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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 5: Ok Jessica

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December 18th, 2013

I’m standing outside of the gastropub they call Plan Check somewhere in West L.A. I don’t recognize the streets here, but I recognize the names. I recognize them because I do all I can to avoid them. Sawtelle. The 405. Sepulveda. (pronounced seh POLE vid-a) for you people who aren’t aware. And I bet if your area code isn’t 213, 323, or 310, you probably don’t know what I’m talking about. Oh and 818, you don’t count cause you live in the valley.

I should have avoided going out with OkJessica, just like I avoid West Los Angeles…..AND the valley, but we’ll get to that later.

I click the box and read this message

“Hey…I don’t smoke crack! Not on the weekends at least
Message from something_about_lip_gloss”

Ha! She’s the first one to reply to the fact that I put “you don’t smoke crack” in my profile under the “you should message me if” box. And since she said the only time she DOESN’T smoke crack is the weekends I already know her intentions. Very witty. I like that. I like her too, immediately. I gotta come up with a good response back. What does it say on HER “message me if” box.

You should message me if….

You aren’t a big fat weirdo.

Ok. This is almost too easy for me. She also listed “honesty” three times on her profile as a lie deterrent. This is going to be effortless at first to go out with her, but then get real complicated after the second or third date when I eventually have to talk about my living sitch. But wait a second….I have never met this girl, but she comes off as funny, witty, pretty, and somehow I’m already physically attracted to her…well at least as much as I can be two dimensionally. I’m already thinking about the third date with OkLipgloss, and I maybe if one and two go well I would eventually get there, but right now I have to write her back something good, and get ready for my date with OkJessica that I’m ironically not looking forward to.

“So you just smoke it on the weekdays?” I write “Hmmmm, I suppose that could be acceptable. It is Christmas time after all. And since we’re being honest, I’m only a big fat weirdo on Mondays, but I’m fine the rest of the week.”

I would have to wait to get a response from OkLipgloss, because right now I am driving to west L.A. to meet the OTHER asian girl, OkJessica.

I had been texting with OkJessica the last few days. She has a strange sense of humor. One that does not directly translate well to a visual conversation. She kept saying that she wanted to go out somewhere, but every time I suggested a place or asked her if she knew of a place to meet, she would change the subject. She would never give me a straight answer, and since I don’t know the west side that well, I left the location of the date up to her. She couldn’t decide. We went back and forth for a few hours. I felt like maybe she was a little apprehensive to meeting me, so at one point I texted her that it’s ok if she feels a little weird about meeting someone from online because I felt like with all the misdirection she was giving me, she wasn’t fully committed to it yet. I send her a text, and the response I got was this.

“Maybe it is a little weird for YOU, but I’m totally fine with it. How about Plan Check on Sawtelle at 7:30pm?”

Ok, finally she actually sets a time and place, but notice the capitalization of the “YOU” Pretty passive aggressive huh? Wait, was I being PA first? I don’t know. But that only took three hours to accomplish. I wasn’t too keen on her tone and there is a part of me that wanted to cancel the date immediately. But another part of me just checked out the restaurant on Yelp and really wanted to go eat there. Plus, she’s Asian! I’ve never dated a asian girl….yet.

I get to the restaurant early and find suitable parking. I walk up to the place which is completely packed with west side hipsters and dolled up persian and asian girls. There is no place for me to sit inside, and no place for me to observe the room. Is that Jessica over there? No, she’s just Japanese. Or Chinese. I look at her pictures online and she seems like she could be ANY of these girls. All I know about her is she is about five foot four and she’s asian. She likes to go to warehouse parties downtown, and she works in some software office doing something with computers, and her pictures are extremely non-descriptive. She looks hot in them, and she wears sunglasses and other ones are filtered and she told me she just got back from a trip to Japan. This may come off as being a little racist, but I’ve always had a fear of dating an asian girl and then going out with them again but not being able to correctly identify them from every other asian girl. It’s not like I’m saying they all look alike, but sometimes, they do. I’m having a difficult time already and I feel like I see her drive by the restaurant a few times, but at this point, that could have been anyone.

