Monday, August 30, 2010

Textual Etiquette, Edition 2

After all the feedback from my first post about this, I have decided to add to it. Many people informed me of things that happen to them via text that could indeed be added to my list of etiquette and general observations on text messaging, so I give you Textual Etiquette Edition 2: On Haha's, Hehe's, Lol's, and Other Such Items.

Short disclaimer before I begin: I have been, understandably so, called out for reading too much into the realm of text messaging. Please be warned, I do not live my own text life by these standards all the time. These are just little things I notice and blog about, often when I am bored at work. It is by no means the be all end all of how and/or how not to text message. :)

(Oh no she used an emoticon at the end of that sentence..what could this mean?? And now a double question mark? Please see Edition One.)

On "Haha"
-Typically "haha" is used as a variation on "lol" (see below). It is generally used in response to something funny another party has said or as flavor in a sentence when describing something humorous. Examples:

--"Haha that's so funny!"
--"I can't believe that haha."
--"And then I spilled it everywhere haha."

If you read Edition One of this post topic, you will see my theories on multiple anything's in a text message, mostly in the realm of punctuation. This rule also applies to the variations of expressing laughter via text. If someone sends you "Haha," they probably smiled or chuckled. Whereas if you get a "HAHAHAHA," or "hahahaha," or, another variation "Bahahahaha," (this is a belly laugh in case you did not know) they probably are actually laughing. This means you can give yourself a pat on the back.

On "Lol"
-Probably one of the very first abbreviations I learned in my many forays into the realm of media communications. "Lol," short for laugh out loud, is used in much the same way as "haha." I find also, as with "haha," just one "lol" usually means someone cracked a smile or chuckled a bit. When someone sends "lolololol," they are probably actually laughing.

One of my favorite texts I ever received was in response to something I said, and the person said "I actually lol'ed at that." Proof positive that one "lol" does not convince me you are actually laughing (though I probably am because I crack myself up), not to mention the other variations on this particular abbreviation that communicate actual laughter such as "lmao," (laughing my --- off) or "rofl," (rolling on floor laughing).

I also find "lol" used to sort of soften a less positive text message. Examples:

--"Dude she's always"
--"That was so annoying lol."

In these cases, "lol" is used to say "I noticed these frustrating things, but I am not really that mad about it. But I noticed these frustrating things." Don't let this make you afraid to use the favored "lol." A little smile is always appreciated.

NOTE: I am currently working on coining the abbreviation HG for "hearty guffaw." I will keep you posted on how this goes.

On "Hehe"
-I typically find "hehe" used in a more devious context while texting. While "haha" and "lol" are used for general laughter, "hehe" is usually used after something scandalous is revealed. Examples:

--"So I put the rotten sandwich in his drawer hehehe"
--"Person A: Why is there water all over the floor?"
"Person B: Hehe."

This is not a set in stone rule for the usage of "hehe." But I have never found anyone to use "hehe," in any texts like the examples in the "haha" paragraph above.

On The Text Signature
-A text signature is when someone "signs" the end of their text, as in a letter. For instance:

--"Be there in 5 -Jennifer A."
--"Be there in 5 Love, Mom"

I generally find this to be unnecessary, though informative. If you are texting someone, chances are your number is in their phone and they know it is you. Besides, in these days of limited characters in a text (140 characters on my Blackberry can they possibly expect me to communicate!?), why waste the space by double telling someone that it's you? It is certainly nice for the first text if the person does not have your number, or you are unsure if they have it. There is nothing worse than texting someone and saying "Hey!" and then getting a cold "Who's this?" in response. But after the initial text, have confidence that person you are texting will save your number, or lose it strategically and you will never have to text them again. If you REALLY have the hankering to sign things, get the person's e-mail address and write them a letter. :)

On Response Time
-Ah yes. The most delicate issue of text messaging. Text messaging is one of those insidious means of communication that make you always available yet leave you responsibility-free of responding immediately. I have had numerous conversations about how quickly someone responds to a text. I have narrowed it down to three categories of response times in the realm of text messaging:

Usually someone with a Blackberry or iPhone and they have it permanently glued to their hand. This person receives your text and responds within microseconds. And are currently in treatment for arthritis in their thumbs...

--The Little Later-er
Someone who received your text but is driving, in class, or in the middle of something that prevents them from responding to you until a later time. It could be they are talking to all of their friends trying to figure out the best thing with which to respond to the initial text. Or, one of my personal favorites, they are trying not to seem to available and theoretically could play the Immediator, but are choosing to hold out on response time. They typically get back to people anywhere from 45 minutes-4 hours.

NOTE: Most people walk the line between the Immediator and the Little Later-er. I like to call these people Normal.

--The Takes-So-Long-To-Respond-You-Forgot-You-Even-Texted-Them-At-All-er
We ALL know this type. If they respond at all, it is probably 3 days later to a text you do not even remember sending. You cannot even play the part of the Little Later-er and respond to them because they took so darn long you forgot all about them. I talked to someone like this once. It was HILARIOUS. He was probably going for some Guinness World Record for longest response time to an irrelevant convo. Some people just are not avid texters, and that is totally fine. But maybe people this category should incorporate a signature into their texts. No one will ever remember them because they take so long to respond!

Thus, I leave you having expounded upon some of my theories on texting. And I have successfully used up an hour and a half or so of time at work. Woohoo! Happy Monday!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

It's All Good Fun Until Somebody Loses an "I."

I heard this song the other day by a band called The Script called "Break Even." In the song, they talk about how the guy is bemoaning his sad emotional state when his girlfriend leaves him. The thing that struck me about it though was the chorus. While the line "When a heart breaks no it don't break even," is quite clever and mostly true, the other part says "What am I gonna do when the best part of me was always you." What?? The best part about you isn't even you?? That's going to become a problem down the line. Or at least fodder for a brilliant blog post.

