At Least I’ve Learned A Few Things

The Breakup Chronicles: Part 2

First off, y’all are wonderful.  Thank you for your outpouring of support.  Sometimes we write just needing to get it out, and forget that people will have things to say.  And what you did say to me meant more to me than I can express.  You didn’t have to take the time to say a word, but you did, and it helped me a lot.  Never double that your kind words in a tough time are doing so much for someone.

Things are still uncertain and who likes uncertainty?  Not this girl.  I had grand plans to talk to Francois about it – a little check in, if you will – but when we last chatted I was tired and worried that I wouldn’t be quite eloquent enough.  So here we are.  Breakup week the second, confusion week the second.

I’m determined not to text him (or, you know, at least until Saturday).  Do you know how hard it is not to text?  It’s like when you’ve had a drink or two, and you know you really shouldn’t drunk text but you do because it’s so fun!  You’re so funny!  People must love you!  And then in the midst of that fun, when you’re trying to tell Grace one thing, you get drunk digits and instead ask her to milk you.  You know. Awkward times. (For the record, I don’t remember what I meant to tell her, but it was most certainly not for her to milk me.)    Right. Where were we?  Oh yes… I’ve been getting mixed signals out the wazoo which feels great because it feeds that little bit of hope I have, but it’s crappy because it keeps him in my thoughts.  And at the back of my mind I know that 99% of the time this sort of thing isn’t going to work out but those mixed signals are very powerful.  You tell yourself that you might be the situation that works.  It could be you!  Which is all to say, if you see me with a cell in my hand this week, you have permission to yell, “KATE, STEP AWAY FROM THE PHONE.”

Here we are.  Day 9.   Here is what I’ve learned thus far:

When your bestie offers to drive in to see you?  Take her up on it.  Best friend therapy often can’t be topped and you’ll kick yourself for missing that needed time with her.  True, you will probably talk her ears off but she’s a doctor and can sew them back on.

Hang out with people, no matter how much you want to wallow or stay glued to Facebook checking for signs of activity.  (It’s unseemly the amount of time I’ve spent checking to see if he’s been active.  Someone save me.)  It’s very possible Francois will pull himself out of my life for good, but my friends aren’t leaving me anytime soon.  In times like these they are especially supportive and say the kind of thoughtful things that make you cry not because of sadness, but because you’re not sure how you got lucky enough to have them in your life.

Wine is delicious.

Pathetic walks by the lake aside, exercise is healthy.  Go on an extra long run but this time focus on overtaking the guy in front of you rather than checking the parking lots for signs of Francois.  Admire the runner’s calves as you approach.  Race past him.  Feel victorious when you leave him in the dust.  Round the corner so he can’t see you.  Walk.

Hug your cats.  I’m still missing the lazy mornings in bed with Francois but little furry gatos can be pretty comforting.  I will be not ashamed of my cat lady status.

Listen to your mother:

I hope for Francois’ sake he realizes he’s being a dick.  Because he is not going to find another Kate Hepburn.  Sometimes guys need a hammer to the head.  Just a little tap.

and later…

If things don’t work out, since you keep finding better and better guys, I think you should set your cap for…Prince Harry? Why not?

Also, two solid hours of dancing around in one’s underwear and lip syncing to Bruno Mars and Carole King is recommended.  Not that I have experience with such a thing.

-Kate

The Stages of a Breakup

The Breakup Chronicles: Part 1

Spinster friends, I was in relationship bliss over the past several months.  We’ll call him Francois the Dapper because he really is dapper and he’s kind and interesting and smart and funny and pretty damn attractive.  So you can imagine my…

1.  Shock

…when he texted me the other night and asked to come over.  I knew something was up, as he never asked to come over before (we’re, after all, of the generation where nobody can seem to make a decision: “What are you up to?”  “Nothing much.  You?”  “Nothing much.”  “Wanna do something?”  “Yah, what were you thinking?”  “Not really sure.  You?”  “I don’t care.”).  He walked through the door, stopped me when I tried to kiss him, and my heart plummeted.  A chill of dread spread through me, I felt hot, and all I could do was look at the floor, avoiding eye contact as I stated to myself over and over, “I will not cry, I will not cry!”  I’ll spare you the upsetting details but suffice it to say it involved a past relationship, lingering baggage, and confusion over his feelings.  My heart was wrenched apart, but I quite calmly offered my support and understanding.  I also offered him a piece of cake.  Then that night that I poured my feelings onto 4 single-spaced pages of nearly 2,000 words.  Y’all, I could not stop the words or the feelings.  I knew I was in…

