Thursday, July 29, 2010

Why I'm glad my friend Zac is leaving New York, and you should be too

My friend Zac is moving to New Orleans tomorrow. This friend Zac. The one who once wrote that Harlem is at the center of today's creative universe.

If you ask my friend Zac why he's moving to New Orleans tomorrow I'd guess he'd say one of a few things. He's ready to take a break from Manhattan. He's inspired by the art and culture and Southerness of that particular southern city. He's looking for an adventure to inform what he should do next. He has a place to stay there and a bike to ride the short distance from that place to the famous French Quarter.

All good, fine, and true answers, but not enough to tell the guts of the story. To get to that you'd have to ask Zac a lot of questions, and he's not a huge fan of answering small-talk questions.

Luckily, I don't care.

The guts of the story starts a few months ago when my friend Zac left his job as an editor at a prominent, national magazine. It was a great job by anyone's standards, and by Zac's own definition, it was a dream job. Quite literally, the exact kind of place he envisioned himself when he packed up his skinny suspenders and moved from Mississippi to Manhattan.

But then, after a shorter time than he imagined, that feeling of yes-this-is-right just...passed. It wasn't that the job wasn't what he imagined. It was, and for a period of time he loved it, but then the reality of living on that job's salary in this city while attempting to pursue all the other dreams that started to pop up became too...limiting? See Zac is capable - annoyingly so - and so the idea of also writing and directing short films, experimenting with theater, or transitioning from magazines to novels became less just ideas and more gnawing desires.

People deal with desires in all sorts of ways. Some flat out ignore them. Some find a way to address them while still going about the lives they've set in motion. Others decide to slowly transition into a life that better incorporates those desires.

Zac is none of those people. And not because he doesn't have the whatever-it-takes to handle desires in such a manner. It's because he doesn't want to.

Zac quit his job, picked up a freelance writing gig, and started making his side projects the main event. Some days he slept half the day away. Some days he stayed up 24 + hours shooting short films based on the works of our poet-friend all over Times Square. He may or may not have dedicated a never-to-be-mentioned number of hours on a Lady Gaga concert costume...

He sat and he worked and he tried to figure out what should come next.

And then one day what-comes-next started to take shape as New Orleans. There were practical reasons and emotional ones. There was also the help of a mad-cap, one-night trip to visit via a $10 round-trip flight that Meghan found on jetblue. But again, that's not the important shit.

To Zac the important shit is that he wants to go. It's a know-it-with-your-gut thing. Definitely not permanent (he has road trips and European bucket-lists on the back, or rather, next burner), but significant enough to warrant leaving a set of best friends, one damn-cute apartment, and the city he'd come to call home.

What will he do for money? What will he do for friends? Is he worried about savings and career direction and establishing networks and planting roots?

He doesn't know. He'll figure it out. And no, he's not. It will unfold in ways he can't anticipate, teach him things he wasn't aware he needed to know, and change him, which is really the whole goal.

Do you have a friend like Zac? One who looks at the way life is and says, "um, o-kay but I'd rather..." - whose understanding of a path has absolutely nothing to do with a straight line - who wants more than just one dream - and who isn't concerned about what you think about all those things?

If you don't, I recommend finding one, fast. Because in the incredibly short time I've known mine he's taught me more about the boundaries of...ourselves, I think, than people I've known for decades.

So like I told him - I'm fine with him leaving. Pissed because I'm down one killer stage manager, but fine. Because if Zac leaving means he'll continue to be our beacon of well-let's-just-dive-in-and-live-as-big-as-we-can then I can handle missing him in exchange for the wild and inspiring ride that will be watching what happens next.

Bon voyage, Zachary.

Photo credit: Jenny Anderson

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The husband litmus test


Time to come clean about something I think will prove wildly helpful regarding the pursuit of correct life partners.

...that or forever confirm that I'm a total nut case. I'm willing to take the risk.

There is a universal standard by which I uphold all men who reach the point of wow-I-like-this-guy in my head.

Not like - has a solid 401K (I'm not a hypocrite), can fix basic plumbing (this isn't the 60s), or is willing to go vintage clothes shopping with me (that ship has sailed).

