Category Archives: Dating and Single Life

Another Encounter with The Ex-Con

Michelle Pfeiffer, the nosy neighbor in "What Lies Beneath"

Michelle Pfeiffer, the nosy neighbor in “What Lies Beneath”

I’ve written before about being a nosy neighbor, being hit on by Brian, the strange man who lives around the corner, and feeling uncomfortable (at first) about saying no.  See, I Turned Down a Dinner Date With An Ex-Con.

Chandler on Friends, after he kicked his drug problem.

Chandler on Friends, after he kicked his drug problem.

Recently, I saw Brian again.  I’ve seen him, on and off,  of course, from time to time, but since I’d turned him down he hadn’t stopped to talk or come by to borrow things.

I have creepy neighbors, but I also have “normal neighbors.”   The kids and I help normal neighbors with their new puppy, Bailey.  And by “the kids and I” — I mean, usually, me.  When I was walking  Bailey the other day,  I found myself walking in Brian’s direction.

It was a deer in headlights situation.  I was walking toward him.  He was walking toward me.

Brian’s appearance has changed — again.  It’s Winter now so he doesn’t go shirtless anymore.  He’s cut his hair, which is a good thing, because he seemed disheveled before.  I’d seen him on crutches a couple of weeks ago, but now the crutches are gone — as are his glasses.  He looks different without his glasses.  I wonder what happened to his glasses?  But I digress . . .

Chance meeting with a strange man in Psycho

Chance meeting with a strange man in Psycho

Bailey the puppy is a bit timid, but once a stranger speaks nicely to her, she gets very excited and friendly.

She was terrified of Brian.

He tried to be nice to her.  He did what you’re supposed to do — offered his closed fist, fingers down, for the pup to sniff, but Bailey was still afraid.   She started to run (on the extendable leash) and when I pulled her back she was visibly shaking.

It begs the question: What does this dog sense about this man?

Brian said,

“Hello, Roxanne,  I got your name right this time!”

“Yes, yes, you did.”

Brian has found at least two other names that sort of rhyme with Roxanne that he’s used.  But on this particular day he got it right.

We exchanged the “How are you, blah blah blahs.”

“I saw your daughter the other day,” Brian added, “and I thought she was you.  That just tells me how young you look.  But you won’t tell me how old you are.”

“No, I won’t.”  (Dude, will you please STOP asking how old I am.  That is so not cool.)

A dog can be a nice distraction, and as I turned to calm the puppy and explained she wasn’t mine, Brian placed his hand on my back and slowly and deliberately caressed me with his thumb.

What the hell?

A man's hand on a woman's back can be oh so right, or oh so wrong.

A man’s hand on a woman’s back can be oh so right, or oh so wrong.

It was a move too “familiar” to be casual.

Why is he touching me?

I backed away, continuing the small talk, and making my excuses to leave.   But then he put his arms out to hug me.

“Well, it’s good to see you,” he said.

It was a reflex really, but I allowed a hug.  I don’t know why.  I don’t know why.  I DON’T KNOW WHY!

I immediately felt the “ick”  and could smell the cigarettes.

Ah, maybe that’s why Bailey the puppy was so upset.  Different smells bother dogs, and Bailey’s owners (normal neighbors) don’t smoke. Maybe that’s all it was.  I hoped.

Feeling uncomfortable I said,

“Well, I gotta go,”  and started to walk.

I was seconds  from a (not completely) clean get-away when Brian asked,

“So when are we gonna get together?”

(Crap)

“Uh, I don’t know,” I said, while shaking my head no, and looking at the ground. I thought I was being  dismissive.

“Still thinking about it, huh?”  This was Brian’s response to my non-answer.

And in typical Roxanne fashion, I replied,  “Yeah, I guess so.”

The voices in my head screamed, What are you saying?  Shut up!

What Brian said next gave me the “ick” — again:

“Well, we live close to each other at least, so it would make it easy.”

It would make WHAT easy?  The voices in my head screamed.

“Yeah, I guess.” I mumbled, this time, with an accompanying awkward laugh.  “Okay, bye.”

Me to me, in my mind:   Will you please just SHUT UP!  NOW!!

Brian walked toward his house.  I continued in the opposite direction until it was safe, then doubled back and went home.

Questions? Comments? Concerns?

What is wrong with me?   Why can’t I just say, “Sorry not interested” when I need to?  It’s a problem.   There’s a pattern.   And why did Brian touch me, why did he touch me like he was my boyfriend?   Why did he  hug me and why did I allow it?  And most importantly, What does the dog instinctively know?

Conclusion

I’m never leaving the house again.  Never.

Cameron Diaz, home for the night in "The Holiday"

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

Okay, I have to walk to the dog, and there’s my kids, and life . . . but shit . . .

