options and when I mentioned a whiskey cocktail, his heart just about stopped. 

“You like whiskey?”

“It’s my favorite.”

“You should just marry me now.”

I giggled coyly. Rather, I laughed too hard and probably snorted, then gathered myself and attempted to giggle coyly. 

We finally selected our cocktails and when the waitress came back, we proudly welcomed her advances. Levi was a gentleman and ordered for me. Not in a weird, overbearing way, but in the polite, gentlemanly way. And he gave me a sexy little look when he ordered my whiskey cocktail for me, which made me blush. We already had an inside joke. *Swoon

Dinner was great. The cocktails were delicious, the conversation was flowing, we were laughing and having a great time. I do remember that I made a bad choice of entrée though. The restaurant had a salad with seafood that sounded good on paper, but was not so good in execution. When it came out, it was a big pile of shellfish in some sort of heavy, creamy dressing, sitting on top of a bed of lettuce. It was massive and the whole thing was white. Not the most appetizing dish. 

I was suddenly aware of the fact that I might not want to smell like shellfish if we were going to have a goodnight kiss, and I really wanted a goodnight kiss. I already knew that much! I didn’t want to be the girl who was “really great, except she tasted like frutti di mare when I kissed her.” That’s not an impression I want to leave behind. I picked at the salad, wishing I had ordered the pasta instead. Oh well! We were talking so much there wasn’t really time to eat anyway. 

We had another round of drinks and finished up dinner. I didn’t want the date to end yet, so when Levi asked if I wanted dessert, I said of course. Plus I was still hungry from not eating the Kraken salad. So we had dessert and coffee and just kept talking, staring into each other’s eyes, smiling. I was very excited about this human I had met. 

After dinner, for which he paid and I thanked him graciously, he walked me to my car. He held my hand as we walked to the car and I just about melted. I really liked this guy. I couldn’t wait to see him again. Levi kissed me good night and watched me get into my car and drive away. He waved at me from the curb and I just about melted again. OMG smitten.

I got home and told my roommate all about this amazing date. She was excited for me and I was thrilled when I got the “I had a great time tonight” text a little while later. All signs were pointing to MARRIAGE! Just kidding, I’m not that crazy. But I did worry quite prematurely about moving in with Levi and abandoning my roommate. Yes it’s ridiculous, and yes we’ve all done it. 

The next day, I waited to hear from Levi. I did not. Or the next day, or the next. 

I had remembered hearing movie and TV characters discuss a three-day rule when talking about when to call a date, and I figured that must be what Levi was doing. You know, because the movies are so much like real life. He was being patient, coy, and not smothering me. Although, I would have been okay with the smothering in this case. 

On the fourth day, I texted him. I was so nervous, my hands were sweating and shaking and I typed the message out forty different ways. I had my roommate read it and confirm that it was flirty enough but not too much. I was on the edge of my seat waiting for his response. Finally, it came. Levi told me he was going out of town for work for two weeks, but that he wanted to see me when he got back. Awww. Well, that’s good though, right?  

I know what you’re all thinking; Going out of town for two weeks? That’s a text that gives him time to not see you and allow for your feelings to hopefully blow over. Right? Isn’t that the move? Well I did not know that yet! When he told me that he was out of town but wanted to see me, I believed him. It was going to be a long two weeks, but at least there would be Levi at the end of it. 

I didn’t know if that meant I should wait for two weeks to text him, or if he would text me, or if we would stay in touch with phone calls, or any of that. Of course we hadn’t laid out a plan so I just waited a few days to see what he did. 

He did nothing. No calls. No texts. This was before Instagram so I couldn’t stalk him on there. I was beginning to lose faith. But I didn’t want to be one of those girls who complains about the man not being proactive but then is never proactive herself, so I texted him. Nothing crazy, just a casual “Hi Levi, hope your work week is going well” or something generically boring and insecure like that. 

No response.

Well, he did say he was working. And traveling. I’m sure he’ll get back to me when he’s not swamped. 

A day went by. Still no response. 

It’s amazing the things your brain will tell you when it’s trying to justify unexplained behaviors. When we are trying to alleviate the cognitive dissonance between: 

“I just had the best date of my life!” Vs.  “He never wants to see me again…”

Our brains will stir up some shit. 

Now, I’m an intelligent human being and I’m fully aware that not every person that I like is going to reciprocate my affections. But everything that had happened on our date had reinforced my feelings, and given me assurance that he did, in fact, feel the same way about me. Which is why this ghosting was so particularly baffling to me. 

I have been ghosted since, and I am fully aware of it when it happens now. Unfortunately it’s become a very regular, even accepted, part of our dating rules of engagement, so I recognize it now. But again, this was the first time it had happened to me. I was new to online dating, and Levi had held my hand and kissed me good night. My brain was not there yet. 

