Pipelines and Bad Circulation

Pipelines and Bad Circulation

The time has come for me to apologize, dear readers. I’ve been neglecting you for the last several weeks, but I promise that I will date the heck out of somebody or multiple somebodies as soon as some viable prospects matriculate down my pipeline—Before you go all perv, yes YOU! Quit looking over your shoulder. I know there are men who read this blog too. Pipeline is not a euphemism for a ladypart; it’s a business development term referring to a volume of persons one has been in contact with that are at various stages in movement toward the commitment to a sale, or in this case, a date.

In the meantime, I swear that my absence from the blogosphere was for good reason, life reasons I hope you will understand.

I started a new marketing and PR job with a research and development company specializing in Natural Language Processing computer software. They developed the kind of software we have all feared since the enactment of the Patriot Act, artificially intelligent software that could read and understand the content of what it read, creating a rich archive from which startlingly detailed information could be pulled from masses of words that previously could have taken years to sort out.

They had decided to take this power of artificially intelligent understanding of words and turn it outward to the general public for the power of good – the great American capitalist business can harness the power of Big Data to deliver better customer service, more tailored answers and solutions to customer service requests, better analysis of medical information for doctors – the sky was the limit, and it is now my job to figure out who might want this technology and how to deliver it from nonexistence into their conscious demand.

It might not be the glamour of my life in the movies, but it was thought work, and an opportunity before me to begin building an empire where none has stood before, so I took it, and have been hard at work these last five weeks. I believe that I can make a real difference here, and that is exciting.

Two weeks ago, my grandfather was admitted to the hospital in Houston, with gangrene. The doctors felt they needed to amputate one of his toes, and possibly his leg below the knee. I had already been planning to go out to Granbury for the weekend to see how Mom and Dad were settling into their new house and they called me Thursday when they got the news because we weren’t sure if my visit would need to be cut short to go to his side.

Friday morning I got up early and dropped Daisy and Pete at the kennel, went to work, left at 2:30 for my infusion treatment, and then drove on from the infusion clinic to Granbury, anxious for an update on my grandfather’s condition.

As I sat in the infusion clinic hooked up to an IV, I asked the nurse to turn the light off and I sat in the darkness trying to push the world away for an hour and a half while there was nothing I could do except wait and worry. In the darkness I closed my eyes and wondered about Granddaddy. How scary to think that you would have to have limbs amputated to go on living. Maybe a toe alone is not so bad, but my God, what if it had to be a leg. What would I do if it were me?

And then it set in. What if it were me? With lupus, I already struggle with my immune system attacking otherwise healthy parts of my body and I’ve been lucky this far that most of what I have experienced has been temporary and recoverable, but I have heard stories from other women about losing all their teeth, kidneys failing, bone and muscle loss. It’s a not too distant reality that one day this could be me, and if it happened any time soon, I live alone in a big city with no one close by to help me, no one to notice if something happened to me and I disappeared for days at a time. I think that if I had to lose a limb to live, I might consider just letting go.


The Prodigal Daughter Returns

For all my musing about giving Maybe Next Tuesday a chance, it was wasted thought. He turned out to be Maybe Next Thursday, and following a few more texts, became Mr. Maybe Not.
Which is just was well, because, as previously noted, I had too much going on to deal with it.

Friday afternoon brought a request for a job interview Monday afternoon, and I knew that with the movers coming that morning to move my furniture, it was a bad idea, but the recruiter was so firm about 2:30 Monday being the only available time and how perfect a fit the job would be, and I was not in a position to decline, so I said I would make it work.
Saturday I took possession of the new apartment and spent the rest of the weekend moving all my clothes and dishes and electronics over one car load at a time. I thought that the transition would be easier this way—without packing boxes and moving things directly to their home in the new apartment meant no need to unpack on the other side. But by the time Monday morning came around, carrying so many loads down the stairs and going back up again that my muscles were so sore that I felt I could barely walk.

I had originally scheduled the movers to come at 10:30am, but when I scheduled the 2:30pm job interview I called back and rescheduled them to come at 8, and Sunday night I called a third time to confirm the movers would have dollies because I did not rent a truck and the trek from Apartment A to Apartment B was probably about the length of two football fields.

Already a bundle of nerves, I woke at 4:00am Monday to the sound of heavy rain. I lay in bed trying to force myself to sleep, but I realized I didn’t have a mattress bag to protect my mattress from the rain if it didn’t stop. Realizing that my brain was amping up and resistance was futile, I got up and turned on the TV and listened to the weather coverage while scouring the internet for where I could get a mattress bag before 8am.