So I started thinking about all the cliches we have for when we meet someone really great like "they complete me," or "I found what my heart has been missing," or "they are the missing piece," or, if I may reference some of the choice gentlemen in my history, "the missing link..." anyway, you get my drift. So I began thinking, how can we possibly expect relationships to work out if you expect someone to complete you as a person? I am in a relationship with myself 24/7, and now I have to complete someone? Please.

So this led to a time of introspection. I concluded that it has long been a flaw of mine that, when in a relationship setting, I tend to concede certain things that I normally would not. This began in high school when I dated a boy who hated coming to my piano recitals. In case you do not know, piano is my LIFE. So any normal person would say "This just isn't working out," but nooooo. I stuck with him for a reallllyyyy long time. When we did eventually break up I vowed never to do anything like that again. Fast forward to my next few relationships where my music was appreciated, but certain aspects of my personality were stifled and/or pushed aside because "I loved him," and sometimes you have to compromise. Newsflash: it's not compromise if you are the only one doing it! [I know, my great epiphanies are generally common knowledge, but hey, the road to self-discovery is a long one. Give me a break.]

It's one thing to set out to find "the one who completes you," but it's entirely different to find someone, and then lose yourself in the process. I often wonder how long it would have been before I lost more than I gained in my previous relationships. I am really grateful for the time I am spending as a single person, even if crazy things happen to me, because it has given me ample opportunity to get to know the scary inner-workings of my brain. It has certainly given me motivation to become more self-aware in my dating life, if nothing else.

So, it is difficult to give advice on how to achieve self-awareness. It will forever be a work in progress for me. The best advice I have come by however came from a dear friend at a rather happy happy hour. She said, "I have my deal breakers, and those are what I go by." Hers included the man's religious affiliations, eventual desires for children, among others. She is consistently aware of things that she will not compromise for herself in a relationship setting. I find this admirable and amazing because I realized at that moment I never even thought about my deal least beyond the fact that I don't want to date an ex-con. Maybe the reason I give in so easily is because I never actually fortified my brain to keep my terms in the forefront of my mind.

Though this pearl of wisdom is great, the ultimate journey to self-awareness has to be on your terms. Particularly when dating, you need to be vigilant about how you and the other person are acting and how it makes you feel. So many people say "I should have broken up with that person when...". You do not have to be that person if you stick to your guns and take no prisoners about it. Listen to yourself. Notice things and allow yourself to think about them.

I dated this guy one time who was a very dynamic (which is a nice way of saying hyper) person, much like myself. While we were seeing each other I was all enamoured and thinking he was so great, but a voice in my head kept saying there was no balance. Our personalities were too similar. It ended up not working out and I wished I had taken the time to really think about what my brain was telling me. I probably would have proceeded differently, or at least with more caution. Again, I let myself go a little bit in that situation. So I'm still learning to live by my own rule that the ultimate way to keep yourself is to know yourself.

[NOTE: I'm not saying we are all perfect. Sometimes, relationships will require us to change for the better or just for the different. Just make sure it is not a one-sided deal.]

In conclusion, whether you're in a relationship, fresh out of one, married for 72 years, or single, you need to remember you are a complete person in yourself. Whoever you're with can bring out the best IN you, but you can't expect them to complete you. That would be exhausting! To contradict The Script, no one but YOU should be the best part about YOU, whether the heart "breaks even" or not. Happy almost weekend!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Bar Wars, Episodes 1, 2, and 3

Today, in honor of the weekend, I will tell a story. A story of love, loss, and bars. I shall preface this story as follows:

Have you ever been out on a weekend night and spent a decent amount of time throwing glances over your shoulder? Or making sure you have the seat that faces the door so you can see everyone coming in? Or you feel like you need to find a fire hydrant nearby and mark the territory so undesirable acquaintances do not show? This my friends, is what I like to call Bar Wars, Episodes 1, 2, and 3. While sometimes you look forward to a certain someone showing up, in this particular case I speak of the terror you feel when you are out at a place where you used to go all the time with someone you once dated. When things end, you almost need a custody agreement of who gets to go where when, or you both must suffer through the awkwardness of seeing each other out all the time. So I will tell you the story of two girls.

It began during the summer. Two girls, Desdemona and Ophelia, who had never met, were dating two guys, Othello and Hamlet. Othello and Hamlet were such good friends they could have been brothers. They introduced Juliet and Ophelia, who clicked, and the foursome enjoyed many a fun night out in the various areas where they lived. Then, one dark and dreary night, one of the couples ended their relationship. Hamlet and Ophelia were no more. A painful issue for Ophelia was that technically the custody of the friendship with the other couple should pass to Hamlet, being that he was friends with the other parties first, and best friends with Othello long before the girls even entered the scene. Nonetheless, the girls determined to remain friends.

They met fairly frequently over the next few months for happy hours, wine, and shopping, but on occasion, the boys would show up and it would cause a commotion. Obviously, it was completely normal for Othello to show up because he and Desdemona were together. And it was perfectly natural for Hamlet to accompany Othello given that they were practically brothers. But this was always a sticking point for Ophelia, because she could not claim any turf as her own. There was nowhere she and Desdemona could go that would be completely risk-free of Hamlet showing up. But Ophelia persevered, and time went on.

As time goes on, things change, and eventually Desdemona and Othello severed their ties as well. So of course, when ties are severed, wine must be imbibed and friends must meet to discuss the event. So it goes with Desdemona and Ophelia. When they did meet, they met at one of their most favorite places in the southern part of the province. This was a place frequented by the couples when they were together. Now Ophelia lived quite close to it, and Desdemona worked nearby, so it was a convenient meeting spot as well as a lovely venue.

