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Breaking Up With Yourself

I broke up with someone recently. He was a bit too reckless and he started to do things that undermined everything I have been working for. No, I’m not talking about a gay lover, I’m talking about myself.

Sometime early this summer, I fell into a trap and I had been treading water ever since. The problem started back in June when the girl I had been dating for a week cut things off, coupled with the fact that this project I had been working on the last few years almost was about to happen, but then eventually it stalled and has gone nowhere. (again) I just felt like things were never going to work out in my professional life, let alone my dating life. I was alone, broke, and all out of inspiration. I figured, what’s the point to all of this? Why doesn’t it seem to ever work out the way I want it to, especially when I sacrificed so much these last two years?

Now, I’m sure we’ve all had moments like this is life, but this time instead of getting a drink with a friend, bitching about life for a day or two and then getting back on the proverbial horse, I allowed that thought to consume me and take me down a dark spiral pretty much all summer. I started drinking more, I stopped working out as much, and I started making a string of bad decisions. You know, the ones you make at 10pm on a Tuesday and are still dealing with at 6am on a Thursday when you haven’t gotten to sleep yet? Those are the ones that really hurt.

I was torturing myself, and I fell back into old patterns of self inflicted pain and suffering. I didn’t care anymore. I would allow my laundry to pile up along with all the dishes in the sink. I would smoke cigarettes in the house because it was 95 degrees outside and just the thought of opening the door to the outside world was too much for me to comprehend. I would eat nothing for two days, then gorge myself on pizza and fast food because it was easier than eating healthy. I felt like shit, because that’s how I wanted to feel.

I had been looking for something to pull me out of this rut since late June. I figured, a good lead on a job, some unexpected money, or a trip away would help me to clarify what it is that I am doing here. I even contemplated leaving L.A. for good and I put into motion the plans to do that, although I needed to rely on someone else to help me, so I contacted two of my ex girlfriends who don’t live here.  Both told me they would help me out, but when it came down to “I’m about to book a flight to Wherever, USA”neither one of them gave me the confidence I needed to pull the trigger.

One of them text me last week and told me she was in town for one night and we should meet up. I said that would be a good idea and she said she would text me later. Then….I never heard from her. Did she make the whole story up? Was she even in Los Angeles at all? Did her plane crash and will I never see her again….Oh no, there she is on Instagram going to some fucking wedding back in Ohio. Guess she’s not dead. She wasn’t really known for telling the truth a lot when I dated her, but I mean, what kind of a game is that? And by the way….if it is some silly game you’re playing with my emotions, I’m too fucking old to play it anymore, so grow the fuck up or get out of my life. Say what you mean, and mean what you say. It’s that fucking simple.

My best friend has been trying to help me, and she has been going through a tough time herself. We used to live together, but she moved out back in December and I’ve been on my own since then. It scared me to be on my own because I know my past and I know what traps I fall into when I live by myself and I have too much time on my hands. So here we are.

Last night, something changed in me. I have been bunny-sitting my best friends’s rabbit and through their antics, he and my cat have really helped me this past week and have made me smile, even when I wanted to cry. I started drinking a bottle of wine around 6pm, and about an hour later I found myself texting my guy to see if he was around. I didn’t get a response….until 9pm.

Now, I could have easily called him, gone out, picked up my shit and I would not be here writing this blog entry at all. I’d probably be washing my face for a third time trying to get the blemishes off, and I’d probably be cursing myself for not getting to sleep again, and wasting away this holiday weekend jerking off or staring at the TV or computer screen until my eyes dried out.

I just thought to myself, I can’t put these animals through what we would have gone through if I had picked up the phone and text him back. I could have put myself through it, I know this because I’ve done it so many times this summer, but this time, I just felt like I had a responsibility to that rabbit and that cat to stay sober. I would feel absolutely awful if at 8am on Labor Day morning I was sitting on the floor of my living room full of doubt and regret, and they ran up to me wondering what the fuck I have been doing and why the fuck I haven’t played with them in two days. I just couldn’t do it to them, and in some way, I knew I couldn’t do it to myself either.

