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August 30, 2011

Stuff I have learned about dating in Los Angeles while still being a normal-sized human and not a skinny beanpole with a rack.

Thought we should just get right to it with the title. Today I will present to you my scientific findings thus far on the complicated and fascinating wildlife study known as, "Dating men in Los Angeles using an online pair-bonding technology." I hope that what I have learned from my collection and analysis of data will help you if you decide to embark upon your own independent research study.

I am also drinking wine as I type this*. I have learned that scientists like to drink wine and develop studies about the heart-health benefits of the lowly grape. The scientific method is rigorous.

(* at 10 p.m., not 10 a.m. when it is published. The fact that I need to point that out to some people is what makes me drink to begin with.)

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Scientific-Sounding Findings On Preliminary Mating Interaction Commonly Referred To As "Dating"

1) Observe, analyze, decide if you are ready to date
I wasn't ready for a long time and then I was. Signs you may be ready include: You want to make out with someone. You have time to actually go on dates. You feel pretty good about your life. You think dating will be fun and not a soul-sucking foray into sadomasochism. You're willing to sit through some awkward coffee dates and have a laugh. You're prepared to actually leave your house.

2) Approach dating like an amusing art project, not a Quest For Total Spiritual And Life Salvation
Seriously, people. Dating does not have to be a dire, earnest, all-encompassing life-altering MEET THE ONE experience every single time. Lighten up! Have some fun. My goal in dating was to have a good time and go to the movies with some interesting people and have happy conversation and a good meal and perhaps a story to tell. I have completely rocked all my goals. Even my date with Bachelor Number 2, the one who proposed 30 minutes into the date and was maybe a serial killer, was fun in its own And I lived to tell about it! kind of way. Don't put so much pressure on all of this. There are 6.78 billion people on planet earth. At least four of them will take you to the movies and laugh at your jokes.

3) Have a cute date outfit, get your hair done, explore mascaras.
Or do whatever it is that makes you feel good and confident. It's different for every woman. I feel good when I'm wearing something I think looks pretty, when my hair isn't scary root city, when my nails are painted, when I've been exercising, when I have a bikini wax so thorough that it exposes my pancreas. Whatever it is that makes you feel confident and happy, then just do that thing. The point isn't to honeytrap a man, it isn't even about the man. If you need therapy, get therapy. If you need to get healthy, go do that. If your roots have roots and you feel ugly, go get a touch up. The point is to be a decent and centered human being on your own so you'll have a good time in the world. And when you are confident you'll be able to tell the serial killers from the nice guys a lot easier. TRUST ME.

4) If that heifer yelling at her kids on the Maury show can have a great man, so can you.
That was not a nice thing to say, but tell me you haven't thought it once in your life. Maybe while watching Hoarders you said to yourself, "Self! I am not hoarding goats and growing toxic mold in my bathtub! So why does she have a man and my last date was in 1997?" And if you think it is because you are fat and not pretty, THINK AGAIN. The Number One Most Important Worry I had before getting into dating again was the simple, obvious fact that I am not tall and freakishly skinny, strutting around Victoria's Secret-style in matching bra and panty sets all day like a Skinimax movie. Would any man in this superficial, ridiculous city look through a catalog online dating site and pick me out of the (surely) all tall and skinny women available for his earthly pleasures? The short answer is yes. There are plenty of nice, interesting, cute and funny men out there who do not expect to date only supermodels. In fact they never dated a supermodel. They never will. They know this. They are just like you, wondering how that doofus, ugly guy on that one sitcom had such a hot wife.

5) Specific Scientific Methods for online dating, with special circumstances for your fear of not being skinny

How did this go from sounding fake-scientific to fake-judicial? SO. My best friend Jennifer gave me the most sound advice I ever got about dating in the technological age and I am now going to pass it on to you. I confided that I wanted to try online dating now that it seemed less creepy and horrible, but I was scared that my lack of skinniness would lead to rejection and me drinking wine alone under my bed while drunk-dialing college boyfriends. She waved all this fear away with a single, perfectly-manicured hand.

"Post LOTS of very accurate full-body pictures," Jen said. "The men who are interested will like what they see and those are the ones who will contact you."

