The Artist

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I met the Artist in the Spring of 1997 when I was 21, and she was 16. Her name was Melissa, and her and boyfriend at the time used to come into my work at TLA Video in Marlton and rent indie films and discuss music and pop culture. I took an immediate liking to her and I think her boyfriend took an immediate liking to me, and invited me with them to go see the Violent Femmes concert somewhere at a small club in north Jersey.

Now, I loved the Violent Femmes, but I also had a an attraction to Melissa that I knew from the start was taboo. First of all, she had a boyfriend, second of all, she was really young, extremely beautiful and had these big stunning blue eyes, big lips, and maybe it was some spell she put over me but I was immediately attracted to her for some cosmic reason. She kind of resembled Sally from “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” minus the stitching and the fact that Sally was a puppet. In fact, her nickname in high school was “Nightmare” for this reason specifically. I knew that there was an odd attraction to her, and that maybe her boyfriend didn’t see it, so I decided to go to the show with her, her boyfriend, and a few other high school kids. I mean, I was either the cool older guy, or the lame weird guy for hanging out with high school kids who couldn’t vote or legally order an alcoholic beverage yet.

I remember the club had a cage around the bar that you could only access if you were over 21. So there I was, inside the cage not drinking anything alcoholic because I didn’t start drinking for another 5 years, looking out at the Violent Femmes singing one of my favorite tunes, “Add it Up.” I looked over at Melissa and smiled, and she looked back at me and laughed because I must have looked like fool being on the other side of the fence, literally. Melissa’s boyfriend had a station wagon, and at the end of the show we all piled into it and started driving back to South Jersey. Somehow, I ended up sitting in the way back of the car in the extra seat that faced the opposite direction of the driver with Melissa sitting next to me.

As it got dark, it took all of my will power not to touch this gorgeous girl sitting practically on top of me in the way way back seat of a station wagon as her boyfriend drove us back to Marlton. Thing is though, I did kind of touch her, and she did kind of touch me. No kissing, just grabbing of things and intense eye contact, but believe me, it was enough for me to realize I was doing something I shouldn’t have been doing and that even though I may not have know it then, this event would eventually come back to haunt me 3 and a half years later when I would find out exactly what was meant by the phrase “you get what you deserve.”

For the next few weeks, I hung out a little more with Melissa and the gang, but eventually that all stopped when I guess the guilt got to her and she told her boyfriend about what had happened in the back of his car that night. He was pretty mad, and rightfully so. I mean I hooked up with his girlfriend 8 feet away from where he was. He hated me, and I deserved to be hated, and that was pretty much the last time I saw her for awhile.

It was mid August of 1998, and I was working at T.G.I. Friday’s as a server. One night the hostess came up to me and told me there were two girls at the front who wanted to see me. Here I am thinking what girls would come to see me at Friday’s? I wasn’t dating anyone, and my mom and sister definitely wouldn’t just pop in out of nowhere. As I made my way down the stairs to the first floor of the restaurant, I saw Melissa and her friend staring straight at me. What the hell was she doing here? I started to wonder if this was a set-up and was her boyfriend was going to pop out of the phone booth and hit me across the head with a lead pipe because of what happened last year? Also, I was not prepared for such a rendezvous as I was wearing my goofy Friday’s uniform which at the time was a red and white striped shirt, suspenders, and a stupid hat that COULD NOT be a baseball hat as those hats were a violation of the uniform code.

“Hi. What are you doing here?” I asked Melissa.

“I wanted to see you.” She replied.

“I broke up with Brandon…well, I’m going to break up with him.”

What the fuck? Is she for real? Is she setting up her next boyfriend before breaking up with her current one? I guess she planned this out pretty well. I mean, I appreciate that she is coming here to tell me this, but what does that mean for me?

Truth is, I still thought about her a lot. I know it had been almost two years since that night at the Violent Femmes show, but I had run into her a couple times at shows, & the AMC movie theater. Sadly, we never talked. God forbid Brandon saw us talking, he’d probably freak the fuck out.

“Ok.” I said. “Well, let me know when you do break up with him. In the meantime here’s my pager number.” (PAGERS!!!)

I gave Melissa my beeper number, and with that I went back to work, confused and slightly interested. I think a day went by and I was at a house party when she beeped me and I knew it was her because we all had codes back then that we would leave on each other’s beepers. Mine was 11, and Melissa’s was 108 which had something to do with a song, or a band, or the album title for a band whose name escapes me now. Anyway, I called her back, she told me she broke up with Brandon, she was single now, apparently had an agenda, and this is how I started to date Melissa for the next year or so.

Melissa and I lived in the same neighborhood in Marlton called Kings Grant. It was really convenient when I drove home at 3 in the morning from her place and only had to travel a half mile. We spent every single day with each other for the first few months, and like any couple who got together when we were young, my social status and hanging out with my guy friends took a backseat to hanging out with Melissa. She was Italian, gorgeous, and she had a really close relationship with her Mom who liked me from the start and who would allow me to stay over at her place until the wee hours of the morning.

Melissa was an artist and she had this amazing quality to be able to immerse herself in the process of creating something out of nothing. I respected that, and it kind of made me want to do something artistic myself. At the time, my friends and I were running an underground fanzine called Jr. Skeptic which reported the ongoings of the punk rock scene in South Jersey. We would interview bands that came to Philly or Jersey to play shows, write articles about life, review some really good and some really terrible music, and we were slightly known in the town as being the older kids who knew what was cool, even though the whole idea behind punk rock was to avoid the mainstream vision of what was actually popular and cool. Basically, we ended up being cool though no fault of our own.

Melissa and I never fought with each other. Almost every night after working at Fridays, I would make my way over to her house and her and her mom and I would smoke cigarettes, eat food, and talk shit on people. Those two loved to gossip, and to be honest, so did I. Her mom used to take us out to dinner at the Medport diner after her shift and she would always pay for me to eat. She even helped me get a job working with her at her textile plant in Berlin organizing documents and filing away invoices. It was totally boring work, but I appreciated it, even though I eventually quit working there and started at another restaurant.

I was definitely in love with Melissa. She was the first girl I truly fell for that didn’t hinge upon the fact that I realized I loved her after I had lost her, or when it was too late. She introduced me to a way of thinking and a credo that I still believe in today even though at the time I might have scoffed at the notion she presented that “Everything happens for a reason.” She checked her horoscope daily and did my astrological chart for me and I was astonished at how accurate it was. I spent Christmas and Thanksgiving with her and her family in Philly, I was friends with her Dad whom none of her ex boyfriends could make a claim to because he didn’t like them and he was a menacing six foot three Italian ex bodyguard for Mike Tyson with a distrustful attitude and an impending look on his face that made you never want to hurt his daughter for fear of getting your legs broken.

Things were sailing along quite smoothly for the two of us. I had dated her for over four months straight which at the time was the longest relationship I had ever been in. I normally wasn’t the relationship type, but Melissa changed all of that and turned me into a long haired, beard wearing softy who cuddled with his girlfriend on the couch and held her hand everywhere we went. She loved me, hated the fact that I smoked pot, and I guess at some level I knew this but chose to ignore it from time to time and perhaps that ignorance would eventually piss her off, but it wasn’t THAT big of a deal, was it?

Yep, we were happy and in a great relationship, but when it came to our sex life, the truth is it was pretty much non-existent. That’s not true, it existed, but on some what of an adolescent level. Why? Because only one of us had had actual sex at this point in our lives, and it wasn’t her. Melissa was a virgin and I knew this from the start. I had dated virgins before, but I was 23 going on 24 at the time and I had had sex with a handful or two of girls before I dated her and I really enjoyed sex.

Don’t get me wrong, Melissa was a great kisser and she gave killer hand jobs…. probably because of all the practice she got over the last 5 years or so while she was jerking guys off instead of having sex with them. What about getting some head you might ask? Well, thing is, she wasn’t really big on blow jobs either. In fact, I can count on one hand how many times she blew me over the course of our relationship. Come to think of it, I can count on one finger how many times she blew me, and even then it was only an attempt to blow me and not a full on BJ where the end result was an orgasmic experience on my end. Did this bother me? Not really, but it was definitely a hot topic so to speak in our relationship for a good solid 9 months.

Look, I’ll be totally honest here. I did at one point tell Melissa that my intention was to eventually consummate our relationship and if that was never going to happen, I needed to know so I could figure out if I wanted to continue being with her without the ability to have sex. A guy can only receive so many hand jobs in a years time without eventually wanting to know what it’s like to actually be inside of his girlfriend, instead of just being gripped like the handlebars on a bicycle on a regular basis. It’s not like I gave her an ultimatum and said, “fuck me or else I’ll break up with you,” but I guarantee you that’s probably how she remembers it.

There were a few other things about us that made me realize that perhaps we were a mis-matched couple and starting to grow apart. At a New Year’s Eve party in 1998, I got stoned fifteen minutes before midnight and came back to the party high as a kite because I didn’t really drink alcohol at the time. Melissa took one look at me and my bloodshot eyes and utterly gave me the cold shoulder all the way into 1999. I never could understand her hatred for smoking pot. I mean, I had just turned 23, I had a good job, I loved her, and at the end of the night I didn’t puke up all the Captain Morgan I drank and made her drive me home with a splitting headache like most kids my age.  In fact, I could still drive us home while I was stoned because at the very least I’d be cruising under the 35 mile an hour speed limit on Main street.

In the spring of 1999, things started to come undone. I had moved into a two bedroom apartment in Maple Shade with a guy I worked with at Friday’s, and literally two weeks after I signed the lease, I got fired from my cushy $450 a week serving job, which in today’s world is the equivalent to being paid $715 a week. I know it wasn’t a lot of money, but my rent was cheap, and having “no income” a week doesn’t pay the bills. It was at this time that I started working with Melissa’s mom in that shitty textile plant which only lasted a month or so. I did some odd jobs here and there and eventually found myself working as a server at Carrabba’s Italian Grill a few miles down the road from my place. Crisis was kind of adverted, but a new challenging situation would then arise.

One night in June of 1999, the time finally came when Melissa had decided she would say goodbye to her V-Card. Now, I had talked with her about this for awhile, and even though she told me it’s what she wanted to do, I still felt that on some level she was doing it more to keep me around than because she actually wanted to do it. Regardless, her Mom was out of town, I came over to her apartment where Melissa had candles and incense burning and we started to do the deed. This is where things got weird…..

Not a minute into it her eyes grew large and she stared at me with a shocked and upsetting look on her face like a deer in headlights. Now, I know the first time is painful, but the next thing that happened totally threw me for a loop. She suddenly started crying in the middle of it. Like hysterically crying. Did I do something wrong? Was she in a lot of pain? I know it’s very possible that it hurts, but my dick isn’t THAT big, is it? I didn’t know what to do. I felt helpless and I felt strange and I didn’t know how to react to this situation and it started to make me angry.

I wasn’t angry at her or anything like that, I just was angry at the situation because I wanted it to be perfect and now I felt helpless and confused. I felt like all of a sudden all of her past issues were coming to a head and being spewed out all over the bed on a night that was supposed to be a sexy and romantic moment in our relationship. I hated my life at that moment. I hated the fact that this was happening, I hated myself for pressuring her, and I hated the fact that this was not going the way I had planned and I didn’t know why. I don’t even think she knew why, or if she did, she never was going to tell me the truth. This was a bad idea, and after about fifteen minutes, she calmed down we put our clothes back on and we just sat there with almost nothing to say to each other.

Melissa and I didn’t attempt to have sex again for awhile, but she did attempt to smoke pot with me one night at my apartment, probably in a effort to see what it was all about and unfortunately that led to fifteen minutes of hysterical laughter interspersed with fifteen minutes of hysterical crying. This went on for what seemed like two hours.

“Are you ok?” I asked her as she blankly stared at my wall without saying a word.

She never answered, and she didn’t speak for a hundred and twenty minutes while I tried to get her to sober up by feeding her cheese and crackers with a side of diet coke. The reaction she had was so weird. I felt like I had a sick puppy on my hands and I was afraid to leave her for a minute and I just didn’t understand what the hell was going on. Needless to say, a few days later we broke up. I don’t know if it had to do with the last few weeks of experimental sex and drug use, or if it had to do with the fact that perhaps our thing had run it’s course. Just to be clear, I didn’t want to break up with her, but it’s something she felt she needed to do and she cut off communication with me for the next few weeks. That’s the one thing I did not appreciate about the way it ended. I had no idea how to fix this.

Look, I knew I wasn’t the best boyfriend in the world the last few months, and I’m sure the stress of me losing my job maybe put a strain on our relationship and perhaps there was some stigma that she couldn’t ignore when it came to the failed attempts at sex and weed smoking. Maybe she was pissed that when she went to college earlier that spring and had her own apartment in Philly I didn’t come by as much as I should have come by. Maybe she was pissed that instead of hanging out with her I was hanging out with my friends from work playing poker and getting stoned til 3am? Maybe she just had the foresight to see that this thing wasn’t going to get any better.  I was really upset about it for awhile and I used to hang with my best friend, telling him how depressed I was and how I was lucky to have him there for me while I whined and complained about how much I missed Melissa…..or so I thought.

One night in early October of 1999 I drove over to my best friend’s house to watch a movie. As I pulled up, I took a look at the cars that were parked outside as that was the way to find out who was all over there. I didn’t see many, but the one car I saw that didn’t normally belong there belonged to Melissa.

Wait…. what the fuck was she doing hanging out at my best friend’s house watching a movie? It was as if I didn’t even need to go inside to get that answer, but I guess I felt like seeing it for myself because I went inside anyway. I walked in the back door into the downstairs den of my best friend’s parents house where I had spent the last six or seven years hanging out eating food, horsing around, and watching the Phillies, Flyers and Eagles. I looked on the couch and saw him sitting there, a few feet away from Melissa. I said hello, and he said hello back, but neither one of them made eye contact with me, and that’s when I knew exactly what was going on.

Wow. Karma is a bitch, and apparently I had been dating karma for the last year and a half. I only stayed a few minutes because the tension in that room was unbearable for me. I left that night knowing that my ex girlfriend and my best friend were about to start dating each other and there was nothing I could do about it. Now it was all out in the open and I’d be lying if I said it didn’t devastate me, but to be honest, it didn’t surprise me at all. I guess that’s what you get when you hook up with a girl three years earlier in the backseat of a car driven by her current boyfriend. In a way, life had come full circle and I was reaping what I sowed. I didn’t like it, but in hindsight I got what I deserved.

I dyed my hair black the next day and I took a shitty job at a restaurant called Prospector’s on 38 in Mt. Laurel and I tried to busy myself with work, and get the situation off my mind but it wasn’t helping me. Then one night in November of 1999, after I had spent the last few weeks crying myself to sleep writing sad bastard entries in my journal and wondering why it all happened, I got a call from my friend who told me he had something he wanted to show me, and for me to come over after work. When I got to his cousins house he handed me a white pill with a little Tweety bird on it.

“Here, take this. You’ll thank me for it later.” He said.

That was the first hit of ecstasy I ever did, but it certainly wouldn’t be the last. There was something about doing X that night that changed my life forever. I let go of the anger and resentment I had towards my best friend and Melissa, and I started to envision a world where I wouldn’t let it bother me anymore. For the next few months my friends and I got caught up in the club scene and believe me, we did MORE than our share of tweety birds, mitsubishis, rolex, and double stacked ferraris during that time. I didn’t think about Melissa anymore and all I could do was create a place in my mind where I was able to live my life without her and my best friend in it.

Looking back now, that place in time had been filled with drugs, parties and late night trips to Atlantic City at 3 in the morning, but it still left me feeling empty. When I got arrested outside of Studio 6 in A.C. on April 1st 2000, everything in my life changed. I hadn’t talked to Melissa in awhile but she came over to see me the next day and her and her Mom and I went out to Applebee’s for dinner. I was cracked the fuck out. I probably looked like one of those kids you see on the MDMA episode of Drugs Inc., deshelved from spending the night in jail with his pupils dilated and a cold sweat dripping down my face. I was in a bad place, and even though this was the first time I had seen her in awhile, I knew that Melissa wasn’t going to save me. I had to do things on my own.

A few months later I sold my car and all of my belongings and I moved 3000 miles away to Seattle Washington, a city I had NEVER been to before, and I started a new life there where no one knew me. I could be anyone I wanted to be. I was so far enough away from New Jersey that I didn’t feel the pain every time I drove past a place that reminded me of her. I didn’t have the possessions that used to trigger a memory that no longer served me for good, and I made new friends and told them to call me Christian so at least in my mind I could think of myself as a healed soul living in the Pacific Northwest.

I lived there for two years, and it was probably one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I’ll probably write a blog about that later. As for Melissa, we kept in contact for a bit and when I moved back to the east coast in 2002 I lived with her and her roommate in Philly for a few months, but it never went back to the way it was. We were just two different people. She was experimenting with pot and ecstasy at the time (how ironic) and I was trying to figure out what the hell I was going to do with my life. I eventually wound up here in L.A. and it was about a year later when Melissa and her roommate moved out to Hollywood as well. Why? I’ll never know.

You might be wondering if we ever got back together…but that never happened. She had a new agenda and that ended up being dating one of my friends I met out here, naturally. I can’t say I was surprised. I guess that just ended up being her thing in life….dating friends of the boyfriends she used date. She was a really good artist too, but that’s not how I remember her. I really wish it was.

I don’t talk to Melissa anymore. I think it’s been almost 7 years since the last time we spoke and to be honest, I wouldn’t even know what to say to her if I did see her. I hear she had an arts and crafts store in Haddonfield that closed down, and she is getting married to a guy I used to be in a band with back in the late 1990s. As for my best friend who she dated for years? We’re still good friends. I made up with him a couple years later and to be honest I don’t hold any ill will towards him at all. We joke about both dating her now and we even have a bet every year at the Super Bowl coin toss and the loser of the bet has to accept the fact that Melissa is their proverbial “girl” for the next year. Trust me, it’s not an honor. I was just at his wedding last year when he married the love of his life and we still text each other almost every day. I guess there is some truth to the phrase “Bros before Hos”

The time when I lost my ex girlfriend and my best friend within a month of each other really did suck, and it hurt….but instead of letting it define me in a negative way and making it the reason I hate women and don’t trust people ever again, I used it to be the catalyst to make a huge change in my life that may have had to happen to me to force me to get to where I’m at today. I’m extremely happy with what the future might bring in the next few months, even though I still haven’t figured out the relationship aspect of my life. I know it will come in time. Melissa really did affect me in a way that I will always remember and hold true to myself. I still check my horoscope every morning when I have my coffee, I still appreciate fine works of art and the sounds of indie rock when the moment strikes me, and the day after she broke up with me I started writing in a journal and I haven’t stopped writing for the last fifteen years. I just think to myself sometimes that maybe I needed to get my heart broken so that I could heal my mind. Everything happens for a reason, right? At least that’s the way I choose to look at it.

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Her: 18  Me: 23

The Flight Attendant: Part 2

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I watched a few episodes of OITNB while Robyn and I went on to text each other back and forth for the rest of the day after I spent the night. Like I said before, I don’t really like spending the night at a girls place. Why? Well, first of all, I normally don’t have a change of clothes in the morning so not only is my hair all messed up from sleeping on it, I’m also still wearing the same wrinkled shirt and jeans from the night before. Second, I don’t know whether or not she has a drip coffee machine or one of those weird K-cup ones which I swear is slowly poisoning us as a race. What if she only has half and half instead of non dairy creamer, or sweet and low instead of equal? What if she doesn’t drink coffee at all? I can’t take those chances that early in the morning.

Truth is, with her I probably wouldn’t have cared and I would have stayed all morning over there if I didn’t have to feed my cat at 7am and I’m not just using that as an excuse to leave, it was just what I had to do. Having pets are like having children, but with less crying and no diaper changing. Besides, she was headed to the Gay Pride Parade that afternoon, and even though she kept begging me to meet up with her, I had absolutely no intention of going there. Not because I’m homophobic, but because the company I sometimes tend bar for was working the event and they had scheduled me, but I got out of it because I felt like there was something more important I had to do that day which ended up being going on a date the night before, and laying around the apartment watching Netflix with Robyn even though I didn’t know either of those things were an option a week before when I requested the days off. See, sometimes as a highly creative person like myself, I just go with my gut feeling, and my gut was telling me to stop at McDonald’s for a sausage egg and cheese McMuffin and hang around the apartment that Sunday with the A/C on.

Around 11am, Robyn sent me a selfie of her having a drink in the Hollywood Hills. Even though she pointed out how tired she thought her eyes looked, I still thought she was beautiful and I let her know that as well as the fact that there were a few other things I liked about her. I listed them in a text, and I even rhymed them like a Dr. Seuss poem. I got skills. I was feeling pretty good. I had just gotten laid unexpectedly, I felt like there was something new and cool happening, and I felt lucky for having met her being as though I wasn’t even supposed to be off the night I did. We went back and forth texting each other all afternoon, until I convincingly made her decide to come over around 5:30 to hang out with me before her red-eye flight back home to Florida at 9pm.

Can we eat something when I get there?

I have a cheese pizza waiting for us in the freezer.

You’re the best.