It’s Labor Day morning around 11am and I spent last night eating pizza and hanging with my attractive female neighbor and winning money from online poker. I haven’t smoked in my apartment in three days and it’s starting to smell like a Bed Bath & Beyond instead of the bathroom at some trashy gas station on the I-15 North. I’d say I had a good night, and perhaps I won this battle. But I know there will be more tests.

There’s going to be more opportunities for me to win, and even more for me to fail. The rabbit is sitting under the table looking out the window, the cat is meowing because she always has something to say, and I’m about to go to the gym after I made myself some steak and eggs for breakfast. I still don’t know what the next few weeks will bring, but at least I’ll be of sound mind and body to take all that it has to offer.

My ex girlfriends aren’t going to save me. I realize that. I had to save me from myself… and to do that, I needed to break up with this alternate reality version of me because he has spent far too much time freeloading, infiltrating, and sucking out my life this summer.   I can’t be with someone like that anymore.  He had no focus, was going off the deep end, and when it comes down to it, I know I’m better than that.    

Currently listening to:

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

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Part 8: Ok Alize & Ok Stupid

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Wednesday January 15th, 2014

I woke up the next morning from the debacle of OkJordana, but it didn’t really bother me anymore because I decided to turn it around. I decided to make light of a bad situation, and not let one horrendous sushi experience ruin one of my favorite forms of food. I had this idea and I put it to work that afternoon while I was at the gym. I picked up my phone and I text Alize:

“Hey, I was wondering if you could help me out. I need some suggestions for a good sushi place in the Sherman Oaks/Studio City area.”

She texts me back a few minutes later saying…

“Well that depends….do you mean for taste & price, or for environment?”

“Taste and environment are key.” I say.

I never address the issue of price because at this point I don’t really care. I just want to go out and have a good time with her, which I know I’ll have regardless of where we go. She comes back at me with a handful of places and restaurants so diverse that I suspect she actually did some googling on the matter. It takes another few texts for me to find out that her favorite place is Teru Sushi in Studio City on Ventura boulevard.

“Ok thanks. You’ve been really helpful.” I write

“No problem.” She responds.

“One more thing…” I say “Would you also know of a cute Korean girl with freckles and tattoos that would want to join me for dinner at Teru Sushi in Studio City? I hear it’s really good.”

Obviously, I’m referring to her, so I put the phone down and await her response which should be coming any second now because she has already responded to like five other texts of mine, and this was a cute and original way to ask her out, right? I thought so. I had been looking forward to this all day. Then….nothing. Nothing for like ten minutes. Ok, so I do a few more reps on the machine, then I check my phone again….still nothing. No response after fifteen minutes now. Strange I thought. Weren’t we just texting back and forth not twenty minutes ago? Did she not appreciate my roundabout way of asking her out? Didn’t she have a good time with me last weekend when we went to see a cool movie and danced at a cool club and then she woke up in my cool bed, or did she come to her cool senses and realize it is pointless to date a guy who is 13 years older who also currently, but not permanently lives with his ex girlfriend? No response just didn’t make any sense to me. I finished my workout early, and I went home to bitch and complain to my roommate, but not after I sent her another text half an hour after I got no response from my last one.

“I guess you don’t know anyone who fits that description. Thanks anyway.” I say begrudgingly.

Was that too dramatic? Probably, but come on..almost an hour went by and she hasn’t responded? What the fuck? Did she decide to take an impromptu road trip and can’t answer her phone? Not even at a red light? Was there an earthquake or a natural disaster that ONLY affected people who live in the valley like in the summer when it’s ten to fifteen degrees warmer in Burbank than it is in Hollywood? Am I being a little too overdramatic in this case?

“I think you’re being a little too overdramatic” My roommate says.

She’s right, and of course….forty-five minutes later I get a text from OkAlize.

“R you annoyed I didn’t text you back right away?”

Oops. Now I have to find a way to cover up the fact that I was being a little pisser and shrug it off as if it didn’t bother me at all.

“Not annoyed, but a little bummed. In fact, I was so upset that I had to pull the car over because I couldn’t see the road with all these tears in my eyes.” I say.

She finds that funny because her “LOL” told me so. We end up making plans to go out to sushi this weekend. Crisis averted.

