Sunday, January 30, 2005

Why rebounds are rarely permanent

When I first met B at my friends L and M's wedding in August, I thought he was amazing. Cute, a great dancer, into hiking--we totally hit it off. I've seen him now 5 or 6 times and the newness is starting to wear off.

1. He acts like he wants to be with me but then flakes out. Consistently.
2. He doesn't call when he says he'll call
3. He's bad in bed. Consistently. Especially when drunk.
4. He goes from behaving as if he genuinely enjoys my company to acting like I'm taking up his precious time.
5. He talks about other women that want him, and had the gall to show me a topless picture that one of said women had given him.
6. He talks about sex with his ex-girlfriends as a way to soothe his ego after being bad in bed.
7. He keeps telling me how much I'd like his ex-girlfriends.
8. He talks about the necessity of respect in relationships and how most guys don't know how to step up, but then he disrespects me and doesn't know when to step up.

None of these are traits that I would want in any real relationship. It's too bad. He seemed like such an anomaly when I met him-- the proverbial man among boys. Well, my faith is flagging a little--I guess we'll see what the universe coughs up next.

Olfactory breakthrough

It's hard to be mad at a guy when he smells really good and your pajamas smell like him and that makes you happy. Not just because the happy pajama scent means that I've actually slept with, snuggled and snogged someone for the first time in months, but because I really, seriously, honestly miss sharing my daily existence with someone special. I miss living together and everything that entails, from brushing your teeth at the same time, to spending Friday nights together watching a DVD because we're too exhausted from the work week to be social, to spooning in the middle of the night, to leaving the bathroom door open when we pee because we're that comfortable, to going out for brunch and smooching on the sidewalk. I miss being part of a couple.

Maybe that's why I've put up with B (in addition to the fact that he smells great). The fact is, we live 3,000 miles apart and it's been kind of nice to play house for a few days without any strings attached. He may not be the man of my dreams but he's made me see that I do want that life again. Which is a huge step because for months I felt like I would never, ever, EVER be able to or even want to open up like that again. But here I am, smiling because he smells good and my pajamas smell like him and I'm not a completely detached, emotionally wounded animal anymore.

It's all about the booty

Last night I went out to dinner in Sacramento with my friend M and her husband, who really are the perfect couple. They are smart, sarcastic, well-travelled and the best of friends. They have one of the most successful marriages I know, despite the fact that they both came from dysfunctional families (a fact that they both admit freely, so I am not airing any dirty laundry here). So there is hope for those of us bearing scars from the nasty underside of the nuclear family unit.

Anyhoo. Last night we hit this hip sushi bar in downtown Sacramento and as soon as we walked in the door, it became immediately clear that fish was not the primary item on the menu. The place was filled with these women who looked as if they'd caravanned north from LA, packing a full load of fake boobs, bleached and chemically straightened hair, tiny camisole tops and tighttighttight jeans. Now, Sacramento is a pretty cool place but LA it's not and this was something of a shock. I learned one very important lesson, though: it's all about the ass. Maybe because I'm single again, I'm noticing that men watch women's butts as if they had never seen a rear end before in their entire lives. As one guy told me candidly, men hold the door open for women just so they can get an unrestricted butt view while coming off as being gentlemanly. Men stop and let women cross the street so they can watch as they go by.

Call me naive but this shattered my entire conception of chivalry. I guess I give men too much credit, when really they do everything with an alterior motive. ??

This lesson was brought home to me for real last night, when we were standing at the bar waiting for a table and I felt a tap on my ass. I turned around to see some random guy staring off at the far wall, with his camera phone in his hand, pretending that he HADN'T JUST TAKEN A PICTURE OF MY ASS with his phone.

Shock. Shock! With a slight undertone of disgust and flattery blended together, resulting in complete inertia.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Nothing a few palm trees can't solve

In San Francisco for a long weekend. After being bombarded by 3.5' of snow in Boston over the past week, I could barely stay awake and all I wanted to do was eat. As in, eat anything I could get my hands on but particularly baked goods. In order to avoid having to buy a whole new wardrobe to accomodate my new eating habits, I decided a change of scenery was in order.