2.  Mourning

There weren’t enough tea bags in the world to shrink the bags under my eyes.  You know the feeling; it’s where the tears roll down your cheeks in fat drops and you’re just not sure they’re going to stop this time.  It – I – was just so sad.  I re-lived every good time, every future plan.  I tried outlining the bad times I could think of, hoping they’d make me feel better, but they were only a reminder of how well I felt we worked through our problems.  I texted Francois, and asked to meet him again.  He agreed.  It gave me…

3.  Hope

Not only did we chat, but we got pastries.  I poured out my feelings.  I told him all my fears about the situation and my hopes.  He listened, he told me he had a lot to think about, and then he asked me if I wanted to hang out.  Can you blame me for saying yes?  And it was pretty nearly great, save for that two hours of a movie we spent without holding hands for the first time since I’d known him.  We parted ways in the evening and I sobbed my feelings to Grace and to my mother, but I maintained the day meant something.  He was thinking about it.  The next day I contemplated all the possibilities.  Things were looking up so I took a walk around the lake which only served to send me to a whole new level of…

4. Patheticism

Shut up.  That’s a word.  And that walk?  It was to take advantage of the sunshine and the beautiful weather!  To clear my mind and increase my endorphins!  To watch the sunset!  Or so I fooled myself to think.  I looked in every parking lot for his car, hoping that the distant runner was him coming toward me.  By the end of the walk, I was dragging my sobbing, puddly mess into the car, dialing Grace and asking her to tell me that I wasn’t the most pathetic person that ever lived.  She’s a good friend, she told me I was normal.  And then later that night, Francois called me.  We talked for 30 minutes and my hope was renewed.  And it was then that I began seeking …

5. Validation

…from nearly anyone who would listen.  Grace and my mother?  Check, check.  My coworkers?  Check.  The mailman? Check.  It was really important to talk it out.  Really damn important to tell my side of things and have others tell me that my feelings were reasonable.  I need them to confirm my interpretation of how he should feel and how it made sense.

6.  Obsession

There was also a really low moment in there.  Like, really, freakin’, low.  As in, I figured out the mysterious her.  And when I say “figured out” I mean I went through every length of internet stalking I could think of.  I’m so good at it, people should pay me.  We went to the same college.  We share a couple of friends.  She’s funny.  She works in advertising and marketing.  She’s a runner.  She has a gummy smile.  The list…it goes on.  You can bet I revisited the same pages over and over and over again, obsessing about why she should have left such an impression on this guy that I cared about, why their old relationship was ruining mine.

6. Anger at Him

This came on just a fast as it ended.  I think the outrage of my friends seeped into my own mind and I was so angry that he would contemplate giving up on us and giving in to something that wasn’t ever going to be.  There isn’t doubt that I won’t feel anger again, but it was short lived because I soon directed all my…

7. Anger at Her

Sure, this might not be the most logical thing, but I go back to what Francois told me about the relationship and it makes me steaming mad.  They were that on-again-off-again couple, and based on what very little I know (read: I’m a writer and I’ve crafted an entire relationship story from a few limited comments), I’ve concluded she was a terrible, no-good person who didn’t deserve Francois.  That’s a little harsh.  But you know, people you care about deserve better.  Also: sometimes I’m petty and I act like a 12-year-old.

8. Confusion

Rehashing every look, action, and word of this breakup sent me into confusion in the end.  Francois never called it a breakup, he just said he had to think about things.  I gave him so many easy outs in our conversations, and he never took them.  I even asked that whatever the answer was, that I just got a clearly defined one.  None of this casual conversation that fades into nothing because he’s trying to spare my feelings.  Please not that.  He agreed.

