Category Archives: Dating and Single Life

I Went to a Dinner Party Alone, Parts 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6

The Plus One by Sophia Money-Coutts. I did not read this book. Perhaps I should.

A good six years ago I wrote about being invited to a party with a plus one but being strongly encouraged to come alone. See You Don’t Have To Bring A Date, Come Alone! Come Alone! COME ALONE! The party has become an almost annual thing and I have gone a few times. Always invited with a plus one, always attending alone. See I Went To A Dinner Party Alone

This year was no expection.

The Plus One by Sarah Archer. I didn’t read this either, but clearly the whole plus one thing is a thing…

I fleetingly considered asking a male acquaintance to come with me, but that may have meant more than I wanted it to and I figured, this is what I do and it is what I have been encouraged — emboldened to do.

I boldly go where no man has gone before — meaning to a public event with me.

These are the voyages of the single Roxanne. Her six-year mission: to explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no man has gone before!” — Me, taking liberties with the Star Trek intro.

So I went. Did my thing, walked in unaccompanied and alone. I confidently approached strangers standing in clumps and joined their conversations. Like a boss. Well, like a politician, more accurately.

The hostess greeted me, the same woman who repeatedly lauded my decision to go alone back in the day. “Come alone!” She’d exclaimed. “No pressure to bring a date I would have to entertain,” she’d reasoned. “I used to do it all the time when I was single,” she’d shared.

But not this time.

This time she hit me with,

“One of these days you are gonna have a date!”

Followed by:

“I want you to come with somebody next time!”

To which I awkwardly, jokingly, painfully responded,

“Oh yes, next year for sure.”

You get the drift.

Apparently coming alone was brave and practical and cool back then. But now? Six years later? Now it’s just getting ridiculous.

Enough is enough.

Apparently.

Adding awkwardness to awkward, when it came time to take our seats for dinner, the hostess loudly pointed out the three tables that had seating for nine, rather than eight or ten like the others. “You can sit here, or there, or, let me see, there.” You know, the ODD numbered tables, for the odd men (or ladies) out. There must have been two other singles there, though I never found them.

Sooo ….

I settled at a nine top table, with four other couples I did not know.

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RIP Valerie Harper. Here as Rhoda Morganstern on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Mary and Rhoda decided to invite dates over to spruce up their lovelife. Surprise! Rhoda’s date brought his wife.

Four couples, and me. But this ain’t my first rodeo; I’ve gone to a wedding alone.

Also, I was the only other person of color there, except for the housekeeper who was Hispanic and anyway, she brought her husband. Come to think of it, there was a slightly accented slightly brownish man in one of the clumps of people I invaded. But he blended, and, you know, he had a wife.

Hello, Sore Thumb? You’re sticking out again.

I felt as though I did not blend quite as well, though I may have been a touch paranoid.

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Also, knowing the family and talking with some of the guests, their net worth was likely substantial. I’d guess that during cocktails they probably earned more in interest than I make all year.

Soooooo.

Conspicuous as I felt, everyone was friendly and it was a pleasant evening. I have known the hostess for years and I truly admire her. Though she doesn’t have to think about money (or lack thereof) and is happily married, she has weathered personal challenges that others have literally not survived. To see her smiling and laughing is a gift. I’m happy to have been included in the event, and appreciative of the option to bring a Plus One.

But dang it even if I have to rent one, I will bring a man next year. I will be conspicuously coupled, if only for the night. I will casually drift to a table with even numbered place settings. I will introduce my date by name (if I can remember it) and gently caress his arm. I will ask him to fetch me a drink. I will allow our photo to be taken together and — wait for it — posted on Facebook.

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Scarlett O’Hara: “As God as my witness, I’ll never be hungry again.”

As God as my witness, I’ll never be dateless again. Not to this party.

Just Me With … out a Plus One for this particular event since 2013.

I have written a lot of posts about going out alone. Huh. There are more coming, because I have some thoughts about it . . .

The New Walk of Shame For The Single Woman — Going Out Alone

I Went To A Wedding Alone

Pissed: Parking and Dining Alone

The Night I Became Cinderella — A College Story

The Streak Is Over: A Text From My Ex

woman looking at sea while sitting on beach

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I was having a bad week anyway. My dad wasn’t doing well but refused to go to the hospital. My uncle, who was in decline, was in his last hours and I sat with him, his wife, and my mother on what proved to be his last night on this earth. All in all, the week sucked already. Big time.

But then it got worse. There it was, a text:

“Hello, Roxanne. How have you been? Can you call me?”

My stomach plummeted.

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It was a text from my ex, or maybe I’ll call him My Former Husband. It sounds classier, don’t you think? And maybe my “Ex” is too familiar and universal. I mean people use “Ex” to describe a relationship that lasted mere weeks. I put in decades with that man . . . But I digress . . .

Anywho, this much must be understood. I had not laid eyes on spoken to My Former Husband in almost 13 months.

Lord Voldemort returns . . .

Over a year without conversation. Nor had I even exchanged texts with him. It was a glorious streak.

And for those of you who may wonder about the children, know this: The children have seen and spoken to him. The children are big ass young women and one big ass young man – with a job and an apartment and a roommate. We’re not entirely sure what th boy does. Something with numbers and computers . . . For folks who know Friends, he’s Chandler Bing.

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The younger ones are still very much dependent on me, but not in order to see him. They are on their own with that — albeit with my car. But the last time I saw my former husband was at a graduation. Before that, a funeral. You see, absent a major event, we have no contact. As I said, it was glorious.