As in, once a given guy reaches my we've-got-a-contender stage (whoollee other story) he's judged against my perception of his abilities in a very specific circumstance. A hypothetical circumstance, but of the realistic not McGrubber variety. A sort of maybe-boyfriend slash husband litmus test.

It's the planning and execution of our future child's 5th birthday party.

(Yeah. You’re right. This is the post that's going to keep me single for the rest of my life...)

See I love parties - parties of all kinds. It stems from a love of general entertaining that I'm sure has something to do with minor OCD of the organizational variety mixed with a real thing for both food and appropriate soundtracks for a given occasion (the creation of which cannot be underestimated).

My parents are entertainers. Their parents were entertainers. And as such we had some killer birthday parties growing up. They generally revolved around a theme dictated by the birth month of our year. Dani (December 2nd) had a number of holiday themed parties, one Nutcracker Ballet event and a few fetes involving ice skating. My situation (August 7th) usually revolved around a beach, pool, sprinkler or, from '89-'94, full-backyard-sized parachute (there were songs involving games involving prizes, involving sparkles).

Ergo -I very much appreciate a good party. They’re fun. They’re meaningful. And now I’m going to stop justifying this situation because we’re talking about parties here, and when I hear a person say, “I really hate parties” or “I’m not really into celebrating my birthday” I think – “well then you’ve clearly never done it correctly.” Fine.

Now as I grew older and shifted from playing-and-posing in a brand new dress to planning-and-posing in a brand new dress, I started to notice the significance of exceptional party planning and execution skills relative to the overall value of a person.

They say good clothes open all doors (which they do) and that you can tell a lot about a man by the relationship he has with his mother (which you can). I’m saying you can most accurately determine how a man will be in all aspects of life by the manner in which he would handle the planning and execution of his child’s 5th birthday party – boy or girl. And to clarify – I’m using “how a man will be” here to represent a number of things: how he will behave around children, how he will handle the in laws, how he will compromise on major life decisions, the skill with which he will grill hot dogs and hamburgers. The stuff of life.

How will he scold the two kids he finds kissing in the Playschool pink cottage? Will he video tape the opening of the gifts with an eye-roll or a tripod? When my parents arrive with fifteen gifts and a second cake they got from the Italian bakery will he give me the look of death or a loving squeeze? These are the questions of a life together...

Why a kid’s birthday party? you ask. Why not Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas brunch or an Easter egg hunt? Aren’t they equally significant and perhaps more tedious? Yes, but no. See, the crucial difference between an given national or religious holiday and the celebration of a child’s birth is the child. Thanksgiving dinner is the same every year. Buy a turkey, cook a turkey, carve a turkey, nap. You could argue the same for any other holiday. There are traditional foods, traditional acts, and the traditional clean up that any couple will fight over regardless of how amazing the guy (or girl) is.

With a kid’s birthday party there is a client – and that client - in the case of my all-telling hypothetical – is a 5-year-old. It has to be original. It has to be appropriate. It has to consider proper safety for school-aged children. It can’t be too expensive (can’t spoil the kid) or too impractical (this is a child we’re talking about), and it must allow for a close-if-not-equal amount of enjoyment for the parents required to attend (without the inclusion of alcohol). The options are endless. The potential issues, even greater. And yet success holds a value more significant than the two combined.

Everyone remembers the most fun birthday parties they went to as a child. What they don’t remember is the stress and frustration it put that kids parents through. Unless, and here’s where my litmus test comes in – the parents of said kid were so compatible in the party-planning personality arenas that this event took nothing but a few to-do lists and a lot of love. They’re a team! A TLC reality show! She’s high-fiving him at the grill (a passing him a Solo cup with a special surprise). He’s popping her a kiss on the forehead (as he hands her a giant garbage bag for insta clean-up of the gift wrappings). And then, when it’s all said and done and gossiped about they celebrate with the greatest kind of sex there is.

We-threw-an-awesome-5th-birthday-party-for-Olivia sex (or whatever your first kid is named).

So, verdict? Nut-case? Or genius?...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The other side of yesterday's story or, today's dose of chills

After yesterday's post I received the following e-mail from one "M" - the female half of yesterday's "Sed" story. Subject line: We don't play baseball in Scotland, but I still get the metaphor.