The earliest to open was 7am at a U-Haul approximately 4 miles away so I took a bath and painted my nails to pass the time until 6:30 and then ventured out into the torrential downpour figuring I would allow extra time for poor rush hour drivers and flash flooding. The streets were flooding and the forecast called for heavy rain to continue on until 11am. As I purchased the mattress bag, the thought of renting an extra dolly flitted through my mind, but the person on the phone had confirmed their movers would have one or two, so I dismissed the thought to my later regret.
I made it home by 7:45 and when the movers did not show up at 8am as promised, I continued to watch the weather report and figured that would excuse up to an hour of tardiness, but when 9am rolled around, they still had not arrived, I called and someone said they were on their way. Thirty minutes later, same story. 10am, same story.

I called back and said if they could not make it by 10:30, I would have to reschedule because of the time crunch. Again I was reassured that they would make it by 10:30. I kept my cell phone on me and started moving lamps and other smaller pieces of furniture that I had planned to leave for the movers.

10:30 came and still no movers. Called again and they said don’t worry, they had gotten held up by the rain but they had added a third laborer to the originally scheduled two and would make up the time. Many frantic phone calls later and after three failed attempts to reschedule because they were booked for the rest of the week, they finally arrived at 12:15pm, swearing they could move everything that fast. By this point, despite all the willpower in the world, my legs began to mutiny and balk at the notion of any more trips up and down the stairs, so I watched frightfully from the ground as each piece of furniture was carried down and over.

Now my regrets sank in even further as I learned that in spite of multiple phone calls confirming they would have dollies, they had none so I found myself refereeing them as they came up with not so brilliant ideas like rolling my round leather lounger on the concrete and one worker trying to support the weight of the dresser with his head against the particle board panel that holds the drawer fronts, causing it to cave, and then —

I came out of the new apartment to see two of them balancing my washing machine on a comforter on the trunk of their Cadillac while the third drove the car very slowly. It was 1:15 and I still had to shower and drive thirty minutes across town for the interview. My heart swung like a pendulum between my throat and my feet as I watched a repeat performance with my dryer. I kicked them out and told them their boss could wait for my call to release their payment.

The world’s fastest shower and change and a few orange lights later I was on the dot for the interview. I said all the right things but I was wound so tightly from the journey to get to that moment that I probably sounded like an auctioneer and the law firm was not impressed. We exchanged to requisite pleasantries and parted ways, and I sent a Hail Mary email thanking them for their time and attempting to hit a few points I knew were missed in the interview, but I knew that job was not to be mine. By Thursday it was confirmed.

I was too tired to think about Maybe Tuesday, so I guess I was relieved when he didn’t reach out until Thursday night, and asked if I had plans for dinner. I said I was too tired to eat but had left over pizza in my fridge if I changed my mind later. That was the last I heard from him. In retrospect, I should have probably realized that “What are you doing for dinner?” was probably a precursor to “would you like to have dinner together?” and I had unthinkingly shot it down quite effectively. I could mourn the loss of opportunity, but then, I go back to – if he didn’t make an impression the first time, probably no big loss the second time.

I didn’t lose much sleep over it.

Curse You, Madam Butterfly!

Curse You, Madam Butterfly!

An illustration of Madam Butterfly – aka the butterfly rash on a lupus patient’s face…

In times of stress like I’ve dealt with this week the scarlet butterfly alights on across my nose and cheeks, filling my sinus cavity and skin with blood and fluid until it bursts through my skin leaving an unsightly oily rash and scabs. It makes me feel…undateable, unlikeable, an object of other people’s pity, concern, aversion and curiosity. It’s not enough to be physically painful; it sits on my face like the elephant in the room just trumpeting with all its strength for someone to break the tension by acknowledging it.

I look back on my charitable event and feel guilty for Batman, because he was a nice boy and we had dated for about six weeks and I wanted so desperately to be attracted to him because he treated me well and was willing to spend four hours outdoors in the 92 degree heat kneeling and standing to take pictures with kids in spite of a horrific case of rheumatoid arthritis he’d had since the age of five. I never said anything about it, but I secretly could not stop looking at how the RA had deformed the shape of his fingers and hands and wondering if my lupus would do that to me over the next thirty years. It was really such a small flaw in comparison to the man he was, and I wished that I had been brave enough to not let it bother me, as I hope someone will one day overlook it when it happens to me.