So here we are.  The stages aren’t complete. I don’t doubt that most people feel they can see this for what it is, but I’m still confused and waiting.  There’s also the responsibility that one needs to place on Francois, lest you think I’m ignoring that. But I gave myself permission to stop feeling embarrassed about my feelings – my hope – and I’m just riding the emotions for now, rather than forcing myself out of them.  It was a debate to share this with you, Spinster friends.  There’s always that fear of looking ridiculous, but I can’t be the only one who has experienced all of the above, and sometimes it’s good to put it out there because someone else might read it and have that sigh of relief that their own similar situation is… normal.

Lions, and Tigers, and Break-Ups! Oh, My!

Did I mention I’ve been dating someone for a couple of months?  It hasn’t been anything super serious and I wouldn’t even go so far as to call us boyfriend and girlfriend, but it’s definitely been something.  However.

You know that first spark?  The one where they’re interesting and you have so much fun and you want to see them and blah, blah, blah?  Well whatever flame had been burning has been slowly flickering out and I haven’t known what to make of it.  This is always the case.  Something isn’t quite right so it stresses me out, then I retreat unto myself, I don’t want to hang out with the other person, I don’t act in an affectionate way (tho, to be honest, PDA-friendly I am not), and I go into excuse mode.  Well maybe it’s because I’m stressed at work…  Or maybe it’s because I’m just bad at dating…  Or maybe it really is us but it’s because we only go out to eat and don’t do other things so we don’t give ourselves the right opportunity… Or whatever.

Kate the Cowardly Lion

It all amounts to this: I am the Cowardly Lion of break-ups.

Rather than owning up to the fact that I’m just not into him, I hide and I make my excuses and feel sorry for myself and ultimately end up sabotaging things to the point where we’re miserable almost 100% of the time.  Cowardly Kate, right there.  The cruddiest part of it?  I date really fantastic guys.  I know, don’t hate me.  But I do. With the exception of one guy, my boyfriends have been really great people.  They’ve treated me well, they’ve been thoughtful, and when I was suddenly pulling away, coming up with my excuses, they were there trying to be understanding about it.  Cue massive guilt.

But I do think that’s part of it.  I’ve never wanted to own up to what’s really going on because I dread that conversation and the potential to hurt someone who is so kind-hearted.  When they’ve been so good to you, how do you tell them they’re just not right for you?  Yah, yah, you just tell them.  So you say.  It was never easy and so I never did it.

Until yesterday.  Call it maturity, but I finally realized how unfair it was to the guy and to me to go on in this state.  The conversation weighed on me all weekend (longer than that, if I’m honest) and I finally brought up my concerns, fully expecting it to The Break-Up Moment.  And yah know, a funny thing happened.  Not only was it not as bad as I imagined, but he reacted in a way that I hadn’t anticipated.  He said he really liked me and wished I’d given him feedback earlier so we could work on the issues which he viewed as easily fixable.  Huh.  I won’t go into the gory details.  In fact, I don’t remember the gory details.  (Really, who does?  Do you?  Because my own explanation of The State of Things became so convoluted that I could have talked about eating SpaghettiOs at the top of the Eiffel Tower, for all I know)  Suffice it to say, we are “taking a break.”  Yes, we cringed too.  But it’s not a bad plan.  We’re giving ourselves two weeks and then we’ll see.

Spinster friends, in a matter of hours “taking a break” changed my entire outlook.  Unsurprisingly, the weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I look forward to our next outing.  I know, don’t you just want to reach through the computer screen, shake me, and go, “SEE?!?!?!  When you talk to someone about your feelings, good things can happen.”

Right.  Yah.  For all my ranting about dating and such, I know I’m not even close to being perfect on that front.  My cowardly and non-confrontational way of addressing relationship issues is right there at the top of Things Kate Must Address if She Wants to Find Her Mr. Darcy.  So I can’t give much advice on this, but if you’re waffling about your man or lady friend dilemma and whether to say something, make like Nike and JUST DO IT.

-Kate

Manfriend Musings

Hello spinster friends!  I’m a tad bit late with a post this week which is due to some Exciting and completely exhausting Happenings in the Land of Hepburn.  You might not know this, but this little Kate is an introvert so a wild week of unexpected travel, a flat tire, and not a single night spent vegging on my sofa with a good romance and a pot of Earl Grey… well, let’s just say it’s Saturday morning, I’m still in my jammies, and I intend to stay that way.

