This one is about kissing.

How do people feel about kissing on the first date? This is a first date with someone you only met once before at a noisy bar. You had a pretty great date; there was a lot in common, a lot of laughing and joking around, but is that enough for the whole thing to be sealed in a single closed-mouth kiss? Still reeling with contending emotions when I woke up this morning, I promptly went and Googled “first date kiss.” A lot of people have a lot of things to say on this subject.

This is what I image most of these article-writers look like. They all thing they have "the right answer."

“Read my article about love! I have the right answer, not all of those other douche bags!”

There is a surprising amount of people online saying that it’s NOT a good idea to kiss after the first date. This article says that holding off on that kiss can say “I see long-term potential in you” which seems a bit overly-analyzed and too much “I like you and want to have your babies” thinking for me. Then, this one says it is a way to show the other person that you have self control and are patient enough to wait until a better time (it also uses all versions of the word “seduce” and kind of creeped me out).

Careful, he's seducing as your read this.

Careful, he’s “seducing” as you read this.

This guy even lists some very specific reasons, including the fact that he just doesn’t like kissing people he knows very little. The kiss can hold so much value to some people and and can come with certain expectations (second date, interest in a relationship, sex) so he recommends avoiding it altogether to prevent leading someone on, not to mention potential awkwardness if the other person does not want to receive the aforementioned kiss. The article is from a man’s point of view (usually the person initiating the kiss) so it didn’t do much for me on the receiving end but it was enlightening to see how much pressure is put on guys in general when it comes to ending the first date. I am truly sorry for you.

Pictures: Guy about to implode from pressure t not ask if her carpet matches her curtains.

Pictured: Guy on the verge of imploding due to resisting to ask if her carpet matches the curtains.

Why do we obsess about these little things? I went on to read other articles that said kissing is good to do at the end of the date just for the purpose of expressing interest in the other person and making it clear that you want a second date. Apparently it’s all about signals and blah blah blah.

This is seriously a foreign language to me and what is up with all the subtlety?  Why don’t you just say “Hey, I like you and we should see each other again?” Why does it have to be some sort of game with rules, expectations, and non-verbal signals that I don’t understand or detect? If it’s supposed to be some sort of game or sport my expectation is to constantly be fearful of this kind of public embarrassment:

As I re-enter the dating world I have some mixed emotions about all this beating around the bush. When you date in high school and college you are dating younger men that you probably have known for a bit since you most likely run in the same circles. There are no “blind dates” or  worries about first impressions since you are already acquainted with your date. You’re young and just looking for new experiences, not in your late twenties watching your generation settle down with long-term relationships. I miss the carefreeness of it all but this was my life 6 years ago.

It’s nice to know I am going out with men that are more settled and sure of themselves financially and career-wise. I know he can mostly likely afford to pick up the check or the gas on an excursion and will never ask me to lend him some money so he can buy an Xbox (yes that has happened to me). I know that men in their late twenties/early thirties are most likely on the same page as me goal-wise since we have already left behind that peak in our lives when we figure out who we are and what we want so are already underway toward living our lives.

Sorry, Hipster Barista, you're not my type.

Sorry, 22-year-old Hipster Barista, you’re not my type.

So my answer to the question “Should you kiss on the first date?” is: WHO THE HELL CARES?! Just do whatever you want and if it’s weird, it’s weird! You’ll learn from it and move on to either a second date where you laugh about awkwardness or you never have to see the person again and your problem is solved!

Crap, I’ve morphed into Carrie Bradshaw. Can I please have her apartment sans giant mole?

I will take Mr. Big, though.

I will take Mr. Big, though.

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…and I’m back!

All has been quiet on this blog but I’m back. No excuses. No apologies. I just haven’t felt like posting anything in a long time. I dub this my “fluff” piece to help me get back in the grind of writing “in public.” It’s good for me.

A few weeks ago I ran back and forth between doing some laundry and drinking wine with Scandal. It was late so all of these things combined resulted in me splayed on the floor, my hair fanned behind me like a disheveled peacock with a sore, throbbing ankle. In my hurry around the corner from putting my last load in the dryer I had tripped down the single step into the sunken living room; I was trying to beat a commercial to the finish line.

