Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Public Service Announcement: Penguins are NOT Awesome

penguins-crossing-sign_2509We’ve reached a place in our blogger/blogee relationship where you get to learn a little something about me and it’s in the spirit of educating and saving lives. So, I begin a story that is 11 years old but I remember it as though it were yesterday.  I’m scarred and I’m changed, but I can stay silent no longer.

I started college as a Marine Biology major. I got my open water diving certification at age 14 in the cold and murky lake waters of the Midwest.  I began volunteer diving at my local zoo and working as an assistant aquarist to get experience in salt water, get some mileage out of my wetsuit, interact with the animals, do some water chemistry (everyone knows a girl well-versed in water chemistry is SEXY), and meet some new cool people. 

I learned a lot while I worked at the zoo.  For example, wear brown clothing if you want animals to approach you (they think you are zoo staff), water temperature, ammonia and pH are critical measures of water chemistry as are nitrates and nitrites.  Sharks swim in regular patterns when in captivity and fresh water fish from the amazon like to rub up against you like affectionate little cats.  Except fresh water amazon fish are huge, and slimy, and not cat-like in any other capacity so it’s actually pretty nasty.  Southern Stingrays can be found as far North as Jersey and as far South as Brazil, and male seahorses give birth.  My final lesson I learned the hard way: penguins are diabolical assholes and will try to kill you (and take your wallet) at the first opportunity. Penguins are blood-thirsty, angry, mutinous even, and I’m lucky to be alive after a thwarted murder conspiracy concocted in the summer of 2000.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Adult Women’s Guide to Dating Volume III: Explain My Ass

I dated this guy in college for a few weeks and then he stopped calling me.  Suddenly.  By no means were we in love but I really dug him.  He had fantastic green eyes and tousled hair and could kiss his FACE off!  I was bummed with the sudden change.  Then I see him on campus one day not long after with his arm draped over the shoulders of a girl I knew from my Spanish lab.  It was clear they were together.  He stopped awkwardly, disentangled himself from her, mouth falling open, and his hands widening in full blown explanation posture.   I smiled and said hello, politely cutting him off before he started, and walked away.  Then, I NEVER THOUGHT OF HIM AGAIN.  Well, until just now telling this story.  You get my gist.

An explanation was irrelevant.  He was dating her and NOT me.  I hadn’t done anything and we weren’t exclusive or serious.  An explanation wouldn’t change the outcome and certainly wouldn’t make me feel any better.  In fact, the only one who generally feels better during an explanation is the explainer.  And that’s super lame. 

This holds especially true with the liars and the cheaters.  You don’t explain your way out of sleeping with another woman.  You can’t.  And hearing the intimate details only makes the burn more severe for the person wronged while simultaneously lessening the burden the cheater has been carrying.  That’s the shittiest math equation ever.  Knowing you went four rounds on the sofa with a 22 year old waitress “but you don’t love her” isn’t going to make swallowing the cheated-on pill any easier.  And that visual is all I am going to see every time you leave the house. 

So, I know what you’re thinking right now.  “What the hell am I supposed to do if I don’t get an explanation?  Do I just stare at him in muted rage?”  The answer depends on the scenario.  There are two.

I give you Volume III in all it’s Glory:
folding chair9.  As a grown woman, I will not let myself be subject to explanations or excuses for bad behavior. If a man fails me he doesn’t have the right to try to excuse it away. I will either walk (as in away forever) or I will talk.
  • Walk aka The Deal Breaker: If the grievance is unforgivable, the answer to that question is NO.  In a deal breaker scenario you walk the hell away but not before introducing his face to the Eff Chair™.  Make him carry that shit along for the duration.  Don’t let him unload his excuses on you and feel better.  You sure as hell don’t.
  • Talk aka The Forgivable: If he forgot to take the trash out, we can leave the Eff Chair where it’s at and spare his face, but the answer is still “No.”  If what he did is still pretty significant I suggest a different tactic.  Instead of listening to explanations that don’t make things right tell him how it made you feel and what you expect in the future.  He agrees or he doesn’t.  It’s not on you to make it right. 
Example: “It hurt me that you lied about going to serve soup to the homeless and got drunk with your buddies at the driving range.  Let’s not make this a habit.” 

Enough said.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Adult Women’s Rules to Dating: Volume II

I am limiting this post to two things.  Because they are two big ones. This isn’t gender biased.  It goes both ways.  I’ve had no coffee yet today and so I’ll be brief and quite irritable about it.

No-Cheating7. As an adult man/woman, I will not tolerate cheating.  If he/she cheats.  They’re a cheater.  And you’re not special if they cheat WITH you.  (And if you contribute to the cheating knowingly, you pretty much suck too.)  Because if they cheat with you, they could just as easily cheat against you.  Cheating is telling.  It’s telling you to walk away.  Or run, fast.  Bitch slapping first is acceptable.  (Or throwing a drink in their face.  I’ve always wanted to do that.)

8.  As an adult man/woman I will not tolerate lying. If he/she lies.  They are a liar.  There is a difference between telling you you look cute in your footie jammies when clearly that’s dumb and where he spent his Friday night when he doesn’t get home until 3 AM when it was supposed to be 11, well… you know the distinction.  Don’t be fooled, or worse, don’t fool yourself and make it okay.  And if you ARE wearing footy jammies.  It’s dumb.  Take them off.