I had been learning to cope, doing pretty well keeping Madam Butterfly at bay with my medications and coping techniques to handle stress and avoid lupus triggers, but this week I got screwed by that company that so little appreciated the efforts Batman and Marilyn and I had put into tying for first place that day because they didn’t process my termination paperwork in a timely manner, so Blue Shield of Texas had cut off my health insurance before I received my COBRA benefits package right in time for three big doctor’s appointments that were part of my Benlysta infusion treatment and me needing to refill some of my prescription medications at the pharmacy.

I spent almost two whole days on the phone with the COBRA plan administrators begging them to process my benefits elections and payment and start the reactivation process with Blue Shield in time to prevent me from missing my infusion date, while trying to fit in half a dozen job interviews and calling about half a dozen appliance repair places to find someone who could reconnect my washer and dryer at the new apartment next week, completely failing to pack a single box to prepare for my apartment move tomorrow.

To quote Thomas Paine, “these are the times that try men’s souls.” I’ve not really ever had the luxury of being able to be weak and rely on other people to help me through my problems, and this was no different. I couldn’t count on the former employer to help me because they were so inefficient they caused the problem in the first place, and there wasn’t really much that any friend or family member could do to help in this particular situation, so all I could do was keep making phone calls and praying that God would put the right person on the other end of the phone who would actually listen and lift a finger to help me.

I have inherited from my father the trait of being a worrier-fixer, which means that I am the person who looks forward and sees all the things that are ahead that can go wrong to try to prevent them, and automatically feels compelled to suspend all emotion until I have a plan and have put everything in motion to save the day. It’s not a bad trait all around. To everyone else, I am the strong, survivor capable of handling anything and making it look easy so rarely anyone ever thinks I could possibly need help. I am always their rescuer and thus I must not need one of my own. If only they knew how much my stomach and my mind twist in knots and I writhe with frustration whenever people say, “You’ll figure it out; you always do…,” or “you’re a survivor. Things always work out for the best…,” or heaven help me, “God has a plan.” All those kindly words of encouragement people think they are offering me just ring in my ears as what they mean to me: Damn that sucks, but I don’t care enough about you to help.

The trouble with being a worrier-fixer that is the child of another worrier-fixer is that you quickly learn that sharing your problems with your worrier-fixer parent is that he can quickly become your worst nightmare because he automatically emotionally takes on your problem as his own to solve, and quickly rehashes the fears that you’ve already had and rationalized into the category of “not helpful to dwell on,” making you second guess your judgment for dismissing them to focus on usable facts to try and come up with your own solution, and will compound it by taking it personally or insisting you haven’t heard their concern and taken it seriously when what you really need to do is come up with a plan and move forward. So turning to mom and dad for support was a known nonstarter.

Luckily for me, God did offer me some help in a man named Jim who answered my eighteenth call to the COBRA Administrator’s customer service line after getting blown off by dismissive customer service women who didn’t understand that untreated lupus in a stressful period like this causes severe pain, partial paralysis and mobility impairment. I had to beg for a fax number from one of those women just to get my election form in to their office without having to wait for the regular mail to make it to them, and pay online or over the phone to expedite the process? We’ve never done anything like that for anyone before. You should just wait. It will all be reinstated retroactively.

But my savior Jim, he was someone who could listen and think outside the box, so he was willing to do the legwork to step away from his desk to – gasp!—talk to the election forms processing people and make sure they received my fax and YOWZA! He actually walked further down the hall to talk to the IT department and get them to put a dummy payment in the system so they could activate my online registration so that I could pay online while he was on the phone with me and then let them drop the dummy payment once my real payment was made. And then, wonder of wonders! he actually called and emailed Blue Shield to ask them to reactivate me in time to save my infusion appointment based on the information he could provide.

As a woman, it pains me to admit this, but Jim was a breath of fresh air and the women I talked to—they could have given me as much concern as if I were complaining about being forced to miss an appointment with a dermatologist to get acne medication. So much for our reputation as the fairer sex, known for our inclination to nurture and care for those who depend on us.

With all this week’s medical drama added to the aggressive quest to find a new job and prepare for my move, I probably wouldn’t have a word to say on this self-proclaimed dating blog, except that the world works in mysterious ways and a would be suitor I had met via Match.com and exchanged texts with briefly before leaving him long forgotten decided to text me out of the blue to ask if I was still available.

It was a bit of an awkward approach because I hadn’t thought enough of them to program his name in my phone so I had no idea who was texting me to say, “I know we haven’t been in touch in almost a year but I just wanted to reach out and say hi. In the last year I got pregnant and married.” Which naturally led to my confused response – Congratulations on the big news. I’m sorry but I don’t have your number programmed in my phone so I am embarrassed to ask-who are you?

