Matrimonial Insanity

bride in a straight jacketThere’s a reason the groom is not to see the bride before she walks down the aisle on the day of their wedding. And it isn’t what you’d think. I discovered this truth about two weeks ago when I myself took that storied stroll from the back of the chapel toward my (now) husband.

Lee and I decided a year ago to get married in Vegas. We didn’t want to make a huge fuss, spend a lot of money and find ourselves tangled in the tricky threads typically associated with tying the knot. But mostly, we just thought it sounded like a lot of fun. Which it most certainly was, however, we learned that some matrimonial stress is bound to find you no matter how far you and your betrothed decide to run.

It WILL sniff you out… in the middle of the desert… surrounded by bright flashing lights, eager blackjack dealers, endless cocktails, thumping music, Elvis impersonators and a cacophony of clanging slot machines. And it isn’t a matter of IF prenuptial stress finds you — it is merely a matter of WHEN.

Weddings ARE stressful. No matter how simple you may try to make them. The concern over family members’ opinions, ideas and traditions will weigh on you (if you invited them). Intrusive thoughts of forgetting or “misplacing” the rings, the marriage license or the cash for the minister’s fee will pop up at the most inopportune times. Fear of the right music NOT being played on cue, having a bad hair day or waking up to discover a rogue pimple on your face the morning of The Big Day will haunt your dreams.

Thus it is not uncommon for a blushing bride to scare the $#!* out of an anticipatory-if-not-already-anxious groom from time to time before the impending nuptials can occur. Which leads me to my initial observation: There is a reason the groom is not to see the bride before she walks down the aisle on the day of their wedding.

What, you may ask, is the “actual and unexpected” reason behind this time-honored wedding tradition? People THINK it is bad luck. But the real reason the groom should not see the bride before she walks down the aisle… is to prevent him from RUNNING.

Let me clarify. This man—already slightly nervous himself in the face of this major life change he is about to make—would head straight for the hills were he to see his beautiful beloved for the actual train wreck she has become by the time the day arrives. She has worried and fretted and planned for THIS moment since the first time someone read Cinderella to her as a child.

And now it is here. And there is NO WAY—in Las Vegas or elsewhere—that she is gonna gamble on the fact that her Prince Charming just might hop on the back of his trusty steed, riding off into the sunset because of a teensy, weensy case of  momentary insanity.

Virtually Dumped

Due to the rise and surge of social media, our personal lives have changed so dramatically in the last five years that it is difficult to remember what life was like pre-Facebook, Twitter or in this instance, WordPress and the blogosphere. Ahh, the unique joys and sorrows of virtual friendships… So easy to make and even easier to break.

If you’re active at all in social media, you’ll know to what I referring when I mention getting dumped virtually. Although the one-sided, electronic break up is bound to happen from time to time—not unlike a real break up—it stings a bit when it does occur. You wake up one day without a care in the world, log on to your social media site of choice and voila! You realize you’ve one less “friend” or “follower” than you had the night before.

In the case of Facebook, I’ve learned to no longer care if and when this happens. I don’t tweet, so I can’t speak to the Twitterverse arena of the issue, but I DO blog and I think it is safe to say that in the world of blogging, losing a virtual follower can often leave a bit of virtual mark. It is especially ouchy if the ex-follower in question at one time featured you and your blog on their personal page.

Sad to say, I was dumped from a fellow writer’s blogroll a week ago. And being the neurotic, obsessive person that I am… I took to Google to see if there were any articles floating around in cyberspace devoted to the matter. There were not. Perhaps I, clearly the MOST neurotic, narcissistic, obsessive blogger IN THE WORLD, should be the one to write one, lest another pathetic dumpee similar to myself takes to Google in search of some e-comfort?

What I DID find, was a general article on “getting dumped” — you know, like in REAL LIFE. To be fair to the writer of that article and the inspiration for this post, here is the address: http://fearlessmen.com/getting-dumped/. After reading it, I realized that perhaps there are some similarities between the REAL and the VIRTUAL types of dumping. Thus, the following are the reasons given in the article for why a person may have been dumped in the real world, accompanied by a few “personal thoughts” pertaining to the cyber realm.

1. BoredomOK, so maybe my posts don’t scratch where you itch. I am who I am. Deal with it. Well, I guess you did. You dumped me. I’m sorry if I didn’t sufficiently entertain you.

2. Too Needy / Too ClingyUmmm… Perhaps my creation of this post is enough to illustrate this one? I hope you don’t mind that I wrote it. I really wish I knew how you felt about this one. Maybe I shouldn’t even post it? What do you think? I miss you.

