Gift Giving Competition

December 16, 2014 § Leave a comment

It’s the end of the year and we are all counting our blessings and savings and accomplishments from the year before. The holidays marks a passage of time when we take an inventory of what’s going on and compare it to last year’s numbers.

 

This will be the 5th Christmas Mister Red and I will exchange gifts and I’m stumped. I usually win the friendly unspoken gift giving competition. I mean, I pretty much always nail the wild card, warm fuzzy, you-shouldn’t-have-but-how-did-you-know gift. With the exception of the too small navy blue twink suit fail of 2012. It looked like he was wearing a pair of Lulu crops around his athletic thighs. But it was the thought that counted that year.

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It’s totally true that we try to one up each other. For Valentines Day, we somehow started a strange tradition of making the other a Valentine. The funnier it is, the punier it is, if you rhyme a poem or draw a picture, the more points you get.

For Halloween, its quietly judging the other’s jack-o-lantern. And sometimes I try to micromanage his carving skills (sorry, dude).

Fourth of July is usually when we bring two dishes to pass and mine is better. Except this year, he championed the avocado/greek yogurt chicken salad that I was skeptical of. And now I make it once a month.

He’s lead started gaining in the spring when he threw me for a loop and observed a holiday in uncharted territory. For April Fools, he staged a walk out with my shoes that was quite hilarious. I didn’t have a comeback for that one.

Thanksgiving might be the only holiday where we truly work together. And it’s for the sake of pie.

This year for Christmas, even though my numbers are down due to my ill prepared April Fool’s Day and the Wedding Proposal, I might forfeit anyway. I don’t have a clue what to get him. I know he’s got some good stuff brewing because I gave him major hints and spread the blanket wide on my Pinterest board.

So what do you give to the man you know so well?

Not socks. That’s for sure.

Not a video game, if I want to see him at all next month.

Is this the year I give boudoir pictures? Is that how those happen? I have always wondered how women end up resorting to that. He puts a ring on it, I can’t think of anything to top that gift this year so I do a stop motion burlesque show?

My points are so far down that I might as well save that up for next year. Nudey pics on our first married xmas. Tasteful, of course. Best wife ever. Saving that for later.

So this year… socks it is!

 

Language of Love

December 9, 2014 § Leave a comment

You know you have a strong relationship when you say…

“I’m going to put the goo gone back in the Harry Potter Closet”

and it’s understood perfectly.

Or how about…

“Is is okay if I finish off the KT dessert tonight?”

And it is okay, even though you made it less than 2 hours ago.

You compromise on entertainment….

“Can we watch ‘kaaahhhhhahhhhakaaaaakaa’ and ‘fast news talk big story love triangle’ tonight or save one and watch two next week?”

(Extra points if you can guess those shows)

You alert the other of beautiful views…

“Check out the wicked underbelly from the secret patio.”

You have traditions near the holidays….

“After tonight we have to get Trampstamp Tonya out of the overhead storage bin.”

But most importantly, you have emergency chocolate in the house and it’s okay if the other person eats it….

“That whole thing of chocolate chips is gone from the freezer.”

Because you understand why they needed it in the first place.

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Best Advice For Your New Engagement Ring

December 2, 2014 § Leave a comment

Here we are: December. I know. I can hardly believe it either. Tis engagement season. Along with the onslot of ugly sweater pics and  #TBTs to xmas morning in the 80s, you will also get lots of couples making it Facebook official in your news feed. For dudes, this is prime proposal time. The ring doubles as the best Christmas present ever, and if she’s been eyeing June nuptials, he’s got at least a year and a half before bye-bye Bachelortown. Plus, there no better time to show off new bling. Get that finger out in front of everyone from great-aunts to forgotten high school queen bees. It really is the loudest symbol we have for coupledom.

I used to think people were crazy to ask if my sterling silver swirl ring was a wedding band on my 24 year old hand. It’s possible I presented myself just bizarre enough. I could have been that strange of a person, a person who would prefer non-traditional hippy jewelry as a symbol of marriage. In truth, I was wearing it on my left hand to remind myself that I was not ready to be married. Not at 24. I kept this ring on my finger particularly around Christmas to also remind my boyfriend at the time that I was not ready for a flashy upgrade. I liked the one I had. It represented my freedom of expression unbound by the gifts of a generous, yet loving gentleman caller.

