Maybe This is Why You’re Single?

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I’m completely frustrated.

I’m supposed to go out on a second date in 2 hours and I’m not even sure I want to go anymore… Let me start from the beginning.

Since my most recent complicated and emotional ending with someone special to me, I have been trying to date. Trying being the operative word. I’m on Tinder (which, believe it or not has a high success rate of creating real relationships in Tel Aviv) and I’m on OKCupid. I meet men at the dog park, at the coffee place, on the bus, and other such lovely places in my daily life. Here is the biggest problem I’m facing with nearly all the men I’m meeting these days: they are fucking lazy.

Men seem to expect us, as women who are looking for a relationship, to do all the work. Initiate conversation, flirt, look nice, smell good, suggest a date, plan the date, smile, make conversation, offer to pay, drop blatant hints that we want to go out with you again, rinse and repeat the process for date two.

Here is the example I’m dealing with right now (as in, I need to be dressed and out the door in 1 hour and 45 minutes). I met a man on OKCupid. He’s 37 and a musician but he’s also a teacher and getting his MA in Music and Education. Yofi. We chat intermittently on the app and then he surprises me by asking me out for a date. We went out once. We had one beer each. He paid the bill. He brought me home (well, he dropped me off in the neighborhood…he couldn’t figure out how to stop the car in front of my building despite driving past it 3 times.). It was fine. Not amazing. Not awful. Normal. Uneventful.

Yesterday, he texts me and says “We can meet tomorrow if you want.” This is a weird way to ask someone out but I attributed the weirdness to his poor English and agreed to go out tonight. He said he’d come by to pick me up at 9pm and I agreed.

Today, at 6:30, he texts me and says “I just woke up from a long nap, I ate some hummus…it’s better if we meet later. Ok?”

Sigh.

I asked what time he was thinking and he said between 9:30 and 10pm. Fine, I guess. I wasn’t happy. I told him that it was ok but that 9:30 is better than 10 because Friday night is a terrible night to go out in this city (which he should already know) and asked him what we were going to do. I thought maybe if he had a small hidden spot in mind where the tourists and children don’t go 10pm might be just fine, but in typical lazy male form, he said to me “I don’t know. What do you want to do?”

Listen, buddy. I’m the girl and you’re the boy. It’s my job to look pretty, smell nice, and be sweet  all in time for you to come pick me up. It’s your job to make the plan and take me out. Making me do all the work is not sexy.

So I told him as much, but nicer. I said “haha you tell me! I plan things all week! It’s the man’s job to plan the date. :)”

He then tried to tell me that my area is better than his for going out. Tel Aviv is not a giant city. He knows my area just as much, if not better having lived here forever, as I do. I told me that my area is very touristy and crowded, especially on the weekend. He retorted with “don’t you know anywhere we can sit?” I asked, “don’t you?”

Then he suggested that we just hang out at my place and I can “play a concert for him.” At this point, I’m really losing interest in even going out tonight because clearly unless I plan the date, we’re just going to be sitting on my stoop staring at each other because no way is he coming upstairs. You’ve gotta work for that.

So, to give him once last chance to redeem his manhood, I said “don’t count on it. Anyway, I’m sure you’ll figure out a nice place we can go.” Could I be any more clear than that?

His response? “We’ll find something.”

So. To all the men of the world who are looking for a relationship: don’t be fucking lazy. Plan the date. Pick up the girl. Pay for her drink. And treat her like the nice delicate flower she deserves to be treated as, at first. Woo her. Court her. Put some effort into it. A man who can’t make a simple decision like where to take a woman on a date is not sexy.

1 hour and 20 minutes to go. I might cancel.

Is it worth getting dressed, doing my hair, and putting make-up on for this child? I’m thinking no.

New Beginnings

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Last weekend, a man asked for me number at the dog park. The weather was perfect and everyone was in their light spring clothes, sunglasses, and high spirits. Needless to say, Jessie and I were no exception to this.

When this guy stopped us and struck up a conversation on my way out of the park, I was surprised. It’s been ages since someone new has hit on me, let alone asked for my number. And the few first dates I’ve forced myself to go on lately (to cure myself of the last failed attempt at something real) have been just awful. But, here was Guy chatting me up at the gate of the dogpark: wide smile, kind eyes, very tall, and clearly fit. We talked for a few minutes and then he directly asked me if I had a boyfriend. Upon hearing that I am single, he asked for my number and then we parted ways.