M had a few things to clarify, a few more to expand upon, and a story about risk-taking in the name of romance that will give you chills. It's published here with her permission, and my awe.

"M"s side of the story

or, this is the girl you release the pitcher from the bullpen for

Hi Jessie,

I wanted to write to you and tell you that I got a really interesting text from "Sed" this morning. It consisted of: "Jessie wrote about me. I told her she could use all of this info. My decisions are past this part, but you may find it exciting to read about me, four weeks ago." He told me about your blog last week, and I've been exploring it, hoping to catch something about our story. Your advice for so many things is right on point.

Sed is an amazing man, but he may have shortened the story for clarity's sake. I am three-and-a-half-weeks into my life-changing move to Savannah. It feels like everything is speeding past me like reckless drivers on a highway. A bit of background about me: I had a three-year abusive relationship when I was very young, and never really recovered until about four or five years later. Since then, I've had my heart broken, done my fair share of splitting others' hearts, and became less trusting than I ever expected to be. I am a happy person. I am an optimist. But show me intense emotions in a confrontational way, and I go running for the hills.

So why move to Savannah? I've asked myself this many times in the past six months. I moved here because I couldn't afford not to, any longer. Sed is the only man I've held a flame for -- I was going to say "a burning candle", but it's more like setting a city alight. I've gone through all the stages of loving him... from puppy-dog to "you are changing my life and I never expected you at all". He's a confusing mix of familiar and brand new. I didn't know the man he is now... the man who actually lives in Savannah. I moved here for the man I thought he was, and the Sed I found blew my memory of him straight out of the water.

He is the first time I have wanted to hold firm, rather than setting off to flee. I read your advice to him, and it's great. But I have to correct you on one point. By no means did this happen quickly. We joke that things are moving fast -- by any normal accounts, they are. I had been here for 13 days and we adopted a kitten together because my landlord wouldn't let me take her home. We had the "girlfriend-boyfriend" talk. He knows I love him with all I have. Last week, I invited him to come home with me for Thanksgiving. I am going to his for Christmas. This morning, we talked about moving in together in September, before I have to move back to Scotland for my PhD. This sounds absolutely insane for a three-week venture of any kind or type. But the part I keep reminding myself is that this hasn't taken three weeks. It's taken seven years and three weeks. This morning, I told Sed: "I don't want it to feel like we're moving too fast." He replied, "We're not moving too fast. Maybe we're not moving fast enough. We've been behind schedule, and now we're just catching up."

Which leads me to pose a question to you: we all have our stereotypes about appropriate time, appropriate distance. We'll risk our hearts for a long-distance, long-term romance if we don't have to wait forever, if the locations are convenient for traveling or visiting, or moving. We probably secretly judge and admonish the people who meet one day and get married a week later. But why do we all hold to arbitrary conventions like "don't call her until three days later", or "don't mention marriage until six months in"? Why do we let other people dictate our timelines, or where we find ourselves in the world, when every physicist will tell you that time and space are relative points?

I convinced Sed to go on a trans-atlantic date with me while I was still in Scotland. I told him that if we both went out on the same day, at the same time, thinking of each other, we would find ourselves in a situation that is one-part reality, and one-part imagination. Between the two of us, I argued, we should be able to come up with a whole date.

Sometimes it doesn't matter how long it takes you to find someone, or how far you have to go to get there. I had all of these technical concerns before I came to Savannah, before I found Sed again. But why are we so obsessed with technicalities, when love is far from technical? I have no more fears or questions about what to do, or how and when to do it. I know that I love him, that we're here together now, and that all of the future decisions will take care of themselves when we get to them. I've waited seven years and traveled thousands of miles to finally be with him, when I really would have waited for seventy, and trekked the globe continually to get to this point.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Baseball metaphors and the most major romantic decisions


It wasn't until my friend - we'll call him Sed - posed the question relative to his own life-decision that I realized I've never tackled the when-do-you-take-the-major-romantic-leap-of-faith? issue. We've been through should-I-go-on-a-second-date-with-him-or-not? and should-I-break-up-with-her-or-no? And of course is-this-game-playing-ever-going-to-turn-into-something-real-or-not?