3. Too JealousWhy do you always comment on THEIR stuff and not mine!? You NEVER comment on my stuff! You must think they are cooler/hipper/smarter/prettier/skinnier/wittier/more interesting than me! Why am I not good enough for you!?!?

4. Trying too hard too soon OR not trying hard enoughAre my comments and observations too lengthy or too short? Are there too many or too few? I soooo wish I knew so I could change and make this all better. Then again, sometimes I don’t really care what you think.

5. Lost Interest / Ran out of infatuation / Honeymoon is overPerhaps you’re tired of what you initially thought were extremely astute, brilliant and hilarious observations… and have now grown weary of repetitive entries about Spanx, wrinkles, alarm clocks, ill-fitting clothing, aggressive driving, rude people and a freakishly-abnormal fear of insects. Is that it? Was that the one that put you over the edge?

7. Chemistry / Different Directions / It isn’t what you or he/she thought it wasAlright, so maaaaybe I wasn’t what you expected me to be. But please don’t give me the “It’s not you, it’s me” bit because I know, baby, it was me. Otherwise I wouldn’t be the one sitting here in sweats and a dirty t-shirt with the remote and a wad of Kleenex in my lap, watching Beaches and putting my thighs in serious jeopardy with this quart of Ben and Jerry’s.

Pawn Shop Valentine

Nothing says “I love you” quite like cashing in on other people’s misfortune.

Last Friday night I saw something that—as far as I’m concerned—takes the V-Day cupcake when it comes to over-the-top. I saw a Valentine’s Day commercial for… Are you ready for this? A pawn shop. The commercial illustrated how flowers are for pathetic losers… and the real Valentine’s Day gifts can be found at Pay Day Pawn (not it’s real name). “Hey everyone! Not sure what to get that special someone for the BIG day?? … Come on down to Pay Day Pawn, where we are bound to have exactly what you’re looking for!”

Just what your girl or guy wants… someone else’s used crap. “Hey honey! This is how special YOU are to ME… This V-Day, let’s skip the flowers and chocolate-covered strawberries. Instead, I’m taking you to Pay Day Pawn and let you dig around in other people’s cast-offs for something special that shows you and reminds you ALL YEAR LONG just how much you mean to me!”

Big screen TVs, antiques, used jewelry, musical instruments, amputee Hummels and grandma’s chipped tea set (that is missing several pieces). Yup. I don’t know about you folks, but that certainly is MY idea of a Valentine’s Day wish come true. Because nothing else truly conveys your love for him like a nice, gently-used set of golf clubs circa 1963. And you’ll NEVER find anything that shows her how deep your love for her goes like a tarnished, ruby dinner ring set in 14-karat, yellow gold and surrounded by dozens of cloudy baguettes.

I know times are tough and I am in no way poking fun at a non-traditional or second-hand form of gift giving. Not everyone can or even wants to blow a miniature fortune on some roses that will inevitably die or splurge on an over-priced dinner at an overly-crowded restaurant. Sometimes a sweet sentiment or kind and selfless act does FAR more than anything money can buy. But if your significant other actually takes you to Pay Day Pawn for your gift this year… Well… perhaps it’s time to consider pawning them. And who knows… maybe they’ll fetch a really good price!

Slightly Preoccupied

With the turkey fully digested and the official “decking of the halls” close at hand, I encountered what you might call a slight distraction during this busy holiday time.

Down on one knee, velvet box open in his hand… my best friend popped the question last Friday. It happened so fast that seconds after I cried and shouted “yes, Yes, YES I’ll marry you!” I slipped the ring off my finger, stuffed it back in the box, shoved it into his hand and yelled at him: “OK… Now… DO THAT AGAIN!!”

He of course looked at me like I was completely insane and I’m certain wondered to himself: I don’t think this is the way it is supposed to go down, but whatever. And he indulged me. Yes, there have been times when my sanity MAY have been called into question, but on this occasion… I just wanted to make sure I’d remember the moment forever.

Well… there’s that… and the fact that I knew I’d have to be able to recount the story on command in the coming days and weeks to friends, co-workers, aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors and probably the town crier.

So I hope that you’ll indulge me as well, dear readers, while I think of just the right way to craft this very special story that began 26 years ago… all the way back in the 5th grade. You see, it’s not your garden-variety boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, boy marries girl, boy and girl live happily-ever-after kind of story. It’s more like… Boy meets girl and a lifetime of detours later… Life gives them a second chance.