But it was over.

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Seinfeld

There it was, the drive-by sniper text. The kids are home on break, living with me. I know they are okay. So, I was annoyed that I had to deal with him and break my very important streak. And as I said, I was dealing with health and death issues already. I was not in the mood for his shenanigans.

When I initially saw the text, after I offered some expletives to my screen, I did the mature thing and DM-ed my Twitter friend. Who, by the way, felt my pain. We go way back.

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We came up with what I thought was a brilliant response, “Is everything all right?” It forced him to give me a hint as to the reason for his call without my being confrontational. Usually he prefers to keep me in the dark, catch me off guard, it’s classic. Shout out to anybody who has someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) in their lives. It’s a bitch.

Turns out it was a kid issue that wasn’t really an issue. But I had to talk to him in order to confirm that. I had to endure his faux Father Of The Year concern. Some troubled families have Disney Dad’s, dudes that come around for a good time. My kids have a Disaster Dad, he shows up when he smells (or manufactures) trouble so that he can swoop in, play the devoted, attentive father and save the day. And let everybody know it. The daily grind, hustle and taking care of business? Then he’s Ghost Dad. Which I prefer, actually.

But it’s a new world. I know the drill, his behaviors, and I have strategies, coping mechanisms, if you will, that allow all (well, most of) his bullshit to roll off me.

First, I invoked the power stance I learned from a very popular Ted Talk. He couldn’t see me, but I was Wonder Woman.

Next, I allowed myself a Tina Fey eye roll.

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Third, I remained standing.

Fourth, I repeated the Tina Fey eye roll.

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Fifth, I summoned, nay, I transformed myself into a woman who gave a shit about what he was talking about and who was not repulsed by the sound of his voice and his new found corporate speak. It was a Meryl Streep level acting performance. I may have missed my calling, folks.

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On The Waterfront

And when it was over, I let it go. In years past it would have pissed the hell out of me for days that he made a point of telling me anecdotes about the kids he thought I didn’t know, that this sudden urgent concern never seems to appear when the kids need financial assistance — amounts as small as gas or toll money, and certainly not tuition payments. And I packed away my ire about his very recent and partially successful efforts at engineering the unavailability of the children to attend both my best friend’s family barbecue and my father’s bedside birthday celebration.

That guy . . .

But I listened. I danced with the devil on my Android phone. I engaged (or pretended to). And though half the voices in my head were calling bullshit and the other half were sobbing, bemoaning the end of my 13 month ex-free streak, I remained calm. I was an active participant in his performance art.

By the way, his “concern” was triggered by seeing one of those “This Is Not A Bill” statements which revealed the facility visited by one of the kids.

Where, pray tell, are all the privacy measures when an policy holder gets to see the type of treatment a covered adult receives? Talking to you, HIPAA.

The urgent “problem” was something I already knew and nothing for him to be concerned about. And perhaps something she had not wanted him to know. (No, it was not female problems.)

His performance as caring dad was a worthy effort. To those not familiar he would have sounded sincere. But when I told him she needed help with the co-pays his fatherly concern evaporated like a vape cloud in a teenager’s bedroom.

Anyway, I promised to let him know if I sensed any problem.

And the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role goes to …

That’s right, goddammit, ME!

Although sadly, the talk and text streak was back to day one.

Still, the not seeing him up close live and in person streak remains uninterrupted and continues…

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How I Met Your Mother

I much prefer receiving the random text from my admirer, the last being:

Hot in the summer. Warm in the winter. Sounds a lot like you. No matter what the season is…..I’ll always think fondly of you. 🌹Have a great day.

And as I was writing this post I received this:

You are truly beautiful. Both inside and out. I just had to let you know so there could be no doubt.❤ Stay well my friend. I’m just a text away.

It’s going on 10 years that I have received texts like this from him. Not that I keep track of such things . . .

Just Me With . . . texts

See:

I Have An Admirer

Another Text From My Admirer

To My Best Friend on Mother’s Day

I Don’t Love Him

How I Found Out That My Ex-Husband Was Getting Married

My Very Own Personal Olympic Games

IT WAS NOT A DATE!!

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I swear. I was not a date.

Let me set the scene.

Well even before the scene, a little background. Things are a little tight at home.  So I’ve been looking for some side work. Don’t worry, it’s legal.  I mean literally — legal side work. A little per diem. It’s a thing. And, it is necessary, because submitting applications into the great black hole of the Internet hasn’t been working out for me.

Internet job search, if you aren’t familiar — that’s when, in response to an advertised position for which you are qualified, you put the digital best version of yourself out there — you enter information about your past, your hopes and dreams, your goals, your abilities, your salary requirements and references — you put it all out there. Raw.

You click “Submit.”

And then?

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Nothing.

But if you listen carefully you can hear it, the whoosh as your qualifications are flushed down the Internet toilet . . . “because in space, no one can hear you scream . . .

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But I digress, and I turned to Craigslist and answered an ad.

Admittedly, I had reason to be skeptical. The ad was barebones. No details, at all, not even the crappy stock language about working in a fast paced  professional environment blah blah blah.  The ad was only clear about one thing: The pay was not high. (Huh, what does that mean?)  But as I said, things are as tight as a Kardashian dress so I replied anyway and attached my resume. (Accidental rhyme)

Lo and behold — a response!