Saturday January 18th, 2014

I swear the waiter at the restaurant was hired by some special needs or equal rights work related program. He was kind of green and dopey… but not dopey because he meant to be, dopey because he laughed at his own bad jokes and he couldn’t find his wine opener all night because he had left it on our table. He also had impeccable timing and came up to take our order at the same time I was telling Alize about how the Trader Joe’s near me doesn’t give out free samples anymore.

“What’s that? You work at Trader Joe’s?” The waiter asks.

Bad timing dude, cause that’s not AT ALL was I was saying, and besides, I wasn’t even saying it to you.

“Ummm, no.” I respond.

“Oh, cause I thought you said something about working at Trader Joe’s.” He said. “I like that place.”

“Yeah it’s great” I say. “By the way, here’s your wine opener back.”

What was this guy talking about and why was he eavesdropping on our conversation in the first place? Alize and I got a good laugh out of that and we went on to drink a bottle and half of wine and eat a good amount of sushi which was a thousand times better than the shit I was served in Venice the other night. After I paid the check, we went to the Firefly and she played me some of her original music off of Soundcloud. It was pretty good. She bought me a couple drinks at the next bar we went to and we danced a little bit before we both decided we had had enough of the nightlife and we went back to her place for a night cap.

I walked into her bedroom and I looked around. She had the typical twenty something year old set-up. A closet of clothes bursting open at the seams, framed pictures of her and her friends in Halloween costumes on the night stand and a large set of stackable plastic drawers in the corner that you get around the “Back to School” sales at Target. Then there was the bed….a Queen sized mattress that was covered in pillows and stuffed animals which also was a mere two inches from the floor. I had a bed on the floor when I was her age. Oh my God, did I just say that? I did, and on that mattress which was so low to the ground that you have to push yourself up with your arms to even attempt to get off of it is where the next few hours played out. I don’t remember exactly how it happened, but after a half hour or so of making out and rolling around on her sheets I decided to pop the question.

“When was the last time you had sex?” I said. (but what I really was asking was “When do you think you’re going to let ME have sex with YOU?”)

Now, I know that this may seem direct and possibly a bit out of line, but it’s not really considering we are in her bedroom on her bed, we’ve gone out about four times, we are a little drunk, a lot turned on, and everything that has happened up until now leads me to believe that she actually likes me. Sex is the next evolutionary step in dating. I mean, you don’t bring a guy back to your place and invite him into your room unless there is a part of you that wants to eventually sleep with him at some point, right? I had to know. I had to put it out there. After a few more questions, she responds like this.

“I just feel like sex complicates things” she said.

No shit it complicates things. You know what else complicates things? Bringing an older guy into your bedroom and making out with him on your bed on a Saturday night after you finished a bottle and a half of wine and four vodka cocktails between you. I mean, I can understand sex complicates things, but doesn’t the aforementioned scenario do the EXACT same thing? Look, I totally get where she is coming from and to some extent I agree that sex complicates things. There is a part of me that is totally willing to just go along with whatever type of relationship this is becoming because I have a good time with her, she’s pretty to look at, and I wouldn’t want to jeopardize that for any reason including my instinctual desire to see her naked. I could easily never bring up the idea of having sex with her again, and maybe I shouldn’t have brought it up to begin with, but I have to at least let her know where I stand on the matter before anything else happens.

“You’re right. I totally understand and respect that logic.” I say. Then I add… “But at some point, I’m going to want to complicate things.”

We talk for a little more and she tells me there is “other stuff” we can do instead of have sex. Ok, I’m cool with that. I’ve always said my favorite page in any book is the one right after sixty eight, and right before page seventy. We CAN do other stuff, but it’s not going to happen tonight because it’s sometime around 3:30 in the morning and we both are tired and fall asleep….with our pants on. The next morning I got up and drove home. I was really late for my shift in the stock room at Trader Joe’s.