During the pow-wow, Ophelia noticed that Desdemona kept throwing glances over her shoulder, and was in a nervous frame of mind. Ophelia, recognizing the gestures, then informed her that there was no way Othello or Hamlet would possibly show their faces. "How could they?" said Ophelia. "I live here, you work nearby. Essentially if the boys showed up they would be guaranteed to see us." Because neither boy lived, worked, or had family nearby they lost their claim on the southern realm. And if they did show up, it would be an obvious affront and invasion. Or a deliberate attempt to see one of the girls and incite rage.

And so the story goes that the boys never showed their faces in that land again, in fact a verbal concession/surrender of the land was made to Desdemona by Othello, and the girls vowed never to enter the lands inhabited by the boys either.

The point of this story: there are many things that constitute turf. But the main players are who lives closest, who works closest, who knows local people better, who goes there more often, and who you are with that makes it more socially graceful for one person or another to show up. We have all been there when someone comes to a night out and are not uninvited but almost worse...unexpected. Yes this is America, we are a free country and you can go wherever you want. But along those same lines, because it is America, there are probably about 856 other places you can go to get the same experience without having to run into people and make it awkward. Sometimes you have to take one for the team and find a new venue (though a little social pot-stirring on Friday tends to make good brunch convo on Saturday).

So wherever you find yourself this weekend, enjoy the company and the time, even if it does stir the social pot. What's life without a little bar wars anyway? Besides, if you find you are really worried about keeping your turf safe, you can always stake the ultimate claim and move in across the street from the main street of town (who would do that?). Anyway, It's supposed to be a BEAUTIFUL weekend so wherever you are, hopefully your turf will include some surf! Happy Friday!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Thursday is TIACD Day!

Welcome to this week's edition of Things I Am Currently Digging! Let's see who our winners are this week.

Pointy-Toed Flats
--Pointy-toed flats, while still in last season, were a little more MIA than times previous. Thankfully, there was a full page dedicated to them in the latest issue of In-Style magazine and I am SO pumped! I like to find mine at Steve Madden, personally. :)
Sula Paint And Peel Nail Polish
--This nail polish is water-based and does NOT require nail polish remover. Literally you just peel it off your nails when you're ready to take it off. This cuts down on chipping, just be careful if you happen to run without socks because your entire self-pedi may peel off (yes, I did it). But they have some sweet colors, and I am in love with ALL of them, though Haze has been my summer choice. You can buy it online, or I also found mine at my local Anthropologie.

Sanuk "Sandals"
--These close-toed shoes claim to be sandals on the label, and are quite possibly the most comfortable thing I have EVER purchased. The shoe itself kind of looks like Keds and Sperry had a baby, and it got all the best traits in the gene pool. They look super cute with shorts or with jeans, and run relatively true to size. I'm not sure what the etiquette is, but I will probably find a way to wear them in winter because they are so awesome.

The Gospel Sandwich
--This sandwich is the gospel truth of goodness in my humble opinion. A favorite of my dad's side of the fam, the sandwich was christened the "Gospel Sandwich," because the miracle of Jesus feeding the people with 5 loaves and 2 fish (the two primary ingredients in the meal) is mentioned in all four gospels. My mother says the only reason that miracle happened is because only one boy's mother remembered to pack him lunch. But I digress. This sandwich has inspired me to purchase a skillet and the ingredients are as follows:

-1 fresh fish fillet (in the summer my family goes deep sea fishing...the catch of the day is always on hand)

-2 slices of whole wheat bread, toasted

-fry the fish in butter with salt and pepper

-put on bread

-prepare for Gospel goodness.

It is delicious, and fairly healthy if you use natural ingredients. You can also bake the fish as well, and for that I would encourage Italian dressing and just a dash of mayo or avocado.
Well, I think that does it for this week. Hopefully I'll find some good stuff when I go back-to-school shopping, woohoo! Happy almost weekend everyone!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Things I Learned To Do By Myself

So I spend a decent amount of this bloggage asserting my independence as a free-wheeling single woman in the 21st century. But I must confess, I was not always this way. I had a lot of help along the way to my ultimate feelings of power. So I give you a list of things I had to learn to do by myself because I don't have a boyfriend, roommate, or closely accessible parental figure (with the exception of my wonderful aunt and her family) readily available to me, and my two darling felines are relatively useless.

--I'm not a dirty person by any means, but I am a great big slob. Through the years I have managed to somehow procure semi-compulsive cleaners into my web of friendship and roommate-hood. I have been very lucky. But now I am on my own, and am pretty sure there are 3 or 4 extra people or cats secretly living in my apartment with the amount I have to clean everything. It's terrible! I had to text a previous roommate and let her know I was actually becoming a legitimate human being because I cleaned my bedroom TWICE in one week. Ridiculous, because in times previous it was a miracle if I cleaned my bedroom twice in a semester. I even bought a Swiffer sweeper, which caused this same roommate to question the alignment of the planets. Anyway, I'm practically the poster child for Clorox wipes now, which I am convinced could probably clean up the BP oil spill.

--I have also been lucky in the past to move in with people who already had stuff in the apartment. I never owned a couch, a framed picture, or an end table until just recently when I moved into my own place, which much to my chagrin, didn't come furnished. So I now have in my possession some area rugs, fake plants, framed pictures, and a futon, along with some other knick-knacks that are starting to make the place come together. What I really can't wait for is to decorate for Christmas. And to get up the courage to make my way to Ikea to finish the place (going to Ikea is, unfortunately, something I think I shall NEVER learn to do by myself. Too overwhelming).

Put Sunscreen On My Back.
--If you read my TIACD post last week it mentioned that my favorite sunscreen had a multi-directional spray feature, meaning it sprays upside-down. This is great because it's a long time since I had a strapping young lad or a cabana boy to put some SPF on my broad shoulder blades. Unfortunately, before I discovered this godsend, I had many a painful splotch and a somewhat uneven tan. But now it's all good. Thank you Neutrogena, from single beach-goers everywhere!