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However, no information.The email said that “they” have “someone” in my area the next day and asked if I could be at a local diner at 1:30. You know how when anyone says “long story short” they have already gone on for far too long? Well, long story short, I said I would be there. After not getting a confirmation of the meeting, or any details at all — like the name of the business, who I’m meeting with, his or her contact information or even their gender, I finally received a weak apology via email, “Sorry, I was in a meeting”  and “Someone will be there a little after 2:00pm.” I replied, confirming I would be there at 2:05pm.

I went to the diner, dressed nicely and actually with some makeup on. It wasn’t a busy part of the day so as soon as I walked in the manager offered to seat me.  I replied, “Well I’m meeting someone,” and looked around like I was looking for him —or her. The manager asked, “Do you see them?”

“No.” (But how would I know?)

So I sat at a booth facing the door. The waitstaff must have been just really bored because the server pounced on me,

“Can I get you something?”

“Not yet, I’m waiting for someone.” So . . . she brought me two menus.

The second time she asked me if I wanted something  I ordered coffee.

The waitress brought the coffee and two glasses of water, because, well, I had said, repeatedly,

“I was meeting someone.” (Who? Who was I meeting? I didn’t know.)

Now, if you’ve read some of my other blog posts you know I often go out alone. Always have. Not a big deal. But the two water glasses — they threw me. Those glasses were evidence that I was not really eating alone. I was expecting someone. And that someone was not there.

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Spoiler Alert! The sad lady is really dining alone . . . BECAUSE HE’S NOT THERE!                                                      The Sixth Sense (film)

 

Then — hope!  A professional looking man with a briefcase came in alone and sat in the booth next to me and opened his laptop.

I asked him, “Are you here to meet someone for an interview?”

“No, I’m not.” He looked at me and shook his head. I can’t be sure, but the threesome in the booth next to him looked fleetingly in my direction.

I crawled under the table and assumed the fetal position.  Well, I wanted to.

I had no computer. No reading material. Just my phone. But that was useless.You see I was never given a  phone number of the person I was to meet or of the business, for that matter. I had no one to call or text to say, “Um — are you still coming?”

I finished my coffee. I told myself I would wait a half hour, which was way too long. No one emailed me.

The attentive waitress asked, again, “Are you ready to order?” To which I replied, as I was fishing for cash to pay for my coffee,“No . . . I think I’m just going to go.” The waitress said, “Okay,” but  didn’t look particularly surprised. I left the money on the table, got up, and quickly walked out. I must have looked upset, because I was. I was murmuring inaudibly  . . .  Shady ass Craiglist lawyers wasting my time . . . I don’t have to stand for this shit, I’m out . . .

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How to Get Away With Murder

And then I realized– to the restaurant staff and patrons it would appear that I was some unfortunate woman on a date who just got stood up! Like I was rejected in my quest for love instead of just rejected in my search for some extra money.

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No rose for me.                                    — The Bachelor.

I wanted to go back in and scream . . .

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IT WAS NOT A DATE!!!!!!!

But, that would invite more pity.

And that would be a shame.

And there was already enough shame going around.

Damn.

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From “Good Times”

Just Me With . . . . one coffee, two menus, two water glasses, no food, no money. 

Alone posts. Wait, why are there so many?

The New Walk of Shame for the Single Woman — Going Out Alone

You Don’t Have To Bring A Date, Come Alone! Come Alone! COME ALONE!

I Went to a Dinner Party Alone

Pissed: Parking and Dining Alone  Fun fact. This was the same diner.

My High School Self, My Vampire Boyfriend

I Went For Coffee and Took A Turn Into “The Twilight Zone”

The Twilight Zone — Again? Seriously?

 

The Landscaper Guy, Again, Part 5

Groundhog Day 1

“What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same, and nothing that you did mattered?” Phil, Ground Hog Day

Deja vu. I have written about this guy four times before. Four times. And I admit that to begin this post I copied and pasted part of my last writings about him, because he just keeps coming back and it’s all the same damn thing, over and over again . . .

I ran into him again. But wait, please peruse the following to you can get the full picture. This has been going on for . . . years! YEARS!

1. The Landscaper Guy — Not Digging Him — I meet a man.

2. The Landscaper Guy and the Female Chandler Bing — I give him a shot. (I shouldn’t have.)

3. The Landscaper Guy and A Phone Smarter Than Me — I shoot him down, and miss. I have to take better aim and shoot again.

4. The Landscaper Guy, Freaking Part 4 — I shoot him down, again. He expresses concern about my single status.

Are we all caught up? If not, that’s okay because it’s always the same.

Fast forward to now. It was very hot, and you know how they say to check in on older people in hot weather? Well I had to get my Mom out of her sweltering house, so we went for ice cream at an outdoor place. As I was looking at flavors, a man looked at me.

I smiled, because that’s what I do.

He said, “You look familiar.”

Groundhog Day 1

“What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same, and nothing that you did mattered?” Phil, Ground Hog Day

I replied, “Well, I’m from here, so you know . . .” It’s a smallish suburban town outside a large city. You can’t swing a dick with running into someone you know. (I’m paraphrasing from Sex and the City because Anthony the Wedding Planner cracked me up with that line. I like funny. Note to men: Many women enjoy humor.)

Groundhog Day 1

“What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same, and nothing that you did mattered?” Phil, Ground Hog Day

And here’s where I can just cut and paste, because it’s all so familiar.

“You live on Maple Street, right?” He asked.

“Yes.” Oh geez. It was coming back to me, like a bad debt.

I should have known, the white t-shirt. He had on a white t-shirt . . .

I walked away. I was only there to check the flavors for my mom and report back to her. She was waiting in the car. So that’s what I did. I just walked away.