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Months before we broke up, we had an argument about this ring. The argument, although petty and meaningless to a guy who was about to dump me, struck me hard. I took the ring off that day to show that I would be accepting of any jewelry he wanted to give me. Dodging the bullet of a pricey Christmas gift, he let me go before the holidays.

Newly single, I let the feeling sink in. Do I put the silver swirl ring back on? Sure. Just a few times in the name of rebellion and newfound freedom, but I got even more questions about my marital status then ever before. Probably because I was looking super hot after the breakup diet and frequently on the prowl. Dudes be like, “Are you married to someone? You have a ring on an important finger.” I had underestimated the sigma in western culture of bedazzling this specific finger.

Atlas, I didn’t want to blur the line. It was true, I had begun accepting applicants for the position of boyfriend with the opportunity of promotion. I couldn’t be out there advertising that I wouldn’t consider moving the right person up the ladder.

Eventually I bagged myself a good one, Mister Red. Around year three of being together my “important finger” began to stand out again. This time in the opposite way. It’s nakedness was inviting, calling, “come hither.” I fought off the suitors, for I had already found the suitable one. My lack of bling also called out to people in the know. I’d constantly get my hand examined at catch-up brunches. I battled the nay-sayers. We were taking our time. No need to rush. It’s not like my finger was cold.

We went to take some rings for a test drive, but he didn’t make the real commitment until a year later when he could gift the proper wear for the all-occasion-every-day-of-your-life accessory.

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When I first debuted my ring, there was more attention on my finger than ever before. Then conversation would stir to different aspects of the proposed nuptials, as they do. Some even reaching beyond the aisle to the cradle. It was all rather overwhelming.  Except for one person, who was a simple acquaintance, and she parlayed the most excellent pointer. And this is very good advice I was happy to receive and delighted to pass along.

We were at a shower of some sort. Bridal or baby, I don’t remember, but the punch was flowing so I knew this was an honest moment. She said, “I’m not going to ask when your wedding is because you should enjoy your ring.” She looked at my finger and smiled a knowing smile, “I wish someone had told me to just enjoy my ring. Pretty soon the wedding will come and people will ask when you are having kids. And then you have a kid and people will ask you about your second one. So take some time right now and just enjoy the ring.” Once she said it, it made so much sense. The whole process is rushed.

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From that moment on, I took time to admire it. This artifact carefully selected and painstakingly saved for, by hell or high water, the exact ring he wanted me to have as a symbol of his undying love– fuck yeah I was going to take my sweet time enjoying it. Now I only wish he had one too. Just so he knows how special I feel every time I look at my finger. I suppose he will soon.

Nice To Meet You Too: Escape Plans

November 25, 2014 § Leave a comment

Below is the post I wrote five years ago after I decided to skip the voyage home for turkey day and crashed with some friends in Las Vegas. Oh my young ways. Coincidentally, I ended up meeting my future mother in law, hung over, the day after Thanksgiving. It is with the true gratitude of the season that I report not needing my escape plan that day. Also I took that glass of white wine offered to me like a champ. 

Being single at an Orphan Thanksgiving or a Friendsgiving, as they say, is perfectly acceptable. Your peers just want to eat, drink and be merry. It’s quite a different story if you’re dining with family. It’s like a murder interrogation. You can redirect the questions for the first couple hours, but by dinner you’re running out of diversions, they’ve got a few drinks in you, they’re onto your tricks, and you left your backup weapon in the freezer.

“Meet anyone nice lately?”

“Whatever happened to that nice fellow that you brought to so-and-so’s wedding?”

“I hear little Tommy Walters is engaged. He’s the one that got away,” and so on, and so forth.

All you can do is ask, “Anyone need more wine?”