Apparently in a bout of eagerness and being all thumbs, he had meant to say, “I was wondering if you had gotten pregnant or married since we last connected.” After a picture text and a few remember we talked about such and such-es my memory started to be jogged, and he asked if we could finally set up a date.

I was torn. My first instinct is that if I didn’t think enough of him a year ago to program his name into my phone or go on a date then, then I probably would come to the same conclusion this time. I told him that I was tied up with my move this weekend and wouldn’t be available, and he immediately offered to summon up some buddies and a truck to help with the heavy lifting.

I told him not to concern himself about it because I had already hired some laborers to move my stuff and would rather have it handled by insured professionals than save a few bucks by relying on friends to get things down two flights of stairs and about 100 yards down the sidewalk to the new apartment and winding up upset or screwed if something was dropped or scratched.

But he was so eager to continue to offer to help me that it makes me take pause. Here I am having spent an exhausting week trying to solve a butterfly summoning load of personal problems and fuming that until I found Jim in the eleventh hour, there was not a soul who could or would offer to help and here I was in a manageable pinch with someone eager to offer more help than I had considered wanting or needing? The Greek deities must be laughing at me right now, and I must consider the question – is that worth a meal or a cup of coffee to meet this guy in person to see if he is worth letting in?

I’ve got too much to deal with right now to think about it that hard, so friendly opinions are welcome. For now, I have left this potential date as “Maybe, Tuesday.” I’m not sure if Madam Butterfly will have flown away by then…

50 Shades of…um…Something?

So it’s been about a week since comedian number two left a bad taste in my mouth (groan, that was a bad pun), and it seems the veritable well of worthy prospects has run as dry as Lake Lewisville. WARNING: do not dive in as water may be shallower than you may think!

Ordinarily, I am adamantly abhorrent of the idea of reading trashy romance novels, but sans employemente there are just so many extra hours in the day to fill between applying for jobs and phone interviews and responding to emails and scouting employment lawyers to cleanse my reputation of the possible ill effects of the alleged wardrobe malfunction dismissal and some of my girlfriends were just raving about 50 Shades of Grey and how they can’t wait to try being submissive in bed since for years Cosmopolitan and Vogue have been telling us to take charge in the bedroom and command our partners to give us the pleasure we deserved as modern women undefined by the black and white virgin/whore archetypes of yesteryear.  I just really didn’t get it.

As a Vickie’s girl from Beverly Hills catering to the stars, dressing socialites for hedonistic detentes at the Playboy Mansion and wannabe starlets planning to be booty shakers in music videos, I was conditioned to believe that sexiness is not something to hide or be ashamed of; it’s just a tool in your arsenal. If you were competing with a man for a job and you were equal in all other qualifications, the film industry favored a sexy woman because it was one thing to do a job, and yet another to do it with a nice rack that wasn’t filled with reading material.

Legend has it the original draft of the script for Cowboys and Aliens was sold because I and my cleavage had delivered Starbucks to the pitch meeting where the comic book nerds wanted to impress the dubious movie execs by rejecting their onsite coffee. You know this must be true, because if I were going to brag on it, surely I would have picked a way better comic book movie to tell the tale.

So, when all life’s experiences have taught me that sexual confidence laid the world at my feet, why would some book have all these women raving about being obedient and doing as they were told? Doesn’t that fly in the face of everything that our mothers fought for in the 1960s and our older sisters sought to prove in the 90s? Bored and dubious, I decided to give the novel a read and find out.

I’m a very mentally active person who actually requires a certain amount of distraction to be able to focus on the task at hand, so I smirkingly flipped on the Sex & the City marathon that was playing on E! Network, figuring I would enjoy the irony of the two obviously very different philosophies running tandem in my stream of consciousness. I had always disliked Sex & the City because the characters were flat renditions of the virgin/whore archetype narrated by such an ambivalent vascillator between the two that overanalyzes everything.

50 Shades was also narrated by an overly analytical romantic main character, but I was surprised to find that along Anastasia’s (gag- trashy romance novel character name incarnate) mentally masturbatory journey, she offered some strange and tragically humiliating insights into my own relationships past, particularly, the ex in Cali with whom I still occasionally swap self destructively sexy emails and texts.

So, the takeaways, you ask?