Some of my brain’s attempts to make sense of what was happening included:

Maybe he doesn’t have reception where he is.

Maybe his phone broke. 

Oh I’ll check OK Cupid and see if he messaged me there instead! He didn’t.

Maybe I have the wrong number? No, he did send me the one text… 

He’s probably sick and just can’t even deal with communication right now.

Maybe he’s in the hospital?

He definitely broke his thumbs.

Did he get into a car accident? Plane crash?

IS HE DEAD???

*Googles “Levi Los Angeles death” to check for obituaries without knowing his last name.

Sadly, the thought “He’s just not that into you” didn’t cross my mind for a full two weeks. It wasn’t until the date of his supposed return home that I finally let it hit me. He still hadn’t reached out, and he was definitely back in town (if he had ever really left town at all.) I sent one final text, welcoming him home with a casual hello, (I’m going fucking crazy over here being the casual subtext) and received – you guessed it – no response.

So that was it. I had to face the fact that Levi had, in fact, died a tragic and untimely death. And I was being haunted by his ghost. 

Why, what did you guys think I meant?

Jimmy

I met Jimmy in real life, at an end of season kickball party. I was there with my best friend Sara and her boyfriend Jordan, plus a bunch of other people we had played kickball with. It was a luau/tropical/nautical sort of theme, I think? Not quite sure, I just remember there were umbrellas in the drinks, people wearing leis, and a lot of boat décor. There were photo booths, bar games, and a dance floor, which, naturally, is where I spent most of my time. 

While Sara and I were getting down on the dance floor, Jordan walked over to us with a new friend, Jimmy. Jordan hails from Tennessee and was wearing a Tennessee shirt on this particular night.  This caught the eye of Jimmy, who also happened to be from Tennessee, and he had approached Jordan to say hi. They became fast friends, bonding over their love of their home state and likely complaining about the perils of LA traffic, and Jordan brought Jimmy over to introduce him to me and Sara. 

And that was it. Jimmy locked eyes with me, shook my hand, asked me to dance, and never left my side for the rest of the night. He was cute; tall, blue eyes, brown hair, not the best dance moves but all of the enthusiasm in the world. He was fun! We had a great time dancing and after a while we wandered over to play some bar games. He was holding my hand and leading me through the crowd, finding whatever game had the least amount of people, not so subtly trying to get me alone. 

He bought me a drink and after we played a game of corn hole (the actual bar game, that’s not a euphemism) and we headed back to the dance floor. I was looking for Sara and some of my other friends, trying to get a little break from Jimmy. But that was not to be. This guy was by my side no matter where I went. It was sweet, but I felt like I suddenly had a boyfriend when I had showed up single AF, per usual. It’s an adjustment to make when you feel like you have to consider someone else’s wants and needs and not just your own, and I felt like that even though we’d only known each other for an hour. If he couldn’t find me for five minutes he would ask me where I had been. Um, the bathroom. That alright?

He took me back to the dance floor and and then he really started pulling out all of his moves. He was holding my hands, pulling me closer to him, wrapping his arms around me, and trying to kiss me. Whoa, bud. I’m not big on PDA even when I’m in a relationship, so when someone I barely knew was trying to make out with me on the dancefloor in front of a bunch of people I did know, I wasn’t having it. I dodged him once or twice, giving him my cheek, and then I just told him, “I don’t want to make out with you in front of all these people.” He gave me his best puppy dog eyes. It didn’t work.

It was getting towards the time of night when I was ready to leave, and I found Sara to pow-wow with her. Jimmy was trying to come home with me and I needed her help. I had already told him that we were just going home, but when he found out I lived in North Hollywood he insisted on giving us a ride. Which was super sweet! The only problem was that Sara, Jordan and I were going to a diner for late night food, and I had already invited another guy I had been talking with to come meet up with us… And if Jimmy knew we were going to a diner, he would definitely want to come. 

Even though he came on a little strong, I did like Jimmy, so I wasn’t trying to flaunt in front of his face that I was going to meet up with another dude. But I also didn’t know how to get him to leave me alone. So, like the loyal BFF she is, Sara offered to fake sick. I told Jimmy we were going to call a Lyft and head out, and he still insisted on driving us home. So Sara, Jordan, Jimmy, and I left the party and drove back to NoHo. Jimmy dropped us off at my apartment and we said our goodbyes. Sara and Jordan rushed into the apartment (you, know, since she was “sick”) and I had a goodnight kiss with Jimmy before heading inside a few minutes later. Once the coast was clear, we walked over to the diner. We had pulled it off without offending Jimmy!

