Christmas Time in the City

After enduring a month of unsettlingly pre-mature cheer, it’s finally allowed to be Christmas.

October 18: I walked into Duane Reade and gasped at the Christmas isle all set up and ready to go. Why do companies think this it the way to go?

xmastreecranesNovember 3rd: I was cold and went into Starbucks for a hot cocoa. (It’s impossible to avoid Starbucks in NYC, they are literally on ever corner- fortunate because they are essentially the New Yorker’s Public Restroom, internet hot spot, and place to take cover from inclement weather. Often I go into a Starbucks, do any of those aforementioned, and purchase nothing. They’re the man. But when I have a chocolate hankering that needs quenching, I purchase the Kid’s Hot Cocoa. Usually they don’t question my kid-less-ness, it is the perfect size, and the cheapest thing on the menu.) They were playing Christmas music. My poor barista, searching for some shred of logic, actually said this to me: “Tell me, does Christmas music this early make you want to buy things?” No. It makes me want to die. Or at least boycott places that play it. Want me to write to someone?

November 7th: A gigantic Christmas tree assaults me in the plaza outside work. It already looks a bit bedraggled as they set it up, woe to what it will look like when it’s actually near Christmas.

The morning after Halloween most every retail window I passed had magically changed over night to obtrusive HOLIDAY!! GIFTS!! I walked into Banana Republic and immediately turned around and walked out when high volume Christmas music bombarded my ears. This was on a 63 degree day. I can’t handle “Let it snow!” in warm sunny weather. Not on the east coast. I turned around, got an ice cream cone and ate it while strolling through the color changing leaves of Central Park.

Why aren’t consumers allowed to have Fall any more? Thanksgiving is completely forgotten, and I’m still mourning the loss of summer when Christmas assaults us. Yes, I feel assaulted. It’s horrible. I can’t appreciate the pretty lights, snow flakes, decorations- nothing. If they pop up before Thanksgiving all I can think is STOP MOVING SO FAST! I’M NOT READY FOR THIS YET!

Has it always been like this? I remember that post-Halloween was always Christmas-y because that was when we started learning the music in chorus, but I have no recollection of the rest of the world reflecting the season as well. Have they pushed “The Holiday Season” as early as possible this year in a hope to increase spending? Also, is this a New York phenomenon or were you graced with Santa hats and wrapping paper before you even put on your Halloween costume?

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Fortunately, I am only a Scrooge before actual Christmas time (and given that, “Scrooge” isn’t even really an appropriate term- ah well). The morning after Thanksgiving I embraced the cheer. I was finally able to see the charm in the bedraggled Christmas tree outside my work, even. Yes, I spent “Black Friday” (don’t get me started on that consumer ridiculousness) working. Really I spent all Thanksgiving weekend working. Which was less than fun. But when I wasn’t working, I was Christmas caroling! See, I wasn’t kidding when I said I embraced the cheer. Embraced it and spread it. I went out with my roommates for maybe 4 hours and we ended up with over $250 in our hat. I suppose that makes me a professional cheer-spreader? Christmas caroling is so fun, it’s nice to have fun AND make money for a change!

Breakup Plan: Showtime

 

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[This is the Finale of the Trader Joe’s Guy Series: click for Part One and Part Two and Part Three and Part Four]
There are times when it is cruel and unusual to break up with someone. Like on Halloween or on their 21st birthday. The night I realize I have to end things with my Trader Joe’s Crush, BOTH these scenarios are true. It is Halloween tonight, his 21st birthday is literally 3 days away. The timing couldn’t be worse. I may be flattering myself to think I’d have such an effect, but there is no way I will risk ruining anyone’s birthday, especially the big 2-1. So I’m stuck for a few days, which gives me time to formulate a plan: attempt  to foreshadow the impending end up until after the birthday, then take him out to dinner and end it. Seems simple enough- but as someone who’s used to being the dumpee and been hurt as such, I agonized over it. I’m a firm believer in “do unto others as you would have others do unto you” and hope to do this as nicely as possible.

As Halloween winds down, I know he’s expecting to come home with me- he even mentions something about it to my roommate, creating a mildly awkward situation. In my own personal belief, I’ve been horrible to him all night- distant, paying more attention to my friends, disengaging, kissing my roommate rather than him (“I’m gay tonight” the easy excuse). I’m not exactly mean to him, but I’m certainly not being nice. Like the popular cheerleader to the socially awkward nerd, it fits with our perspective costumes. I’m certainly not behaving in a way that should make him want to go home with me (unless the kissing-my-roommate thing…backfired…shit.)