Getting older only makes it harder deflect the seasonal cross-examination. Best case scenario, entering the minefield with someone who could be sort-of serious. It plays right into these little family gatherings perfectly while simultaneously uncovering certain truths about your newish lover that would have otherwise taken months to expose if he was on the spring boyfriend track. All the holiday skeletons come out of the closet. Family brings the manners out in everyone. As does an extended weekend trip. And even if he does offend your mother with the smell of his feet or yells at your father about his lack of enthusiasm regarding Call Of Duty, at least you a have a partner in crime when you sneak out in the middle of the night to smoke a joint and ravage leftovers.

In truth, no one likes being alone for the holidays, it’s cold and there is a lot of unnecessary pity going around. There are precisely three and a half weeks between Halloween and Thanksgiving to nail down a winter man. A lot of men won’t truly commit until after October 31st in order to honor the sluttiest day of the year, no matter how much they seem to enjoy taking your tits out for dinner. If you reach the second week in December and are still coming up empty handed, you might as well forget it. A two week investment will not yield any sort of jolly holiday despite above average blow jobs. At that point, keep your options open for running into old flames and randoms on New Years.

If you’ve figured it right you’ll hit the holidays around the 3-6 month period. And there is something about meeting the parents that sinks that hook in deeper, making diamond earrings on Christmas Day 50% more likely. Do your duty, soldier, put on your pearls and curb that sailor mouth, you’re meeting the family.

The Holidays is a shifty time to start dating anyone, and it will accelerate even the most casual relationships. It’s like going from a Sunday afternoon cruse to a high-speed chase; always have a backup weapon and an escape plan. Meeting the family, particularly the extended family is unpredictable, no matter how much sun shines out your man’s ass. If you are ill prepared, you’ll be sitting at the kids table with dish duty finding your only relief in getting great-aunt Kacky liquored up by request of her husband. So study up, ask the proper questions beforehand to rule out any accidental buffoonery. For example: Who was the last girl they met? This way you can outshine accordingly. Inquire about traditions. You don’t want to be benched in heels when you could be scoring touchdowns on the fields. When in doubt, bring play clothes. Also, be aware of touchy subjects, this not only brings the skeletons out of your lover’s closet but helps you curb the conversation in your favor. You don’t want to be boasting about your liberal pro-choice views only to discover that the kid sister was knocked up last year. “Thanks for spilling the beans, Grandma won’t come back inside. Please tell me you know how to thaw out an old lady,” and this is also good example of when you use your escape plan. Best to have previous knowledge controversial issues and prepare unbiased answers appropriately. You should actually have an arsenal of these answers ready to fire at all times. However, I do realize that not all of you are serial monogamists like me, so I will give you a bit of leeway here.

If you are the one bringing someone special home for the holidays, do him a solid and educate him on your parent’s pet peeves. He’s a keeper if he chooses to listen to you. If he doesn’t well… you’re stuck with him for the long weekend. Even in this situation, it remains the same: always have a backup weapon and an escape plan. It’s a merging of worlds, collision bound trains set to expose everything you were hoping to keep under wraps for a few more months of bliss. You sat for hours stuffed into germ infested public travel just so you can see these two animals sniff each other’s assholes. And just like dogs at a dog park, there is a fine line between playing and fighting. No sudden movements, and make sure he know who’s the alpha, even if it is your mom.

Relatives and boyfriends are hit or miss, but when you come out of it all you’ll either have learned a lot about the other person or you’ll vow to remain single for the rest of your life. Because I need a mother-in-law like I need a hole in the head.

Whatever Side You Sleep On

November 18, 2014 § Leave a comment

I used to not have a side of the bed. For a good portion of my life I just slept like an X in the middle, arms and legs akimbo, like I the finalist for a contest of how much space I could take up per body dimensions. I would have won, btw. When Mister Red and I began having adult sleepovers on a regular rotation neither of us stated claim to pillow top surface area. There were no real estate negotiations, we eased in to our respective sides naturally. Occasionally, we switch. Mostly to correct shoulder issues from poor sleeping patterns, but we always go back. It never feels right on the other side, and all my stuff lives on the nightstand to the right anyway. It’s too much work to commit to a change.

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Growing up mostly an only child, not really touchy feely, or having sorority sisters, I hated sleeping next to people. Frankly, I needed my space. I remember my first visit to a college party. My dear friend let me pass out on the bed, while he slept on the floor. Sure he probably wanted to get in my pants that night, but took into account that I’d possibly punch him in my sleep. That and he knew how to play his gentleman card.