It’s a humiliating feeling as I imagine looking down at myself from above wearing over-sized men’s black sweats and a paint-stained college sweatshirt while doing laundry and drinking alone at midnight. I want to believe that my loose, wet hair is arranged like a Victoria’s Secret model and I resemble a perfectly posed Olympic synchronized swimmer, but I’m not. Not to spoon-feed, but this is a low point in my life.

I am divorced. Coincidentally, Valentine’s Day was the official end of my marriage. I am single again and not sure what I think about it. At work today I had the inevitable question from a client on the phone about my “new” last name.

Female Client: Oh, did you get married?

Me: Nope. The opposite.

Female Client: Oh, I’m so sorry.

Me: I’m not.

I’m experiencing a feeling of relief and ease of the stress that comes with waiting to “move on” from something. It’s also a feeling of pain and sadness that comes with nostalgia and loss. I’ll get through it. When I am not feeling the occasional moment of bitterness I am optimistic. I recently moved back to Portland and am living by myself in my own apartment. I’ve never lived alone before and I really like it so far, though I miss living with Lauri (my sister) and Molly.

I miss us being like this!

I miss us being like this!

This also means I re-enter the world of dating; I have to deal with the single men that judge and ogle and take you for granted (women do this, too). I hate the pressures that come with dating. I loathe small talk and always feel like I am in danger of saying the wrong thing or falling on my ass (literally). It’s exhausting but I plan to make it fun. Bring it on, MEN.

Yeah, even you guys! I'm not afraid of you!

Yeah, even you guys! I’m not afraid of you!

I had a fun night out this past weekend and a tall handsome man asked for my phone number. I gave it to him because he made me feel pretty and I am going on a date with him. With the risk of sounding like Carrie Bradshaw I’d like to say that being single is fun and unpredictable. I like the new feeling of independence and plan to continue experiencing it for a long while. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being single and I hate that society makes you feel like half a person if you don’t have a significant other to call your “boy/girlfriend.” Yes, I am unattached and unmarried, but that doesn’t mean I’m perpetually bemoaning isolation from the world!

Can't. Function. Need. Someone. With. Penis.

Can’t. Function. Need. Someone. With. Penis.

I have awesome friends and family and I have fun with them. Yes, I think an important thing to remember is that just because you are single, you are not alone.

10 Best Things about Living Alone

  1. You can watch 10 episodes of Community in a row without guilt or shame.
  2. You can hot box yourself with fragrant incense to your heart’s content.
  3. You have appropriate justification for talking to your cats…if you need justification…
  4. You can consume a whole container of Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups ALL BY YOURSELF.
  5. TTVD (Total TV Domination!)
  6. You want to take a 30-minute shower? Well, go right ahead!
  7. You get to fill a space with just your crap without worrying about breaking someone else’s crap or having to ask to use another person’s crap.
  8. You can cook a big meal and the leftovers are ALL YOURS.
  9. You can make a castle with your dirty dishes and no one will tell you different!
  10. Two words: Naked Time.

Ok, this isn’t one of my best lists but I promise to get better! It’s late and I just want to watch some more Community.

So apparently the world might end today…

It’s December 21, 2012. The world is supposed to end today, isn’t it? I wonder if it will at 12:12 or 12:21? In my mind all the ones and twos will align and cause the world to implode. So since the end of the world might be today, I encourage you all to complete everything on your bucket list. Because of the late notice, it will need to be adjusted accordingly (or completely rewritten) so here are the ones I’ve completed so far:

1. Visit Scotland and Ireland… or just go to Portland for the day and talk to strangers in a heavy Southern accent to create some sort of alienation toward myself.

2. Go sky diving again…or jump off before the last five stairs with my eyes closed.

3. Accompany someone famous on the piano…or play a CD of Mariah Carey singing “All I Want for Christmas is You” and plunk along while wearing sunglasses to make myself feel really cool and professional

4. Go to Antarctica and touch a penguin…or when it’s below freezing go to the zoo and stare longingly at the penguins with my hand pressed against the too-thick glass.