I’m in a weird mood…I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to come back to my place.

The actor in me is enthralled by the drastic, immediate effect this statement has on him. From the happy and friendly face I’m used to, to disappointment and concern that is almost a different person. “I understand,” he says, “Are you sure there’s nothing I can do?” You can stop being so nice to me! Stop liking me! Save yourself! I kiss him goodbye, (feeling bad that I know it’s our last kiss when he doesn’t,) and he gets off the subway, while I continue home- minus one boy but plus my friends. The Asian Tourist berates me, “That’s a great way to get him the message. He’s really going to see this coming with you making out with him.” I burst into tears. Shut up! What was I supposed to do? Not kiss him? I don’t know what I’m doing! This sucks! Mascara forms streams down my made-up face, glitter pooling in zigzags. I imagine the sight through the eyes of the anonymous  passengers on the subway and smile through tears. What a sight I am- a cheerleader crying over a boy. What a cliché.

In the days following I carry out my BreakUp Plan to a tee. Staying distant, excusing myself from the actual birthday, taking him out the day after. We end up sitting in a park afterward. I know it’s show time. I’ve thought out what I need to say, anticipated possible reactions, but as soon as I open my mouth my “script” dissolves into Real Life Improv. It takes mild prompting from him, “So, what’s up?” to make me deliver my monologue.

As I conclude: I’m not feeling what I need to feel to be in a relationship with someone. I hold my breath and look at him. My worst case scenario anticipation: tears. There are none. Second worst: anger. Nope, not there either. In fact the look on his face is less devastating than the aforementioned one on Halloween. “Yeah, I kinda saw this coming. Especially after Halloween.” Yeah. I reply and pat myself on the back. He saw it coming! I avoided the shock-and-awe-surprise-breakup-attack! He then says, “I just want to ask you one thing.” Sure, breakup clarifications- typical, anticipated. I brace myself as possible questions whiz through my mind. Of course. You can ask me anything you want.

“What are you going to write about this in your blog?”

I stare at him flabbergasted. Dumbfounded.

At the time there was no answer for this question except You read my blog!? and If you don’t want me to write about it, I won’t. Now, however, I have the answer. You just read it. And I have no doubt he’s read it too.

Post Script

From the look he gave me when I was at Trader Joe’s the other day (I have to buy food! I can’t avoid it!), I am inclined to believe he hates what I wrote in here. It seems the most likely explanation for the uncharacteristic harrowing look.  I long ago decided not to censor my blog for people who might read it, not even my mother. That was a big decision. Of course had he said anything along the lines of  “I do not want you writing about this“, I  certainly would have honored the request. But he said nothing of the sort.

In this day and age don’t we all expect people to write blogs about us? I try to aim for anonymity and respect (and of course humor), but do I succeed? Do I go to far? When I step over the line into Too Personal, do I always know it? If I don’t know it, will my readers tell me? Where should the lines of what I can and cannot, should and shouldn’t write about be drawn?

Break It Down (Now)

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[This is Part Four of the Trader Joe’s Guy Series: click for Part One and Part Two and Part Three and Part Five]
Last Halloween, my first in NYC, was spent all by myself. As alone as one can be surrounded by thousands of strangers, I had no friends to go out with. Which is why I was even more excited than usual for Halloween this year.

My roommates and I plan to go down to the village, combine forces of all our individual friends, and have a great night of watching the Halloween Parade, drinking, not being sick, and dancing in the streets. I am pumped.  Talking to my Trader Joe’s Crush about Halloween I learn he has no plans for the evening… and he asks if he can “tag along” with me and my friends…While I was very much looking forward to a night with just friends, I know how lonely Halloween alone is. I make the compromise: Well after the parade we’re planning to go do 21-year-old things, so be warned: we’ll probably ditch you. But yeah, you’re welcome to join for the parade!

My roommate Miranda and I dress up as Gay Cheerleaders for Halloween. Uh What? Miranda’s co-worker was dying to have someone, anyone wear her old cheerleading outfit so that she could tell her mother that yes there is actually a reason for having a bag of things she hasn’t used in 10+ years taking up storage space. When asked if she “wanted to be a cheerleader for Halloween?” Miranda showed mild interest and was immediately handed a green and gold duffle bag filled with 2 full outfits (home and visitor apparently), a track jacket, pom poms, and palpable team spirit. She came home that day, showed me her loot, we may or may not have played dress up in a way that would rival 5 year olds, and we knew on Halloween we were wearing these costumes.

