Month: March 2012

And We’re Back, with Free Love

There aren’t too many things I miss about being single (wondering if he’s going to call, then waiting for him to call, then realizing he’s a lunatic and hoping he’ll never call again) but there is one thing: the personal ads.  As a writer, and as a former student of anthropology, I found them endlessly fascinating, which is why, when an author named Thomas Kelleher asked me to review his book, Free Love: True Stories of Love and Lust on the Internet, I said yes without a moment’s hesitation. Once I saw the cover, however, I began to have my doubts.  It depicts a single, winking emoticon on a tie-dye background: more Girl Scout camp than quality literature. But don’t let the cover fool you: the contents are a far cry from the make-your-own-t-shirt station.  In fact, they’re bizarre, and tragic, and hysterical, and frankly rather unbelievable.  This a work of non-fiction, however, and having trolled the waters of Match.com, eHarmony and Plenty for the better part of the past year and half, I willing …

Bad News

Well folks, I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news.  Not they’ve-decided-to-stop-producing-fair-trade-chocolate bad news, or even I’ve-decided-to-join-a-commune-and-go-off-the-grid bad news but bad news nonetheless. You might have noticed that I missed Monday’s post, and those of you who have been following my blog since the beginning of my Great Date Experiment will have noticed that my posts have become shorter (and less exciting) of late. There are several reasons for this, and as much as I’d like to blame The Wedding Date (boyfriends make rather convenient scapegoats, don’t they?) it’s not his fault—at least not entirely.  I’m writing for several online magazines these days and between all of my students, I’ve got thirteen tap routines to get finished up and polished in time for this year’s recitals. My co-producer and I also received some unexpected news last week: Remember that grant application you submitted months ago but never thought you’d actually get? Well, you got it.  We want you to produce a show at City Hall.  And we want it in exactly one month. With so many …

How To Tell You’re Becoming an Old Lady

I am officially old.  I know this because when I got home from work on Friday afternoon, my first thought was “I’d really like to take before The Wedding Date gets here.” As we sat down on the steps of the art museum to listen to the “music” (which featured a “world-renown” percussionist from Brazil) I found myself wondering, “Why is that drummer crawling out from underneath a blanket?  And what is that other guy even playing?  This isn’t music.” Eventually The Wedding Date informed me that the “other guy” was playing a berimbou (“It’s used in capoeira”) and pulled out his iPhone to prove it to me. At this point, I realized that I’m not only old but also ignorant.  And I have a freakin’ MASTERS DEGREE in Dance Anthropology.  How did I not know that? By the time 8pm rolled around, I was starving; like most senior citizens, I like to eat dinner by 6pm. When we headed up to North Philly to meet two of The Wedding Date’s friends for dinner, I …

My Go-To Date

Tonight, The Wedding Date and I are going to the art museum.  Those of you who have been reading for a while know how I feel about the art museum: it’s my go-to date, and frankly, I’m surprised it’s taken us this long.  I always subject my dates to the art museum, and usually I do it fairly early on as part of my vetting process, but The Wedding Date and I met eight months ago yesterday (!) and this will be our first visit. I can’t wait. Between his kids and my parents, we’ve had very little alone time lately and you can’t get much better than wine, live jazz and—oh yeah—art on a Friday night.  Plus, we’re meeting two of his friends at a nightclub in North Philly afterward so as long as I manage to figure out an outfit that’s appropriate for both the art museum and the night club, it’s going to be fabulous. (Unless I don’t manage to figure out an outfit, in which case I’ll probably have a complete …

Queen of the Whack-a-Mole

My plan, upon arriving at the arcade with The Wedding Date and his kids, is to kick butt.  This way they’ll know whose boss even if I did spend the past hour telling dumb blonde jokes. Unfortunately we start with one of those car racing video games.  I come in 8th out of 8th place the first time and 7th the next, not because I improved but because I ran another car off the road just before crashing through the window of a car dealership. We move onto Skee Ball except it’s called “Ice Ball” at this particular arcade and the balls are white.  This, ostensibly, is why I lost at Skee Ball as well. By the time we move on basketball, I decide the polite thing to do would be to offer to hold everyone’s jackets (especially as there aren’t enough basketball stations for everyone). When the eldest challenges me to a game of air hockey, I end up knocking the puck into my own goal more times than not. At last we move …

Finally: The Wedding Date’s Kids

By the time Friday afternoon rolls around, I’m kind of freaking out about meeting The Wedding Date’s kids.  What if they don’t like me?  What if we have nothing to talk about?  What if they think I’m lame or terrible at board games?  And, worst of all, what if my relationship with their dad doesn’t work out?  There’s nothing to indicate that it won’t, but if it doesn’t, I’m going to have to say goodbye to The Wedding Date and his kids and kids, I’m pretty sure, are way worse than dogs. Fortunately, I work at a school where blended families are the norm, rather than the exception.  So I poll my co-workers and discover that just about every last one of them has been through this before.  The general consensus is to be friendly but don’t be their friend.  Be an adult.  Be an adult. An adult. I can handle that. Unfortunately, I’m not so sure what an adult is supposed to wear when they’re meeting their significant other’s kids for the first time.  …

This is a Wine Tasting, Not a Bar

So, getting back to the Flower Show and my grandmother’s annual pilgrimage to Philadelphia: its 5pm on Thursday and a few of my dad’s co-workers have made the mistake of stopping by.  My grandmother is showing her usual photographs and pauses on one of her two (feral) cats. “Guess what the cats’ favorite cold cut is?” my grandmother asks. (They don’t know it but they’ve just become contestants on the Abuela Trivia Show.) “Salami?” the first hapless co-worker guesses. “Nope.” “Pastrami?” “Nope.  It’s cream colored.” “Turkey?” “No.  It’s the opposite of turkey.”  (The opposite of turkey?) “Chicken?” “You got it!” she exclaims. But now it’s time for the next round. “How old was my father when he died?” I’ve seen this routine before (birthdays, Christmas, Mother’s Day and just about every time we go out in public together) and I know it’s going to be a while so I pour myself a glass of wine while my dad tries to rescue his co-workers by pantomiming the answer.  My poor mom, however, has been on Abuela …

Chucky Cheese Might Be a Nice Alternative

My brother and I had a rather phenomenal tree house when we were growing up.  It had three levels complete with a sandbox underneath, a bright yellow slide, three ladders and a professional-grade trapeze set.  (At least I’m pretty sure it was professional grade; we performed some pretty amazing acrobatic routines.) My dad built it himself and we used to drag the garden hose up to the first level for our birthdays to make an official “water slide” in the backyard.  Of course, with a three-level tree house, the likelihood of unsuspecting toddlers plummeting to their deaths is greatly increased so my parents had a rule: if you couldn’t get into the tree house by yourself, then you were too young to play in it. There were three ways in: a wooden ladder next to the slide for beginners, a rope latter on the other side for intermediate climbers and finally a super-scary medieval torture device that led straight to the third-floor penthouse.  (It consisted of a single strand of rope with little rope loops …