Buttons and Zippers and Clasps, Oh My!
--My mother used to say she married my father so he could zip up her dresses, button back buttons, and hook delicate clasps on jewelry. I used to chuckle and say, "Oh mom, that's so silly." But, as is usually the case, my mom is a genius and I begin to see the method to her madness. I have NEVER had a more difficult time getting into and out of clothes as recently. I'm sure if anyone could see in my window in the morning, the image of my attempting to jump off my dresser into a pair of skinny jeans would be quite the spectacle. I've put on more clothing backwards first to get it zipped only to have the zipper catch on my hair or undershirt or something painful. Not to mention the muscular discipline it takes to suck in and zip at the same time (try that Pilates class). It's insane. I've almost said no to entire clothing purchases because I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to get into, or worse, get out of them.

--In the past, when I have moved from apartment to apartment I have had the help of my dad or an ex-boyfriend who felt particularly guilty about crushing my soul. This past time when I moved, my dad was unavailable and I had spurned all male resources in the immediate area. So, with the help of my roommate, her amazing Ford Escape, and some friends I managed to get everything into my apartment. But with unpacking and furnishing I actually ended up carrying just about EVERYTHING else all by myself. The only thing the cats helped with was moral support by meowing every time I came up the stairs. Thanks guys. It did feel kind of liberating at first...until I woke up the next morning and literally could not move one limb of my poor body.

Hang Stuff and Put Stuff Together.
--Along with moving, I also had to learn to assemble things and hang things. This was interesting. But I managed to assemble my futon with relatively little incident. That is to say, it is still in one piece serving a purpose. Which is more than I can say for those stupid wall-hanging-sticky-hook-things from Scotch. My floating shelves almost took out my cat the other day as they fell to the floor. Oops...

--Ok actually I'm still working on this one. I don't even own a frying pan. Don't tell my dad.

Kill Bugs.
--I lied when I said my cats were useless. It turns out that Rilke and Coleridge (Coley) can actually prove very helpful in torturing and killing any unwanted critter in my apartment. However, before they can get their paws on them, the abject terror I experience at having to slay a bug, or in the event that they are the size of a small SUV, catch them and put them outside rivals the feeling you get in that dream where you realize you're naked in the middle of class. Many a time has my battle cry pierced the night as I run towards my foe and attempt to rid my habitat of its presence. The first morning I moved in there was a bug in my kitchen know, one of those ones with about 297862598765 legs and a license to terrorize? Let's just say I now have a designated bug-slaying flip flop that comes complete with a cry of terror and a phone call to my mother afterward to talk my heart rate down to a normal, human speed.

The sad thing about this list is that it is by NO means exhaustive. Whoever said you learn something new everyday obviously lived by themselves for a good period of time. But I have to admit I feel kind of excited every time I accomplish something, even if it is as small as purchasing a Swiffer and actually cleaning with it. Who needs a man or a roommate anyway? Now if you'll excuse me, I have go untangle my hair from the necklace I was attempting to wear today...

Monday, August 16, 2010

Your Date Is A Person Too.

I'm sure the title of this post made you go "Duh." But recently I have noticed how easy it is to almost forget that the person across the table or on the other side of the phone/facebook chat/BBM, what have you, is a person too. Often, I find myself in a situation where I super-impose all of my expectations and past experiences onto the person I'm dating without taking into consideration the kinds of things they may be thinking about me.

I wonder she's single if she's that self-centered! But think about it. Say your last relationship ended in a shambles. Maybe you were cheated on, maybe you were unexpected dumped, or maybe you were the cheater or the unexpected dumper....obviously going on a date is going to bring some insecurities and trust issues to the surface. It is difficult to be in that type of situation and not wonder how things might play out. For myself, it has often caused me to end everything entirely because I'm so worried about something bad happening that I just can't risk it. So I now keep a few things in mind when going on a date to remind me that my date is a person too.

You're Not the Only One With Past Experiences
--Remembering this will, if nothing else, make you a more considerate date. You know when things have made you angry, hurt you, annoyed you to the point on no return, etc. Keeping in mind that whoever you are with has all of these things on their mind as well will keep you humble and make you a better date. You don't necessarily have to talk about all your hang-up's (in fact I highly encourage you not to at first, unless you can make it funny), but bear them in mind so you don't commit crimes you have formerly prosecuted internally.

You May Remind Them Of Someone Too
--Ever been on a date and you think "Oh my gosh this guy so reminds me of..." For me, I always hope that sentence ends with "Brad Pitt." But in the mortal realm it usually is someone I've dated before. Bear in mind that you may remind them of someone as well. Anyone remember that Usher song? "You remind me of a girl that I once knew, see her face whenever I look at you" etc. By the end of the refrain he essentially tells this woman he can't be with her because she reminds him too much of a terrible ex-girlfriend. Which brings me to my next point...
[NOTE: Personally, I'd rather remind a guy of an ex than of his mother....(yes that has happened to's weird).]

They Are Not Your Ex. You Are Not Their Ex.
--Generally we are attracted to a type. Chances are the people you date are going to have things in common with one another. Hopefully these traits include terrifically intelligent or dashingly handsome, but they may also include commitment-phobe or anal retentive. Remember when you're out with this person that whatever they may have in common with someone from your past, they ARE NOT, I repeat ARE NOT them. Be careful not to super-impose your expectations or disappointments on some poor soul who has no idea.

Realize They May Not Be Interested.
--Ah yes, the ultimate humility move. Understanding that if your date is a person too, they are not the only party who may or may not develop an interest. It may turn out that they may be EXACTLY what you're looking for, but you are far from what they need. It's super annoying when it happens, and I'm not saying you shouldn't go out for a sour amaretto (go out for one, don't be one! See Bitter, Party of One post) with some friends and talk about what an idiot someone would have to be for not wanting to be with you, but I always try to remember the many times that a guy hasn't been what I needed either. If nothing else, remembering that thought softens the blow (the sour amaretto and good company can't hurt either).