To simply be cheerleaders seemed too boring, too easy. Zombie Cheerleaders? Vampire Cheerleaders? Too predictable. Too much makeup. Having just watched the cult classic But I’m a Cheerleader we decide to be Gay Cheerleaders. No, it didn’t exactly make sense, (I  wish I was as creative with costumes as my cousin,) but we had fun accessorizing excessively with rainbows, glitters, writing GO GAY! on our arms, coming up with political cheers GO GO FIGHT FIGHT WE DESERVE MARRIAGE RIGHTS! and worrying we’d offend actual gays (we so didn’t, quite the opposite actually.)

It was surprisingly warm Halloween evening, as we head down to Greenwich Village for a pre-parade drink. The Halloween Parade is a Thing To Do in NY. It’s composed of anyone who shows up at the proper location at the proper time properly costumed. The best thing about Halloween, when you’re at a place in life where it is not socially acceptable to peak in the homes of people who then give you candy, is people watching. Thus this parade is perfect.

Our mini “parade” headed to the parade includes two Gay Cheerleaders (duh), Audrey Hepburn, Alex from A Clockwork Orange, a Hick, a Chef, a Vampire, and Eloise. Later we are joined by a Zombie, an Asian Tourist, a Toilet, and a Plunger. Such a contrast to the loneliness of last year. Our crew is all assembled save my Trader Joe’s Crush who is coming from Brooklyn (and has an annoying habit of being habitually 30+ minutes late). Before he arrives, before we get to the parade, before the night’s really begun the humidity gets the better of the night and it starts to rain.

For 22 years, I’ve been severely spoiled by Halloween weather. Growing up, I never had to make an umbrella part of my costume. Nor had said costume fall apart due to sogginess. So I know I can’t complain too much when our parade plans are spoiled. It’s not much of a set back as we planned to explore area bars after the parade anyway. The rain just speeds that up. Except now I’ll have a 20-year-old in tow, a 20-year-old I was counting on ditching when the “PERSONS UNDER 21 NOT ADMITTED” portion of the evening began. Well, that plan is now down the toilet (and I don’t mean my friend dressed up as one).

When my 20-year-old finally shows up he’s outfitted as a Nerd. Now let me give anyone who’s ever considered this costume a hint: if “Nerd” hits close too home (really, in any vicinity of home) to your actual personality, you may want to re-think your choice. Now Trader Joe’s Crush isn’t really a nerd, but tonight I honestly can’t tell if he’s getting too into the spirit of his costume or just being awkward around me and my friends.  I think it’s the former but I’m not sure. What I do become sure of, after a series of awkward silences I make no attempt to fill: It’s not working; I can’t do it any more. I spend the rest of the night madly conflicted between having an awesome time with my friends and knowing I have to break up with my boy.

I can’t break up with him tonight, on Halloween (can I? “No. You can’t,” my friends assure me). Then his 21st birthday falls mere days after Halloween….and I’m stuck the rest of the week, knowing it’s over but unable to end it.

Break It Up (Into Beats)

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[This is Part Three of the Trader Joe’s Guy Series: click for Part One and Part Two and Part Four and Part Five]
When I first met you, I had doubts. You’re homeless, you’re an actor. I was afraid the age difference would be a problem. But I couldn’t dismiss you just on that, I had to actually get to know you. And I’m so glad I did because you’re truly one of the sweetest, kindest people I’ve met. Ever. But.. we’re at really different places in our lives. Which is a grossly cliché thing to say, but it’s true. I’m not feeling what I need to feel to be in a relationship with someone.

I have lines again? Yep. A monologue in fact, from my one night only performance of a little theatrical piece called “The First Time I Ever Initiated a Breakup Myself.”

Deliberate, premeditated, perhaps painstakingly planned: I imagine most breakups of this “it’s just not working” sort sound scripted, peppered with vague to blatant clichés. (We’re not a good fit. We want different things. It’s not you, I think you’re great.)

“Uh…last time I checked, you went on half a date with him,” I see you thinking, “Why all the drama? Actresses.

If only it were that simple (she says, dramatically). Let me catch you up.