I hoped, I so hoped that he would be gone when I returned.

My hopes were dashed on the jagged rocks below.

Groundhog Day 1

“What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same, and nothing that you did mattered?” Phil, Ground Hog Day

Oh he had gotten his ice cream and was getting into his car — but his car was parked right next the the place. Just my luck.

“Still don’t want to go out with a brother?” He asked me.

Incredibly, he had asked me out again. As I mentioned before, this has been going on for years. Check the dates of my posts. Years.

And still the answer was, is, and will always be, “No.”

Groundhog Day 1

“What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same, and nothing that you did mattered?” Phil, Ground Hog Day

Though I clearly said “no” the man continued, just like he had many times before. As he sat in the driver’s seat he motioned to the empty space next to him, “I mean — ice cream. You can sit right here. What’s wrong with getting some ice cream with me? It doesn’t have to mean anything.”

(Except that it would mean that I wanted to get ice cream with him, which I did not.)

And again, I tell you, I tell him, “No.” But like a call and response, I added, without conscious effort to do so, “But thanks anyway.”

(Why am I so polite? Oh well. At least I didn’t attempt to give a reason this time.)

He shook his head as if to say, “What is wrong with this woman ( or bitch)?” He seemed genuinely baffled that I declined to take him up on his offer.

I walked away, again, thinking, “Well, I guess I have another blog post to write.

Groundhog Day 1

“What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same, and nothing that you did mattered?” Phil, Ground Hog Day

I was seconds from a clean get-away, but the Landscaper Guy in the white T-shirt called after me,

“You’re still beautiful, though.”

Well shit. I can’t argue with the brother.

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The Joker, in The Dark Knight

Just Me With . . . ice cream for two — Just Me and my Mom.

The Joys of Being Single During the Holidays

Fatal Attraction Opera Night

It’s that time of year when singles of all ages and backgrounds lament about being alone.  It’s holiday time, right?  People tend to couple up and cuddle or enjoy family traditions. For many folks one tradition is being asked, “Are you seeing anyone?”

(My family never asks this, by the way, as if such an idea is just crazy talk.)

But there are things that are really cool about not having a significant other during the holidays.

Here comes a list.

  1. No splitting holidays!

How many have done the — “Okay, we’ll spend Christmas Eve with your parents, Christmas Day at my Grandma’s and Christmas dinner at your sister’s.

Or this year we’ll go to your family and next year we’ll visit mine — as if your respective families have some sort of court ordered visitation schedule forced upon you. Children of divorce have been during this for years.  Once you are half of a grown up couple, you’ll find yourself doing it again.

Single?  You can sit at your own mom’s house — or your own damn house.

“I ain’t going nowhere.”

The Holiday

Cameron Diaz, home for the night in “The Holiday”

2.  Less Gifts To Buy

AKA save your money for something for yourself, charity, or pay off credit card debt you racked up when you had a honey to buy for, his/her family to buy for and back when you bought all the crap to make you look good 24/7.  It makes sound financial sense to be single, particularly from Black Friday until right after President’s Day.

The money blogs tend not to encourage break ups, but they should, and say:

Ways to build wealth:

First, cut up your credit cards,

Second, cut loose your BAE.

(Yes, I said BAE, I’ll show myself out.)

3.  Less Gifts to Receive

Whatever Happened to Baby Jane

From What Ever Happened to Baby Jane

I’ve gotten some bad ones.  When I was only a mere 19 year old a future brother-in-law gave us a gift card — to a hotel!

A HOTEL GIFT CARD AS A CHRISTMAS GIFT TO BE OPENED IN FRONT OF THE WHOLE FAMILY!

(awkward)

And then there was a time when slim, young,and I thought pretty damn cute me was given a pink nylon track suit.

The kind you see worn in nursing homes.

Wait, what?   Have you seen me?  I mean I’ve never been a slave to fashion, but I’m not completely devoid of  .. of . . .giving a shit what I look like!  C’mon, now!  

And then I had to find a way never to wear it, or claim that it didn’t fit and return it.  (I believe I returned it, although it was clearly a one size fits all situation.)  And I still had to endure the disapproving looks from my husband.

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Later on my my marriage we used to go to a white elephant Christmas party where everyone brought ugly, useless, yet nicely wrapped gifts to exchange for laughs.  I had a seemingly endless supply of tacky items that had actually been given to me — lighted moving flowers in plastic cases — that was a crowd favorite.

Anyway, when you’re single you get less —- crap.

4.  Your decor, or lack thereof,is your own

 

Christmas vacation

It doesn’t matter if somebody is allergic to real trees.  You can get one.  It doesn’t matter if you’d rather hang lights on your potted plant or toilet.  It doesn’t matter if you would prefer not to decorate anything at all.  It doesn’t matter if a lapsed Baptist girl wants a Menorah.  You don’t have to start or maintain anyone else’s traditions or preferences. It’s all you, baby.

5.  No work party discomfort

You don’t have to convince a significant other to go, and  you don’t have to explain why your significant other is not there with you (“He’s working tonight.” This was my favorite work party lie.)  But when you are single, you can show up on your schedule, make the rounds and leave whenever you damn well please. (All the big stars leave early.  Look at the talk shows.)

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Or, if you’re having fun you can stay until the bitter end without having your date do the raised eyebrow, tap the invisible watch, shoulder shrug combo which means,“You promised we wouldn’t have to stay long.  I want to go home and watch Die Hard.”