And friends, she was SO RIGHT. Post plenty of clear, full-body pictures of you looking shiny and happy. Sure, use your cute face picture, and that one shot of you looking sexy at last year's Christmas party (read: 2003) but then post at least two but preferably four realistic, full-body pictures. Think about it. If someone sees your profile and he's not attracted then he won't email you. But the ones who do contact you have already seen you and already like what they see and want to see more. This way there's no awkward first-date guessing. Jen was so right about this and I love her for it. I have been on several dates and not one guy was at all disappointed that I wasn't tall or skin and bones. Because I look like my pictures. Now men need to start taking this advice, too, because if your profile picture is from 1992 I will probably figure that out at our awkward coffee date. (That has only happened to me once by the way.)

6) Addendum to research, site-specific

I used the service that starts with an "e" and rhymes with "Shmarmony." I like it because it's much harder for random people to browse profiles (in fact, it would be very hard for your boss or co-workers or whoever to stumble across your profile, first they have to take a mind-numbingly boring quiz that sucks up 85 minutes of their life) and there is no random search engine feature. At all. Secondly, since it's one of the more expensive sites it has almost no Craigslist-style, "Please let me pee on you/videotape you licking my feet" personal ads. You jump through a lot of hoops before you even email someone, and I kind of like that. I am not endorsing this site but I will tell you my personal experience has been totally positive. Well. There was BN2 who probably went home after our first meeting and went to his fridge to get a beer and had to move the human head out of the way first, but still he was a gentleman on our date and I lived to tell the funny story. I'm sure a lot of folks in the comments will have their own sites they like. You can try different things, too, you're not in a lifetime contract here. It's not like a cell phone. Thank God.

7) Observe all rules of safety, common sense, etc.
Meet in a public place. Tell a girlfriend or trusted advisor who is not a cat or dog where/when you'll be gone, that sort of thing. Honestly, people.

8) Mating behavior of humans not really changed after thousands of years.
I discovered about two minutes into my online dating experience that dudes prefer to contact the ladies online instead of ladies contacting men. Meaning: I have only been on real-life dates with guys who picked me from the lineup, not the other way around. In fact, in all cases where I initiated contact, the male did not reply or closed the match. This information will come as a surprise and perhaps annoyance to those of you who thought it would be like shopping from a catalog or Zappos.com but it appears that technology has not surpassed evolution. I have no further analysis here. Your experience may be different but I wanted to put it out there. Plus my test audience was small.

9) Social construct of 2011 first date similar to your actual first date from back in the dark ages.

For those of us in my age range (that means if you were a teenager in the 1980s and below) dating today is quite similar to dating in high school except the jocks got fat and the geeks became successful. In fact, dating now at age 40 is SO MUCH better than dating at any other time in my life. The men in my age range are interesting and diverse, they've had all kinds of life experience, they don't live with their mom. First dates will always be a little awkward, but now that we're all alleged grown-ups the rules are pretty simple: Don't talk obsessively about your ex, do ask about his life, do laugh, do be honest. Check in with yourself, ask yourself if you're being real, staying in the moment, learning about the person. OR are you just trying to be pleasing to get asked on a second date? Ladies. You know what I am saying here. Enjoy the date as a standalone event, don't put every single first date through a rigorous testing process for viable matehood. Just relax. After the date if you enjoyed yourself, send a very brief text saying, "Thanks for lunch/coffee! That was fun!" If he wants a second date this is the perfect time for him to text back and say so and if not you were polite and all is well in the world.

10) Life is short but it is wide.

Ok, I know I spout this Southernism quite often and it's a platitude to end all times. But life is short. Tomorrow anything could happen. Your life is the way you spend your day, your attitude about living. For a very long time I didn't want to meet anyone, I was just too closed-up. And I needed all that time alone, I needed to know me and pay my own bills and live my own life and make my own way. I wanted to be alone, I loved being alone. I wrote alone (I still do), I learned to make my ownself happy. I will never regret one second of that. For a long time I wasn't ready to be anything to anyone. Then one day I was ready to go out and be in the world again.

You don't have to live your life on anyone's timeline. These people who tell you what you "should" be doing, who try to shame you into a date, who push you to pair up, who say marriage is the end-all, be-all of the human world? They haven't had sex in twenty-eight months. Don't listen to them. Pairing up won't make you better if you're unhappy. Work on your life, your happiness, your insides. You are already in your one and only long-term relationship -- with yourself! Make that work before you start dating.

