Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My First First Date; or It's So Hard to Say Goodbye

Another moment that I have been dreading has finally arrived.  As if coping with the dreaded moment of becoming an adult was not bad enough, I actually took some action in upgrading myself from permanent WingGirl status up to potential Top Gun Pilot.  I recently took a giant step into embracing my new sassy, single status and went on my First First Date.  I am considering it the First First Date, because when it has been more than a decade since my last First Date, I am pretty sure the first date slate gets wiped clean.

The Guinea Pig that unknowingly volunteered to introduce me back into the wild, crazy world of dating was introduced to the crazy that is Cari on match.com.   We exchanged a few messages and he spelled my name correctly each time.  One point.  We exchanged phone numbers and he did not text me inquiring about my foot massage preferences.  Two points.  He called, we talked and there was absolutely no mention of bowling.  Three points and he earned himself a meet-up.

I must admit, I was terrified about this experience.  The night prior, I was texting the Badger all evening long planning location and attire.  The day of I was shooting off a flurry of communique to JP about my impending First First Date.   I finally decided on an attire that flattered my curvy build and selected a location that I felt comfortable in that also had multiple exits in case this event took a turn for the tragic.  I also made three rules for myself to abide by to make sure I put my best foot forward:

1. Don't get drunk.  I am mouthy, loud and demand attention at all time when I am drunk.  I did not want that to happen.
2. Don't talk about my previous relationship.  What happened in my past is between the two of us and those that need to know already know.  I certainly do not need to go airing my dirty laundry anymore than I already do here on the Follies.
3. Don't make an ass of myself. See Rule 1.

I showed up at designated location a few minutes early, hoping to calm my nerves a little bit.  A friend of mine happens to be a server at this bar and she stopped over to say hello.  I told her that I was meeting a blind date, it was my first first date and that I was as nervous as Hell.  She promptly responded by bringing me  a double of Jameson with a double of Jameson chaser to calm my nerves.  I threw them back, took a quick shake and saw my match.com date walk in the door.  He found me, went for the hug and I deflected for a handshake, not wanting him to smell the whiskey I undoubtedly reeked of by now.  My friend returned and took our drink order.  She knows what I like and this bar has a great rotation of craft brews, so I told her to surprise me.  She brought me a delicious breakfast stout out of Grand Rapids, MI that happens to have an ABV of 7.2%.  It was delicious. So delicious that I had three.  Goodbye, Rule #1.

Shortly into the meet and greet with Guinea Pig, the whole concept of match.com comes up.  I, as a direct result of violating Rule #1, started in on my tirade of how depressing the site has been in respect to unanswered inquiries and ignored winks. This quickly turned into our profiles and he flat out asked me, "So, you have yourself listed as Divorced, what's that all about?"


More Crickets...and rapid fire chugging of 7.2% beer.

I give Guinea Pig the standard line of, "We realized we married too young and were better off as friends than spouses." Note: This is more than the standard line, it's the truth. He kept poking and prodding and I tap danced around direct answers better a presidential candidate in a primary election (Here's lookin at you, Mitt.)  Goodbye, Rule #2.

Once we got past that awkwardness I realized I was actually having a really great time.  In hindsight, I realized the great time was fueled entirely by the Jameson and the fact that I was regaling Guinea Pig (and everyone within earshot) with some of my favorite stories, follies and tales.  In the moment, I did not have that hangover-induced clarity, so naturally I suggest that we ditch the current locale and head out to karaoke.

To keep it short, after performing You're So Vain, It's the End of the World As We Know It, My Kind of Town, Can't Get Enough of Your Love Babe, and carrying the female vocals on a duet of Meatloaf's classic Paradise By the Dashboard Light –– it's safe to say Goodbye, Rule #3.

Despite the fact that I broke the three rules I set for myself, Guinea Pig still took an interest in me.  Unfortunately, I really was not feeling the same way.  The following Friday I had plans to have my very dear friend, The Grappler, over for dinner and a quiet night.  Around 4 o'clock he texted me that he had a terrible work week and was bringing a fifth of rum over for himself.  I was originally planning on waiting for my guest to arrive, but knowing that the Grappler was going to be hitting it hard, I was encouraged to uncork a bottle of Cabernet a few hours earlier than scheduled.  By the time the Grappler arrived I was already on my second bottle and invited my friend, The Nutcracker over for dinner as well. Note:  Nutcracker stems from the fact that he's an amazing dancer and the first (of hopefully many) performances that I saw him in was Tchaikovsky's best-known work.

After an amazing meal, half of fifth of Bacardi gone and the cork popped on the third bottle of vino, I started regaling my guests with my First First Date story, (see Rule #1 on what happens when I imbibe) and they both immediately tell me that I am probably being too quick to judge AND that they want to meet him. Since wine makes me make great decisions, I text him to see if he's free that night and we make plans to meet up at a local joint with some good dancing.  I tell him we will be there in half and hour, but I failed to tell that I was operating under wine time.

