A Nightmare

*Disclaimer: There was one more recent B3 incident (Yes, I’m aware I said I could never see him again at the beginning of January. Yes, I’m aware that I’m an idiot) that ended with my heart being rammed into a paper shredder (way too overdramatic but I don’t care), and no, I’m not going into details because they ultimately do not matter. The one detail that matters is that I blocked him in my phone and on Facebook so that he cannot suck me back in.*

I’m running down what I can only assume is Rue de Rivoli, after B3 and I just left The Lovre. It’s Thanksgiving Day, and I am ready to bring him home. I chase after him as we go to find his car. We somehow got to Paris from Concord, NH, and now it is time to go back so I can bring him home, so he doesn’t have to spend Thanksgiving alone. I’m texting my mom as we run, to tell her he’s coming home with me. I look down for one second. Then I look up. And he’s gone.

So I stop running and wait. But I realize he can’t call me, because I’ve blocked him on my phone. As soon as I remove him from my block list, a barrage of texts come through. The only one I see is, “OK, I don’t feel as much rage today as I did before.” He’s been texting me for over two weeks. I start to cry. I try to call him and it goes straight to voicemail. I don’t know how we got to Paris, but I know I don’t have my passport. I’m stranded. A random stranger approaches. Tells me he won’t leave me until I figure out a way home, and that I shouldn’t worry.

In a flash, I am jolted out of this nightmare. My alarm clock is going off and I realize it’s over – the dream, the nightmare, everything. I get up, go to work, it’s business as usual. But when I see that Princeton Mom has returned, I go to a bad place. Princeton Mom, as you may or may not recall, got ASOVBD Bitch Pleased last March for writing a letter to the Daily Princetonian saying any girl who doesn’t snag a husband in college is screwed for life – not literally, of course, because if you’re not married by 22, no one will ever want you.

Well, on Valentine’s Day, she reared her ugly and unhelpful head, again, by writing a gem of a column for the Wall Street Journal. The paragraph that really jumps out for me, is this one:

An extraordinary education is the greatest gift you can give yourself. But if you are a young woman who has had that blessing, the task of finding a life partner who shares your intellectual curiosity and potential for success is difficult. Those men who are as well-educated as you are often interested in younger, less challenging women.

Pause for reaction:

Is she reading this shit? She’s completely contradicting herself here in saying education is important but smart guys will want to marry someone else who is younger and dumber? I can’t with this woman. I am not going to get in to her points about how we should spend less time focusing on work and more time focusing on husband hunting and oh but once you hit 25 it’s too late, sorry, whoops. Her whole column is just depressing. There is no way I would have married anyone I met in college. And you can’t road map a timeline for falling in love. It’s not something that you can check off your To-Do list for Saturday.  Sometimes you walk into a fucking Chili’s to watch a baseball game and fall in love without even realizing it.

This is not about women’s lib or feminism, or anything like that. This is life. And you cannot plan it. And you cannot make some wild generalization that if you don’t meet and marry someone by your mid 20’s, that it will never happen for you. It might never happen for me, but if my options are to settle and be miserable, or just be alone, I’ll take alone every damn day.

I like that I can support myself, but I also like having doors held open for me and being walked to my car at the end of a date. You know, chivalry, and all that. Patton makes me feel like it has to be one or the other, and you can’t have both. Would some dude really want me relying on him financially and emotionally? I doubt it.

My nightmare was on Thursday night. Last night, I had a dream B3 showed up at my door to apologize. I hate that cliche “time heals all wounds,” but I know/hope that one day I will wake up and not be in this much pain, watching Armageddon at 6am on a Sunday, crying at every point.

More guilt

Last week, I had an interesting conversation with one of my friends, stemming from a separate conversation with someone else. One of my friends told me a few people had been saying horrible things to her about her posting text and OKCupid messages on her Instagram, basically saying, “no wonder you’re single.” I found that to be a bit harsh and incredibly rude. She posts these things with comments in an attempt to keep a sense of humor about dating in general.

Dating in your 30’s is not the same as dating in your 20’s. It seems like there is a lot more at stake, for the girl, if she wants to have kids, and feels the clock is a-tickin’.

When you wind up stuck in the three-date curse or sitting in a parking garage crying or getting ridiculous texts, etc, sometimes all you can do is try to laugh it off. I bet these people, who said such horrible things to my friend, are all Taylor Swift fans. Well, every single one of her fucking songs are about dating gone awry, yet she is famous, makes a gajillion dollars a year and has won every award imaginable. And I mean, Jagged Little Pill, hello? While I still wholeheartedly refuse to believe that album was about Uncle Joey, it became the breakup anthem for a while and launched Alanis Morissette into uncharted waters. And while she has not actually spoken up about who inspired the song “You Outta Know”, she still wrote it, so we know it was about someone and came from a very dark place.