You do your own thing and then when you're ready come back and read all this. It will still be here. Life is short, people, but it is wide.

Posted by laurie at 10:18 AM

August 29, 2011

Monday List

1) Complaining is my cardio
My general complaint is that technology has not made my life easier. I don't even like technology. Everything is so interconnected and complicated and always needs updating. I avoid plugging my iPhone into my iMac because even though all I want to do is download a few pictures instead I have to upgrade and reinstall iTunes, then there is a new software update for your iPhone, do you want to download and install it? If you don't download and install it, this icon on your desktop will just jump up and down spastically until you have a seizure anyway, so forget getting that picture of your cat on your blog, lady, you're in for two hours of updates and restarts. And iPhoto is now part of iLife One Million More dollars, want to purchase that now? My God people. Someone invent a button for "quick cat picture transfer."

2) Yet I have no desire to fix my problems or yours.
I find people utterly fascinating. No matter what I complain about -- and sometimes it's just sheer fun to complain humorously about upscale human problems that aren't the least bit dire at all -- there will be someone somewhere who NEEDS to TELL me how to FIX the problem RIGHT NOW. Sometimes of course this is hugely helpful and does actually fix a problem, which is always an unexpected treat. But usually it's useless stuff that only makes the fixer feel smug and vastly more intelligent than me, things like, "Buy a new computer with more memory, upgrade to the new phone and update your shit every day." (By the way, I would totally take that advice if you gave me your credit card number for those purchases.) What is even more fascinating is that I never have the urge to help someone fix their problems. I just assume they are complaining for the sheer joy and exercise of it and will eventually solve their own problems like a normal human being. Perhaps this points to a shallowness in my character. Perhaps it means I just like funny complaining. Perhaps I am also the last person you would ever want trying to fix your technology stuff (see: "That time I stuck a butter knife in the DVD player.")

3) I yelled something really mean to someone in traffic this morning.
No, it was really, really mean. Like I almost felt the fiery flames of hell licking at my heels. I was on Sunset Blvd. and an ambulance was coming in the opposite direction so I moved from the far left lane over to the shoulder like you are supposed to do when an ambulance is coming. Contrary to what most people in Los Angeles think, you do not actually stop in the middle of the road and block traffic when you see shiny red lights. The woman behind me in the silver Mercedes decided to use this opportunity to get ahead sixteen whole awesome inches! And she nearly clipped me in her fervor to leapfrog over traffic. As I pulled to the right I saw with horror that the ambulance had to wait for her as she breezed the intersection. SERIOUSLY.

After the emergency vehicles passed, I began to merge back onto the roadway carefully, just like you are supposed to do according to the California Driver's Handbook. And what do you know, traffic on Sunset wasn't moving and I managed to pull up just beside the horrible Mercedes driver at the next light.

So I moseyed up next to her, waved out my Jeep window until she rolled down her fancypants Mercedes window that cost more than my entire vehicle, and I said some choice words that I won't repeat because I'm sensitive to the amount of hate mail I can generate in a single day. Then I took a picture of her on my cameraphone that I will never be able to download.

4) This morning I woke up still upset about Joe Guidice being a mean drunk.
Sure, I may stop people in traffic to tell them what I think about their driving and tell them emphatically how they need to reevaluate their priorities as a HUMAN BEING, but I would never say that to my purple-fur-wearing wife in front of our kids and all our friends, and especially not after I just chipped my tooth on the marble floor of the foyer while doing drunken gymnastics.

That paragraph alone should be the TV Guide's summer recap of The Real Housewives of New Jersey.

I may not ever be able to understand all the ingredientsces that make up Teresa Guidice, and I may deeply fear for the lives of all the Real Housewives castmates once Milania is tall enough to reach the big knives on the countertops, but now I have to add in the implosion and drunken cartwheels of Joe Guidice. It was too much for my delicate sensibilities so soon on the heels of the Hurricane Irene news coverage. During the hurricane, cable news channels showed repeated interviews with New Jersey coastal residents who refused to evacuate even when their scary Governor practically begged them to go to a Sheraton and drink mai tais for the night on the state's dime.