An hour and a half later we set off and he's waiting outside, watching me skip down the street with the Grappler on one arm and the Nutcracker on the other.  I certainly know how to make an entrance.  Shortly thereafter, my girl Frances showed up and I spent the night pin-balling around from Frances, The Nutcracker, Guinea Pig. Note: The Grappler was gone at this point, I last saw him boarding a party bus to destinations unknown.  The night ended with me pulling a trademark (and hereditary) move and just leaving to head home without telling anyone, leaving The Nutcracker and Guinea Pig to fend for themselves over a late night round of foosball.

Amazingly enough, this behavior was still yet not enough to diminish the Guinea Pig's interest.  And his tolerance for my shenanigans was still not enough to make me any more interested. He is still texting me and ask about getting together at times, which presents me with a whole new realm of dating unknowns that I am absolutely clueless about –– tactfully letting someone down.  I think doing it via text message is pretty heartless, but do two nights of me being a drunken fool really warrant a phone conversation of, "Thanks but no thanks?" 

So I am now taking suggestions on how to delicately cut this one loose.  Because if I don't figure out something soon, I will just be sending him a link to the Follies.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Instant Karma

I live in a major metropolitan area.  I see things that delight me and make me smile on a daily basis. This week, however, I witnessed something that brought a new level of joy to me.

Before I explain, there are two things that should be noted about me:
1. I am a very firm believer in karma.
2. I am not sure if Hell exists, but if it does, I am beyond confident that there is a special ring reserved for people that do not clean up after their dogs.

Now that you have a much clearer view on my spiritual beliefs, let's get back to something I witnessed that delighted me.

So I was out walking my Hound dog, trying my hardest to maintain some sense of control of the beast on a leash while staying aware of cars, dogs, people and food scraps around us.  Ahead of us on the sidewalk was a man walking his Labrador.  I watched as the yellow scoundrel stopped and squatted, dropping behind physical evidence of his visit to that patch of sidewalk.  I slowed the Hound down as I did not want to catch up to the dog and watch my canine do his best Cujo impersonation. Note: My dog is the definition of leash aggressive.  When out walking on a leash, he is a madman, going crazy at everything with this, "Hold me back" mentality.  Take him off leash at a park or beach, and he is more awkward and socially inept as a Republican at an Obama fundraiser.

Anyway, can you imagine my absolute shock and disgust as the man with the Lab watched his pup drop a deuce, quickly glanced around and then hurried along, leaving the pile of waste behind.  I wanted to yell out a few obscenities but refrained because:

1. The Hound would have went apeshit bananas on the Lab, which is pretty rude to knowingly inflict upon the neighbors.
2. It was close to midnight and as  a street savvy young gal, I do not need to be confronting strange men on the street.
3. It would not be very ladylike.  While I certainly am no lady, I do like to moonlight as one from time to time.

It's not often that I keep my mouth shut, and I was instantly rewarded for successfully exercising some restraint.  The man who showed such disregard for his neighbors and lacked responsibility for his pet walked straight into a pile of dog shit that was on the sidewalk. As I saw him stop, look at his shoe and let out, "You've got to be ******* kidding me,"  I smiled with delight.

And then I broke my pledge to keep quiet and let out a laugh that echoed throughout the night.  He shot a dirty look back in my direction and I immediately regretted leaving my pepper spray at home.  However, he kept on moving and justice was served as karma came through.

As I continued on down the sidewalk, I picked up the mess left by the Lab, because I could sure use some positive karma points to make up for some of my Jamo-sponsored shenanigans.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Cari Ponders...

I ordered Chinese take-out.  In addition to my order, there was four fortune cookies and four sets of chopsticks.

Is this something that I should be proud of and celebrate? Or something I should be embarrassed about and keep hush?

Note: I live alone, except for the 40-pound pile of fur that accounted for one order of Kung Pao Chicken.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I'd Tell You Everything If You'd Pick Up That Telephone...

I am pretty darned new to the whole on-line dating thing, but from what I can gather, there is a very simple formula to how things are done.

Guy or Girl looks at Girl or Guy.  Sends wink or message.  Guy or Girl chooses to respond.  Electronic message banter ensues.  Numbers are exchanged.  Squirrely text messages are traded.  Phone calls are exchanged and either one of two things happen: 1. You meet up with person or 2. You contact your wireless company to block numbers.  Note:  I've been having my issues with you lately, Verizon Wireless, but you've been more than wonderful in assisting me in blocking numbers as of late.  My sincerest appreciation.