I’m not a whiner and complainer, that’s a lie, don’t listen to me, but in these particularly trying types of weeks I’m reminded of those little things that a manfriend might bring to the situation.  Sometimes, I miss them.  I give you my short list:

The Arm/Back/You-Name-It Scratch.

Spinster friends, you know what I’m talking about!  Nothing is more lovely than a night spent in, forcing your beloved to watch HGTV’s Design Time Saturday Night, and getting a good arm scratch.  One of those wooden back scratchers just will not do.  And nevermind if most men have nubs for nails.  It’s soothing either way.  Plus, I’ve perfected the technique so the future Mr. Hepburn need not put out more effort than necessary.  It’s called the Hot Dog.  Step 1: Place arm directly in front of partner.  Step 2: Manfriend starts scratching arm in a horizontal motion.  Step 3:  Rotate your arm like a hot dog at a hot dog stand and behold! total arm scratch satisfaction.

The Flat Tire Savior.

I know how to change a flat.  In fact, it was one of the first things I did in driving school.  (Aside: Did you know that in Texas we didn’t have to take behind-the-wheel tests???  We required only 7 hours of actual driving time.  Yah, I know.  So, if you’re ever in this state, forgive us on the road.  We know not what we do.  Well, I mean, I do but I can’t say the others have a clue.)  So when I get a flat tire, I just want to have someone to call.  Someone who would come and hang out with me while I remedy the situation.  Or if not that, and if I was fortunate to have an awesome company that sends someone to fill my tire with air, someone who would at least lend me their car so I’m not scrambling to figure out how to get to Very Important Places the next day.  That’s a particular spinster challenge, I feel – the lack of a second car option is the pits!

Breakfast in Bed

Alright, alright, nobody has ever made me breakfast in bed.  But as I’m sitting here in my jammies it strikes me as something that would be really nice.  I’d like a stack of four pancakes.  No, make that five, just in case.  With a little pat of butter and two bitty twin pots of crème anglaise, and raspberry jelly.  A cup of Early Grey with a tiny spoon that has a dob of honey would also be nice.  And a big glass of 1% milk.  Oh, and sausage links!  I love sausage links.  And if Mr. Hepburn would be so kind, that romance I left on the couch the other night.  He romanced me enough last night, I’ll give him a break this morning.

What am I missing?  What other nice things might a manfriend* do?

*Or ladyfriend as I can’t leave out our beloved gentlemen spinster friends!

-Kate

Kate the Man Nibbler

I have a confession, friends.  I haven’t logged on to that online dating site in over a month.  I know, it’s crazy (or cray-cray as my sister would say).  But here’s the thing.  I’m in over my head with this online dating thing.  I don’t know how to date multiple men at once.  I know, I know, you’re thinking, “Kate, you don’t have to date multiple men at one time.  Just pick one and see what develops.”  But gosh darn it, people, I paid good money for a three-month membership.  There is no way I will date only one person at a time and move on to the next only if the first fizzles.  I would make some argument about being responsible with my money but it comes across in an odd way.  You know what I mean.

Things were swell at the outset.  I went on a several dates with different guys and things mutually fizzled.  This was a happy thing!  I got back into the swing of dating but didn’t have to deal with the whole liking several men at once thing.  That was until mid-December when I went on two dates in one week (wild woman, right here!) and liked both the guys.  Enough to think of a second date.  Enough to think I might even want to go on three dates with each.

Intellectual Isaac is approximately the same age, hails from my home state, is a lover of reading and writing, and even owns a cat.  I swoon!  Intriguing Ivan, a reader of the audio variety, likes to keep up with his speech and debate skills, and even agrees with me that a woman shouldn’t have to take her husband’s last name (a topic of which I plan to address next week – stay tuned!).  I swoon again!

So here I am, texting two gentlemen, and feeling very uncomfortable with the situation.  It’s not because I don’t think you should date multiple people at once.  In fact, I think this is perfectly acceptable and is something more people should consider.  Half of my generation seems to throw themselves into the worst kind of relationships since it happens to be their only option at a particular time. I’m no stranger to this, even if it was 6 or 7 years ago.  My discomfort actually stems from the What If factor.

