Thursday, August 30, 2012

Mother Knows Best

I am going to go out on a limb here and assume that I am not the only one who had a mom who said, "You need to wear clean underwear in case you get in a car accident."

As a young girl, I never understood this. Anytime my mom would say this to me, I would be struck with the vision of me bloodied and slashed from a wreck, lying on an operating table as a nurse cuts off my clothes to prep me for surgery. The nurse would remove my pretty pink skivvies and shout in horror to the surgery team, "Cari does not wear clean underwear!" At which point, the doctors would refuse treatment for such an unsanitary little girl.

I would also be stricken with silent fear when riding in a vehicle and having a "near miss" accident. My chest would tighten and fear would race through me anytime my Mom slammed on the brakes and I realized I was wearing underwear that said "Monday" on the butt when it was actually Wednesday.  Would I get the chance to explain to the doctors that I just grabbed whatever pair was at the top of the pile? Would anyone know that I did in fact have on clean underwear before  I died in a fiery crash?

I had a very active imagination as a child. And even now as a big child.

Needless to say, my mom's advice on underwear was one of the biggest sources of stress in my life until I hit junior high and had to worry about dating and boys (Little did I know that years down the road the issue of presentable underwear and boys would come together as a big child stress.)

I never forgot my mom's advice and now work hard to keep a nice stock of underwear.  If there are small holes, fraying fabric, shot elastic or any other flaw that makes them less than lovely, I throw them out. The last thing I want is to be in an accident with underwear that could be deemed as unclean (Same standards applies to being at happy hour.)

A little over a week ago, I was gifted with a rare Sunday off. I decided to make the most of it by walking around town, hitting up specialty grocers and making a great meal. It was a beautiful August day so I wore my favorite summer casual black sundress.  As I am walking up Halsted street in Boystown with my bags loaded with groceries, I look up at the sky at the Blue Angels soaring as a part of the annual Air & Water Show.

Suddenly, I have that terror stricken realization of, "This is how I die!" as I see the pavement racing towards my face as I walked off the curb in my distraction.

I lay on the ground for the quick moment as a nice couple scramble to grab my renegade produce rolling away. I feel a draft as I realize my dress is up above my hips and my ass is on total display for everyone walking and driving by.  Fortunately, I listen to my mom and felt little shame over flashing my black skivvies with cupcakes on them and the word "SUGAR" written in glitter letters across the rump. I did, however, feel a lot of shame of the scratches and blood on my left side, so I got up, grabbed my bags and walked home as quickly as I could, embarrassed from taking a fall but proud of the fact I listened to my mom and had clean underwear on.

The real downside to my trip was where it happened. Hundreds of streets in Chicago, and I had to flash my ass in the one community that is loaded with men that could not give a shit about seeing a half-naked woman in the street. Next time, I need to coordinate my fall in a neighborhood with more straight men...

 But not before I get a pair of skivvies with my phone number screen printed across the bottom.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

What Not To Talk About On A First Date

I have been wanting to share this story on the Follies for some time now, but I needed to wait a few months to hopefully ensure that the gentleman I am planning on writing about has forgotten about me and is not checking my blog out anymore. While I am comfortable with him knowing my thoughts about our night together,  I do want to spare his feelings in case he feels hurt by it.  Clearly I do not care enough to not share the story though.  To do that would be a violation of nature.

I met him at a concert.  At the opening of the show we had made eye contact.  Halfway through the set list and countless PBR tallboys later we were holding hands and gyrating as we sang along in a pit of bodies, sweat and spilled beer.

It was the magic that can only be captured on the floor of a live concert.  Nothing says romance quite like screaming, "WHAT DID YOU SAY??" as you take an elbow to the liver while someone crushes your left foot.

After the concert, I was absolutely sauced, slightly deaf and enjoying that general high one gets after seeing a great live show. Naturally I felt it was time to eat. I made sure my friend that I attended the show with was safely in a cab and set off to get some pizza with my Rock Concert Romeo, who shall henceforth be known as The  Lantern, as in the Green Lantern (Let's just go ahead and file that under Obvious Foreshadowing for Disaster, shall we?)