I get a call from OkJessica and then I immediately remember I broke a cardinal rule by not talking to her on the phone before we went out.

“Where are you?” She says.

“Standing outside in front of the restaurant.” I respond.

“Oh, I see you.”

OkJessica walks up wearing a bland and boring black sweater and grey pants. She carries a messenger bag, and is not wearing sunglasses. She is cute and petite, but I already can feel her energy and it’s extremely awkward and completely… asexual. I am starting to wonder if she would notice if I just ran off and got back into my car and drove away. She says hello and goes in for the hug, and I say hi and counter with the extended handshake. Neither a hug nor a handshake happens. We just bump into each other and both let out a nervous cackle. There are no tables available for immediate seating, so she puts her name on the list and we resign to standing outside for a few minutes while hopefully someone inside is getting our table ready.

“So, you work around here?” I ask.

“Yeah I work at (insert software company name here) down the street.” She responds. “Where do you work?”

“I don’t really have an office. It’s more like freelance work.” I say.

Great. There goes that. There are the inevitable questions that will always get asked on the first date, and with both of our answers going absolutely nowhere, I am now shadowed in a handful of moments of silence which are luckily broken up by the hostess letting us know our table is ready. “Thank God” I think to myself. Can I pre-order my second drink now, cause I KNOW I’m going to have at least two.

We are sitting outside on the busy out door patio of Plan Check. It’s a nice place and a nice table. I compliment her choice of place to meet, and it’s then that she explains how terrible she is at making decisions. I guess that’s why she was so undecided the last few hours about when and where to meet. She goes on to tell me that she has been on OkCupid for the last six years and she meets all sorts of people, mainly for friends. I know this is never going to turn into a dating scenario, but I feel at least a bit more comfortable because now I know that she is an “old pro” at meeting people online, but possesses horrendous planning skills to actually make plans to meet them anywhere. She has nice skin. It’s amazing skin actually. It’s shimmers like porcelain, and it’s perfect. I notice it right away when I’m talking to her. But then I can’t help but also notice the excessive and distinct outline of eye liner she has decided to apply to her face. Maybe this is an asian thing, but it appears that she has drawn on more eyeliner than needed to almost make her eyes look slightly larger than they really are. Again, not being racist, just uninformed. Is this is a “cultural thing?” I decide it’s a vodka night, double please. A few minutes later my drink is delivered and I couldn’t have sucked it down any sooner than if it was delivered to me intravenously.

We decide to order a few appetizers and she goes through the menu and we each pick two from their “create your own app plate” mix. We ordered some meats, cheeses, and olives that come with some sort of bread and a tapanade spread type thing. I start asking her about her job and I immediately zone out and start to wonder about the other asian girl and what she thought of my message. Was I witty enough? Is she going to find it funny? Does she also wear too much eyeliner to accentuate her eyes when she is out on a date as well? Is this just a normal for their culture? I guess I should stop day dreaming about one girl that isn’t here, and pay more attention to Jessica who is actually sitting right in front of me, so I check in with her every now and again. I start fumbling over my words for some reason and the only thing that saves me is the waitress coming back to check on us.

“Would you like another drink?” She asks me.

“Yes!” I say before she can even finish asking her question.

I am so adamant about ordering another drink, I don’t even notice that OkJessica still has half a glass of wine to finish before she can catch up with me. Is that rude? Do I even care at this point? No. Jessica tells me about her trip to Japan and then she asks me if I like twinkies. Twinkies? Is this a trick question? Does she mean the dessert or is “twinkie” code for something she can do to me under the table to help me forget how awkwardly uncomfortable the last 15 minutes have been. I take the safe route, and I tell her I in fact do like twinkies, and she hands me a Japanese dessert that closely resembles one wrapped in cellophane with a bunch of foregin writing on it. Apparently, she says instead of cream, it has some sort of Japanese gelatin inside of it.

