Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Dog days

I've been going on lots of dates. Yesterday, I managed to squeeze in two in the same day -- in two different states, no less.

The second date was with a dog, Petunia. There was also a man with the dog: Leif Ericson. Petunia and Leif were both great dates. Leif was tall, handsome, gentle, and very smart. Petunia was sweet, interactive, interested in me, and not afraid to get cuddly on a first date. (To clarify, Leif doesn't actually own Petunia. He was taking care of her for a friend who is away.)

The date started out on the Esplanade, a gorgeous park I spend far too little time visiting. I had told Leif that it would have to be a short date, so after an hour or so there, he asked if I could get a drink or if I had to head home. Suddenly, my schedule seemed much more open than I had previously thought, and I told him I was in no rush whatsoever to get home.

So, the three of us moseyed over to the Liberty Hotel for a beer. (Watching the sunset on the Esplanade + beers at the Liberty Hotel = fantastic date, if anyone is looking for ideas.) After we had been there for a while, Leif got up to go to the restroom. Suddenly, some Italian tourists noticed Petunia. "Ciao!" they shrieked, running over, and proceeded to basically French kiss the overwhelmed pup. (As a non-dog person, this behavior is totally alien to me, but I know most dog lovers indulge in it all the time.) "Dammi un bacio sulla bocca, amore mio!" they chorused, "Give me a kiss on the mouth, my love!" Wow, Italians sure don't hold back. When I asked them where they were from, they pretended briefly to be interested in the fact that I speak Italian, but it was clear I was merely a distraction from their true interest.

After a few minutes of this, Petunia became so overwhelmed that she jumped up onto my chair and curled into a semicircle around my body, trying futilely to hide behind my back. When my date returned he found us like that, me with my arms around her to try to comfort her, the Italians still hanging around hoping to get her to come out and give them more French kisses and expressing their undying love for her.

All of this left me feeling a little hollow. I've been feeling awfully popular, what with all the dates, but clearly my popularity pales in comparison to Petunia's. Maybe I need to rent a dog for dates to increase my popularity.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Closure, or lack thereof

Closure has been a frequent topic lately (see here, here and here) on the Love Letters blog. There are, it seems, an endless supply of letter-writers going through confusing breakups -- usually after a short, whirlwind romance -- and trying to understand why he bailed (usually it seems to be a man). Meredith gives the same advice again and again: Closure doesn't exist. Just move on. At one point, she instructed a letter-writer to imagine her ex saying this to her:

"I'm sorry. I don't know why I bailed but I did. I was all excited about our relationship and then things got … normal. And scary. And I couldn't say for sure that I wanted to stick around and get closer to you. I know that's lame, but that's where I am. At the end of the day, losing you was less scary than keeping you around. That sounds awful, but it's the truth. And that stuff I said about trust? It was just something to say. I trust you. I just can't sustain what I started."

Good advice, as always. 

Like Meredith, I know that closure doesn't exist. Or, at least, it's not something you can get from the other person -- you have to find it within yourself. But also like Meredith, I'm not always good at following my own advice. (She admitted this when I went to hear her read from her newly-released first fiction book, which I'm now reading.) It's one thing to know it in theory, but quite a different thing to resist the urge to seek an explanation when you've been through a difficult, confusing breakup. 

My own strategy, adopted from my friend Snood in Seattle, is somewhat more succinct. I just tell myself -- and others, if they ask -- "He died." She came up with it last winter when friends asked me about someone who had just broken things off, and I thought it was the perfect response. His death was sad, and sudden, and tragic. But it's over. He's gone. Now it's time to mourn his loss and move on. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Kiddie tales

I told my 6th graders today that Maurice Sendak died.

"Who's that?" they asked.

When I told them, one of them shrieked. "I love that man! He made me childhood dreams come true."

I love how she used that clich├ęd phrase in a different, insightful way. It's been too long since I was a kid for me to remember well, but I think I felt the same way.


On a recent afternoon in my knitting club, the following conversation occurred:

2nd grade girl #1: Do you have kids?

Me: No.

2nd grade girl #1: Do you have a husband?

Me: No.

2nd grade girl #1: That's sad.

Me: Errrr.....

2nd grade girl #2: No, it's not! It's not sad at all. She gets to spend time with kids all the time. Every day! If she didn't it would be sad.

Phew! For a second there I thought my life was depressing.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Questionable and more questionable

I have a second date coming up with my educational policy-loving, ageist Man-sprout. I have to admit I'm excited, despite some questionable behaviors he's exhibited.

Partly I'm excited because he's easy on the eyes, but mostly I'm excited because the date is awesome: We're going to a beach party at the Museum of Fine Arts. The concept reminds me of Paris Plages, the fake beach set up every year on the banks of the Seine so that Parisians can have beach vacations without stepping foot outside the 5th arrondissement. The event invitation has instructions to "wear our beachy best."

Not being totally sure what that means, given that it's going to be an early May New England day in the low 60s, I asked my Man-sprout about attire. He replied that he will dress as Brian Wilson and I should dress as a blonde Katy Perry. I replied, "Good idea. Now I have three days to figure out what Katy Perry would wear to a beach party at the MFA."

In response, he sent me this:

WHOA. I think I've watched it ten times, and I still feel overwhelmed by it. I mean, is is a music video, or is it porn?! She's naked and has whipped cream spewing out of her breasts!

So, is my Man-sprout saying I should wear a purple wig and a pink cloud to the MFA?!

I do love Snoop Dogg's cupcake-adorned suit, though.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

True love at the mall

I fell in love last month. Here is the object of my affection:

Beautiful, right? The minute I put it on I knew we were meant for each other. We belong together like shoes and socks. Like bourbon and bitters.

Unfortunately, the price tag was $80, which while quite reasonable for a silk dress is nearly two weeks of what I am allowed to spend recreationally according to my 50/50/50 Herman Caine-inspired austerity budget.

Reluctantly, I moved on, keeping only the photo to remember it by. Then last week, I was taking a bath when my phone started ringing. It rang and rang. I thought a big emergency was happening. It turned out that I was right: Slinky was calling to say that the dress was on sale for 50% off.

Soooo... now I am deciding whether or not to go ahead and spend all of my recreational budget for the week on the dress, or not. Technically, it's a pretty foolhardy purchase. My closet is CHOCK FULL of fancy dresses that I very rarely have the occasion to wear, including four lovely bridesmaid dresses, not to mention all the gorgeous hand-me-down dresses that my friend D has given me over the years.

But. Have I mentioned how much I love this dress? And my school is having a big party this weekend. A famous comedian might be there. (Think Jay Leno, but way cooler.) And who knows, maybe there'll be some cute divorced dads there for me to flirt with. So I should totally get it, right??

After all, men come and go, but dresses stay with you forever.