He called on Monday, just as I was starting to wonder if he was the exception to the “Israeli men always call” rule. Not 5 minutes into the conversation he was asking me if I wanted to go out with him that evening.

Sure, why not? So, what that it was short notice? The rest of my week was going to be very busy and I knew it, so I jumped at the opportunity to get to know him better.

We went out and talked nonstop for hours. Then we left the bar and went back to his place, with the understanding that he was to have no expectations. We continued to talk, we smoked, and then we spent an hour making-out on the sofa like teenagers: fully dressed, hearts pounding, adrenaline pumping.

Then I left. After the best 4-hour date in recent history, I could basically float home.

That was Monday. Today is Saturday and even though we chatted a bit and had a failed attempt at last minute plans on Wednesday, I’m hopeful that maybe this weekend we’ll be able to connect again.

Guy is smart, kind, funny, charming, and very attractive. If this doesn’t work out, at least he has restored my faith in finding a man with all these qualities. I am lucky that he popped into my life just as I was beginning to doubt the possibility of such people existing.

Even though the weather took a turn for the worst and it was actually snowing here in the holyland yesterday, spring is definitely coming and with spring comes new beginnings, new hopes, and new possibilities. All good things to look forward to! And, as always, keep your fingers crossed for me with Guy!

Coming Up for Air

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I owe all of you a big apology.

I never wanted to disappear and I certainly never intended to. I wish I had a decent excuse for my disappearance but, I just don’t. I have a mediocre excuse, though, which I’ll get to in a minute. There have been many times over the last nine months where I have opened this blog with the full intention of writing but the words didn’t flow. At one point I even thought about abandoning this blog like a house that’s in too deep of debt and starting fresh. That didn’t flow either.

Why was I gone for so long? The real reason is that I got involved romantically with someone and as it became more and more serious, it also became more and more secretive. No one knew what we were doing and we thought that was for the best. I was a fully aware, consensual, and willing participant in this elicit affair. No, he’s not married. There were many outside factors and influences that made it complicated; but, I loved him and was ready to be as patient as need be to make it work.

Then, for reasons I cant get into here, the truth was exposed. Not only the truth about us to those that mattered the most, but the truth about how he was feeling about our situation. Shockingly – and sadly – it wasn’t the world finding out the truth that ended it; it was the truth about his feelings that did us in. It’s a cliche, tragic tale with no surprise ending.

You see, during this time the only thing I could think of to write about and frankly wanted to write about was him and this blinding affair I had fallen into, and I couldn’t. For fear that someone, anyone, would read about us and find out the truth I couldn’t write about it. No amount of pseudonyms or euphemisms felt opaque enough to get it out and protect our secret at the same time.

It was stupid, I know. I’m sorry. The end.

In other news, the last nine months were full of other exciting things as well:

I turned 30. This past summer was my 30th birthday and though I was nervous about relinquishing my 20’s to the pages of history, 30 has been pretty great so far. I’ve found a new confidence to just speak without too much concern for who might think what about me. I’m more comfortable in my own skin than ever – even my thick legs and big ass don’t seem to bother me the way they used to. Truly, I can’t recommend being 30 enough!

Operation Protective Edge happened. If you were in any way connected to the news this past summer, you might have heard that Israel and Gaza were engaged in another, for lack of a better term, war. It was an intense summer and I won’t lie: I spent most of it (prior to my birthday at the end) getting high and sitting on my sofa, watching the news and waiting for the next air raid siren to go off. It was scary, but mostly it was sad. So many young and innocent people on both sides lost their lives; every time a new name and picture of a young soldier would appear in the news, I would sob, my heart breaking for their mothers, fathers, siblings, and friends. And for what? Nothing. Nothing gained. Nothing won. Nothing changed. There are still tunnels burrowing into Israel (which, don’t get me started, is some scary shit). They still live under the extreme restrictions imposed on them by Israel (for our protection). No peace agreement was reached. Not even a real ceasefire was declared. It’s all too awful and too heartbreaking to recount every detail here, months later, but the war in 2012 (Operation Pillar of Defense) was nothing in comparison to this past summer. Experiencing air raid sirens multiple times a day, at any time of day or night does something to you mentally.

I got a dog! 

Jessie and her very waggy tail

Jessi and her very waggy tail

I had been thinking about it for years and I always had an excuse not to, but a week before I turned 30, I decided now was the time. Her name is Jessi and she’s amazing. Yes, she’s a trouble maker too and the first couple months were stressful, trying to find a rhythm and forge a relationship with her, but she is the sweetest thing and has done so much for me already. I joke that she chose me more than I chose her at the shelter, but I think we equally needed each other. And she’s the inspiration for a children’s book idea that I’m mulling around in my head! More on that later.