Two roads converged on a New  York night and I? I took the one less traveled by.  Yep, I gave my 20 Year Old, Actor, Trader Joe’s Crush a chance. I realized I couldn’t write him off without actually getting to know him- beyond the labels- first. And so that first date we did go bowling. Turned our backs on The Gutter’s nostalgic charm and vintage prices in favor of a typical animated screens, dozens of lanes, non-carding, bowling alley. And had a lot of fun. And I solidly kicked his ass all three games. Which he didn’t seem to hold against me because at the end of the date he made plans to see me again. And I was pleased. He’s my crush after all.

This continued for the next several weeks. A movie here, a meal there, a few long romantic strolls. I met some of his friends. (Surprisingly a huge confidence boost. I never met any of Cute Theatre Boy or Central Park Guy’s friends- truth be told they didn’t have many. Trader Joe’s Crush’s friends showered me with complements. I was called pretty, stunning, witty, adorable, and told I had awesome dimples. All by men who were obviously not trying to get in my pants. Ha, I was “approved”, fun date.) My roommates gave their blessing (“He seems cute, goofy, and super sweet. I like him.”)

We’d only been on a handful of dates when I got terribly sick. Your cliché New York guy (hell, any cliché guy) would respond to such sickness along these lines: “I’m so sorry you’re feeling like shit, but um.. we haven’t dated enough for me to want to see you like that, so…give me a call when you feel better?” Not Trader Joe’s Crush. He took care of me, brought over soup and movies, told me stories- filling my silence when I couldn’t talk, kissed my possibly infectious lips, and cuddled with me when I couldn’t sleep. It was without a doubt the nicest thing a guy has ever done for me. Top 5 nicest things anyone (who’s not my parent) has ever done for me.

Seems like I have a pattern, doesn’t it? Some traumatic health issue befalls me in the early stages of a romance and accelerates the relationship to a place where it really isn’t ready to go yet (I’m talking about my Cute Theatre Boy episode, of course). Was I thinking this? No. This is pure hindsight. I was thinking how nice it was to have a distraction from the intense pain in my throat. Was I thinking about what it must mean that he was being so nice to me? No. I was thinking how safe it feels to have someone share your bed when you are bedridden.

They say in relationships, timing is everything. They are right.

Before I got anywhere near better, he was gone. On vacation to visit family in the sorta-South for 2.5 weeks. Which confines all communication to the phone, very hard when your throat is so inflamed you can’t talk. Every phone call is basically the same on my end, a slow progression: mmhm ouch, still can’t talkit’s getting a little better; well my voice still sounds like shit; yeah, still hurts but not too bad?; Yay, I can talk! While he is all talk of Home this, My-Mom’s-New-Kitty’s-So-Cute that, Brothers! Sisters! Nephews! Childhood Friends!

I got to know him a little better in these 2.5 weeks apart. No visa versa. I got to know his entire family knew about me. Got to know that he really missed me and wanted me to know that. Began to suspect we were not on the same page. Didn’t know,  but strongly suspected. Until he came back. Then I knew. Knew he was much more into everything than I was. Realized I didn’t like that. Knew that when I had missed him it was for all the wrong reasons. Began to suspect the end was swift approaching and I would be the one to end it. Didn’t know, but suspected.

Then came Halloween.

(to be continued. It’s taking me forever to finish this entry! But it wont be 2 weeks again, promise!)

Too Young to Drink, Thus Too Young to Date?

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[This is Part Two of the Trader Joe’s Guy Series: click for Part One and Part Three and Part Four and Part Five]
Here’s a fun trivia fact: I’ve never played an organized team sport. Not in high school, not even in college when I had a mild freak out that it was my last opportunity to be on such a team, to experience the  camaraderie that can only be found running around with a bunch of other people all trying to achieve the same seemingly meaningless goal. While in school, I dedicated myself to the arts route, which left room for solo running and biking- activities where the only person counting on me was myself. The sports route never called to me. With one exception. A more fun trivia fact: I was in my middle school’s bowling league.

Oh yes, you read that right. Someone might argue this counts as an “organized team sport” but I don’t think they’d get too far without laughing. I would even have trophies to prove my participation had I not found it far more fun to take them apart- twisting little gold plastic bowling balls off little plastic arms. They really like giving middle school kids trophies. Let’s face it: I’d probably feel a void if I’d never received one. These trophies are a testament of my skill (“skill”)- I am better than your average “Let’s go bowling for fun!” bowler. I can’t make the ball curve like the pros, I still get excited when I get strikes but my score is always triple digits and gutter balls are practically unheard of.