But what about do I ask her to move clear across the country for me after we've known each other for 6 months? Or, do I tell her I want her to finish her doctorate in the US instead of Scotland so we can be together?

Relationship defining or ending stuff. Life changing no matter the call stuff. Nicholas Sparks books stuff.

Here - in pieces - is Sed's story. Below that is my advice to him. Would I take that advice myself? I don't know. I've never had to, and I wonder if I ever will? Would you take the advice if I gave it to you? And, maybe more importantly, would you give me this same advice if I asked?

Sed's Story
"How do you know when to make that decision,
the one that pulls the closer from the bullpen?"

In high school I was briefly interested in this girl we can call M, she was three years younger than me so of course I paid her no attention. She would sit at our lunch table and I would not know what to say or how to say it. Life went on with that nervous rumble in my stomach every day during 6th period. Once I concocted a plan to get tutoring from M's brother, so i could be convieniently placed in her kitchen when she arrived home. We made plans to accompany a friend to the movies so he did not have to go on a blind date alone. We kissed once in my Jeep. Then life shot us in different directions. I went to college, she finished high school. We saw each other a few times here and there, then I got into a serious accident. I called her on her birthday while in recovery. we met up once again after that, the night before she left for Scotland. I kissed her goodbye out of left field (but it was entirely necessary and at the right moment). Life went on...

6 months ago she messages me out of the blue. We begin to email and gchat, and pick up in a new direction. Somewhere in that time, she makes a decision. And not a light one. But rather a big league one. She decides to move back to the U.S., more specifically the south, more specifically, Savannah, Georgia - miles from where I am. All the while I have 100% wanted this to happen. She tells me I am a new person and 10x the man she expected. I cannot get enough of her. She thinks she is falling for me. It's story book...

Now the ball's in my court. She will be here until January when she plans to go back to Scotland to finish her Doctorate. I am torn to whether I should let this grow into something important only to have it be taken away (physically) or keep her at a distance. I've already been thinking about asking her to stay, or even seeing what Scotland has to offer. She does quite a bit to move me, in all directions. It is lovely and exciting but maybe it's just the dramatic entrance.I don't know, it might just be the romantic in me.

How do you know when to make that decision, the one that pulls the closer from the bullpen?
My response
which on a second read isn't technically advice...

I have a few questions of the logistical variety, but they're not wholly important to what my answers slash thoughts will be. They are:

-how long has the new, old romance been going on between you?
-how long will she be in Scotland finishing her doctorate?
-to what degree have you two talked about your desires to be together? Has she at all referenced staying (for you)? Have you at all referenced going (with her)?

In my head I'm thinking - this situation has developed quickly so a big move on the part of either person is, well, big - but this isn't a "head" thing, unfortunately...

What would I do? Let her go to Scotland. Keep as in touch as humanly possible making clear how strongly I feel about her and saying I want to try a long-distance relationship to gague our feelings for each other over a little more time. If it continues to grow to the point of it being damn-near certain that it is right - I'd move, or have her move and finish her doctorate in the US. Scotland is as far from Georgia as LA is from NY. That's far, but not so far that I think she shouldn't go and try it and you shouldn't wait a tad before making a major move there.

But those are the specifics. You asked when you know it's time or right to make that move. I have absolutely no idea. But what I do know is this:

There's only ever 3 things that can come from a decision like this.

One: you take a major risk and end up together forever or for a long while.
Two: you don't take the risk and things dissolve or get complicated and evetually
dissolve. And the dreaded/multifaceted
Three: you take the risk, it doesn't work out and...

But And what? And you move back from Scotland to live life in a different direction? And you are hurt/confused/lost for awhile? And you missed out on opportunities? Other girls? Jobs? And you never love again?

Yes, it could be one of those things. All of those things. And they're all bad things. The question I always ask myself when faced with just this kind of what-should-I-do? is - what's the greater risk? All that maybe bad stuff, or never ever knowing if this was the thing that was most right.

Heavy, I know. And not a real answer, I also know. But did you ever read a story about the guy who met the love of his life, had the opportunity to take some major risks to discover if she was really the one, decided against that and just kept trucking along.