What if Intellectual Isaac should show up at the same bar as I’m at with Intriguing Ivan even though he lives 40 minutes away and doesn’t go to bars but decides he should check one out this night and then he sees us and then he’s all horrified that I’m on a date with Intriguing Ivan and he’ll call me the next day and tell me he never wants to see me again and he demands that I destroy any evidence of his short stories which he kindly sent to me to read?

(You were supposed to say that in one breath without pausing because, you know, that’s how I do it)

What if Intriguing Ivan decides to romance me with a romantic dinner and romantic candle light and I must sneak away to the restroom to remove an offending piece of spinach from betwixt my teeth and while I’m gone Intellectual Isaac texts me but I don’t realize that my phone has fallen out of my purse and Intriguing Ivan gallantly rescues it from it’s fate beneath my chair but in doing so sees that Intellectual Ivan would like us to have a movie night wherein we watch The Holiday and cuddle with our cats and then Intriguing Ivan demands I leave without even a nibble of the bread pudding he was preparing for me because he know I likes it so?

Or my simplest fear:

What if, after a number of good dates with each of the gentlemen, I can’t decide who it is that I like more than the other?

I haven’t dated enough to know this will all work itself out.  That maybe I won’t even have to decide but it will instead be one of them that has a fizzled feeling.  So I will live in fear that I will somehow screw this up, all the while feeling very ill-at-ease with myself on this particular topic.

If you have suggestions about how to own the dating (multiple people at one time) scene, I’m all ears.  Any bit of reassurance you can offer on this topic would be appreciated because lord knows I want to curl up in the fetal position every time I think of the possibilities.

-Kate

Btw, fizzled is my new favorite word of the week.  Apologies for the over-use but I love it so!

The Hair Down There

Or  When Not to Experiment with Your Grooming Habits

What is about to follow is a story that falls into the TMI category, of which I’m known.  Apologies are offered in advance.  I would also note this is potentially NAFW so you’ve been warned…

Friends, I have thoughts about The Hair Down There (THDT) and could go on quite the rant but I’m going to leave the honor to Grace or Mae.  We’ve discussed the issue of THDT a number of times and I think they’d do the topic better justice than I.  That being said, I was of the bare persuasion for a number of years following an incident involving a boat party, a swimsuit, and wayward tuft of THDT. Apparently it takes something like 10 years to recover from that kind of thing but the good news is I decided it was time I return to a natural state.  And return to the natural state I did.  In a pretty serious way.  As in my nether regions were like the dense depths of a jungle.  Sans critters, of course.  It’s not like I had to prepare myself for any type of swimsuit situation given the season.  Not to mention I don’t currently stock any of the necessary grooming accoutrements so I sort of thought of this as my time to prime the canvas.  I could get creative later on.

Or so I thought.

As Grace mentioned, I attended a wedding this past weekend.  I was working with roughly 19 eligible bachelors (a generous estimate).  This meant the odds were pretty high that I’d come across an attractive gentleman or two and while I don’t oppose a good looking man, I was determined that I would not give in to the drunken wedding make out.  And really, I don’t know why it was that I decided for it to be the Weekend of Resistance.  There’s nothing wrong with a good make out and a wedding one is particularly nice since it’s easier to avoid the post-make out awkwardness.  Still, I got the thought in my mind and wanted to stick to it.

My friends were of the opposition on this one as I’m the lone single friend and they live vicariously through my experiences.  If there’s a hot guy or scandalous situation you can bet they’re pushing me into it and I suspect it’s only because they can’t do so themselves.  So when my makeup was complete, my hair was coiffed, and I was looking pretty damn good, they were on a mission.  One girlfriend was particularly determined to introduce me to every Eligible of her acquaintance and I can’t say I objected.  Once I was there, looking rather fetching in an elegant bridesmaid dress (I know! I was shocked!) I wanted to bring all the boys to my yard (as Grace might say).  Which, now that I think of the phrase, takes on a whole other meaning given the state of my lady bits…

Slip me a glass or wine or five and I become an amalgam of the dancing queen and coquette.  It wasn’t long before a rather attractive man entered the scene.  We’ll call him Ferragamo Fred – oh, was he dapper!  I spent a good deal of time admiring his stellar choice in tie and footwear when I wasn’t shooting him seductive looks.  After three hours and several dances with Ferragamo Fred, all thoughts of resistance flew out the window.