So I promise that just as soon as I get done returning phone calls, answering texts, Facebook messages and emails… and pull my head out of the clouds… and my eyes away from this lovely, hypnotic, sparkly thing on my left hand… I will find just the right way to tell you the story.

To be continued…

Single White Female Seeks…

Girlfriends. That’s right I said girlfriends. I am searching for a few good female friends… though I’d settle for just one. I have actually been considering taking out an ad and conducting interviews. I’m not searching for the virtual kind of friends with whom I can “chat” electronically across the miles about all sorts of random topics. Those are wonderful, please don’t get me wrong.

I realize that many of you reading this right now are those sorts of “friends” to me. But today I am specifically referring to the real-life-flesh-and-blood-in-your-physical-company kind of friends.

… Monica, Rachel, Phoebe, Chandler, Ross and Joey … Jerry, George, Kramer and Elaine … Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha … And to be fair to the bros out there … Vince, “E”, Ari, Drama and Turtle …

There’s a simple reason why these famous “friends” from popular culture have worked their way into our living rooms and ultimately our hearts over the years. We all want what they appear to have. They have a bond and a closeness that cannot be denied. Someone is always there to bail you out, cheer you up, calm you down or stay in with you and share a bottle of wine.

Some people are fortunate enough to have friends like that in real life. But sadly, for me, I am not one of those people. Make no mistake. I have some amazing friends with whom I have stayed in touch over the years, but we no longer live in the same state, let alone the same city. And the ones who do live in close proximity… well, it seems we’re all too busy with our own little lives to make the time to nurture a friendship. And I am equally as guilty as anyone else when it comes to this.

But now, at 36, I am wishing for that close friend or friends with whom I can share anything. ANYTHING. The kind of friend…

  • who would tell me what a jerk he is (even if he isn’t) because it is what I need to hear in that moment.
  • I have a standing date with on Monday nights to watch The Big C, Nurse Jackie or The United States of Tara.
  • who would tell me the harsh truth no matter how hard it is to hear.
  • who would NOT post compromising, reputation-altering or career-threatening photos or videos of me on Facebook or YouTube (no matter how great their viral potential may actually be).
  • who lived nearby and would show up at 3 a.m. if I think my cat is dying (or just hacking up a giant hairball).
  • who would help me hide a body if necessary (just sayin’).

Any interested party, living within a 15-mile radius and fitting this description please feel free to submit an application to yours truly.

Willingness to share shoes, accessories and clothing a plus. Co-dependant, jealousy-prone, psychopathic, passive-aggressive narcissists need not apply.

Red Flags

Flipping through some old journal entries, I was reminded of a horrifying misadventure that took place a few years ago. The mere recollection of it still sends shivers down my spine… as I’m pretty sure that I spent the better part of the following year trying to recover from it. In an attempt to exercise the demons that still haunt me after this dreaded event AND perhaps provide you readers with a few laughs… I’ve chosen to share it.

I am aware that many of you have (at one time or another) experienced a similar horror. If so, my heart goes out to you. Hopefully yours wasn’t as bad as mine, and if it was… I hope you’ve made a full recovery, or you are actively seeking help. Perhaps yours was worse, or perhaps—and I understand that this is rather uncommon—your experience was quite positive and may have even had a happy ending.

The event that I am referring to is the single person’s worst nightmare: The Dreaded Blind Date.

Up until the fateful night, I had never been on one of these. Since my divorce I have been set up a time or two, but even then, I always had the good fortune of meeting the person in a nice, neutral setting along with the setter-uppers beforehand. I’m not even sure if I ever would have gone on a blind date, had I not been TRICKED into it. That’s right, my friends, I said tricked. And that, should have been the FIRST of MANY red flags that I would soon see…

Rather than tell you the whole story of the ill-fated evening, I thought it best just to hit the highlights by chronologically listing the events of the date in the order in which the “Red Flags” appeared.

Red Flag #1 – You are TRICKED into this rendezvous by an ornery neighbor who has a penchant for lying.

Red Flag #2 – Your “date” is good-looking, has two college degrees, a great-paying job, has custom built his own home in a fancy sub-division, drives an expensive, tricked-out SUV, is 38 years old… and STILL SINGLE.

Red Flag #3 – Aforementioned date (let’s call him Max) decides that instead of meeting at a nice restaurant in a nearby metropolitan area (from which there are many to choose), you should meet up at a BAR in the middle of nowhere. And I mean cornfield-and-cattle-middle-of-nowhere.