Right. Because no one wrote the book. Because no one wants to read it.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Suburban Sabbatical Week 10: My Busband and me

I realize it's been weeks since I've updated on my suburban Summer. It's not for lack of material. It's just that once I start in on a topic - no matter the direction - it somehow downward spirals into the conclusion that living 1.5 hours bus-ride-hours away from your entire existence suuuucks. And I try not to say sucks too much; it upsets my Mom.

But after 10 weeks of commuting four hours a day I am pleased to report that I've found the silver lining in my 5:15am mornings, 10pm arrivals home, and I-currently-share-a-room-with-a-21-year-old... His name is either Evan, Sam, Josh, or Jake (but maaybe also Bobby) - but to me (slash my entire family) he is my Bus-band.My Busband takes the Route 139 NJ Transit 55-seater from Freehold Mall to New York's Port Authority Bus Terminal ("The Poop") - just like me. We tend to hit the 6:53 non-express piloted by either 75- year-old-Darryl-Hannah or Everyone's-10th-grade-geometry-teacher (so, Mr. Pendergast). But one Tuesday and two Fridays we enjoyed our respective home-brewed Dunkin French Vanillas in our respective (parents?) homes and read the New York Times on our Mac laptops for just five more minutes before sauntering to make the 7:03, I imagine. We both love to live on the edge (three times), and have a soft spot for Ted-Danson-Cheers-years, despite his insistence on saying, "Aaanndd, Elvis is in the building folks!" when he arrives at The Poop (every GD time...).

My Busband and I have yet to speak (verbally), but I'm fairly certain he works in either advertising, engineering, journalism or at a non-big-four accounting firm. This I've deduced from a combination of explicit clues and things-I'm-making-up. For example: his dress.

Business casual but with a tendency toward button downs and Ferragamo loafers (we'll get to those) versus polo shirts and/or dressy T's with boat shoes. Finance or major accounting firm and he'd be in a suit or at the very least tie. Also, there is a bus that goes directly to Wall Street, which he's clearly opting against. I've determined this is either because he does not work anywhere near Wall Street or because he noticed my arrival at the Route 139 to the Poop while in line for the Route 325 to Wall Street and decided - hell, I'll just take the subway. Unclear.

So finance, good accounting firms and probably law are all out leaving us with the list of options I'm willing to allow for our life together: engineer/architect, journalism, and ad agency. As I see it, these professions attract the type I refer to (affectionately) as the Metro-Nerd. Non-gelled hair but in a well-kept cut. Newspaper in tow, but the read-order goes Front Page then Sports. iPhone or latest Blackberry, but no Kindle or Nook. This is Metro-Nerd not Techno-sexual.

It is worth noting that my Busband carries a fashionable male messenger bag (yes, Jack Spade), which does make both his sexuality and relationship status suspect but he drives an incredibly old Jeep Wrangler (soft top), which is not the car of a gay man or suburban fiance (stereotypically speaking). And I know - there are those pristine Ferragamo loafers, but they're black and he sometimes wheres them with outfits clearly requiring a brown shoe. No gay man would make that mistake and no girlfriend would allow it to be made.

And so we go on - morning in and evening out - enduring this silent dance together. When he boards the bus before I, I saunter past his regular spot (left side, 6th row in, window position) with obviously purposeful non-direct eye contact. A sort of non-hello hello with an undertone of we're-in-this-together-but-not-like-I-call-you-my-Busband-or-anything-weird-like-that...

When I board the bus before he, I sit down in any row before the 6th row on the left side, aisle position, quickly whip out my iTouch and speed-scroll to Podcasts: This American Life with the screen ever-so-slightly-angled to the side so passers-by may see my intellectual en-route routine.

Do I long for the day when we might finally speak - a, "hhm, the 6:53 is late today...wonder what the issue is?" or, "(yawn) Friday's are tough, huh? 'Least my media agency job allows me to wear jeans. You?" Yes, of course I do. As you know, long-drawn-out processes for meeting mysterious potential husbands is kind of my forte.

But do I really want to date this fellow Monmouth County money saver who's either on an identical campaign to bolster the Roth IRA (slash start one) or simply chooses to live 1.5 hours from his job slash life?