It's pure schadenfreude. As a Southerner who grew up horrified at the continuous, nonstop TV and movie portrayals of unwashed, backwoods rednecks can I just tell you what a relief it is to see someone else in this glorious nation being demonized so thoroughly and with such vigorous bedazzling? When I was a child I never understood why people across the country thought Southerners were all stupid, slow, overall-wearing pig farmers who never owned shoes or had more than three teeth. Didn't they know TV was fake? Mork did not live with Mindy, people!! Alan Alda was not actually in a war!! Southerners do actually have teeth and manners and an excellent vocabulary!!

But now I revel in the sweet certainty that a whole generation of young people from Mississippi to Louisiana to Middle Tennessee will grow up think New Jersey is full of loud, drunk, orange people wearing glitter and clown makeup and dressed in giant fur coats made entirely of skinned psychedelic care bears.

Man, it's good to be alive.


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Bob agrees.

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P.S. Thanks to reader Rachel for emailing me to let me know one of my goofy tweets made The Huffington Post! You can follow my drunken twitterings @crazyauntpurl.

Posted by laurie at 12:42 PM

August 23, 2011

Optimism

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Even the billboards are optimistic.

I had only been in California a few years when I learned about the trees dying at Mammoth mountain. I would comb through wire reports and clips in the newsroom, back then I was still working at the Daily News and had access to the file library. The trees near Horseshoe Lake were turning brown and dry and dying from excessive carbon dioxide seeping up from the volcano. I would copy the reports and stuff the clips in a folder that I kept in my desk. For later, I would think.

One report claimed that if the volcano erupted it would likely flow over the California Aqueduct and cut off the water supply to Los Angeles. I didn't worry about this or find it anxiety-producing, I was fascinated by the volcano, its possibilities. I had grown up with tornadoes and hurricanes and tidal surge, but a volcano was exotic and surreal. I became very interested in the intrusion of magma, I began memorizing facts about the Long Valley Caldera. I wondered what it would be like to abandon newspaper and go back to school, apply for a job at the USGS, monitor tree kill.

Later, when I was engaged to be married (and still working at the Daily News) I started getting into those inner-city-school teacher movies, like the one with Coolio and Michelle Pfieffer. And of course Stand & Deliver. I had a few friends from college doing Teach For America and one day I woke up convinced I could be a teacher and I had this idea I'd be in a classroom really educating and helping and like, I would be inspiring. I would make a difference. Later I thought maybe I should get headshots and try my hand at commercials.

There's something about this city that makes you want to wake up and be a new version of yourself every day. You honestly believe you're going to get a callback or option a script or rally the janitor's union or land a job assisting A Big Hollywood Star or finally make it. But it's anonymous enough here that it also feels possible to quit your life and study carbon dioxide levels at a crater in the mountains.

Los Angeles is where anything can happen. After a while you kind of believe anything can happen to you, too. The people who complain about the quick superficiality of this city never look just below the surface and see its real optimism. If you want to live in the past this is not your city, we've already paved over that and put up a Sephora there. But if you want to re-invent your life, this is the perfect place to do it. You can be just about anything you want to be in Los Angeles.

Posted by laurie at 9:34 AM

August 19, 2011

Insert clever title that makes me look less like a slacker

1) Trends in the vernacular
In the past ten days I have had conversations no less than five times with different people where I interject a deeply heartfelt, "Homie don't play that!" Who knew I woke one morning in early August and became the sole blonde, female member of the 1987 Run DMC lineup? YO! Homie Raps! Two decades ago! Yet try it yourself today and you will see that for almost any conversation the interjection, "Say what! Homie don't play that!" is a true crowd pleaser.

2) Books have a lot of words.
That sentence actually had one extra word until I edited out the expletive. I am just saying is all. I'm going to finish this book I'm writing but there may be some drawings of cats in the middle.

3) Experiments in interpersonal, inter-species dinner having and movie seeing
Yeah, when you're ready you should totally date again. I faux dated back that one time during that phase, then I went on that long-ass hiatus ("Homie don't play that!") and now am real dating and ya'll, it's super fun. Yes, it's true that it's goofy and you have to tell your story and they tell their story and there are awkward parts and still -- even with all the newness and so on -- if you are in the right frame of mind it is so much goodness. We will talk more about this. You can ask me your burning questions, if I am doing it you can do it, people. I already got a few good dating questions in my email that I will answer and you know I say I hate giving advice but then I go and give advice like that shit is about to be banned by the FDA. Let's do it.