I imagine there are places in the country where renting shoes, ordering a round, and playing a couple games is a fun, affordable past time. Perhaps this is as common as corn in the Midwest. In New York the idea of a night spent bowling is a considerable investment (read: mad expensive). Or so I thought until Time Out NY introduced me to  the bar/bowling alley The Gutter.

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See the bar on the right and bowling lanes on the left? It all has a 70’s retro vibe (which is even reflected in the prices). Fun!

The plan was to go bowling on my birthday. Which was in July. It never happened. Some how we thought we’d be able to travel from Mé Bar in Manhattan to The Gutter in Brooklyn. Maybe in some fantastical can-do universe this might be possible. In NYC, inter-borough travel is difficult on a good night. On a night when all your friends are buying you drinks, it’s near impossible.

So I’ve wanted to go bowling since July, and now I finally am with my Trader Joe’s Crush. We meet in Brooklyn, which is kind of a big deal for me. I’m not, surprisingly, the biggest fan of Brooklyn. It has this urban-suburban dichotomy going on that makes me feel like I’m in urban purgatory. I prefer feeling immersed in a city- with the skyscrapers of NYC or the hills of SF. But here we are on Bedford Ave which is quintessential Brooklyn. Lots of independent shops, great little restaurants, bikers in the bike lanes, and of course skinny jeans.

It’s nice to see someone you’ve only seen in a grocery store away from florecent lights, outside in fresh air. Still cute sans Trader Joe’s t-shirt. We grab a bite at a sandwich place before getting our game on. Conversation is as smooth as it was at check-out; by which I mean no awkward pauses, don’t worry I’ve ceased all ridiculous, calculated lines!

I’m still new enough to first dates that I can enjoy them. I like the element of the unknown, how everything is new and you get thrown curve balls you’d never expect. Like when he tells he’s… an actor.  I should’ve known. Of course the minute I say “Maybe I shouldn’t date actors” and meet a guy at a completely un-theater related place, of course he’s an actor. Why did I not see this coming? I can’t avoid them (even when I try)!

Well…I can’t dismiss him just because he’s an actor. I would hate it if someone did that to me. I’ll just be wary of the fact. He’s just graduated from a two year acting certificate program. Hmm…I wonder if that means he’s young. And simultaneous with this wonder, he verbalizes: “How old are you?” Point blank, no mincing of words. I have no need for a coy reply, this lady sees no reason not to tell her age. So I give a point blank response: 23. “Really? You don’t look 23!” ..No? “You look younger.” That’s not something I hear often. The prevalent opinion seems to be I look/act/have an aura beyond my 23 years. Personally, I think I look 23, but what do I know? Well, actually what I do know is he is young. For sure. He must be to ask such a bald faced question not half and hour into a first date. But how young? How old are you? I respond. “How old do you think I am?” Erm, I stare in horror at the possible high school senior across from me, That’s not fair, I didn’t make you guess. And I’m a lady.

20.”

We both stare at each other in a moment of ...What does this mean? Should I just end this now? Will he/she end this now? Age is just a number? He breaks the pause, “I’ll be 21 in November.” Oh my. It sinks in. He’s not 21 yet! Uh oh…The Gutter is 21+. I didn’t even consider that could be an issue. I’ve only been 21 for two years but it appears that’s long enough to forget that some people aren’t. A New York cliché: if you are past puberty, live near the city but you’re under 21, you have a fake ID. It’s almost a given. This guy, however has nothing of the sort.

Thus the plan for this date is thwarted… which gives me the perfect opportunity to bow out… He’s 20, he’s an actor, and he’s mentioned his lease just ran up so he’s on his friend’s couch until he finds a new place (read: he’s homeless). That’s 3 strikes. Which usually means you’re out. Except in bowling. In bowling 3 strikes means you’re awesome…and bowling is supposed to be the name of the game.

I’m staring at a fork in the road: Oh, it’s too bad we can’t go bowling, I’d better get home then. Thanks for the sandwich, bye! vs. giving this guy a chance, even though he looks bad on paper, and coming up with a Plan B for our date.

What would you have done? What do you think I did? Can you stand the suspense? Stay tuned (and remember I love comments)!