Just Me With  . . . a case of the “ICK”

Other posts when I couldn’t just say “NO!”:

Landscaper Guy — Not Digging Him, and

Landscaper Guy and The Female Chandler Bing, and

Landscaper Guy and a Phone Smarter Than Me, and

Where Did I Put My Fake Boyfriend?

I Turned Down A Dinner Date With An Ex-Con

I live in a strange neighborhood.  I engage in running narratives  about my neighbors stemming from  my over-active imagination and my lack of social life coupled with my tendency to snoop and their odd behavior.

Brian, let’s call him, is the man I sometimes refer to as  Creepy Neighbor Number Two.  For a long time I suspected that Creepy Neighbor One might be a serial killer, but I digress . . .

I Feel Compelled to Include A Much More Flattering Depiction of a Nosy Neighbor
Michelle Pfeiffer, What Lies Beneath

Brian is more odd than creepy.   I found it suspect that he and his wife, let’s call her Nancy,  had a baby that we rarely saw, nor did we see evidence of said baby.  On the couple of times when I saw either Brian or  Nancy with the baby, they didn’t seem to know what to do with him.   On one very cold day they had the baby in the stroller at the grocery store.  He had on a hat and jacket, but nothing on his feet.  Nothing at all.  I hoped they’d get him home soon.  Then other times, for weeks at a time, the couple would hold weekly yard sales, selling antiques, and though both were home, the baby was not.

Huh.

Remember when Chandler on Friends was too skinny?

When I was in the midst of exterior renovations and landscaping, Brian used to walk behind my home at least once a day, say hello and sometimes chat.   He was painfully thin, with short-cropped hair, had bad knees and sometimes walked with a cane.   Brian was always friendly and gregarious.  I admit I’d go in the house when I saw him out and about.  He made me uncomfortable.

But then, he was gone.

After Brian dropped off the face of the earth,   I’d seen his wife Nancy  from time to time, but not the baby.  One fine afternoon she was walking a seriously drunk and belligerent friend home.  On  another occasion my kids witnessed her having a heated argument with a guy on a bicycle in the alley behind my house.  My kids thought it was a drug deal gone wrong.  Clearly, they’ve inherited their mother’s tendency to fill in the blanks.  The last time I saw Nancy was at a convenience store — she didn’t acknowledge me and was very jumpy and very, very thin.

Drugs, it had to be drugs.  Plus,  she had no baby with her.

Courtney Love, during skinny times

Then in the Spring Brian  reappeared  in the neighborhood after having been gone for at least a year.  His  appearance had changed.   At first I didn’t recognize him.   His hair is much longer and he’s put on a few pounds.  He seemed healthier, had no cane and often was on a bicycle.

Brian actually reminds me of the heavy Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry), you know, after Rehab.

Plus,  he’d taken to going shirtless — most of the time.  He is not cut.  I mean, on a beach or in his yard this would have been fine, but every day walking or biking around the neighborhood?   No.

On Friday evening Brian knocked on my door and invited me to his home for  Saturday night.  He wanted to cook me dinner.

“Hi Diane. How are you?”

“Good, It’s Roxanne.”

“Oh all this time I thought it was Diane.”

“No problem.”

“Well, I have the house fixed up and I wondered if you wanted to come over for dinner tomorrow night, I’ll cook for you.”

“Oh wow, tomorrow?  I don’t think so, not tomorrow.”  I was caught off guard.

Awkward silence, which I then felt compelled to fill, bad Roxanne, bad Roxanne.

I added,

“I’ve had a rough week,” and after another awkward pause,  “and plus I have plans with friends that may or may not happen.”

“Oh, well, if you’d like to come another time, just let me know.”

“Okay, I’m glad you’ve got the house together.”

“Yes, well, it’s coming along.”

“Okay, well, see you later.”

“Okay, Bye.”

Ouch, right?  Why didn’t I say yes?  Did I actually have plans?

Well, I had plans with old college friends I rarely see that were never confirmed so no, no real plans.  It is true that I’d had a hellish week and didn’t want to have dinner with him — or anyone else.

But let me paint a picture.  Three of my kids were standing or milling about behind me and heard the whole conversation.   I was mortified.  He saw that the kids were there and asked me out anyway.  The invitation did not include the children.  It was painfully awkward.  Plus, the kids knew that I had been avoiding this guy and that while I don’t  think he’s  a bad or menacing guy, I do think he’s  strange.   If I’d said yes, they would know either that I was lying about not liking him all along, or that I agreed to have a date with him out of pity.   Not good either way.

To be fair, I’ll admit that I knew the invitation would be forthcoming.  He’d told me weeks earlier that once he got his house fixed up (his wife had trashed it) he would have me over for dinner and tell me all of the horrific things that have happened to him.   In true overly polite and dating challenged Roxanne fashion, I’d said, “Sure,”  thinking, hoping it would never happen.