(Sent 5:01 6-14-15)

I know I am, and I don’t mean that in an egotistical, cocky kind of way, I mean that because I know I’m a good guy and I treat the girls I like with respect and honor. See, if I don’t like you, I just don’t make an effort at all. But if I do like you, I remember that you’re a vegetarian and I know to buy a pizza for us without any meat on it. Pretty simple really. I got her a bottle of Jack Daniel’s and ginger ale and she came over and we hung out, ate some food, had a drink, and lougned around and watched the NBA Finals until she had to leave around 7pm. I so didn’t want her to go, but I know she has her own life and this whole thing was new to us both and I wasn’t quite sure where it was going, but I knew I’d see her again, so I walked her down to the car like I did a few days earlier, kissed her and sent her on her way. She text me 20 minutes after she left.

Do you miss me yet?

Nope. And I’m definitely not making you a mix CD right now.

🙂 🙂 🙂

(Sent 7:55pm 6-14-15)

I’m not going to tell her I miss her, because that would be too soon to admit that….. but I am going to indirectly tell her that I miss her by saying I don’t miss her and then adding the part where I mention that I’m thinking about her by making a playlist/mix CD. I feel like nowadays you got to do stuff like that. I know it sounds weird, but I think both girls and guys appreciate slightly sarcastic and somewhat non offensive backhanded compliments when made at the right time in the right tone.

The beginning of dating someone is the best. Discovering who they are, their idiosyncracies and just basically getting to know each other are the times I cherish the most. She had been gone less than a day but we had text each other a lot and she called me the next night on her way home from shooting pool when she was pissed because the Blackhawks had just beaten her Lightning in the Stanley Cup Finals and no one in south Florida seemed to care. Another selfie and a few random pictures of lunch with her parents later, we would continue to communicate with each other every day until she returned to L.A. on Thursday. I knew I had only known her for less than a week, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t falling for her a little.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I was in love with her or anything like that, but I was thinking about her a lot and I was trying to plan out things for us to do when she got back into town so she would know that it wasn’t just a random act of sex and alcohol we had experienced but that I was really into her. On Thursday morning, the day she was meant to come back, I let her know I wanted to see her when she landed. She told me her schedule that day and we agreed to meet later that night at Jones in Hollywood for a drink. That night would change everything I had going for me with the Flight Attendant up to that point and it wouldn’t necessarily turn out way I wanted it to. Even to this day, I still don’t know why or how it happened.

I had been at Pink Taco with my friend Scott getting hit on by gold digging drunk girls who just came back from Vegas and who told us they had sex with guys for airplane tickets. Now, Scott and I were in no position to entertain these birds, and I so wanted no part of the conversation they were trying to have with us but I got to be honest, sometimes it’s amusing listening to and watching a trainwreck in action. After a few drinks and as it was getting closer to when I was going to meet Robyn, I started feeling happy, mainly because I was going to see her, but also because it was a way out of the situation with the party girls sitting next to us, otherwise known as  Dumb and Dumber.

I got to Jones around 9:30, and went outside to answer her call.

“Where are you?” I asked.

“I’m walking up behind you.” she replied.

I turned around and there she was, dressed in a black leather jacket, jeans and boots. It certainly didn’t look like she just came from ballet class at all. She looked really good, but there was something off about her. Was she a little apprehensive? Maybe. I couldn’t really tell what was going on yet, but I would soon find out. Albeit I was a little tipsy and in hindsight, maybe drinking since 6pm wasn’t such a great idea but regardless, I got us a round of whiskey and we took a seat across from the bar and stared at this guy who was apparently oblivious to the fact that his ass crack was hanging out.

“There it is.” She said as the guy leaned forward just enough to give us a birds-eye view of his butt.

She was being funny and sarcastic, but the overall tone of the night seemed kind of weird. Not weird in a good way like the night I met her and we both spent three hours cuddling which is something you obviously don’t do the night you meet someone, weird in a bad way like she was casting off and fishing for information that said to me I’m going to not like what is about to happen. She told me about how in the past she always screws up relationships and how she wanted to go to therapy and that she wanted to take things slow, and she wasn’t too keen on getting involved really quickly. Wait, what? Was she talking about me? Is this an extension of the convo we had for a second from last weekend where she told me that she didn’t want to talk about herself? Was she referring to another guy she recently met at a bar? Also, therapy? Would I have to go to with her or was she mentioning it as an option for her own self improvement? It seems a little too soon for us to meet with a mediator, and besides I had no health insurance. I couldn’t really comprehend what she was saying because yes, I was a little drunk and I couldn’t be sure, but all I kept hearing was things that sounded like that she didn’t want to see me anymore.

Backing tracking a bit…earlier in the night I had asked if she wanted to come by my place instead of going out. I only said this because I was already at home at 8:30pm, and maybe it was easier for her to come by my place but maybe, and I think possibly she might have misinterpreted that offer as me just wanting to have sex with her again.

If we go to your place, we’re going to go upstairs for a drink and then the bedroom, and then you know what’s going to happen next….

A part of me was baffled by what she was saying, that I didn’t know how to react. Did I want to sleep with her again? Of course I did, but it wasn’t the reason why I wanted her to come over. I mean if anything, I really liked her and wanted to be with her in a private setting to get to know her better and maybe we could play some darts or listen to some more music and maybe she would stay over and we would NOT have sex. Up until this point, I hadn’t seen her for like a week and every time I heard a text notification go off on my phone I got a little excited because within a few days we had sent something like 500 texts to each other and 250 times when I heard that sound go off, it was her texting me and my brain would release a little more dopamine. It’s true. Your mind enjoys the sound of a text or e-mail notification. Look it up.

Getting back to the night at hand, I feel like I’ve heard this song and dance before. When a girl starts pulling away and says to me “I’m not where you’re at,” I immediately turn on the defensive and I try my hardest to protect myself so I don’t get hurt. Look, I’m a highly creative person and I recently read an article that put things into perspective for me when dating a highly creative person like myself. (see article here)

What may not seem like a big deal to her, i.e. telling me she thinks we should take it slow, etc. etc. was kind of coming off to me as her pushing me away. It may not have been her aim to do this, but in my head it was kind of devastating. I might have been stand off-ish or asshole-ish, but that was really never my intention. To be honest, I don’t know what I said that rubbed her the wrong way and made things awkward between us. I don’t know how I acted that made her think twice about being there with me, and I can’t remember for the life of me why I didn’t just say “Yeah, that’s cool. Let’s take it slow.”

The one thing I do remember is how much of a blunder the last 15 minutes put us in. It wasn’t like an argument, and it was never even that dramatic, but all I remember was this horrible feeling in my stomach, walking her to her car and barely saying goodbye. I would take an Uber home where I would spend the next 48 hours physically and mentally destroying myself for acting like such a jerk and I didn’t even have to live out the next few days to know that whatever happened that night, fucked up whatever good thing I had going with her. It was a mess right now, and I hate mess so of course, I tried to fix it.

I would find myself looking at my phone, trying to replay the night over in my drunken head by trying to match the texts we sent each other with what events my brain could remember actually transpiring. She said she was sorry that night because it made me sad, & I apologized for acting like a drunk jerk the next day because I thought she didn’t want to see me again. She said that wasn’t the case at all, but the next day she also said that it caused her to take a step back and that she just felt weird about the whole situation. Great. Now I’m just a weirdo she slept with on the first date. Miscommunication is the death of me and the last relationship I had back in 2009. It is the worst, and I wanted so dearly to un-miscommunicate and explain myself, so I asked her if we could talk about what happened. This is the response I got back:

I’m working this weekend, but maybe next week we can chat. Although you know where I stand so I don’t know what there is to talk about.

Sent 8:55pm 6-20-15

Ouch. That hurt. I let it go for a few days. During that time I thought about her a lot, but moreover I thought about how I totally screwed myself by being drunk and disorderly that night, and the misconception of how I felt and what had happened vs. how she felt and what she was saying. I mean, was it just a big misunderstanding, or was there something else going on? Did she have five guys she was talking to on the side like a sailor has a girl at every port? She does fly around the country for a living, and I don’t pretend to know everything about her, but a part of me thinks that maybe she got a little freaked out. Maybe she doesn’t sleep with guys she meets three days earlier, or maybe she felt something for me and just wasn’t ready to admit it to herself. Maybe she just didn’t care. I knew I had to make an effort to talk to her, NOT text her anymore so I called her on a Tuesday morning, left a message and then she called me back twenty minutes later and I played it cool. I was all like, “Hey, I have this problem and I think you can help me.”

“Ok, what is it?” she asked

“I have this wedding coming up next month, and I could really use a smart, pretty girl like yourself with good fashion sense to help me pick out a matching shirt and tie.” I replied.

“Yeah, I’m pretty good at that.” She said. “I’m working all this week though.” (starting to wonder if this was an automatic response)

“Well, whenever you have time. I know it’s a lot of pressure” I said sarcastically.

I could tell she was smiling when she was talking to me by the tone of her voice, and I thought to myself… “alright cool, we’re never going to talk about what happened that night, but maybe we’ll go to Macy’s together and shop for dress clothes.” Ok, she called me back, so I’m not a total freak and there is still a chance, right? The thing about being in this predicament was that I didn’t want too much time to go by without seeing her again. I wanted to make another impression that wasn’t some uncomfortable 45 minutes at a bar where things were stranger than fiction.

I spent the next few days giving her space, but that didn’t mean that I wasn’t in my head trying to figure out what went wrong. It was a mess, and like I said before, I fucking hate mess. I either want it to be cleaned up so we can start over, or I want to know it’s done so I can move on with my life. I don’t feel this way about everyone, in fact I don’t even know how I was feeling, but I can’t remember the last time I spent so much time thinking about someone I had only known for a week and a half. Obsessive compulsive disorder much you might be saying? No, that’s not really it. I just hate being left in the dark. I’m from the “Why” generation that asks questions and expresses themselves and sometimes doesn’t relate to the quirks of this Millennial generation who seem to lack the ability to actually feel a feeling, then turn those feelings into words that they will then use to create sentences to communicate to people what they really think and how they really feel.  Maybe try it some time.

Four days went by and I hadn’t heard from her at all. I was watching old episodes of The Office and I spotted that Indian actor Frank who was hitting on her the night we met and I sent her a pic, but I never got a reply back. Having no idea where I stood was driving me crazy. I talked with a few friends of mine that week, and got advice about what to do, and the only thing that made sense to me was just putting it all on the line and telling Robyn how I really felt. I mean, she’s either going to reply, or she’s not…but either way….. what did I really have to lose?

On Sunday the 28th, I shot a scene for a web series where I played the head of an talent agency. It was like my Ari Gold role, and I relished in it and I did a good fucking job and was complimented by the director and the writers. I had deleted all of Robyn’s texts the night before at work and I had written a text of my own that I was planning on sending that afternoon. I thought to myself, she’s a Capricorn like me, we have a lot of traits in common, and playing it cool and trying to be funny just wasn’t working. Maybe she wanted to hear exactly the way I felt because to be honest, that’s what I would want. Let’s cut the bullshit, and get to the heart of the matter. I got home from my shoot, and before I changed out of my Calvin Klein suit I sent her these words….

Ok, here’s the deal. I have not stopped thinking about you for the last week. You’re always on my mind and it’s driving me crazy the way we left things. I freaked out that night at the bar because the exact same thing happened to me a year and a half ago when this girl told me she wanted to take it slow, but then I never heard from her again. I panicked. I thought the same thing was going to happen. Look, I’m far from perfect and I know I have my own issues to work out, but you are really special to me, and I respect you and I felt a real connection which I haven’t felt in awhile and I wanted to take our time getting to know each other, but I realize that’s not up to me anymore. For what it’s worth, I just needed you to know.

Sent 11:11am, 6-28-15

I changed out of my suit, into some relaxing clothes, did a few shots of Don Julio, grabbed a beer and went down to the pool to relax and get some sun. An hour later I got a text back from her.

These texts are a bit excessive.

12:21 6-28-15

Ok, NOT what I was hoping for so I had to ask what she meant, even though I kind of already knew the answer. Was she referring to the content or the amount of texts?  This was her response:

Both. I appreciate what you’re saying, but that’s a bit much. And the exact reason I don’t want to get into anything.

12:26pm 6-28-15

Wow…how insensitive. You know, there is a nice way of saying what she said, but that wasn’t it. I get it, she’s not into me anymore, but I’m pretty sure she definitely was a week ago. How does somebody just turn on a dime like that?  Sure, it was a relatively new situation and things happened quickly, but I didn’t do it all on my own. I admit, I may be guilty of being a bit impassioned and romanticizing things in my head, but come on now….I didn’t make it all up. I know when someone feels a certain way about me, then changes their stance because they’re afraid of getting close. I know when someone likes me, then acts like they don’t to make me go away. Maybe it was never meant to be, maybe I dodged a bullet, or maybe she should renew that prescription for her bi-polar medication.

I know I’m a good guy, I just sometimes make stupid mistakes when I get drunk like that night. Sometimes your mind understands something exactly the way it was intended, while at the same time all your heart hears is “blah, blah, blah.” It was true, a similar thing happened to me a year and half ago when I met a girl and after two weeks I guess I made the mistake of telling her how I felt because she broke it off the next day. I wrote a blog about her too. It’s under Ok Stupid because that’s how I felt at the time and in some way, I guess history really does repeat itself.

What’s so wrong with telling someone how you feel about them? When did “I really care about you” turn into the scariest phrase a guy could say to a girl? I’m a big boy, I can handle taking it slow, as long as I know that you’re communicating with me and being honest and candid. I don’t really understand how I meet women who are attracted to me, laugh at my jokes, hold my hand and kiss me back, but then the second I say “I like you” it makes them run for the back door like an illegal working in a restaurant that was just raided by the INS. I don’t think I’ll ever understand it, and that doesn’t mean I condone it.

It’s been almost a month since I received that text, but I never wrote her back. Why would I at that point? I mean, who was I even talking to? That’s not the girl who admitted to me that she had her friend strike up a conversation with us that day at the bar so she could meet me. That wasn’t the girl who used to kiss me with her eyes open, and that definitely wasn’t the girl who tried to convince me that her dragon emoji looked more like a dinosaur than my camel emoji. That girl is gone, and I’ll probably never see her again…. unless of course I happen to be on a flight on her airline to Vegas and she is working, but what are the chances of that happening? It’s not entirely my fault, I know that. I tried to fix it, I really did, but I guess this was the way it was supposed to play out. I got to admit I ignored some of the red flags she raised in the beginning, but eventually they all show their true colors. I can’t be mad, and I’m not upset by what happened, just disappointed because I don’t want to be thought of as this guy she was into for a week that eventually made her feel weird and then wrote a blog about it. That would totally fucking suck. On the other hand, her thinking of me in that way is taking the easy way out, and maybe that’s what she wants to do.

When you listen to your heart, you sometimes get caught up in what you’re hearing.

I live life with no regrets, but if Doc Brown showed up outside my place in the DeLorean I probably would choose to take a ride back to Birds ten minutes before I met her and tell myself to take it slow and get to know this one, unless of course that would have caused a paradox in the space-time continuum. On the other hand, maybe I wouldn’t change anything. I may be out a pair of underwear and an extra set of T-Rex socks, but I took a shot and I do have a great song and a killer playlist I made that I never got a chance to give to her.

Look, it may not have worked out, but I was true to who I am, and I put myself out there even if it was only to come back with a few fleeting memories and a lesson learned. It’s not like I lost any sleep over it, and to this day I still love that one song even though every lyric reminds me of her. I can’t get it out of my head. Maybe that’s a good thing.

The Flight Attendant: Part 1

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I met the flight attendant at Birds in Hollywood. I was there to have a few happy hour drinks with my friend, and I had been taken off the schedule from work that night, due to a totally unrelated issue with a liquor license at the club.

Birds is a local neighborhood bar on Franklin in Hollywood. I’ve been drunk, embarrassed myself, been kicked out of, sobered up, done blow in the bathroom, and felt right at home at this local watering hole. It’s my go to bar for when I feel like I want to be home drinking, but not at home. I’ve had a couple first or second dates there, but this night in particular was not a planned date. I got there early and took the last two seats at the back bar.

As soon as I got there, I noticed her. She had on white pants, a baby blue tank top, and these amazing eyes that caught my gaze immediately. I ordered a Stella from the bartender, sat down three seats away from her and stared….at my new smart phone while I waited for my friend to join me. About five minutes later, John arrived and we ordered another round of drinks and some food. It was great to catch up with John as I hadn’t seen the kid for three months, but in between conversations about work and what we’ve been up to, I kept looking over at this girl, and she kept looking over at me. At one point, I left to go to the bathroom and when I came back I saw John engaged in a conversation with her and her friend. Things progressed from there without a lot of effort, and I eventually bought her and her friend a round of shots, sat down next to her and got to know her name, her job, and the instantaneous attraction we had that neither of us could ignore.

What immediately freaked me out about her was this sudden sense of familiarity, followed by how she kind of looked like two of my ex girlfriends, peppered with a dash of Christen Press from the U.S. Women’s National Soccer team. I know I have a type, and Robyn had shoulder length dark hair, big features, hazel eyes, a great body, and her birthday was 18 days after mine. Capricorn on Capricorn could be good. Could also be disastrous, but I was willing to find out.

She loved dinosaurs, told me about her T-Rex tattoo that she couldn’t show me in public, and I told her how I wanted to take her to see Jurassic World and how I would even wear a button down shirt. Classy huh? Guess it worked because she agreed to our first date, and then right before John left for the night, I kissed her in the middle of the bar. Look, I normally hate public displays of affection, unless of course I’m involved in the PDA. Is it a double standard? Yeah, maybe it is, so feel free to call me a hypocrite because at this point in the night, I didn’t care and it was time for us, minus John to go to another bar.

At the end of the block lies the French wine bar La Poubelle. This is another cool hip hot spot in small town Hollywood. The two flight attendants and I walk in, and again I grab the last two seats at the bar. I order three glasses of wine from the bartender who I recently saw in that Jack In The Box “Sriracha” commercial. We chat for a bit more, then I excuse myself to the bathroom where I proceed to look at myself in the mirror and tell myself to play it cool, just like Travolta in Pulp Fiction.

“You’re gonna go out there, finish your drink, go home, jerk off, and that’s all you’re gonna do.”

Except when I returned from the bathroom, there were two guys talking to the flight attendants. One of them I recognized from TV. His name was Frank something, and he’s the token Indian guy in every sitcom or procedural drama on television that didn’t cast Kal Penn. His friend is some goofy Asian kid who was wearing sandals and probably just feeds off of Indian Frank’s leftovers, if there are any. After about thirty seconds of wanting to get rid of them without any luck, I pull out the big guns.

I know you. You’re that dude on TV, right? You were on Entourage!  Agent Raj!” I say in a sarcastic “now it’s time to leave” tone.

“Yeah man, I’m Frank.” He replies

“Hey Frank, I’m Christian. How do you know my girlfriend?” I say as I put my arm around the flight attendant who I had met literally four hours ago.

And that’s really all it took. Frank and his Asian flip-flop friend disappeared into the night and the flight attendants and I finished our drinks and I walked them home. One of the girls lived right across the street from the bar, and it wasn’t the one that I was interested in. However, when we reached her apartment building, she turned to me and said…

“Can you take care of her?”

“Yeah, she’s in good hands.” I replied.

And with that, I got into Robyn’s car, and we headed back to my apartment a few blocks down the road. She parked her two door Honda coupe with tinted windows in front of my two door Honda coupe with tinted windows and we went upstairs. I turned on some EDM which she made fun of me for, we played some darts, and we made out for the rest of the night while she tried unsuccessfully to befriend my cat. My cat is kind of a bitch and she makes you work for her affection. It doesn’t come easy, but Robyn was willing to try for a bit.

“I have to be up at 4am for work” She tells me at midnight.

“We should probably go to sleep then.” I replied.

It has never been easier to get a hot 27 year old flight attendant into my bed before that night. However, I had never really met a hot late twenties flight attendant at a bar before that night either. I know what you’re thinking….but the thing is, we didn’t have sex and I didn’t even try to. Don’t get me wrong, she was beautiful, and I was VERY attracted to her and I wanted to sex her up, but there was something about her that made me so fucking comfortable that all we did that night was cuddle. I know, what a fucking loser right? Well, fuck you! I don’t cuddle AT ALL!  I NEVER do it. In fact, the last time I cuddled someone was 2008, and the last time I had gotten laid was 2014 so you can OBVIOUSLY tell that I take one much more seriously than the other. It was one of those moments where I knew what I was happening was unnatural because I had just met her, but it just felt instinctive.

“This is weird, huh?” I asked her.

“Yeah, this is kind of weird, but I’m ok with it.” She replied.

With me laying on my back, and Robyn laying on my chest, we dozed off into the night. At 4am, the jarring alarm went off on my brand new smartphone I had gotten the day before. I didn’t know how to adjust the tune it plays, so we awoke to some strange and random female voice singing “Good Moooorning.” It was still dark out, but Robyn had to leave for work, so she took off my Flyers pants that she was reluctant to wear the night before because she is a Lightning fan, put her clothes back on and I walked her down to the parking garage and sent her on her way.

