Saturday, August 13, 2011

Leaving on a Jet Plane

So tomorrow I may or may not be leaving for an international escapade with Fancy.  I haven't decided yet. It is all way too much.   

The great thing about Fancy is that he doesn't pretend things are anything other than what they are.  I don't envision sightseeing is on his mind and the only wining and dining he has planned involves room service.  

I don't get on planes with relative strangers, particularly without a clear itinerary and specified destination.  I don't even know what to pack or how long he plans this little adventure to be.  

On one hand I want to just go with it and see what happens on the other I really like my kidneys in tact and this seems like the beginning of the kind of film where they quickly take their leave.

I am pretty sure decisions need to be made but then again I don't know how this works.  I fly coach and by tickets on Expedia or Southwest.  I am very very out of my league.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Mercury Rising

Last night Michelle and I met for dinner after class.  I was all a fluster.  My hypothesis was that during my performance piece in the park I had somehow allowed bed bugs to hitch a ride in my bag and they were now infiltrating my apartment causing the intolerable itching that was taking over my entire body.  Michelle said that was highly unlikely and suggested that maybe I was having some sort of reaction to soap or detergent or maybe stress was to blame for the raised skin on the tips of my fingers.

Whatever the cause, something was off and had been for days.  I need to get my shit together.  This morning I realized that it was August.  August 5th, mind you, and I had completely forgotten to pay my rent.  I ran to the post office and deposited a envelope covered in twice the required postage and containing a check for the next three months of rent just to make sure my bases were covered.

I am a mess.  Michelle said the cause was in the stars - or the planets rather - something about Mercury rising (I put very little stock in horiscopalogical platitudes but Michelle swears by it so I figure it is due a little credence).  

No I think my complete and total disarray stems from having spent the last month wrapped up in boy business and my brain, which I spent the last few months going on and on about, has turned to much.  I feel discombobulated.  I am not sure if I am coming or going and I need to hit the reset button.

The great thing about my first semester in grad school was that I was so busy trying to get my arms around everything that I didn't have time to freak out about silly things like relationships or the future.

And really, isn't that what all this boy obsessing was really about?  Focusing on them so I didn't have to focus on the fact that the next few months will determine the next six years of my life and I am not even fully convinced I have it in me to stay in one place for six years.  As terrified as I am about the thought if having to leave New York, a city with which I am just now entering into the ooey gooey honey moon phase,  I am just as scared about committing to her for the long haul or the longish hall in my commitment-a-phobic mind.

My relationship with this city is so much like all of my other relationships it is hard to imagine not fucking it up, not getting terrified at the 'realness' of it all and running for the hills of I don't know where (hell, the next zip code might not even have hills).

I am just want an idea of what the future is going to look like, where I am going to be, who I am going to be.  I know that is asking a lot and I know that in truth, the universe doesn't really work that way.  But I am impatient and scared and really, really itchy and Mercury rising or not, something needs to change.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Wedding Doubt

My good friend called me in drunken distress last night, filled with doubt about her impending nuptials.  

"Write about this," she said through muffled sobs.  Out of love for her I won't write what she said but I will say that the worry she expressed seemed to be emblematic of so many of the conversations I have been having with my girl friends as of late.  Frustrations of not being able to understand their partners, confusions over why seemingly great guys were suddenly and mysteriously becoming emotionally unavailable, doubts on whether or not to commit to relationships with major communication barriers.

I have no answers.  I don't get it.  And in all fairness, I at this moment am probably not the right person for these friends to be confiding in.  My view of the world and relationships is a little skewed at the moment.

My mom called me and in typical mom fashion approached my current conundrum with dismissive rationality.  "Listen,"  she said in a tone that I know indicates that she has reached her fill of a given topic and desires to bolt the lid on once and for all, "my friend posted this quote on her Facebook page and I really think you need to take it to heart.  It is from Mark Twain [a Missourian favorite] and it says, 'You should never make someone a priority who allows you to be an option.' I think you need to remember that next time around."  

I wanted to refute the statement by saying that I wasn't sure that was the case for these most recent trials but after a few more seconds of examination I determined she was probably right.

And you know what, that might just be the truth for all of the women in my life.  I went through a mental checklist of all the friends I had and all the struggles they seemed to be facing in their current romantic relationships and I couldn't find one situation where this platitude didn't apply.

Now I am not trying to make a generalization that women make men priorities and men take women for granted. Hell half of my struggling girlfriends are lesbians. Rather,  I think that is just a sign of a relationship in turmoil, when one party places the other front and center while they are relegated to the side lines.  