5. Publish a New York Bestseller…or publish this blog. You’re welcome.

Good luck!

5 ways to stave off boredom whilst home alone (that have nothing to do with the internet).

When the weather turns all icy and soggy (only in Oregon is it both these things at the same time) and the sun goes down at lunch time, there’s only so much you can do to keep yourself sane until it’s Spring again. Believe me, I love love love Christmas and all the schtuff that comes with it; I love the presents, songs, family time, pie…OOOOOO do I love pie….
Pie

Oh, and Cool Whip, too.

That’s pumpkin pie by the way, just in case you were wondering. The reason I eat pie may be 25% “because it’s pie” and 75% “because I can put Cool Whip on it.”

But back to the woes of being stuck inside all winter. I mostly dread the time after the holidays, when there’s no Christmas magic to get me through the dark, dreary day. If it snowed more on this side of Oregon it wouldn’t be so bad, but all there is is rain rain rain and more rain. Yeah yeah yeah, I purposely live in Oregon and should just deal with what I got but it doesn’t mean I have to like it. But when you find yourself home alone and are tired at staring at a computer all day, here are some things I do to pass the time. If you have anything to add to this list, please share it – I’m always interested to know how other people pass the time by themselves, especially if it’s awkward and unusual.

  1. Read a book… to your pets. I’ve mentioned this before, but reading aloud to your pets can be very soothing and time consuming, especially if your goal is to finish a whole book. Plus, pets love it when you talk to them. You’ll have a captivated audience and maybe even discover some unusual incites in the process.
  2. Organize your books and movies by genre, instead of alphabetizing. There is only one way to alphabetize, so mix it up a bit by going through each item and determining if it belongs in “Action,” “Thriller,” “Disney cartoon,” or “Weird Anime that I watch once a year when I desperately need to escape the real world.”
  3. Take a walk in the rain. Don’t take an umbrella. A rain coat is okay. Yes, you may feel like a drowned rat while pitying commuters pass you by in their SUVs, with the occasional puddle splashing you in the face, but the freedom you will feel is astounding. Just take my word for it.
  4. Turn on the TV and adjust your dial to the Hallmark Channel. It’s Christmas time and they’ve got some amazingly Christmas-y, cheesy stuff that will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Until the end of December these movies are on 24/7. Hallmark is like an old friend – always around when you need heartwarming tales of people finding true love during the holidays and whole towns coming together to help single destitute mothers on Christmas Eve.
  5. Put some Enya on at a high volume in your living room and pretend this is your debut with the New York City Ballet. Optional: Your pets can be your audience again as you gracefully pirouette and plie across the carpet. You’ll feel like that one famous ballet dancer. Just try it, it will be great. Another option to mix things up: Do it naked.

Here’s one way to use a Bible (and it doesn’t involve reading).

Let me introduce you to someone…

20121116-203546.jpg

Meet Chester.

Yup, that’s a FACE growing out of my wrist. Ok, just kidding, the face is an aftermarket add-on but the tumor part of it is all real, baby.

Here’s a side shot for your viewing pleasure:

Well, hello! I didn’t see you there!

The less scary word I use to describe this bad boy, besides “Chester,” is: cyst. My sister, the nurse, informed me that it’s made up of either air or fluid and might go away on its own. Since it doesn’t hurt, I don’t really care about getting it surgically removed, but she said I could get rid of it by slamming it with a Bible. I suppose the “Bible” part of that recommendation is that the cyst is actually evil and Jesus will scare it out of my body, but mostly I think it’s because the Bible is usually a gigantic heavy tome and therefore worthy of smashing in Chester’s smiling face.

So, I actually tried to do that – smash Chester’s face in with a Bible. I think the main problem was that my Bible has a malleable leather cover and there wasn’t really anything “hard” about it so much as “heavy,” but when I lifted that “gigantic tome” and brought it down on top of my wrist, the first thing that went through my head was SHEER PAIN. The second was something not appropriate to type. Chester was still intact, staring blankly up at me, of course, and did NOT appreciate being smacked on the side of the head with “The Good Book.” The third was “Thank GOD (heh) I did this while home alone.” WHY did I ever think this was a good idea? Do other people actually do this?! They got to be out of their freakin’ minds?!