I immediately liked her, even though there were a few things about her that I chose to ignore. She was vegetarian, and I have NEVER dated a vegetarian before, but we had just met and I wasn’t really thinking about long term things, so I didn’t care. Now if she were vegan, THAT would be a deal breaker. Over the next couple days we texted each other and made plans to go see Jurassic World on Saturday for which I bought tickets ahead of time, in her neighborhood, on a Saturday night. She was really excited to see this movie, and I was really excited to see her, and a little bit excited for the movie. When she asked if I wanted to come over her place for a drink before the flick, I absolutely said yes.

She lived close to Venice, but far enough away that I didn’t see any pot shops or homeless people on my way to her place. I was wearing a pair of T-Rex socks I had bought a couple years ago. They’re blue, and have an orange Tyrannosaurs on them which matched the Tyrannosaurus tattoo she had on her upper left thigh which she showed me the night I met her when we weren’t in public. Truth is, it was an awful tattoo, but then again I can’t say anything because I have an awful tattoo of a cat getting electrocuted on my left leg. Come to think of it, we had that in common too.

I arrived at her place and she came out to meet me. She looked hot. Like cheerleader hot. She was wearing a black skirt, a fitted grey top, and white Keds on her feet. Literally, like what teenagers wear, but she pulled it off because

A. She had a good fashion sense and style, and

B. It made her just short enough that I looked kind of tall walking next to her.

Of course she tells me she deliberately made that choice so she didn’t tower over me, but in reality I’m 5’10 and she’s 5’7, and I totally appreciated her sarcastic sense of humor. She asked me what I wanted a drink, so I asked her what she had and she opened a cabinet in the kitchen and revealed to me exactly what I thought the liquor cabinet of a flight attendant would look like. It was filled with tiny airplane bottles of booze that she had probably stolen from work.

“I’ll have vodka….no…. whiskey” I said.

I don’t know why I said that because up until that evening, I didn’t drink whiskey, at all. Occasionally I’ll have a shot of Jameson but I feel like a new experience with someone is the perfect opportunity to start drinking something I hadn’t before?  Maybe.

We chatted for a bit, watched her weird neighbor do push-ups on the lawn in front of her place  and then caught an Uber to the movie theater. We sat through a pretty awful movie that night. I know some people really liked Jurassic World, but we both kind of felt a little disappointed. Like, how the hell is that chick running in high heels throughout the whole movie, and why did they have to show so many Brontosaurus deaths, and don’t you think the Velociraptor trainer should know that the huge dinosaur they created in a lab that is terrorizing the park was mixed with Velociraptor DNA???

Luckily, that would be the only disappointment in the night.  After the movie, we took another Uber to a bar on Venice Blvd. called Bigfoot West. Our driver had mentioned there was a warehouse party down the street, and creepily almost dropped us off in some alley until we both stated we did NOT want to go to some shady warehouse party. He kept making uncomfortable statements which made us more eager to get out of the car and into the bar where I got us two shots of Bulleit Rye, her favorite, and two Bulleit and gingers because after that piece of shit movie, we both needed a stiff drink or two.

We talked, watched people at the bar and after our first drink, started getting a little more comfortable with each other in the booth. I noticed how after a drink, Robyn became a lot more sociable and let her guard down. It seemed like she was really into me. I mean, I thought she was anyway, and I noticed a difference in the way she presented herself to me after a shot of whiskey.

An ex of mine told me that when a woman points her knees towards you while she sits, she’s into you. If she’s NOT into you, her knees will point away. Well, Robyn’s body language was telling me everything I needed to know about how she felt. They were pointed in my direction, therefore…into me.  We started talking about our past relationships, and I could tell after a few questions I asked, she didn’t seem to want to talk about it anymore.

“I don’t like talking about me, let’s talk about you.” She said.

Now look, I’m no psychologist, but I could tell right then and there that there was something in her past that she didn’t want to divulge to me, which was totally fine. We had really just met.  I will tell you anything when we just met so I went on to tell her how I had gotten arrested in April of 2000, and how a few months ago I had to go back to Jersey for a court case that I thought was taken care of until I tried to renew my passport and it got denied. I told her stories about my drug days when I sold ecstasy in Philly for a week, and sold pot in Vegas to make my rent one month. Even though I was coming off as a bad-ass, I assured her that I wasn’t into that lifestyle anymore. I mean, that was like 15 years ago and I had gotten past that time in my life, but it still makes for good conversation.

She told me how she hates Vegas but has to fly there a lot for work, and how she doesn’t really like Los Angeles but just like me has a love/hate relationship with it. We had a lot in common. We were both born under the same star sign, the same Chinese zodiac sign, we looked really good together and we both drove almost the exact same kind of car. As I kissed her in the booth that night and we made a spectacle of ourselves in front of a bar packed with hipsters I felt like this was really starting out well.

“Wanna get out of here?” She asked.

“Yeah. Let’s do that.” I replied

We stood outside and she told me she had a great ass, so I had to see for myself. She was right. She had a great everything. I gotta say, I would have been sick to my stomach watching her and I with our arms around each other making out on the sidewalk of the bar that night with my hand occasionally checking in on her butt while we were waiting for our third Uber of the night, but luckily, I wasn’t an onlooker.

When we got back to her apartment, she led me into her bedroom, I took everything out of my pockets and got into bed with her where we continued to be that annoying couple who can’t take their hands off each other, but the thing is, I really COULDN’T keep my hands off of her. There was this innate sexual attraction between us that instantly needed no introduction. We were on auto-pilot and there wasn’t anything weird about it for me at all, until a few minutes later when I could tell what was about to happen, was going to happen.

“Umm, I didn’t bring a…”

Now, truth is, I did have one, but how presumptuous of me would it be to admit that I brought it?  Would she think less of me?  Would it be something like “Oh this scumbag thought I was easy and figured he was going to get laid tonight?”  By the way, I don’t like the word condom so I was having difficulty even writing this part of the blog, but in reality, the dome was in my car and I wasn’t about to break the mood and get up out of bed to go get it. Without another word, she reached over and took one out of the drawer and handed it to me. How presumptuous of her!  (kidding) Even though I was nervous and kind of excited and in total disbelief that this was happening, it happened. I didn’t expect any of this three days earlier when I met this girl at a bar in Hollywood and then spent the next 11 hours with her NOT having sex but tonight, things were a little different. A full ten to fifteen minutes later, it was time to go to sleep.

“You should probably throw that out.” She said.

“I think I’m gonna frame it.” I replied as we both laughed.

But of course, I didn’t. What kind of weirdo freak would even consider something like that? I got out of bed, threw it away, and then I fell asleep with my arms around her. I think I woke up at 4 in the morning, it was still dark out, but I couldn’t really tell what time it was. I laid there for a few minutes and I looked at Robyn as she slept next to me. She was stunning even when she was asleep. Then, she rolled over onto her back, and she started to…snuffle a bit. I remember thinking to myself  “Please don’t snore, please don’t snore.” There is nothing less attractive than a hot girl that saws wood when she sleeps.

But then, it stopped, and I breathed a snuffle of relief. I couldn’t get over how crazy this was. For one thing I had just met her, but everything about her seemed so familiar. Even though I hadn’t slept with anyone in 6 months, and even though I hadn’t slept over a girl’s place in 4 years, none of it really seemed to be awkward. I’m very cautious when it comes to dating someone I really like, and I know I have a tendency to wear my heart on my sleeve, which is quite obvious by the name of this blog. Normally, it takes me years to find someone I care to see more than twice, and rarely do I find someone who I knowingly allow to deliberately pull me out of my comfort zone. I don’t stay over girl’s houses, I don’t refrain from cigarettes if she doesn’t smoke, (yeah yeah yeah, I’m quitting soon) and I don’t sleep with someone on the first date, unless of course that’s what naturally happens. I did all of those things that night, and even though I know right from the beginning if I’m into someone or not, it still made me feel a little uncomfortable to admit it to myself. However, the way I look at it, I’d rather feel something than nothing at all.

I dozed off for another hour or so, and right around dusk I woke up, and I started getting my things together. I couldn’t find my underwear. I’m sure it was somewhere in the bed, but I wasn’t going to make her get up for a pair of Calvin Klein’s that are easily replaceable. I grabbed my phone, wallet, keys and clothes, kissed her on the lips and told her I’d talk to her later that day. I quietly left her apartment, walked out to my car commando style, and played “The Heart That I’m Hearing” by Galantis.

It’s funny how music comes into your life at a time when it perfectly describes the situation you are in, almost like it was meant to find you. Ever feel like that? Well, that happens to me a lot, and that’s how I felt that morning. I had just downloaded it the day before I met her, and when I listened to the lyrics that morning, I heard that track in a whole new way.

“I’m gonna let my heart decide if this is real. A thousand pictures can’t describe how I feel. It’s like the world doesn’t exist, but I can still see it. And when I focus on your eyes, it’s your heart that I’m hearing.”

I got back to my apartment around 6:30am, fed the cat and put on the third season of Orange Is The New Black. I wasn’t tired, and even if I was, I don’t think I could sleep. About an hour later I get a text message from Robyn.

When I woke up and you weren’t here this morning, it made me kind of sad.

sent 7:17 am

That is kind of a great text to receive. I don’t know if she really meant that, or if she was still drunk, but regardless I appreciated it. Come to think of it, we only had two drinks the night before, so no way she was still inebriated. I liked her. I knew that, and I was pretty sure she liked me. At that point things were at an all time high with the flight attendant and we were crusing at 30,000 feet. But as I would come to find out, it wasn’t all clear skies. We were in for a little turbulence in the week ahead….

Part 2: Next Thursday July 23rd

Part 4: Ok Maddie

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Wednesday December 11th, 2014

The day after my first date with OkMaddie, the Flyers played the Blackhawks on Wednesday Night Rivalry. The Flyers lost that game by a score of 2-7. It was pretty much over after the second period when they were down by 4 goals. It was embarrassing and of course, I got bragging texts from OkMaddie throughout the game.

“Wow, love that goal song!” She exclaimed. She is of course referring to that stupid song by the Fratellis called “Chelsea Dagger” that they play at the United Center in Chicago every time the Blackhawks score a goal. You know, the one that goes “da da dump, da da dump, da da da dah daaah da dump!” I fucking hate it. I cannot stand hearing it. And then, 59 seconds later, Chicago scores again.

“Yes! Play it again!” She writes.

Now she’s pissing me off. I want to still like her, so I have to send her a text and concede the game at this point. Before I can even finish typing the text, the Blackhaws score AGAIN! 8 seconds later she texts me:

“What’s the score? I was out walking my dog.”

“Shut up. You know what it is.” I reply

She responds with a smiley face.

I turned off the hockey game at that point. Just couldn’t bear hearing that stupid song another time. Still, I never conceded the game so I better turn the tables here….

“Don’t worry,” I respond back. “I’ll get mine back this weekend when the Eagles crush the Bears on Sunday Night Football.”

And boy, did they ever. 54-11.

OkMaddie had a plan for our second date and she sent it to me via a text message. Here is what she originally wanted to do.

“I was thinking we could go on a coke binge, kill some hookers and then tell kids that Santa Claus isn’t real.”

I’m thinking that COULD be fun, but can we just push the hookers out of a moving car instead of killing them? I don’t need blood on my hands.

Ok, so she has a dark and twisted sense of humor. So do I, but I do have my limits. I also have no desire to actually kill people. And why hookers? What did any hooker ever do to her that was so bad that she wanted them to die? I mean, call me old fashioned, but I try to steer clear of death and rape jokes when I’m first getting to know someone, but that’s just me. Then she actually surprises me. She suggests for a second date we go to the Griffith Observatory, and then drive around and look at Christmas lights. Complete and total one eighty right? Actually, I think, that’s a pretty good idea. So I tell her to pick me up that night around 7:30. I’m pretty convinced right now that I seriously wouldn’t date this girl, but she did come up with a good idea and that shows ingenuity. I respect that. Indecision is for pussies.

Monday, December 16th, 2013

My cell phone rings and it’s OkMaddie saying she is here. You know what I’m glad she just did? Call me to tell me she is here instead of texting me the obligatory “here.” Again, this is pussy. Let’s just all agree to stop doing that as a generation. Especially on a date. I’d say let’s take it as far back as physically getting out of the car and coming to the door, but we all know how shitty parking is in Los Angeles.

“I’ll be right down.” I say. And I hang up.

As I approach her Jeep, I see she is sucking on a candy cane. I get in the passenger seat, and I am hit directly in the face with an overwhelming waft of mint and patchouli. I am not a fan of these two scents simultaneously. In fact, I’m not a fan of anything that musky. Patchouli reminds me of hippies and this place in Philadelphia called Wonderland that used to sell bongs, but you had to call them “water pipes” otherwise you would get kicked out of the store. This was in the 90s, and this sweater OkMaddie is wearing looks like it’s from that decade too. It kind of looks like an ugly Christmas sweater, but it’s really ugly, and not in the fun and festive type of way. It’s absolutely hideous. I decide to tell my first lie because I feel like I need to say something sweet.

“Nice sweater.” I say convincingly.

But I don’t really mean it. I’ve got to be honest, I NEVER do stuff like that. I always say what is on my mind, but I can’t tell her what I really think. Why didn’t I just not say anything at all? What compelled me to flat out lie about something as stupid as that? I think I’m overcompensating for the fact that I know this isn’t going to work out. As I look at her wearing a tacky Christmas sweater with rosey cheeks and red hair and a candy cane in her mouth, I can’t help but think of one thing. She looks…..”jolly” Like a jolly elf, or a smaller female version of Santa Claus. She looks bulky in her clothes and as we ride off in her “sleigh” I now realize that for the next two to three hours, I’m trapped.

As we are driving to the observatory, OkMaddie asks me if I own a car. I’m like, of course I have a car, why are you asking me that? Then she says,

“Well, did you get a D.U.I. or something?”

“No, I’ve never had a D.U.I.” I say.

Apparently she thought it was weird that I walked to the bar the other night, and then I asked her to pick me up to go out tonight. Even her friends said oh yeah, that’s kind of strange. Maybe he had a drunk driving arrest. Kind of weird and puzzling, but after thinking about it…..Ok, I guess I could see how those two things could somehow be interpreted as I “might” have a D.U.I. But I tell her no, I just thought you would want to drive since it was your idea to see the Christmas lights, plus I live 7 blocks away from the bar and we’re in Los Angeles where it’s 65 degrees in the middle of December, so I walked.

We get to the Griffith Observatory and park the car. Then we head for the front door and I notice no one is going inside. There are a lot of people sitting on the steps looking lost and bewildered, and eventually OkMaddie and I join them all huddled around a sign that reads: OBSERVATORY CLOSED ON MONDAYS. Sure enough, that’s today. This is a total bust. It’s life telling me that we should probably just go to a bar and have a few drinks but OkMaddie has never been here before and she wants to walk around the outside of the Observatory and talk about her trips to Paris and England. I’ve never been out of the country so I can’t really relate to her reminiscing about walking the streets of France or going to a pub with her British friends and drinking pints all night, so I interject with the occasional “Yeah I’ve always wanted to go to….(insert European city here) Then I bring up the fact that The movie Rebel Without a Cause was filmed at the Observatory. She has never seen it. What!?!

The city of Angels is quiet and peaceful from up here. To my right is a beautiful view of Los Angeles and I wish I had brought my glasses so I could see the skyline more clear, but I didn’t. Maddie wants to take a walk up this trail south of the parking lot, so I oblige even thought I’m dressed in boots and nice jeans with a button up shirt. “Sure I’ll hike up that small hill with you into the darkness” I say as I’m kicking dirt with my shoes and getting partially winded from the incline. I didn’t know we were going to be hiking on this date….I would have brought a water bottle, and different clothes.

We take a seat on a park bench that is partially covered in shadows by the trees and foliage. I totally forget what we talk about, because there is a strange sound being echoed throughout the surrounding hills. I think it’s coyotes, but it really sounds like a bunch of dogs arguing about shit. It’s a really nice night out, and this is a really nice date for us to be on, but the problem is I’m really not into her. I do this thing when I start losing interest with someone and I’m still in their presence. I pick them apart. It’s totally awful, but as she is telling me some sorted story about something that I obviously don’t care about, all I am thinking to myself is…

“Her lipstick is too red….I can’t deal with that.”
”She’s a v-shaped walker and I find that so unattractive.”
“She’s top heavy….I noticed it earlier this evening when she took off that sweater and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since.”
“Her proportions are all wrong for me. What am I doing here?”

Just then my thought process is interrupted by OkMaddie clenching my hand in what I think is motivated by some level of fear. The howling has stopped and we start to notice there are coyotes walking around behind us. I turn around and there they are….four or five wild animals milling around about fifteen feet away.

“I think it’s time we go” I said.

I grab her hand and we get up and walk swiftly and carefully down the trail past the swirling coyotes searching for food, and back down to parking lot. I let go of her hand as soon as danger isn’t imminent anymore, and I got to say I was little scared too.

“Let’s get a fucking drink.” She says.

“Definitely” I reply.

The second part of this date was to go looking at Christmas lights, but not that many people in L.A. decorate their houses. Also, they cancelled the Griffith Park light show two years ago, so we are really just left to find a bar and drink. Luckily, I know one where they put up a lot of decorations and serve strong libations. (Hey, I just rhymed right there) Unfortunately, this bar I’m thinking of is cash only so I need to stop at an ATM and pick up some money because something tells me, due to her last experience with a date at a cash bar, I’m going to have to be prepared.

We’re at The Roost in Atwater Village. I have been coming here for years and I especially enjoy it around Christmas time when the inside is covered in old school Christmas lights and garland, and the bar is filled with yule tide cheer. The Roost is glowing with those old screw off bulbs that were used in the 80’s when I was a kid, and my friends and I used to steal them from houses and smash them on the street. I don’t know why I was so destructive back then. I was never a big fan of the Holidays, but over the last few years at Christmas time, I’ve been trying to nurture my inner Charlie Brown, and stifle my inner Grinch, even though I have a tattoo of him on my leg.

I’m eating the free popcorn like it’s a meal, and I’m sipping on my Stoli and cranberry which I ONLY order at this bar for some reason. We start talking about our pets and our exes and I pull out my phone and show her some pictures of the rabbit.


“I love that little guy” I say about Rocco.

Rocco is the rabbit that is taking up 1/10th of the real estate in my living room. He’s white with black spots and he is full of energy when he’s not sleeping. He looks like a cute little bunny- cow. I joke with OkMaddie and tell her how much fun it is to have him around and how when my roommate finally moves out I’m going to miss him a lot.

“I thought you said that rabbit was your ex-girlfriend’s?” She says.

What? Oh Fuck! Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck! I just totally fucked up! I’m caught in a lie and I have no idea how to get out of it. I remember I told her on our last date that Rocco was my ex girlfriend’s rabbit, not my roommate’s. But I also remember that I left out the part that my ex girlfriend and my roommate are the SAME PERSON!! Oh shit. I’m caught in a lie, and I realize now I have to somehow talk my way out of this one.

“Oh, uhhhhh yeah my ex sometimes drops him off and I watch him for her when she goes out of town.” I say unconvincingly.

I think to myself….Does that contradict anything I’ve said up until this point? Can I distract her from the lie/truth I just spouted out by being vaugue and using mis-direction to scramble the details? Can I play it off like it’s no big deal? Why do I even care at this point? I know I’m not going to go out with her again. I think I just don’t want to be caught in a lie and I don’t want to have to reveal all the specific details of my life. Then I start thinking that at some point, I’m going to have to come out and explain everything to someone if I really like them. I just don’t want to do it now, and I don’t like her enough to let her know everything.

The next few sentences are a blur, and I start sweating a bit and I can feel my face get flushed with the bright red tone of embarrassment. I bet my cheeks are rosey at this point, and if I had a mirror I think I would look just as jolly in the face as OkMaddie does on this date. I gotta get out of this situation soon before I say anything else I may regret.

Somehow, I save face. Somehow she believes what I told her was different from what she actually heard. Somehow my acting and my dialogue manipulated her into thinking that she doesn’t really know the truth about what she thinks she knows. I don’t even know if it matters at this point, but she goes to the bathroom, and I get our check and tell her I’ll meet her outside. I pay cash for the drinks and I’m a little disappointed now because I realize won’t get any points on my credit card this transaction. I just want to go home.

OkMaddie smokes those skinny girl Capri cigarettes when she drinks, and she blasts this crazy New Orleans Mardi Gras cajun jazz music on the ride home. It’s weird and off-putting….just like her patchouli. I mean I appreciate jazz music, but who on earth actually LISTENS to it on a regular basis? Who puts it on while you’re driving your potential date home? Does this make a good impression on other people? Is she trying to impress me by making the most vast, peculiar, and odd-lot choice of music for the car ride home? I feel like I’m at the Showboat Casino in Atlantic City, or I’m walking past Harrah’s in Vegas and some “pedro” on the stirp is slapping his hand with a porno flyer while trying to hand it to me all in one motion.

“Turn here” I say. And I’m happy I’m almost home.

Maddie puts the car in park, and keeps it running. She says she had a really nice time, and I believe her. Then she leans in to kiss me and like an idiot, I don’t stop her. I know this is going to be bad. Here’s the truth…one of my biggest disappointments when dating is finding out that the girl is a bad kisser. If there’s little to no spark, AND you’re a bad kisser, we’re probably not going to kiss anymore, which means I’m not going to want to date you anymore. OkMaddie falls into that category now. Kissing her was like making out with a gummy worm.