No way. He's either too young to make enough money to afford to live enough. Too foolish to have squandered away what he did, necessitating the move home. Or too committed to life in Freehold, New Jersey to consider moving closer to his entire livelihood.

None of those situations are datable. I mean, do you know how much it suuuucks to commute four hours a day every single day?!

To be continued.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What if no one's parents paid for anything after college?

High time for another series (because those have been so successful for us...), I think.

What If _______?

in which we pose an unthinkable question relating to the 20-nothing life then imagine how it would unfold if it came true.
(The "we" part happens when you submit comments)

Post #1: What if no one's parents paid for anything after college?

I mean no one's and anything. As in there would be no trust funds or graduation gifts of a new car or family cell phone plans. You graduate college (that part can be paid for), and you are fully and completely caught off from parental support. I'll allow the disclaimer that you can live in the home for free, but aside from the offerings customary of the home (washer and dryer, basic food, TV, and wireless internet), you're on your own.

If you're thinking - "that was my situation, and wake up, it's most people's" - good for you (and I mean that sincerely), but you're wrong. It's not most people's situation. Most people have some form of financial safety net after graduating from college - even if it's as small as a monthly cell phone bill.

Before we begin I think it's important to note that I had some but not lots of help after graduating from college. I was on a family cell phone plan. I was given all the furniture (in hand-me-downs and new purchases) that I needed to set up apartment shop. I had an emergency family credit card that I could use for a list of emergencies that never popped up (unless we're counting the floor-length winter puffer I purchased). I miiight have been able to ask for a small loan to start a new lease on apartment (I never had first, last, and security deposit saved) or take a trip (I put all travel on a credit card for the first three years of my adult life), but I didn't. My point is that I had support amounting to financial gain that helped me afford a New York City life at 21-years-old on 28K a year.

I also think it's important to note that I don't turn my nose up at 20-something who have been "set up." Given the incredible difficulty of starting at life in any major city on an entry level salary, I completely understand why parents think it most beneficial to the future of their children to help them financially.

Now back to the WHATIF?

First, we have to assume that more people would live home after college. They'd have to. So more young people would commute to major cities meaning public transportation would be more important meaning communities would fight to have it run better. Because you've got to figure if the parents who would normally be giving their kids cash had to focus their efforts elsewhere it would be on ensuring those kids have lit parking lots within safe and comfortable walking distance from the it-better-be-air-conditioned bus driving them home.

Also I've got to assume that if more people lived home they'd reconnect with other people living home, some of those people would fall in love slash get married and we'd have a greater influx of people living in their original hometowns. Unless we're referring to my town in which case the influx has no room to increase.

Let's assume some found jobs with salaries affording them the opportunity to live outside the home, say, in one of our country's major Metropoli. Now, I think we're clear on this, but to be sure, I'm not talking about people who make between 50+K straight out of college. That's what many grown adults make for their entire lives. Families are sustained on those salaries. (Read: if you're making that and still needed considerable and regular help from your family, I am now turning my nose up at you).

So these 25-50K earners would have to live in fringe neighborhoods and/or boroughs (if we're talking Manhattan). I don't have stats on the percentage resident by age in each of the neighborhoods of the nation's bigger cities, but I've got to assume some percentage is post-grads meaning those neighborhoods would see a reduction on renters. Without any statistics and damn-near zero math skills I can tell you that Manhattan's Murray Hill would cease to exist (I can say that. I lived there). So maybe we'd see rents come down city-wide? Or maybe gentrification slash yuppy-ization would be slower? different? somewhere else?

And what about those salaries themselves? What if the first two people an employer offered a starting salary of 28K, no benefits said, "sorry, I cannot afford to accept this job." What about the first ten. Magazines are infamous for paying their editorial assistants bare bones salaries. Wouldn't it be fascinating to see the top ten hires in their resume file and get the chance to ask all ten if they will be receiving some help from their parents in order to be able to take the job and live comfortably? Is it remotely possible that if enough of the talented post-grad work force turned down job opportunities with salaries too low to live on that companies would have to increase their offers? Or would it just become a battle of who was willing to go into more credit card debt...