4) Why am I cussing so much? My parents will be calling later today to discuss.
I blame Corey. Sorry, C-squared, something has to be your fault.

SPEAKING OF COREY. Here we are (two weeks ago, whoops) getting out geek on at DEVO:

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Video of the band playing Whip It:

(Uh, I have to figure out how to get this on youtube and then embed it, meaning I forgot my password, so until then here is a link on yfrog: http://yfrog.com/nrebkz)

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Corey is on the beat:
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She cracks me UP.

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Us in the middle of it all, per usual.

IN CONCLUSION. Ladies, if DEVO comes to your town get thee to the venue on time. The show is amazing, the band rocks out, I thought I only knew one Devo song but I knew about 75% of the setlist (including the lyrics, how did that happen? I can't even remember my own phone number.) And the crowd is full of nothing but eligible grown-up goodlooking nerd-men with music in their souls:

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These guys were so damn cute, they knew all the words. It was like a big convention of all the guys you actually want to meet. And almost none of them brought girlfriends. Well, there was this one couple:

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I have no idea who they are but they were kind enough to let me take a picture. Flowerpot hats. Need I say more?


5) Citizen of The Month does The Valley, like, for sure.
So Neil is in town for a few more weeks and then he's going back to New York. I've already managed to drag him to Hollywood once and last week we went to an amateur stand-up night in the Valley (his idea, not mine, I'm adventurous but even I don't do stand-up.) He lets me take pictures of him because he's a photographer and also a golden god on Instagram and anyway he doesn't complain and really that's my only criteria for success. Me, easy to please!

The view from our table at dinner in LaLa's Argentine restaurant on the boulevard in Studio City:
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(Yes, Los Angeles, you are beautiful and I'm back in love with you again.)

After the comedy thing we went for coffee at the Starbucks on Ventura Blvd, which is as specific a location as saying, "We were in a forest and they had some trees there."

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As we sat out on the sidewalk cafe, we were approached by a wild-eyed man hopped up on speed who tried to steal a Boston Terrier from the couple at the table beside us and Neil managed to get the crazy guy into a sleeper hold and the dog was saved. And then we finished our coffee.*
(* This did not happen.)

Neil also gives me dating advice, but kind of in the Socratic method. Here is an actual text conversation transcribed for your pleasure:

Neil: How was Date #5 and did he ask about u yet??

Laurie: Supposed to be Wednesday.
Ask about me how?

Neil: Show interest in your life. As weird as it is.
Also, do I want to see Captain America?

Laurie: I love that you manage to insult and compliment me all at the same time. Capt A was OK but mostly sets up Avengers.

Neil: Ha. That's why I changed the subject. I know you already.

6) And, following chronological order, Bonnie and I get mildly lost in downtown and stumble into an alternate universe two days ago.

Bonnie drove in from the depths of Orange County and met me in downtown Los Angeles for a little fun and shopping in the garment district. We went to all the great fabric vendors along 9th Street, Olympic, and Maple, including a long visit to Michael Levine. And we did a little street vendor shopping, too, where Bonnie got the cutest hat ever:

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Totally ready for the Kentucky Derby, ya'll! For only five bucks!

I love Bonnie because she is funny as hell and an amazing crafter -- she sews like nobody's business, which I will write a separate post on entirely because girlfriend has inspired me to dust off my Singer and make those sofa pillows I keep saying I'm going to make. But also I love her because she is maybe the only friend I have who makes me look tan in comparison:

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Girl fun! (No, seriously, I AM MORE TAN.) (A little.)

And she didn't seem to mind that my sense of direction is nonexistant and we got turned around a few times and kind of sort of had to walk 21 blocks downtown in the scorching sun. BUT that is where we stumbled upon this magical dress shop right in the middle of scrummy downtown off Broadway and 6th:

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Those dresses were simply amazing. It was like walking into a fantasy, there was even a hello kitty dress which may or may not be the outfit I wear when I marry Al Gore:

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Heartbroken that the picture turned out blurry but happy that such a dress exists. After our long day we ate hotdogs wrapped in bacon and covered in grilled onions and peppers. Can you think of a better way to end a day? No, me neither.