Thursday, January 23rd 2014

I had been in contact with Alize all week. We actually were texting each other pretty much everyday at this point and I had already made plans to see her again Saturday. It was free museum weekend in Los Angeles on January 25th, which means they didn’t charge admission to go places like LACMA, or The Getty. They also didn’t charge for the National Geographic exhibit at the Annenberg Space for Photography which is where I suggested Alize and I go before dinner at Outback Steakhouse, for which I had a $20 gift card. What? You can’t use gift cards on dates? Look, dating has been getting expensive and I realized I either had to start cutting back on these dates with her, or I had to find cheaper things for us to do. This next date accomplishes two things. We get to see visually stunning images of life and culture from a another world, AND experience the indulgent decadence of going out to eat in suburban America at a cheesy chain restaurant with our beers and “Bloomin’ Onion” already paid for thanks to a Christmas gift I got from my mom. Cultured genius.

It was about 7pm when Alize texted me on Thursday. She wants to do something and invited me to come over for a couple glasses of wine and maybe watch a movie. An impromptu movie? On a weeknight? Hmmmmm, I know what this means. We’ll probably have a glass of wine and a cigarette on her porch, maybe she’ll show me the bistro set she bought at Ikea earlier today on her back patio. We’ll go into her bedroom around 10pm to start watching the first fifteen minutes of a movie on her computer who’s ending, plot and storyline we won’t remember the next morning. We will probably have it playing in the background while we do “other stuff” on the bed until they roll the credits. I know I won’t have sex with her because of what we discussed the other night, so there’s that. Irregardless, I would love to come over for a “movie.”

I head over there when she gets back from work. I pull up a few minutes after 9pm and sure enough, she’s sitting on the front porch with her roommate and she offers me a glass of wine. We chat for a little bit, and then she brings me to her back patio where we smoke a cigarette while sitting on her new bistro set from Ikea. She lures me back into her bedroom and she plays me some music she likes from an artist named LP and I immediately recognize the song from a bank commercial they used to play all the time. I never really digged the song then, but sitting there on Alize’s bed watching this live performance video on You Tube really changed my mind. I loved the song. It’s really good and after we watch a few more music videos, she tells me she downloaded “The World’s End” on her computer and she puts it on as we kick off our shoes and lay back on her bed against the wall. She has this one unicorn pillow she loves named Charlie. It’s shaped like a unicorn, but it’s rectangular and the arms and legs are popping out from the corners. It’s cute and it looks like something a six year old would have.

“Aww, have you had this since you were a kid?” I asked.

“No.” She says with a smile. “I just got it off of Ebay last week.”

A 25 year old buys a stuffed unicorn pillow? I mean, it’s odd, but it’s also kind of cute. See, I liked that about her. I liked that I chose to find her antics interesting and some of her choices funny. I like that she called me out the other day with the whole text back debacle. I liked that she is a little bit off and slightly eccentric like me. I like that we started making out seven minutes into the movie and I like that for the first time since we’ve gone out she has allowed me to steal second AND third base in the same night. Something is definitely different right now. I think our clothes are coming off, and there is a part of me that is really thinking something could happen that shouldn’t really happen, but there is another part of me that knows that it kind of feels like she WANTS it to happen. I have all these thoughts racing around in my head at the same time. I feel like I should just continue doing what I’m doing to her. You know the “other stuff” that she said we could do to each other because I know what she said the last time we were in this situation. But wait, were we ever really in this situation before? And then she surprises me with these five little words she says through her bated breath.

“Do you have a condom?”

What? Do I have a condom? No, I didn’t bring a condom. Know why I didn’t bring a condom, because the LAST time I was over here we established that you think “sex complicates things.” Remember saying that? You only said it four days ago and we haven’t talked about it since then so I didn’t plan on anything changing in that short amount of time so no, I did not bring a condom. Why would I bring a condom when I know that I won’t ever get a chance to use it? I mean, they say to always be “prepared” but when the person I am attempting to sleep with tells me that it’s not going to happen due to certain “complications” I completely think I am safe to come over to watch a movie WITHOUT bringing a condom.

“I have one in my car.” I say. And I do too. I’m prepared, kind of.

“It’s ok.” she says. “I think I have one.”