Anyway. I find comments like that, “no wonder you’re single,” to not only be hurtful, but are also more than likely coming from a very hypocritical place. And all these people were single until they weren’t.

giphy

 

But it did get me thinking a lot. Is that what people think about me? No wonder I’m single because of this blog and book (the book that’s like, 500 words at this point after I lost it all when my laptop shit the bed)? Mr. Titspervert once told me I should not feel guilty about writing about him, and that was a comment I appreciated, especially because it was unsolicited.

So, I asked one of my guy friends what he thought. He said I shouldn’t feel guilty, but at the same time need to think about how I’d feel if these guys were writing about me. That kind of sent me to a bad place. I leave out really personal and identifying details, but it was pointed out to me that I should not act like I am doing them a favor for leaving out details. Then I was all, “wait a minute, like four people read my blog, who actually cares?”  I try to make this a mostly humorous take on dating disasters and keep it lighthearted. Maybe did a bad job of that recently in regards to B3.

Another thing I’ve been thinking about came up on Facebook. My friend Amy moved to Boston recently and just started dating someone. She has been posting cute little updates about their dates, but nothing overly personal or even remotely out of line. Then I log in earlier in the week to see her status as the following (and yes, I asked her if I could use it):

So I’ve been getting a lot of flack offline for “over sharing” on Facebook this past week regarding my dating life. Here’s what I have to say about it. A) this person is not on Facebook. B) I have selflessly liked all your wedding/baby/whatever posts for years. C) If you have a problem with what I share on here, unfriend me. D) I haven’t dated anyone in SIX YEARS. Every time I post a dating update I deserve resounding applause. For all the above reasons. I’m done with your complaints. Shut it and attempt to be happy for me. Love and thanks 🙂

First thing’s first: pause for reaction:

giphy1

 

Second of all, she makes an interesting point, in that why is it okay for us to post things about relationships becoming permanent (engaged, married, etc) but not about being excited about the early stages? Not even kidding, I was planning on posting the first pic taken of B3 and I (there wasn’t one) and just posting it with the caption “Suddenly I See” or something like that because I was g-o-n-e but such a picture does not exist and then we were Facebook friends briefly and I kept all comments about my dating life completely absent because I wanted to be mindful of his feelings and I do hate when people over share in an uncomfortable way on Facebook or when couples fight on Facebook. But that’s not what Amy was doing at all. And it was great to see her school everyone, because she has a very valid point.

Should I feel bad about making fun of myself for some bad decisions I’ve made? No. And I really do try to make it more about me than them, not in a selfish way, but so it doesn’t come across that I will write about every single person that I date. That is not the goal at all. The original intent was to focus on 2007-2013, my years in Chicago, and the incredibly stupid yet hilarious things that happened. When I moved to California, I was not expecting to date or meet anyone for a while, it just happened, and I see myself repeating a bad pattern with B3, which is how I ended up writing about him. It’s more for me to work things out through writing, rather than to be hurtful to them or overshare-y or anything like that, yet I sit here trying to justify a very personal decision as if anyone even cares. Does anyone even care? Am I thinking too much?

There is no right answer here because obviously some people are not going to like what I write, but I’m not going to stop doing it.

Something I actually had to say earlier

I was on the phone with one of my friends telling her about a very weird message that I got from John Doe over Words With Friends chat or whatever. Her first question of course was, “why are you even playing with him?” And my response of course was, “because I’m bored.”

However – back to the weird message. He had just beaten me, so I started a rematch game, which is normal. And I get, “are you a quitter in real life, too?”

First of all –

Second of all – per usual, I have no idea what he’s talking about, which was essentially what I wrote back, and Katie (rightfully) said to me, “Way to stand up for yourself.” And while, she’s right, what I then had to say, which sounded so ridiculous was, “I wasn’t going to tell him off over WWF chat!” Because really, the response to that would exceed many, many character limits.

I mean, I lost my job and moved my entire life half way across the country where I knew zero people. But yeah, sounds like a quitter to me. Jerkstore.

 

Debbie Downer returns

2014. It’s another new year. One of the reasons I HATE New Years as a holiday is because every Dec 31st I look back on the year and say, “Yep, failed at love again.” Now, don’t get me wrong – this is not me saying my life is necessarily incomplete, this is me saying that I consistently fail at the same thing over and over. I realize there is about  a month long gap that fails to elaborate on more of the B3 nonsense and it’s no longer relevant anyway because I can’t see him ever again. He sees me as a pair of boobs that he really likes instead of a person with feelings. This is no exaggeration. I essentially got a text that boiled down to: I’m here if you want to do x-rated things but I don’t want to hear about you being upset. Hey buddy, you can take those x-rated thoughts and shove it!

 

Yesterday, I told my therapist that I felt guilty for deleting B3 as a Facebook friend (BURN) and he said guilt is something you should only feel if you’ve done something wrong. I can’t sit there and go through his pictures and remember all the good stuff, and I am not going to let him get glimpses into my life since he obviously doesn’t care to be in it in any real way. And I know FB can be very superficial at times but at others it is handy for sharing life events, etc.

