Thursday, December 30, 2010

Break up Over a Break Up

I hate to sound trite, but real life really is like Sex and the City. Remember the episode where The Girls make Carrie go to therapy to try to stop obsessing about Mr. Big because they can't stand to hear her endless self-absorbed, sad-sack, self-deprecation for one moment longer? Well, harsh or not, selfish on my part or not, I'm involved in a similar situation with a dear friend of almost a decade and I want her to get over her ex and get on with her life. Her obsession, and it is truly an obsession has morphed into toxic negativity that perpetually permeates into every other aspect of her life and prevents her from being happy.

Its bringing me down too if you must know. It's not like I love my job. And I don't go home to a Unicorn (aka eligible man) at the end of every night. I'm torturously paying off massive student loans. But, no one promised me a Rose garden. That's life. I do my best, put on a happy face and settle for appreciating Irises and Tulips in lieu of roses whenever I'm lucky enough to get um.

She on the other hand. Hates her job. Hates her life. Doesn't want to live in DC. Thinks moving to San Francisco will solve all her problems but won't move to San Francisco. And she is painfully and needlessly obsessed with her ex. Ergo- she needs some tough love and I'm giving it to her. Correction- I've given it to her. And when all is said and done, she may end up breaking up with me, over her previous romantic breakup, if she hasn't sworn me off forever already.

But she sad. And she's depressed. And losing her friendship is worth her losing her lackluster life. I care about her that much.

In Sex and the City, the conversation went a little something like this:

Carrie: Isn't part of the whole break up process that you get free rein to whine to your friends?

Of course you do!

But, maybe you should think about whining to a shrink.

Why should I pay someone when we can talk for free and then go get drinks or whatever? I don't need professional help, I've got you guys.

For another ten minutes.

Then we're cutting you off, cold turkey.

Hey, I don't need therapy. I need new friends.

Look, we're as fucked up as you are. It's like the blind leading the blind.

For us, it went a little like this:
OVER ONE ENTIRE YEAR AGO, I listened to her go on and on about how she didn't want to be with her Significant Other anymore. Her overall dissatisfaction with her partner of two years. I was on HER SIDE when it came to her feelings of unhappiness and boredom in her relationship and wanting to possibly break up. I thought her S.O. was great, had an interesting job, were nice and polite, fit and attractive and clearly loved my friend. S.O. was a good person and worth of being with my friend. But the bottom line was and still remains, that my friend wasn't happy. She didn't want to be with this person. And after months and weeks of contemplation and consideration and conflict within, my friend broke up with her SO. I'll state it again. My friend. Broke up. with Them.

But Toddy you are asking by now...didn't you say that you're friend was obsessed with their ex? How can they be obsessed with their ex if they are the one that did the dumping? Exactly.

So here we are. ONE WHOLE ENTIRE YEAR LATER. And EVERY time I see this friend its I miss her this, I miss her that. She won't return my emails. She won't return my phone calls. I sent her an expensive birthday present and she didn't even call me or message me on my birthday. She's the one. She's the one.

And the truth is. I can't take it anymore. I can't. I can't do it. I'm only human. Maybe other friends could be patient and tried and true year after year after year after year. But I've listened to her sob and cry and bitch and moan and hate herself. I've listened to how she WILL NOT stop calling this person and messaging this person even though this person DOES NOT WANT TO HEAR FROM them. It's over. It's done.

And I am NOT A HEARTLESS PERSON. I feel for my friend soooo much. This situation SUCKS. It totally sucks. I'm so sad for her. I love her. I really do. I'll say it again. I. LOVE. HER. I. REALLY. DO. I want her to be happy. I want her to find someone new and great that makes her feel good about herself. I'm sad that she was unhappy when she was with this person. Sad when she realized she made a mistake. Sad that her ex won't take her back. But...her ex won't take her back. My friend has made her feelings known and her ex has moved on. My friend has cried. My friend has been with other people since then romantically and sexually. She's talked to me. She's talked to her friends. She's hated herself. She's hated her life. She's been sad sad sad. And now-It's time. It's time to move on. It's time to stop.

And I CANNOT HELP HER ANYMORE. Nothing I've said IN THE LAST YEAR OF MY LIFE has made her feel any better. Nothing she has analyzed or I've comforted has ENDED THE OBSESSION. I don't know what to do!! But I can't listen to her be sad or depressed ANYMORE. I can't listen to how much she misses this person who is NEVER COMING BACK anymore. There is a statute of limitations on how much you can burden your friends with your sadness. Then you owe it to yourself and everyone around you to get your shit together and try to be a person again. Try to return to the land of the living, prepare the broken heart and be happy. For yourself.