My sister, Anne, came to visit. She came in the middle of the war. It was great!

My sister, Melissa, came to visit. She came in the middle of the school year. It was less great. At least she had a good time.

My sister, Robin, decided she wants a relationship with me. Two weeks of high emotions and emails and anxiety, all culminated in…nothing. I wish I could say I was surprised, but no. It was just her trying to stir up drama between my mom and I and when she saw it wasn’t working, she gave up her plan and went back to leaving me alone and forgetting I exist.

I went to NYC for Christmas. I was there for seven days.  Of those seven days I had a really great three days. Family is hard, man. Especially when you only see them one week out of the year. It really puts the pressure on.

And now? I’m back. I can’t promise I won’t disappear again, because I can’t see the future all the time, but I do promise that for now I’ll make an active effort to write again like I used to. I have missed it. And I have missed you.

A big thank you to Jade for a comment she left me recently, which really gave me the confidence to reopen Little Girl/Strange World. <3

Take Another Piece of My Heart

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I just got a phone call from New Jersey. Thomas and his wife are going to have a baby.

Yes, Thomas and I broke up in 2008. Yes, I’ve dated many men since then and even loved one or two along the way. Yes, I was at Thomas and Melanie’s wedding in 2011 and I put on a happy supportive face for them. Deep down inside, though, every time I see him or hear about something like this, I can’t help but feel like he’s breaking my heart all over again.

In my heart, I’m fairly certain that Thomas was the one. And I screwed things up.

I loved Thomas. Like loved him with all of heart and soul. He was my first real love. I saw the man he was destined to become when he was nothing and had no confidence in himself and I loved him despite his flaws and hang ups. I saw what a good man he was inside and how he would be the best husband and the best father someday. I really thought we were going to get married. We were young, we dated for 3 years, we lived together for half that time. We supported each other, we laughed together, we had wonderfully meaningful conversations all the time. We saw each other through the hardest times and the best times.

I was right about it all, except we did not get married. In fact, Melanie is the girl he cheated on me with that broke us up. I guess that relationship was meant to be.

All of my friends thought I could do better than him. Apparently they were wrong, because i haven’t.

I know that I have an amazing life now, and I would not trade it for anything. But when I think about Thomas and Melanie having the life that I envisioned for the two of us all those years ago, it still stings.

I try to be happy for him and I think I do a good job of masking my hurt when we talk, all while my insides are screaming at me.

When will it stop hurting? When will I be able to confidently look back and say “he was not right for me?” When will I believe that everything worked out for the best?

Maid of Honor Speech

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Here is my speech from Laura’s wedding yesterday… Enjoy!

Hi everyone. My name is Joan and I’m Laura’s best friend. Today we’re here to celebrate the tremendous and obvious love that Laura and Aaron have found in each other, but I’m sure that many of you had the same reaction I did when I first heard that they were even dating…it didn’t make sense. I didn’t get it. Aaron was the quiet nice hot guy in our friends’ band and Laura was my crazy best friend who used to have blue hair. Not that there’s anything wrong with blue hair.

Anyway, needless to say, I get it now. It’s impossible not to get it when you spend more than 15 seconds in their company. The love they share radiates off of them and fills the room.

Actually, they don’t know this, but I knew that they were going to be married before they did. Before they started dating, Laura was over at my place in New Jersey and we were talking about the three things she wanted most in life at that point: a baby elephant, a top hat, and a flame thrower. Realizing that two out of the three were a pipe dream, this conversation ended with Laura posting on Facebook that she will marry the man who buys her a top hat.

A year later, the Facebook post was long forgotten about when Laura and Aaron started dating. A year after that, Aaron bought Lauren a silk vintage top hat for Christmas, obviously knowing her very well. She wasn’t shy about wanting a top hat. Marriage wasn’t part of the conversation at this point but when I heard about the top hat and saw the pictures, I knew that Lauren’s dramatic request for a top hat on Facebook had just instantly turned into a prediction for her future. The following Christmas a year later, Aaron proposed and the rest is history.

Today I wish you both nothing but the best and a happily ever after filled with love and joy. Aaron, you are part of the family now. That means my family too..and I love you. Thank you for making my best friend so happy and taking such good care of her. And Laura, I love you so much. You are my sister and I am so happy for you and honored to be part of this, the first day of the rest of your lives. Lechayim!

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