Not once, but TWICE in 2013 did I get the “you’re amazing but…” speech, which I fucking hate, because if I were really so amazing, there would be no BUT. I see your bullshit, and raise you an evil glare.

This needs to be the year that I don’t feel guilt: for standing up for myself or for demanding more, or better (i.e. being treated as a priority rather than an option or last resort); for letting go – of anger, of sadness, of things that don’t belong in my head, for keeping the past where it belongs, and for truly believing that this is B3’s loss and not mine. Good luck finding another chick who loves sports and hates shopping and is as refined as I am.

The break of dawn

I got up at 3:30 to catch my 6:30am flight out of the Ontario airport, which is like LA, but without the cluster fuck. I’m sitting at Carl’s Jr. drinking mediocre coffee and attempting to eat a breakfast sandwich that looks kind of suspicious. Elvis’s Blue Christmas is playing, which seems appropriate. Traveling alone kind of amplifies all these recent woes.

On Saturday night I called my mom, SOBBING about B3 and how much I was missing him. She said something to me that was kind of perfect. I said to her that I felt guilty for being so upset because it had only been two months and lots of people go through much more serious breakups/divorces so what was I really so upset about because in the grand scheme of things it shouldn’t be that big of a deal. She said,”yes but it’s YOUR grand scheme of things and that’s why it’s a dig deal.” I guess we really need to remember that apologizing for our feelings is pointless because they are ours and no one else’s.

This is something I hope we all can remember. Merry Christmas, everyone!

I’m a Britney Spears song

I’m still hanging out with Bachelor #3. We’re in quite the grey area right now and it’s too soon to ask him to define anything, lest I send him running for the hills. Yes, I am aware it’s my own fault. And while things are going well and we seem to have moved past the misunderstandings we’ve had, I still consider him a flight risk. But mostly, I like him. I like the way he laughs, and that we can talk about anything, and I love the way he teases me, and holds my hand, and remembers random things I tell him, and etc etc etc. I don’t like that he’s still trying to maintain some sort of distance and that I am stressing out about even texting him right now because he’s obviously not ready for something serious and I need to respect that and why is dating so FUCKING hard? I’m also just biding my time until he disappears. At which point, my only logical thought process will be

You know all the rules – don’t appear too eager, let him come to you, play hard to get, etc.

And if I follow them or I don’t, it never really matters.  They disappear anyway. In fact, I am curious as to why B3 hasn’t disappeared already. We made plans to hang out this past Sunday and watch football, so I asked him if he wanted to pick me up before the first games started. He said it would depend on how late he was out on Saturday. I spent a good portion of the early hours of Sunday morning convinced he was blowing me off, and it was over, when it reality, he only ended up picking me up 30 minutes later than I had originally suggested.

We ended up having a lot of fun, but now I’m not sure what our next plan is.

What I WANT to do is ask him to go to Catalina for the day or something, because as much as I love watching sports with him, we need to do something else, but I’ll probably come off looking like this:

So, there’s the part of me that thinks he likes me and he’s just not ready, and the other side of me that thinks he’s Gamey McPlayerson. Except … I don’t know – take Mr. Titspervert for example. He told me he didn’t want anything serious and dropped off the face of the planet. B3 told me he didn’t want anything serious but is sticking around for whatever reason. Between Mr. TP and John Doe, my basis for comparison is so fucked up I don’t know my head from my ass:

This is all very confusing. I’ll see myself out.

Guest Post: An Open Letter to Women (By a man)

Love is a funny thing.”

You hear that a lot. Only, it’s not true. Love is a lot of things – fickle, moody, glorious, depressing, uncontrollable – but the one thing it isn’t is funny. Don’t believe me? Tell someone emotionally close to you that you love them and then follow it up with, “Ah, I’m just fucking with ya!” as you start cackling. You’ll see firsthand how funny love is.

I’ve been married for three years (we dated for an additional five years before that), but I was lonely in high school and was technically a virgin until my sophomore year of college, so I never took that word love, or its emotion, lightly. Several times, I had the opportunity to sleep with a woman if I told her I loved her, but I never did it. I probably should have, but there’s a basic reason for this: I’m a pretty decent dude.

I was the proverbial nice guy throughout my teenage years, being voted “Friendliest” in both 8th and 12th grade. I didn’t really know what misogyny was, but my best friend was a female and I just felt like she should be treated the same as myself. Maybe it’s because I felt the same sort of impending rejection that many women encounter throughout their lives. Maybe I understood that on some level.