Meeting Men at the Grocery Store: I Know My Lines

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[Part One of the Trader Joe’s Guy Series: click for Part Two and Part Three and Part Four and Part Five]
I decided to do something about a crush I’ve had for almost two weeks. He works at Trader Joe’s where I do the majority of my grocery shopping. I quickly fell for his adorable smile, 6+ frame, curly black hair (I’ve always been a sucker for white guys with black hair, with the exception of Harry Potter), and genuine friendly banter as he rang up my groceries. He handed me my shopping bags, addressed me by name from my debit card, and wished me a pleasant evening.

This is an instance where my personality seems contradictory: I can be very quick witted with snappy come backs and clever one-liners (and blog posts? and flattering myself?) but then kinda slow when it comes to realizations. I was well out of the store before my brain went Hey! You should’ve asked that guy out, gotten his number, something! I paused in the street for a moment and actually considered going back. Then I decided I shop at TJ’s all the time and would see him again.

I was right. Next grocery run I’m accompanied by my roommate. Which might have made me brave and ballsy but alas, no. I’m approximately 500 times more easily embarrassed when in front of people I know.  She doesn’t know it, but my roommate significantly decreased the chance I’ll ask this Trader Joe’s Crush out. But there’s still a chance… Walking down the isles of the store, one eye is looking for my crush. The other for tahini humus. I find the humus, last thing on our list, and we make our way to the end of the infamous line of the 14th Street Trader Joe’s.

If you’ve never been to Trader Joe’s in New York, it may be hard to imagine. Understand: this is only location on the whole island of Manhattan. In a city where exhorbant prices are given, TJ’s- where prices do not vary by location- is a godsend to starving artists, to any one trying to eat not-crap on a total-crap budget. Now this makes shopping there very strategic. Go at the wrong time and you’ll be stuck waiting on line for a good hour. I once tried to go on a Sunday afternoon and was informed by security I would have to wait on line just TO ENTER the store. Since then I try to go on Friday or Saturday evenings. I’m serious. There’s never a line then! Plus it’s funny to watch the weekend preparations/rituals of the NYU freshmen who swarm the area.

Knowing all I know (and have just shared with you), I’ve timed it well: the end of the line is not intimidating. Wait. I do a double take. Not intimidating except for the fact that O-M-G my crush is there at the end of it! Eep! Turns out being with my roommate, basically my best friend in the entire world, puts me in rather-severe-school-girl mode. Perhaps an inevitability when you’ve known someone since you were ten?

“Hey you were in here the other day, weren’t you?” he says, smiling at me.

I don’t remember too clearly but I’m fairly positive I turn pink, say something idiotic, and continue talking to my roommate in a massive attempt to deny any kind of butterfly action entering my stomach. Complete-five-star-school-girl-fail.

I vow that next trip will be different. No friend to make me giggle! Nothing but resolve and sheer nerve to ask for a boy’s phone number under the guise of grocery shopping! Victory shall be mine!

The next trip is certainly different because, alas, he’s no where to be found. Not in the store. Must have the night off. I curse Cupid, Aphrodite, the fates- all those assholes- taking solace only in the fact that I must eat and will therefore buy groceries again.

When I’m next in Trader Joe’s it’s been more than two weeks since our initial encounter. There is no way this guy remembers me. Sigh.
I see him at his register and sort of watch him as I wait in line (hey, it’s not like there was anything else to do!) He’s extremely friendly to every customer, never denying anyone his killer smile (did I mention dimples?) As I wait and watch I become increasingly convinced I imagined any kind of “connection”. It’s obvious he flirts with everyone, hell it might even be Trader Joe’s protocol. He’s at 1 of 20 registers. That’s a five percent chance he’ll check me out. The odds are stacked against me. Sigh.

I’m almost at the front of the line, about to just give the whole thing up as a stupid, hallucinated crush when our eyes meet. Gulp. A look of recognition passes across his face (score!) followed by a big smile and a mouthed “Hi! How are you?” I then watch him quicken the pace on his check-outs and he manages to time it so right when my turn in line comes, he’s free. Coincidence? Not a chance.

“I was kinda hoping you’d check me out- I mean my groceries.”