So Chester is here to stay, for the time being. Maybe he will just disappear some day, or maybe I’ll get fed up with his antics and curb-stomp him on the side of the dining room table during Thanksgiving dinner. For now he’s my “little friend” that pops up to visit when I shake people’s hands or purposely make him say “Hi” to gross people out. He’s the Robin to my Batman, the Bucky Barnes to my Captain America, the Patrick to my Spongebob. In my head his voice sounds like Skeeter from Doug, or maybe more like Bobby from Bobby’s World, and he likes to discuss things like the merits of shopping on eBay in order to support all the “little sellers,” how Portland hipster-beloved IPAs are highly overrated (ew), and the value in establishing your own Roth IRA before you turn thirty. 

Say goodbye to all the people, Chester.

Goodbye everyone!

Oh, and HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Enjoy this for me/us:

10 signs I may be going crazy…sort of.

If you find yourself dinking around on the internet late at night with no one around and you ned a hug, go here: http://thenicestplaceontheinter.net/. I don’t know if it was just a mixture of the images and the music, but it brought me to tears and it’s quite nice.

Here are 10 questions currently haunting my daily routine:

1. Are my cats getting high off of my nail polish? They insist on sniffing my freshly painted nails and I think their steps carry a bit of atypical swagger afterward.

2. Will the stress-acne that has developed on my jaw line ever go away? I can’t help but pick and make it worse. There may be some scarring. I may be giving Edward James Olmos a run for his money.

3. Why do I keep waking up every morning at 4:30am on the dot? I feel like something supernatural is involved, which both excites and terrifies me.

4. I stopped biting my nails, which is awesome, but something else to “keep up” on my person. I don’t even like to brush my hair on a daily basis so how long is the filing and trimming and painting going to last?

5. Will my cats barf in my slippers today?

6. Will I step in cat barf today?

7. Have I been accidentally flashing our neighbor’s teenage boy through my bedroom window? I don’t always remember to draw the blinds (I’m used to living in a high level apartment) and I’m comfortable enough with my body that I don’t really care who sees what, but at the same time, I don’t want to get arrested for “indecent exposure to a minor” and become a registered sex offender by Christmas.

8. How long until my beautiful new car gets smashed in by a douchebag driving something extra douche-y like a Honda Element? I can’t help but feel like it’s only a matter of time…

9. Will I ever finish the three books I checked out from the library and have already renewed for a second time? I keep wanting to read books I already own, which completely defeats the purpose.

10. Will things ever be “normal” again? I don’t even know what that means, “normal,” but for now it sounds stable and comfortable and nice. In the meantime, I will embrace the weird and irrational and spontaneous things life has brought me. In other words…a unicorn (well, obviously).

Took me 20 minutes.

Oh, that reminds me…

The part where I admit to being a cat lady…sorta.

Cats are complicated creatures. This is why they fascinate me so much. Don’t get me wrong, I love love love dogs and plan on owning one some day, but there’s something about cats that make them so relatable.

Sorry, I couldn’t help it. But, you’re welcome.

Dogs will love their owners unconditionally as long as they receive food, shelter, and love. I’m not insulting their intelligence (although some make me wonder), but dogs don’t really need much interest from their owners before they reciprocate with undying, unquestioning love. Dogs will eagerly and obediently trot up to your person, panting with flopping tongue and flapping ears, after you simply say their name aloud. They’ll also perform a trick on command when tempted with a bite-sized, slightly meat-flavored treat, or be absolutely ecstatic when you return home after a twenty second trip out to the mailbox. Dogs treat you like canine royalty; a bone-shaped sun revolves around you and your belly-scratching hands. I admit this is what makes dogs so lovable and such great companions, especially for lonely and/or old people, but sometimes I want to feel like I worked hard for the love I receive. It makes me feel like I actually accomplished something because the last thing I need is overkill on the self-esteem boost.

Fakers.

Cats are more like actual humans. If you provide them with food, a place to hide, and a sandy container in which they can defecate in privacy, you won’t see much gratitude. They treat you with the usual aloofness because they know that when you provide these basic things, you are just being a minimally attentive owner.