  1. The trouble with being the dominant person in a sexual relationship is that it requires a tremendous amount of creativity. In order to keep things interesting, you must always up the ante – that can be exciting at first, but in the long term, it can become exhausting. As deliciously smutty as the book was, I was surprised at just the amount of possibilities of what could have happened in the Red Room of Pain that never came to pass. I guess that’s why there are two sequels, which I probably won’t read because I actually was pleased with the ending that the arrangement wasn’t going to work out.
  2. There is an insatiable bond created by the passion that comes from being torn between loving and hating another person that makes it so much more intense and addictive than an uncomplicated relationship. In fact, California X and I probably still nudge each other once in a while, not because we aren’t happy with whoever we are currently dating, but because we know that as rational people trying to forge healthy, drama free relationships, we fear that we will never feel the extreme ecstasy that was the yin to our violent and unrelenting yang. If the goal is to keep things stable in the middle, not having much down makes it hard to appreciate the little that you have up.
  3. Sometimes we are attracted to another person’s darkness simply because we can’t imagine that it runs too deep for us to take. We want to believe that we are like gods, capable of handling anything or fixing anyone, when the reality is that we have little power to change anything except ourselves.

And lastly, as Christian Grey repeatedly tells Anastasia Steele, “You should stay away from me. I can’t give you what you need and you’d be crazy to give me what I want,” it calls to mind a dating maneuver I call:

The Intentional Bridge Burner

So, yes, Comedian Number 2, if you’ve somehow stumbled across my blog and realized that some of what I have written is about you, you are an ass, and I am still sipping away at that redunculously huge bottle of cheap cabernet that is the only redeeming grace of your presence – this maneuver is yours as much as it is mine.

The Intentional Bridge Burner is like the Hail Mary pass you throw when you have the ball at the end of the football game when you are 99% certain you are going to lose anyway. I know that I am not interested anymore and the odds of anything beneficial coming out of it are slim to none, but I will throw out a line like “How do you feel about blow jobs,” because I don’t care what you’re gonna think or feel and there’s always the 1% chance you’re insecure enough that you might actually give it to me and I figure that’s mildly better than calling the date a complete loss. And if it hurts your feelings or you say no, it’s no skin off my back cause I didn’t really want you or it that badly anyway.

I’ve probably used the Intention Bridge Burner on more guys than I’ve had it done to me, but when I find myself on the receiving end, I give in to morbid curiosity, and as long as talk doesn’t imply action, I catch myself playing along just to see how twisted and far it can go. Most girls will get up and leave the table the second a date – we’ll call him the Lawyer – takes a getting to know you type conversation about comparing notes on how you like to play poker and turns it into a soliloquy about how he’s always fantasized about hosting a high stakes poker game in a cigar bar with topless women serving endless pitchers of beer.

Yeah – I sat through that one to the end, in part because I was afraid the Lawyer would cheapskate and try to skip out on the check if I ditched him and I felt bad for the waitress who’s ass he was visibly staring at, and in part I was just simply transfixed, curious to see how far he would push the envelope to make me scream and run. Or to wrap my brain around it if he was so insanely clueless that he thought I’d find it attractive.

I don’t know why men and women do that. It seems like we should all just be able to politely say, “It was nice to meet you, but I’m just not feeling it, so have a nice night.” Do we push people’s boundaries for the amusement of seeing how they react or because we think that behaving like an ass makes them decide they don’t like us and therefore by being the bad guy or girl we think we are doing them the kindness of letting them reject us instead of the other way around?

To some degree I equated Anastasia’s fascination with Grey to my own morbid curiosity to see how far the game will really go, but I’m lost when she actually considers for a moment signing that crazy sex contract, because I would certainly believe that would have to be the ultimate Intentional Bridge Burner.

My only lament left now on the subject of this book, is that someone has decided to make it into a movie, which is already highly anticipated, starring Jamey Dornan and Dakota Johnson, expected to be released at some time in 2015. I cannot imagine it being any good because the content of the book is so pornographic that it would have to be incredibly diluted to show anywhere other than an art house cinema. Will it be art or will it be porn? I guess we’ll just have to wait and find out. What will the MPAA ever do?



RePosting my guest post from 30 Dates & 60 Bottles of Wine

In case you aren’t all over the blogosphere and haven’t seen my guest post on 30 Dates & 60 Bottles of Wine, here’s a recap to bring you up to speed:

The Comedian with the Yellowtail or You Reap What You Sow

So, if you read her last post, the lovely heroine who has been chronicling 30 Dates and 60 Bottles of wine has decided to take a brief hiatus in the aftermath of getting found by one of the dates, so as the grad school buddy and fellow chronically single woman in her thirties, I offered to pick up a bottle and take a date for the team so that we could still bring you another story.