My general self-esteem was high – I knew I was intelligent and sorta funny, able to hold a conversation with virtually anyone – but my opinion of my looks and my appeal to the opposite sex was abysmal. I was sure the freckles that populate my arms would prevent me from ever getting a girl. I thought that she’d see me on the basketball court in my jersey and notice the millions of brown dots that cover my limbs and would immediately become nauseous. Even when a girl liked me, I wasn’t convinced that she was in her right mind.

This mindset and those experiences did not make for a sex-filled high school career, but it did help me in my later relationships and, ultimately, my marriage. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I have helped several couples get together (only a few of which failed) and I think I have pretty good insight into how a guy approaches dating, sex, and relationships, whether he’s a nice guy or not.

As such, I’m here to help, ladies. I’m going to pull back the curtain and speak honestly about how men approach the opposite sex and how you should modify your behavior accordingly. Obviously, there will be generalizations and oversimplifications, but, by and large, I know what I’m talking about. If you want to know the truth about how men feel, don’t read books or watch Oprah. Listen to stand-up comedians. I’m dead serious. Chris Rock (“We don’t need to hear everything right away!”), Louis C.K. (“I’m sick of the constant perverted sexual thoughts”), Bill Burr (“Women are relentless”), the late Patrice O’Neal (“Cheating is for you!”), and many others say the things that most men feel but wouldn’t dare say. These things are presented as comedy, but a lot of truth is said in jest.

Here are five things that, if you keep them in mind, will help you as you make your way in life. I’m not saying these are guaranteed to make your relationship work, but rather that these are things that are true but, because of our uptight culture, are rarely discussed openly and honestly.

NUMBER ONE

We’re almost always thinking about sex. It’s cliché and has been proclaimed for eons, but it’s no less true. I still meet women that don’t (want to?) believe it. Well, believe it. Now, you must understand that we think about it differently than you do. It’s almost impossible to put into words, but these thoughts are not at the forefront the same way thoughts are when we’re concentrating on something, but rather just kinda floating in the background, like having the TV on while you do something else. It’s like chewing or breathing. We do it without even think about doing it. Men don’t really realize it, but it’s there and it often controls our actions. That’s why guys do dumb, easy-to-avoid things that infuriate their women. It’s not on purpose. Your ex-boyfriend didn’t consciously say to himself, “I’m going to stare at that high school girl’s cleavage without blinking until she passes us and then I’m going to glance back to see the second half of the show. I don’t care what my girl thinks. I really want to get yelled at in public today!” He just can’t help himself.

I once told someone that every time I walk past a woman, my brain immediately sizes up what it would be like to sleep with that person. It’s an instant, millisecond occurrence that we all have, but it’s how we spend the next few seconds following it that determine whether we’re cute and flirty or a filthy creep. If I’m walking down the street and there are various people walking in the opposite direction, here is how my brain works upon a glance at each woman that lasts under a second: yes, YES, eh probably, yes, YES, probably not (unless I’m drunk), nooooooo, yes, why not, yes.

We’re going to tangent into my own specific experiences, but it will still be helpful. Even though a guy can’t help himself doesn’t mean it can’t be contained, however. The smarter guys do one of three things: they either fight the urge to look (and oftentimes fail spectacularly), they look, but do so discreetly (after all, isn’t that all you’re really asking for?), or they establish ground rules early and tell their significant other that they’re going to look. Personally, I do this third thing, although I’m more discreet than most dudes.

At this point, you’re probably thinking to yourself, “Not if you were with me, you wouldn’t!” I would, actually. For two reasons. First, I’m going to do it and I’m not going to take you yelling at me for it. If I were dating a woman and she made a scene like that, I’d leave. I have more self-respect and self-esteem than to be belittled like that. In a reverse scenario, you should too. Secondly, I’m not only being honest about it and warning you beforehand, but I’m also fair and equal, because I don’t care if she looks at a guy that she finds attractive. I’m a bit notorious around those that know me for flirting with waitresses (it’s come in handy multiple times), but if we have a male waiter, I expect the woman with whom I’m dining to do the same. She probably won’t act the same exact way I do, but when the waiter takes our drink orders and disappears, she may lean in and say, “That dude’s pretty good-looking.

I don’t have the time, energy, or desire to be mad about this. There are far too many big, important issues – both in my life and in the world at large – to be concerned with something so trivial. She’s not going to go bang the waiter in the kitchen between the appetizer and the entrée. If she does, well then she probably wasn’t the one for me, was she? She probably won’t be the one for the waiter, either. No one wants to go on their honeymoon and, when asked about how they met, talk about how they get it on next to a bag of frozen pizza skins. The same is true of men. If someone is going to cheat, they’re going to cheat no matter what precautions you put in place. In fact, those precautions may actually expedite the process. It’s the proverbial touching of the hot stove, only in this case, the hot stove is a hot, well, crotch. I know men that have cheated and I know women that have cheated. I know of relationships that have ended because of it and I know of marriages that are still seemingly working in spite of it.