The Lantern and I find a joint that we can get pizza by the slice.  I order a slice of cheese and a draft of Honker's Ale.  He gets pepperoni and a glass of water.  I should have known by his beverage choice that I probably should not give him my number, but I was still glowing in the magic of concert, so I just snarled and brushed it off.

We had a pleasant chat over pizza, from what I remember, and he asked for my number as I was waiting for a cab near the L.  He was cute and I had laughed while we grubbed, so I happily gave it.  As he turned to walk away towards the Blue Line, I thought I saw a Transformers logo on the back of his track jacket, but quickly dismissed it, figuring no grown man wears Transformers jackets and that my eyes were just blurring a Razorbacks logo.

Over the course of the next few days we made plans for the following Friday to go see a fantastic live theater show and grab dinner beforehand.  Now, the show starts at 11:30, but we needed to be there by 10:30, and it is in a neighborhood that is LOADED with phenomenal and very reasonably priced restaurants.  I figure we would meet up around 7:30 or 8. He suggests that he will be by my place around 5:15. Note: What the Hell is up with me finding these guys who want to meet so freaking early?!!? It's a terrible trend that I won't tolerate anymore, because if I have learned anything it's that dates with these early diners never end well, or sometimes never get started at all.

Anyway, Friday comes and I spend the standard time grooming and getting beautified.  I did not know what he had in mind for dinner so I wear a casual black summer dress with some snappy sandals and minimal accessories. The hair is not frizzy and the MAC is looking dewy without shine. I look damned cute and I know it so I start to get really excited for my 5 o'clock date.  We meet up and he is wearing a Green Lantern t-shirt and black high-tops. Honestly, I did not know that solid black high-tops were still made.  I am a bit bummed but sincerely dismiss my thoughts because I am not the sharpest of dressers either.  Plus there is no denying that this nerdy girl immediately recognized the Green Lantern logo. That has to count for something.

We set off on the hike up to the neighborhood that we are planning on dining in and he immediately starts telling me about Final Fantasy.  Wanting to participate in the conversation, I tell him about how I used to do Fantasy Baseball until I found it to be too much of a time requirement to keep up with who was on the DL and different pitchers' ERAs when all I really cared about was what was happening in the ALC. He gave me a puzzled look and I realized two things: 1. This man did not follow baseball and 2. Final Fantasy was not a sports-related hobby.

Turns out Final Fantasy is some kind of role playing game that you go on quests of some sort.  It was interesting when he was explaining it to me, because when he said "Role Playing Game" my face must have read pure shock. He quickly explained that it is played through a video game console and you play with other people. He continued on for a solid 10 minutes despite me saying I did not play video games.  I learned that apparently Wiis can be hacked into and that XBox Live is a real rip off, too.

Can you sense my enthusiasm for the conversation? More importantly, are you as confused about Final Fantasy as I am?  Because even after hearing the dissertation on it I still have no effing clue what it is.  The only quest video game I am interested in playing is The Adventures of Zelda on an original NES console, which I believe my dear JP still owns.

But I digress.  As we walked I changed topics to one of my favorite conversation points, Food. More specifically food that I will be consuming in the near future.  I start prattling off about a few restaurants up in the area we are heading and The Lantern tells me he knows of this really great place nearby.  The conversation went like this:

Lantern: "One of my favorite places is just up the way, we should go there."
Cari: "Oh, what sort of food are they putting up there? What's the name of it?"
Lantern: "It's the Golden Nugget Pancake House."
Cari: "Hahahahaha!"
......... awkward silence........
Cari: "Oh you're serious."
Lantern: "What, you don't like pancake houses? It's good food!"
Cari: "Oh, it's not that. I like pancake houses, but only between the hours of midnight to noon."

I contemplate just telling him we should just call it a night here as we clearly are not well suited. There is nothing wrong with wearing comic book t-shirts in your 30s and eating pancakes for Friday night dinner, truly. But if you are trying to impress someone who cooks for a living, the ole Nug probably should not be your ace-in-the-hole locale. I start to say we should part ways to salvage our Friday nights (what salvage?!? It was not even 6 o'clock. I would have had time to get a quick nap in before getting dinner at my normal time) but I refrain as I really want to see the show we are going to and he is, despite our differences, a very nice and polite guy.