Fast forward a few days, Jimmy and I had a date set up. We were going to meet up at a bar nearby for drinks. It was a cozy little spot with dark, reddish lighting and some booth seating in the back. Oh, and 2-for-1 drinks until 10pm. We grabbed our drinks and Jimmy pulled me towards a booth in the back. We sat and started talking, and he leaned in for a kiss pretty quickly. Since we had kissed good night the last time we saw each other, it seemed like all he wanted to do was kiss me. He kept complimenting my lips, staring at them, describing them. It was flattering but also a little much. We weren’t surrounded by people I knew anymore, but we were still in public. 

Jimmy did not give a fuck. He came to make out. And don’t get me wrong, he was a good kisser. He had very nice, soft lips. We would kiss, then I would try and keep the conversation going. And then he would kiss me some more. He kissed me so much I swear I heard someone else in the bar murmur under their breath “Jeez, get a room,” and then I was mortified. I’ve never been the person who needs to be told to get a room and I never want to be. I mentioned it in a joking way and he said “Okay, well why don’t we?” 

Well, because I don’t want to. I was still seeing the other guy from the night Jimmy and I met, and I didn’t want to sleep with either one of them until I knew which one I wanted to actually date. Call me old fashioned if you must. So I told him no, and he said something to me that no one else has ever said to me in my entire life. 

I said, “This has been fun, but I’m not ready to spend the night with you.” 

He looked me dead in the eyes, stared into my soul, and said “Kelly, you are going to destroy me.”

I’m sorry, what the fuck? I waited for him to laugh at his own joke. He did not. It was not a joke, I repeat, not a joke. 

This guy thought I was going to DESTROY him? What does that even mean?! I had no idea what to say to that. I laughed nervously, trying to diffuse the tension. He said it again. He looked at my eyes, looked at my lips, then back at my eyes and said it again. 

I don’t know what that says about my character, or his for that matter, but I didn’t like being challenged not to destroy someone. Or TO destroy someone? I don’t even know. I have never been the type of person who runs through men, discards people like objects, or acts crazy enough to even warrant someone saying that to me. I did not know what to say.

I’m sure there are some people out there, both men and women, who would take pride in the fact that they could destroy someone, or use it as an ego boost; proof of their undeniable allure. But not me. I endeavor to leave people better than when I found them, not worse. Let alone destroyed. Not saying I’m perfect, but my intentions are genuinely altruistic.

He saw the shift in my attitude and tried to do some damage control, saying it was a compliment. Seriously dude? Compliment or not, I was done for the night. He walked me out of the bar and waited with me while my Lyft arrived. He kissed me goodnight and asked if we could go out again. 

“Why do you want to go out with me if you think I’m going to destroy you?”

“Because it will be totally worth it.” 

Oh, I see what’s going on here. HE was the crazy one, not me. He wanted to be destroyed. He was challenging me to fuck him up, but I was not up for the challenge. 

Andrew

I met Andrew in real life, but we didn’t hang out until we matched on Tinder. You know, when you notice someone but you’re not sure if they’re single and/or interested, so you don’t make a move in real life, but then you see them on Tinder and you’re like oooohhh, okay so they’re single… and looking… But are they interested? Only one way to find out! And you close your eyes and swipe right… and it’s a match! 

Andrew and I originally met a few years ago when I was living up in Tahoe for the summer. We played in the same softball league and he was always super friendly and would say hi to me. We had a couple of short conversations at the bar after softball games, but that was pretty much the extent of our contact. I always thought he was cute; blonde hair, blue eyes, glasses, a beard, and super friendly with a great laugh. 

Then, last summer when I was visiting my mom up in Tahoe, I ran into Andrew again. I had been out doing a little day drinking with my mom and sister. We put away a couple of Wet Woodies, which are delicious blended rum drinks with sexual innuendos for names; such as the Rock Hard Woody, Big Black Woody, and my personal favorite, Krake’n My Woody, which features Kraken spiced rum and a float of macadamia nut flavored rum on top. But I digress. The point is, they’re strong, we were tipsy.

When we got home, my sister wanted to keep the party going! She hardly ever drinks, so when she does, I try to be the best sister I can be and support her. But we didn’t have anything at the house that she liked, so we walked down to 7-11 to get some Fireball. While we were there it occurred to me that we might need some hydration and sustenance so I grabbed a Pedialyte and a DiGiorno pizza and hopped in line. 

And who do I see in line, but Andrew. I said hello to him and then realized I was literally buying Fireball, Pedialyte, and a frozen pizza on a Sunday afternoon, and grew slightly self-conscious.  He looked at my purchases, looked at me, raised his eyebrows, and said, “Looks like you guys are going to do some work.” I laughed. We chatted for a minute, then we parted ways. 