I make my way upstairs and back into my apartment. I forget about the disappointment that is OkMaddie and I log onto the virtual dating shopping list that is OK Cupid. I check my notifications and I have some new visitors and a message from a user called “disko_nap.” She’s really cute, but much younger than me and…..she’s asian. Maybe it’s weird to think this way, but I’ve never dated an asian girl. However, I noticed a lot of the girls that have been visiting my profile have been Chinese or Japanese or some type of Asian fusion..and….LOOK! There’s another message from another asian girl named “Something_about_lipgloss.” Is this a coincidence, or is this one of those “What it rains, it pours” type of situations? I look at her pictures and I’m immediately taken aback. Wow! I’m just like “Holy shit, this girl is gorgeous.” I mean, like absolutely stunning. She’s is so pretty in fact that I immediately start to wonder if she’s a real person. Look, I’ve never dated an asian girl before, but based solely on her looks, if I were going to date an asian girl, THIS is the asian girl I would date.

So I click the box and read her message.

Part 3: Ok Maddie & Ok Emily

Tuesday December 10th, 2013

It’s been an interesting week and a half. I have spent the last 10 days messaging with girls on OkCupid, and I’ve been getting some interested responses back. Sometimes though, I’m not getting any response back at all and I’m fine with that. That’s just how it goes I guess. I don’t respond to all the messages I get either, mainly because the things they write are just really lame and unoriginal like “Hey there!” or “How you doing?” Or my own personal fave…”Seems like YOUR lips are MY competition.” What?!?! Who the fuck writes that expecting a response? Generally, I don’t respond if the message isn’t interesting or totally weird like that one. Sometimes I won’t respond if I just don’t find any of their pictures appealing to me. Now before you get all judgmental, let’s be honest. You have two tools to use when trying to connect with someone online. Your pictures, and your words. If I don’t find you attractive in a picture, or if I’m not interested in what you have to say in your profile, then you’re 0 for 2 and that’s a strike out in the online dating world. Sorry, it’s two strikes and your out, not three. In real life, it’s kind of the same thing. Try to spout off a cheesy line to a pretty girl at a bar and you get laughed at and ignored the rest of the night no matter how smooth you think you are. It’s simple enough, and I play by the rules although I don’t necessarily like the “game” sometimes. For example, if a girl and I “like” each other’s profiles on OkCupid (and yes there is a rating system) I send her a non intrusive message with some witty comments about something she wrote on her profile. Then I wait. If I don’t get a response back in two or three days, or the response I get is two to three words, she’s either not interested, or obviously wound too tight for me. Or possibly playing some weird type of mind game which doesn’t interest me. I get that some girls are hesitant to meet guys off of a dating website, but then I have to ask the question WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING ON IT IN THE FIRST PLACE??? I think some girls just like getting the attention. I know I do. Here’s what I know. A very attractive female friend of mine joined the site a few weeks after I did. I was averaging about 50-60 visitors a week, and maybe three to four messages. She was averaging over one hundred visitors and messages a week. A WEEK!! She had so many messages and visitors that they couldn’t post the actual number because they only allotted two digits for the count! “You have 99+ messages in your inbox” My confidence level was pretty high after the last two weeks, but I couldn’t imagine getting THAT much attention. Men are just extremely more desperate I guess.

Now, before I get into OkEmily or OkMaddie, I should probably explain what happened with OkKimberly…
Ok, so I wake up the next morning and I see she responded to the sarcastic text I sent her after our date. Get this…she says she actually DOES want to go out with me again. I’m really starting to wonder if that was a typo or is OkKimberly just a complete and total nut job. I literally laughed out loud when I read that text. I mean seriously, I had the worst fucking time. It was probably the 2nd worst date I’ve ever had in my life. I would never go out with her again…. BUT I still kind of hinted at making plans to get Yogurtland with her throughout the week with absolutely no intention of ever really following through with it. Mean? Maybe. Vicious? Hardly. I just wanted to see if her venom from that night was still having a poisonous effect on my body. She made one of the worst impression on me in the history of my life. Needless to say…I never talked to OkKimberly again.

A few days ago I set a date to meet with OkEmily at The Village Idiot on Melrose. I think it was a Thursday night, and I was kind of looking forward to this one. OkEmily and I are a 92% match. I was definitely taking that into consideration since I carelessly overlooked it the last time. OkEmily’s pictures online are all instagrammed and filterrific. She’s pretty, but I’m not 100% sure because of the overuse of the Walden and X-Pro II filters. 31 years old, blonde hair, blue eyes, tattoos, and she hails from Texas, with two big “assets.” Her stats say she is five foot five and she has a great smile in her pictures. She works somewhere in the music business, but it is very unclear from her profile exactly what it is she does. I sent her some message about how we should get a drink together and compare tattoos. She totally buys it, and texts me her phone number 7 minutes later. The afternoon of our date, I call her to make plans because that’s a standard for me. I mean, I’m fine with meeting someone from the internet, but I need to talk to you on the phone and make sure you’re a real person and not a psycho creep before I meet you. I’m sure most women can relate to that last statement. I call her around noon and I don’t hear back from her for a couple hours, which is fine. But then she texts me back two hours later. A call-back
text-back? Hmmm, that’s pretty suspect to me.

Is she afraid to talk on the phone, or just really swamped at work? A text response to a phone call is the epitome of laziness, but I’m going to give her the benefit of the doubt here and just think she was busy. We are supposed to meet at 8:45, so when 8 o clock rolls around I start getting ready and primping myself up. Yes, I just said primping. I’m literally about to walk out the door at 20 minutes after 8 when I get this text message:

“Oh my God, you will never believe what just happened! (exclamation point) It all makes sense now! One of my co-workers was fired today and I have to stay and work late tonight to cover her. Would you totally hate me if I asked to reschedule?”

Immediately I want to say yes, I totally hate you right now. You’re a total bitch. Who cancels twenty minutes before a date? And what the hell does she mean “It all makes sense now?” Sounds to me like she is using some crazy revelation to justify her cancelling the date. Did you not know two or three hours ago that you were going to have to work late and couldn’t make it tonight? Are you just finding out now at 8:25pm that your co-worker was fired? Really? Are you just flaking on the date or did I just dodge an MTV style catfish bullet? Maybe that’s why she never called me back. Maybe OkEmily was a dude all along? Or a tranny. Can we still use the word tranny now or is that considered racist? Who knows. I just sit there and sulk for a few minutes before I decide to go out to the Ralph’s and buy a moderately priced bottle of wine and spend the rest of the night drinking it by myself. I’m kind of pissed. No one likes to be blown off, especially twenty minutes before the date is supposed to happen. Plus, did she not read what it said on my profile? I specifically said “NO FLAKES!!” I finally respond to OkEmily twenty minutes later with ”It’s cool. We can totally reschedule. Txt me next week.”

I don’t mean it, and I never hear from or contact her again.

Back to tonight…

I had been waiting a few days for a message back from OkMaddie. She takes like a week to respond with her phone number, but eventually I get it and I call her. She talks about how she enjoyed Thanksgiving and ate a lot of mashed potatoes and stuffing. She’s a vegetarian, but I am willing to overlook that for now. We talk for a bit more to make sure neither one of us is a crazy person, and we make plans to get a drink on Wednesday, but then after we hang up, she texts me to change the date to Tuesday. At this point, I’m fine with whatever as long as the date actually happens and we don’t end up going to the Veggiegrill on Sunset. Unless of course they serve beer there, but I’m pretty sure they don’t. I’m overly cautious now, (thanks OkEmily) cause we’re supposed to meet at 8pm, and I check my phone obsessively at 7:00, 7:15 and 7:30 to make sure she isn’t going to send me a cancellation text at the last minute. Finally at 7:45 I feel like it’s a go and I head out and walk the 7 blocks to the Well on Argyle and Sunset. I take a seat at the bar facing the door, and about five minutes later, OkMaddie walks in. She comes over and says hello and sits down next to me. She reeks of patchouli. I am instantly reminded of my ex-girlfriend from 1998 who also smelled the exact same way. It’s sort of comforting, yet kind of off putting at the same time. Eventually, it dissipates enough for us to order two happy hour martinis. Yes, the Well has a late night happy hour from 5-9 which is why I frequent the place. We get our drinks and we start talking. I’m pretty comfortable with her, and there is little to no anxiety. The two things I worry about on a first date are us having nothing to talk about, or there being no physical attraction. So far, I’m ok with the former and I’m still observing the latter. OkMaddie is wearing what I think is a dress and a leather jacket. It is clear to me she obviously chose this one because of how “accentuated” it makes her upper torso look, and I appreciate that although I never want to get caught looking in that direction. She claims to be around 30 years old and I have no doubt that she is telling the truth, unlike myself. She has blue eyes, bright red lipstick, and her dyed reddish hair falls down on her face in an uneven and edgy style that actually compliments her quite well. She’s cute, and she looks somewhat like her pictures, and I think to myself I’m just going to get to know her and take it from there.

Look, I want to find someone I totally get along with who is utterly gorgeous and stunning and completely cool and sexy without having to try, and without having a superficial attitude about it. And yeah, I want her to be into the same kind of music and movies as me and hopefully she appreciates the fact that I’m an aspiring artist/creative type and doesn’t have a problem with it because maybe she is one herself. But in reality, that’s a tall fucking order and it’s not fair for me to expect that every time I go out with someone new. It’s just not going to happen. Is it?

“How many people have you met off the site?” I ask.

“Like three or four.” She says. “How about you?”

“You’re number two.” I say.

Then she asks about number one, and I tell her the exasperated story of OkKimberly. She laughs when she is supposed to laugh and she then goes on to tell me about a horrible first date she had at the White Horse bar down the street.

“When the check came,” she says “he just opened it up and stared at it for like ten minutes. He was doing a lot of humming and hawing and then he placed a debit card on the bar and said he would pay for his half. His HALF! At this point, I had no choice but to point out to him the huge sign on the wall that read CASH ONLY. He seems oddly surprised even though HE was the one who picked the place to go. We had been sitting there for a good two hours, so I just paid for the whole thing. Then he asked me for a ride back to the train station. Oh no” She says “That is NOT going to happen.”

“That is a pretty funny story,” I say, and now I immediately know I am going to have to pay for the check. At this point, I am ok with that because I am moderately attracted to her. It’s her bravado and sense of humor that keeps me entertained and we decide to order another round of drinks. We cheers each other as I tap the bar before I take a swig.

“Why do you do that?” She asks.

I explain that one of my close friends is Irish and apparently it’s a tradition. She informs me that she is also Irish and has never heard of that.

“Maybe it’s an east coast thing” I say. OkMaddie is from Chicago, or was it Ohio? Yes, it’s Ohio but she went to school and worked in Chicago. She tells me about working on the Rikki Lake show as a producer and how that catapulted her into accepting a job in reality TV production out here in Los Angeles where she’s been living for a couple of years. Catapulted? Seems excessive to me. She tells me how much she loves Chicago and how the Blackhawks are her favorite sports team. I try to muffle my disdain for the Blackhawks, but before I know it she starts asking about my sports background. “I’m a Philly fan.” I tell her, which is apparently enough fuel for her to start reminiscing about the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals where the Philadelphia Flyers would go on to lose to the Chicago Blackhawks in 6 games. “I went to the victory parade!” She exclaims.

“Of course you did.” I say.

She’s into sports and she says funny things and has a dark sense of humor like me, and she isn’t a complete and total bore fest. I am thankful for that. She takes off her jacket and hands it to me to hang underneath the bar. I feel like she is getting more comfortable so I suggest we get a third round.

Let me explain the third round from my point of view. If I choose to have three drinks with a person, I have accepted the reality that one of us is currently or ABOUT to be a little “alcohol enhanced” and I’m comfortable enough with myself and with this person to go there. I NEVER have three drinks on a first date unless I’m either totally uncomfortable, and feel the need to be inebriated to get through the rest of the night, or I’m having a good enough time that I lose count.

The third round comes, and I casually bring up her vegetarianism.

“Is it a deal breaker that one of my favorite foods is chicken wings?” I ask.

“Nope.” She says and then somehow or other, she makes the transition from food to my living situation.

“Do you live alone?” She asks casually.

I could lie here. I could easily say yeah I live alone, but I know that this is a qualifying question. She’s fishing, and because of all the baggage I am carrying with me, it doesn’t make sense to lie. I believe there is still something redeeming about telling the truth in this world, and I’m trying to get through this whole experience without telling too much truth, but also without actually lying because I know nothing good will come of that. So do I live alone?

”No.” I say. Then, as nonchalant as I can, I sum up my cautiously complicated living situation in one sentence. “I kind of have a straggler.” I add. It’s not total bullshit, but it’s also not totally the truth.

“Oh yeah? Me too.” She responds.

Wait, what? You have someone living on your proverbial couch too? This is interesting. She tells me about her guy friend from back home who currently lives with her and literally crashes on the couch in her living room. I tell her about my gal pal I’ve known for years who currently shares my bedroom, (but not my bed) who also lives with me too. I leave out the fact that she was an ex from many years ago. Look, I’m going to be honest, but I’m not going to be THAT honest on the first date. We share stories and complain about how neither one of them likes to do the dishes until they’re piled up and overflowing BOTH sinks in the kitchen. We both laugh and I bring up the fact that my “roommate” got a bunny last year and that we had to section off a part of the living room for his cage. I show her pictures of the rabbit and of my cat and she tells me about her dog and how she constantly has to stop him from rubbing his dick on the side of her bed. I’m instantly reminded of that scene from the movie Garden State where the dog dry humps Zac Braff in the hospital waiting room. “Here comes the lipstick…..”

The third round is over, and it’s getting late and OkMaddie has work in the morning so we decide to call it a night. She tells me she is going out of town next week for Christmas and I tell her I want to see her again before she goes. Am I into her? I don’t know. I like her company and she’s definitely not a psycho, and I found some common bond with her that may or may not work to my advantage. I’m into her enough that I can overlook the patchouli, the vegetarianism, and the fact that she is a Blackhawks fan and I could see myself going out with her again. I walk her to her car and she points out her Jeep Cherokee parked on the street next to the Rite-Aid I hate going to, and then she thanks me for the drinks. I lean in to kiss her good night, and she obliges. I smile, then she smiles, then I put my headphones on and hit play on my iPod as I walk home.

I don’t know if other people in this world are like me when it comes to music and moments. What I mean is, I always can associate music with events that happen in my life. I can tell you what the first three songs were on a mix tape I made back in 1993. You know, when “tapes” still existed? I can remember what song was playing in the background of my ex-girlfriend’s answering machine the first time I called her, and I can tell you in detail about what happened the first time I heard “Welcome to the Machine” by Pink Floyd when I was stoned. But for the life of me, I can’t seem to remember what song I listened to that night I walked home after my first date with OkMaddie. I wonder why that is.

Part 2: Ok Kimberly

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

I’m standing outside of Harmony Gold about to watch a screening of the movie Into the Furnace. I decide this is a good time to respond to the message I received yesterday from Manhattan2LA. Yes, I realize I waited one day before I respond because I feel like that is industry standard. When connecting with someone for the first time, you don’t want to come off too eager, it’s a total turn off. It’s like basically admitting that you are so psyched to have gotten a message from her that you couldn’t hold yourself in for one day. You HAD to respond. So desperado. She writes “You’re super cute. Where are you from?” I respond with “Thank you.” And then after reading through her profile I add the phrase“I’m from New Jersey, like it said in my profile. Also I have a thing for Jewish girls who emigrated to L.A. from New York. That’s a truth I figure to myself, and that is good enough. I’m going to watch this movie with my friend and then maybe write her back later after the Q&A with the director. I’m being coy, but apparently, “Kimberly” doesn’t appreciate coy, because I receive a message from her three minutes later. And then another one, and then another one. Eventually, we set a date to go out and get a drink on Friday. I give her my phone number and I say I’m in a screening and I will talk to her later. I put my phone on silent, sit back and watch the film.

The thing with Harmony Gold is, it’s a complete sucker of cell phone battery life. Harmony Gold is a movie theater on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, and I guess they must have made it out of ten feet of reinforced concrete because my phone has been pathetically searching for a signal the entire time during the movie and now my battery is down to 20%. I see I have two messages from OkKimberly. (and yes, every phone number I got was prefaced by an “Ok” then their name.) One is a picture of her on the red carpet from the American Music awards with a pair of ghastly ridiculous hipster glasses on, the other is a request for a current picture me. I guess she doesn’t trust my profile so I stall for as long as can, knowing that with each and every text I send to her explaining why I can’t send a picture right now it is only agitating her and further depleting my battery. Finally, I send her a picture of me, my business partner, and our agents on the red carpet. Tit for tat, right? Well, two minutes later she responds with… “Is that Sheila and LyNea?”

Fuck! She knows my agents? What the fuck? How does she know them? What does she do? Why the fuck is Hollywood such a small town?!?! These are the questions that are going thought my mind. She then texts me asking how Sheila’s foot is doing. Her foot? How the fuck am I supposed to know? I think the better question is how does she know about my agent’s foot surgery? My friend is laughing as we walk back to the car, and as we arrive at the watering hole of choice that night, my battery is practically dead. Before it totally dies, I sneak into the bathroom and take the dreaded selfie she has been requesting all night. 8% left, and tomorrow is Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 28th, 2013 – Thanksgiving

I’m at a friends house drinking my fifth glass of wine and digesting one of the best meals I’ve ever had. There is a bunch of us sitting outside drinking and talking, and I bring up the fact that I have a date tomorrow night. One of my friends who is a talent manager asks who she is, so I show her a picture and say her name is Kimberly.

“Wow, she looks familiar” My friend says.

Then, within a few seconds my friend pulls up Kimberly’s full name, Twitter account, Linkedin profile and also tells me what management company she works for. I won’t reveal her REAL last name, but let’s just say it is “Goldman.” (but it’s really not) In a drunken state, and maybe trying to be a little smartass, I text Kimberly to tell her Happy Thanksgiving and to let her know I have turkeys on my socks. Then I tell her I Googled her. I never get a response. I guess she’s not impressed.

Friday November 29th, 2013

I wake up to two texts from OkKimberly. Both are about my socks. She never even mentions the whole google thing so I assume that it must not be a big deal. Around 9:45 she texts me to say she will be done her work calls at noon and for me to call her then. I say ok, and I go back to doing whatever it was I was doing. Thirty minutes later, she calls ME.

We’re on the phone for half an hour. She talks in an obvious East coast accent with a little Hollywood undertone, and low and behold she is a talent manager much like my friend from last night, although OkKimberly specializes in music and band management. Throughout the whole conversation, she comes off as being intrigued by what I do, and I tell her I’m a writer and producer who created a new sitcom, however, I never say I am an actor because of how stupid and cliché it sounds. Everyone out here is an actor or a model, or in a band. I would sound more original if I said something like I spend my weekdays on a ranch in the desert milking snakes part time, and on the weekends I work as a dog and cat food taster, but I would be lying. Besides, I’ve already lied about my age and I’m sure that will eventually come up.

Since we’re on that subject, let it be known that I have every intention of coming clean about my real age and my living situation at some point, just not on the first date. And believe me, my current living situation is a television sitcom waiting to happen. A few months ago, I took in a good friend of mine because she needed a place to stay for a bit, and we were both kind of hard up for cash at the time. It kind of works out because it has to. I was in a one bedroom apartment, so when she moved in we had to modify the living arrangements. There are two queen sized beds in the bedroom, and we share the rest of the house. There’s barely any privacy, there’s never enough toilet paper, and sometimes we get under each other’s skin because we live and work together and we have something of a history. We used to date some 7 years ago. Actually lived together for a year in 2008, but broke up for good in 2009. Somehow, we were able to remain friends, and since then we have become business partners. I know how that may sound to a new girl I am trying to date. My situtation would be a red flag to anyone. Ok, six red flags but regardless, I don’t have to tell my whole life story on the first date, and I certainly won’t be mentioning any of what I just said tonight. What can I say, I have some baggage. Ok, lots of baggage, but don’t we all?

We decide to meet at Fatty’s Public House on La Cienega Blvd in West Hollywood. I take an Uber there and I arrive around 7:45, fifteen full minutes early. Ironically, there is no traffic on the streets, and barely anyone at the bar. I guess I overcompensated. Anyway, I take a seat and wait eleven more minutes before I text her “At the bar.” 8:00 comes and goes without her showing up. I don’t think too much about it. I’m looking through the menu and thinking to myself “this place is pretty expensive… better stick to having a couple of drinks, no food.” I look at my phone and realize she hasn’t responded to the text I sent twenty minutes ago, and also see that it is now 8:15. She is officially late. I hate that. Look, it’s not that hard to send a text that says “running late” or “be there soon” or “ok, see you in a bit.” It’s a huge pet peeve of mine. And right before I’m about to give up on her and start boozing by myself, she walks in, twenty minutes late, looking at her phone as if to suggest she “just got my message.” Yeah fucking right. She says hello, sits down next to me at the bar, and then it begins….