“I got this on my trip. You can have it.”

“Wow, thanks.” I said.

I reluctantly take the twinkie and I put in my jacket pocket, immediately wondering if she somehow laced it with cyanide before she handed it off. We start talking about music and she rattles off the names of hundreds of groups I have never heard of, and five that I mention I like. The waitress returns with my drink and then she asks me for my I.D. She says she’s sorry but she forgot to ID me before the first round of drinks. I guess that has happened before, but it’s kind of too late already right? Regardless, I oblige and hand her my ID. After the waitress returns it to me, OkJessica snatches it out of my hand and looks at it surprisingly.

“You’re 37 years old?” She asks in a manner that leads me to believe she is NOT happy with that information.

“Yeah.” I say “I probably should tell you I’m not 32 like it says on my profile.”

She looks at me like a deer in headlights…..

“You’re a liar.” She says accusingly.

What? Is it really that big a deal? Come on, everyone lies about something having to do with their age, weight or height. Get over it. She wants to talk about lying?? Well, how is this any different from her lying about the shape of her eyes by using all that make-up to make them look bigger??!? It’s the same fucking thing, right? She looks at me as if I’m the lowest form of douchebag west of the 405. What’s the big deal? It’s just a little white lie and by the way, we just met…..I DON”T EVEN FUCKING KNOW YOU! Calling me “liar.” How rude. I try to explain to her that it’s just kind of normal for people over the age of 30 in Hollywood to lie about their age. She doesn’t get it. She is kind of being a little bitch right now. I’m sweating, because I’m somewhat embarrassed. I try to make it up to her and show her a picture of Rocco, the bunny. She isn’t amused. She doesn’t like bunnies. Who doesn’t like bunnies? This is not going well, and I haven’t even told her that I live with my ex-girlfriend. I’d probably get a chardonnay to the face if I gave up THAT information. She is repulsed by me and my lie, and now I’m REALLY starting to wonder if that jap-twink she gave me has poison in it. At this point, all I know about OkJessica is that she’s 26 years old, hates rabbits, and works at some computer software company off of Pico. She thinks I’m a liar, and she’s been meeting a bunch of guys online for six years and then becomes friends with them. I have a distinct feeling I will not be one of them by the end of the night. Oh yeah, and she also deceives people with all the liberties she takes from using too much Cover Girl.

Eventually, the moment passes and Jessica has moved on from berating me about my age, to some forgettable conversation. She is less peeved now, I think. All I want is for the check to come. Again, I will take one for the team and pay because I get the points, and I’m the idiot who decided to go against my better judgement, and go out with this girl in the first place. The check gets dropped off and then OkJessica says the nicest and most appealing six words.

“Do you want to split it?

Really? Ok. So this is the saving grace here? I’m only paying for half. I guess she’s not that bad after all, I think. I would never go out with her again, but she’s not that bad cause she suggested we split the check. It doesn’t take a lot to impress me sometimes.

“Absolutely I do.” I respond.

She asks for a ride back to her place, and I oblige. I won’t bore you with the details of the three minute car ride home where she hijacked my car stereo and plugged in her i-pod to play me some weird space-rock. By the way, I HATE when girls try to change the music in my car. HATE it. No one really likes people who do that sort of thing, so just stop.

We say goodbye. Maybe a meaningless “talk to you later” was mumbled to each other, and she left. She closed my car door and I immediately pulled a u-turn and drove back to home, to where I belong…. the east side.

On the ride home, I was still a little pissed that she called me a liar. I didn’t really have a “bad” time. It was comical and weird but it was still kind of entertaining. I mean, at this point, I am seriously doubting that I’m going to meet anyone off OkCupid that I like enough to actually want to sleep with them. I know what I said when I started this thing about getting laid, but that’s not entirely true anymore and to be totally honest, I’m kind of picky. I also know that I’m not for everyone. I also don’t like being called a liar and made to feel like I’m being dishonest. Maybe I was a little, but it’s not like I showed up looking nothing like my pictures, bald and like fifty pounds overweight. That would have been really dishonest.