Once I was back home in LA, a few days later, I got on Tinder. And who do I see? Andrew! I stared at his picture, read his profile, and labored over whether to swipe left or right. Not because I wasn’t interested, but because I felt more vulnerable when it was someone I knew in real life. What if we didn’t match? Oh, that’s right, he wouldn’t know that I had swiped right if he didn’t swipe right, so it didn’t matter! It’s amazing the reassurance you can get from the anonymity the internet affords us. I swiped right and shut my eyes. It was a match! I laughed out loud in relief. Then I messaged him. 

Serious question: Did you swipe right before or after the Fireball/Digiorno debacle?

He responded the next day: Haha, I think there was some Pedialyte in there as well 🙂

Didn’t really answer my question but I’ll take it.

It was easy from there. I found out that he was from Hermosa Beach and had a place down here, and he said the next time he was in town we would get together. So we did. He had tickets for a comedy show at the club in Hermosa Beach. I came down and met him at his place, which was walking distance from the club. He made us drinks for the road and we sipped them as we wandered through the neighborhood. 

He told me about his days in Little League as we passed the stadium he used to play in as a kid. We talked about softball and how I liked living in Tahoe for that summer when we met. He told me all about his business setting up technology for smart homes and boats and cars. I told him about my writing and comedy. He was super easy to talk to and I was really enjoying myself. 

Once we got to the comedy club, we had not nearly finished our roadies and we had to chug them on the corner before we went in. The bouncer saw this and gave us a little shit when we walked in, telling us not to heckle or be obnoxious. But we were, of course, delightful audience members. The show was fun. The comedians were great, and it was a fun night. We chatted with one of the comedians outside after the show for a while before heading back to Andrew’s place. 

Once we got back, I came in to use the restroom. His place was a one bedroom with a master bath off the bedroom. But there was NO DOOR. It was just open! What is up with that? This is not the first time I’ve been in a man’s master bedroom and there’s been no door on the bathroom. 

As a woman, I just have to say, I am not about that life. I like a little privacy when I’m going to the bathroom, particularly at a guy’s house. Especially if it’s a new thing and we’re just starting to hang out; I don’t need to worry about a toot slipping out while I’m peeing and having him hear me! I know it’s dumb but it’s stressful for women, so those of you renovating your bathrooms, make sure you put a door on there!

*The More You Know* 

We talked for a few minutes, and I could tell he wanted me to stay. But I wasn’t sure how I felt about Andrew; if I was attracted to him or just liked him as a friend. We stood in his room talking and I was very aware that it was time for me to get out of there so as not to send mixed messages. He was moving closer and closer to me as we talked, and I realized I did not want to stay the night, so I told him I was going to take off. 

As I was saying goodbye, he kissed me. At first just a polite, sweet kiss. Then he went in again, this time in a seemingly more persuasive attempt to get me to stay. I didn’t dislike the kiss, but it did not dissuade me from leaving. So I said good night and I drove home. 

We agreed to get together again, whether it was in Tahoe or LA/Hermosa. But of course, months went by and we were not on the same schedule. He was in Hermosa when I was in Tahoe. I was out of town when he was down here, or he would be on vacation when I went up to Tahoe. 

We texted a little bit. He would send me pictures of a sandwich sitting on a stand-up paddle board in the middle of Lake Tahoe on a crystal-clear day, giving me all the FOMO and making me wish I was there for his floating picnic. I would reply with a picture of the view from my hike in LA, not nearly as spectacular. But we never really fell into a conversation when we were texting. It was usually just a quick hello, check in, and then finding out that we were not, in fact, in the same place at the same time. 

So eventually it fizzled out. We never got that second date, which I think was a shame. Andrew had everything I was looking for. He was sweet, funny, attractive, loved the outdoors, split his time between Tahoe and Hermosa, owned his own business and had a flexible schedule because of it, and he even owned a boat! Oh, the wakeboarding we could have done together! 

Unfortunately, the distance just wasn’t surmountable. When you live eight hours apart, it’s hard to coordinate schedules when you’re not at the point in your relationship of taking a trip specifically for the point of seeing that person. I have seen him more recently, but just as friends, so it’s not a total loss! At least I got to know this awesome guy better and now we’re close enough friends that we can hang out when we do happen to be in the same place. Last time I was up he invited me and my friends over for hot tub and beer, and hopefully in the summer I’ll get to show him my very mediocre wakeboarding skills!

So this is an unusual case for me; I actually made a friend because of Tinder! Sure, I knew him in real life first, but we hadn’t actually spent time together or gotten to know one another until we matched on Tinder.  In all of the times we ran into each other organically, neither one of us had the balls to just ask the other one out. And then Tinder was like, “Hey, I’m sensing a Fireball/DiGiorno love connection over here.” Turns out it wasn’t a love connection after all, but I’m glad I got to know Andrew and to count him as a friend. And not just because of his boat.