She gives me the proverbial awkward hug and instantaneously the male bartender in his late thirties sporting a pseudo-beard and tight pants struts over and starts to talk to OkKimberly. They blab on and on for what feels like ten minutes about some guy who they both know who used to come into the bar, but no one has seen in months. It’s apparent that she comes here a lot and yes, she suggested this place. I start staring around the room wondering how long their conversation will last before I can get a drink. She writes down her phone number on a piece of paper and gives it to the bartender with the instructions to give it to the guy who neither one of them have heard from in months. Then she proceeds to hand the bartender her i-Phone and charger asking him to plug it in behind the bar. Are you fucking kidding me right now? At this point, I’ve waited almost a half hour for her to arrive and then I’ve been sitting there while she gets the chit-chat with someone ELSE out of the way before I can even have a drink? This is not starting off that good. I wonder if I can bail without her knowing? Her “convo” with the bartender ends, and the next thing that happens is the worst. She turns to me and says….”So, do you want to get a table?”

Ugh, a “table.” Begrudgingly, I say yes even though I feel that sitting at the bar is much more conducive to getting to know someone on a first date. When you sit across from someone at a table, you have nowhere to look other than at the other person without it being obvious you are looking away. Plus, it takes all the fun out of trying to read someone’s body language, which is key to figuring out whether or not someone is into you. I’d much rather stay at the bar I think to myself, but regardless we make our way to a corner table. She sits facing the door, and reluctantly, I sit down facing her with nothing else to stare at but a reddish-type wall. I order a vodka tonic, no lime and she starts out with glass of red wine and says that it takes her a minute to “warm up” to hard alcohol. Was that a dig at me? I can’t be sure.

OkKimberly is about five foot six with long brown hair, big eyes and a pronounced face. She is pretty, but she looks kind of hardened to me. Her nose is a little crooked but she has a slender frame, with what appears to be a nice ass. I can’t really tell. She talks a lot. She talks a lot about being a manager, and where she is from, and her time in New York and Miami and her ex-boyfriend of 7 years that didn’t want to move out to Los Angeles with her. I ask her what she did in Miami and she tells me she worked for a high profile celebrity. She won’t tell me who it was, even though I ask. What a gyp. She doesn’t ask that many questions of me, and I wonder if I should offer up information or if I should just stay quiet and listen. I have already downed my first drink in eight minutes time. I interject with the occasional “Uh-huh” or the obligatory “Oh, that’s cool,” but I’m really not saying anything at all. I order another drink, and OkKimberly finally mans up and orders some hard alcohol. Then she brings up the fact that I Googled her.

“It kind of freaked me out.” She says. But she also stated that she told her friends about it and they said she should be flattered. She then goes on to tell me about her Thanksgiving and how she spent it at the house of some big name director whom she won’t reveal to me. We chat a little more about her night and then she FINALLY asks about me. I tell her I do a little bit of acting, then she tells me a story about some actor she dated off OkCupid and how it didn’t work out, and how he stalked her at a Manager’s showcase in Burbank and started asking her all these questions about why they don’t date anymore. He wanted her to represent him and she expressed to me that a lot of guys have ulterior motives when asking her out.

“Oh really?” I said. “Well, I don’t want you to represent me.”

All I was trying to say was that I don’t have any ulterior motives other than to get to know her more. She smiled so I guess she liked hearing that, and intermittently for about half an hour, I think it’s going really well. She finally apologizes for not texting me back right away as she was on a phone call with a client. I believe her for the moment, and then we decided to order another round of drinks and some food.

I immediately realized I had broken my rule, but I didn’t care. I was actually having fun and I wanted to see where this would go. The waitress kept coming up to us like a lost and bored puppy and kept asking us questions and chatting like she knew us. It was obviously a slow night, but that didn’t stop the deejay from blasting some crappy hip-hop over the loudspeakers that were conveniently placed ten feet from our table. It was loud. Real fucking loud. So loud that I could barely hear what OkKimberly was saying to me before she asked the waitress if the deejay could turn it down. The waitress obliged and someone came over to turn down the music before our ear drums exploded. We ate our food and after the plates were cleared, the waitress drops off two shot glasses.

“What are these?” she asks.

“Fireball shots!” says the waitress. “They’re complimentary!”

Great, but I don’t like cinnamon, I think to myself. I had a bad experience with Goldschlager in 1996 and I never recovered.

“I don’t like cinnamon” OkKimberly says. (Apparently the one thing we have in common other than the fact that we both need oxygen to survive) “How about a lemon drop?”

The waitress frowns and takes away the shots, then returns a few moments later with two sugar rimmed glasses garnished with a wedge of lemon. We down the shots, and start talking about music. I’m pretty drunk at this point, and I like a lot of music, but she starts talking about these horrible bands she likes, and I have to restrain myself from saying something I might regret. I’m getting irritated. She’s so fucking “Hollywood.” She tells me about how cool it was to be in the studio the other day with one of her clients, and as she left the space, she peeked in on the band Imagine Dragons who were there recording some live demo bullshit. I don’t like Imagine Dragons. I find them boring and overrated….kind of like that movie American Hustle, but Kimberly is going on and on about how great they are and it’s taking all of my might to restrain myself from saying anything. She then points out some rapper dude sitting at the bar and tells me that he was in her office the other day and they might sign him. She waves to him and starts name dropping people he’s worked with and the whole time I’m getting more and more agitated that I didn’t say anything earlier about how much I hate Imagine Dragons. I start talking about The X-Factor and how I find that show to be much more enjoyable than American Idol. She defends American Idol for what feels like twenty minutes before I finally blurt out… “That show is so stupid and there’s a reason Simon Cowell left.” “And by the way, in my opinion, Imagine Dragons isn’t very good.” She takes what I say very seriously.

She starts getting defensive with me as if to suggest that my opinion of music is wrong and she states that I probably haven’t had enough life experience to appreciate a band like them.

“I’m 37,” I say in a smartass tone.

She looks shocked. She can’t believe I’m older than her and I tell her I never put my real age online just in case someone wants to call me in for a role that is ten years younger than I am.

“So you are an actor?” She asks with a tone that leads me to believe she thinks I was deceiving her this whole time.

I never said I wasn’t, and besides she knows my agents and she shares clients with them. Obviously she had to know I was “kind of” an actor, right? Seems to me this shouldn’t come as such a surprise to her, but I can tell something bad is about to happen. At this point it feels like we’re fighting with each other and the music is suddenly louder than before, and my once giddy alcoholic buzz has faded into an unnerving state of frustration and anger. This just isn’t going well. I shouldn’t be angry on a first date, and if I am, I should get the fuck out there as soon as possible. I kind of knew this was coming so I flag down the waitress. She asks if we want to order more drinks, and before Kimberly could say anything, I say we’ll just take the check. Kimberly looks at me stupefied as if she just realized, she lost. I fiddle with my phone to request an Uber to come and pick me up and we don’t say much for two minutes until the check comes. I grab it before the waitress can leave and I hand her my credit card. I didn’t even look at how much it was. I didn’t care. I just wanted to get the fuck out of there.

I sign the check, and see that the waitress actually charged me $22.00 for those shots. Complimentary my ass. My Uber arrives, and I tell OkKimberly I got to go. She is still sitting in her chair almost in disbelief that the date is over when she tells me she had a good time. “I had a blast.” I think was what she said. I respond with “I’m glad you did. Bye.” Then I get up, walk out the door and get into the black Prius that is waiting for me outside. I am so bummed out and slightly pissed and definitely frustrated on the ride home that I don’t even feel inhebriated anymore. I’m just annoyed. What a waste of time, and money. Although I did get like 300 in points on my card, so the night wasn’t a total loss. Then I get a text message from OkKimberly

you owe me another date” she writes.

I laugh to myself. Out loud for like a minute in the back of the Uber. The driver even asked me what was so funny. I can’t even believe this. I tell the driver the shortened version of the story and then I say “She wants to go out again? Was she at the same table as me for the past three hours? I want to be like, Hey Kimberly, did you go out on anotherdate after I left and have a “blast” with someone else?”
I get home, I finally text her back with…“Do you really want to go out again?” I cannot wait for her response. but it doesn’t come until the next morning.

I light another cigarette and go online to to look at me and OkKimberly’s “match percentages.” See everyone is matched based on the answers to certain questions. The more you answer, the better match you can find. I look at what it says about me and Kimberly and I’m suddenly speechless. What? These are horrible numbers, and they are DIRECTLY underneath her picture. How could I have missed this?

25% Match 12% Friend 53% Enemy.
I laugh to myself a little, because I should have fucking known better. Open your eyes, OkStupid.

Joe & Nicola (Part 2)

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I woke up at 4am on the pull out couch in the motel, freezing and feeling like I slept with a rod up my back the whole night. It was still dark, and I was very uncomfortable, so I jumped in the bed which was slightly more comfortable, but filled with Tasha.

“Get out.” She said.

“I can’t sleep on that stupid couch. Move over.” I said.

Eventually, I dozed off and next thing I knew I woke up and it was 7am, I felt a little more rested, so I got dressed and headed to the Wawa for some coffee. The weather outside was ominous. It was overcast, wet, and I knew that Nicola’s biggest fear was going to come to true. She was going to have to have an indoor wedding. On the positive side, people say it’s lucky for it to rain on your wedding day. I mean, even Alanis Morrisette wrote a song called “Ironic” which states this idea, but there is a part of me that feels like even though it might be “good luck” for it to rain the day you get married, it’s certainly not what anybody hopes for. Regardless, I feel like at this point no amount of rain is going to stop this wedding from being the best day for Parr and Nicola.

To say Tasha and I were hungover would be an understatement. My body had somehow recovered from the pain I was in at the beginning of the trip, but now I was dealing with a whole new demon. I felt sick. Not like a fever, cold, or sneezing sick, like I was just faded and not feeling like I wanted to drink any amount of alcohol at all. It was then that Parr texted me and asked if we wanted to come over the house for breakfast and bloody marys.

“I can’t drink any alcohol now.” Tasha said to me.

“Me neither.” I replied.

Then about 8 seconds went by where we both looked at each other with the notion that we kind of needed to support our friend on the morning of his wedding.

“Let’s just go and have one drink.” I said.

“Ok, I’ll get dressed.” Tasha replied.

We came by Parr’s parents house and met up with him, Shaun, and Ron who were staying there, and Steve who showed up a few minutes after us for breakfast. Mr. & Mrs. Parr have been like parents to me. I’ve stayed at that house many times over the past few years, and I’ve drank with his family even more so. I love them. They are great people and sometimes I wish I was still living in NJ for that reason among others. It just feels like home. We all ate a little bit, thanked Mrs. Parr for making us food and then with the slightest amount of coaxing, we decided the next thing we should do is definitely to go across the street to the now defunct Woody’s Bar and have a few drinks with the Groom.

Here’s the funny thing about alcohol. You may feel like crap for a little bit the morning when you’re hung over, and you may think you want to take it easy and just drink some water and eat some food, but what your body really needs to recover…. is more alcohol. I am so glad I took a zantac to protect my stomach against the wrath of a tomato juice and vodka breakfast because by the time I ordered my third bloody mary, I felt great. We were laughing and having a good time and somehow we started talking about Parr’s groomsmen, the location of all of us at the alter, and the TV show Gilligan’s Island. This is where it just got silly.

At the end of the theme song, to Gilligan’s Island they introduce all the characters in the show. I’m sure you remember the tune…

”With Gilligan…..The Skipper too……The Millionaire, and his wife. The moooovie star….the Professor and Mary Anne! Here on Gilligan’s Isle!”

However, the FIRST season of Gilligan’s Island didn’t mention the Professor OR Mary Anne.  After “The movie star” it just goes “…and the rest!” It’s as if the Professor and Mary Anne are just so insignificant to the show that no one needs to know their names in the opening titles. We tried so hard to fit all of Parr’s groomsmen into the Gilligan’s Island theme song that morning, but it never worked out. We could only say three or four names before adding ”…and the rest” at the end. I know it’s stupid and silly and you probably aren’t laughing if you don’t get the joke…. but I guess you just had to be there and  had three or four bloody marys to appreciate the last paragraph that I wrote.

When we stepped outside of the bar that morning, it was pouring rain. Like a torrential downpour. There was no way to avoid an indoor wedding at this point. Mr. Parr gave me and Tasha some tips on how to get to Cape May using back roads and shortcuts so we thanked him, said goodbye to the boys for now, and went back to the Lollipop to pack up our shit and head to Congress Hall. We left the motel around 1:30pm so we could arrive in Cape May at the Hotel before 3pm to check in and get ready. I had our bags and my tux all packed up in the car, and I followed Mr. Parr’s directions all the way to Cape May. There was just one slight problem.

The backroads of North Wildwood were easy to maneuver through, however once we got into  Wildwood Crest, the roads were suddenly blockaded by a large amount of rainwater that had pooled up in the intersection like a small pond. There was nowhere to go other than right through it, but the issue I was having was being able to drive though it in my medium sized rental car without stalling out, and without another car driving though in the opposite direction and splashing water up on the hood of the car at the same time. We had made it though a few small sized puddles, but there was this big one coming up ahead, and sure enough in the other lane was an SUV who was going 30 mph and didn’t give a shit.

I did the only thing I could do in this situation that I hoped would work….I gunned it straight into the water hazard and kept my foot on the gas the whole time. The car started to sputter, the SUV splashed all over us just like I thought it would, and my fear of us being stranded in the middle of the road in a three foot deep hole of water was almost realized, but luckily it never quite manifested. Somehow, and by some miracle, we made it to the other side of the intersection with nothing but dry asphalt ahead.

A little further down the road we had to cross this rickety old toll bridge and give the guy 35 cents to get to the other side. It wasn’t raining anymore, but the clouds in the sky definitely weren’t looking like they were going to break free and let the sun in anytime soon, and when we arrived at Congress Hall ten minutes later, it was official….the wedding was taking place indoors. I could tell by the look on Nicola’s face that she was disappointed, but at the same time, years from now when we’re all grown up, no one is going to remember that it should have taken place outside. Instead they’ll remember how gorgeous she looked in her gown walking down the aisle, how much fun we all had at the reception, and how her and Parr and her son Giann became a family.

Oh wait, did I not mention that Nicola has a son from a previous relationship yet? Well, she does, and he’s a pretty awesome dude. That day Parr was not only becoming a husband for the first time, he was becoming a step-father too. I’ve known this kid, meaning Parr since he was a teenager, and a part of me never thought he would get married, let alone get married to a woman who had a son. I know all too well that level of responsibility and what it takes from someone to commit themselves to a family situation and I know first hand from my own childhood that sometimes it isn’t easy and unfortunately I also know what it’s like when a father figure comes into your life, and doesn’t want to stick around for the long haul. Yet, as we get older and mature, our wants and our needs change and sometimes we grow up to be better people and better parents than the ones that came before us because we learn what we want, from finding out what we don’t want.

Unlike my step father, Parr wants that level of responsibility and I know he can handle it because he’s one of my best friends and I know he’ll be good at it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like dudes sit around drinking beers telling each other how much they love their girlfriends and how they can’t wait to marry them. That just doesn’t happen in my world. But I could see first hand that day how much he loved Nicola and Giann just from the smile on his face when he saw them walking down the aisle. Sometimes, that’s all you need.

Before the ceremony, all the groomsman got dressed and gathered in Parr’s room to have a few drinks together and put the finishing touches on our tuxedos. I guess there is something that runs in Parr’s family that prohibits him and his brother Shaun from understanding how to put cuff links and tie tacks on, because at every wedding I’ve been to with either of them, someone else has to help them dress. So, Adam took care of the Groom, and I took care of the Best Man, and I gotta say I think we did a damn good job in the process.

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After we were all dressed and looking spiffy, the groomsman and bridesmaids filtered into the hallway one by one to make our procession into room filled with guests where we would proceed to take six steps, turn right, take six or seven more steps and then part ways at the alter in the correct order we were supposed to be in. Parr and Nicola followed, and then Giann, the ring bearer strutted his way down the aisle in his pint sized tuxedo and sneakers. It says I’m taking this seriously, but I’m a kid and I wear sneakers so I’m not taking it THAT seriously.

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The ceremony was from 4:30-5pm, but I think we got through it in about 22 minutes thanks to Nicola wanting to have a brief wedding, and Chad being able to speak quickly and efficiently, and everyone being aware of where they were supposed to be, and who they were supposed to be with. He said “I do,” she said “I do,” and everyone applauded and snapped photos as Parr, Nicola and Giann were officially a family. I mean, just look how jazzed Parr is in this picture. He’s even giving a fist pump.

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The guests made their way into the Boiler Room for cocktail hour which was technically a bar downstairs and not a real boiler room like you would automatically think. The wedding party stayed upstairs to take pictures and get drinks from the bar because now that the wedding was over, the REAL party was about to begin. Before all the food and the dancing and the selfie taking was to happen, we needed to snap a few real photos for posterity and I think we nailed it.

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We mingled downstairs for awhile with all of the guests and gorged ourselves on a plethora of appetizers which included all the classic Italian specialties like garlic bread, a pasta bar, and deli meats and cheeses. It was obvious from the lack of potatoes and cabbage that no Irish person had any say in the spread of food that afternoon. I stayed close to the “Marlton” corner of the room where everyone who I’ve ever known from high school who came to the wedding was hanging out together and catching up with each other until it was time for the guests to take their seats upstairs and for the wedding party to be announced leading all the way up to the Bride and Groom. One by one each groomsman made our way into the dining hall onto the dance floor with a bridesmaid in one arm, and a cocktail in the other. I don’t think Parr would have wanted it any other way. At this point in the night, I had the bridesmaid on my arm, I didn’t feel sick, I had no qualms about drinking more alcohol, and just like those stupid Bud Light commercials, I was up for whatever happens next, or so I thought.

We all found our tables which were aptly named for different cities along the Jersey shore. There was L.B.I., Ocean City, Wildwood….and the rest. Then there was the Seaside Heights table where I sat with Tasha, Chad & Mary, Gary & Desiree, P-Nut & Efia, Jenna & Tim, and Woofy. Now, I hadn’t seen Woofy for like 15 years. In fact, no one had seen him in that amount of time. Pretty much after he graduated college in Rhode Island he got a job and met a woman in Massachusetts and married her and spent the last two decades or so in obscurity. He also dated Jenna at one time who was sitting right next to him at the table who he hadn’t spoken to in forever, and Jenna had also dated Chad for many years going back to the mid 1990s. I guess it was not a coincidence that they all ended up at the Seaside Heights table which ironically was the exact name of the beach city where 5 seasons of the reality show “Jersey Shore” took place. I still don’t know if it was a joke by the Bride and Groom or if that’s just the table where Woofy ended up but either way, I found it very amusing.

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The dinner service was underway and Shaun was on the mic saying some kind words to his brother and his new sister-in-law. I had a few things I wanted to say too, and I even wrote them down on a piece of paper and brought it with me that night, but I never got a chance to go up there. I figure whatever I wanted to say then that I didn’t get a chance to say, I have said so far in this blog, but I had a another moment planned that I got a chance to execute and Jenna caught on video.

Goodfellas is our favorite movie. Hands down it is the one film Parr, Shaun, and Gary and I have probably watched 1000 times and have quoted it over and over again to each other. There’s a scene in the movie where Henry and Karen get married and all their friends and family walk up to them, and hand them a wedding gift which in this scene turns out to be multiple envelopes filled with cash. During the film there is a jump cut of all these envelopes filled with Benjamins being handed over to them, and there is one huge, fat, thick envelope the size of a brick that one of the guests places in Henry’s hand. I wanted to re-create that scene for Parr at his wedding, but Tasha and I are hardly rich enough to put THAT many hundred dollar bills in an envelope. However, we COULD afford to take a hundred ONE dollar bills, stuff them into an envelope and walk up to Parr and Nicola and tell them “Here’s a little something to help you get started,” Just like Pauly does in the movie. You can watch that video here.

After most of the eating was done, the deejay started up the night of music and rug cutting with the first dance starring the new couple Mr. & Mrs. Joseph Carr, and son. I snapped this pic with my shitty camera phone, and even though it’s not very crisp or clear I think it says all there needs to say about these three.

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The next two hours were pretty epic. Parr and Nicola had the most amount of guests dancing together at one time at any wedding I had been to. I mean it was like god damn American Bandstand that night. Old people dancing, young people dancing, people who didn’t even know how to dance were dancing. At one point I even slid across the floor on my knees during a Michael Jackson song and looking back now I could have seriously injured myself, but I didn’t care. I danced with Maggie, I danced with Tasha, I danced with Mary, Parr, Shaun and Gary. People were raising the roof, picking up change, and I think at one point Chad started to do the running man. I was having such a good time, when I turned around and there was the bridesmaid I had been paired up with looking at me like she had an agenda.

Wanna get a drink?” She asked.

Now, when you’re a little bit drunk and a pretty blonde girl at a wedding who you just happened to be paired up asks you to get a drink, there is only one response that you should ever give, and this is what I said to her…

“Absolutely I do.”

“Let’s do a shot” She said.

“Ok. Can we get two kamikazes?” I asked the bartender.

Now I know what you’re thinking…. Who the hell orders kamakazes anymore right? Well, I’m not a big shot guy unless of course it’s tequila or sometimes whiskey, and I had been drinking vodka all night so I thought I should stay on the same train.