Sex rules our lives. It’s like a chronic illness. We’ve managed to learn how to live with it, but we’ll never be cured. So don’t chastise us when we show symptoms. It’s just a byproduct of our disease.

NUMBER TWO

Your actions often conflict with your words. This is why so many men say women are crazy. Females are obviously more emotional creatures, so they sometimes act and react differently than they believe they would or should in a situation. You must remember, however, that this can be confusing. When you tell a guy on a first date that you’re independent and enjoy your alone time, but then insist on going everywhere together and being attached at the hip at a party where you both know everyone, we think you were either (a) lying or (b) completely self-unaware. Either way, it’s not good. I find that too many women try to say the things that they think a man wants to hear, but then acts the way they normally act, thus creating a disconnect. If you meet someone and you say, “I get attached fairly easily,” it may be a red flag to a dude that doesn’t want a relationship, but guess what? Your clinginess will become evident fairly quickly and we often feel like we’ve been tricked or deceived if you told us that you wouldn’t fall for us and then turn around and begin picking out names for our children after a few weeks. I’m using hyperbole, but the point is still the same. Be honest: have you ever said, “Tell me the truth,” and then hoped he didn’t? How is that not deceptive? It’s not that you don’t want to believe our words, it’s that you don’t want to believe our feelings. If you can align your logic and emotion, you’ll find that things will be far easier.

NUMBER THREE

Stop trying to change us. Improve us, but don’t change us. I know you have the best intentions and it’s often beneficial. By and large, men benefit from the care of a woman. We dress, look, and smell better. But while some of us may actually improve ourselves, most guys just do these things to get you to stop bitching at him. So he acts the way you want him to act and not the way he really is. It’s this attitude that forces some men to be two different people depending on his company. He’s not the same with you and a bunch of couples at a dinner party as he is when he’s with his friends. I’m not talking degrees, either. Of course, a person should act differently at a nice restaurant than at a bachelor party, but do you really want someone that feels like he has to act a certain way around you? I never understood women that dated guys that had “potential.” Like he’s a fixer-upper. Why not be attracted to the person he is rather than the idea of who you think you can make him? Fitting another human into your warped fantasy of how a relationship – and life – should be is wrong. And if you succeed in your quest, what do you have? A mindless automaton. Congratulations! It’s true love!

If your man’s friends don’t want to hang out in a group of mixed company and only want him to tailgate with them or play cards, it’s because he’s far more fun to them when you’re not there. When you chastise him for doing something or not doing something repeatedly and he finally learns and stops (or starts), he’s not making the adjustment everywhere, just in front of you. My wife hates it when I absentmindedly play with my crotch while reading or doing something else. It’s just something I do and I admit that it’s unbecoming. But I still do it. She’s asked (not scolded) me to stop and, for the most part, I have. When she’s home. In the rare instances when I have the house or room to myself, I’m giving my privates a deep tissue massage while reading. Just thought you should know that whatever gross thing your man used to do isn’t gone, it’s just dormant while you’re around. Many (but not all) women treat men the same way dads treat their garages: if I could just get some time to work on it, I can straighten it out and make what I envisioned when I first saw it. We’re not your DIY project. If you don’t think it’s that bad, answer me this: do you want someone actively changing you in the hopes that you’ll become the woman that he always envisioned? If you say yes, you’re a liar (and you should reread number two).

Marriage is a great example. For the most part, women are far more eager to be married than men, but there are guys that believe in marriage and don’t need to be dragged to the altar. As for the rest of them? I don’t understand why a woman will nag a guy into proposing, then pretend to be shocked when he finally does it, even though you’ve been dictating the terms for a long time. And your hints aren’t subtle. Yes, men can be dense at times, but there’s no guy that isn’t aware that a woman in a long-term relationship after college is thinking about marriage. No dude has ever said, “Well, we’ve been dating for four years, but she’s never said she wants to get married, so I guess I won’t buy this diamond ring.” Look, I know you want to get married. But I really want to have sex with a supermodel. Begging/Insisting/Hinting/Demanding it will only make both of our desires feel like a chore.

P.S. The #300Sandwiches woman should not be envied or copied. She should be pitied. That guy may marry her, but he won’t respect her. That’s not an equal partnership, that’s a dominant-subordinate relationship. That woman is the literal representation of the old phrase, “If he told you to jump off a bridge, would you do it?” She’d probably respond, “Yes, as long as he proposes on the way down.” How is their marriage going to work? Either she keeps making sandwiches and becomes his amateur chef, or she stops making sandwiches and he resents her because once she got the ring, everything changed. Sounds like the recipe for the perfect union, doesn’t it?

