Category Archives: Dating

The Landscaper Guy, Again, Part V

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 IV — 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. 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.

The-Dark-Knight-The-Joker walking away

The Joker, in The Dark Knight

 

Just Me With . . . ice cream for two — 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.

humbug

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.)

1 dustin_kramer1

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.

1 boob graze 7509.0.570.359

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 IV

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

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, Martinque, 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 shop.

There are two things wrong with this:

One:  I admitted I was wearing a used shirt.

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 this group and 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 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 women 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 "Plus One" in Sex In The City

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 do.  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 "You Again"

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 "The Lonely Guy" ?

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  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 thought 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 at a picture of 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.

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 times I went solo and told people my husband had to work.  After we had children, I would just say my husband was home with the kids.    So for me,  I’ve done the new black.  For me,  it would be the new free to go somewhere with a man.

I’m sure it’ll be fine.  I’ll talk to people.  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.   But truthfully, sometimes that’s just not festive.   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, yet again.

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

Humph.

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

I needed Cheryl to say, or for me to say to myself,  “You can go alone, but it’s fine if you want to bring a date, or companion, or whoever.”    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, it has been made abundantly clear to me (in my warped mind) that I should  go alone.  So I will.

Humph.

Screw the new black.   Next time I want someone to walk in and out with,  and know who I’ll be sitting with ahead of time.  Yeah, yeah, I can go alone, but I don’t have to, damn it.

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

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

Dick Van Dyke and his bride

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 . . . 

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.

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 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