So I gently told my friend when she said she was really missing her ex for the 50 millionth time in the last year today that I felt really bad that she was so sad and that I was thinking it had been a year now and that if she was still feeling so bad, that maybe she should talk to someone, like a therapist. That I was even thinking of talking to someone myself. Like about my birth family maybe. She did not take it well. She did not take it well at all. Instead, she reminded me that SHE was the one who had been a psych major and that she didn't need advice from me. Hmm...

Unfortunately life isn't ENTIRELY like Sex and the City. Because in Sex and the City, Carrie listens to THE GIRLS (the three of them) who care about her and want her to be happy and for her to move on with her life and Carrie complies with their request and actually goes to therapy. In my case, I think my friend is going to break up with me too and continue to be miserable, sans one less person to listen to her gripe about her lonely misery.

In television, when Carrie finally goes to see her therapist her therapist asks her:

Dr. G: So, Carrie, tell me why are you here? and Carrie replies:
Carrie: Well, my friends can't handle me anymore. You're like very expensive foster care.

When all is said and done, I love my friend and I want this obsession to stop debilitating the rest of her life. Ultimately though, I can't handle her anymore. I'm not a therapist. I'm just a friend. And this friend knows when she's over her head and she needs a little help.

All my Best,

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Giving the Geeky Brit a Chance

Remember when I said I was "Over Men Again" and swore off dating for the upteenth-thousandth time just as I was asked out by a Geeky British guy on a Monday trivia night at Wonderland Ballroom? Well I do...

This was weeks ago and I wasn't all that inspired to share anything about the Geeky Brit. It was a very very ordinary case of agreeing to go out with someone, going out with them once and then determining you didn't want to see them anymore. Fail. Again.

But thinking back on it, there are some interesting questions to consider. mother (who drives me crazy) and is always on a mission to improve her apparently imperfect daughter (as mother's always seem to do) told me recently that I was SUPERFICIAL when it came to men. Why Mom? Because I have good taste in men. Because I'm attracted to attractive people. Because I am lucky enough to be attractive and therefore can attract attractive people?

"Looks fade" she always said. And she's right. She's always right (as mother's often infuriatingly are.) But on the other hand I can't help who I like and don't like. Occasionally a less attractive person will grow on me through their personality and our shared experiences together, but more often than not, I like a nice pair of baby blue eyes, a thick head of dark hair and white boy chunka butt. (If you don't know what a chunka butt is then come hang with me sometime during happy hour on Capitol Hill and we'll spend a pint or two checking out white boy booty in khakis. This will not disappoint). Just sayin...

Unfortunately, I do care what my mother thinks (as daughters can't seem to help) and I certainly DONT want to be a superficial person. But how do I date someone and give them a chance if I have no interest in sleeping with them? I mean, that is an important part of a relationship is it not?

However, in an attempt to repel a sense of superficiality, I've definitely tried to lower my standards recently. I came up with the following standards: As long as someone seemed NORMAL, NICE, AVAILABLE and NOT A CRAZY PERSON and had the good taste (if I do say so myself) to LIKE ME (my personality/looks/whatever) and made the effort to ask me out (which I know isn't always easy for the fellas) then I would go out with them. What could it hurt? Life's about meeting people and having fun right?

So...let's just say I've been on A LOT OF BAD DATES. No chemistry. No attraction. No second dates. But... at least I'm giving people a shot. Whose to say I'm such a catch? I'm not. I'm Type A, neurotic, superclean yet supercluttered, forgetful, ADD, aggressive, competitive, stubborn, overly talkative, obnoxious sports fan, bad dresser kind of a girl. A pair of dimples and big tits can't really erase all that can it?

Thus, one such victim of my personal reformation became the The Geeky Brit @Wonderland Ballroom one Monday night playing trivia with some friends. I wasn't there to meet guys. I wasn't interested in meeting guys. Like I said, I was over men again, and I was there to prove my complete single contentment. Thus, I ignored all smiles, all overt glances, and all introductory conversational remarks from strange men at the bar. Which must have driven them all crazy, because I was asked out by like 3 guys in one night. The Geeky Brit was sitting at the table next to us. I didn't notice him, except for the fact that the hosting team kept giving that guy and his table free drinks for giving the funniest answers. They sucked at trivia, but had a great sense of humor. Now that is sexy. But like I said, I was completely immune to sexiness. Plus, this guy wasn't sexy. Like at all. Geeky Brit spoke to both girls in my my group of friends. First T, then A. However, T was a Republican. GB was a progressive - hello Britain! And so when T said she liked Sarah Palin, he quickly moved on. A is a Democrat, so they had a lot to talk about. I focused on my fancy beer and sang along to the music playing throughout the bar.

At the end of the night, I was hanging out by the bar with A, talking to the girl that works at WB as the trivia Emcee, asking her how long she'd been doing it and the like. When Geeky Brit and his friends were leaving, he turned and looked at me and smiled. I smiled back and raised my beer. He left. Then came back. He walked straight up to me and said, "You are beautiful. And you seem nice. Can I get your number so we can get drinks some time?" Just. like. that.