“Hey, thanks for NOT abusing us, but it’s not like you deserve a medal or anything.”

Cats make you earn their trust first, and then, possibly, sometimes maybe never, they will offer you their sometimes, but not always, non-transferrable, non-refundable, non-un-dying something that resembles, but isn’t completely, love.

I lucked out with my particular cats because they are the perfect cross between a “I worship the ground you walk on because you feed me” dog, and a “work for my love and I’ll make it worth your while” cat. They are Ragdolls, which you can read about here and look at kittens here if you’re interested (of course you are). They love cuddling and having their bellies rubbed, they are usually waiting at the door for me when I come home, and they like just being in the same room as me. Sometimes all I have to do is walk into a room in which they slumber in a tightly formed snail-like figure and they roll over and start purring immediately.

Sighting: beached manatees.

Yet at the same time I still have to earn their love and affection by giving them space when I sense they want it, not holding them more than necessary, putting aside time to play with and talk to them (yes, it’s loving, not crazy, to talk to your pets) and not making any sudden or loud noises. When I get a cuddle session with these guys, or one of them crawls into my lap, Handel’s Messiah Hallelujah Chorus plays in my head and I hold my breath. If I need to get up to pee or attend to whatever is cooking on the stove, those take a backseat because I milk this attention for all it’s worth and wait until they get up and leave. You see, with a dog, this would be expected and normal and I would get no hallelujah chorus. Sometimes, guys, it’s the little things that make you feel accomplished in your life.

eBayed: 1 Oxygen tank plus mask, 1 crate of Depends.

Currently, my big project is acclimating these guys into a house that already has two younger cats. Mine are eight years old, so are set in their ways and this makes it harder to introduce them to other cats. For now they are just in my bedroom (with all the essentials of course) and I make sure they still get all the attention they need. For their first two weeks here they were just working on getting settled in my room so it can be designated a “safe place.” I even bought one of those plug in things that emit pheromones, which makes them feel relaxed and safe. Occasionally the other two cats in the house would sniff at the door and they would interact with my cats that way. Unfortunately there was come paw batting through the crack at the floor and some hissing, but it died down after awhile.

A few weeks later I started letting my cats out to roam the house. This is when I had to be the evil-step-cat-mother and shut my sister’s cats up in her room while I let my cats have their “outside session” for an hour.

What a bitch.

This was surprisingly stressful for Bailey and Kai since they smell other cats, which causes anxiety for fear of being pounced upon by a strange animal hiding in every corner. Kai spends most of his time meowing pitifully and rubbing his cheeks on every corner (this spreads pheromones that tells them that they checked this place for danger and it’s familiar/safe), and Bailey rubs his paws like a DJ on every surface available (their previous owners de-clawed them so this is just spreading his scent everywhere). It keeps getting less stressful and more familiar for them so they now spend most of the time and concentration rolling around on all the rugs like a dog does in the grass.

Another thing we’re doing is, while my cats are in my bedroom, cracking the door so they can interact a bit with my sister’s cats. There is some paw swiping (could you resist swiping at some strange furry paws peeking through the crack of a door?) and meowing, but we hope this helps them get used to each other. Before these sessions, I actually had no idea cats could also growl like dogs.

You’re probably thinking, “This is crazy! All this work for a couple of animals?!” but it’s so so worth it. If we want to live in a house where cats don’t fight and yowl and spray it is necessary to do this part very very carefully. It’s not like you can just spray fighting cats with a hose and be done with it. Just like people, cats hold grudges against other animals at the most minute things so this has to continue to be done slowly and carefully to get the result we want: happy cats. We hope to start “supervised visits” soon, which makes it sound like some sort of child custody situation. I love these guys and they love me so I would pretty much jump through any sort of hoop for them if it will make them happy. Call me a cat lady, I don’t freakin’ care. I work hard for their love and it makes me feel great when I get it. Plus, they are the only living creatures that, at the end of the day, will still never judge me for what I say, how I look, and my sketchy showering habits. Boo-ya. Score.

Oh man. Can hardly contain my self-esteem. This is SO totally happening.