So, to set the scene, after finishing up grad school at USC, I bounced around working on independent films for a bit, and then finally made my way to Dallas, where for the last year and a half I was working in Alternate Programming, PR and Outreach for a growing national chain of movie theaters until about a month ago when I made a tactical blunder.

Apparently Dallasites are a bit more buttoned up than we Angelinos and so when I ran a team tent for a charitable event, I thought, we’re in the movie business – let’s give them a red carpet experience like the guests are live at a Hollywood film premiere. I had a red carpet, a step-and-repeat and lookalikes for Batman and Marilyn Monroe handy to take photos with people and I was the red carpet photog.

I wore a gold dress that would have been a little on the cleavagy side, but, knowing I was in Dallas, I had donned an ivory camisole underneath to hide my goodies and keep them in place. But apparently I am so white that the ivory camisole blended so well with my skin that someone who needed an update on his or her glasses prescription saw me in a photo of the event – at which my tent tied for first place, BTW – mistook a shot in which my dress was a little off center for one of my actual breasts hanging out of the dress. So I was fired. Come on.

So, needless to say, I was shocked, mortified and ready for a drink.

A friend of mine used to own a comedy club and so she pulled a few strings to get us into a club to see some stand-up comedians that she knew. We sat in the front row and of course I got picked on for being the only white person in the club by the opening act. Apparently my angelic porcelain skin makes me an easy target, but whatevs – a few jokes is nothing after you just got fired for being too white, right?

So, after the show, we stayed to visit with the comics and they invited us over to a bar for some drinks. I didn’t realize it at the time, but comic number one who dislikes whiteys was apparently looking to get it on with my friend, so comic number two apparently decided he would keep me occupied while our compadres disappeared out to the car to do whatever they were going to do.

I certainly didn’t mind him hugging up on me and trying to get close. I had seen him scope out the room looking for prospects and he had come back and chosen me so I didn’t think he was taking one for the team by flirting with me and kissing a little. I figured after a year and a half of sacrificing all romantic and sexual relations for a job that chewed me up for 60 hours a week and spit me out that maybe I was due for a little meaningless fling and gosh darn it I deserved to have a little fun.

But since there were four of us in one car and we had to shuffle our drunky friends safely off to their respective homes so that nobody was driving drunk, number two and I exchanged numbers to resume at a time TBD.

So last night TBD came to pass, and like any out of practice woman who never has anyone over, I went all out cleaning my apartment so it wouldn’t look like a frat house coated in dog hair and empty take out containers. I showered, shaved, broke out the sexy lingerie and since I knew number two wouldn’t be coming over until 11:30pm because his set that night was at 10, I decided to really embrace my inner bad girl and warm up for the main event by exchanging naughty texts with an ex back home in Cali so that when number two showed up, I would be ripe and ready to take that piece of ass.

So here I was, proud of myself for putting aside my romantic hang-ups and just ready to take the first steps to embracing my not-too-far-off cougardom. The ex in Cali was getting off on the fact that he was my warm up act for somebody else as was I for him, and lucky number two had the honor of coming over in person to reap the benefits, so shouldn’t we all just get some satisfaction?

Apparently karma and fate had other things in mind.

As promised, number two showed up with a bottle of wine, but my apartment complex was getting trolled by the tow truck looking for prospects, so I had to walk down and show him where it was safe to park. No big. Dogs needed a walk anyway. I went down and introduced the canines and we walked back toward my place, except as number two was slipping an arm around my waist my big dog stopped dead in front of me and I tripped over him.

Number two had brought over a bottle of wine as a nice gesture or perhaps a social lubricant, and it was a 1.5 liter bottle of Yellowtail Cabernet, so I guess maybe the volume of wine being equivalent to three bottles was supposed to make up for the fact that Yellowtail is typically one of the bottom shelf cheapest wines you find at your average grocery or convenience store. If I want to be charitable, maybe it was thoughtful not to get a nice bottle of red and let it sit in the car in 90 degree heat for four hours between when a liquor store would have been open and when he could get free to see me.

Re: the 90 degree heat, be glad if you’re not in Texas right now. It was definitely hot in my apartment and not only because of me. So, maybe because we were both starting from sober, or the tow truck, or the heat or the pleas for attention from the dogs, but number two was definitely not on his game the way he had been last weekend.

I poured him a glass of wine from the ridiculously huge bottle as I wondered how much he thought we’d need to drink, and he couldn’t seem to find a place that was comfortable to sit, so we had a nice moment kissing as we stood with my back against the wall, and I asked what I could do to make him comfortable.