NUMBER FOUR

The grass is not always greener. In some cases, it may actually be browner. Many women grew up with dreams of their ideal wedding and spacious home with their soul mate. A large majority of them also envisioned this happening by the age of, oh, 25. When you’re 14, three years after college seems like an eternity. I’m going to graduate college, get a great job where I can wear power business suits, meet a handsome lawyer/doctor/firefighter, have my dream wedding at 25 and four kids by the time I’m 31. Perfect plan. Things change, however. As we strode towards the stage to receive our diploma that we obtained through crippling debt, most of us were unsure of what the hell we were going to do next month, let alone for the rest of our lives. Our generation is one of transition and women are feeling it more than men. The baby boomers that came before us coddled the boys while empowering the girls. The outcome, predictably, is that women are on the rise. While men in their mid-to-late 20s sit in their basements playing Grand Theft Auto 5000 and downloading videos of Lisa Ann dressed up like a librarian, women are getting post-graduate degrees and higher-paying jobs. This is admirable. As someone that is drawn to strong women and prefers working for female bosses, I’m all for this and hope it continues until wages and opportunities are equal.

However, biology has no time for equal rights. College, grad school, careers, and time to save money all go against the natural order of things. While in the hospital waiting on our daughter to be born, a nurse told my wife and I that the 16 year-old that came in after us would undoubtedly finish her delivery long before my wife and would bounce back in a few days. “Our bodies are meant to have babies young,” she said. How does a woman reconcile this with three decades of being told that you need to break through the glass ceiling and become the Rosie the Riveter of the new millennium?

I know housewives that wish they had enjoyed their young, single years more and I know career-oriented women that have their dream job but would easily trade it in for a husband that goes to work so that they can be a full-time mother. We all want what we can’t have, but I feel like women have been conditioned to want two separate, often disparate, realms, which, despite Sheryl Sandberg claims to the contrary, is almost impossible to achieve. You’re meant to have a baby in your mid-to-late teens, but you won’t get that master’s degree for another decade. Something has to give.

I have several female friends that are single. As we march toward our mid-30s, I’ve noticed that these women are beginning to feel desperate and lonely, a dangerous combination. Some have this fairy tale notion of how life with a husband and children will be, where there will be picnics every Saturday and family dinners with both sides every Sunday. Some want to have a family because that’s what their mothers and grandmothers – who came of age in eras that are unrecognizable to our current one – want. Still others think they want a husband, but they actually want a wedding, not a marriage. While I understand this thinking – weddings are awesome, you get to plan the entire day just the way you want, and you’re the center of attention unlike any other day of your life except your funeral (and you don’t get to enjoy that one) – a wedding takes a year or two of planning, lasts a day, and vanishes in a flash, leaving you with a marriage. And even the best marriages take work. Some couples may make it look easy, but it’s not.

So what’s wrong with these women that actively ignore the realities of the world?

Nothing. There’s nothing wrong with them.

But women must understand that there are trade-offs. To be an amazing, kick ass mother, your job will suffer. To have that great, fulfilling career, you may not have as many children as you first envisioned. The guy you like may want someone else and, of course, you don’t like the one guy that likes you, try as you might.

The grass isn’t always greener. The single girl living alone downtown watching Bridezillas thinks being in the suburbs is the perfect life, while the woman who feels trapped in her own house, wrangling toddlers all day while her husband gets to leave the chaos every morning wishes she had lived in a city for at least a little while. The girl on her third glass of wine at an outdoor café sees a stroller go by and wishes she had a baby while the mother pushing the stroller wishes she could sit and do some day drinking rather than being responsible.

You need to understand that every choice has consequences and that, try as you might, you can’t do it all. And that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with deciding what you want and choosing that path. But don’t waver. Make a decision and live with it. Or, complain about it constantly to your boyfriend every night. Either way.

NUMBER FIVE

Finally, embrace our differences. This piggybacks off number three in allowing your man to be himself, but it’s a bit different. Instead of asking him why he doesn’t love The Notebook, P!nk, romantic comedies, or Twilight as much as you do, just enjoy the fact that he’s willing to sit through those things for you, just as you’ll do something you find utterly ridiculous to make him happy. Yes, that’s called compromise, but it’s also realizing your likes and tastes are sometimes wildly dissimilar and that’s fine. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t ask you why you don’t love video games or medium-cooked red meat, so don’t tell him to like Broadway musicals. I know it seems like it would be so fantastic if you shared the same interests – we could go everywhere together and then talk about it for hours after! – but that’s what you have friends (especially gay male friends) for. Our differences are what make our late night talks over the phone or involved conversations at a coffee shop interesting. He may not like all of the things you like, but if he likes you, he’ll find it adorable how animated and excited you get talking about Katniss or your favorite scene between Chandler and Joey. Our differences are what keep us interested. A relationship, and eventually a marriage, is the union of two separate things into one. If those two separate things are exactly the same, all you have is a duplicate. Our differences are what balance us out. One of us is the fun one while the other thinks about the ramifications. One of us tries to save money and plan for the future while the other one believes that life should be enjoyed in the moment and tomorrow will take care of itself. One of is worried about the food when hosting a party while the other is worried about the drinks. A perfect duo is a combination of different, sometimes opposite, things that come together to fit perfectly into a new, bigger thing, like two pieces of a puzzle.