I'm always in awe of the ability of men to completely unnerve me just by asking for my number.

He was honest. Straightforward. He wanted my number. According to the new "I'll date anyone" (unless they're bat shit crazy) rule, I had to give him my number. So I did.

He called. And we ended up going to Mighty Pint, the week of Thanksgiving, for their dress like Pilgrims and Indians, keg-kill event. It was fun. We had a lot to talk about. His British upbringing and when I lived in London. Politics. Childhood. Family. Drinking and Dining in the District. But then he dropped it on me...

He was 22 years old. He was doing an unpaid internship on the Hill. He was living with 6 other guys in a hostel. He was going back to London in four months. Okay, so not just NO...HELLS TO THE NO.

We finished our second round of drinks and then I took a deep breath and said the "I don't play games" right thing to say: "Look you seem really nice and I've enjoyed talking to you. But any sort of long-term connection or relationship with you isn't possible and I'm not interested in having anything casual with you either. I'm sorry. But that's just how I feel. I thought I should just be honest with you."

Apparently that blew his mind. He thanked me for not dicking him around. And then tried to convince me to give him a shot. To go out on second date with him. To consider something casual. It'd be fun he said. Why not have some fun? I mean, what else are you looking for?

What else am I looking for? That was a great question. The truth is, I don't know what I want. I know I don't want something casual or cheap. I'm also not trying to find the one, get hitched and become a baby factory. I think what I want is to find someone nice and normal, who thinks I'm nice and normal. Who respects me and treats me well and understands that I'm a lawyer and can't spend every waking moment with him and wouldn't want to either. Spend some time together (occasionally) and see what happens. Is that a relationship? Or is that just dating? Labels always make things so confusing.

"Come on," he said, "just have some fun with me. I really like you." Could I give the Geeky Brit a chance? Could I, a successful, financially stable, attorney in her upper 20's gallavant around D.C. dating a 22 year old, broke, unpaid intern on the hill? A skinny, immature, t-shirt wearing fun-having foreigner?

No. I couldn't. I'm was just too damn old for that and I just didn't want to. Because when it comes down to it, I'm in search of a man. A real man. For fun. And maybe more. But I can't date a boy. Or a man-boy. Any. More. Perhaps, after all, superficial or no, I do have some standards. I'm not sure whether they will apply to the "I'll date anyone once" (lest they're bat shit crazy) rule, but they do apply to the "I won't date anyone twice" rule. And I can only hope that those standards actually correspond to some real live, living, breathing men out there and not just to unicorns.


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Jersey Boy is Back

So there's this guy, (there's always this guy), and he's back. Again.

Jersey Boy is one of my oldest and dearest guy friend's best friend. We all spent so many nights playing beer pong and kings and just being ourselves in college together that even though Jersey Boy was never really my best boy, I've always cared about him and considered him a friend. He's also just an all around stand-up guy.

There was always serious sexual tension between us too. Yes, he's tall and skinny like I like. And dorky. And wears glasses. And is a total gentleman. And laid back and quiet. At the same time he always appreciated that I was NOT laid back or quiet. We've always just gotten eachother and clicked. We have chemistry. I like being around him and its easy to be together. For no reason at all. Its effortless. Even when things haven't made sense. Even when we've been sort of together or not together at all.

So what's the problem? Timing and geography. No small obstacles. I was single for only about 4 months of 4 years of college. I always felt that "thing" between us, but I was in love with someone else. When I'd hang out with the boys (not my bf) and got really drunk I'd worry I'd cheat and so would "check myself" from going too far. But I wondered what it'd be like. If I were with him. In the three weeks I was single in college before I began seeing my next serious college boyfriend who I would continue to see through law school, we almost hooked up. At a crazy all-night party off-campus Jersey Boy and I were partners at the beer pong table all night. We played till sunrise never losing a single game. We were also all over each other grabbing and laughing and teasing and high fiving. In short- It. Was. On. But when I went to climb into bed with him he was drunk as a skunk passed out. A fact that for about a year after, myself and all my friends ruthlessly made fun of him for. He was going to get his chance with me FINALLY and blew it. And before I could give him another chance I found myself dating the love of my life to date, who shattered me forever. Who I still cannot seem to replace. But this post isnt about that guy, this post is about Jersey.