Would their be more credit card debt or just less shopping and drinking? And if there started to be less shopping and drinking would restaurants and stores charge less? Would everyone have more second jobs in places like restaurants and retail store leaving less time for the pursuit of hobbies and side projects and start-up companies? Definitely less time for drinking? meaning less hooking up? meaning more traditional dating??

If absolutely nobody's parents paid for absolutely anything - would it be like the 50's? Or the 60's? Would we all mature faster and marry earlier and have bigger families and pull ourselves up by our bootstraps? And if that happened would we all end up like that tragic couple in REVOLUTIONARY ROAD?

It's crazy to think about because it will never be true. America is too wonderfully huge, " democratic and " capitalistic for a trend like that to ever take hold (or be forced). But you have to admit how titillating (real word) it is to wonder, what if?...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

I can handle being disappointed. Why can't you handle disappointing me?

Disclaimer: this post has no relevance to my current life. In fact I have, as of late, been the opposite of disappointed. I just wish I could say the same for some friends slash acquaintances - hence this post.
Have you ever been disappointed? And (though this is probably a given) I mean because of a relationship issue.

Not like someone didn't call back after they said they would or blew you off for two complete weeks or canceled plans without any explanation. Those moves result in stark-raving, pissed-off, confused, hurt, and angry.

I'm talking what happens when you're seeing someone for a few weeks slash months, think it's going really well, want it to keep going really well, but then one day lob a "want to do Mexican Thursday night?" he says, "Actually, I need to talk to you about something..." and three hours later you're on the couch of whatever friend picked up first drinking whatever alcohol they had available.

That kind of disappointed. The, uuggh that suuucksss I thought I was donnneee kind.

Right. We all have.

So when they happened did you die? Like did you drop dead of disappointment? Or get really, really sick (outside of the post-sob-fest-hangover)? Did you - like - throw up with disappointment? Like he said, "I don't think this is going to work out..." and in reaction you threw up all over him? Or maybe you had a full-on temper tantrum? Like threw yourself on the floor in a fit of upset screaming NO, NO, NO! while grabbing onto his leg? Oooh, and then did you hit him? Like punch him a lot and maybe scratch his face a little and then five minutes in realize you fight like a girl and just start crying and begging (again on the floor holding onto the leg)?? This of course all proceeding the two weeks you spent postering every neighborhood he's ever been in with Kinkos-printed posters of his face reading DICK.

Right. No. Of course you didn't, because you are an adult who received some disappointing information.

you did some things you might take back upon instant-replay of the ordeal - asked why? more than once...tried to talk him out of it...pretended like you were totally going to break up with him during the same conversation (which, if that's going to be your move I advise against blurting out whatever break-up line he deals like a 6-year-old playing copycat). But I'm going to venture to guess you did not behave in any of the above ridiculous manners befitting of a child being told it's time to go to bed before Step by Step comes on.
You can handle being disappointed. We all can.

So then why are people SO terrified of delivering the news that results in that disappointment?

I have know guys and girl who've stayed in dead-end relationships with people they don't like for 6 plus months because they're too terrified to have a difficult 5-minute conversation. Then there are the people who resort to an e-mail break-up after a year of dating because they can't bare the thought of doing it in person. Or the real winners - people who are so unhappy in a relationship they can't find the courage to end that they just start seeing someone else. I know!!-she'll-find-out-I'm- cheating-and-then-end-it-with-me people.

I'm going to venture to guess that never in the history of a break up has someone dropped dead, passed out or (and please correct me if I'm wrong because I'd LOVE to hear that story...) thrown up on the spot.

I'd also put money on the fact that if one was to get slapped and/or made famous by a couple hundred telephone pole postings, it would be because they didn't have the a-heems to do it like a man.

So - long rant short - could you please just disappointment us. Make it fast and quick. You can even lie if you want and say it's not us, it's you and you're really, really busy right now, and your last girlfriend destroyed you. I don't care. Just get it over with in a manner befitting of our relationship instead of dragging us through some thing you know has no future because you're afraid I'm going to gouge your eyes out if you tell me we're not going to get married.

I'm telling you, we can handle it.