How’s that for a line? (I think it may be right on par with the aforementioned ridiculous check-out line. On some sort of homophonical/pun scale?) Can you believe I actually said that?  I’m next to positive that being a woman helps a lot when it comes to pick-up lines. Being cute (sometimes I doubt other things, but this is near solid fact: I am cute) probably helps even more. Or maybe my line just falls into a “so bad it’s good” category. All I know is this: it is a Total Hit. A Smashing Success. I should use it on all the guys. He writes down his number before I can even ask for it and asks for mine. At the risk of his job no less.

He calls a few days later to make a date. I suggest bowling. Yes, I am a dork (as this entry’s 1000+ words have more than proved) and I’ve wanted to go bowling for months. If he’s my-kind-of-guy it’ll make a good date. I’m school-girl excited and letting all feelings of butterflies fly.

Oh Boy(s), Oh Online Dating

I know what it’s been like. For weeks you were on the edge of your seat, dying to find out what was going on between me and Cute Theatre Boy. After my last words on the subject, really, how could you not have been? After months of no updates, you gave up, accepted you would never find what happened between me and this new-york-cliche-defying non-asshole.  Perhaps you thought, it certainly fits a cliche, that I was so head over heals that I became one of those girls who abandons everything (including her blog?) for her beau.

No, let me assure you that is not the case. Our relationship happened to be one of those that peaks in an emergency room. The entire debacle- head injury, ER, fainting, and recovery- occurred when we’d been involved for just a little over a month. It brought the two of us together insanely fast, and then stood still. We never got closer to each other after it, and not for lack of trying.  I had a lot of fun with him but in his words (and I agree) it was “good not great.” “We weren’t a good fit” as a couple. He broke up with me when I was least expecting it, I cried, then got over it. Now he’s easily the best friend I have made since moving here. We’ve gotten close as friends, we’re a much better “fit” as friends, everything’s just worked out for the best (ha, cliche!)! My only disappointment in the whole thing is, alas, it’s not much of story!

Following Cute Theatre Boy I decided no more actors. Sure, it’s nice when he understands the stress of Hell Week, obscure references, and why the direction in a play we saw together sucked. However on the whole, the actor-on-actor thing adds an element of judgement and competition which I am point blank not fond of. Ok then…uh…where does one meet non-actors? In Central Park? Fail. On the Subway? No. On the street? Never. In bars? Hahaha yeah right. So what’s a girl living in NYC to do?

In the interest of pursuing the cliche, and sheer curiosity, I set up a profile on a (free) online dating website.

I know, I can’t really believe I did it either. With my biting wit and professional headshots that make me look, as one auditioner awesomely put it, “stunning” (as they’d better- I paid my awesome photographer a pretty penny so that would be the reaction), I had no shortage of responses. A few of them seemed possibly worth meeting. And why not? I don’t have many friends here, kidnapping someone in a public place seems extremely difficult; maybe I’d get a free meal, and a good story. Well, I didn’t really get any stories worth mentioning. Nothing Blog-worthy. Instead I did meet interesting people, even made a friend or two (and yeah, got a couple free meals- hey when  money’s tight, free food is not to be undervalued).

I learned most of these guys are pretty normal. Some a little shy, some hate the phone, some might be on the boring side, but they aren’t the creepy perverts stereotype suggests. (I don’t know why this comes as a surprise- I’m pretty normal at worst, super cool at best, and not desperate or socially retarded by any stretch.) They mostly look like their pictures (except the bald one, and your heart must go out to baldies under 30) and almost everyone I met was quite sweet, a few even had a lot going for them.

Despite all this, I’ve found I have a stigma against online dating that I just can’t shake. Something that just doesn’t feel right, that “this is not how it’s done” or at least not how I want to do it. The perfect guy for me (ha, what a statement) could easily be floating in some cyberspace profile somewhere, waiting for me to click the right link. I won’t deny that’s completely possible. But I know, at the very least, I would never get over our answer to the question inevitably asked of all couples, “So where did you guys meet?” “Online” is the absolute most unappealing answer I can think of. I don’t like it.

So I’ve decided to cease the virtual and focus solely on reality (she says, typing in her online, virtual medium…). And for starters, I have a crush! He works at Trader Joe’s. I haven’t had a real crush since Cute Theatre Boy, so it is a smidge exciting. I’ve decided the next time I need groceries I’m going to ask him out, face to face. How’s that for reality? Asking a boy out is something I have extremely limited (read: I’ve done it once!) experience in so this will be no small feat. I’ve mastered the first date, it’s time to become proactive in making them happen for myself.