6. And the best one?   

You have no idea what things will be like next year.

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Boob graze in The Holiday

Being uncoupled, you haven’t promised to honor the same — time-sharing, lame gift giving and receiving, fake tree, awkward party-duty, 24 hours of A Christmas Story — Christmas simply because that’s what you did with your partner last year, and every year.

Nope. You’re free.

Next year, you might try something different.

Next year, you might be someone different.

Next year, you might be with someone new, or not (remember to consider cleaning house mid-November, your bank account will thank you).

The possibilities are endless.

Just Me With . . . no one. And that’s alright with me.

See also Annual Holiday Christmas Party

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Landscaper Guy, Freaking Part 4

Gas Station

I have written about this guy three times before.

Three. Times.

1.  The Landscaper  Guy — Not Digging Him  — I meet a man.

2.  The Landscaper Guy and the Female Chandler Bing — I give him a shot.  (I shouldn’t have.)

3.  The Landscaper Guy and A Phone Smarter Than Me — I shoot him down, and miss. I have to take better aim and shoot again.

Well, I ran into him today. Again.  Seems he has a vehicle now, a vehicle that needed gas, as did mine.

At 7:45am.

He was, again,  wearing white but topped it with a blue jacket.   No head scarf this time.

I said a passing hello like I would to a stranger, a stranger who looked somewhat familiar. He said “Hi” back with a look that said, You don’t have anything else to say?

I smiled at him, being polite, but not starting any kind of conversation.  It was, after all,  7:45am.

He followed up with a “Hellooo” drawing the word out, raising his eyebrows at me.  It was that kind of ‘Hello’ that wasn’t a greeting but rather a complaint of some sort.  It said, You got nothing else to say to me?

I gave the ‘I’m just being polite‘ smile and thought, “Shoot, I’m supposed to know this guy.  I have no idea who he is.

He said,  reading my mind–  or my face, “You don’t remember me, do you?”

“I’m sorry, no, I don’t. Are you a neighbor?”

“Yeah,” he humphed (Is that a word?  Because that’s what he did.  He humphed.).  Then he said, “Yeah, a few houses down. You live on Maple Street, right?”

“Yes.” I was starting to remember, but not his name.  “Um . . . Oh yes, we talked a couple of times.”

“What’s wrong with dinner? You didn’t want to go to dinner?”

“Um . . . ”

“You still feel that way?”

“Yes.”  What the hell? 

“Why?”  WHY DOES THIS GUY ASK WHY?  WHY WHY WHY????

“I’m just not going out much lately.”  This was the response that had failed me previously. It was all I had at 7:45am.

“But dinner? What’s wrong with that?” And he let out a humph again,  “Just you and your dog . . .” (I ask you — Why’d he have to bring my dog into this?  Oh, my dog was in the car, looking at him, probably judging him, I hope.  Woman’s best friend and all . . . )

“I mean, you’re single, right? ”

“Yes.”  I refused to lie, and he refused to STFU. As discussed in Where Did I Put My Fake Boyfriend there are some aggressive men who only accept the reported presence of another guy as an acceptable reason to decline a date.

“Well, I don’t get it.  What’s wrong with dinner? I’m not talking about a relationship or anything.  Dinner,” and he wasn’t done.

He added, incredibly,  “I mean a woman like you shouldn’t be alone — for years — like this.”

WTF

WTF?   I cannot believe he said that to me.  

“I’ll be alright,” I replied and offered a purposely fake smile, one that I hope really conveyed, ‘You, sir,  are an asshole.

He laughed. “Well.”

“Well. You have a nice day, now,” I said.  This is the way Northern US women say the Southern US women’s ‘Bless your heart‘  which really means, ‘I’m done talking to you. Kiss my ass.’

“Alright,”   he replied, shaking his head, which probably meant, ‘Bitch’ and truthfully,  I don’t give a shit.

Just Me With . . . a full tank of gas, next to an ass. 

 

For other run-ins with the men in my neighborhood, see:

I Turned Down A Date With An Ex-Con

Another Encounter With The Ex-Con

Pissed: Parking and Dining Alone

Wall Street

Wall Street

My Ex-Husband had pissed me off again, with a modified Nanny text that illustrated the fact that the  inconvenient visitation schedule is my obligation to uphold and his option to ignore.

I’m sick of it.

To the inevitable comment that “at least he seems them, ” I refer to   Misplaced Praise of a Father is Not Good Manners.

The whole thing sucks.  No other word for it.  Well, there are other words but that’s the one I’m going to use.

I was pissed.  Actually,  I don’t even want to talk about it.  There are so many things wrong right now and I have so very few acceptable or advisable or helpful responses or resources.  I’m exhausted and overwhelmed.  Five kids ain’t no joke.    Yes, sometimes things get to me, despite my blessings.   I’m human, and often treated like much less.

Holly Hunter plays a divorcee in Living Out Loud.  Excellent film.

Holly Hunter plays a divorcee in Living Out Loud. Excellent film.

To cool down I went for a drive.  Well, I drove and parked.   First I parked at the kids’ school, then the grocery store parking lot, then the bank lot, then on the street outside of a pizza joint.  When I remembered that I hadn’t eaten in almost twelve hours I figured food would help my mood.  Since I was alone I figured I could treat myself to  dinner at a diner.   The diner would be open for another hour and a half or so and there were some people still there so I went on in.

I took a booth for comfort.  No reason to perch on a stool when there were so many empty tables available.   I was thankful no one I knew was there.  I was not feeling like small talk.   Overhearing one waitress complaining that she was so tired and that her shift was just too long and another waitress  complaining that she’d only made $9 the whole day, I made a mental note to leave a decent tip.