“Can’t give out shots tonight.” He replied.

What the fuck was that about? No shots? I thought this was a Irish-Italian wedding?

“Let’s go to the other bar,” She said.

So we made our way to the other bar across the dance floor, took two shots and I threw the bartender a few dollars for hooking us up. Next thing I know I’m outside with the bridesmaid having a cigarette and talking. I told her I was from California, and she started telling me about how she’s been dating this guy who she met at work and how he wants to marry her and she thinks it’s a good idea because she has a son at home, but she also doesn’t even like the guy who she is currently dating. She also mentions that she just had surgery and is currently on some sort of medication. Now, I’m no doctor, but I’m pretty sure drinking alcohol and taking pain meds is NOT a good combination. Don’t they have warning labels for stuff like that?

She went on to say her boyfriend is a pit boss at a casino in Atlantic City, where she deals blackjack and that he offered her a new job at a casino in Delaware and he wants her to move down there with him and get married. So, me being an idiot and painfully honest like I am, told her that if she really isn’t into him, then she probably shouldn’t accept the job, and furthermore she probably shouldn’t be dating him if she doesn’t even like him. Look, I’m always going to tell people the truth of what I think, even if it’s not what they want to hear. Otherwise what kind of a person would I be?

“He didn’t come with you to the wedding?” I asked

“No, he’s here.” She replied.

Wait, at THIS wedding?” I asked.

“Yeah.” She said.

Great. All I need now is some big fat six foot nine pissed off burly pit boss from the Taj Mahal beating the shit out of me at my best friend’s wedding for talking to his girlfriend who doesn’t really like him, and probably sees me as the catalyst to the eventual fight they will get into later on that evening.

“Let’s go back inside.” I say.

“I’m not finished my cigarette.” She says.

“Well I am, so I’ll see you later.”

I was right to get out of there. This girl may have been cute and sweet, but she was bad news. There is NOTHING about what she just told me that appealed to me in any way shape or form. I made my way back into the dance hall and spent the rest of the time dancing around with Parr and Mary and Tasha and Maggie and Chad and everybody else who didn’t come to the wedding with pit boss boyfriends that they don’t like.

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Everyone was having a really good time but before we knew it, it was late, the deejay was spinning his last song, and the wedding of Joe and Nicola was coming to an end. We all stood around after the music had stopped, I grabbed my coat and stole the picture frame from our table that said Seaside Heights on it and was almost ready to call it a night when I see Chad who runs into the wedding hall and tells us how he had been downstairs the last half hour in the Boiler Room which was now rocking and rolling with a live band and room full of people.

Here comes the afterparty…..

First thing I did was grab the key to the room from Tasha and I went upstairs to change, wash my face, spray myself with more cologne, and then I headed back downstairs to the Boiler Room. I could hear the music from the stairwell, and right around the time that I walked into the bar, I see Nicola with a concerned look on her face. I grabbed Parr and asked him what was going on, but I think I already knew.

“The bridesmaid’s boyfriend is here. He got into it with her and I guess he’s pissed.” Parr said.

“At me?” I asked.

I didn’t even need to hear the answer to that question. This is so not what I wanted to have happen at their wedding, but what was I going to do? Hide in my hotel room the rest of the night?

“Fuck that, he’s an idiot and he’s not going to do anything with all of us here. Don’t even worry about it.” Parr said.

And I didn’t worry about it one bit. I just got myself a beer, and went out to the dance floor and we all kept the party going to the cool sounds of 70s and 80s music from a live band who were really good and really tight. A few songs later I saw the bridesmaid enter the bar. She looked a little sad and I kind of felt bad for her. No one wants to be depressed  at a wedding so I bought her a drink and brought her onto the dance floor into the crowd of my friends.

“I broke up with him.” She said.

“For real?” I asked.

“Yep.” She said with a smile.

What did that mean? Did she really break up with him? Did I cause this to happen? Was it something I said outside? Was this some sort of play to make him jealous and more pissed off? I mean, I would have said the same thing to anyone who told me they were in a relationship with someone they didn’t like. I don’t even know this guy but now, I kind of felt bad for HIM, wherever he was.

“He’s right there.” She said.

Then I look up, and there he is leaning on the stairwell watching this all happen, but specifically shooting hate rays with his eyes directly at me and the bridesmaid. He was barely 5 foot 5, slightly overweight, and he had this really gross stringy black hair and the creepiest look on his face. If there was anyone at that wedding that fit the profile of someone who would have stayed at the Lollipop motel that night, it would have been him. Instantaneously, I stopped feeling bad for him. This chick was WAAAY out of his league, and to be honest this whole scenario was way out of my comfort zone.

I’ll be right back.” I said.

And with statement, that I made my way to the far back end of the bar where Steve, Adam and Maggie were hanging out, under the air conditioner and far away from the drama on the dance floor. I took a seat next to Maggie at the bar and started talking to them about what just happened. The last hour was just an absolutely insane experience. I mean, who breaks up with their boyfriend at a wedding in Jersey because some groomsman you were paired up with who’s name you probably don’t even remember said that you shouldn’t be in relationship if you didn’t really like the guy? Has NO ONE else ever said that to her? Can I get her to do anything else tonight by just telling her what I think? Like maybe she should quit her job and move to California to be with me, but before she does, I want her to rob a bank and murder all my enemies along the way, and just so you know, that’s a few more people now than it was last year. I know she didn’t do it for me, but man…. it’s just so fucking crazy.

I went on for a little bit joking around and recapping the highlights of the night with the boys, and then Adam decided it would be a good idea to leave me and Maggie alone and head to another part of the bar. Damn, we were getting match-maked on both ends. I talked with her for awhile and we had couple drinks and we took a handful of selfies, a few of which Chad photobombed and yeah, we made out a little bit. I mean come on, it was bound to happen. She was wearing this cute little superman tank top that night and my ex girlfriend and her best guy friend were pushing us together through no fault of our own since the night before.

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She looked good that night and I told her that. I think we had always liked each other but the timing was never right, and to be honest this was the only opportunity we would have. It was almost 2am, and the bartender did last call, so we ordered two more beers, paid the tab, and then Maggie and I started to walk back to her room upstairs, when out of nowhere, the bridesmaid and her friend cuts us off.

“Ready to go upstairs?” The bridesmaid asked.

I couldn’t believe what was happening. I mean first of all, this girl had some balls inviting me to go upstairs to her room with her and her friend after what had happened that night, and especially right in front of Maggie. This kind of stuff never happens to me. I looked at the bridesmaid, then looked at Maggie, then turned back to the bridesmaid, and I said with a smile.

“I don’t think so.”

Maggie and I walked past the girls, went up the stairs and into the hotel lobby and up a few more stairs until we found a place to sit down and finish the last beer of the night.  The truth is, we couldn’t go anywhere because I was staying in a room with Tasha, and she was staying in a room with Adam. What were we going to do? Knock on the door of one of the rooms and ask our friends to hang out in the hall for twenty minutes so we could bang each other? That just wouldn’t be right, so we did the only thing we could do for the next forty-five minutes we made out on a white couch on the third floor of the hotel in front of the elevator while we took little breaks to talk and drink our beers.

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That’s where it all went down. Compared to the last wedding I went to where both Tasha and I hooked up with someone else, this seemed to happen a little more naturally, with a little more help from everyone, and of course without me vomiting in my suit.  Eventually, I said goodnight to Maggie and we both went our separate ways into our separate hotel rooms and eventually, fell asleep.

I really had a blast at Parr and Nicola’s wedding, and I got to be honest, it was hard to fit all of what happened into a two part story. I wish there was more to tell, but these are the highlights as I remembered them.  I’ve never been more happy for Parr then on this day.  I was proud of him.  He now has a beautiful Italian wife, and an incredible son to call his own, and I know he’ll be the best husband and Dad he could ever be.  I guess Parr’s all growns up now.

The next morning, it was bright and sunny, which meant of course the ONLY day it rained that weekend was the day Parr and Nicola got married, but maybe that’s good luck. Tasha and I had a plane to catch back to L.A., so we packed up our bags, said our goodbyes and headed back to Philly to drop off the rental car and catch our flight by 4pm.

“That was a great time.”  Tasha said.

“It was.”  I replied.  “Hey, thanks for being a good friend.”

“And not a blocker of cock?”  She asked.

“Yeah, that too.” I said.

As the airplane started to taxi down the runway, I put on a movie and my headphones and thought about the last few days.  I wish we could have stayed longer, and I wish that every wedding had an afterparty, but most importantly, I wish that everyone had a such good friends like the ones I have.  They look out for me like family.

Epilogue:

I guess this is the part of the story where I think back to how it all happened 8 years ago when I met this girl at a wedding and her and I would go on to date for two years, love each other, break up with each other multiple times, share two cats, a rabbit, and three apartments together all while somehow becoming best friends and business partners who created a TV show pilot and attended 7 weddings together over the past 8 years. It may sometimes have been stressful, but I don’t regret anything that has happened since I met her. I might have done things a little differently early on in our relationship, but ultimately we weren’t meant to be together in that way. We both know that now.

Something happened to me while I writing this blog. Over the past twelve weeks I have spent at least three or four days working on every entry, reminiscing about the good times I’ve had at my friends weddings and what it was like to see them all grow up and witness their love first hand and literally be a part of it for one day. It’s been a great feeling because every wedding I’ve attended and have written about has brought me closer to the realization that I never thought I would say in writing let alone out loud, but here it goes.

I’m going to get married someday. I’m going to meet someone that I can love and share my life with, regardless of how much work it might be, regardless of what I thought in the past. Love has always eluded me, or love has disappeared or it doesn’t reciprocate, or it changes form, or sometimes, I just fuck it up because I’m scared. But I’m not scared anymore. I know that there’s someone out there who is the perfect match for me, and I’ll meet her one day, but to be honest, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if I’ve already met her.

In the year since the last wedding we attended, Tasha and I have remained good friends, but we don’t live together anymore. We’re still working on selling the show and we have a pretty big meeting coming up next week with a pretty big manager who has the power to take our show to the next level. I mean like network next level, not some crappy start up cable bullshit like before. It’s our third meeting with him since October of last year, so maybe this is it.

In the meantime, I wanted to thank everyone who has taken the time over the last few weeks to read this blog. With the exception of the proverbial lawsuit that never happened, people have told me they really enjoyed it, and I wanted to extend my regards to everyone who has commented, texted, shared, or retweeted it. I truly appreciate it, and a special thanks to all my friends who let me use their first and sometimes last names in the process.

In the very first entry of this blog, I wrote:

“as I’ve gotten older I keep getting these save the date cards in the mail and I keep watching my best friends get married and I keep attending these weddings with the same woman that I haven’t dated since 2009.”

So, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that there is one more save the date, one more best friend, and one more wedding we have left to attend……

Gary Des

(to be continued…)

See you in a month.

Next Wedding:  Late July 2015

Follow on Twitter @CMarc333

Joe & Nicola (Part 1)

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It was the weekend of May 16th, 2014 and Tasha and I were in New Jersey to attend the rehearsal and wedding of one of my best friends from high school, Joseph T. Carr, aka Parr, aka “Mouse” which no one ever referred to him by, except for some girl from elementary school who called him that all the way up to his graduation day. First of all, I sincerely hope that the use of Parr’s full name and moniker just now doesn’t constitute a lawsuit from him, because if you’ve been keeping tabs on some of the ridiculous events that transpired since the start of this blog, writing that you don’t like someone and mentioning a silly nickname you had for them in high school is apparently cyber-bullying and grounds for defamation of character. But, since I like Parr and we’re friends, I’m not expecting to be served with papers anytime soon.

Parr had found someone really special a few years back when he met in my opinion the sweetest, coolest, greatest girl he’d ever dated… the one, the only, & most importantly Italian, (and therefore BEST) counterpart to his flagrant Irish personality, Nicola. I kind of knew from the first time I met her that she was going to be the one for him. She’s cool, laid back, beautiful, and she’s not crazy. Truth is, every Italian from Jersey has the capability to be crazy, myself included, but instead of crazy I like to use the word “passionate.” Nicola was passionately in love with Parr, and I was more than passionately happy to be a groomsman at their wedding. As it turns out, it would end up being one of the most memorable and slightly dramatic nights of my life, but we’ll get to that soon enough.

I met Parr way back in the early 1990s. I probably hung out with him the most back in the day and it wasn’t only because he is so god damn good looking, we had a lot in common. Look, I’m not gay, but I got to be honest, if I WERE to cross over to the “pride side,” I’d definitely get it on with Parr. I think most guys would have. He’s fun, charismatic, and for a short amount of time he closely resembled Bille Joe Armstrong from Green Day. I think we started hanging out sometime when my friendships with Chad, Gary, Boner and P-Nut were kind of on the rocks, because I did something really stupid and immature to one of them.

I wasn’t a fuck up per se, I just didn’t understand common courtesy. Moreover, I knew nothing of how to cultivate good lasting male friendships, (thank you very much step father who left me and my mom at my 8th grade graduation) So I started over with a new group of guy friends including Parr, Bezanis, Woofy, and Ian who no one has heard from since the late 1990s. Eventually, I was able to mend my friendships with Chad and P-Nut, but Boner and I never really saw eye to eye after that time. It’s probably for the best anyway. I never could tell what that guy was talking about. He used to tell this story about how the FBI confiscated his computer in the 1980s because he apparently hacked into some government mainframe. I believed him at first, but then I realized how similar Boner’s FBI story was to the premise for the movie War Games. He probably made all that shit up, especially the story he told everyone about how he had dated my sister, that is of course until my sister denied it to Chad and Boner was called out.

Anyway, Chad, P-Nut, and Gary had gotten over it, which led to the melding of two groups of my guy friends that I have known since sophomore year. Like I said in previous blogs, I love these guys, and it was an honor to be part of their wedding(s) Joe (who?) and Nicola were getting married in Cape May NJ that weekend, so Tasha and I boarded a Virgin America flight in L.A. a few days before and flew all the way to Philadelphia International. I was actually a little sick on the flight out there. Sometimes when I go home, I get nervous and anxious and I had recently pulled a muscle in my shoulder which was really hurting me at the time. I couldn’t even hold a coffee cup in my left hand without feeling some level of discomfort. I’ll tell you man, getting old sucks.

Before we drove into Jersey, Tasha and I had spent the last six months shooting, and editing sizzle reels, teasers and the pilot episode of our project that used to be a web series, but had now been developed in to a 22 minute TV sitcom, Trent & Tilly. We had been meeting with a start-up cable network over the last six months who loved our idea, and who signed us to a contract to produce and air it on their channel. We did a table read, a photo shoot, attended some events and gave some interviews and we even brought in a few C-list celebs to be cast in the two supporting roles opposite us. Things appeared to be going good, except here’s the thing about Hollywood. It’s nothing until it’s something, which basically means, that contract we signed doesn’t mean anything until we have that check in our hand. And even though this network was supportive and really believed in us and our idea, because they couldn’t come up with the purchase price of the show within 45 days of signing the contract, the agreement was null and void and the ownership of the show reverted back to us. So being the innovative creators we are, we shot the pilot ourselves using our own money and slapped together a sizzle reel, a one sheet, and our agents were sending it out to networks and it was just a matter of time before it was sold and me and Tasha were millionaires and subsequently considered an “overnight success.” We knew it was going to happen, it was just a matter of when and how. I mean, why else had we put ourselves through hell, and why else were we exes still living together in a one bedroom apartment in Hollywood, and why else were we able to find a way to use that uncomfortably awkward situation and write it into one of the premises for the show? It can’t all be for nothing.

We landed in Philly, drove over to Jersey, got a hotel room in Mt. Laurel and spent the first couple days hanging with my mom and my sister, finishing off two bottles of wine at the Carrabba’s on route 73 in Marlton while catching up. The wedding was taking place at Congress Hall in Cape May so after a few days on the main land we headed down the shore to meet up with the wedding party at the hotel for the rehearsal on Thursday afternoon. Congress Hall was epic. It’s this huge old historic boarding house from the 1800’s that is located directly on the beach in Cape May. It had a bunch of rooms, a bar, a view of the ocean, and an underground speakeasy where we would eventually congregate after the wedding where some, if not all of the shit would go down. I know I’m getting ahead of myself, but bear with me. This is my last blog, and I gotta build the suspense.

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Un like that picture, the forecast was for rain on Friday, which by the look on Nicola’s face, clearly sucked. She wanted an outdoor wedding, and who doesn’t? Currently, it was sunny and bright that afternoon on Thursday in May and the wedding party practiced our procession indoors, just in case the wedding got rained out. Parr and I and the rest of groomsmen had gotten our tuxes from Men’s Warehouse which did NOT fuck up the order unlike Jos. A Bank from such previous events as P-Nut and Efia’s wedding. This time around, Chad was again the aficionado of ceremonies, and me, Gary, Steve, Ron, Adam and P-Nut were the groomsmen. His brother Shaun was the best man, and of course we were all paired with bridesmaids to walk down the aisle with. My bridesmaid was pretty, and some might say that our pairing was the catalyst that lead to the unearthing of some chaotic events the next night, but for now, let’s just imagine us all rehearsing in jeans and tee shirts and everybody getting along and no drama to be experienced, yet.

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Everyone in the wedding party on the Groom’s side had one thing in common. We all worked at the TGI Fridays in Marlton on route 73 at some point in our lives. With the exception of Shaun, everyone was at one time either a busser, a waiter, or a bartender. Gary got me the job in ’96, when Steve was already working there, P-Nut followed suit and was hired a few months after me, then after I got fired in ’98 for reasons that shall not be discussed, Parr got hired as a waiter, Chad worked there for a minute as a bus boy and hated it because if you know Chad then you know that he is NOT the poster boy for manual labor. In the years after I moved to Seattle, Parr continued to work there when Adam and Ron were hired so it was not ironic at all that a lot of the guests at the wedding were at one time part of the Friday’s crew.

Back to the rehearsal, we were all gathered in this small stuffy hallway with the drinks we got from the bar before we started proceeding down the aisle in a very odd format. Steve and Ron went first, building from the outside in, followed by me, then P-Nut, then Adam, then Gary which put Gary closest to the Groom, and by that rationale made Steve furthest from the groom.

Wait a minute, I look like Parr’s worst friend! Steve said.

This is where the groomsman location theory came about. Out of all of us, Steve and Ron should have been closer to the groom being that Parr lived with Ron for years, and hangs out with Steve on a regular basis. Shaun is Parr’s brother and isn’t going anywhere, I was smack dab in the middle, so any adjustments to the first two, or the last two wouldn’t affect me at all, so after Parr mentioned this to the wedding planner we all had to start over.  So, while the other guests were in the bar having many drinks, the groomsmen and the bridesmaids went back to the hallway outside the room, grabbed the cocktails and beers we had set down on the stairs before the FIRST rehearsal, finished them, and then proceeded into the room for the second rehearsal, this time in correct order. After we rehearsed the walking to the alter, which didn’t really exist, and the reciting of the vows which were sweet and to the point, but didn’t really mean anything yet, we were released from the muggy convention room and we all headed to the bar for more drinks.

Tasha was sitting at the bar taking selfies with all the girls who weren’t bridesmaids at the wedding which included Efia, Desiree/Destiny and Maggie. I found Tasha’s old sim card in the drawer today and came up with these gems.  She sure loves her selfies….

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I had met Maggie a few years back in 2011 when I came home for the Eagles game/Irish weekend in Wildwood. I had a little crush on her, but it never really amounted to anything because A, she had a boyfriend at the time and B, she lived 3000 miles away in Jersey.  Of course and not ironically, Maggie also worked at the TGI Friday’s in Marlton for awhile and became really good friends with Parr, Adam and Ron. Maggie had sent me a Facebook message a week before the wedding asking me to save her a dance, but when I saw her commiserating with Tasha at the bar I started to wonder A. What were they talking about and B. is this is going to turn into a classic “cock block” situation.

The upside to having a best friend/business partner who is both smart and hot is that it works wonders when dealing with business stuff in a male dominated environment such as Hollywood. She does all the talking sometimes because she is charming and men like a woman who knows her shit. The downside to having a best friend/business partner who is both smart and hot is that every where I go with her, people assume we are boyfriend/girlfriend, so I never get hit on by any other woman. Tasha is sometimes what I like to consider a cock blocker through no fault of her own. It’s not her fault that chicks don’t talk to me when I’m with her, but it’s also her being “with me” that is the fault of why chicks don’t talk to me when I am. Regardless, I said hello to Maggie and a bunch of other guests that had arrived at the bar, and then I pulled Tasha aside.

“Talking to Maggie huh? How’s that going?” I asked.

She’s sweet.” She replied. “I told her we’re not together.

Really?” I said. “I just thought it would be a classic cock block situation.”

On the contrary I let her know it’s cool, so in a sense I’m cock allowing.” she stated

I don’t think that’s the way you say that.” I replied.

I’m allowing cock into your life.” She said.

That’s worse than the first thing you said!” I stated.

I knew what she was trying to say, I just don’t think there is a definitive term that means “not” cock blocking someone, but I thought it was nice that at least she was putting in some good words. I got to be honest, it’s kind of weird when your ex-girlfriend is trying to play matchmaker at your best friend’s wedding, especially since we had been sharing a hotel room for the past three days and that trend will continue tonight and tomorrow.