The only time I felt the sting of the cold side of the bed was when I parted ways with a long time boyfriend who wasn’t great at sharing anything. For the first week or so I couldn’t even sleep in the bed. I favored the couch and slept at friend’s house. Eventually I went back to sleeping in the middle and loving it. Until, of course, Red came along.

We’ve been spooning for four years now, sometimes on the couch. It always seems like we’ve been together longer compared to my other relationships. It actually feels like forever. He knows too much about me and has become very adept at outsmarting me for my own good. The last four years have been so long. Father time must be slacking.

You know why it feels like we’ve been sharing a bed for forever? I actually like him. Those other fools I had slept next to with for two or three years at a time, I’ve blocked out whole months with them. Those relationships seem short because I don’t care to remember a lot about those relationships. Essentially, I’ve made those beds, and even if I can’t get anyone to buy the mattress on craigslist, I’m still moving on.

There is only so much room in my head. It’s like when your bedmate hogs the covers. My memory is like the covers, I’m choosing to cover only what is important, there isn’t enough blanket for the rest. I used to think it was a bad thing that my relationship with Red seemed unusually longer than it was. Now I realize it’s because I want a future with him. I’m snuggling up every detail of our time together in my blanket because it’s paramount in holding stock in our relationship. Not to mention, heat.

I’m not worried about our nuptials sentencing us as bedfellows for life. Of course he snores on his back, who doesn’t? Sure, he elbows me sometimes in his sleep but it’s never left a mark. I think we’ve been sharing a queen (a bed, not a dude from West Hollywood in stilettos), side by side for so long that the shock of marriage might be lost on me. I’ve already bought the mattress. I know I’m probably going to have to flip it every now and again, but it has a pretty solid warrantee.

I see a lot of women holding their wedding day up like it’s their last day to experience joy. Sure there is the whole child baring thing that factors into it, but if you play your cards right the wedding won’t be the last of your shenanigans before you’re preggo. There is no impending doom that comes after ‘I Do’ unless you haven’t been brutally honest with each other.

Whatever side you sleep on, know who you’re sleeping next too and love them even if they snore. Use your blanket to hold in the heat of your passion. Don’t try to cover lovers of the past, they can’t possibly fit in the blanket burrito of love.

Furthermore, relationships are full of cooperation, and yes even compromise. Do your share of bed making, and talk openly about bedtime habits. Apparently, 1 in 10 couples argues about about what side of the bed they sleep on. Really? This would be the worst excuse for a break up ever. Adapt.

 

A Bit About Beards

November 11, 2014 § 1 Comment

I love a good beard. There is something about rugged handsomeness that really does it for me. I’ll admit to being a little picky, I’m like goldilocks when it comes to whiskers: not overgrown, not patchy, juuust right. It’s all about the trimmed beard. He doesn’t have to sport one all the time, but he does have to be able to actually grow one. That’s the mark of a real man, facial hair. If you saw a third grader with a mustache you wouldn’t think twice about offering him a beer. As an aspiring cougar myself, I find peace in knowing that the difference between peach fuzz and a five o’clock shadow is about 10 years. While I can’t even imagine having a bush like that on my own face, I love my guy to have some scruff.

My father has a full beard. Some how it has been instilled in my mind that this is the sign of a good man, despite loathing it while I was growing up. It was all scratchy and would scrape my cheek when I got close. This cut down on the cuddle factor for a daddy’s girl. When I was about eight years old he challenged me: if he shaved his beard I had to give him one hundred kisses. I certainly had never seen him without a beard in all my life, and I don’t think his cheeks or chin had seen the light of day since he could grow one. We’re talkin’ at least 15 years of beard. In an effort to insure he still received goodnight kisses from his little girl, he shaved it all off. I waited, anxiously dancing around my mother while he unveiled his face behind closed doors. I was excited and optimistic; a lot of my friend’s fathers were clean-shaven, it seemed more normal to have a dad who took a razor to his skin every morning.