I enjoyed the quiet, the children can be, let’s say, over-stimulating.  (That sounds so much better than saying my offspring can be a pain in the ass, don’t you think?  Don’t worry, I’ve withdrawn my application for Mother-Of-The-Year.)

I ordered and resumed my texting and tweeting.

When I looked up all the other patrons had gone.   I was the only one left.    Basically, the restaurant was staying open just for me.

I took dining alone to a whole new level.

Typical.

Just typical.

I ate quickly and gave a fifty percent tip on a cheap meal.  I was calmer by the time I got home.

Just  me with . . . NO ONE!!!!!!  I mean it.  Nobody at all.   Whatever.

See also I AM Here!  I Am Here!  I Am Here!  Said the Nanny

I Went To A Dinner Party Alone

Carrie, without a date at a wedding in Sex and The City

Carrie, without a date at a wedding in Sex and The City

If you’ve read my previous post, “You Don’t Have To Bring a Date, Come Alone. Come Alone. COME ALONE!” you know that I was alternatively stressed, concerned, pissed and kinda bummed by the repeated suggestion that I come alone to a dinner party. Here is the update.

Yes, I went alone. Yes, and as I predicted, it was fine.

Let me set the scene. It was at a private home, more like an estate. The night was beautiful so everything was set outside –cocktails and hors d’oeuvres for an hour, then a buffet dinner at tables around the pool. It was a catered affair with gorgeous centerpieces and decorations all in pink and white, to celebrate Cheryl’s being cancer free. Guests were also encouraged to wear pink, and on behalf of those who did, Cheryl would donate money to Cancer research. Everyone had on some sort of pink. It was a really classy affair, with around fifty guests.

Okay enough with the back drop, this is how it played out.

  • I walked in alone.
  • I was greeted by Cheryl who immediately introduced me to, let’s call her, Regina, who was the ONLY OTHER SINGLE PERSON THERE!
  • Cheryl informed the group I was standing with that Regina and I were seated at the same table –because we were THE ONLY SINGLES THERE!

Awkward? Yes. Appreciated? Yes. It made sense, actually.

  • After Cheryl made the announcement that Regina and I would be dining partners, Regina joked, “But we’re not a couple!”

Of course I took that opening to add, “Well, the night’s young.” Ha ha ha, the Tears of a Clown.

  • Then, someone noticed, not me, that one of the ladies standing in my group HAD ON EXACTLY THE SAME BLOUSE I DID! The same pink, jeweled halter top.

I swear, that has never happened to me before. We laughed it off. She said she’d picked hers up in the islands, Martinique, I think, while on vacation.

Where did you get yours?” she asked.

And me, being painfully truthful, admitted, “At a consignment shop.”

At a consignment shop.

Let’s review, shall we? She got hers while on an exotic island vacation. I got mine at a thrift store.

There are two things wrong with this:

One: I admitted I was wearing a used shirt. No shame in wearing second hand clothes, but sharing that information isn’t necessary. It’s not like telling folks you have a rescue dog — one of the few situations where the wealthy applaud acquiring someone else’s cast offs. I should have said my blouse was a rescue. My snappy comebacks come years late … but I digress.

Two: I thought the beauty of buying at a consignment shop was that you were less likely to get something that someone else has! I mean, seriously? It was the only top like that in the store, of course. Indeed it was the only top like that I’ve ever seen. Oh snap, I guess it’s because I don’t vacation in the islands, or vacation at all. Crap.

Wait, there’s a third thing wrong with this — WE WERE WEARING THE SAME SHIRT!

Eventually I made my way away from my shirt twin to some familiar faces. As Cheryl promised there were a couple of couples I knew because they had kids the same age of mine and who are in the same activities. One was the same couple who, at the graduation party, had walked away from me. But this time they were very talkative and friendly. The husband reminds me (and my kids) of McDreamy on Grey’s Anatomy.

McDreamy from Grey's Anatomy

McDreamy from Grey’s Anatomy

And we did the suburban parent thing and talked about our kids, college applications, etc. The other couple introduced themselves to me as if we’d just met, which was weird, since I’ve been running into and exchanging pleasantries with this couple since our high school senior kids were in the fourth grade.

  • In discussing their children’s college application process, the couples shared that their children blamed them for having not gone through any hardship about which they could write about on their essays, “Oh yes, she’s mad because we’re successful and not divorced and she has had what she needs. Can you believe that? Yes, we’re sorry we’ve given you a good life.” I couldn’t even summon up the Tears of a Clown to respond to this particular topic, as I stood between the two couples. Though I did discover that one of the moms had NOT gotten into the college I went to. Score one for me. Empty victory, because she was being nice, damn it.
  • Cheryl had hired a professional photographer and also took pictures herself. The couples were asked to pose together. I was asked to pose by myself. Regina was also asked to pose by herself. Yup.
Carrie, being photographed without  a

Carrie, being photographed without a “Plus One” in Sex In The City

When the party moved to the assigned poolside tables, I sat between the McDreamys and the only other single person at the event, Regina. I discovered that Regina was divorced with children and in the midst of downsizing so we talked about the whole downsizing, moving, process, etc. and I chatted with her and the other couples about our kids, etc. I think the people (and by people, I mean couples) on the other side of the table may have been interesting, but the centerpiece was too big to talk over. They must have been listening to our conversation, however, because in the buffet line a woman asked if I was a professional organizer because I seem to know so much about it. Ha!