Should it ever become a reality, I had decided that I would not accept his dinner invitation.

When Brian made a followup nonspecific dinner  suggestion more recently I’d given him the classic girl response,

“We’ll see.”

He had not been dissuaded, however, and he had showed up at my door.

This time, I just had to say, “No.”

Though I’m single and I need more purely social interaction with adults, I don’t have to date the guys that walk by my house, just because they ask.

Plus, he’d previously turned me off   by saying stupid things, like;

“We should get together sometime.  Wait, how old are you?”

Dude, no, seriously?

And repeating the same statements to me.  “Did you know you can get free mulch?

One week later:  “Did you know you can get free mulch?

Another week later:  “Did you know you can get free mulch?

And he’d stopped by to chat on one of his walks, reeking of liquor.  He’d done the same with the workers at my house, reeking of liquor.  Though this was before the disappearance.

More recently he knocked on the door and asked to borrow DVDs from my son, though we had never had a previous conversation about sharing movies.

Just the other day he waved  at  my house even though no one was  outside.

He’s just not quite right.

Call me shallow, but these are red flags to me.

People can get down on their luck, I know I am.  But my instincts told me to say no.

And let me add more color and texture to the picture I’ve painted.   The last time I had a conversation with Brian  he confirmed some of my suspicions, telling me  that his estranged wife is indeed a drug addict– a coke-head actually, and she’s crazy, that his child is in foster care (hence no evidence of a baby), that he’d been in prison for the last year for trespassing on his own property.  Ahhh this is why he’s been, as the lawyers at the firm used to say, “out-of-pocket.”   But for trespassing?  Really?    Now, given my experience with my own War of The Roses situation, I know that absent physical abuse or a restraining order one cannot be arrested for being on a property that one owns jointly with a spouse.  So it must have been something else, or there was indeed a restraining order against him, which opens another can of worms.   Brian also told me he used to make a lot of money in computers but is now  unemployed and that Nancy and her mother  had scammed him out of everything he had, including his unemployment checks.  He  also offered that he had recently called the police to have his wife removed from the house when she showed up uninvited.  This information did not make me want to pass a pleasant evening at his home.

What if his drug addict wife showed up again?

Yet, even given all that, Brian seems like an “okay” guy,  and it sounds like he’s trying to get his life together.   If he has an addiction of some sort, it’s always a good sign when a person puts on weight. Truthfully, I’d been worried about the baby and was relieved to hear that the child has been removed and is in a safe, temporary home.   But I didn’t  want to hear any more of his stories, not over dinner alone at his house.

Maybe he needs someone to talk to and is reaching out, but he has always made me uncomfortable.   Plus, I just wasn’t in the mood.  Thanks to some of my own problems,   I probably wouldn’t have dated any of People’s Sexiest Men Alive  last weekend.  So the usually shirtless Ex-Con didn’t have much of a chance.

“I want to be alone.” Greta Garbo

I wanted to be alone, truly.

Still, when I refused him, he looked so sad I and I felt guilty.  I hadn’t meant to hurt him.

It’s okay to say, no, though.  It is.  I don’t have to date the guys who walk behind my house unless I really want to.  This I know.  This, I’ve learned.  See Not Digging the Landscaper Guy – Part I, Landscaper Guy and the Female Chandler Bing, Part IIThe Landscaper  Guy and The Phone Smarter Than Me – Part III and The Snowman.

Just Me With . . . no date on a Saturday night.  And that’s okay.

Damn, this is an unusually long post that I apparently needed to write to convince myself that it was okay to say a very short word, “No.”

I had Another Encounter With The Ex-Con which confirmed my decision.   Even the dog knew something wasn’t right.

My Concrete Heart

Okay, bear with me.  I don’t often speak in metaphors, or similes or whatever you call them, but I had a moment the other day.

I was driving down a street near where I live.  It was a block of row houses with very small front yards and a sidewalk in front of the homes.  It’s a very walkable area, not just for residents from the block but for dog owners and people going to nearby restaurants.   One of the block’s homeowners was replacing the sidewalk pavement.  I could clearly see this as I drove by because every piece of porch and outdoor furniture available seemed to be propped around the drying cement.  The owner clearly wanted to keep people off  of it.  Completely understandable.

Having gone to great expense to replace the sidewalk,  he/she didn’t want some random person to come along and write his name in the cement.  Because if someone did that, then the owner would be stuck with it.  Clearly, the homeowner wanted a fresh start.

It got  me to thinking, am I guarding my heart like the homeowner guarded his/her new cement sidewalk?  And I trying to keep someone from coming and leaving their mark before it’s had a chance to harden?

Well, if I am, that’s okay.   Everybody deserves a fresh new start.   I don’t want someone else to mold me, write on me, make permanent markings on my facade.  I’m still in the midst of fixing what had crumbled.  I’m working on it.