End Well
--My ultimate postulate in remembering that my date is a person too is to treat them with respect. When you date someone, you both give up time and some energy to the potential involved. Respect and listen to what they have to say while you're seeing each other (they may turn out to be some kind of crazy person, but still, you never know what you can learn). And, if it turns out that you become the less-than-interested party, you should treat the other person respectfully and let them know. Admittedly I employed what I like to call the Lock-Jaw Tactic for a long time before it hit me: I hate it when people do that to me, so why do I treat other people that way? I chalked it up to subconscious revenge, but I have since changed my ways. Anyway, pick up the phone, press the send button, and be a grown-up. Doing this not only shows respect for the time spent, but also cuts down on the awkward factor if you ever run into the person again.
NOTE: Occasionally the Lock-Jaw Tactic can be general rule of thumb is 1 date can merit zero response; 2 dates deserves a "No Thank You" text; 3 or more deserves a phone call.

The moral of the story is that everyone has a story. Your date may not know yours, you may not know theirs, but it is imperative to acknowledge this. Being empathetic not only makes you a better date, it makes you a better person. Awareness of others contributes to awareness of self which builds confidence in self. And having those things will make your date see that you are a person too. Happy Monday (if there is such a thing...)!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Safety Patrol

Ahh, here you are Friday, finally! As we head into yet another summer weekend I have decided to post some safety tips...probably nothing you haven't heard before, but take it from me. I watch WAY too much Lifetime, and have found that as I get older, I over-estimate my ability to avoid potentially dangerous situations. Granted, I work out and can generally take any guy who tries to get in my grill, but seriously. Bad things happen sometimes, and there are definite ways to avoid them. So I give you the Weekend Watch tips to ensure good, safe fun.

Go Out in Groups (Duh...but I had to add it)
--Make sure if you're heading out, you go in a group of 2 or more (you too guys). There really is strength in numbers, and if something weird begins to happen you've got people who have your back. If you do find that you are stir-crazy and need to get out flying solo, go somewhere local where you know two or more of the bartenders/servers. This way you are seen and in a familiar territory.

Buddy System
--Don't go into the bathroom by yourself (the actual business you can do by yourself). Don't go up to the bar by yourself (unless there is a clear sight-line from your group to there). Don't go out to the car by yourself. Don't go out to have a smoke by yourself. Don't go out to make a call by yourself. Am I boring you? Seriously. Drag whatever person is closest to you where you need to go. The way cheetahs get their prey is to separate them from the herd. Don't be the wounded gazelle!

Have A Designated MSP (Mostly-Sober Person)
--Most people have a DD (Designated Driver) when they go out, but you should also have a Designated MSP. Obviously if you're out at a party or a bar for 5-6 hours, even the DD can have a drink that they can safely oxidize before getting behind the wheel. The trick is to make sure you have someone present who will keep a level head in case things get out of hand. Usually this can be the person who has work the earliest the next morning. They don't have to drink water all night, but at least you know there's someone who's aware of things.

NEVER, EVER, EVER Leave Your Drink Unattended
--We all know what happens if you do that. You may be thinking "What does this chick think I was born yesterday?" But'd be surprised how habitual it becomes to set your drink down for a sec then come back to it. We've all played the "Which cup was mine?" game. The other day I was at a bridal shower and I set my drink down about 5 different times then came back to it...granted that's a bridal shower. The only drugs that might be slipped to me there would be from Aunt Mabel who resented me for buying the pizza wheel off the registry. But still. If you leave your drink, get a new one. Or just keep it with you.
NOTE: If my mom reads this she will be SO pleased that I put this tip in here as she first gave it to me on my way to my first boy-girl party in 7th grade. Love you Madre.

Always Make Sure Someone Knows Where You Are
--Obviously if you're going on a date it will not be a group activity. It is a good idea, if not imperative, to let a friend know where you're going, with whom you are going, etc. in case shit goes Lifetime. Make sure when you are planning the date that you get the name of where you're going and the general location. Tell a friend these details, and if it looks like the date is going a weird direction make a quick stop in the bathroom and shoot your friend a text. It sounds crazy and over-cautious but seriously. You just never know sometimes.

If You're Not Driving...
--Google the name/number of a taxi company in the area or be aware of train or other public transportation schedules. Have these in your phone and readily accessible just in case. I would encourage driving yourself whenever possible if it's a new acquaintance, that way you won't have too much to drink and you can leave whenever if you have to.

Eat A Little Before Dinner
--A glass of wine with dinner never hurt anyone, but too much can impair judgment (even if you are a tank like myself). If you know your evening will entail some adult-type beverages, eat some carbs before you go out. You don't need to eat a foot-long sub by any means, but maybe a piece of toast or some cereal...this way you have some food in your system. If you're anti or low-carb, eat some Greek yogurt (lots of protein fills you up without making it impossible to eat dinner). You won't be starving and over-eat at dinner, and you'll have some food to absorb the pre-dinner cocktail.

All That Being Said...
Ok, ok, obviously not everyone is an axe murderer. And you certainly shouldn't step into any situation thinking something terrible is going to happen. I merely post a few tips because it's just important to have a plan in mind when going out in 2010. Plan In Mind=Peace Of Mind, and having both will ultimately empower you and allow you to have a better time out on the town anyway. Have a safe and sparkling weekend!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Early TIACD Post

I will be sunning myself on a beach tomorrow so I decided to post the Things I Am Currently Digging a day early this week so as not to leave you, my faithful readers, without for the 2nd week in a row. I know, how thoughtful! are this week's contenders!