Bottom line: Liars and cheaters aren’t worth your time, energy, or attention.  

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Adult Women’s Rules to Dating… Volume I

I like lists, and rules, and lists of rules and so this just seemed the way to go.  In this day and age, it's nearly impossible to try to date like a "normal" person.  I don't even know what that is anymore.  Online dating, distance dating, blended families, it gets really complicated really quick - and that's just the environment never mind finding the right guy!

So, in the quest of love, many, many people have sought out my advice.  Clearly these people don't know me well or they'd know better, but I've started a list.  It was born from the following questions.

Dear Carrie,
I’ve been talking to this guy and he calls me every few days and we’ve gotten drinks a couple times but it’s really hot and cold.  We have a lot of fun when we hang out but then days will go by and I don’t hear from him.  I think he’s busy with work and so I don’t want to pressure him but I like him a lot.  What do I do?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Consumer Watch: The Brands of Boyfriend

3QAluminum-Ice-BucketWhen it comes to boyfriends or potential boyfriends there are “types” and I have certainly had my fair share of them.  I have zero qualifications on giving advice on love or anything that resembles love and/or relationships.  My degree is in business and global economy and my qualifications are roughly 17 years of failed relationships.  So, keep reading if you dare. 

Now, I’m not talking about “types” that are relegated to physical categorization like "the muscle head” or the “the academic”.  Those designations are based more on physicality and interests, although for the sake of transparency, any man who has jewels on the ass pockets of his jeans is not welcome in my universe.  No, I’m talking about the brand that comes with how they stack up as a potential partner and how that evolves over time.

There are three buckets of types I subscribe to, mostly because I like simplicity and in my experience of dating for the last 17 years or so, I’ve learned to recognize the differences and how I’ve effectively been doggy paddling in the dating cesspool of life. 

I give you my three Boyfriend Brand Buckets: The Bargain, the Faux Beau, and the Real Deal.

The ironic twist!  Of course there is a ironic twist.  Any one man can be any of these brands, it depends on a variety of factors, their level of interest, their maturity level, their goals, their geography, their options, their emotional state, etc.  There are about a million more variables and factors, but you get my drift.  So, while some men suck inherently, I don’t think that’s why all relationships fail.  In my experience, most of us hang out in between Bargain and Faux for years until (or if) we find the Real Deal. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Kissing Frogs

kiss-frog1No one should ask me for love advice... but people do.  I don't know why, but I reply and oftentimes I actually sound like I know what I'm talking about.  While I have absolutely no experience nor do I have any degree of any kind in this arena, I'm not bad in a pinch or on a budget.  I should be studied actually.  My ability to help others while simultaneously doing dumb things in my own life is probably some kind of new science we haven't discovered.

So, here is a random sampling of what I've received and my blanket response to the question about the relationship status of, "Ehhhh, I dunno..."

Dear Carrie,
My on-again off-again ex is currently in on-again mode.  Things go great until they fall apart.  He has said he wants to move in but then we get in a fight and I don’t hear from him for days.  I don’t know how to make it work.  When it’s good, it’s really good.  When it’s bad, it’s really bad.  What the eff am I doing?

Dear Carrie,
I’m single, in my mid thirties with no kids.  I would LOVE to get married and have babies and the guys I’m dating just aren’t quite there, but I make excuses and stay in them too long knowing it will probably fall apart.  The guy I’m dating now is okay, but I just get weird vibes.  Something is off.  Do I stay?  What do I do to break this cycle?

Dear Carrie,
I’m pretty sure I’m with Mr. Wrong, but is there a Mr. Right?  Not sure the grass is greener…

When I was in college I dated this guy who was REALLY cute but not very bright.  And I made excuses for a few weeks that it was okay that he wasn’t very bright because the hot quotient filled the gaps.  But every time we’d go out and he’s go on moronically about how his literature teacher was so lame for making them read so much, or how he didn't understand why so many credit hours were required for graduation I’d die a little inside. He spoke bro, wore knit caps when it was hot out, and refused to tie his shoelaces.  I'm thinking now that he probably didn't know HOW... my point is, I was settling.  When all you have in common is smoothie flavors you don't tend to make it last.

As an adult in the dating world we’re met with a lot of the same bullshit and we know better but we don't do anything about it.  We’re lonely, we’re bored, we want babies, we’re tired of the game, we are too lazy to leave, or our biological clock is ticking so loudly we can’t hear anything else.  It's okay to admit that it isn't what you want anymore or maybe it wasn't even what you wanted in the first place.

Don’t be angry when your frogs hop offs your lily pad… be grateful.  Cut your losses and move forward.  You probably learned something, right?  Maybe my college boy wonder learned how to tie his shoes!  You can't waste your time wondering what could have been either, your frog might be another woman's prince charming - sometimes that is how the actual fairy tale ends.  He doesn't have to be an asshole to be wrong for you.  A relationship not working doesn't mean one of you has to be a villain.

The bottom line is that you’re going to be wrong.  A lot. That’s the deal. In fact, you’re wrong 100% of the time, until you’re right.  And that means you could wind up kissing a lot frogs first.