You’re a unique puzzle piece. Instead of trying to force it with a completely incompatible piece, be patient and let the things happen. What would you rather have: an unfinished puzzle with intact pieces that still need to be sorted out in order to display something beautiful that you know will ultimately come together or a so-called finished monstrosity that is one large collection that fits together only after some parts were ripped off and others taped together and no longer resembles anything at all?

Since good relationships are not one-way streets, I’ll leave you with one final quote, this one coming from Bill Maher: “Women can no longer complain about men until they start showing better taste in them.” You’re more than a sandwich maker or a sexual object or even a bride. You’re a woman. Be honest with yourself, mean what you say, accept your man for the man he is, and appreciate what you have.

And most of all, don’t lose your shit if he checks out another woman. After all, he’s going home with you, isn’t he?

Good luck!

Christopher Pierznik is the author of the brand new book The Hip-Hop 10 More, as well as The Hip-Hop 10, No Talking at the Urinal, and Sacrifice Fly, a novel. He works in finance and listens to hip-hop all day long in the office. A former managing editor and feature contributor to IHateJJRedick.com, his blog posts have appeared on a variety of websites, including XXLmag.com.  A graduate of La Salle University and Temple University’s Fox School of Business, he lives with his wife and child in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His dream is to one day be a member of the Wu-Tang Clan.

Today’s edition of “Hey! Why didn’t I think of that?”

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

This is my last week in Chicago. While I am very excited for my new job and adventure in Orange County, I am also sad to be leaving all of the friends I have made here over the past 6+ years. One of those friends is Mr. Titspervert, who took me to lunch today since he won’t be able to attend my going away party. He asked if I had any good dating stories of late, and I am sorry to say, the well is dry.

It’s kind of hard to date when you’re jobless, and depressed about being jobless, and don’t feel like you have much to offer because you’ve also gained weight, so I had to go back to the end of Dec/beginning of January when I was dating…let’s call him Johnny Utah.

Utah lured me to his apartment under the false pretenses of cooking me dinner, but when I got there, there was no dinner, no dinner prep, no nothing, in fact, except for lit candles intermittently lying around his apartment. When I presented him with a bottle of wine, his response was, “why did you bring that?” (I DON’T KNOW, MAYBE TO GO WITH THE DINNER YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO COOK ME, MORON). Anyway – my gut was telling me to run, and run fast. But running is what I do best, and I had promised my therapist I would try not to be so quick to judge or find flaws and really put some effort into this one. And so I stayed.

When I relayed all this to Mr. TP, he offered a suggestion that no one else had. Even though he’s married now, he was a carefree bachelor once and can still think like one – and he said to me, “do you think he was dating more than one person and got his nights mixed up?” I don’t know why I didn’t think of that sooner! Of course! He probably invited someone else over for “dinner” and forget he offered to actually COOK for me and then got confused and I ended up trying to drink a glass of wine while getting felt up and watching an NFL playoff game. It makes perfect sense!

Ten Things you should stop saying to your single friends

Single

This morning, I read a brilliant Huffington Post blog, 5 Things Parents Need to Stop Saying to Non-Parentsand it inspired me to write a post about what married/engaged/etc people need to stop saying to their single friends IMMEDIATELY IF NOT SOONER.

1. It happens when you least expect it/once you stop looking is when you will find him/her: I haven’t been expecting OR looking for quite some time now, because I actually don’t care anymore, but when I DID expect it and want it, that was always so annoying to hear. If people only find someone when they aren’t looking or expecting, how do you explain the proliferation of ematchharmonyplentyoffishdatefinder.com sites? And just because YOU tripped over yourself, spilled your coffee on a hot dude, offered to pay for his dry cleaning and have now been blissfully married for ten years, does not mean it is going to happen to me.

2. You’re not trying hard enough: But last week you told me to stop trying and just leave it up to fate! And you know what? All fate did was bring me a dude who told me I wasn’t allowed to wear heels anymore so I wouldn’t be taller than him. Am I supposed to try to meet someone, or am I supposed to not try, and live my life? And when neither works, what is your next piece of advice? What actually constitutes “trying?”

3. There’s someone out there for everyone: Maybe, maybe not. I might never find a guy who will be able to tolerate my unhealthy hatred of Ohio State/Terry Porter/UNC/Duke, or who is okay with me owning all seven seasons of the Golden Girls. Also, I hate to cook (“takeout for the third week in a row okay, honey?”). Hey, this is giving me an idea – let’s change our dating profiles (that you don’t think we should have) to all negative things, and then if someone still wants to meet us, we’re on the right track.