There has to be give and take in relationships. Sometimes other priorities will win out and that is just the nature of our busy society but that is no excuse not to make the people around you know they are special, considered and loved. 

Monday, July 25, 2011


“Maybe too much is what you need.  Did you ever think about that?”

My mother has a tendency of speaking truth at the least palatable of moments.  I was sitting in the park pretending to do work, over-analyzing whether or not I should accept a new gentleman's offer to buy me a ticket to D.C. for the day so we could have brunch in the nation's capitol.  Brunch.  Yeah right.  I am sure brunch is exactly what he had on his mind when he made the invitation.

“You are doing it again.  Stop. Thinking.”  I know this is probably my most serious character flaw but telling me to stop thinking is like telling a quadriplegic to go for a jog - the request is ridiculous and a little bit cruel. If I could stop I would.  If I could be different, I wouldn’t be a 29 year old with chronic insomnia and the beginnings of serious crows feet. I can say I will quit but we all know it is bullshit.  There is a reason I am an artist and a writer and a student...and single.  I have a lot of brain space to put to use.

To be fair, my relationship with Fancy started off in a way that warranted worry. And yes, I named him "Fancy". The name wasn't wholly original but it was fitting and the best I could come up with under the circumstances.

I met Fancy at a party a few days after I returned to New York. I should preface this tale by saying that things were just starting with the boy who would eventually dump me on my birthday which made the events of that evening  feel even more complicated, and confusing and terribly, terribly guilt inducing.

The party had been a straight-up former frat boy free for all, filled with friends of my friend's boyfriend. I gravitated to what few women were in attendance but the crowd of testosterone volleyed for attention. Between tales of Hollywood movie deals and summer homes in the Hamptons I would look up and see Fancy, leaning back, taking it all in and waiting for someone to catch his eye.

I didn't need to speak to him to have him a pretty damn good idea of his m.o. He looked like every guy I went to high school with - immaculately groomed, in a perfectly pressed polo and $300 jeans, forever aware of the room around him, waiting to be adored. He was gorgeous and he knew it. That type of guy always did.

I smiled politely as he approached. I always find this moment just before the conversation the most amusing.  There is a split second to guess what the line might be, if this introduction will go well or if it will just be added to the endless list of awkward unmemorable occasions.

This being said, I don't actually remember his opening line - I feel like it had something to do with the bottle opener.  I forget because, in truth, what happened next left such an impression everything else faded away.

He was a resume guy. You know the kind that gives you about enough time to utter your first name before he starts reciting off his accolades. I always wondered why 'that' guy didn't just have miniature copies of his resume laminated and tucked in his wallet for occasions like this, you know, so he wouldn't have to be bothered to speak - he could just wait for the panties to drop to the floor.

And it was easy to understand why he thought they would; high society upbringing, ivy league ed, international start-up companies and a corner office on Wall Street proper, not to mention having penned several books, one of which showcased a foreword by a former president.

Like I said, Fancy.

Despite what I am sure he believed was a stellar performance of Mr. Fancy's hit parade, I could tell he was left confused. He had been expecting me to swoon and when I didn't he looked as though his world may have come unhinged. I don't mean to give myself too much credit. I couldn't have been the first woman in his history to remain unimpressed as he uttered the sweet sweet words, Simon and Schuster, Bill Clinton, condo on the upper west side but I am sure we were few and far between.

And thus what could have been a passing conversation with just another orifice for Fancy became a challenge he couldn't resist.

I was not naive enough to assume that his interest would linger once he received some sort of validation so imagine my surprise when even after the evening turned into a cloudy version of "Eyes Wide Shut" Fancy would persist.

The next morning I sent him a text, "Did you seriously just Facebook me?"

Fancy brought out the bitch in me. 'That' guy always did. Somehow I thought sneaking out of the (and I quote) "black tie optional" pseudo sex club he had tricked me into patronizing and catching a cab to Korea Town with his good friend to stuff our faces before passing out in his suite at the W would have been enough to make Fancy lose interest.  Plus he had gotten the validation he was looking for at the the club, (drunken stupidity makes it possible to look over the most blaring character traits and give in to what my mother would agree were really really bad life choices) but Fancy wanted to prove he wasn't 'that' guy, which was what I called him most of that evening.

"Do these lines really work for you? I am sorry I am not amazed enough for you. God you are so that guy."

The bitchier I was the more intrigued Fancy appeared to be.