For me, San Francisco is a city of revelations. Each time I come here, I grow stronger and more sure of myself. When I visited late last August, I cried all the time and in embarassing situations. There was no containing the grief--I cried on my friend's couch, in the bathroom at a party, in the bathroom at a restaurant I had eaten at with Glenn, on the street, in the dressing room at thrift shops, on BART. I tried to go back on the Pill and descended into a hormonally-induced comatose state. I was so raw inside that I could barely stand to be out in the world. My friends started to lose patience with the crying, and I got tired of being sad all the time, particularly in a place where the hill walks, the hiking and the stellar yoga were so amazing.

It was during that visit that I started to realize how Glenn and I had grown apart over the past year. I looked at my friends and saw how wonderful their marriage was, and knew that Glenn and I never could have had that. He just wasn't willing to do the work necessary to keep a healthy relationship on an even keel. I saw people walking their children around Noe Valley and realized that I did want children but that I hadn't wanted them with Glenn. Somewhere inside me, I'd known that he was an overgrown, 35-year old child himself, and I didn't want to raise two kids at once.

I started to eat again.

I came back last October and spent 10 days housesitting for friends who were in China adopting a baby girl. I was alone for most of the trip and that solitude in a somewhat unfamiliar place forced me to do some introspection that I'd been avoiding. I went for long walks around the city. I did yoga every day. I cried whenever I needed to, but it wasn't constant. I also went on four or five dates with B, a guy I'd met at a wedding in August. He was everything that Glenn wasn't--stable, mature, financially and professionally established, ready to settle down. He took me out to amazing dinners and made me laugh. He kissed me and made me feel beautiful again. We went hiking, to a concert in Golden Gate Park, on a long walk around Potrero Hill. He showed me that better men do exist.

This trip, I am realizing that my heart is healing. My body is healthy and fit again. My priorities are crystallizing. B isn't quite as perfect as he seemed. Even though it's so tempting to put up with his erratic behavior so I don't have to sleep alone for a few days, I'm realizing that I have to learn to stand up for myself. And I deserve better than someone who clearly can't see that I'm freaking amazing. I deserve someone who adores me, or at least knows that he could adore me after getting to know me better. I REALLY deserve someone who doesn't fall asleep in the middle of sex (no lie). I am so tired of feeling like I have to convince men that I'm worth adoring. As Renee Zellweger said in "Jerry Maguire," most men run a distant second to a hot bath and a good book. I'm still waiting for one who proves her wrong.

Isn't this the part of the movie when the quiet but underrated romantic interest appears, the childhood friend who always loved me but was too shy to speak up?

It's such a triumph to be in California and not have ANY urge to contact Glenn. He may only be 500 miles south but he could be on the moon for all I care.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Can't dodge the dreams

Last night I dreamed that more wedding presents arrived in the mail, and my mother and I had to return them. For some reason, she decided to open them and see what they were. One of her friends had sent us a basket full of fun things that were all about my and Glenn's relationship--hiking maps for Southern California, tickets to a wine tasting in Santa Ynez, a gift certificate for dinner at Toscana, a book on California B&Bs. It was such a thoughtful and personal gift--in the dream, I cried while I was going through the basket. Then Glenn called to tell me that I'd gotten some more mail at our old apartment, and that he loved me. And my heart just melted. Because in dreams, you don't always remember that your true love cheated on you a month before your wedding and lied about it. Or that he doesn't love you any more. So in the dream, I called him back to tell him I loved him.