Red Flag #4 – After meeting “Max” for the first time at said bar-in-the-middle-of-nowhere, he spends more time talking to the regulars (who he claims NOT to know) than he does to you.

Red Flag #5 – Of all the empty tables in the place, Max chooses the only one that has a severe downward SLOPE, making everything on the table slide toward the floor, hence causing you to chase after your food and beverages the entire night.

Red Flag #6 – When Max DOES finally sit down and talk to you, he cannot seem to talk about anything other than the fact that he was the quarterback of the football team and basketball team captain in HIGH-SCHOOL!

Red Flag #7 – Max reveals to you that he is somewhat of a “neat freak” who feels compelled to MOP his GARAGE floor every single night so that he’ll never get his socks dirty should he decide to venture out there without his shoes on. Every NIGHT. Freak.

Red Flag #8 – Max all of the sudden takes a notion to just get up, LEAVE the table and WALK away without ever saying a word or excusing himself.

Red Flag #9 – Max orders another beer, and another beer, and another beer (you get the idea) and finds it amusing to keep SLIDING the bottles DOWN the table—due to the previously noted slope—WHILE you are speaking.

Red Flag #10 – As multiple beers begin to take effect; Max begins referring to himself in the 3rd person. Examples: “Max liked his dinner” and “Max is going to have another beer” and “Max needs to go to the bathroom”… Seriously people, I am not making this shit up… he actually did this. All of it.

Red Flag #11 – As additional multiple beers begin to take effect; Max now refers to himself as “Uncle Max.” Examples: “Uncle Max is tired” or “Uncle Max wants to know if you’re having a good time” or “Uncle Max wishes he didn’t have to work tomorrow.”

Red Flag #12 – After a brief inquiry, it is revealed that, in fact, “Uncle Max” has no nieces or nephews. That’s right. You can figure that one out on your own because I’m still trying.

Red Flag #13 – At the merciful conclusion of the date, Uncle Max insists on driving home while extremely intoxicated, and actually PEELS OUT of the parking lot after walking you to your car… never asking if you know your way home or feel comfortable driving yourself out of this “cornfield-and-cattle-middle-of-nowhere” and back to civilization.

Of course, I never heard from OR called Uncle Max again after that Terrible-I’m-Going-To-Need-Therapy-If-I’m-Ever-Going-to-Date-Again-Evening. However… the universe, being as ironic (and sometimes) benevolent as it is, gave me the opportunity to meet not one, but TWO of Uncle Max’s ex-girlfriends about a year later. And I have since learned that he has a reputation in at least 4 counties for being quote: “A little-off-his-rocker” and “A total whack-job” as well as “Unable to make a commitment” AND “A Recovering alcoholic”—who oddly enough, still gets drunk on a regular basis.

Needless to say, I have learned from my terrible experience that one should proceed with EXTREME CAUTION when going into a blind-date situation. Because unfortunately, the crazy ones don’t show up surrounded by yellow caution tape, bright orange cones or flashing red lights.

Since the whole dreadful-date-night-debacle, I have been seeing someone very special (in addition to my therapist). He is a wonderful guy and my best friend. He is also the most grounded, kind, thoughtful and selfless man I have ever been in a relationship with. So apparently the “good ones” ARE out there… even if they can be a little tough to spot.

What I Know So Far

That life picks up speed the older you get.

That no matter your real age… you’ll always be 18… in your mind.

That my parents and teachers were totally telling the truth. About most things anyway.

That I will fall down.

That I will get back up again.

That second chances are extremely rare, so if you get one… seize it.

That opportunity is not something to be questioned, but something to be grasped firmly with both hands.

That the difficult choice and the right choice are usually the same thing.

That reality and expectation never look the same.

That sometimes sadness does not have a name.

That if you aren’t paying close attention, you might miss something wonderful simply because it didn’t arrive in the package you were looking for.

That it is better to be single than to wish you were.

That there is no statute of limitations on finding Mr. Right.

That certain people will never be worthy of my time or energy.

That I can never regret something I did NOT say.

That worrying myself sick about it won’t fix it.

That “laugh lines” are only “charming” if they are on someone else’s face.

That the ones already on my face… are here to stay. And they plan on bringing friends.

That life will NOT look like it does in the brochure.

That that isn’t always a bad thing.

That “normal” is overrated.

That anything can happen to anyone, anywhere at anytime.

That I shouldn’t be so shocked when trouble finds me.

That I shouldn’t be equally as shocked when goodness finds me.

Please, dear readers, leave a comment and add to this list. I’d love to know what all of YOU know so far… Thanks for reading.