For weeks he would send random text messages from whatever city he happened to be vacationing in and ask about my day.  Photos from Aspen over the Forth of July, messages from San Francisco and finally a series of invitations, which ironically began right after my birthday.

"Why don't you come to DC for brunch?  I'd be happy to buy your ticket." Or some butchered text version of that.  Then there was Philly, Austin, Boston and so on.  Every time I explained that a) I am a poor college student not exactly available for flights of fancy and if I was I would need more than 4 hours to prepare.  

He eventually made his way back to the city but invitations were more of the same,  last minute and romanticized. 

Seriously, who invites a girl to meet up for afternoon tea?? Dude wasn't even British.

I would counter his offers with something a little more practical, usually involving 24 hours notice but that never seemed to fly. When my last attempt to meet up at a mutually convenient time (notice the key word mutually) was rebuffed, I finally said enough.  This was the shit that drove women to madness and I just couldn't take anymore. I didn't need one more game player hovering in my universe.

"You know what, I am good," I told him, "How about this, if you are ever really around (instead of some hypothetical rendezvous in a city requiring plane fare) and you legitimately want to hang out - in a way that calls for an actual invitation of one person to another in a form a little more personal than a text message, you let me know.  I would be happy to join you. Otherwise, I think I am good.  Take care and safe travels."

The next day,  I saw Fancy for the first time in a month.  I don't like to think of my text  as an ultimatum but he certainly got the call to action.

He took me to dinner at a bistro on Park Avenue and we talked about art and politics and our families.  I told him my theory about the resume cards.  He found it amusing.  I asked if there was ever anyone who called him on what I could only describe in the moment as cockiness.  He said no.  Then he amended the statement with his sister.  I decided immediatly that I liked her.

After the first round of Pellegrino and before we ordered wine I told him to come clean.  Seriously who asks a girl to Paris or afternoon tea?

"Well, Lyndsey," there is something about the way men use your name in a sentence such as this that can put you in your place with nothing much else at all, "I wanted to see you.  I felt bad we hadn't been able to get together before.  And I thought it would be fun."

Okay.  And afternoon tea?

"I am from India, Lyndsey. I grew up in London.  My parents have afternoon tea every day."

And I am an asshole.

Then we actually started to talk - a little less banter and more actual conversation.  The thing I find so incredibly attractive about him (aside from the eyes and the abs and the persistent invitations to Paris) is the fact that he gets it done.  He calls and says lets get together at this time or that and whether or not I can actually make it happen, he has a plan.  He isn't wishy-washy, he isn't insecure, he is grown-up. And that is HOT.

In the middle of dinner we were discussing relationships and the lack of ceremony that has taken over our generation.  "I don't want to revert back to out dated gender roles but there is something to said for courting," I said. "I don't know, I figure at this point I will probably just marry the next guy to bring me flowers.

A few minutes later he excused himself and entered into a hushed conversation with the maitre de who scurried behind the bar and started digging in the cabinets before pulling out a silk rose.  He walked back to the table and gave it to me without ceremony or a big speech. He just smiled like he knew exactly what he was doing.

And suddenly I was weak in the knees.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Frenchman - Part 2