No, I’m not a pro. But yeah, I know a lot about it. I know a hell of a lot about moving and downsizing . . . but I digress . . .

My hero, Matt Paxton from Hoarders

My hero, Matt Paxton from Hoarders

And that was that, except that at some point someone said, I think it was Regina, “I heard someone else here has on the same top, is that true?” And I, of course, helpfully, pointed her out. My shirt twin was at the next table, as it turns out. I added that, “Well, I had wondered if I’d be dressed appropriately. Clearly,” gesturing to my shirt twin, “I am.” Ha ha ha, Tears of a Clown.

The party wound down, I left when everyone else did. It was nice, fine, a lovely affair. It was the kind of party I used to like to look at from a distance, “Oh look, rich people are having a party!” And then I’d drive or walk by to try to catch a glimpse. It was good to be more than a fly on the wall, or a nosy neighbor, or a creepy stalker.

But, as to the whole “Come Alone!” thing — no, Cheryl did not have an ulterior motive and play matchmaker for me, unless, of course, you count Regina.

And yes, I was fine without a date. As far as I could tell, and based on Cheryl’s comments, all the other couples were married. It was not a casual date kind of party. It still would have been okay to have brought a date, but it was okay without.

This does not mean, however, that I will forever go to these things alone. Nope.

Just Me With . . . a shirt twin, a lady dinner date, and a new career as a professional organizer.

P.S. Cheryl actually did a great thing by having assigned tables, especially when there are only a couple of singles and some guests who don’t know many other people. I didn’t have to walk up to a table of couples and ask if I could join them or wait by myself for coupled up strangers to sit with me. And at least I wasn’t seated with my shirt twin.

From

Sigourney Weaver and Jamie Lee Curtis from “You Again”

You Don’t Have To Bring A Date, Come Alone! Come Alone! COME ALONE!

A Dinner Party Invitation

A Dinner Party Invitation

I’ve been invited to a dinner party. A fancy sit down dinner party with a cocktail hour preceding it. It’s a happy occasion, celebrating the wife’s successful battle against cancer. I still remember her tearful message on my voice-mail, canceling her son’s lesson because she had found out she had cancer, “I just want to see my boys grow up,” she’d said.

But after multiple surgeries, radiation and chemotherapy treatments, she’s been cancer-free for ten years, hence the party. I’m not usually invited anywhere, let alone a society-like dinner party. And even though I often avoid social settings, I decided that I would go.

The pink invitation was addressed to me, “and Guest.

Huh.

I immediately started to think of who I might bring, though no good choices came to mind. It was a bit of a stressor, still, I fantasized about what it would be like to bring a smart, well-spoken man who knows his way around a dining room table. My old college friend (with seldom used benefits)? No, too complicated. As I was pondering my situation, I eventually checked my voice-mail. Cheryl had called to make sure I’d gotten the invitation. She was afraid I’d gone away on vacation and would miss it. She added that she didn’t know whether I was seeing someone or had someone I take to events like this but she wanted me to know that she’d be happy to see me come alone. She said I should feel totally comfortable coming alone and that would be just great. They’d just be thrilled to see me, and I could come alone.

That was nice.

She wanted to make me feel comfortable about COMING ALOOOOONE.

Remember Steve Martin in the classic

Remember Steve Martin in the classic “The Lonely Guy” ?

I delayed in responding. I’d recently attended her son’s graduation party alone and though it was nice, I was a bit uncomfortable and felt very conspicuous. See I Almost Crossed One Off of My Bucket List of Men to Do.

As I continued pondering, a possible potential date came to mind — a man I’d met through group therapy. He’d recently quit group so it was completely appropriate (if freaking weird) to see him outside of the therapeutic context. I was going over in my mind how I’d introduce him. “We used to work together,” sounded plausible. (Yes, we worked out our tortured psyches, but no one need know that part.) It would be weird, maybe too weird, since he knows much more about me than a casual friendly date would need to know. But he’s a smart guy who, I have no doubt, would be able to talk to the people at this dinner. I tweeted a random query about it to my friends who live in my phone about whether that would just be too weird. I received a response that I should just go alone because being single is awesome.

There it was again, “Go alone.

Suddenly I felt that it was some sign of weakness that I even considered bringing a companion.

In the end, I left a message for Cheryl saying that yes, I would love to attend, but that, “As it looks now, I’ll be coming alone.” I guess I just wanted to leave the door open, even just in my mind.

Shortly after, I happened to be outside when Cheryl drove by my house (in her very nice Jaguar convertible). She stopped and exclaimed how thrilled she and her husband were that I would be coming. Then she elaborated. She said she thinks it’s just great for me to come alone, that she was single for a long time and she became so tired of bringing someone she’d have to entertain. She started going places alone, she explained. “I can’t tell you how many weddings I went to alone. I’m just like you. It’s better not to bring just anybody. If it was somebody special, sure, but there’s no need to have to entertain somebody else. Plus, there will be plenty of people you know. Some of the folks from the graduation and The Martin’s and . . .

She proceeded to name only couples.

The one couple I did, in fact, know, but I’ve ever had any meaningful conversations with them. At the graduation party they extended a warm hello and then walked around the pool hand in hand. I can’t fault them for that, I mean, it’s not their job to entertain me.

Then Cheryl said — again, “I’m just thrilled you’re coming and I think it’s great that you’re coming alone.

Crap.

I know she meant well. I do not fault her at all. But it had an effect on me — I abandoned any thoughts of bringing an escort.