In truth, I’m not really keeping people out, I’m preparing to let someone in.  If I’m permitted the luxury of guarding  my brand new concrete heart until it heals and hardens, then it will be open to someone coming by for a visit.  It’ll be smooth and pretty and, yes — inviting.  Moreover, it’ll be safe for visitors, who can come to my home without tripping and falling on the rubble of what happened before (and then suing me for their pain and suffering).

So yeah, like the homeowner, I’ll go to great lengths to protect my concrete heart, until I’m/it’s ready .

So keep off.

Actually, in the biz they call it “curing”  —-  concrete doesn’t harden, it “cures.”  I like the sound of that.  When my concrete heart has/is completely cured, I’ll move the blockade and invite someone to my porch for lemonade.  The pathway to me will look good, it’ll be safe, and . . .  I will have complied with Township Ordinances . . . but I digress.

Just Me With . . . my curing concrete heart.

Post script:  I went back later to try to snap a picture, but the barriers had been removed and I’m not even sure which house it was.

Another Text From My Admirer

Rocky wooing Adrian at the Pet Store

I’ve previously written that I Have An Admirer. Today I was experiencing some distress because of  texts from my Ex, was feeling rather blue and overwhelmed, as is often the case.   After my weekly therapy appointment I checked my phone and found the following text from the man I call “Rocky.”

Bright . . . like the morning sun.

Sweet as sweet can be.

Strong like a raging wind.

Yet tender as can be.

Hard like ice . . . wet like water.

Talent to the . . . extreme.

Mind so strong and yet so wise you solve problems at night in your dreams.

I’m proud to know you Roxanne.

I feel better now. Thanks, Rock.

Just Me With . . . a new text, and a smile.

       The Streak Is Over: A Text From My Ex

The Best Pick Up Line, Ever

This was years and years ago.  I was a  college student.  My parents had “sent me away” to live with my older sister for the Summer, I think to keep me away from my boyfriend.   They didn’t send me far away or  for long enough.  They should have put me in a time machine and sent me to the future, just to get a glimpse as to how things might turn out if I stayed with that boyfriend.   Now he’s  my ex-husband, but I digress.

I was lured to my sister’s city with the promise of getting a Summer camp counseling job with my brother-in-law, who headed a Summer program for inner-city youth.   Once I arrived, however, it became clear that there was no such job.   So, stuck in a city where I knew no one but my sister, who was married and ten years older than me,  and while I was still stuck in a relationship where I was not “allowed” to drink or even go out, really,  I decided to take whatever job I could get just to pass the time.

The job I got was at a downtown  fast food restaurant, Burger King.  The kind folks at Burger King  issued me a hideous brown? orange? yellow? UGLY polyester uniform with a matching hat.   The manager placed me “up front” as a cashier, taking orders.  The people who were already working “in the back” making burgers were not thrilled about this, suggesting (well, actually saying)  that I thought I was better than they were because I was from the north and a college girl. We were in the deep south, you see.   Whatever.  I went where I was told.

It was busy downtown eatery, during the lunch rush there were often lines at the register and a wait for food.  And there I was,  standing behind the register, with my fitted polyester uniform (I vaguely remember getting it a size too small so I could at least show my figure)  along with my matching hat, with one hand on the microphone and the other on the  counter waiting for the next customer.

A young man who had been patiently waiting his turn sauntered up to the counter, looked me up and down with bedroom eyes, expertly executed the mack daddy chin rub before he leaned on the counter, gave me the “up” nod and asked, simply,

“So . . . do you work here?”  

I lost it.  That cracked me the hell up!  It was the best laugh I’d had in a long time.  I almost gave him my number right then and there, boyfriend be damned.

Looking back now, I wish I had.

Just Me With . . . the best pick up line . . . ever.  

What’s your favorite pick up line?

Bad pick up attempts: The Landscaper Guy

He Lives With His Mother?

Carrie and “Power Lad” who lived with his parents in a New York classic six apartment on the Upper East Side with a terrace overlooking the park.

 

It’s sad but true, women will put up with a lot of crap.  But it seems like one thing is very universally unacceptable — when an adult man lives with his mother.

Remember in Sex and The City when Carrie discovered that her latest guy shared a beautiful apartment with his parents?

Samantha He lives with his parents?
CarrieIt’s their apartment.
SamanthaSo not sexy honey.  Dump him immediately.  Here — use my cell phone.

Season Three, Episode 15.

Carrie didn’t dump him immediately, because she liked him, his parents were friendly and brought them food and he was a struggling business owner.

Once she realized, however, that Power Lad was still a child in the household, governed by his parents’ rules,  and that he was not saving money but actually spending it on really good pot, well it eventually ended.