So that is the gap at a glance, summertime in the city, and now I promise not to go another two weeks without updating especially when we are in the midst of something as awesome and terrifying as THE STAND!! I love Stu Redman. The end.

Posted by laurie at 8:30 AM

August 18, 2011

No actor parking!!

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Really. We don't want your kind here.

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SO. I am alive! Hello! How are you, good looking and what have you got cooking? It probably says more about me than I care to admit that when I do not write on this here website for one week or perhaps longer I suddenly begin receiving urgent text messages, phone calls, and emails from people asking me if I am ALIVE DAMMIT. This may be a reflection of just how colorful my life is. I like to think of it that way, colorful. In psychology circles that is known as "healthy re-framing."

But I am fine and have not run off to marry Al Gore, or been kidnapped by a roaming band of Swedes, or sold my cute shoes to join a cult. I did find a great pair of jeans, though, that whole Not Your Daughter's Jeans hype is actually true. Go for a dark rinse. Mostly I am working hard to finish my book by Labor Day which is not actually at the end of September like many of us in my head thought. It is mere days away and I have many words yet to type.

Last night I had a long conversation with someone about weapons-grade tear gas because I am now at the part of the writing process known as "any old thing could happen, let's get this piece of work DONE, even if it means we tear gas some people. Maybe there are clowns."

There have been some fun adventures, and since I don't want another phone call from my Dad asking if I have expatriated to Argentina I will start posting pictures tomorrow of all my adventures from the past two weeks including the Devo concert and a fun day yesterday with Bonnie and a night of amateur stand-up comedy in the Valley with Neil (we were in the audience, not performing, as if! Also people did more book readings than acts, but what do I know?) after which he called me a snob but then bought me coffee. Friends! And also this weekend I will type up the whole long list of everything I have been meaning to tell you including how I managed to change my life in a day as ya'll know I enjoy doing every now and then. It will be very helpy.

But now, back to tear gas and clowns! And maybe there should be a steamy sex scene. That's more fun to write than a car chase.

Posted by laurie at 9:37 AM

August 7, 2011

Dear Abby don't play that, homie.

Got this email in the box:

I am SO happy - and unhappy to hear that you have found a way to date again.....I know that sounds horrible...but let me explain. I have been divorced for 6 years (and separated for way longer than that) and have yet to be able to get myself back into the dating game. I do have a child - so for years, I have been using that as an excuse....YES it is TOTALLY an excuse. Over the last few months a few of my other single Mom friends have started dating and then I visited your site to see that you also were taking the plunge. So - I hated it only because I felt like more of a loser that I haven't been able to do it. All of this on top of the fact that I think my ex-husband will be getting remarried within the next year. With all that said -- HOW DID YOU GET YOURSELF TO REENGAGE? I did have the guy at the liquor store ask for my phone # a couple of weeks ago ... but he hasn't called -- and truth be known - I'm kinda relieved. I SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO need therapy--- or ALOTTA wine.

Love you,
B.


So this is the portion of our program where I say, "Oh you know I try so hard not to give advice..." then proceed to spend 1200 words giving advice. Damn, I love you, internet. Let's advice it up, people!

The most important thing I can tell you, if you take nothing else from what is sure to be a bunch of navel-gazing helpy hoohaw, is that you're not a loser or a lost cause or behind on your lady timeline, or failing as a blahblahblah. I've dated, not dated, been in a relationship, there's all kinds of things I don't tell the internet (I know, hard to believe.) So I am not your yardstick -- you are your yardstick.

Having said that, I'm just going to break it down for you. You simply cannot sit alone in your home and hide from the world and expect to get a different result from the one you've got.

You already know that, though, and the real question here is about re-engaging and the logistics of making a change. So let's whip out some bullet points:

• Readiness
How do you know when you're ready to date? When you start sending emails to people asking about dating, you're nearing ready. When you begin the tentative steps -- like giving your number to the dude at the liquor store -- you're just about there my friend. How do I know? Totally done those same things! I quizzed my friend Jennifer about her every dating experience for the past year. And I totally gave my number to a dude lane-splitting on a motorcycle on Santa Monica Blvd. one day. Oh yes I DID. Well, he asked. And he never called either but that wasn't the point, the point was the mojo was beginning to flow and that is all you need.