To date, I have only gone on one actual date as a result of my Match.com membership.  I have, however, made it so far as to have some phone conversations and e-mails with some gentlemen.  Remember how last time we visited this topic I stated that the results have not been fruitful?  This is why.  For your reading enjoyment, some actual conversations that have taken place with other lost souls of internet dating:

Kingpin messaged me a clever and thoughtful note, he was far from tragic in his photos, so when he sent me his number, I figured nothing bad could come out of a conversation. After all, he loved dogs, volunteered frequently and enjoyed trying new restaurants.  This works out well for me as I have a dog, I am accepting volunteers to do my laundry and walk said dog and as a fat girl, I love to eat at new restaurants.

Kingpin called me one night.  It was awkward, both of us grasping at conversational straws. I was not very comfortable talking to him, which struck me in the moment as I can make just about anyone feel at ease around me and am also comfortable talking to appliances (That one is for another post...)  Anyway, I busted out the very unoriginal line of, "So what do you like to do for fun?"

Kingpin: "Bowl. I like to bowl.  In fact, I get quite angry if I bowl less than 3 times a week."

Cari Bear: "Oh, so are you in a league?  Play the semipro circuit?  Work at an alley?"

Kingpin: "No.  Not at all.  I just am not happy if I do not bowl at least 3 times  a week."

Just let that one settle for a moment.  I am in no way whatsoever bashing bowling, although I do severely question it's classification as a "sport."  I think hobbies are good, and recreation is very important as well.  But to get angry if one doesn't hit the alley half of the week? This made me think of things, outside of my daily routines of eating, sleeping, etc., that I would be angry if I did not do three times a week, and the list is short:  Socialize with friends on some level, get tipsy, make people uncomfortable with conversation and wash my hair (No, I do not wash my hair daily.  It's naturally curly, can you even imagine the Hair Shrub I would be rocking if I scrubbed it daily?  It would probably work well with my Tom Selleck mustache, though....)  Anyway,  I quickly realized Kingpin and I would probably not be compatible and quickly shot off a "Thanks but no thanks" text the following morning.

You Say Cari, I Say Cara

This is pretty short and to the point.   We exchanged three messages each on the site and each one he sent was addressed to "Cara."  Now, I know that if you only hear my name phonetically, there is more than a good chance that you will spell it: Carrie, Carie, Carey, Keri, Kari, Karey, Keri, etc.  It's been my beast of burden my entire life.  However, when I send you a message and you come back with, "Hi Cara..." and my next message is signed, "Cheers, CARI!,"  Your inattention to detail shines through pretty strongly. 

And (un?)fortunately, I have a theory on men with poor attention to detail.  Granted, I know that almost all men have a weaker attention to detail than most women, so I cut a pretty generous slack of rope on this one.  However, if you continuously spell my name wrong despite my best attempts to convey its proper spelling, it can only mean one thing- That you, Sir, are the type of man who forgets that women's breasts are actually attached to them.  You're the type of guy that during a late night make out session would try to rotate my lovely chest hams a full 360 degrees while squeezing them like balloons that will burst full of champagne...only they're not full of champagne, they are full of fat and empty milk sacks, and they happen to be attached to me!!! Men, those sweater pups are in fact included with the display. Ladies, don't even lie, you know exactly the type of guy I am talking about here.  And that type of guy is the same one with shitty attention to detail. I've become pretty fond of my unique name spelling as well as my breasts, and if you can't get one right I doubt you will be able to handle the other.

Next please...

Rub It In, Rub It in...

I will skip all of the messaging on Match.com and cut straight to the meat here, because I am pretty sure you are traumatized at my breast twister description as you are 1. Having flashbacks of being with one of those or 2. Realizing you ARE one of those...

Actual text dialogue from a gentleman in the Chicagoland area:

Foot Man: "Hi Cari, It's Foot Man."

Cari Bear: "Hey there, how are ya?"

FM: "Im  good. How u doing"

CB: "I am quite well thanks, just heading into work."

FM: " What time u work till."

CB: "Late."

FM: "Do you like massages."

CB: "I guess. Why? Are you a massage therapist?"

FM: "Just askin"

5 hours without a response from me

FM: "I give a good foot massage"

CB: "Thanks for sharing...?"

FM: "How's work going"

3 more hours without a response from me

FM: "Do u like to give massages"

CB: "You seem to be quite preoccupied with massages.  Have you tried adultfriendfinder.com or craigslist.com?"

No response from FM

The most painful part of this exchange was not editing his shitty text language for grammar.

Needless to say, the search continues...as do the blocked numbers.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Off to See the Wizard

Just another Saturday night on the Red Line...

For those of you who did not know, Oz is located just south of Grand Avenue in Chicago.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Resolutions and Dating

Happy Belated New Year!  I hope that the year is off to a great start for those of you that are stalking my little corner of the intrawebs and that you are keeping your resolutions.