She starts rummaging through her drawers and I am secretly wishing that she won’t be able to find what she’s looking for. I am so not prepared for this I think to myself. I don’t want to fuck anything up with her because I like this girl and I don’t know if she is testing me, or if the sex thing is really happening now. Then, she hands me this bright colored condom and I immediately realize that this is really happening right now. The condom is small and yellow and wrapped up in a non descriptive plastic jacket. A no frills condom? Weird. Did she get this from a clinic? Is this a leftover from when they handed them out in her high school health class? How long has that condom been in there? It’s not inviting, but then again, no condom is. Let me just be totally honest here. I hate condoms. I absolutely despise wearing them and I would bet that a good portion of the rest of the men in the world would agree with me. Women don’t seem to understand how uncomfortable and awkward they are to put on and once they are on, how seemingly desensitized sex becomes for a man. Yeah I know to practice safe sex and all, but I can barely feel anything other than the fact that I am aware there is a thin layer of some sheepskin material in between me and the girl I am trying to have sex with. That’s right, I said “trying” because sometimes it takes me one or two tries to get it right. Plus there’s always the “loss factor” that could come into play. That’s when you put on a condom and within seconds your shit goes from straight up midnight back to 6pm in a matter of seconds. Condoms are a hard dick’s kryptonite.

I have all these thoughts going on inside my head and I am having a hard time putting this stupid piece of rubber in it’s place, and I realize that saying I’m having a “hard time” is kind of a play on words right now. I’m not that drunk, so why is this happening? Am I nervous? Fuck yes I’m nervous. I like this girl a lot and based on what she said the other night I don’t want to fuck this up. However, after a few minutes of stalling and trying to make it fit, I think my dick just fucked it up for me. I can see by the look on Alize’s face she is now aware of the same truth as I am. That truth being if I had to choose a particular brand of ice cream to sum up the events of this night, that brand would be “Mr. Softee.”
softee

I blew my chance. I fumbled the ball at the one yard line. I tried to explain to her that I just got in my head and that I really like her and that this has nothing to do with her and it’s only happened one other time many many years ago. I tell her I don’t want to fuck things up and she smiles and says she understands, and it doesn’t really seem to bother her anyway but it bothers me. And you know what else bothers me looking back on it now? Why didn’t she do anything to help out, you know? You can’t play with it a little bit or give it a little lip service to get it going again? Nothing? You have hands, right? Isn’t this a precise time to put your “other stuff” rule into a effect? Can I call her out on this matter, no. I probably shouldn’t. All I can do is lay back down and try to relax and eventually, fall asleep while the credits start to roll in the movie that we haven’t payed attention to for over an hour and a half.

Friday January 24th, 2014

I didn’t sleep very well that night. I never slept well at her place, but I did appreciate the fact that Alize made us coffee and breakfast the next morning. It was really sweet. She put some coconut spread on a piece of gluten free toast and to be honest it tasted exactly the same as butter on toasted bread. We talk for a little bit and everything seemed to be ok. I mean, maybe it’s just not meant to happen to right now I think. Maybe things will be different the next time and maybe I shouldn’t worry so much. I definitely need to get out of my head, that’s for sure. Then at around 10am she goes back into the bedroom to take a nap, and I say goodbye and head home to meet up with a friend of mine who asked me to edit a video for him for indiegogo. I have an uneasy feeling driving home. I don’t know what it is exactly, but something is different. Something just doesn’t feel right.

8:00pm

I’m at The Well having a drink with my friend at late-night happy hour. I tell him about what’s been going on in my world of dating and he is bitching about his current girlfriend and in a roundabout way he suggests that I have it better than he does. Sure, I’m free and I’m single, but I share an apartment with my ex girlfriend, and my dick doesn’t work in clutch situations. Wanna trade? He laughs when I tell him the story of last night and I try to laugh with while I’m a few drinks in and I’ve almost totally forgotten about what happened (or in my case, what “didn’t happen”) the night before when my phone rings. It’s Alize. I go outside to smoke a cigarette and I take the call.

This is one of those calls that comes out of nowhere, but I knew it was coming. At least she called me, right?