I had visions of Ferragamo Fred flitting through my mind as I returned to my hotel room to prepare for the post-reception bar revelry.  And while I was tipsy, I wasn’t drunk enough to ignore the fact that I was less than comfortable with my new grooming habits.  True, I embrace it in theory, but I was obviously not comfortable embracing it in practice because a shower sounded like a stellar idea.

Friends, it’s just that I didn’t know how I would have felt if THDT made an appearance that night.  After 10 years it can take awhile to get back in the swing of things and while I embrace change, I do so in a gradual way.  Suddenly, my newly ungroomed state had me in a panic and I can only tell you it was because I didn’t know the guy that well.  You might be the type that would rather experience this type of thing with a stranger and there’s nothing wrong with that.  I just happened to come to the conclusion that I need someone known, with whom I could guarantee acceptance.  If a guy, stranger or not, does not accept my non-bare nether regions then he’s a jerk but that night I didn’t feel confident I’d take a stand for myself if he gave me a weird look.  And if there’s a time that I might get a weird look I want to be sure I will say something and put him in his place to do my views on the subject justice.

At this point I should perhaps allay any fears you had for my HDT.  It took a lot of time to get back to the au naturale state so there was no way I’d completely undo my hard work, but I did do a bit of gardening (taking the yard bit too far?).  I don’t recommend wielding a razor at 12:30 AM, and at that hour the bar of soap becomes a slippery little sucker, but when all was said and done my nether regions resembled something more akin to a small copse.

I wish I could tell you the rest of my evening end involved dark corners, Ferragamo Fred, and a slip of the tongue, but alas, the wine started to leave my system and I resistance once again seemed like a good thing.   Needless to say, if you’re considering an experiment with your grooming habits, I recommend you consider the situation in advance. Think about what time will be ideal for you to embrace your newly natural state.  I’m a bit disappointed that I didn’t feel more comfortable with the situation and I would hope that others could have a different, more confident, experience if choosing to go that route.

-Kate

The Payment Dilemma

I’m a terrible first date.  It’s been one first-dating snafu after another.  All those taboo topics?  Kids? Politics? Religion? Sex?  Oh yah, I’ve broached them all.  Someone really needs to put a muzzle on me.  The words flow from my mouth and I try to reel them back in but they’re slippery little things and always seem to get away…

Perhaps the most repeated offense I make is the topic I don’t bring up.  I don’t offer to pay on the first date.  If you gasped and covered your mouth, you’re not alone.  Everyone (and I do mean everyone) tells me this is incredibly rude and Not The Way To Do Things.

99% of my acquaintances state a guy should pay for the first date.  This marks him not just as a man, but a gentleman.  Apparently it also tells you he’s not cheap, really does have a job, etc. and etc.   If that 99% of my acquaintances says that a guy should pay, then that means while a girl can offer, she should never pay.  Guys tell me this.  Girls tell me this.

So if I shouldn’t pay, and a guy isn’t going to allow me to pay, then why must I offer? Why is this?  Why must this be?

I tried to come up with several reasons behind it.  Perhaps the offer is supposed to tell the man she’s considerate.  Maybe it tells him she doesn’t expect things.  Or that she’s financially conscious during these hard economic times .  I get it.  Kind of.  But not really.

Hear me out.

If 99% of people think that a guy should always pay and the girl shouldn’t… then doesn’t the offer by the girl count as insincere? “I’m offering to pay and I really would do it but then I know you won’t really let me and you shouldn’t let me!”  There seems to be no point to checking off that box.  It makes it seem like the date is a  game show.  Offer to pay and you advance to the next round!  The reality is I just feel terribly fake when I ask because I know what the outcome will be.

This is, of course, remedied when I’ve made it through to date #2  and I’ve paid for that second meal.  If I can’t split a dinner the first time around, then let me pay for the second so I can show I’m considerate and I’m not taking advantage of the situation. This is acceptable, right?

Can I get a yay?

Or should I file this under things I shouldn’t overanalyze at 1:30 AM on my holiday break?

Or maybe just a “quit being a dumbass and offer to pay?”

– Kate