We made our way to the bedroom, and he told me that on first sight he had been completely captivated by my breasts. Now, as someone who put herself through grad school managing a Victoria’s Secret store in Beverly Hills for about five years, I am quite used to my breasts being the topic of conversation with both men and women, and there’s really not anything original left to say about them.

I have them. They’re big. They’re real. When I was a teenager, I didn’t want them to grow big so I took a note from Chinese foot binding and would wrap them with duct tape every night when I went to bed in hopes they’d stay small, and somehow the end result was that I have this really expressed narrow cleavage that women would pay to have and men fantasize about hiding in.

But ok, I wasn’t asking for original. I was just asking for action, so I leaned in for another kiss, and then came the showstopper: “How do you feel about blow jobs?”

“I feel like I would need to get to know you better.”

And then came the dreaded, “Well, if you’re not into that, that’s kind of a deal breaker for me. Maybe I should go.”

What is it with guys and blow jobs? And what kind of girl hears an ultimatum like that and gives up the goods when the guy hasn’t even done anything for her yet?

Somebody fire up the DeLorean because we all need to go back in time and smack the first girl who did that for a guy under such circumstances, thus letting so many of them think that is acceptable. Obviously he’s just not that into me or has some deep seated issues because most people would just let nature take its course and perhaps offer a little more subtle encouragement if they want things to go that direction. Subtlety is an art dude, and you should learn it.

I decided to impart piece of wisdom in the form of rhyme so that it would stick with this young buck so I told him, most self-respecting women follow the saying “Baby doesn’t blow if you’re just some hoe.” He was slow on the uptake and had to ask if in this scenario I was referring to him as the hoe. Wait a minute. Was he, actually…offended??? That I was considering him my hoe????

OMG, I guess that flipped the script and suddenly he was all apologies. We got off on the wrong foot tonight. Maybe you can come to my next show and I’ll buy you some drinks. You seem like a really cool chick and maybe we can be friends or start over or something.

I wish I could say that you’re laughing with me because these silly situations are only in my life, but somehow I suspect it’s more common than we know. If you want to hear more about #o0DatinginDallas tweet @betsyelaine.



My Game Changers

My Game Changers

So, before I get too far down the road, sharing my struggles, humiliations and devil may care point of view, I think it’s important to preface these stories with some important background.

Dating for me is not like dating for the average person because life has thrown me some pretty big curve balls and I am still in the learning process adapting to my new circumstances.

  1. In September 2013, I was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosis (SLE), and being saddled with a chronic lifelong illness after years of deluding myself that I was simply prone to the flu or allergic to everything around me, I am still very much learning to deal with the challenges it has presented and the knowledge that this is my life and it’s not going away.  Most people that don’t have a family member or loved one who has lupus don’t really know what it is or have any sort of framework to understand it.

i.      So crash course: People with lupus have overactive immune systems. In normal cellular processes in anyone’s body, the life cycle of a healthy cell releases B proteins that are basically cellular waste that work their way out of your system. In a lupus patient, these B proteins are slightly mutated and the immune system recognizes them as foreign, and sends antibodies to attack what would be otherwise healthy tissue. Because this happens on a cellular level, this means that antibodies can attack any part of the body at any time.

ii.      Think of it like having an allergic reaction to yourself. If you are allergic to a bee sting, your body releases histamine to the area where you got stung, it swells up and itches like crazy. If you eat something you are allergic to, your throat might swell up and cause you difficulty breathing or swallowing, or the food can sit like a brick in your digestive system slowing you down as it takes an inordinate amount of time to pass through. In either case, you experience serious fatigue because all your body’s energy is going to concentrate on the problem until you’ve gotten rid of it.

  1. So in my experience, dealing with lupus has presented the following dating hurdles:
    1. When I am having a flare episode, I get really fatigued and terrible at returning phone calls, texts and emails. This can be the kiss of death for a fledgling relationship because people need that continued reassurance of my interest to know whether it’s worth it to ask for the next date or keep trying.
    2. I am so fine with staying at home while a guy I date is out on the town with his buddies or busy with his job, but at a certain point, being an absentee girlfriend who is just happy to cuddle up when the guy comes home starts to feel like I’m more of an inanimate object than an active participant in the relationship. More than once, boyfriends have been befuddled by my lack of jealousy or demands to be a part of every moment. It’s not that I don’t want to be part of everything that’s important to my guy; I just don’t want to hold him back when I’m not up to it.
    3. The dreaded discussion of when to disclose my lupus:

i.      Obviously if we are on a date and I start to have symptoms and you see me digging through my purse for the right prescription bottle for the symptom that’s bothering me at that moment, it raises some questions. Am I prescription drug addict? Do I have cancer? Am I a drug dealer?   Am I dying?  Why exactly do the contents of my purse resemble a Walgreens pharmacy? Am I supposed to excuse myself to go to the bathroom and try to hide it?  It’s not that I need all that medicine all the time.  It’s just that I have to be prepared for whatever will happen whenever it decides to happen.

