Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Fabulous? Check.

Editor's Note:  Enjoy this guest post from recurring guest blogger, Marie, my longtime friend (twenty years in September!) who I'm trying to convince to start her own blog.  I bet you'd never guess I'd have a friend as opinionated and outspoken as I am.  

Headed home for the evening, I was never so happy to see my house. It had been one of those know, it was as if everything that could have gone wrong did. My files were incomplete, nothing was presented correctly, and another contract was put on hold for whatever little glitch that they found. So you know in general, the perfect day. Coming into my house, as usual, I brought in the mail. Surprise, Surprise! It was a letter from my medical insurance company, as if somehow they knew that this was about to make my day even better. I opened up this letter, and it was basically informing me that my insurance premium was about to go up. That was not surprising to me considering all the medical incidents I’ve had throughout this year, however, and even more surprisingly, that was not the reason. According to the letter, my premium was going up because I was entering in a new age bracket. Really? I have a hard enough time dealing with getting older with my birthday looming on the horizon, so this was frustrating. So I get punished for turning older?

This age bracket concept got me thinking about all the other forms and paperwork we all have to fill out, sometimes daily. Not only does your age come into play, but you must check a box to inform these companies of your status: Single, Married, Divorced, Widowed, Other (I’m not sure why "Other" is even an option. What could it possibly be?). Even if you have a significant other or even if you are engaged, according to the forms, paperwork, companies, policies you are still single. It’s mocking in a way, almost the equivalent of a child taunting you with her tongue sticking out at you..."nah nah"... I understand that paperwork needs to reflect accurate information, but do you notice, Singletons, how it seems like all the paperwork, policies, and taxes are against us? Think about it. Married people get a tax break, because they are married. Well, why can't single people get a tax break because well they are single? Are singletons less deserving of a break than Marrieds?

So kill me, I’m a realist. It seems that society has a built-in “Single Exemption.” Or to be more accurate, Singles are exempt from getting any breaks. What about the single folks who are working two jobs or one with longer hours to be able to take care of themselves and their kids? Or those who work and then go out to play? Are they any less deserving compared to a married couple? Personally, I think we should get a tax break just for the added embarrassment of continually having to be reminded of our status by checking that little box next to "Single."  Being single, married, in a relationship, or divorced does not define us and neither should our age bracket.  Yet Singletons- it is the hard for us to be limited to who we are based on paper information…but paper information is just that, paper.  To truly get to know a successful Singleton, deserving of a break in society, all you have to do is look around. They are there:  hard working, dreaming, ambitious, and loving. So next time you see a box to check, I suggest you choose "Other" and write in "Fabulous." 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Every move you make, every step you take...

In all my dating adventures in adulthood, you'd think that I would have pretty much mastered the art.  Well, at least mastered it immediately below the level considered successful.  You know, since I am still single.  I've been out with hundreds dozens a few men in my time, most of whom did very little beyond teaching me how to be a better dater, much like going to interviews for jobs you don't really want just so you can practice your interview techniques.  So, I would have imagined that by this point, I would have all the dating nuances down pat, all the little details of the delicate dance of dating down to a "t."  Right?  Wrong.

I have stumbled upon a giant roadblock of stupidity.  I mean, literally, it's making me stupid.  I sit here thinking I should go one way and then talk myself into going the other, all while convincing those around me that I'm paying attention to them or focused on what I'm doing at the moment (I give myself a break when I'm driving, I promise).  I'm either a really good actress or none of my friends care that I am totally zoned out when they're talking to me.  Here is my quandary:  I have absolutely no idea where the line is between showing interest in someone and being a stalker. 

Sounds pretty obvious, right?  Well... let's think about it for a second.  I'm well aware of the fact that there is a line; I know it exists because I've had men cross it before.  I know it's floating out there in the world of communication between two people, but where exactly is it located?  I can't even really tell you where it's located when I'm on the receiving end either.  For example, I knew the guy who called me 36 times in one day (surprisingly not exaggerating) to find out if I was still going to the fair with him the following weekend had not only stepped across the line, he had hurdled himself like an acrobat across that thing.  He was either unaware that Caller ID existed or had no concept of the line, but either way I absolutely did not go to said fair with him. (And it was even more awkward because I worked with his mother.  Like the desk next to her.  Lesson learned there.  When she asked "Are you and Mr. Marathon Caller going out again?," I couldn't really respond with "No, because your son is a stalker," but that's another story for another time.)  But, at what point in his endless phone call stream did he cross into stalker territory?  Was it at the twentieth call or the fifth call?  I'm pretty sure he text messaged me at some point.  Do text messages have different stalker rules?  Urgh. 