Norman

I have some experience with this, the momma dwellers.  I hesitate to call these men out, even if I don’t use their real names, but I feel it’s a topic worth dancing around.  My momma dwellers are educated, well-spoken men.  I didn’t write them off immediately because  I’d known them since they lived in dorms.  Plus, there are certain category of momma dwellers that deserve a chance.
No Dumping Allowed
In my humble opinion, the following momma dwellers should not be immediately discarded:
1. Twenty Something Guy

I haven’t had one of these, but this  guy  is just out of school, has his  first real  job or is looking for one.  He’s recently discovered,  “Dude, they want first and last month’s rent and security before I move in?  That’s a lot of money.”  Yeah dude, better get a bank account.

Acceptable:  If he is saving for his own place.

Unacceptable : If his Mom still does all his laundry, cooks all his meals, he drives her car and he routinely buys rounds for everybody at the local bar.

2.  Break Up Guy

So the marriage/relationship didn’t work and he moved out of the  home, leaving the kids (if any) with their mother.  Suddenly he’s  homeless.  You can’t sleep on somebody’s couch forever and his married buddies are not taking him in long-term  . . . so . . .  he moves in with his mom.

Acceptable:  If he is providing financial support to his kids, someone has filed for divorce, and he is actively looking for his own place.

Unacceptable:  If he visits the kids at the marital home  “overnight.”

3.  Norman?    Older guy taking care of his elderly or sick mother.

A boy's best friend is his mother.

“A boy’s best friend is his mother.” Psycho

This guy still lives in his home town, and may even  have a good job and  his own place.   But his mother is getting older, or has taken ill. Maybe she’s widowed or divorced, either way she’s alone and probably should not live that way.  So he, like a champ, gives up, sublets, or keeps his place — but  he moves in with this mother.  He is probably a good guy, but depending on his mother’s condition, this could go on  indefinitely.

Acceptable:  If the mom is really sick.

Unacceptable:  If the mom goes out more often than he does.

4. Ethnic/Large family/family business guy or filthy rich blue blood guy

Moonstruck

From Moonstruck. The Italian American family kitchen in the large Brooklyn Heights home. Real estate. 

This guy works in his family business.  So does everybody else.  They all live in the large family home.  If you were to marry him, you might live there too for a bit.

Ironically, this also happens in blue blood very rich families or royalty, “Chad” (or William, or Harry) will move back to the main house while interning for “Daddy’s” company.  Except in that case Chad’s bedroom could probably accommodate most of the ethnic guy’s family and their business.

 

The heir to the family fortune and estate might still live with his mum.

The heir to the family fortune and estate might still live with his mum.

Acceptable:  If he wants to have his own family one day.

Unacceptable: If he buys a dog.  (There’s no way he’s thinking about leaving if he’s recently acquired a dog.)

If he’s a Prince, yeah, he can live with this mom.

5.  Grad school student guy. 

This is a guy getting an advanced degree, perhaps a professional degree. He studies all the time.  He lives with his parents because he can’t justify paying rent only to be conscious there only a couple of hours a day.  He reasons, “Why pay for a city apartment just to study and occasionally sleep there?”   — especially true for medical students or interns.  This arrangement is almost always  temporary, and, frankly,  worth the investment.  One day he’ll graduate — and probably get a damn good job.

derek

Acceptable:  If he is actually in school.

Unacceptable:  If he is merely planning to get back to school.  Look for that acceptance letter.

George lived with his parents before moving in with Meredith and the gang on Grey’s Anatomy

You see, a guy living with his momma should be given an opportunity to explain. It should not be a deal breaker– at least not  until you know the underlying reasons and can access the likely duration of the living “arrangement.”

Enough Red Flags for a Communist Parade

 

But here are the red flags I don’t believe anyone should ignore:

1. He has a basement “room” completely set up where he pursues his personal interests — music, computers, lifting weights.  Yeah, this dude has set up house.  He ain’t going nowhere.

2.  He works from home, yet there is no home office,  desk, or computer and he has no cell phone.

3.  He’s mentioned that he hopes to inherit the house. He’s there for life, or at least his mother’s life.

4.  He has never actually said he plans to move or has any interest in doing so.  Pay attention to the silences.  The silences are very important.

Just Me With . . .  no momma dwellers at the moment:   one is estranged,  “If I’d Married My Stalker,”  the other is a very  special friend who defies any type of categorization, “We Thought You Were Dead, Mommy — Almost F*cked to Death”  

 

See other types of dating fails:

The Perfect Man — or so I thought.

The Snowman

The Landscaper Guy: Not Digging Him — Part I

I Turned Down A Dinner Date With An Ex-Con

Facebook Mutual Friend with the Ex’s Girlfriend? – Part One

 

I Have An Admirer

I have an admirer.  Let’s call him Rocky.   There’s a reason why I’ll rename him Rocky here.  First, I want to protect his privacy. And, second, he’s an ex-boxer.  These days I think he works as a bouncer.  Yes  folks, my admirer is a bruiser with a heart of gold.