ii.      The conversation about how you feel about having kids. When you get past 30, most people have kids or want them, so this is an incredibly awkward topic. Once upon a time, I dreamed of living an ordinary life and really wanted to have biological children that I could love and cherish and mold into amazing human beings who would carry on my legacy and aspire to make the world a better place. But when I got diagnosed, I looked up the facts:

  1. Doctors recommend that a lupus patient be flare free for at least a year before trying to get pregnant because you have to go off of a lot of lupus meds that could potentially harm the baby, and going off the meds means that you are in extra risk for kidney failure, pericarditis, and other really serious problems that can be caused by an unchecked lupus flare.
  2. There is a hereditary factor by which lupus can be passed on genetically to your children. Not everyone who gets the gene develops lupus, but if you have the gene, it can be triggered by extreme stress, long term illness and various other environmental factors, none of which are fully understood. So knowing the difficulty lupus has brought me, it seems to me like it would be selfish to insist upon producing biological offspring that is more likely than the average person to struggle with this illness.
  1. I have been married once before and it didn’t work out.
    1. I was the girl next door and he was the exotic Russian man who used to feed my beagle scraps when I wasn’t home so that every time we walked, she would inevitably drag me by his front door and over time he worked his charms on me. I denied it for a long time because we all know how awful it would be to date your next door neighbor if things didn’t work out, but the chemistry was electric, and in the end, not only could I not resist, it was a fix I couldn’t give up.
    2. Over a seven year relationship, passion and continual evolution of our sex life was never a problem. What became a problem was my undiagnosed lupus that led me to withdraw from so many of our treasured social outings, and be too tired to keep up with basic life at home. He thought this meant that I didn’t care, and I knew that there was something real and physical wrong with me, but without the right doctors on the diagnostic trail to understand what was happening to me, I’m sure that seemed like a pretty lame excuse. Instead of talking it out like adults, he turned to alcohol and drugs and I became progressively more incapable of doing anything except sleep. I watched him go through two DUIs and and anger management class and chauffeured him around while he was without a license until finally things came to a head when he decided I was so inaccessible because I must have been cheating on him.
    3. We had become toxic to each other and had to face the hard lesson that sometimes, no matter how much you love someone, two broken people hit a point when that love just isn’t enough and you have to separate in order to heal and become whole again. For us, this meant divorce, and me moving in with my parents for a year in Texas so that I could have their support while pursuing diagnosis and treatment for that illusive medical condition that I couldn’t put my finger on. Sometimes we wonder if things might have been different if I had gotten diagnosed before we hit that point, but at the end of the day, I think the problem was that we didn’t listen to each other and really try to understand what the other person was going through. We were both so absorbed in our own experience that we were not in a place to hear the other person out and believe what they had to say, and I don’t know if that’s something you can fix. Especially when alcohol and drugs factor into the equation, I fear that it’s easy for people to fall into old bad habits.

So my new year’s resolution for 2014 was that this year is all about figuring things out, finding my limits, understanding what I can and cannot do or deal with, and trying to find the best scenario for me to give love another chance.

My menu of choices just got a lot bigger because these setbacks turn some people’s minuses into pluses.  Travel three out of seven days a week for work?  No problem, that’s time I don’t have to be energetic enough to entertain you.  Don’t want kids?   Great.  Not sure I do either.  Already have kids?  Great, then the pressure’s off me to have them for you.  And if they’re already a couple years old, no diapers to change.  Awesome!

Or so I thought, but I am starting to learn that occasionally minuses are just minuses.

Even so, I’m throwing the old rule books out the window. I’m deciding it’s ok if I don’t call back and it doesn’t mean something is wrong with me if I don’t get a call back. It’s ok to have fun and just let something be what it is, and if it turns into something great, then that’s just bonus.

I’m going to make mistakes. I’m going to sift through turds in search of a diamond. And maybe, if I’m lucky and I play my cards right, just maybe I’ll find one.

Wish me luck!

isn't it fun?