Dinner goes fairly well.  We struggle to find common talking points and finally settle on my favorite talking point: Food (Food is actually #2 next to 100 reasons that Republicans are loonies, but I try to show some restraint and discretion on a first date.) Finally the conversation goes well as we were able to talk about the food we were dining upon.  I actually was starting to really enjoy myself as he was peppering me with questions such as, "What is an aioli?" (In most American restaurants, it's glorified mayo) and "What's the key to making a really great pie crust?" (Keep your fat and dough as cold as possible. Chill often.)

We finish dinner and set off to grab a few cocktails as we still have  a lot of time to kill.  I am starting to think I misjudged The Lantern as I really enjoyed the second half of the meal. In hindsight I should have realized the reason it was so great was not so much him but rather because I was engaging in three of my favorite past times:
1: Drinking. Sangria, at that. Ole!
2. Eating.
3. Talking in a manner in which I can dominate the conversation while dropping knowledge bombs.

We stop in at a nice bar that has a really solid beer selection and great atmosphere. I promptly order a Russian Imperial Stout and am given a pint glass brimming with rich, thick roasty malty Heaven.  The Lantern orders a mead. Now, I realize that mead will mess you up due to its high ABV, but it doesn't change the fact that it is honey wine. Or that it is served in a delicate 3 ounce tulip glass.  I really try not to be one to buy into gender roles too much, but the reality is that I do not think it is possible for me to be interested in any man that orders a drink that comes served in a "dainty" glass.  I want to be able to heartily toast by clanking our steins together, not sip on something with a pinkie sticking out.  Any hope that I had at the restaurant was just about washed away at this point.

Did I say just about? Oh right, because any possible inkling of hope that there could ever be a possibility of us having a second date was completely destroyed (thankfully) due to the fact that over drinks he went into the story of how he may or may not have lost his virginity at an anime convention.

Yes, I said anime. And yes, I did say "may or may not." I will spare you the full story, because I believe my suffering through it once was enough for all of us.

Apparently that mead was loosening him up because he then continued to share that in the first year after his divorce he slept with more than 30 women. Then proceeds to ask me how many guys I have been with since my divorce.  I damn near choked on my stout.  I politely explained that I prefer to keep my private life private (you know, except for all the ridiculous shit that I share here. And the stories that my friends are privy to over cocktails.) He asked me a few more times and I kept deflecting, because the only people who need to know how many folks I've done the bone dance with are myself and JP & Mali when we play "Never Have I Ever" over fishbowls (Mom and Grandparents if you ever get the Internet, please know that I am just exaggerating for the sake of the story.  The fact is that I am still a virgin saving myself for my second marriage. Note: My Dad was omitted from there, that is not an oversight. More on that at a later date.)

Regardless of what my history is (pure as fresh snow, damnit!) it does not change the fact that on the first date I heard the story of how he (possibly) cashed in his V-card and how many ladies he penetrated within one year. And to think that I tried to exercise restraint during our dinner conversation.

At this point, I think we can all agree that all hope was lost.  We went to the show, I had a great time watching it (probably because The Lantern and I did not have to interact) and we walked back towards my neighborhood/his vehicle. We exchanged an awkward hug, he asked if he could see me again, I said, "I really don't think so" and walked home. He texted me shortly after to say he had a nice time. I thanked him for dinner and changed his last name in my contacts to "DO NOT ANSWER."

Fortunately the night was not a complete loss.  I discovered a wonderful live theatre venue not too far from me. I realized how important it is to me that a guy I date be a beer (and baseball) man. And most importantly, I learned that while I sometimes have concerns that I tend to over share too much of myself here, sharing stories of wearing fake boobies has absolutely nothing on waking up naked in a hotel room at an anime convention.

Thank you for a night that was memorable for all the wrong reasons, Lantern.

P.S. I really, REALLY need to get better about  NOT mentioning the name of my blog when I get tipsy, because apparently guys also Google their dates.  So Lantern, if you are in fact still reading my site 1. Why? We went out 3 months ago, let it go, and 2. While my assessment may seem harsh, use this as a learning tool. Pancake houses aren't ideal for a first date unless you're taking out Mrs. Butterworth and don't tell ladies how many people you've bedded in a year unless you plan to offer them a shot of penicillin after.