When he finally revealed himself I stood there shocked. For the first time, I saw with my own eyes, my father’s face: bare, beardless. I burst into tears. This was not my dad. “Put it back on!” I cried. Of course he and my mother had a good laugh at this. My mom kissed him on the cheek to show me it was okay. It was not okay. Not in my book. I wanted to erase all my complaints and have my dad back. And so it began, my end of the bargain. I posted myself at his side and started planting wet ones on his cheek. I counted through the tears. He was a stranger, I was kissing a stranger! I calmed down when I reached about 30, but then got upset again around 60 or 70. Whoever this guy was, I did not trust him. Over the next few days, I braved the stubble and fulfilled my debt. My parents still get a kick out of this story to date and giggle about the fact that I haven’t dated a guy without facial hair since middle school. Clearly this experience left me scarred.

Needless to say, I’m quite partial to beards. I’m pretty weary of any guy with a goatee. Even though I had the biggest crush on my high school geometry teacher who sported the fashion. It was more about his khaki Dockers then it was his facial hair. The goatee and the chinstrap are one in the same, both just trying too hard to be something their not. Like Diet Dr. Pepper and leg warmers. Mustaches get mixed reviews: from the classic pedophile and Hitler to Tom Selleck and Hulk Hogan. The mere idea of a dirty Sanchez or a mustache ride is a bit unsavory.  But then there’s the goodstaches, like Einstein and Ned Flanders, both reputable enthusiasts.  It’s not the ‘stache but the man behind it. I also find there to be something reptilian about a soul patch. Keeping in mind that the redneck version of a soul patch is called a flavor saver and/or more immaturely, the landing strip.  You also have to be cautious of the haircut that accompanies the facial styling. The goatee paired with a mullet is like a princess at a pawnshop or when Brittney Spears walked into that public restroom without any shoes.

Although every woman has her own pallet for whisker fashion, there is one thing to be asked of all you men. Please, please, when your done styling, trimming, shaving, primping, will you make sure you clean up after yourself? There is nothing worse then bending down to spit out your toothpaste and coming inches from yesterday’s stubble. It looks like pubes. It’s gross.

This is not to say that any guy who takes a buzzer to his face every day shouldn’t be trusted, perhaps it’s the ritual he enjoys or a metaphor for shedding the day before. I just have an affinity for the lumberjack-type. I have also noticed a recent fondness for red beards. Upon further research, I might be the only woman on the planet who prefers this. I love a ginger with trimmed scruff. I can’t help myself, must be my Irish blood. However I must generalize, I bet beards are a lot like boobs. You want someone who’s stacked.

Dress Discovery

November 4, 2014 § Leave a comment

There are the occasional moments in my life when I’ve stomped my foot and said, “well, I don’t care what you think, I’m wearing it anyway.” Prom is a good example of this. 2 piece, lime green, white girl with corn rolls. 10153032_843993412284725_1858851061_nOr that Christmas when I was 10 and HAD to wear a pantsuit. Another being a college freshman purchase of the most outrageous mary jane platforms. They added seven inches of glory underneath my extreme flared jeans and became a go-to until I moved to Boston. Cartoon footwear doesn’t do well on cobble stone. Selecting my wedding dress is proving to be another such occasion.

Sure I took the online test even though I already knew what I liked. I wanted to be certain I wasn’t missing anything wonderful. Of course I get the label of death: non-traditional and unique. Personally, I was hoping to find a dress that I can later wear to the Emmy’s. You never know when an award show can creep up on you. What’s a girl without a gown? Always BTP (black tie prepared).

First Stop, disappointment. My mother and I trudged to a Labor Day sale in an Armenian neighborhood in LA. I didn’t watch enough episodes of  ‘Say Yes To the Dress’ to know where I was supposed to start. A nice young girl pulled some drapey dresses. In a room with my mother, I stripped in front of them both. Topless and sporting a thong I stepped into the first number. Good thing I lift weights because this thing was easily 20lbs. Insert new word into description: light-weight. No one tells you how heavy these things are and no one tells you to leave your modesty at the door.