The last wedding we went to left me with a strange taste in my mouth, and I mean that both literally because I rolfed that night, but also figuratively because I wasn’t sure what to make of all this. We were in some kind of unchartered territory, but I would like to think our friendship has evolved past the point of jealousy, meaning that I’m cool if she hooks up, and she’s cool if I hook up, but I get the feeling that even though both of us are cool like that, neither one of us would actually want to witness the hook up first hand.

After about an hour of drinking and snacking from the bowl of pretzels and spicy crackers at the bar, the guests were getting ready to head to the Bayview in Wildwood for the rehearsal dinner, even though it wasn’t really going to be a traditional dinner. It was more like a bunch of Parr and Nicola’s friends getting drunk and eating bar food together the night before the wedding. Tasha and I headed back to the car which I had illegally parked somewhere on the backlot of the hotel, but before we made our way to the bar, we had to drive back to North Wildwood, otherwise known as “NoWo” to check into our room for the night at the Lollipop, otherwise known as that outrageous looking rainbow colored motel on the corner of 23rd and Atlantic whose main sign shows two close-up drawings of these random blonde haired creepy little kid faces. You see what I mean?

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I had booked the motel last minute because we needed a place to stay that was close to Cape May, but not actually in Cape May because of the location of the Bayview. The motel was close to Parr’s parents house, and even though it got a bad reputation because it looks likes it’s the perfect place for a pedophile to hang out, I went ahead and took a chance. Steve booked a room there too, but he went straight to the bar first. We got to the motel office and opened the door and went in. In the office were some pamphlets, a few pictures of local sights like the boardwalk and the pier, and a couple house plants. I heard the sound of the TV from this back room connected to the office covered by a curtain, which I would assume is where the hotel manager and their kids slept. On the desk in front of me where the pamphlets and parking passes were laid out was this black and white cat who was staring at me and Tasha.

We’d like to check in please.” I said to the cat.

Naturally, it didn’t answer but a few seconds later a man in his mid thirties appeared from behind the curtain like the great and powerful Oz, and we started the check in process. He told tell us stories of how all these crazy “Jersey Shore” types started coming down in the past few summers.

In fact,” he said “one of them crazy I-talians threw a TV in the pool last year.

“Well I’m Italian, but definitely not crazy, just passionate…. and maybe a little crazy.” I replied.

I think his name was John and he seemed really nice to us and gave us our key which was an actual key, not like one of those cards with the magnetic strip on it that they give you in modern hotels. It’s been awhile since I stayed in a hotel room where you physically get a key to the place. It felt so antiquated. We went up one flight and entered room 202 which was directly above the office. The room was….how can I put this….very quaint and “oceanic.” There was single bed, a couch, a tube television from the late 1990s, some really tacky wallpaper, a microwave, a tiny little bathroom and a bunch of nautical instruments on the wall.

“I call the bed!” Tasha exclaimed.

Fine, I call the pull-out couch.” I said.

I had done a little research on some of the hotels in Wildwood before I left. What I found by reading some of the Yelp reviews of other places was quite concerning. The Lollipop however, had gotten some relatively good reviews, it just looked like a shit hole place that would have gotten terrible reviews. Still, I did the first thing I do when I check into a shady motel, I got my flashlight, and checked for bed bugs.

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I actually had an issue with bed bugs a year before. My bed was slightly infested with them, and it sucked. For two months, I couldn’t sleep at all and it freaked me out right up until the whole apartment had to be exterminated. I won’t go into the details of how Tasha brought home a painting from her ex-boyfriend’s house and how that painting ended up against the wall next to my bed and how after I found out I had bed bugs I looked inside the frame of said painting and sure enough that’s where all the bugs had come from, or maybe I just did go into detail about that.  Regardless, I had to throw my old bed away so Tasha bought me a new one because even though I’m not pointing the finger directly at her, maybe she felt kind of gulity and maybe the whole the thing had “something” to do with that painting she brought home. Just a theory of mine.

After I found the sleeping quarters to be safe, we changed clothes, hopped in the car and headed over to the Bayview in Wildwood Crest. It was almost dark by he time we got there but when we walked in, everyone was gathered around the bar drinking and having some food. Most of Nicola’s friends and family were there, and of course ALL of Parr’s family and friends were there too, mainly because they are Irish and alcoholics, respectively. I went over to and said hi to my friends Halin, Rotzko, and Reynolds, who I refer to by their last names, and then we said hello to my friends Dave, Jenna and Tim who I refer to by their first names. There’s this weird thing about calling someone by their last names that I think only applies to guys. I’ve never heard Tasha refer to Mary and say “I’m getting a drink with Quinlan,” and I’ve never heard Mary refer to Tasha by saying “Do you know where Tacosa is?” I just think it’s a guy related sports thing, because that one time in 2007 when I did refer to Tasha as “Tacosa,” she stated “Hey, I’m not on your baseball team.” Point taken.

The next couple of hours reminded me of being at a mini-high school reunion. I caught up with people I hadn’t seen in awhile, put some music on the jukebox and ate some bar food that I think I remember was pretty good but to be honest, it was the company we kept that made it so much fun. It was nice to see all of these people in one place again, and it only made me look forward to the wedding tomorrow that much more. I ordered another drink and spotted Maggie at the bar. She came up to me and said hi, and then she told me she had talked to Tasha.

“Tasha’s really cool.” She said.

Yeah, she’s great.” I replied. “What did you guys talk about?

“Nothing.” She said.

“Did you talk about me?” I asked.

No.” She said with a smirk. “Just remember to save me that dance tomorrow.”

I didn’t know what kind of reverse bro-mance was going on with them. For all I knew this could be a set up, but in reality I don’t think that was the case. Did Maggie and Tasha have a little girl crush thing going on? Possibly, but at this point it didn’t really matter. I know Tasha has my back, especially in situations like this that we’ve NEVER been in before. It’s just the kind of relationship we have. We want each other to be happy, and we want each other to have fun and I’m sure that if there was some guy there that wanted me to try and sweet talk Tasha into “dancing” with him I would have done the same thing. That’s just what friends do, especially friends who I used to date 7 years ago, but who I don’t anymore, even though at this point we still shared a bedroom and shared many arguments about which one of us keeps leaving dirty dishes piling up in the kitchen sink.

Everyone in that room was a good friend of mine. I shared some great memories with each and every person going all the way back to 1992 when I first met Chad, Gary and P-Nut and we snuck out to the fields behind my house in the Vineyards in the middle of the night and saw what we thought to be the Jersey Devil. Then a few years later when I met Parr, Dave, Rotzko, Reynolds, and Woofy I threw a NYE party in a hotel room somewhere in Vorhees where I got violently sick and ended up puking and clogging the sink, and my boy Gary took care of me.

The friends I’ve known for years have each other’s backs, and they stick up for each other, and yes, it’s required in that same vein of existence they may also get into fights and bust each other’s balls in the process, but that’s just how it goes. We did almost everything together growing up, and I don’t have any regrets about the way things turned out, and I would hope the same goes for them.  As I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve been finding out who my real friends are, and that night on the eve of Parr and Nicola’s wedding I was happy to know I was in a room full of them.

Way back in the day we used to listen to this song by the hard core band “H2o” called “5 Year Plan” It wasn’t the greatest song in the world, but the first 8 words of the tune really emphasizes my point.

My friends look out for me like family”

That’s the way it should always be. For me, I didn’t grow up with a father or a brother, or any real extended family so naturally, my best friends became my family. I won’t ever know what it’s like to grow up as a kid in the world today, but I bet it’s not half as entertaining as it was for us back then.

Back at the bar, there was still drinking and chatting going on, but Tasha and I left a little earlier than everyone else that night because we were tired and tipsy and we headed back to the motel to get some sleep before the wedding tomorrow.

So….what did you say to Maggie?” I asked her

“I gave her my blessing” Tasha said with a smile.

It was a sweet and selfless thing to do.  I didn’t know what was going to happen the next night, but I do know that two amazing people were going to get married, and I was going to be able to be a part of it, and all of it’s legendary glory.

“Thanks Tacosa.” I replied.

You’re welcome, but I’m not on your baseball team.”

Part 2: June 24th, 2015

Follow on Twitter @CMarc333

Aaron & Marlowe

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It was April 13th 2013, but you could hardly tell it was Spring by the weather that afternoon. The day Aaron and Marlowe got married in Malibu, California it was overcast and chilly, and in addition to their beautiful ceremony, and amazing buffet spread, an extra redeeming quality for me was being able to gather with my west coast Philly sports family for a celebration that would include so much food, so much drink, and so much debauchery.

Tasha and I had been living together as roommates for the past 8 months. Within the four walls of my apartment all the time were me, Tasha, all of our stuff, my pet cat, and her pet rabbit.

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#bffs

We were kind of like one small dysfunctional family the last few months however during that time, Tasha and I had somehow worked together to write and produce 8 episodes of our award winning web series, Trent & Tilly. It was a small accomplishment in the grand scheme of things, but it was enough for us to gain some confidence moving forward as we tried to figure out how to make this little show into a much bigger show. The wedding couldn’t have come at a better time, as we both needed a little break to relax, unwind, and hang out with our big dysfunctional family, “The Nest of the West.”

I met Aaron at the bar one Sunday afternoon while we all were watching the Eagles game. Aaron loves his football, his wife, and yelling at Cowboys fans who try to taunt us.  Every Sunday it was usually me, Tasha, Shaun, John, Tim, Adam, Dave, Leland, Kerry, the Sinkler twins, our server Kym…. and the rest. We even harbored our friend Drew who is ironically a Redskins fan. Normally, I wouldn’t associate with the enemy on game day, but Drew gets a pass because I’ve known him since the 90s, he’s a good guy, and he takes the most amount of shit talk by sitting with us during the games. It’s great when we’re winning, but it sucks when we’re losing.  How would you like it if there is one guy sitting amongst you cheering loudly when your team fumbles the ball into the hands of the defense.  Sucks.  I always thought inviting us all to a wedding would be very similar to us all being at the bar, except we would all look a lot nicer, the food would be way better, and since Aaron and Marlowe provided transportation to and from the event, we would all be able to get a lot drunker, if that was even possible, but as I would find out later that, it certainly WAS possible.

Tasha and I parked our car at one of the valet pickup spots on Sunset Blvd. A few of us gathered into a pass van and made our way to the top of a mountain in Malibu wearing spring dresses and Calvin Klein suits. As the van climbed through the overcast skies into the upper stratosphere of this well known beach city, I stopped being able to see anything out the window than the road and the clouds. To be honest, it was pretty scary. The lanes going up the mountain were extremely narrow, and we had to pull over to let other cars pass us on the vertical trek to the house. Once we got there, it was pretty clear that we couldn’t see anything past the cliffs at the edge of the property. I had a few thoughts running through my head, one of them, was where the hell were we in relation to L.A., because none of us got any cell phone service up there. The other one was, just how much money did it cost to rent out a three million dollar mansion for the weekend, and how did Aaron get to know these people whose house he rented?

Aaron is a line producer and has worked on some big budget projects, and Marlowe is an exotic animal trainer, (hope I got that right) and she works at the L.A. Zoo, so I’m sure they have their connections. Still, I had been to Malibu before, but when we took a right turn off the Pacific Coast Highway and then headed up a steep road where I thought I was going to die a few times on the ride, I completely lost any sense of time and direction. Things would pretty much exist inside that bubble for the next 6 hours.

The location was decorated with black tablecloths, red roses, a stone patio, and a small set of chairs for the parents and the wedding party. We all gathered in the backyard of the mansion, and the ceremony took place just a few feet away from where we were standing. Most of us didn’t sit down for the ceremony, mainly because there weren’t any chairs for us to sit down in. I kind of liked the idea of Aaron and Marlowe having a wedding so quick and to the point, that within two minutes of them saying I do, and us all clapping and celebrating their union together, we were all at the bar, three feet away getting our drink on. It was just that kind of day. I knew from the start that this wouldn’t necessarily bring about any emotional revelations for me, nor would it bring me back to a time where I would reminisce about growing up with all these guys because for the most part, I had only known them for the last few years, but the people at this wedding are my west coast family, and I love them all, even if I don’t see them that much in between football seasons.

There was ahi tuna, steak, chicken, sushi, and other delicious food being passed around on server trays. Strong cocktails were being consumed all over the grounds, and a buffet was set up in the living room of the mansion where we could all gorge ourselves on many different types of meats, cheeses, salads and more apps. Aaron and Marlowe had what I called an “East Coast” California wedding. It wasn’t your traditional California wedding because there was so much bread and booze and food that you knew the Bride and Groom weren’t from California.  Aaron said that he wanted to keep the decorations and ceremony to a minimum, but he added one element we could all partake in that set this wedding apart from any other wedding I’ve been to. Gambling.

Not like real gambling where you lose your own money, however if we did run out of the fake cash in the perk pack we received at the start of the reception, we could pay for some more. I don’t remember if there were prizes or what not for the person with the most amount of chips, and I don’t recall any dancing or any other type of traditional wedding activities, although looking at this picture of Aaron and Marlowe below being held up on two wooden chairs, I could easily assume there was some traditional jewish element to it.

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Before I made my way up stairs where the blackjack, roulette, and poker tables were,  I had a few drinks, took some pictures with my boys, and ate a good amount of food, or so I thought. I got to be honest, that’s where the pictures stopped for me. It was as if as soon as I got a little bit more drunk than normal, I stopped taking pictures, the sun set, or at least the hazy ominous light from the where the sun would be if I could tell what direction I was facing had set, and I went up stairs with my bag of chips and sat at a table with Kym, John, and John’s “not” date to the wedding, Zenobia.

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John is like my brother from another mother. I mean, people literally think we are related. He’s a good guy with an creative sense of pride and he’s very opinionated, so we get along fine.  Kym was our server at the bar on Sundays for the past 6 years, and it may be true that Kym and I had a love/hate relationship sometimes, but that could possibly be attributed to the fact that we may or may not have gone out on a date or two that didn’t quite pan out, or ended with us getting totally drunk and screaming at each other in a public or private setting. Hey, sometimes those things happen and when they do happen, that’s when you know that some things just aren’t meant to be. She’s a comedienne, and a good person at heart, and maybe she’ll write me into her stand up routine one day if she hasn’t already. Finally, there was John’s “not date” to the wedding, Zenobia.

I didn’t really know Zenobia, but she kind of came off a little snobby to me, however I’m sure that had everything to do with the first question I asked her that night which was….. “What the hell kind of name is Zenobia?”

I never really got an answer. She seemed kind of…privileged. I don’t know where she is from, but I assume she probably moved here to be an actress from some place in the mid-west, possibly. She was younger than us, and acted very “west coast”  meaning she was not that friendly, kind of stand-offish, a little vapid, and trying so hard to be cool. It’s not all her fault, because if you put her in a room with a bunch of guys and girls who’ve all known each other for years and who have no filter on their mouths who also like to get drunk at weddings and on Sundays and don’t really care about the consequences, you might pick up on some or all of those traits I mentioned earlier. Maybe it’s a defense mechanism, maybe it’s just someone being a bitch. I don’t really know.  I kind of wanted to say…

We’re at a wedding, lighten up. Life isn’t that serious right now. Maybe have another glass of pink champagne and stop trying to be the coolest person in the room”

But look, I get that my group of Eagles boys and gals are an intimidating bunch, especially since we bust on each other a lot, and we all have big personalities. Regardless, I don’t really know or wanted to know what her deal was at this point, so after I blew all my money on roulette, blackjack and two hands of Pai Gow or whatever game we were playing, I made my way back downstairs to get myself another drink.

I traded in my empty glass for a full one. I was on my fourth, or maybe fifth vodka because at this point in the night, they just go down so easily. I turned around and started heading back into the house when I ran into Kristin. Kristin and I had hung out a couple times over the last few months, but we kept it really quiet because we both didn’t like people in our personal business. Of course, all of that is negated now that I am writing about her in a public blog.

I liked Kristin. She was a pretty, down to earth, and not like most of the girls in L.A. who think their shit doesn’t stink. She’s a tom boy, from the east coast, wasn’t an actress, nor confrontational, and she had a high level of self esteem. The downside was that she lived all the way in Venice, and I lived all the way in Hollywood, and shared a bedroom with Tasha which definitely complicated any and all dating scenarios that may have arose during that time. Kristen knew about my living situation and I guess she didn’t really care, at least not at this point in the night. So, without really saying much we started a self guided tour of the mansion and eventually disappeared somewhere inside that house.

“What about here?” I asked.

“The bathroom?” She stated. “Not going to work.”

We tried to make the bathroom work for a minute, but as it turns out, Kristin was right… that bathroom was quite cramped and way too bright, so on to plan B. Next, we did what anyone who was drunk at a wedding and looking to hook up would do, we found a bedroom in the back of the house that no one was currently using, we went in, and locked the door behind us.

I don’t know if anyone saw us but to be honest, the idea that somebody might have was kind of exciting. I mean, it felt like we were doing something wrong, even though technically we weren’t but morally we might have been, and in a certain sense I think that added a level of intrigue to the events that took place that night. It felt like we were getting away with something….for now anyway.

I did know that some people were staying over at the house that night as I could tell someone had claimed this room due to the fact that there was a bag of clothes and other personal belongings on the bed, like a hair curler and blow dryer. Oh shit…was this Aaron and Marlowe’s room? I kind of felt bad, but then I thought about the relationship Aaron and Marlowe have and how they probably would have encouraged two guests to hook up at their wedding, and since this bedroom was kind of small and located on the ground floor, the chances of this being the Bride and Groom’s suite for the night were pretty slim, so we continued with our carnal encounter.

Then, five minutes later, and before anything erotic or carnal could actually transpire, we heard a knocking on the door and a very agitated high pitched female voice asking who was in “their” room.

“Oh shit, who is that?” I whispered.

“I don’t know.” Kristin said. “But we better open the door.”

I so did NOT want to open that door. I kept wondering is there a window we could crawl out of? Is there a secret pathway back to the living room that we could escape into like the underground railroad? Let’s face it, we were trapped together and we were going to be found out. I just really hope it wasn’t Marlowe. To have the Bride find you getting it on in their bedroom not only would be embarrassing, it would be very disrespectful, and that’s the last thing I wanted to have happen.

“Get your shit together, I’m opening the door.” Kristin said.

I grabbed my shirt, my tie, and my suit jacket and then the door to the bedroom opened, and in marched the one person who I didn’t really want to talk to before, and who I definitely didn’t want to talk to or see at THIS point in the night. The one, the only, the unequivocally pissed off cockblocker of the night, Zenobia.

“What were you guys doing in here?” She stammered.

Just checking out the rest of the house.” I said with a shit eating grin on my face.

Yep, she hates me.  If she hadn’t before, she definitely did now and with that, we left Zenobia to wonder what had or had not just transpired in her room, and we made our way down the hall and back outside to the party, slightly embarrassed but also incredibly relieved. Once we were back in civilization, one of our friends was smoking a joint,  and we both decided to join in for a few puffs. If I hadn’t learned my lesson from getting stoned at weddings in the past, here’s where I had a crash course in reality, as everything finally became unravelled.

At first, I was overcome with a sense of giddy pride and accomplishment for almost being found out and the feeling that at some point in my life, I would be able to tell the story of what just happened and laugh about it, maybe years later. Then I thought about how good the food was at this wedding, but how I don’t really remember eating a lot of carbs or bread, even though there were plenty to go around. Then I started thinking about how many drinks I had drank that night which led to me getting the spins, and the uneasy feeling in my stomach that this was not going to have a happy ending like I wished it would have. Was there a double meaning in that statement? Probably, but all that was in the past right now and I was living in the present, the present where I could feel myself stumbling around in the darkness, trying to find a secluded place out of sight from the rest of the guests where I could do my dirtiest work of the night.

I’ve never gotten so drunk that I puked at a wedding before, let alone puked while wearing a suit and tie, but there’s always a first time for everything, right? Inevitably it happened, right there in front of what I think was the garage of this three million dollar house in Malibu. I ended up vomiting out the five or so drinks, and whatever ahi tuna, chicken or steak appetizers I had consumed in the hours before. For a minute, I couldn’t really tell where I was, or what was happening, but I knew I wouldn’t be feeling very good for awhile. And even though I’m sure she didn’t want to witness it, Kristin, like the sweetheart she is was there to help me up from the ground after my exasperating bout of regurgitating everything I had enjoyed eating at Aaron and Marlowe’s wedding.

We sat on the stones near the edge of the property and looked out into the dimly lit sky. I apologized again for having to put her through such a disgusting experience, and when she asked me if I was going to stay over, all I could think of was how badly I wanted to leave, brush my teeth, take off my puke suit, and go to bed. My head was pounding, my stomach was rumbling, and I just needed to find Tasha so we could catch the last ride back to civilization and go home.

Speaking of Tasha, where was she? I hadn’t seen her in what felt like all night. I went back into the house and walked around trying to find her, but to no avail. I asked a few people where she was, and they had said they had seen her in the back about an hour ago, but I still couldn’t find her. Then, all of a sudden I ran into John outside. He took one look at me and said…

“Dude, are you ok? You look like you’re about to puke.”