We met years ago when I was still married and working as a contract attorney for my former neighbor, see Riding With My Boss.  My boss was representing Rocky and his union in some kind of complicated dispute.   I was doing background  legal research in a back room.    One day when Rocky had to come by the office my boss introduced us.   As I recall he complimented me, my smile.  Thereafter, when Rocky stopped by he always had a smile and compliment for me.  He also gave me his card, which I stashed in my wallet and never used.  I must have given him my contact information as well, though I don’t remember doing so.

Rocky’s case went nowhere.  Consequently, there was no reason for him to come to the office anymore.  In fact, most of the work disappeared for my boss also and I didn’t  have a reason to come to the office anymore either.

For years since then, Rocky has sent me a text on or near my birthday and about every other month saying things like, “I was just thinking of  you, lovely lady.”  He’s my age or probably younger, but he is always so polite, referring to me as “young lady.”

After I became separated and sought to test my new status,  I tried to call in some favors.  Specifically, I developed a list of guys I already knew who might go out with me.  I was on a mission.  See The Best Advice I Never Took.  I figured Rocky must like me and I’ve got to go out with somebody so —  I called Rocky.  He seemed to pleased to hear from me.   I invited him to come to one of my gigs.   As he always works at night he could only make it if he came early and  he wouldn’t be able to stay long.  This was good, since I wasn’t sure how this was going to work out.   Plus, this was  good because I had scheduled another guy come to see me for the second shift of my one day dating frenzy.  Yeah, I was a player, and I was on a mission.

So Rocky was  date one for the night.  At that time I hadn’t seen him in person for a couple of years.

He still looked good, bigger than I remembered,  a burly Teddy bear of a guy, soft-spoken and so sweet.   I found out that evening that although he is such a tough guy, he spends his free time writing poetry and songs.  Who knew?

It  was as close as we got to a date.   We hugged good-bye and I haven’t laid eyes on him since.

By the way my second date of the evening was with the man who would become my stalker.   I should have stuck with the boxer . . . but I digress . . .  If I’d Married My Stalker

Since that early evening “date,” I’ve received  semi-regular texts from Rocky.  This has gone on for years.  He tells me I’m beautiful, refers to me as a friend  or  wishes me and my family well.  I don’t get them often enough to feel like I’m being stalked or harassed but I get them often enough to know I’m still thought of.   These texts never request a date or phone call, they are just — complimentary.    Recently he sent  a picture of himself — just his face, and it was NOT, I repeat, NOT taken in the bathroom.    He asked me to send one in return, which I did not — yet.   Oh snap, what if his memory of my appearance is  better than my actual looks in real life?  Wait, what am I saying? Clearly, this could not be possible. heh heh heh

Last month Rocky’s text said:

“You made a positive impression on me from the time I met you.  That helped me survive some very tough times.  Thank u. :p lol” 

I’m not really sure how the “lol” works with the rest, so I’ll just ignore that part.  And I don’t know what “tough times” I helped him through, so I’ll just accept that part.   All in all, it was a nice message.  Sometimes we help people without even knowing how.

Just today I woke up to a text from Rocky which said,

“Good Morning to a very special young lady who is so very sweet.  In case no one told u this morning.  You r very unique. :p   Have a great day.”

Awww.  Is it strange?  Maybe.  Weird?  Perhaps.   Whatever.  I don’t care.   It’s nice to have an admirer.  And currently there is no one to wake me up  by telling me I’m very sweet, so Rocky was right on time.   I’ll take it.  (Plus, it doesn’t hurt to know someone who could and would kick somebody’s ass for me.   Just  sayin’ . . .)

Just Me With . . . an admirer, via text.  Absolutely.

See also, “Another Text From My Admirer”

My Bucket List of Men To Do

I’ve known many different types of people in my life.  But having been in a committed (ha!) relationship for most of my life, I was constrained from “knowing” in the biblical or romantic sense many different types of men.  Still, in my now single state I  think about men a lot and wonder what I missed, and whether I could still sow a few oats.

So, without further ado and in no particular order, here is my —

Bucket List of Men To Do:

1.  Rich Guy — You know on those movies and sitcoms and women meet those guys who buy them a designer dress and  fly them to Italy for dinner and crap.  Yeah, that would be nice.

Richard Gere wooing Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. Only in my scenario I am not a prostitute.

2.  Too Young for Me Guy

Let me first say this.  I am not a pedophile.  The boy-man must be legal and look like a man.  That said, a boyish cutie pie would be nice.  I just want a hint of immortality.   I young man will never forget his first  quality real grown-ass woman.   Plus they have good  music and not a lot to do.

Harry Potter can bring his wand.