“This is totally not about last night” is how she starts the conversation. And when I hear her say that, all I can think is that this phone call is TOTALLY ABOUT LAST NIGHT. She goes on to say how she really likes me and she has a lot of fun with me and I’m a really “nice guy” (I almost puked when I heard THAT line) and how she feels like things are headed in a bf/gf type direction and how that just isn’t what she wants right now. I don’t want a girlfriend either I think, but what I would like is to go out again and have another chance to finish what I started but those words never get a chance to see the light of day I just add a few “Uh-huhs” and the occasional “I get it,” because I really do get it. I kind of sensed this was going to happen. There is a part of me that knew that I would have gotten this phone call even if we DID have sex last night. I’m damned if I do, and I’m damned if I don’t. I appreciate her honesty but I can tell that she’s either protecting herself from her own feelings, she doesn’t want to get too close to me, or she is completely mortified by what happened last night and could never look me in the eye again without breaking out in laughter. Either way it really doesn’t matter.

“I just don’t want anyone to get hurt” She says.

“Yeah I understand.” I respond.

And I really do. I don’t want to understand, and I’m really depressed about it right now, but I get it. If this had gone on for a few more dates, maybe it would have gotten too serious for the both of us. Maybe it already has. Maybe we’ll go out again in the not too distant future? Maybe we won’t.

“Maybe we can get coffee sometime as friends?” She asks.

There’s the “F” word again.

“Yeah, maybe.” I say.

But I know that is never going to happen. What else is there to do? I say goodbye, hang up the phone, and go back in and finish my drink. I ask my friend if he wants my $20 gift card to Outback Steakhouse.

“That’s not happening anymore?” He asks.

“Nope. Not with this one.” I say.

“My girlfriend hates chain restaurants.” He says.

Wow, who hates chain restaurants? Maybe he should break up with her.

Monday, February 24th, 2014

It’s been over a month since my last date, and in case you are wondering, no I haven’t heard from OkAlize, and I haven’t tried to contact her either. Nor have I heard from OkKimberly, OkMaddie, OkJessica or any of the other OkWomen I went out with. I didn’t really “accomplish” what I set out to do, but in the end, I think that’s ok. Sometimes things don’t work out the way you think they will. In the beginning, I kind of thought it was going to be easy to go out with these women, and I was right. It was kind of easy to “go out” with them, but everything else that followed was more difficult than I had imagined. I was annoyed at OkJordana’s stubborness, I was enraged at OkKimberly’s devotion to praising the band Imagine Dragons, and I was enamoured by OkAlize’s ability to make me laugh harder than I had in a long time. I learned a lot about dating. What to say, what not to say, and when to say it. It was entertaining, and maybe I had been looking at this whole situation the wrong way. Maybe I shouldn’t take it so seriously.

Here’s OkCupid, this dating website set up with all these profiles of women. There are pictures, information and a narrative to follow. It’s kind of like watching a trailer for a movie. If you like what you see, then you try and get tickets for the show by asking her out. If it’s sold out, that’s a bummer. It’s too bad, but there’s always another movie to see. And if you really like the movie you’re seeing now and want to see it again, you go to the sequel. That’s pretty much online dating in a nut shell. Am I ever going to buy one of these movies? Maybe. Maybe not, but I’m always going to be amused by the situation and interested in what happens next. Plus, according to my credit card statement I just became eligible for the 30,000 reward points bonus, and they raised my credit limit! How about that? Ok Stupid….you didn’t get laid, but your FICO score went up. In addition to that, I now know of at least half a dozen cool, hip bars and restaurants that I can bring someone else to on a date.

Thing was out of all of them, I really liked Alize. I could have actually seen myself dating her if things were different and I didn’t live with my ex,or lie about my age or if she actually WANTED a boyfriend. I mean, I would have bought her movie in heartbeat.

I sit at my computer staring at the screen in front of me. I got to say, since I left OkCupid, I kind of miss getting e-mails saying I have a message from some random girl. I miss getting those notifications saying that “someone likes me” and I kind of miss trying to find someone who I can go out with once a week and enjoy a few cocktails with while trying, but failing to keep our hands to ourselves in public. I miss the game, and now I know how to play it better. I’m a romantic at heart, but what I have to realize and accept now is that if it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, it still feels good sometimes to know that people find you attractive and want to flirt with you, and possibly are thinking about sleeping with you. Who doesn’t like that kind of attention? Who doesn’t want to be wanted? This experience gave me a lot of confidence. I was able to write this whole blog because of what happened and maybe I should do something with my stories while not letting this new found confidence go to waste. I’m definitely going to do something with these stories. Now about that confidence….