But why wasn’t I encouraged to bring a date? This is a dinner party! It’s not a wedding, Baptism or Bar/Bat-Mitvah. For family religious ceremonies it doesn’t really make sense to bring a rent-a-date. Those occasions are sacred and there will be pictures that the family will look at forever — and I don’t want them looking my random date and think — “Who the hell was that?”

But a dinner party? Why not bring a companion, even if he’s not someone special?

I know why. It’s the new black. It’s the new black for women to go alone. It’s a sign of strength.

Well, it’s not so new for me. I’ve done it for years, both before and after my divorce. See, ” The Night I Became Cinderella” and “The New Walk of Shame for the Single Woman, Going Out Alone.” My ex-husband hated going anywhere. I could get him to go to my work formal once a year and that was about it for those kind of events. Other than that I went places solo and told people my husband had to work. After we had children, a.k.a. the built in excuses I’d birthed, I would just say my husband was home with the kids. So for me, I’ve done the new black. In fact, I’ve always been black. (Pun intended) For me, it would be the new free indeed the new ME to go somewhere with a man.

I’m sure it’ll be fine. I’ll talk to people. As usual, I’ll be my own designated driver and won’t drink. See, “My Kids Think I’m an Alcoholic.” I’ll be prepared to be seated with all couples. See, “I Went To A Wedding Alone.”

Yes, as Cheryl pointed out, I would have had to entertain a date, but he’d also have to entertain me. If the couples are uncomfortable or just not gregarious I’d know I’d have someone to sit with. Let’s face it, this isn’t a get together with old college chums or a girls night out. It’s a sit down dinner party in the wealthy suburbs, and all that that implies.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but being single means I can have a date if I want, right? Isn’t that the bonus of being single? Choices? Options? — Even if the options put me outside of my comfort zone? But according to Cheryl, my only logical and fiercely independent option seems to be to go, bravely, alone.

Damn it. I’ve been out of the game for so long now I’m not even expected or allowed to have a companion — for anything!

Humph.

In the end, even though the invitation originally said I could bring a date, the multiple encouraging and congratulatory comments persuaded me to RSVP for one. (In other words, I chickened out.)

After so many years of marriage and experience going places alone, I probably needed Cheryl to say, or for me to say to myself, “You can bring somebody, anybody, if you want.” Oh the sweet freedom — to bring a male friend, or gay male friend, or hell, a paid male friend (not that I could afford that — heh heh heh).

But because of the new black, in my warped mind it has been made abundantly clear to me that I should– I must — go alone.

So I will.

Humph.

Oh well. Maybe I’ll get lucky. Or maybe Cheryl is planning to fix me up with one of the older men of means who is similarly unattached.

Just Me With . . . no date, boldly going where no man has gone before . . . or with . . . at least, not as my date, anyway.

Star Trek

Star Trek

And this is what it was like:

I Went To A Dinner Party Alone

I Almost Crossed One Off Of “My Bucket List Of Men To Do”

The Village People.  There are all types of men out there.

The Village People. There are all types of men out there.

A while back I wrote a Bucket List of Men to Do. On it, I included an Too Old For Me Rich Guy saying, “At this point in life this is my only route if I want to be photographed as the pretty young thing on someone’s arm.

Dick Van Dyke and his bride. A 46 year age difference.

This past weekend, I thought about checking that one off my list.

I had been invited to a graduation party of a former student. The student’s family is wealthy. Not surprisingly, it appeared that their friends are similarly well off. As per usual I attended alone. As per usual, it appeared as though I was the only woman attending alone, except, of course, for the widowed grandmothers. As per usual, I was the only woman of color, and as per usual I knew hardly anyone there. The point is, I kind of stuck out like a sore thumb. Well, maybe not sore, more like a bare thumb, among French manicured pinkies. But these are really good people, we go back a long way, and I was happy to have been invited. Sometimes I just tire of going solo — all the time — but I digress . . .

I got my food and took an empty seat among strangers, though the host did eventually join us. He introduced me, explaining that I was his son’s music teacher.

Thurston Howell, III from Gilligan's Island.   My would-be suitor was older than Mr. Howell, but  he'll do.

Thurston Howell, III from Gilligan’s Island. My would-be suitor was older than Mr. Howell, but he’ll do.

Well, an older gentlemen seated across from me was simply fascinated, almost smitten. Now I don’t discuss the specifics of age but considering my wealth of life experience, a man significantly older than me has got to be pretty darn — experienced. Nay, old. But this man, by his dress, demeanor and comfort level led me to assume that he had means. I seriously doubt that this dude needed to check his balance before going grocery shopping.

I didn’t catch his name. But let’s call him Jack. Jack was quite complimentary, noting that he certainly would have stuck with his music lessons if he had a teacher who looked like me. “Wow,” he said, and inquired as to whether I had any openings . . . heh heh heh. “I don’t know how the boy could learn anything with you as his teacher.”

I tell you, I almost giggled. This flirtation from an older gentlemen of means made me — me, a grown-ass woman of feminist sensibilities — positively girlish!

I’m not sure, but I think I may have flipped my hair.

I took the comments in kind and did not pursue the matter, but . . .

Damn.

Let the record reflect that I object to the way younger women romantically involved with older rich men are maligned, called gold diggers and such. It’s offensive.

But hey, Gold Diggers, I get it now. (Shhhhhhh)

(Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

(Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

Just Me With . . . giggles. I really wanted him to buy me something shiny. I’m just saying . . .