I park my car and turn off the engine. I reach into the glove box to get the case for my driving glasses, and I see that japanese junk food staring back at me. I grab it and I get out of the car. I throw the cake up in the air, I tell it to “fuck off”, and I proceed to kick it over the fence into the vacant lot behind my apartment building. That felt good. Then I text OkJessica:

“I had good time tonight. Let’s do it again. By the way I just had that twinkie. It’s delicious. Thanks!

How’s that for a big fat lie?

As expected, I never hear from her again. I’m not even remotely upset. I think to myself… that night sucked, but I gotta go back and eat at Plan Check again. That place was fucking good.

What’s the point of all this again? Oh right….to try and get laid? Jesus Christ, what a stupid idea. It seems so trivial at this point. I’m not even getting laid, and I’m not really having any fun. I think about deleting my OkCupid account for the fiftieth time….until I see I have a new message from OkLipgloss. Maybe I’ll make one more effort. They can’t all be bad dates, right?

I click the box to read the message…

“Who isn’t a big fat weirdo on Monday? People drive like crap, tell themselves they are starting a diet, and are depressed it’s 5 days from the weekend. I’m happy because I get back to the pipe.

In all seriousness, I can’t stand addicts. Anyways, Are you excited for the holidays?!”

I am now….

Part 4: Ok Maddie

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Wednesday December 11th, 2014

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

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

“Yes! Play it again!” She writes.

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

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

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

She responds with a smiley face.

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

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

And boy, did they ever. 54-11.

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 16th, 2013

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

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

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

“Nice sweater.” I say convincingly.

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

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

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

“No, I’ve never had a D.U.I.” I say.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I think it’s time we go” I said.

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

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

“Definitely” I reply.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So I click the box and read her message.

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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.

Joe & Nicola (Part 2)

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

“Get out.” She said.

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

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

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

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

“Me neither.” I replied.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wanna get a drink?” She asked.

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

“Absolutely I do.”

“Let’s do a shot” She said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“No, he’s here.” She replied.

Wait, at THIS wedding?” I asked.

“Yeah.” She said.

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

“Let’s go back inside.” I say.

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

“Well I am, so I’ll see you later.”

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

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

Here comes the afterparty…..

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

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

“At me?” I asked.

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

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

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

“I broke up with him.” She said.

“For real?” I asked.

“Yep.” She said with a smile.

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

“He’s right there.” She said.

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

I’ll be right back.” I said.

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

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

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

“Ready to go upstairs?” The bridesmaid asked.

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

“I don’t think so.”

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

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

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

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

“That was a great time.”  Tasha said.

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

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

“Yeah, that too.” I said.

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

Epilogue:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gary Des

(to be continued…)

See you in a month.

Next Wedding:  Late July 2015

Follow on Twitter @CMarc333

Joe & Nicola (Part 1)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I call the bed!” Tasha exclaimed.

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

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

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

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

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

“Tasha’s really cool.” She said.

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

“Nothing.” She said.

“Did you talk about me?” I asked.

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

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

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

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

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

My friends look out for me like family”

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

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

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

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

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

“Thanks Tacosa.” I replied.

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

Part 2: June 24th, 2015

Follow on Twitter @CMarc333

Aaron & Marlowe

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

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

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#bffs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What about here?” I asked.

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

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

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

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

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

“Oh shit, who is that?” I whispered.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Great.” She said. “Let’s go.”

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

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

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

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

Did you bang Adam?” I casually asked Tasha.

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

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

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

“Ok that’s fine.” I replied.

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

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

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

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

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

Last wedding: June 16th, 2015

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

Jason & Efia (Part 2)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Watch me freak these girls out.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next Wedding: June 10th, 2015

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