I open Safari on my computer and I click the tab I labeled “OkC.” I log back into OkCupid and reactivate my account for the first time in two months. I guess I kind of want to see what else is playing at the movies.

Part 4: Ok Maddie

okstupidlogo

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.

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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.

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Part 1: The OK Setup

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Monday, November 25th, 2013

I am sitting at a sports bar in Hollywood watching the Flyers play the Florida Panthers. The Flyers are losing, of course. My friend is sitting next to me scrolling through his phone and telling me about this date he went on last night. “She was cute, but there was nothing going on upstairs.” I laughed, because I know the type. I also know that there are more women like that out here in Los Angeles, than probably any other city in America. This is why I don’t go out on dates. Well, that’s not the only reason, but we’ll get to that later.

I look over at his phone and I see three rows of pictures of women aged 25-40 in perfect little boxes displayed on the screen. “She looks cute” I say as I go to point her out.

“Don’t touch the screen!” My friend yells. Apparently, if you tap their picture, they know you visited their profile. I had heard of OkCupid before, but I had never used it. I used to find girls to date on MySpace back in the day. Yeah, like way back in 2004, my friends and I were all about hooking up with chicks we met on MySpace and Friendster. I did pretty well on MySpace. I dated a rock star, a porn star, some reality stars, and a newly divorced German muse who took me to Vegas, New York, and Palm Springs. Can you say… sugar Mama?

But that was 9 years ago, and I knew it would never be like that again. I’m not in my twenties anymore, but still… I was curious. Maybe I’d meet someone now who was cool and interesting to talk to and especially nice to look at. Maybe I’d get a good night kiss…but more importantly maybe I’d get a good night laid.”

“Have you gotten laid?” I asked my friend.

“Yeah, but not as much as I’d like to.” He replied.

I thought to myself, right now I’m not getting laid at all. But I wouldn’t mind having the promise of maybe getting laid a “little bit,” even if it’s not as much as I’d like to. Still better than nothing, right? And besides, I like to go out and talk to new people and drink at new bars and have a fucking social life. But I tell you, dating in Los Angeles is one of the most grueling and mindfucking sports there is, so I don’t want to take it too seriously. Then I remembered a week before I had gotten a new credit card in the mail that gives me double points for dining and entertainment purchases. If I spend $1500 in the first three months, I get 30,000 bonus points towards shit like cruises, plane tickets, gift cards, etcetera. So here’s what I would do… I would use this card on every date, and even if it didn’t work out with the girl, who cares? At least I’m racking up some points. Yeah, just like that commercial.

I got home from the bar that night and I started creating my profile. First thing I did, was lie about my age.

NJSS777

32/M/Straight/Single
Los Angeles, California

No way am I going to put my real age in there. I know most people outside of L.A. won’t understand this, but I work in the Entertainment business and out here…EVERYONE OVER 30 LIES ABOUT THEIR AGE!! I swear to God, that’s just how it is. You have your real age, and then you have your Hollywood age which is what age you “play.” I’m 28-35. Deal with it.

I uploaded five pictures, and I was very specific about which ones I chose, and took the advice of my friend who told me to make sure I had a “body shot.” That makes sense to me. I’d be extremely skeptical of anyone on a dating site who only has pictures of themselves from the neck up. You know there’s about 140 more pounds that got cut out of that picture.

I filled out all the sections. I used witty jargon with a slightly saracstic tone that I’m sure has been copied a million times by now. I didn’t give away too much information, but I did make it read like I was eloquent and modern, without coming off as cheesy or cliché.

In the section that read “The Most Private Thing I’m Willing to Admit is…” I wrote, “I have a Denny’s coupon in my wallet.

When I got to the “You Should Message Me If….” section, I wrote… “You’re interesting, You don’t smoke crack, You’re not a flake, or You like to drink.”

I answered 75 “match questions,” uploaded my profile, hit save, and then I went to bed. I woke up the next morning and saw I had 55 visitors, 9 “Someone Likes You” notifications, and a message from a 36 year old woman in West Hollywood who called herself “Manhattan2LA.”

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

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