So, how does one properly express interest without inspiring a restraining order?  How many times are too many to communicate with someone in any given period of time?  Let's say a week.  And with so many routes of communication nowadays (phone, text, Facebook, mail, email, carrier pigeon) do you stick with one or vary it up?  At what point do you say "okay, I'd better scale this back or he/she is going to think I've got a hidden room in my basement full of candid pictures of them doing everyday things like ordering coffee at Starbucks or walking to their car and raggedly cut various newspaper clippings glued to the walls?    Ultimately, I want to show and prove that I'm interested but in a healthy, normal way.  I don't want to run the risk of looking like a crazed lunatic who would follow you home from work and leave mix tapes of love songs on your front porch, but I also don't want to run the risk of having yet another man in this world later tell me (usually when he's married to someone who I would have completely beat in a "total package showdown") that he had no idea what was going on in my head and wishes that I had shared my feelings and thoughts with him at the time. 

They kind of look like stalkers...
You know, it's like that Police song that everybody thought was so sweet and romantic and had played at their wedding for years until Sting came out and said that it was actually from the perspective of a stalker and not a lovesick suitor.  It's so blurry, ambiguous and undefined and can literally change with each recipient.  I'm probably completely over-thinking the entire thing, but I know I'm not alone.  At least I'm not alone with those of us who truly aren't stalkers.  I don't think there are any outstanding restraining orders with my name on them.  Don't they have to tell you about such things?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

So no one told you life was gonna be this way...

I've been feeling very nostalgic lately and all my ponderings of the past inspired me to write.  First, let me again apologize if there are, in fact, any people in the blogosphere left who read my postings due to my extreme lack of material in the last few months.  Don't get excited... I'm still single.  Still completely and utterly single.  I wish I could report to you that my lack of blogging is due to the fact that I had been carried off into the sunset on horseback with Mr. Right.  Someday I will be able to share that very intriguing, captivating (and hopefully sinfully scandalous) story with you.  But, as I sit here on a Saturday night alone in my living room, in front of the latest episode of "Being Human" while the hooker red nail polish on my toes dries, I know that I'm in a much better place than I was a few months ago.  For the first time that I can remember, I am truly happy and optimistic about things to come.  Anyway, no sappiness tonight (remember, alone... and the bottle of chardonnay and half gallon of ice cream would be a recipe for disaster if paired with sappiness).  Just a quick update on where things stand for this perpetual Singleton.

Back to my nostalgia.  Thanks to Star 94, a local Atlanta radio station, I spent the day revisiting days gone by.  Each weekend, Star 94 plays all 90's music and since I spent most of the day behind the wheel in hot pursuit of the various locations of my favorite fashion store (and getting lost literally within 15 miles of my house.  You'd never know to watch me navigate that I have lived in Atlanta for over ten years), I had plenty of time to reminisce.  With favorites like "Your Name" by Goo Goo Dolls and "Ants Marching" by Dave Matthews Band and guilty pleasures like "Baby One More Time" (it's Britney, bitch) and "Barbie Girl" by Aqua, I was transfixed and transported back to a simpler time.  Days before cell phones and hours of agonizing over emotionless, difficult to interpret text messages (or the lack of them in the first place... or the influx of them, on the other hand.  It's feast or famine with me, honestly.).  Before eHarmony and, when you met people in person and talked on the phone.  A time when sending letters that were handwritten wasn't a complete oddity and when people didn't spend half of their time at dinner with you sorting through their emails on their smart phone...days when the most technologically advanced thing in my purse was my constantly nagging Tamagotchi.  A time when you could scrape together the change on the floorboards of your car to pay for a gallon of gas.

I spent last weekend with some of the few people from high school with whom I still want to keep in touch.  I had an amazing time.  We sat around for hours on end, chatting about our school days and catching up (okay, to be honest, we did some "Can you believe he ended up doing [insert horrible job] for a living?" and some "We all knew she'd end up married three times before 30," but in general we kept it kind).  Eventually, when we ran out of people to make fun of  stories to share, it was nice to just sit around with people who knew me all those years ago and still wanted to hang out with me.  People who had seen the horrible, thick glasses, the bad clothing choices and even worse hair, but must have thought I was a pretty cool chick underneath all that if they still wanted to see me twelve years later.  And even if there was a twinge of hesitation or nervousness on my part beforehand, now I can't wait to see them again.

The irony of all this is that we met in the 90's, those days before all this crazy social networking technology, but what brought us back together (or at least brought me there) was the technology.  Without Facebook, I probably would have never seen these people again.  Sure, I might have stumbled into one or two in a Wal-mart somewhere or heard some rumblings about their whereabouts from a distant mutual friend.  But joking and laughing over drinks as if we never missed a beat?  Probably not.

So, thank you 1990's for bringing these people into my life all those years ago and thank you Facebook for bringing them back.  And thank you Star 94 for reminding me that I grew up with these people during a truly amazing time!

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