Which brings me to:

• Detach from the outcome
Mojo isn't attached to the outcome. Who cares if the guy never called? There are 6.7 billion people on the planet. Somebody's going to call. I can tell you right up that dating now (at my rather advanced age, thank you, awesome) is so much better than dating at age 22. I've already been married so I'm not on a quest for fire, I know myself better, I'm more laid back, and I don't desperately need a man or a plan to be happy so I'm much more fun to be with. Can you imagine how hard it must be for dudes when every date is like a job interview for Future Husband, Future Provider, Future Father? Yikes. No wonder guys bail out. I would bail out. The point here is that your frame of mind is really important when you're re-emerging. Don't go out there on a perilous journey to middle earth to find THE ONE. Start with something a little more achievable, like looking for a nice person to go to a movie with.

• You don't have to get it perfect the first time
I started dating after my divorce as I am sure you know if you have read book #2 which I highly recommend purchasing so that me and the cats can afford rent. ANYWAY, I was still a big ol' trainwreck back then and I knew it, so instead of going out looking for The Next Serious Relationship Of My Life, I just picked fun guys to go out with who were terrible relationship material.

This is a totally acceptable strategy!! And no one ever tells you about it! Instead people say stuff like, "Oh, don't worry, one day you'll meet the one..." or "Just have hope, you're such a nice girl, and after my divorce I met the perfect man and now we're happily married with 2.5 kids and a beautiful home with hardwood floors and one of those kitchens you see in Nora Ephron movies." And you will hear these things and secretly want to stab the person saying them. Because there is a time for many divorced women when the idea of remarrying sounds like the worst thing you have ever heard since they invented butt waxing.

Want real advice? Go on some dates with a few hot, completely inappropriate men. The men you never dated before you got married because they weren't husband material. How do you think I ended up at dinner circa 2007 with the 24-year-old Jamaican cricket player? And it was fun. Would I want to walk down the aisle with him and share finances? No. You don't have to be on a marriage mission. It is actually completely healthy to just want to have fun when you re-emerge back into dating. I did that for a good solid while and it was a relief.

• You get to define fun
You don't have to sleep with every dude you go out with. It is perfectly OK to go out, laugh, hold hands, whatever, and not fling your panties off on the first date. I know I make jokes about all this stuff (Hi, twitter) but deep down I'm a full Southern girl and all which that entails. Meaning I don't do anything I don't want to do with anyone I don't want to do it with. People make too much of all of this. There's no date police out there who are going to cite you for going to slow or too fast. Relax.

Enough with all that, let's talk details now...

• Logistics
You have to do some things to make yourself feel good about yourself. This is different for every female. For me, I had to get physically healthier. I always feel better about myself when I'm exercising (totally psychological) so I now work out or walk or do some kind of activity every day and that makes me feel good. Also, a nice haircut never hurts. Have a solid date outfit you feel great in. And I like little girly things, too: nail polish, painting my toenails, using self-tanner on my legs even though you know I never wear shorts lest the sun explode, all that good stuff. You will have a different list of things that make you feel pretty and happy and self-confident. I fully believe that it's your job to make yourself happy and so you have to figure out what does it for you. Make a list. Then do it.


• And finally...
It's not brain surgery, this dating business. No one will just die if a date goes poorly or if you talk too much or if he's four inches shorter than you. The world will keep spinning on its axis.

I have met some genuinely great guys (both during the Inappropriate Guy time post-divorce and the more Appropriate Guy time of present day). I think people are endlessly fascinating, and I love that it's so much easier to meet people now with the internet -- not just dating sites, but think of hiking meetups, social meetups, any meetups. Church. My old standby the grocery store. And you get to text now instead of talking on the phone! This is technology gone right. No waiting around for the phone to ring, just send a text and be done with it.

Socializing is very hard for me. I'm naturally introverted and I get all nervous and dorky and speedtalk when I'm anxious. But while my natural inclination is to pull a full Emily (Dickenson, in case you were wondering) I find that when I push myself and force myself to get out of my shell, I often have a really great time. I hope you do as well.

Yeah, way over 1200 words.

Posted by laurie at 10:46 AM

August 5, 2011

My flowerpot hat is at the cleaners

My friend Corey scored free tickets to DEVO tonight and her husband can't go so she invited me to the concert. I'm pretty sure I only know one Devo song and still I'm ridiculously excited about this concert because was it not just two weeks ago I was waxing nostalgic for the 1980s? It's like God heard me, people. And God said, "I give you one night to wear your blue mascara."