“Thanks John, but I already did that.” I replied.

Then I turned around and saw Tasha and Adam approaching us. There was something weird about them. I asked Tasha if she was ready to go and she said yes, but with a strange look on her face. Then I looked at Adam, and he had the exact strange look on his face too, as if they knew something I didn’t.

Did they hear about me and Kristin in the back room, or worse,.. did they disappear into a back room of their own?  Nah, I couldn’t see that happening. Don’t get me wrong, Adam is a good looking guy, and I always knew he and Tasha kind of liked each other, but I don’t think one of my friends would bang my ex-girlfriend at a wedding that I was also a guest at. This is my life, not Californication.

“Alright, well I just vomited all over what I think was the garage, so I’m ready to go.”  I said

“Great.” She said. “Let’s go.”

We said goodbye to whomever was within ear shot, and we grabbed our stuff and made our way down the dark and dimly lit driveway to the street where the last passenger van of the night was to pick us up. I wasn’t drunk anymore, and I was actually pretty happy we had a half hour ride back to the car from Malibu so I could rest my eyes for minute. We headed down the mountain via that creepy winding one lane road, and instead of looking out the window and fearing that we would tumble off the edge of the cliffs again, I just closed my eyes, and fell asleep. When I woke up thirty minutes later, I was cold, I was hungry, but it was time to get into the car and go home.

This was a strange wedding. I was happy for Aaron and Marlowe, the venue was apocalyptically beautiful, I got violently sick, and I feared for my life on the ride up to the house. I hooked up with another girl that wasn’t my date, and even though I thought I had a good time, if I had it to do over again, I think I might have done things differently. Mainly, I wouldn’t have gotten sick, I might have bet a little more with my head, instead of over it, and I would have tried to have a more traditional experience, but I live my life with no regrets, and I guess in some way it was part of the process.

I know Tasha and I weren’t together, but there was a part of me that still felt guilty about the events that transpired. I mean, just six months ago I was in Florida at P-Nut and Efia’s wedding and I was coming to so many emotional and grown-up realizations about life and love, that compared to this wedding I felt like I took a step back tonight. Maybe I was being too hard on myself, or maybe I just didn’t feel good and I was taking things too seriously. I’m allowed to have fun, and not every wedding needs to be a positive learning lesson, right? I guess when it comes down to it, I just feel like in my life I want to evolve, not digress.

I started my car and let it warm up a bit and I turned on some music and put on my glasses I need to see the road with, but still something was on my mind and I had to get it out in the most honest and blunt way I know.

Did you bang Adam?” I casually asked Tasha.

“What? No I did NOT bang Adam. How can you ask me that?” She replied.

“You made out with him though, right?” I said in a matter of fact tone.

“Adam is cute, so yeah maybe we made out.” She said.

“Ok that’s fine.” I replied.

Honestly, I was fine with it. I know Tasha is a pretty girl and Adam is a good looking guy and at wedding two attractive people will flirt and sometimes get drunk and maybe they will end up making out with each other. I mean, I certainly had no room to talk.

You sure you didn’t bang him?” I asked half jokingly.

“Shut up Christian, let’s just go home.” She replied.

And with that, I put the car in drive, released the E-brake and I drove me and my ex-girlfriend/roommate/business partner back to the one bedroom apartment in Hollywood we shared with my pet cat, and her pet rabbit. Just one “sometimes happy yet always slightly dysfunctional” family.

It would be a little over a year before Tasha and I went to another wedding together, but before I made my final appearance as a groomsman in a wedding on the east coast with all of my best friends from high school in attendance, something really big was about to happen in me and Tasha’s professional life. However as we would soon come to learn, in Hollywood, something is still really nothing, until it’s really something.

Last wedding: June 16th, 2015

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All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Jason & Efia (Part 2)

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Tasha and I woke up the next morning, and it would be an understatement to say we were a little hung over. Still, we made our way to the free coffee and continental breakfast bar and met up with a few of the guests and the wedding party. Most of them were there, except for Nicola who was still nursing her hangover in her hotel room. I grabbed a coffee and went outside to revel in the beautiful weather, and as much as I was looking forward to eating something free, I kind of wanted a breakfast sandwich which was not an option at the hotel so Tasha, Dave and I decided to take a drive into town past the area of last night’s post rehearsal dinner crime scene and onto the outskirts of the FSU campus.

We drove past a place called Zaxby’s which apparently is like the Chi-Fil-A of the south, and arrived at a well known college haunt called “Bagel Bagel.” Pretty much everything is served on a bagel there. They had pizza bagels, lox and bagels, & bacon, ham and turkey bagels.  After I incinerated the roof of my mouth from my breakfast sandwich, we all headed back to the hotel gym where Tasha and I would attempt to sweat out some of the alcohol from the previous night, while Parr and Chad sat in the hot tub enjoying the warm Florida weather in October. Shaun had to go to Jos. A Bank to pick up his tux which hopefully fit well, V.J. was shit out of luck when it came to acquiring a better fitting vest, and I believe Swift found a pair of pants which is evident in the photo below.

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(From L to R: VJ, Swift, Parr, Nut, Chad, Gary, Me, Shaun)

We headed over to the Golden Eagle Country Club and were ushered into a room upstairs. We all sat at a big wooden table as Chad broke out his binder and went over his duties as the minister of ceremonies. This was Chad’s second go around marrying two of his friends, so he was definitely a little more comfortable than P-Nut was, being that A. Chad had been here before, and B. P-Nut hadn’t.  There were some chips and sodas and sandwiches in the room, but no one was really eating nor talking a lot, probably due to the fact that we were all pretty lethargic and still feeling the effects of last night’s boozefest.

I can’t imagine what goes through the mind of someone who is about to get married in an hour.  Perhaps their whole single life flashes before their eyes? Perhaps all the moments leading up to this day come rushing back as they’re overwhelmed with emotion and nervousness, or perhaps they’re just so excited and overjoyed to finally be able to say “I do” to the love of their life in front of all their friends and family that they find it hard to communicate their feelings, or maybe they just want to be still and contemplate the next few hours in the hopes that everything goes right. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to have that moment in my life, but right now the only thing going through my mind was how dehydrated I was, how happy I felt for my friend on his wedding day, and how I wish I had gotten a hair cut before I flew out for the wedding because this mop on my head closely resembled an unkempt piece of shit.

I’ve always had an issue with my hair, that issue being that I spend far too much thinking about it. It’s amazing to me that we put so much emphasis on dead protein filaments growing out of our head, but ever since 3rd grade when I idolized Jon Bon Jovi and used to spend fifteen minutes in the morning sculpting and “mousseing” my hair, I’ve always felt the need to want it to look cool. Was I succeeding in that quest that afternoon when P-Nut and Efia were about to get married? Absolutely not. On the other hand, P-Nut was having no issues what so ever. His hair looked like a dirty blonde mane, perfectly textured and styled to resemble the crest of a wave breaking on the Jersey shore. Mine looked like a dirty pile of hay sitting in a puddle in the streets of Philadelphia after a long rain storm, but as I had to remind myself, it wasn’t about me that day.

The wedding party met up with the wedding planner who went over the procession one more time and made sure that none of us screwed it up but especially, none of the groomsmen. I was the first to proceed down the grassy aisle with bridesmaid number one on my arm, which meant that I would be the groomsman furthest away from the Groom, or according to my theory, the worst friend. Wait, is it possible that this was P-Nut’s way of getting back at me for being a dick to him in high school? I don’t think so, but did he even want me to be in his wedding party at all?  Come to think of it, I don’t remember him even asking me to be a groomsman. I recall a few months back he told me he had something to talk to me about, so when I called him I basically assumed I knew what it was and when he answered the phone I said…

“Hey P-Nut, I would love to be a groomsman at your wedding.”

That statement was immediately met by an awkward silence. I think there was a issue with having an equal amount of bridesmaids to groomsmen, but eventually, it all got sorted out and the six groomsmen and six bridesmaids made their way to the “shore of marriage” before the man and woman of the hour proceeded down the aisle.

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P-Nut in his tux and perfect hair looked pretty good that day, but let’s be honest, Efia looked better. She was decked out in a gorgeous white gown, smiling ear to ear reminiscent of a classic Hollywood beauty as her father walked her down the aisle to meet “Jason” at the alter. I had a thought… What is it like to give your daughter away on her wedding day? I can’t imagine what it would be like to have a daughter, let alone multiple daughters, or what it must be like to go through the process of getting married and having to give these daughters away, but I would imagine by the time you got to that point in your life as a father, you’ve gotten past all that.

The minister of ceremonies, a.k.a. Chad presided over the formal tradition between his best friend and Nut’s beautiful bride to be. As he began to speak and reminded us all of why we were gathered there today, he was being slightly overshadowed by one of the children at the wedding who was not completely behaving themselves, and may or may not have started talking and screaming during the part where everyone was supposed to be contemplative and quiet. Chad continued on, but after a couple more outbursts, P-Nut’s mom took it upon her self to remind her grandson exactly where they were, and what the appropriate behavior was.

“Zip it! We’re in the middle of a beautiful ceremony!” She said.

I looked over to Parr the way Jim from the Office would look into the camera when Dwight said something ridiculous…or at least I tried to look over at Parr, but since I was all the way at the end of the line of groomsman, and he was at the other end, I’m not sure if he saw me. Regardless, Chad continued on with the reading of the vows, and then I started to hear weeping and crying. At first, from my vantage point I thought it was coming from where the guests were seated, like maybe a cousin or a mom was just overwhelmed with joy and couldn’t contain themselves, but then I realized it was coming from the same plane that I was on, a little further down the line right where the Bride and Groom were standing.  Aww, that’s sweet I thought. Efia is getting all teary eyed on her special day. Only thing was, it turned out it wasn’t the Bride who was crying tears of happiness, it was the Groom.

My initial reaction was at some point later during the reception we would all bust on P-Nut for balling like a little girl at his own wedding, cause that’s what guy friends do who have known each other for twenty plus years. I imagine Gary would grab a few napkins and hand them to P-Nut after the ceremony and tell him that “these are just in case you get a little too emotional on your honeymoon,” and we would all have a laugh and no harm would be done. However, in the moment as I watched one of my best friends cry during one of the most vulnerable and happy moments in his life, I got to admit, I was kind of envious.

Look, I’ve definitely gotten emotional and teared up a bit during a touching part of a movie, but I’ve never cried tears of joy. I don’t know what it’s like to be so in love with someone and happy to be with them that in the moment, I’m unable to hold back the water works streaming down my face while I look into the eyes of my soulmate on my wedding day. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve cried before, but not because I was happy, it was because I had lost something, or someone. I cried when Tasha and I broke up all three times, and I cried when our cat Jose died, and most recently, (and I can’t believe I am admitting this in my blog), but this past holiday season when I was sad and depressed for many reasons, I found myself listening to the EDM song “Leave It All Behind” by Dash Berlin.  It was Christmas Eve, I was alone in my apartment, and I was incredibly moved by the lyrics that apparently hit too close to home that I ended up balling my eyes out and breaking down on the floor of my kitchen while the song played in the background. Go ahead, you can laugh. I know it’s pretty funny when someone sheds a tear to “electronic dance music.”

Tears of sadness are a common thing, and there have been many times in my life when I laughed so hard I cried, but I don’t know what it’s like to be so affected by the love I have for someone else that it causes me to shed tears of gratification. I can’t even find the words to describe what was going through my mind that day, but I knew in that moment how much P-Nut really cared and loved Efia, and how for most of my life I’ve been missing that feeling and longing for that connection with someone. Truth is, I never busted his balls for crying at his own wedding. When the ceremony was over and he and Efia were officially husband and wife and everyone was smiling and clapping, the only thing I felt for my friend was a complete and total sense of pride and respect. If I hadn’t said it before, at least he knows how I feel now.

All the groomsmen and bridesmaids were now subject to the part of the wedding where we were secluded like prisoners from the drinks, the apps and everyone else at the wedding to engage in the arduous task of taking pictures.  The groomsmen had to wait while the Bride, Groom and the parents of the Bride and Groom were getting their pictures first, followed by the bridesmaids, then the groomsmen, then finally all of us together. I took it upon myself to grab some beers for us while we sat around and waited for our time to snap a few memorable moments. You can see in the picture below how Gary made use the groomsmen gift we got from P-Nut while we were waiting for the photographer.

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Also below you can see how horrific my hair looked that day.

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After the pictures, we were all announced to the ballroom full of guests by our legal names, except for Parr, aka Joseph T. Carr whose was announced to everyone who could hear the Emcee butcher his name…..

Now, making his way into the ballroom is ‘James’ T Carr.”

Yeah, that was it. Here comes our good ol’ friend “James.” How do you mess that up? Sure, Joseph and James are similar, because they both start with the letter J, but clearly one has an extra syllable plus a different vowel in it. As the kids used to say back in 2012, THAT was an “epic fail.”

After the wedding party was announced and all of our duties were completed, we all found our seats, got settled in, ordered a drink and then hit the buffet. Ahhh, the buffet. I think I went back twice that afternoon for more food. I must have had two helpings of the shrimp and grits because it was excellent, an extra large potion of the lobster mac and cheese, and I’m pretty sure I threw some greens and chicken in there, but it was pretty much all carbs all day for me. There was a lot of southern home-style food at this spread which is what I would expect from a wedding that took place in the panhandle of Florida. The food was great, the drinks were being drank, but I gotta be honest, none of us were really pounding down the alcohol, especially Nicola who was a few seats away from me and Tasha at the table, definitely still hung over and apparently “on water” that afternoon.

That’s me and Tasha speak for not drinking alcohol in case you didn’t know. It came about two months ago when we were at the Golden Nugget in Vegas, and we were pretty buzzed and I noticed these two girls sitting at the bar who could have been hookers, but could have also just been “randos” who were just on the prowl, but they looked suspect to the former. Anyway, I leaned over to Tasha and said to her.

“Watch me freak these girls out.”

Then I told the bartender “we” wanted to buy them a drink. He came back a few minutes later and told us their reply was “Thank you, but no thank you.” Apparently one the girls already had a drink, and the other one was, as he put it, “on water.” Is that anything like “on ecstasy” or “on LSD?”  Tasha and I started cracking up because I’m sure those chicks thought we were making an indecent proposal, but the truth is, we just like to fuck with people we don’t know when we’re drunk. Try it sometime. It’s pretty fun.

Anyway, we were on alcohol, Nicola was on water, and P-Nut and Efia were on the dance floor, while Chad stood in front of them, and asked for us all to quiet down as he raised his glass of champagne and gave a heart warming speech to the newly married couple. You might remember Chad from getting married to Mary in a past blog entry of mine, and you might remember P-Nut from such past speeches as “Diarrhea of the Mouth at Chad’s & Mary’s Wedding.” If you don’t, you can always go back and read “Chad & Mary (Part 2)” to recall some of the things he ineptly said to the Bride, the Groom, and the room full of 200 plus wedding guests that day. In the meantime, here we are three years later and Chad was finally able to give P-Nut a little payback as he toasted his friends, while bringing up the wedding speech within a wedding speech.

At this point, the wedding speech retribution was accomplished, life had come full circle, and it was time for the Bride and Groom to unknowingly predict the next two singles who were to get married. Efia stood in front of a small gaggle of single ladies, and on the count of three, she tossed her bouquet into the air over her shoulder, and into the hands of…. Tasha. That’s right. Tasha caught the bouquet, again. She caught it at CJ & Shauna’s wedding too, but I didn’t remember it happening until she told me two weeks ago after I wrote that entry. So there she was on the sidelines, bouquet in hand as all the gents gathered on the dance floor behind P-Nut and waited for him to wind up and enthusiastically toss the garter over his shoulder, and into a dwindling group of single men including me and three of my single friends. It was pretty much not a contest at all. Gary, Parr and Shaun were standing behind me and to my left, each with drinks in their hands which unequivocally gave me the advantage in catching it, and anchored to my right was an older gentleman in a blue flannel who had either changed clothes, or just wondered into the a wedding reception that day.

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That’s me with the garter in my hand raising it up over my head after catching it like I just won the Stanley Cup, and that’s Parr, Gary, and Shaun, with their drinks in their hand and a look on their faces as if to say, “Of course he caught it” because as it turns out, it landed right in front of my feet on the dance floor. I had to pick it up.  P-Nut isn’t the most athletic guy I know, but also in his defense, a garter don’t make for a very good projectile.

So I caught the garter, and Tasha caught the bouquet for the first time in the five weddings we attended together. I knew this would eventually happen. To be honest, I was happy it was her who I was forced to humiliate myself with in front of all of P-Nut and Efia’s friends and family for next few minutes. In classic wedding tradition, she sat in a chair on the dance floor, and I got down to business. With careful meditation I assessed the situation, took the garter in my teeth and applied said garter to her upper right thigh with precise precision and calculated accuracy. It even might had tickled her a little bit, and it definitely made for a good show.

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After looking at the pictures of the wedding, the reception, and the ones later on in the evening when a teenager named Brandon tried to teach us all how to perfect the “Gangnum Style” dance, it really brought me back to a joyous and wonderful weekend in my life.  Almost three years ago, I had gotten a speeding ticket at the start of the weekend, Tasha and I were flat broke and living together in a one bedroom apartment in L.A., and we didn’t know what raw deal life was going to hand us next, yet we were able to let all of that go for awhile and be a part of the start of Jason and Efia’s new life together.

This wedding was like a milestone in my adult life. I wasn’t the one getting married, or giving a heartfelt humorous speech to my friend on the dance floor. I wasn’t about to go on a honeymoon to Hawaii, nor was I making the last payment on a diamond ring I bought almost two years ago. However, I felt like I had grown up a bit that weekend as I watched yet another one of my best friends from high school start a new chapter in a novel new life with someone they love. Love is the only word I know where I can use all the other words in the English language to try and describe it, but it still can never be truly defined.

I may not be able to fully comprehend P-Nut & Efia’s love for one another, but they caused me see love in a different way, a way that I could define for myself.  The events of that weekend made me cry just a little, and laugh just a little bit louder because it reminded me of how even though life may stress us out or make us ask why, at the end of the day, if you have someone you can come home to and you care about them more than anything else in the world and they tell you “everything is going to be ok”.… then you love someone, and they love you, and you’re the luckiest person on earth.

I’ve loved Tasha as my girlfriend before, but situations change and now we love each other in a different way. She’s still the first one I go to when I feel anxious about where my life is headed, and she’s still the only one I talk to truthfully when I’m feeling down and depressed. Sure, I may not have cried at my own wedding like a little sissy boy, (just kidding Nut!) but I do understand what it’s like to love someone in my own way, and I think for now, I’m ok with that.

Yeah, living with Tasha over the next year was a little difficult, I’m not gonna lie. We argued at times, we wanted to kill each other a lot, and neither one of us got laid much at all. We were working together on this project that we really believed in, even if the synopsis of our partnership and the logline of the show still had some room to grow. Trust me, to put yourself in an position where you sleep a foot away from your ex, but on a separate bed, and split cable, power, and water bills each month, but still take separate showers shows that you must really love someone, or some thing enough to put up with those awkward and unaccommodating moments.

I may not understand crying when you’re happy love, but maybe one day I will. I know that Tasha and I share a love for each other, even though it’s different from P-Nut and Efia’s or Chad and Mary’s or different from the love that you share with your spouse or significant other. And I know what you’re thinking…..how could you live “the married life” within the same four walls as your ex-girlfriend and NOT sleep with her.  Am I right? Believe me, I STILL hear that question, and the answer STILLl is it just never happened. But you know what, it’s alright if you don’t believe me. I wouldn’t expect you to fully understand “our” love.

When we all got back to the hotel, the wedding party sat around in the lobby drinking a few beers and eating pizza that I bought for everyone. We were all a little tired, yet somehow, still a little hungry and to be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to the four hour drive back to Atlanta the next day so we could catch our flight home. I honestly wished we could have stayed a little longer and spent more time with our friends. As I’ve gotten older, and as my single friends have gone the way of the dinosaur, I’m starting to realize that there aren’t many more of these weddings left to go to. I guess that’s why I had a hard time saying goodbye to everyone that afternoon.

Dave and Shaun had to catch their flight, Parr, Gary, Desiree and Nicola had a long drive back to Jersey, and Chad and Mary had to pack up their stuff and their son Bastian and head back home. Sure, I know I’ll see them all again soon, but logically the next time we’re all together it will most likely be for someone’s wedding.  It certainly won’t be my wedding, even though the perfect unmarried couple caught the bouquet and the garter that afternoon. I guess sometimes life is bittersweet.

Tasha and I made it to the airport the next afternoon by driving exactly what the posted speed limit was the whole way through Georgia. It was a nice drive, and it only took us five and a half hours to drive 261 miles, plus I saved some money on the flight by flying in and out of Atlanta. What about that speeding ticket I got at the beginning of the trip? Well yeah, that part sucked, but I eventually did pay it when I got back home. No speeding ticket was going to negate the fact that I was honored to have been a part of my best friend’s special day.

On the airplane ride back to Los Angeles, I smiled to Tasha, put on my headphones and sat back in my discounted seat while I fondly recalled the events of the weekend, as I just kept telling myself  “I saved some money on the flight.”

Next Wedding: June 10th, 2015

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All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.