It is a toss up whether the Frenchman showed up at the absolute best time or the worst.  
On one hand, I wasn't exactly in the right emotional state to take in his international charm. On the other, his heavy handed affections, continental affectations and puppy dog persistence made him a perfect distraction to my bruised heart and wounded ego.
When I met him we were sharing a blanket in Brooklyn Bridge Park, both of us with friends of friends of friends, watching a movie al fresco in the glow of the Manhattan skyline. I was distracted at first, half petrified of running in to the latest boy to make me consider lesbianism, half hoping I would. It wasn't until we were standing on the same subway platform waiting to go home that I really took him in.
The gapping spread of his unbuttoned burgundy dress shirt was the first thing I noticed. As a rule, European men can pull of chest hair. Americans look like cast offs from the Jersey Shore.
His name was Michel and he was in New York on holiday. In fact, he had been traveling for months and wouldn't be returning to France until the growing season in September. His family owned a vineyard in the southwest and he spent his time traveling around the world instructing sommelier and meeting with distributors. He didn't tell me all of this in our first meeting - no we had a few more days for that - but it seems to stick out now that he is gone, no doubt hiking somewhere in Chili, looking for his next great conquest. 
We made mild chit-chat on the subway platform, the A/C an interminable wait. It was early and he was cute  so it was decided we should get a drink. 
I was not prepared. I was not prepared for the French and their sense of beauty and passion and love for art. I don't know that I have ever had such a conversion and not just with a stranger - with anyone. He made my heart hurt with the way he looked at the world and the way he spoke of our 'long moment together in time'. It was too much. I am too American and he was too... too something all together more. 
When he stopped in mid-conversation, chin in palm, unafraid of the silence, taking in the world around him and losing himself exclusively in the thoughts within his own head, it was like something within my own heart snapped. 
I realize the melodrama of this all but I am telling you HE WAS FRENCH; they have their own rules.  I wanted so badly to pause the world for a moment so I could capture the words he was saying, pictures he was painting that I knew would fly from my memory before the sun came up again.  
For the first time in months I wanted to write and not just about my petty indiscretions with the males of my life but about art and what it means to feel an overwhelming sense of joy at just being allowed to walk around and witness other people’s joy.  I wanted write silly flowery poetry and for a couple of hours I felt ridiculously happy, like a scene in a movie that feels too perfect to last for more than just a two minute montage but one you wouldn’t want any other way.
That night I let him kiss me but I didn't let him walk me home. As brilliant as his poetry might have been, I wasn't ready for what that could lead to.
The next day the Frenchman sent me text messages early in the morning asking how soon he could see me.  My foreign film feeling had worn off in the light of day and I couldn’t figure out if the poetics were a full time thing for him or if his English was just really terrible in a really fortunate manner.  
I debated whether to see him again - some perfect things should just be left a perfect mystery - but my funk was starting to roll in again, heavier now because I had a few free hours to contemplate my wounded heart.  So I decided to indulge the Frenchman with a little tragedy and arranged to meet him near the Met before taking a train to the Bronx to see an adaption of Blood Wedding in the park. 
When we got lost and spent thirty minutes wandering around aimlessly, the Frenchman explained to me the the definition of “foireux” - a sort of half-baked plan, something that sounds really great in theory but turns out to be nothing much of all. I worried that this was what our evening might be.  
Play or not, he assured me with a smile that just called for trouble, this night would be nothing of the kind.
On the subway, after what turned out to be an epically terrible show, he laid my palm facing up and slowly outlined the regions of France with his finger.  As we walked around an unfamiliar Brooklyn neighborhood, he serenaded me with songs from his childhood.  And as we sat on the patio of a local bar he did his best to explain to me what he saw as the way to treat a woman, a “real man’s” view of relationships and why I should enjoy each “beautiful long moment” with passion.
Meanwhile, I was directing his attention toward pronouncing my home state like something other that the Kathy Bates film that caused me to question the safety of the writing profession. 
What can I say, I have an ooh la la threshold.  Yes, it was incredibly romantic but it was all too much.  The Frenchman was sexy but I couldn’t exactly envision rolling around in bed with him, laughing at an ill-timed dumb joke or the innate awkwardness of almost all things naked. 
I guess I am a girl who needs just as much La Dolce Vita as Wet Hot American Summer and a guy who falls somewhere in between. 
The Frenchman was obviously someone who would want to spoon or whisper sweet nothings in my ear or wake up early to watch me while I dreamed.  And that just sounded gross. Even his plea to come home with me was stifling. He should have judged his audience when he told me he just wanted to come home so we could talk and he could hold me all night.  I attempted to explain to him the definition of a personal bubble but the language divided seemed to great.  
I walked him to the subway - okay in the general direction of the subway - and gave him a hug goodbye.  I tried to pretend I didn’t see him actually pouting as I walked away.  I am not sure how long he stood there - I never turned around.  

Thursday, July 21, 2011

If, Then

There is this wonderful thing that happens when I write things down. All the anxiety I build up over analyzing a situation, any situation, gets spent looking for the perfect way to describe it. All my fear and worry and insecurity gets chewed up and spit out as fodder. 

In the 10 days since my disastrous 29 birthday, I have spent far too many hours replaying the details of that evening - and the evenings that followed - wondering just when exactly my life got so strange. The truth is it has never been what could be described as normal. But whose is?

I needed my necklace. But more so I needed some sort of closure to the confusion.  Emotional rectification had come swiftly but that confusion of just not fully understanding a string of events left a weight in the air.

By the time we finally met up, I had gnawed on that confusion until any taste of bitterness or anger or sadness was gone. I thought it would be harder to see him. I thought I would feel some need to act in a melodramatic fashion with the goal of making him feel bad, but I didn't.

I just wanted any unpleasantness to be over. It just felt silly and when he said he hoped we could get to a point where we were 'cool' with one another, the step seemed completely unnecessary.