In reality, most of the wedding gifts went to Glenn's parent's house, because they had oodles of storage space and we did not. So his mother had to do most of the gift returning. I feel not an ounce of sympathy for her because returning those gifts was the only way she got involved in the whole post-calling it off mess, other than constantly reassuring her precious First Son of how blameless he was. I'd be less angry and bitter about that if she had been a monster mother-in-law in the making, but she wasn't--she was sweet and loving and we were very close. Her total silence after the breakup was a betrayal on top of a betrayal and yet another layer of loss to pile on top of the rest.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Loving kindness

I went to yoga tonight and came home incredibly energized. My yoga experience has morphed dramatically over the past year. After the breakup, yoga was painful. I cried in every class and then went home and cried some more. You go so deep into what you hold inside. You cannot bullshit yoga. It will unearth every last thing you are doing your damndest not to feel and make you feel it. It is better than therapy, though probably more expensive. Anyway, for a while there yoga sucked completely. It had always so centering and stabilizing and suddenly it was a source of discomfort and pain.

Lucky for me, I'm no longer weeping like a baby in class. Now I'm casting dirty glances at all the Sensitive New Age Guys in class. Yes, yoga seems to have lit a torch under my dormant libido and now there's a handy fire burning away. As Bryan Kest used to say, what isn't sexual about yoga? You get hot and sweaty and touch yourself all over with loving kindness. Easy for him to say--he had someone to go home and shag.

One of the things I liked least about Glenn was the fact that he used to go to Kest's class, put his mat down behind the hottest girl in class and hope for frog pose. Not that he's the only guy in the world who does yoga just to see women contort themselves in extremely pornographic ways, but something tells me he's not so subtle about it. Yes, that's the present tense--he still does it. Of course, now I'm wishing that someone less slimy would do the same thing to me. What a way to flirt--frog pose it and look him straight in the eye. Now that's a challenge if ever there was one.

In a total aside, let me just say how much I love the new Chemical Brothers album. KCRW has been playing it for months and I'm dancing on the couch now that I finally own it.

Scully is jumping all over the place, demanding attention. How can one fat, white cat have so much to say? Maybe she likes the Chemical Brothers, too. Maybe she's one of those dancing cats. But probably not.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Getting ditched at the altar can really pay off

Boy meets girl. Boy proposes. Girl breaks up with boy right before wedding. Boy takes off on world tour with brother, turns experience into best-selling novel, screenplay and successful company.

Kudos to him. Even if I'd had the luxury of $77,000 to jet around the globe last June, I wouldn't have been able to pull it off. Honestly, I couldn't even get off the couch. Once I mastered the couch, it took two months to leave the house. And even though this guy hit most of eastern Europe, Asia and Africa, he still couldn't get away from his pain. So really--couch, Africa, what's the difference. In the end, we all have to wrestle with the reality of our situations.

Of course, now he's married with a baby on the way. And here I am, on my couch with my cat on my lap.

Selling the bling

This past weekend, I took my engagement ring back to the store where Glenn bought it so that the nice people there could appraise it and tell me how much they'd give me for it. There is nothing about this process that makes me happy, not even the thought of several thousand dollars in my pocket, not just because it's dirty money in my mind, but because this is not something I want to be doing. At all. But I can't have that ring in my life anymore. Not in my life includes not putting it in a safe deposit box or having the stones reset so they can have a second life as a necklace or earrings.

Let me just say that I love my engagement ring. I wasn't one of those obnoxious brides from The Knot who flashed her bling for anyone with a camera, but I did find myself getting distracted at work a lot. I'd be typing away and suddenly notice how nicely the light from my computer screen refracted in the diamonds that just happened to be living on my left hand. Anyone who has ever been engaged knows how that goes.

We chose the ring together. Glenn insisted on the right to decide which ring to buy--he was old fashioned in his own ways--so we went to the store together ( a really nice antique jewelry store on Newbury St.) and I picked three that I loved. I would have been happy with any one of them, but secretly I loved this ring. Every night before bed he'd ask me which one I liked best and I refused to tell him, but in my heart of hearts I really wanted that one. Who wouldn't? It's an estate piece from the 1920s, with a center mine-cut stone and three smaller stones on each side in a platinum setting. Beautiful, classic and understated without being boring. Everything I'd ever dreamed of in an engagement ring.