3.  Celebrity

a.  Actor— Preferably a screen actor so when a movie is rebroadcast on  television or a TV show is put in syndication I can casually walk by the TV and say, smugly, “Yeah, I hit that.”

Morris Chestnut

b.  Musician–  I am a musician.  I would like to be able to hang out in a larger-than-life  musician’s home studio and jam.  I want to ride in the limo to concerts, and listen from backstage.  I want him to play/sing, only for me a song that has made millions of other women swoon.  And I want to play for him.  And, Prince, if you are reading this, DM me.

Beyoncé and Prince

4.  Really smart guy — A scary smart guy.  All he’ll have to do is talk to me or debate with others  and I’ll be putty.

Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe

5.  Country Guy— Okay, I cannot explain this.  I’m black and not a southern woman. I don’t keep livestock or even go horseback riding. I don’t own a gun or a truck.  I have a toy dog.   But a good old boy would be fun for a minute.   He must not call me ma’am, though.

Zac Brown. I think he likes his Chicken Fried.

6. A delivery guy. (I don’t know.  I just don’t know.)

7.  A man who does not speak English.   I’m American.  I only know a wee bit of French — wait, excuse me, un peu bit of French.  I want to be required to communicate in other ways.  I bet I could become bi- and tri-lingual given the right teacher.  I’m a fast learner.  Maybe it’s this WordPress Views by Country that has me on this.

Rachel on Friends with Italian Paulo, who knows little English.

8.  Too Old For Me Rich Guy  – 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.   I mean Dick Van Dyke (86) just married a 40-year-old.  That’s all I have to say about that –except that I love Dick Van Dyke, so I ain’t mad at her, or him.

9.  The Dangerous Guy — “Sir, he drove off the building.”   I don’t have a death or prison wish, I just like the Bourne movies.  I could live off  the grid for a while, with my five kids, and my minivan . . .

Anyway, I reserve the right to edit the above list.   I also reserve the right to tick some of them off as —  done!!

Oh,I forgot the most important one of all —

10.  Really Nice Guy  (Perhaps one day I’ll be able to insert his picture here.)

Just Me With . . . things to do.

If We Were Honest on Resumes

Simon Cowell used to say it on American Idol,  “If I’m being honest . . .”  then he would insult the very being of some wannabe pop star.

Sometimes, honesty hurts.  Consequently,  in decent society (and by decent society I mean not reality TV)  we make nice-nice  while expressing our opinions of others to avoid causing them emotional injury.  Other times we choose not to be honest about ourselves to avoid the appearance of  being (gasp) boring.   We lie, omit information or engage in puffery (ha! I got the word “puffery” in a post) so that we seem fun and important.     It’s expected, really.  It’s the secret of success.

I once had a job where I had to screen  law school students for professional positions.   My best work friend and I used to love reading through their resumes and laughing at the  obligatory “Hobbies and Interests” section, you know,  that last part of the resume when candidates try to make themselves sound well-rounded and  interesting, giving the interviewer something to talk about other than grade point averages.   Call me cynical, but I never believed even  half of it.   My friend and I would sit back with the pile of resumes, go straight to the “Hobbies and Interests” section, and read between the lines to reveal what we thought could be  the, well  . . . truth.

We had a system:

  • Avid sports fan =  Watches TV –ESPN, all the time
  • Enjoys hiking and exploring the outdoors = Owns a bicycle but not a car,  doesn’t shower on weekends
  • Crafting, knitting and scrap booking = Lies — and often
  • Dancing and spending time with friends = Possibly a slut (probably knows Avid Sports Fan, above– from the bar)   

It’s not that there is anything wrong with how people actually pass their time, we just can’t put it on our resumes.  So  my friend and I  amused ourselves by trying to  crack the code.

If  job candidates were being honest, the hobbies and interest section on resumes would  state things like:

  • I watch TV from the minute I get home until I go to bed.
  • I look  for split ends; I hate my hair.
  • Electronic stalking.
  • Hair removal, ‘nuf said.
  • I like to have staring contests with my dog.
  • I spy on my neighbors.
  • Shopping.   I look nice, don’t I?
  • I meet strangers in public places, aka — online dating.
  • Plus the ever popular,  “Social Media” for six  hours a day —  usually while watching TV or at work.  (Readers say, “Amen.” )

If applicants were being honest, maybe they’d omit the “Hobbies and Interests” section entirely  (I always did, but I’m a rebel) .

They could simply tell the interviewer:

I need a job so I’ll have some money to buy equipment for a real hobby but have  no time to actually do it.

And wouldn’t it be refreshing if a stellar candidate  just said:

Look, I have a 3.9 GPA. I’m President of every club at school.   I study all the time.  When I’m not studying or at some meeting, I’m drinking, eating or sleeping.  If I’m lucky I do my laundry.   My primary interest is maintaining my GPA and getting this job so that I can make a lot of money.   Then maybe I’ll buy a boat or something and can put sailing on my resume, but I won’t need a resume then, because I’ll have your job  — if I’m being honest.