I have never had much success with keeping my New Year resolutions.  I typically tend to pick things that will require a lot more encouragement than changing the year on the date can give.  Almost always, I pick things like, "I'm going to lose 40 pounds," or "I'm going to limit myself to just getting tipsy one night a week," or "I'm going to be a nicer person."  I typically last a week or so then find myself binging on late-night pizza, ordered after I polished off at least one bottle of Cabernet, which gave me the general boozy sense of fearlessness to make bitchy comments to people.  Resolutions and I do not get along well. I do much better when I arbitrarily decide on a random Tuesday that I'm going to make a change, which is what I did when I lost 50 pounds and have successfully stuck with my goal of completing  The Modern Library's Top 100 English Novels by the time I am 30. Note: If you click the link, I am doing the Board's list, not the Reader's list.  Clearly the ballot box was stuffed by some Randian wackos.

This year, I decided to only make one hard resolution and follow it up with a few other more abstract ideas.  The hard and fast resolution is to floss more, which I have successfully done every day of 2012.  People look at me strange when I tell them this, but ask yourself, when was the last time you flossed 10 days in a row?  Exactly.  The more abstract ideas are to keep up on my blog more, primarily through sharing more personal details of my life. I was inspired to make this goal after stalking the blog written by a talented woman that I went to Ohio U with.  Kate's blog falls under my blanket category of, "Mommy Blogs," as she writes primarily about her adventures as a new mom with a son affectionately referred to as Monster.  The reason that I love Kate's blog so much is that she is brutally honest. So many of the "Mommy Blogs" that I read are nothing but praising and celebrating every time Offspring cries, eats, blinks, sleeps, etc. While I understand that their excitement is sincere, the rosy way in which they paint their lives annoy me as I know damned well there are moments that they probably want to hide in a closet with a bottle of tequila and breakdown.  Kate's blog tells about all of those details, expresses her struggles with managing a healthy marriage with a toddler and her concerns that her kid is falling behind in learning.  I find her candor and honesty to be so refreshing that I decided to take a cue from her and get a little more into the nitty gritty of my life this year.  Note:  Kate's amazing blog can be found here and I highly suggest you read the post, "It's a Sign" to see what I'm talking about.

So in addition to wanting to blog more on my personal life, I also made two other goals. First one was to not share so much with strangers.  I tend to over share.  And that one is out the window.  I tried it for a week, and it is not in my nature.  I'd much rather make people cringe with what I write/talk about than not entertain. And the other is to date.

Yep. I am vowing to date in 2012. And it terrifies me.  I was in a relationship with the same person for 11 years- my entire adult life, and damned near half of my entire life.  Last time that I "dated,"  I was still wearing a Varsity jacket, texting on cellphones did not exist, few people had ever even heard of Osama bin Laden, and I had not fully discovered the importance of facial hair maintenance. Big shout out to my Eastern European heritage for eyebrows that can double as valances and  an upper lip that can rival Tom Selleck's if left unattended. Times have changed, and so I have decided that I am going to embrace the change and put myself out there.  After hearing The Badger sing the praises of eHarmony.com, I jumped into the pool of on-line dating and set myself up on Match.com.  While I have no desire to get into another relationship right now (the thought of being in one literally makes my stomach twist,) I do want to meet new people and brush up on my dating skills so that when I am ready to possibly maybe perhaps consider the idea of maybe getting into a relationship I would be ready.  Note:  I am pretty open with my friends about the fact that I joined an on-line dating site, and it's amazing how many are on them and just did not share out of embarrassment. What's embarrassing about being proactive about pursuing what you want in life?  Granted, this is coming from a woman who's scale of what is embarrassing is incredibly skewed.  It's not easy to try to hit that high note on Eternal Flame at karaoke and do it without shame.

So I set up my profile on Match.com and assume that within hours I will just be flooded with messages of eligible men wanting to take me out.  After all, I selected a good variety of photos in which I not only look adorable and cute (duh) but also show my range of interests, from when I climbed Hancock Tower, pre-race shots, photos of Boris Hound, out of the golf course, etc. My profile was also well-written and witty.  Naturally the men would flock to me.

Naturally I was wrong.  Being on that site has been one of the most depressing ventures of my entire life.  Weeks passed without a wink or a message.  Being the proactive sassy lady I am, I shoot off a bunch of clever messages to potentials.  I check my phone furiously throughout the day waiting for replies.  Nothing.  The Badger told me that it's likely they just have not logged on and read my prose.  However, I can see if my messages are read and if someone has viewed my profile.  So not only are these guys reading my messages, they are then viewing me and actively making the choice not to send me a response.  Ouch.  Fortunately though, I have a pretty inflated sense of self and do not allow it to get me down too much. And it made me consider some of the gentlemen that I was passing up that might have something to offer, so I pledged to respond to all messages, regardless of whether I thought it was a good match.

The results have not been fruitful. Stay Tuned for some correspondence recaps and a review of my first First dates as a single lady.