4. I miss being single, you’re so lucky: THEN WHY ARE YOU GIVING ME ALL OF THIS ADVICE??? The grass is always greener on the other side, right? I might *THINK* I want to be in a serious relationship, but the minute I can’t drink wine in my pajamas while watching the Golden Girls without getting weird looks, we’re going to have an issue. And you might be annoyed that you have to ask your spouse if you have plans for a certain day or if it is okay to go do XYZ with your friends, but I’m sure you’d rather do that than drink wine and watch TV in your pajamas. Alone.

5. One day you’ll understand: What will I understand? That life is better when you have someone to share it with? I already understand that, and just because I’m single doesn’t mean I’m missing some sort of brain cell that contains said understanding. I see Facebook pictures all the time of couples on trips in beautiful tropical places and I want to be there too, and because I’m not, maybe I understand more than you think.

6. You’re being too picky: I think that I’m allowed to be if we’re talking about spending the rest of my life with someone and vice-versa. Yes, there are things I can adjust, for example my bogus height requirement of 6’2”, when 5’10” is also fine. But I am not going to budge on certain things such as being able to write complete sentences, someone as uninterested in religion as I am, loves to travel, etc. They call them deal breakers for a reason.

7. You’re not going to meet someone worth marrying at a bar: This only annoys me because 1) I know people who have married someone they met at a bar, and 2) even if a bar is not the place you are going to meet your spouse, there is no reason you can’t go to one with your friends to just have fun. It’s called yours 20’s, and it’s fine.

8. Can’t one of your friends fix you up? If they’ve tried and failed they won’t do it again and you’re all, “pssh, they don’t know me AT ALL”, and if they haven’t, that question is going to make me be all, “hey, wait, do my friends think I am a leper or something and that is why they’ve never tried to fix me up?” So the answer is no, no they cannot.

9. Stop dating guys who can’t commit/treat you like shit, etc: Oh right, I forgot, because you never dated a jerk or someone who was wrong for you in your entire life.

10. Find a hobby and you’ll meet someone: Volunteer! Train for a marathon! Take a cooking class! As long as you join some group somewhere regardless of your level of interest, you’ll meet someone and then it’ll be fine, because that is the ONLY reason to find a hobby, and it’s not like I don’t already have enough going on, but that’s cool.

When life gets in the way

388772_4418774183116_1868499227_n

A week before I turned 32 (end of May), I realized I had been out of college for ten years to the day. It was a realization that wouldn’t have bothered me, had I been anywhere near where I thought I would at this point in my life. What’s that saying, “life is what happens when you’re making other plans?”

When I was 22, my plan was to work for a hot-shot ad agency and rise to the ranks of creative director, where my brilliant ideas would one day be seen during a break in the Super Bowl (just like Jennifer Aniston in Picture Perfect, obvs), or I was going to be the Director of PR for an NFL team, One of the two. And then I’d get married and have kids at some point, SURELY BEFORE I TURNED 30. Instead, here is what happened:

2003: Move back home to NH, work three different jobs, one being for $8/hr as a receptionist for a radio station in my home town. Worst nightmare realized in record speed.

2004: Land media relations internship at Villanova. Work 32/8/465, but learn a ton and enjoy myself. Learn to love college basketball. Decide college sports is the way to go.

2005: End up in San Diego. Work two jobs instead of three. Am dead-ass broke. Too poor to do anything fun or live anywhere cool, and so, I just work and go to the TGIFriday’s in Carlsbad with my best gay friend.

2006: San Diego, continued. Turn 25. Have no idea what I want to do or where I want to be. Maybe Chicago, though. It’s a cool city.

2007: Get new job with same company I’ve worked at since 2005 in an advertising position AND they move me to Chicago. Things are starting to look up. And then I move to Chicago and meet John Doe. Initially, I think that he will be my husband. Instead, he becomes the opposite, whatever that means.

2008: Chicago rocks! But I hate my new job! But good news, they lay me off right before Thanksgiving!!

2009: Turn 28. Am not making nearly as much money as I expected at this point.  But, I have a good job and good friends.

2010: Land what I assume is my dream job in October. Who cares if I’m single, I’m a career woman and that’s all that matters.

2011: The big 3-0. Go to Vegas to celebrate. LOVE IT. Love my friends. Sure, my dating life is one disaster after another, but I have the greatest friends, so who cares?

2012: Status quo.

2013: At the end of April I lost my job. And it has been a rough road. And now fear is starting to take over. Not that I won’t find a job, but that I will find my next opportunity outside of Chicago. Moving is not what scares me. Not finding what I have here is. My friends here have shown me the true meaning of “for better or worse.” They’ve seen me at my worst and are still friends with me. They have held my hand when I needed it most or taken me out when I needed to forget. Whether it was job woes or boy woes or life woes in general, they have been there and finding even one person like that is amazing, but for me to have many more of them is something I cannot take for granted.

I may not be where I thought I would be at 32, but when you have the right people in your life, it doesn’t really matter.