It felt fine to be around him, easy even. Just because the dating thing had spiraled into disaster at record-breaking speeds, didn't mean we needed to go through the motions of pretending to get over something. At least I didn't. I had 10 days. I was good.

Who knows how friendship will work out. Perhaps I will never learn to understand his Greek and he will never get my Martian. But hell it seems worth a try. After all what's the worst that can happen.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Birthday to Remember

Life is too short not to mend quickly.

This is the lesson taught to me by my latest up and down. The difference I am guessing, between now and the way things used to be is that now I know myself. It is a lot harder to have your self-esteem demolished by a birthday dumping when life all around is pretty undeniably kick-ass.

And my self-esteem had been the issue of concern as he gave me the big heave ho.

“I hope you won't let my issues affect the way you feel about yourself.”

It was everything in my being not to say, “Go fuck yourself” but that would have been serious overkill and undeserved and frankly, beneath me. That didn't mean, however, I didn't think about it for a second.

The whole thing was baffling. How we went from zero to this in a few short weeks, how I ended up all a-twitter in the first place, and most puzzling in the moment of dumping itself - just what exactly was going on.

I am not a moron. I was aware I was getting the boot but as it was my birthday and I had single-handedly taken down a pony-keg, the words coming out of his mouth - hell, the words coming out of my mouth -weren't really registering. It was just sooooo serious and the whole time I felt as if I was having an out of body experience, watching myself engage in some ridiculous soap opera with someone who was clearly just not that into me and for why?  I wanted to yell at the girl sitting on the stoop with her underwear in her hand bag, “Run, bitch run. Do not engage. This will not end well.”

And it didn't .

The reasons why are debatable and I gave it much consideration over the next 6 days.

One option was that I had dated more than enough guys who had been far too comfortable hovering for months or years at a time in the space between exclusivity and the big bad ‘boyfriend/girlfriend’ title.  Perhaps the idea of one more go round with Mr. ‘Let’s Just Hang Out‘ was enough to make me run screaming into the night. 

[It can be postulated that if there is to be naked time and statements have been made about this said naked time not occurring with anyone else, that it is not too far of a leap to want to move things in the direction of a relationship.

This concept seemed to land on him like greek on an alien from outer space.]

There was also the distinct possibility that as Justin Long put it, he was just not that into me.  I had offered this up two days prior - on a day distinctly not my birthday - and even gave him the whole, “You can take your out free and clear,” option.  Somehow comments about his aversion to people of my artistic background and comments about my previous relationship style (an immature banter bordering on playground name calling and hair pulling) hadn’t left me with a strong feeling of confidence in his interest in me and who knows, having these issues addressed might have placed a spotlight on his shakiness as well.

Finally there quite probable scenario in which I had done what I often do when man-related situations start to feel weird or difficult.  I got scared and went plowing head first into some sort of definition - anything to make it feel less terrifying to be so vulnerable, anything that meant that someone else wasn’t scared so I could be.  The only sick twisted comfort in this was that in a way I had orchestrated my own demise and wouldn’t have to spend months or years waiting for the other shoe to drop on something that wasn’t quite right.

At the end of the day, it really didn't matter why it didn't work. Obsessing over the cause and effect wasn’t going to change what happened and more importantly it wouldn't change either of the parties involved. 

Still, a few days after my birthday I was feeling terribly low and dejected so my girlfriend sent me one of those self-help articles written for single women who date like morons. I often find this type of writing as condescending as the men who have just dumped me but this one was different. Short, sweet and spot-on - three things I try to be in my relationship tête-à-têtes and fail at almost without exception.

The article talked about knowing how to say no when you just aren't that into him, knowing when to gracefully bow out when he is just not that into you and adopting one key mantra to live by in order to find a guy that fits just right.

"You can't say the wrong thing to the right person."

This was an important message I was starting to forget in all this ho-hum birthday dumping sadness.  I could have bit my tongue, pretended to be okay with something that didn’t quite sit right.  Some might say I should have.  But that is just not me.

I am a little crazy and completely over-analytical and bordering on OCD. And yes, this tendency to feel the world fully and gnaw at conflict until it becomes raw might suck for my relationships, but it also let's me see the world like no one else and accomplish what often seems impossible.

We all have baggage. We WILL fuck up. No one is perfect but we can't spend our lives worrying we might say or do (or obsess over) the wrong thing. Eventually the right person will come along; one who likes us, warts and all, and one who is ready and open to what we have to offer. 

When that guy shows up there is no saying he will completely understand our crazy or speak our alien dialect but hopefully he will be excited to try and when all else fails, he’ll know where to pick up a copy of our dictionary.