I stood nearly naked avoiding eye contact as the sales woman readied the second dress. I tried not to look at my stomach jiggle in the three way mirror as a climbed into a mermaid cut. My thighs glued themselves together from the knees up with the quick formation of sweat. “This is how it fits. I would order you this size.” My jaw dropped. But I can’t walk! I definitely can’t sit down. Second thing to add: must be able to sit.

As I kept on telling her, light weight, less fabric, the mountain of dress I was stepping into shrunk. The lightest dress in the store was still five layers of fabric with a four foot train. There is never a reason to wear five layers of dress in the summer. The sales woman let us loose in the store to look for ourselves. Ball gowns with vagina shaped bows costing over six grand assaulted my eyes. The picture of my dream dress began to focus up: little to no flowers, little to no lace, pearls are not me, no vagina bows.

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With a refined pallet, we headed to Beverly Hills for excursion #2. This time I brought a friend who gets me. We got champagne at this place, it was classy. You don’t go to Beverly Hills for nothing. The salesperson was fun and whimsical, and encouraged me to try on everything to see what I liked. Non-traditional, unique, light weight, not a lot of flower, not a lot of lace danceable, sitable dress. I narrowed it down to 2 and a half. The fabric was still heavy, but I could sit. However, the sample size was too big. Even with the industrial sized construction clips holding my ladies in, I couldn’t get a good read on the fit. Fortunately they had the same dress in red, in my size. Upon zip up and suck in, my thighs were welded together with perspiration. “The mermaid cut isn’t for comfort, it’s for drama,” I was informed. I usually I do not care for drama. I am not a mermaid. I like dancing on land. Lesson for this trip: sheath is my magic cut.

Deciding that my nontraditional ways were leading me away from the traditional bridal shops, our next stop was to the grand department store: Needless Markups. You know the one. Up five levels to the evening wear section, I found her, in navy blue. She was amazing. Everything I wanted. drippy, structured, sweetheart, sheath, no flowers, no lace, and for a cool eight grand I could dis-invite 70% of the guest list and order it in ivory.

Back to the drawing board in yet another bridal shop in Beverly Hills, I got my first feels. My mother and my dear friend had been tearing up every time I had a veil on, but I was too concerned about my ability to sit to be thinking about being a bride and it being an epic life moment. This incredible dress, and with the glitz in all the right places, I started to leak from my eyeballs. I was going to marry him. I was going to get all dressed up like the stuff of cake toppers and become a wife. So. Many. Feels.

As I stood there feeling feelings, one of the salespeople leveled with me. She was a tall horse faced black woman unafraid to tell the truth even if it cost her the sale. “You didn’t come in here ugly. That’s all I’m going to say.”

“What?” I was confused. Was the dress making me ugly?

“You didn’t come in here ugly. A lot of dresses you try on are going to look good on you. I see girls who want something they have no business putting on.” And with that she reclipped the dress tighter and my armpit fat spilled a little over the side. “That’s how this is supposed to fit, girl. You still love it?”

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At that moment with my thighs sealed together and the embellishment poking my ribcage from the outside in, I didn’t really like the dress anymore. It’s an important thing to remember that wifey feels do not equal dress dollars. The dress I had on was five grand. As my mother tried to refinance her car in her head, I came to my senses and put the kibosh on that nonsense.

Forward ho to the sample store. Designer dresses 30-70% off, yes please. This place was far less pressure. Me and my crew scoured the racks for try-ons. If it didn’t fit, forget it. That’s the thing with samples, it’s as is, you break it you buy it. Take if off the rack that day. No ordering. No returns. After the first few didn’t work, the southern sales lady pulled out a light silky sheath that fit like a glove and felt like a nightgown. I could actually walk, sit, spin, do the splits. Nontraditional, unique, No flowers, no lace, just right. I had a little bit of feels and pulled the trigger knowing it would need some jazzing up from a good seamstress. No turning back now.

It was anti-climatic saying yes to the dress, but it’s really not about the dress. It’s about matrimony, folks, like love and shit. Why are people so interested in what I’m wearing? Only people stalking you on Facebook care about what your dress looks like. So what if I don’t even look like that bride on top of the cake or in the magazine? I don’t care what any of them think, I’m wearing it anyway… all wife-like in my own way.

 

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