For a hilarious example of an honest interviewee, check out the movie  “Office Space.”

In Office Space, Peter tells the Bobs:

“Yeah, I just stare at my desk; but it looks like I’m working.  I do that for probably another hour after lunch, too. I’d say in a given week I probably only do about fifteen minutes of real, actual, work.” 

I love Office Space, but I digress . . .

And by the way, as I write this, I’m not doing a damn thing, . . . except writing this.

Just Me With  . . .  Hobbies and Interests:   I enjoy reading, writing and meeting new people.  And by that I mean  . . .  Twitter. 

Timing Is Everything, “Undateable,” Part Two.

I’ve established that I’m not ready to date, or at least I’m not ready to  make a sport or hobby out of it.  UnDateable, Part I.

But as I was writing about it, I heard from the TV in the background,

Matt to thirty-year-old New Christine:  “You met him when you were 26.  Now you’re 30.  Trust me, from a guy’s perspective, that’s depreciation.”  The New Adventures of Old Christine.

Scary statement.   And the statement was to New Christine, the younger, shiny  replacement model.   That statement drove her to drink.

New Christine, after being informed that she has depreciated, having wasted her good years on a man.

Imagine how scary it is if you a woman who is neither 26 or 30.  Imagine if you are  Old Christine, which is who I’d be in that scenario.   Hmmm.  Talk about depreciation.

Old Christine

So while I’m  not dating, taking care of me, getting myself together, climbing out of the hole of depression and debt, yada yada yada,  I hear something– tick-tock, tick-tock — no, it’s not  that biological clock ticking — I have enough kids thank you — no, I hear another clock .  A clock that (in my mind) will sound a silent alarm which will summon (in my mind) a  giant iron hand from our misogynistic -youth-obsessed-paternal-madonna-whore- heaven  to snatch me up and drop me straight into Old-Lady-Ville where all mothers or non-mothers over a certain age apparently belong, according to decent society  (in my mind).   I’ll be forcibly taken to a place where women are always covered from head to toe in solid colors, no one has sex, discussion is only about women’s health or lack thereof, and no one is ever seen again in public — well, not until  the woman becomes a grandmother.  Grandmothers can leave Old-Lady-Ville on holidays if  they come bearing cookies and something made from yarn.

Old-Lady-Ville is a scary place.  It’s a place where women are not supposed to  wear, say, do, want or feel “that” anymore.  (i.e. the people who criticize Madonna) That” being anything that men like seeing women not in Old-Lady-Ville wear, say, do, want or feel.   Where sexuality is either non-existent or the butt of a joke (i.e. Betty White).     I’m not ready for that place.    I can still pull off some looks and still want to be able to do —  stuff.   But that won’t last forever.   Or at least  that won’t be socially acceptable forever.

So I don’t feel like I can take my time.   I don’t have years.   Not in this market.

Okay,  that tick-tock  — that iron hand taking me to Old-Lady-Ville — is horrifying, but I know it’s in my head. I’m mean I’m not crazy. (Insert laughter here)  But the calendar?  That’s  real —   and worse.  The calendar says that  if I wait too long, I’ll have to check a different age box on the  online profiles which will,  effectively,  make  me ineligible for yet another whole generation of men, if I wasn’t  out of the running already.   Or, the horror,  if I wait too, too  long, I’ll have to go to the sites for  . . . (gasp) seniors !!!!!!   (Insert scary movie music.)  And where it used to be completely socially acceptable for a woman’s age to have a fluid quality to it, in order to avoid the abduction to Old-Lady-Ville, the internet has taken this option from us.

Bottom line.   It could take years for me to get myself together.  In the meantime, I will have depreciated.   So whatever it is, my imaginary iron hand or the real calendar, it scares the crap outta me.   Clearly.  It almost scares me enough to create yet another online dating profile, even though  I’m not ready.   But it’s do or die —  or be put out to pasture, or Old-Lady-Ville.

(I know how paranoid I sound, trust me.)

I just don’t want to be the dude who dutifully, painstakingly, and slowly restores a previously neglected Victorian  home with plans to sell, but  by the time it is perfect and ready to go on the market, well, the neighborhood has gone to crap and  no one  will even drive by — except, of course, as a short cut to the “new construction” in the next subdivision.   Five years earlier,  the  home would not have been perfect but he could still unload it.   Five years earlier, it could stop traffic, or at least slow it down.   Wait too long?   Not so much.  People just drive by.

Depreciation.

Timing.  It’s all about timing.  And it’s not the same for guys, not in the open market.

I blame the economy.

Just Me With . . . fears, needs and more than a little paranoia.  Shhhh.  Did you hear something?