Corey called yesterday to discuss the greatest issue of our time.

"What are you wearing to this concert?" she asked.

"I'm not sure yet! What are you wearing?"

"I can't decide," she said. "I'm either going hipster of full-board super-preppie."

"You do uber-preppie so well it's scary," I said. "See? This is my serious disadvantage. My only two personal style genres are upscale homeless* and slutty ex-cheerleader."

(*A style also known as If I Were A Fat Olsen Twin)

"So what are you leaning toward?" she asked.

"Slutty cheerleader? I have these skinny jeans that I have never worn because they literally only fit me for the six minutes I was trying them on in the dressing room back in, oh, 2008," I said. "I tried them on this morning and they zipped and they're cute but so tight I might asphyxiate and pass out."

"If you're passed out on the icky floor of the concert place I am not giving you mouth-to-mouth," said Corey. "In case you ever wanted to know the limits of our friendship. That's where I draw the line."

"Oh, no worries," I said. "They're so tight I'd never fall over. I'd probably just pass out standing up."

"Then it looks like we have a winner!" she said.

It's always good to know where you stand with your friends. And I will be standing. Especially in those jeans.

- - -

Happy Friday, ya'll! Whip it! Whip it good!

Posted by laurie at 9:27 AM

August 4, 2011

Here we go again.

bob-here-we-g0.jpg

The A/C is broken again, second time in under a month. This is the Valley. In August. It's possible the cats and I will have to move to a hotel later so we don't die, and then eventually abandon this hellhole altogether for greener pastures in the Yukon.

I love Canadians, so it works out. Canadians are from Canadia, where I may live by Saturday if this situation gets any stickier.

Forget dating, love, romance, bringing sexy back, all that mumbojumbo. All I need is a man who can fix things. I think his name is Javier, he's 67, he is hopefully going to show up this week with tools and bring the coolness back to Chez Furball. Then I need a three-book deal, a pair of jeans that doesn't make my butt look like a Macy's parade float, and one of those pillows that conform perfectly to your head.

Achievable dreams, people. That is what I am about today. Let's start with cool air and work our way up.

Posted by laurie at 10:29 AM

August 3, 2011

Charmed, I'm sure

(ring, ring)

Jen: Hello?

Me: HEY. I HAVE AN EMERGENCY.

Jen: Are you OK? What is it?

Me: That guy, the one I like, he asked me out again and now I don't know what to wear 'cause I already wore my skinniest outfit and also none of my furniture fits in the living room like it should and you aren't here WHY AREN'T YOU HERE ANYMORE to advise me on this crap?

Jen: (sighs) (exasperated) I thought you had an actual problem, dumbass.

Me: Can you fly down tomorrow? I know you're a high powered attorney and have a life and everything but NEED HELP.

Jen: Move the loveseat into the office, pull the sofa out a little, and email me your outfit suggestions.

Me: Oh, OK.

Jen: I have to go. I have a partner standing in my office. At my job. Where I work.

Me: OK, bye! Thanks! Tragedy narrowly averted!

- - -

Ah, the sweet joys of friendship.

Posted by laurie at 2:25 PM

August 2, 2011

Summer Trashy Goodness Book Club Selection

Here it is, folks, buckle up for a wild ride with Captain Tripps:

the-stand-book-club.jpg

That's right. We're reading THE STAND. You can read any version you want, the original, the expanded complete & uncut edition, audiobook, even the streaming Netflix miniseries. This is Stephen King we're talking about, though, so I'd go with the paperback version. Either one will do.

We'll be talking about it a little here and there just to keep the contagion ball rolling but the real deal book club discussion will start on Friday, September 16th, 2011 and last all weekend. I'll probably do a random reader giveaway, too, though I have no idea what yet (if you have regifting stuff you want to throw in the pot email me using the link in the sidebar on the right side of the page.)(Broke authors, such great gift givers!)

I fully expect that 50% of you have already read THE STAND and are itching to re-read it just in time for the upcoming cold and flu season. Forty percent of you will think it's too long, too scary and that King can't write and ending to save his life and the final 10% will be alone in the bathroom taking a full silkwood shower until Christmas.

Love you!

Posted by laurie at 10:59 AM