He did eventually get his chance. When our best guy friend got married, about two and a half years ago I went up to New York City (where Jersey Boy lived and still does) for the wedding and finally there were no obstacles. He was single. I was single (and enough time had passed since THE GUY had broken up with me that I was ready to be with someone else again). And he look sooooooooooo good. Partially because he just looked good. Post-college. Working a decent job, living in the city, confident in himself, a little grown up. This new-found maturity and sense of self identity made him sexier than ever. But he was still sweet. And respectful. And a good person. I knew I wanted him and hoped that something would happen. And it did. Instead of staying with other friends, I stayed with Jersey. There were no bells and whistles. There was no dramatic "talk" or seduction or games. It was like we'd been dating for years and were just picking up where we'd left off. Yes, we slept together. Our first time together. And it happened a lot that weekend. We snuck into a closed off pool at the wedding hotel on Long Island and skinny dipped and made-out like we were teenagers in our parent's basement. And even broke the bed in his apartment one night. I laughed so hard I cried while he was furious that such a thing could happen and interrupt. To this day, me and my friends ruthlessly ALSO make fun of him for that as well.

Here's the thing about how things were never weird. It was never weird we liked each other but weren't together in college while I dated other people. And when we showed up at a wedding with all our nearest and dearest friends of years kissing and grabbing and going home at the end of the night together - No one - said ANYTHING. Not a joke. Not an inquisitive question or look or smile. It was like it was the most normal thing in the world.

And I was supposed to leave NYC on the Sunday of that weekend. But I stayed for four more days. I just kept not getting on the Chinatown bus back to DC. We were just having too much fun. We lazily walked around the city holding hands, napped in Central Park, watched tv. But then I had to go back to reality. I had to. He carried my suitcase for me and held my hand on the subway. And then kissed me goodbye outside the bus and asked me to text him when I got in. We talked on the phone. And texted. And emailed for weeks. Maybe it was even months. But I was in law school. And in North Carolina. And he worked for a law firm. And was in New York City. We never had a talk about trying to see each other. Or what that weekend had been about. Or what we meant to each other. There is no doubt in my mind that if I lived in NYC we would have dated. And see where it led. But as it was, it wouldn't work. We were too far apart. Geographically, physically, financially, mentally, emotionally. Better to remain friends. Better to not torture ourselves. We never spoke of this. We didn't need to.

Over the last two and half years I've been up to NYC to visit my many friends many times. When he or I is seeing someone we play the "friends" role like we were never lovers. When we are both single, we fall back into a few days of perfectness and then leave it at that at the bus stop. Until the next time.

Last January, I spent my birthday in the city. He had been with the same girlfriend for some time now and I had just started seeing a guy. This girl was so beautiful and nice and thin. And he seemed to love her and want to protect her the way guys do when they put their hand on your back and guide you through a room. I couldn't help but feel that tinge of jealousy. That feeling of only, if only we both were in the same place at the same time. Both available. We could give it a real shot. And this feeling like it might work.

This all might sound so unhealthy, but in fact, its the healthiest relationship I've ever been in. We give each other what the other one needs. Friendship, understanding, support, laughter, without unrealistic expectations, requirements, obligations, guilt, baggage or drama. It is what it is. And it always has been.

And Jersey Boy is Back. Again. He's a Giant's fan. I'm a die-hard Redskins fan (if you didn't know.) We don't talk very often. Lest I'm planning a trip to NYC or the Giants play the Redskins. Which they did today. He bet me that if the Giants won I'd have to come visit him in NYC. I could stay with him you see, because he'd broken up with his girlfriend. I was sorry I said. And I am. I really am. I just want him to be happy and she seemed nice/cool/pretty all things I may or may not be. And we ended up talking for hours. Flirting and planning when I could visit again. And I may try to get up there in the next few weeks but we've definitely planned a ski trip in upstate new york with our best guy friend and his wife for both our January birthdays next month. And I can't wait. If we are both single, clearly we'll share a room. And hot chocolate. And play on the same taboo team. And ski together. And be together. But if one of us isn't single a month from now, I'll just get to catch up with my friend. See how he's doing. Be myself with someone who knows me and likes me. With our other friends. And we'll still ski together and drink hot chocolate and play board games. We'll just have separate bedrooms. And the best part is that we won't have to talk about it or analyze it or worry about it. Because it is what it is. It always has been.

I know he's really just my fuck buddy and nothing more. But he's also my friend. And so much more than that. And I can't help but worry. Because every time we go another round the feelings I have get stronger and stronger. I think about him and wait for his next text like he's the new guy I'm crushing on that I met at a bar next week. That I have a date with on Saturday. But that's not the case. We are still the victims of bad timing. And geography. And nothing I can do is gonna change that. You don't move for someone you "enjoy being with." Who isn't your boyfriend. And I would NEVER do that. And I would NEVER let him do that. And we're too smart to do long distance. We've both been there before.

Which is why we don't talk about it. Which is why we don't try to make it more than it is. Which is why, each time it ends, I push him out of my mind. Hope to forget him for a little while. But also hope, that soon enough...Jersey Boy is Back.