The day we got engaged is still one of the happiest days of my life. I remember feeling intense, pure joy, the kind that people keep trying to get from club drugs or vibrators or weeks at the spa. I wore that ring for a year and a half, and when we broke up I gave it back to him. It was the only thing to do--even then I didnt' want it anymore. When I fled back to Boston, my mother had a hissyfit when she found out I'd given it back, and I couldn't make her understand that I felt like a fraud with that ring in my life now that Glenn was no longer my fiance. Then, when I went back to LA to pack my things, I turned on my computer and found a file full of letters and emails from Glenn to the girl that he cheated on me with. ON MY COMPUTER--right on the desktop, where only someone who wanted something to be found would leave them. And in a fit of righteous anger, indignation and a complete, numbing sense of betrayal, I cut the strings on his guitar, popped the tires on his beloved mountain bike and took the ring back.

For the past 8 months, it's been sitting in a drawer, safe in its little black velvet box. On Saturday, I took it back to the store on Newbury St. The owner, Shelley, was very nice and extremely professional. She said they would be happy to discuss either consigning the ring or buying it outright, but first they needed the original sales receipt and a letter from Glenn giving me permission to sell the ring. Apparently the store got caught in the middle of not one but several very nasty breakups that involved one spouse calling the police in order to stop the other from sellling the engagement ring. So now I need to demonstrate Glenn's good will in the matter in order to move forward. Oh the irony.

Shelley remembered Glenn and I got a distinct vibe from her that she thought the breakup was somehow my fault. Glenn is a very charming guy and I'm sure he made a great impression with them when he bought the ring. But now I'm wondering how I can drop the fact that our relationship ended because he was a cheating bastard somewhere into the conversation. So now I'm waiting for the receipt and the letter, both of which he kindly agreed to send. In the annals of things that are fucked up, calling your ex-fiance to get permission to sell the ring he gave you has to fall somewhere within the top 100.

It's been 8 months and my heart is still broken.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Loving my down comforter and flannel sheets

...and ignoring a cruel message from Higgypiggy, taunting me about the near-perfect weather in LA...

Wind Chill Advisory Remains In Effect Late Tonight Into Tuesday Morning... A Bitterly Cold Airmass Will Invade The Region Tonight. Northwest Winds Between 15 And 25 Mph... Combined With Temperatures Falling To Between -2 And 5 Above Zero Will Result In Dangerously Cold Wind Chills. Wind Chill Readings Are Expected To Range From 15 To 24 Degrees Below Zero Late Tonight Into Early Tuesday Morning. Frostbite Can Occur In Minutes With These Wind Chills. Therefore... If You Have To Be Outside Dress In Layers. Hats... Earmuffs... Scarves And Gloves Are Highly Recommended.

At least it's not Embarrass, MN.

In other news:

The worldwide growth of Craigslist continues apace.

Not surprisingly, tsunami survivors are now terrified of ghosts.

Why traffic on 128 will never piss me off again

Okay, I've been back on the east coast for more than 7 months and I cannot escape the tentacles of LA. I gotta let it go, I know. But in case anyone on the east coast wants a serious, in-depth understanding of all that "bad traffic" talk that always goes hand in hand with life in Los Angeles, here's what happens when bad weather gets added to the equation: a 2.5 hour commute to go 11 miles. And even when you CAN drive someplace, the roads are now more of a mess than ever.

Yesterday I made an ill-advised late night trip to Target in order to stock up on Golden Globe-watching provisions. There I found one of the most frightening signs that our global economy is really, truly in the shitter. Tucked in the back corner of the store, like a creature out of a Ray Bradbury story, one that warns us all of the perils of commercialization, was the new Global Bazaar section. Draped in colorful faux-silk flags and full of "fine imported goods" from countries around the world that usually sell the fruits of their underpaid labor to places like Pottery Barn, the section urges customers to "ShopThe World From Home." Because we would all rather buy our affordable, mass-produced decorative accents from Target instead of hoofing it to, say India, which really needs the tourism cash right now. It was frightening, but it didn't keep me from buying my Target-brand gummy worms....