New Mascara I LOVE LOVE LOVE: Lash Lust in Blackest Black from Victoria's Secret
--Legit I like it better than the last mascara I told you about (which is still good, but this stuff is AMAZING). Your eyelashes end up looking like the picture on the box I swear. My baby lashes were completely transformed. Get it. $15. You'll never go back.


Neutrogena Fresh Cooling Body Mist Sunblock (SPF 45)
--This is my favorite sunscreen ever. It isn't greasy, and it has a cooling sensation when you spray it so you typically won't forget to apply it while sweating it out in the sand. Good coverage, and it still sprays upside-down, so single people like me can do our backs all by ourselves. :)


Barefoot Pinot Grigio
--I'm typically more of a red wine drinker, but in the summer this delightful wine has been a favorite! Served chilled, it's great to sip on during a hot day. Not too sweet, not too dry, and it goes really well with raspberries and strawberries (well, it goes really well with ANYTHING). And for something as good as this it only costs $5-$8! Bring this to your next barbecue and you'll be the savior of the party. Swear.


Spending Time With Family And Friends (well, this I dig every day...but still)
--As I head off to the beach to see 2/3 of my lovely family members I think of how great this summer has been to spend all the time I have with the people I love. School starts soon, which will inevitably change the schedule yet again, it has been so nice. I hope all of you have had time to wreak some havoc with your friends and kick back and enjoy some vino with your fam. Mmhmm.

Happy Hump Day all!

Monday, August 9, 2010

This Guy Walks Into A Bar And Says....

This past weekend I went to a bachelorette party for my friend from college. So we were out at some swanky places and I began contemplating the joke "A guy walks into a bar. What does he say?" Most people would answer "Ouch." While this is what many guys end UP saying, they usually lead with some different things.

Before I really begin my stories/theories on this subject I must make a note: Guys who talk to girls in bars are the bravest people on the planet with the exception of firefighters and soldiers. Some of the shoulders they get are so cold it would turn your Coors Light mountains blue in a heartbeat. Gentlemen, this post is mostly anecdotal with some minor advice points...don't stop talking to girls in never know how a night can turn out. I applaud all of you, because most of the time it's not you, it's us. And having experienced rejection in a bar like, twice, I can tell you that the way you folks get back on the horse is commendable to say the least.

Having said that, I can continue with a clear conscience. So here are some things that happened to me this weekend that will make you laugh, cry, and cringe, and my take on the aftermath.

First event of the night...we're in this club, the scene is cool and trendy and all sorts of fun bachelorette-y type things. As I am making my way to the bar to grab a glass of wine, this guy touches my arm and says "Where are you going?" Hello? I'm at a bar, I'm walking toward the bar, and my hands are noticeably empty. Hmmmm. The worst part? After I smiled and told him my destination, he didn't even buy me the glass of wine. Hmph.

NOTE: In retrospect, I admit my form must have been intimidating, being a relatively tall person already with my heels making me close to 5' 11", the poor guy was probably afraid I would beat him up, or worse, trip over him. And I was surrounded by gaggle of good-looking women. These are just observations.

The next thing, we're at this pub and this seemingly creepy guy starts talking to me, asking me when my friend is getting married, etc. Now, I always give people the benefit of the doubt, i.e. I was willing to overlook the creep factor in order to carry a conversation because I am friendly and you can't judge a book by its cover. BUT this guy was legit CREEPY. He's getting all up in my grill, which is theoretically acceptable at a loud bar, but seriously. Personal space bubble violation=uncool. The worst part was when I had pretty much fended him off, both from me and my soon-to-be-married friend, he began to circle around the table talking to all of the girls who were with me, opening with the same line. I mean seriously...what are we in some kind of police line-up? Cut your losses bro.

I do believe I also fended off another somewhat questionable personal space invader by confessing to be a lesbian (I wish I could say it's the first time I used that one). I am not one...but it does work in a pinch.

The point is guys, when in an awkward social situation, such as a loud bar, there are a few things I should point out:

--Most of the time girls who give you the cold shoulder have boyfriends, have been dumped by their boyfriends and hate the race of men, or are genuinely not interested for reasons beyond the comprehension of the mortal realm.

--Confidence is key. No need to be all Mike the Situation cocky-like. Just chill. And don't hover or come out any shadows. Make eye contact first before beginning the initial approach.

--If a girl in a group says "No thank you," don't try and hit up the rest of her friends. It makes things weird (Example: the scene in 10 Things I Hate About You where Andrew Keegan leaves with Gabrielle Union instead of Alex Mack, and Alex Mack gets mad, even though she didn't really want Andrew know, at Bogey's party? Classic.)

--Most girls have been taught never to meet men in bars. Unless it's at happy hour..

--The fear of rejection is legitimate, but ultimately a silly habit. Everyone gets rejected (like I said, it's happened to me twice...). It's annoying, but where better to have it happen than in a bar? Keep up the good work.

WARNING: These are not proven tactics to impress women in loud social situations. Merely anthropological observations from someone who's seen the good, the bad, and the scary.

So there you have ladies and gents. Some stories and some tips for the road. Ultimate conclusion: when you guys DO walk into a bar...make sure the joke isn't on you. Happy Almost Hump-Day!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Please Hold..

I am told no one my age knows what they want. At least beyond the fact that most of us definitely know we want more money, since we're all broke as smokes and spending what we do have on happy hour specials, but I digress. Perhaps it is true that we 20-somethings don't know what we want, in life, and in dating. I have been in more than one situation where myself or the other party "isn't sure," what they want or where this is going. It's a weird place, hard to navigate, and more often than not, someone ends up feeling crummy. So what do you do when someone says "Please hold?" I have narrowed this down to three options:


--Wait for the person to figure it out. Sometimes, your gut tells you something is good, and it's worth seeing where you'll come out on the other side. It's all very romantic of course. When the person shows up on your doorstep and re-established the connection it's all very wonderful. But unfortunately all very seldom. Beyond that, is of course, the possibility of wasted time and wasted opportunities. You spend all your time on hold with this one caller and you don't take any others. My caveat: just because you're on hold doesn't mean the other party isn't taking other calls.