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Stairs redux

It was supposed to be 60 degrees today. It's 36. Which is still warm enough to run (and this is good, since I had scheduled today as one of my two running days). But it's so freaking foggy outside that it would be suicidal of me to run where I work (which is right around a reservoir). So I am sitting in my desk chair, feeling fat and frustrated and wanting nothing more than to go run stairs until I can't feel my ass anymore, and instead I have to go to the gym, where I have to meet with one of the Healthworks personal trainer people ot have my free evaluation, which means I will not get to work out until much, much later

Dooce gets what the deal is with the Santa Monica Stairs.

By Your Command

All hail the SciFi Channel--Starbuck and Apollo are returning to the little screen! I for one am very excited about the new Battlestar Galactica series. While the creator may have rejiggered a few elements (the Cylons aren't big versions of R2-D2 anymore, and Starbuck is--gasp--a woman), the miniseries was totally compelling. Witness me, trapped on the couch for 4 hours last night, watching with baited breath. For all of us who grew up on Buck Rogers and the original Battlestar, this is a major event!

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Attention, Mary Kate Olsen

There's a new restaurant in Berlin that serves women with eating disorders. Not sure how they make money, unless they sell advertising space on the wall above the toilet.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Charlotte would be proud

So I'm taking a ballroom dancing class at the Boston Center for Adult Education. I shirked that particular duty when I was 13 and now I'm determined to sway and shimmy with the best of them. Also, there is no describing my love for "Strictly Ballroom." Not that I was expecting sequins and poofy feather skirts at the first class, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't keeping an eye out for a potential Paul Mercurio standin. There is one cute guy, but I think he's gay (and he didn't get to be spanked by Dana Delaney in "Exit to Eden.")

I digress.

The class felt a lot like those awkward middle school dances, where all the boys huddle along one wall and the girls along the opposite wall. Predictably, I was the only single girl there--everyone else came with a partner. I had a moment of empathy with Charlotte on Sex and the City, because she had the same experience after her divorce from Trey.

My wonderful friend Danielle tried to pawn her husband off on me so I wouldn't be alone, but I'm not that mean. I ended up getting the instructor as a partner and considering the fact that he was the only man in the room who wasn't tripping/stumbling/stepping on their partner's feet, I think I got the better end of the deal. That made it easy to look past his bad breath and the fact that his fly was halfway down (I would have told him but it seemed like he'd be MORE embarassed by a strange woman sharing that bit of information than by discovering it himself next time he went to the bathroom). Plus, he was a great dance partner. We glided. We swayed. We outshone all the other newbies in the room. Bring on the sequins, I say.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Happy new year, goodbye

I saw Glenn last night and he looked old. Old and sad and fat. He had a goatee and it was gray, and I found myself thanking god that I didn't end up marrying an old, gray goat. He's so off in his own little world that there was almost no point in talking to him. He doesn't allow me anywhere near his heart. We sat at the bar in the Airport Hilton and had the same conversation we always have--about how he's right and I'm wrong. All the things he has to believe so he won't think twice about his actions last summer. Seeing him wasn't hard, but saying goodbye was torture. No matter what happens between two people, their bodies remember each other. We still fit together as if we were made for each other--after we hugged, I put my hand on his stomach the way I always used to and he kept his arm around me, the way he always used to. We stood like that so often together. And then he went upstairs to his hotel room and I went home. Or tried to. My brain reverted to old patterns and I turned around and got in the elevator with him and went up to his room. Nothing happened--my coat stayed on the whole time and I knew that he was humoring me by letting me talk at him while he got ready for bed. While he went through all the bedtime rituals that we used to do together. He didn't think twice about being in his underwear in front of me, and I hardly noticed that he wasn't dressed. We spent almost four years talking while getting ready for bed together, and I guess some kinds of rapport stay the same no matter what. But he told me that he just doesn't feel IT anymore. The thing that kept us close, I guess. And so I got up and went home and he flew to Los Angeles and I stayed in Boston. And when I woke up in the morning, I realized once and for all that that part of my life is over. Glenn is part of my past, my personal history. I can't change the role he's played but I can realize that not having him in my life is a good thing for everyone involved.