-OPTION 2: HOLD...Sort of..

--While you definitely want to keep the line open, it is possible that you can see other people during this period. Sort of like putting the phone on speaker so you can still hear if the other line picks up, but you can, perhaps, write a blog while you're waiting. This can be fun, and a nice diversion from the fact that you're waiting a bit. The warning for this option is to not become the enemy as it were. If you're holding for someone while hanging out with other people, chances are you'll end up putting the other people on hold, even if you don't mean to. Make sure you're prepared for any consequences.


--This is probably the best idea of the three. Most of the time people who put you on hold will end up hanging up on you first, and you won't even know it until the dial tone starts. While idea three is the most pragmatic, it is also the most harsh. A lot can be said for taking some space.

The problem with people who put you on hold is they often suffer (unknowingly) from "Have Your Cake, Eat It Too" syndrome. They want you around when they're ready, but they are not willing to compromise for your needs. They don't quite know what they want, but they don't want to give up the prospect of something good until they are good and ready. I would love to tell you that everyone who has this syndrome is an inconsiderate poop-face, but I find, more often, they are just a bit wayward and lacking in awareness. Many people will tell you "If someone wants to be with you, they will be with you." This is often true, but sometimes, people just do need a little space to contemplate the changes that may lie ahead if they take the proverbial plunge.

The trick to being on hold is to not actually view it as being on hold. Waiting around is for the birds, particularly when a lack of self-awareness is involved. If you know what you want, you should find someone who also knows what they want (preferably something similar to what you want that is...). I admit, sometimes what I end up wanting is to stick it out for a bit to see what can come of the situation. But too often in my life it has taken me FAR too long to figure out when to hang up. So rather than being on hold, or straight hanging up on someone, try looking at it as giving the person the opportunity to call you back. You're not on hold, the lines of communication are open, and it gives you enough breathing room to really decide if you even want to take the call if or when it comes. Happy Friday!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Fitness Post

A friend of mine pointed out to me once that as single people, we tend to have a decent amount of time to spend to ourselves during the course of 24 hours. He postulated that in a 24-hour day, at least during the work week, you work about 8 hours, maybe a 2-hour happy hour, then you're on your own for 14 hours (more like 7 depending on how much beauty sleep you need). So one thing I have found to occupy this time is working out. I shall dedicate this post to my ideas on fitness. By no means do I claim that I am the first or last person to put these ideas out there. I also do not mean to claim that single people are the only people in the world who work out. So take this with a grain of salt, maybe you'll find an idea that works for you.

My journey with working out began when I was 17, a senior in high school. I never played any sports (not for lack of trying mind you), but up until this point I never had to worry about exercising. My metabolism took care of it. Then one day my clothes started getting REALLY tight...I stepped on the scale and immediately started screaming. Not that I was overweight, but I knew I had to get myself into shape. So I began doing exercise videos (Denise Austin is a goddess), running a bit, just trying to be more active. As I got more and more into working out I realized that so many people tell you what WILL most definitely work for you and what you MUST do to get any results at all. I also realized that nine times out of ten these did not work for me. So I have come up with my own fitness tips that i find a little more universal. Take them or leave them for sure, every body is different.

-Find a Work-Out or Fitness Regimen You Like
--I used to kill myself running all the time because I thought that is what people did to get in shape. While it does work for most, I found that because I hated it so much the results came much more slowly. I will admit to losing weight and toning up due to running, but the way it happened most was when I found a really beautiful place to run. Treadmills are my doom...for some people they work wonders. For me scenery and a kick-butt work-out mix on my iPod make it a little more possible to enjoy the time. Once I found a way to run that I actually enjoyed, I was more apt to do it and to get results. I also discovered the wonder that is Pilates. I LOVE Pilates. I usually go once or twice a week at the gym where I belong. Great core work-out, good for strength and flexibility. Again, I have to believe it works so well for my body because I love doing it so much.

-Don't Be Afraid to Take a Break
--Another thing you hear a lot in the fitness realm is "No pain, no gain," or my personal favorite "Pain is weakness leaving the body." No, no, no, no. If you are feeling burn or tired or like if you do one more squat your legs will turn into jelly that's just exertion. If you feel legitimate pain you are probably doing damage to a part of your body. The thing is, no matter how much you work out there is always room to improve and build. If you push yourself too hard you will a) be too sore to work out the next day, b) do more harm than good to your body, and c) not feel as great about your work-out as you could have because you probably needed to stop early.

Pushing ourselves toward a goal is fantastic, but we must remember that our bodies are organic things that need rest. If you work out every day, more power to you. For me, this did not work because going to the gym became a stressful experience. I felt like "If I don't go the day is a waste." Not true. As you continue working out you will become more in tune with what your body is telling you. Some days you just need to skip the intense time at the gym. On those days, I usually go for a walk with a friend and enjoy some conversation. Still somewhat active but not bringing my body to the point of no return.

-What You Eat
--My body is crazy. My metabolism is crazy. Most diet regimens fail miserably for me. The best thing I have found to cope with how to eat healthy to supplement my work-out is called The Slow-Down Diet by Marc David. This guy changed my life. See how you like it. But to each their own in this realm because the way I eat boggles many minds. :)

--I used to HATE water. But as I have gone through my fitness journey I realize that it is completely indispensable during a work-out. Not only does it give me a little more energy to carry on, but the hydration keeps me from being quite as sore the next day. Don't get me wrong, it is certainly not a cure-all...I still have my days where I try to use my powers of telekinesis to get my cereal down from the top shelf of the cabinet. But hydrating myself definitely takes the edge off.

--I used to hate stretching, both before and after a work-out. Before I work out I just want to get going. After I'm like "I've been here forever I just want to go home." But I read this study (see below) that actually said that people who add stretching to their fitness routine build more lean muscle more quickly than those who do not. A really good analogy I read once was that your muscles are like pasta noodles. If you don't cook pasta noodles, they are brittle and they can break, but if you cook them they are flexible, softer, and you can do more with them.

Moral of this paragraph: Even if it's annoying, spend 5 minutes at the end of your work-out to stretch your muscles. Some people say 30 seconds per side...that's a lot. Generally I devote 3-5 deep breaths per side per muscle group worked. Takes about 2-3 minutes and you're outta there.
(don't worry boys..just because it's from Women's Health Magazine doesn't mean it can't apply to you).

-Get a Sweet Music Mix
--I have known only a few people who can work out without music. To you, oh valiant few, I tip my hat. It is impossible for me to work out without music. Download 30-60 minutes worth of music to accompany your work-out. You won't regret it. My person mix ranges from Berlioz to Beyonce depending on the day.

-Be Positive and Thank Your Body During and After Your Work-Out
--I know this sounds a little cheesy, but I tell you it works. I spent so much time discouraging myself throughout my work-outs and not seeing the results. I would think "Move it along slow-poke, you're not strong enough, blah blah blah." Are you surprised my body basically said "Forget you!" So I re-vamped, and now as I go through my exercise routines I encourage myself and think positively toward my muscles. After my work-out and during my stretching I thank my body for all of its hard work, and wouldn't you know it...I swear I've never felt better or been in better shape in my life. It's all in your attitude.

So there are my few, but hopefully helpful fitness tips. Maybe they work for you, maybe they don't. Every BODY is different (hehe). Happy fitness and happy Tuesday!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Sunday Post

While I usually take Sundays as a day of rest from my blogging life, I find that on this particular Sunday it is cloudy, grey, and I am more bored than usual at work. So I give a little bit more of a melancholic entry today.

I try and work out with my personal trainer once every two-three weeks (it was every week until I decided to move in on my own sans roommate but plus two rather needy but completely adorable felines...alas). While we work out I fill him in on my life, not so much because he wants to know, but it's the only way I can possibly get through the number of sets and reps he tells me to do without dying on the spot. So one day, I'm telling him about this guy and how he's being stupid, canceled plans last minute, etc. etc. And he goes "Meg, girls are attracted to JERKS."
[NOTE: When I was growing up and I would tell my dad about people who irked me and he would say "Megan, those people are assholes. But because that's a profanity, we'll say the biblical term for those people is JERKS." Hence my fairly regular usage of the term.]

So my trainer tells me this and I say "Maybe MOST girls are, but I'm not. Usually I can peg them, hence my consternation with this particular boy." He proceeds to tell me "No girls like nice guys. They want the JERK. They want to tame him, make him change." Then we launched into a particularly painful set of squat jumps and kettle bell things which I took to mean he didn't want to debate the issue.

After my workout (which I barely survived...hurts so good!), I mused upon this theory. I thought, "I'm not that girl...." and then that stupid voice we all hear but hate to listen to says "Or are you?" So I head into self-examination (and a decent amount of cabernet sauvignon), a little worried about where I will come out.

As you have probably gathered from this blog, I date and/or go on dates fairly frequently. And most of the time it's with supremely nice guys (key word NICE). They are good-looking, respectful, hold-the-door-pick-up-the-tab-tell-you-you're-pretty-laugh-at-all-your-stupid-jokes, nice guys. Yet, when I am out with these gentlemen, I am consistently avoiding the topic of relationships, futures, innuendo, etc. like the plague. I even plan my exit strategy, which more often than not I employ via phone several days later. When I tell my friends about these situations they say "Well, what was wrong with him?" And I say, "Nothing. It just wasn't right."

Then I go out with a guy who seems to be all that and a bag of chips, maybe we get the relationship level, maybe we don't...but when they inevitably terminate the arrangement I am left, like, pining for them. And then I think about all those nice guys who would NEVER even ENTERTAIN the thought of letting me go (well, in theory anyway), and I think...Were they all "not right," or am I the one who is "not right?" I mean, how many failures can there be before I actually have to realize, for's not them, it's me?

PAUSE: All this is a little heavy, even for a melancholy Sunday. More likely than not during this time of self-examination I nixed the cab sauv and went straight to my good friend Jameson..feel free to follow the lead. A little chuckle...and onward.

My conclusion comes down to two major points:

1. Girls may be attracted to JERKS, but so are boys. At the end of all my pondering I have to wonder if we don't all have a little JERK inside of us. As many times as I have been the reject-EE, I have probably just as many times been the reject-OR. I shudder to think how many wonderful gentlemen are out there cursing my name and labeling me the way I label the men who wound my pride (not that I flatter myself that they even remember me...but still). And besides, if we act like a JERK once or twice, are we doomed to be that way forever? Can our JERKY actions actually be justified? Don't get me wrong..some people are just born to be JERKS, but what about everyone else like me? Which leads me to my next point...

2. When the situation is right, the guy (or girl depending on your preference) will be nice. I mean, in order to find the "right" thing we all have to be JERKS or have JERKY things done to us right? Anyone who has been through a terrible relationship ordeal, but has had the opportunity to like, love, or be infatuated ever again probably thinks..."If that hadn't happened, then this good thing wouldn't be happening," or something probably way more corny and beautiful than that. Right?

So in the end, I have been a JERK, and people have been JERKS to me. And I can't say I never get a little wistful about the nice guys I have left in my wake of terror. "Maybe if I could have, maybe if he were, maybe if the situation," the list goes on. But I guess what it comes down to is I know I made the right, if not necessarily the smartest, decision. They say what we dislike in other people is what we dislike most in ourselves. Maybe I end up liking then disliking JERKS because, at heart, I'm still growing into someone who isn't one.