Remember that line in Love Actually when Emma Thompson turns to Alan Rickman and says, “The trouble with being the Prime Minister’s sister is it does put your life into rather harsh perspective. What did my brother do today? He stood up and fought for his country. What did I do? I made papier-mâché lobster head.”
Well, that’s how I’ve feeling right lately, although not about my brother. He did recently acquire an iPhone (whereas Yours Truly is still stuck with a malfunctioning Droid) but in this case, I’m referring to my BFF. She works for Interpol and her emails always start the same way: Sorry for not getting back to you sooner! I’m in Argentina/Kazakhstan/Switzerland/Italy and the internet connection is a bit spotty.
This times its Turks and Caicos, although not for Interpol. She’s on vacation.
With her soon-to-be-fiancé.
And they’re not even sleeping together because she’s super Catholic and he’s Catholic enough to go along with it. (At least last I heard…)
I’m happy for her, if only because we’ve been friends since the seventh grade and the sudden up-turn in her love life has renewed my faith in love, men and all things Austen, but I’m also jealous. Insanely jealous.
Why isn’t anyone taking me to Turks and Caicos? Why don’t I have a soon-to-be-fiancé with whom to spend the week sipping mai tais (or whatever it is that one does at a tropical resort this time of year when they’re not spending the entire time in bed)?
Well folks, I have a theory. In fact, this is one of those few times when I suspect I already know the answer.
It all goes back to the Man from Marshalls. Just over a year ago, we exchanged a series of increasingly flirtatious head nods while waiting in line at the check out—he was buying baby clothes for a friend who’d recently given birth and I was buying a small arsenal of fleece pullovers for my daily trek to the bus stop—and before I knew it, we were dating.
Ordinarily, I’d have never had the confidence to stalk a man to the parking lot, hand him my business card and allow him to drive me across the street to Target (actually, I’m not sure I should chalk that last one up to confidence—it was rather the refusal to consider my own mortality, combined with a stroke up dumb luck, i.e. he wasn’t actually an axe murderer). But I was in the thick of my Great Date Experiment. I’d gone out with fifteen men over the course of the past two months. My confidence was at an all time high—so high, in fact, that I realized I didn’t have to rely on the internet to continue sending a steady stream of eligible bachelors into my life.
I, Kat Richter, had what it took to succeed in the real world.
Unfortunately, the Man from Marshalls was a bit of a jerk. And when we talked politics, we didn’t just talk. We argued, to such an extent that he reduced me to tears on our fifth date, and even though he was totally sexy and a great kisser and willing to accompany me to my co-worker’s art show, he made me miserable.
(Make-up make-out sessions can only take a girl so far…)
We never went anywhere nice and whenever we went out, he was usually more interested in watching “the game” than talking to me. At one point, I remember thinking to myself, “What the hell happened? Why exactly am I putting up with this?”
The Man from Marshalls did try to make amends (he even called me during “the game” one evening to talk about my feelings) but it was too little, too late.
They say the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t, but I’ve never been one to adhere to those supposedly tried-and-true maxims of life, at least not until I’ve wasted several weeks (or in this case several months) learning the hard way.
Instead, I took a leap of faith, and decided to go out with a man who’d been messaging me on Match.com—a man who would shortly become Date #17, aka, the bane of my existence this time last year. Of course, he wasn’t the bane of existence at first: he was fancy dinners at Stephen Starr restaurants; he was gourmet chocolates and exotic flowers; he was lazy Saturday mornings in Northern Liberties, complete with yoga and funky vegan lattes; he was theatre tickets and sweet nothings and always knowing the right thing to say… until his workaholic tendencies (and our divergent views on sex) got in the way.
Point is, he was, for all intents, my Turks and Caicos. Granted, we never left Philadelphia but he was romantic, and dashing, and all the things I thought I wanted at the time. If I’d hung on the Man from Marshalls, trying to make things work, I would have never had the time or clarity of mind to give it a shot with Date #17, and even though it didn’t work out, it was fun while it lasted.
Now, upon hearing that my BFF is having the time of her life with her handsome, six pack-sporting soon-to-be fiancé in some tropical resort (while I’m spending my weekends obsessing over Date #7 and trying to fix our broken relationship) I’ve realized something: the past seven months have been like the Man from Marshalls all over again. While Date #7 never subjected me to sports bars or belittled me for my political opinions, he never exactly sweept me off my feet either.
I finally realized that if I want a tropical resort vacation of my own, perhaps it’s time for me to stop wasting my time and emotional energy on the devil I know and give it a shot with the devil I don’t.
Now before I continue with today’s post, I need to confess that I wrote all of the above back in October. October, people. It’s now December, which means I’ve been feeling this way for months and telling Date #7, in no certain terms, just how unhappy I’ve since…well…almost since the beginning.
Why has it taken me this long to finally come to my senses? Well, to answer that question, I’d need to write another blog post. Perhaps a whole week of blog posts actually (I have several theories) but let’s cut to the chase, shall we?
(You know me: I’m never one draw things out…)
On Sunday night, I called Date #7 for the last time.
The End. And despite the inevitable drama (oodles and oodles of it, to be precise), I feel good about my love life for the first time in months.
Now, before we get to my second announcement, I need to backtrack a bit so I can set the scene.
(Trust me: it’s worth it.)
It’s 9:00pm on Friday night. The Wedding Date and I are seated across from one another at one of his favorite restaurants, sharing a bottle of Yellow Tail BYOB which we’ve just purchased at the liquor store across the street. I’m greatly enjoying my chimichanga, and The Wedding Date appears to be enjoying his meal as well but then he clears his throat and I gather from the way he’s leaning towards me that I’d better hold off on my chimichanga for a moment.
“Can I ask you a question?” he says.
“Sure,” I reply forcing a smile.
The evening’s been going well so far. Granted, Happy Feet Two left a bit to be desired (what can I say? There wasn’t nearly enough tap dancing for my tastes) but we’ve been enjoying ourselves. He’s been opening the door for me, offering me his arm, arguing with me whenever I attempt to pay for anything (we nearly dropped the Yellow Tail at the liquor store) and allowing me to contribute just enough to the evening’s expenses to keep from feeling like a complete starving artist.
So why this?
Can’t I just eat my chimichanga in peace?
“I was wondering,” he begins, “What are your plans for New Years Eve?”
New Years Eve?
“Well… I’m going to a party.”
“Yes. A party at… my house. With… my parents. And all of their friends, plus a bunch of mine and there will be tons of people, and food, and martinis, and then we all go up to the roof deck at midnight to watch the fireworks and everyone who comes in front out of town sleeps over. Then the next day—January 1st—my dad goes out early to get everyone bagels for breakfast and we watch the Mummers Parade then we go to Convention Center for the Fancy Brigades Competition and then in the evening there’s… well, basically another party. Except this time it’s all of South Philly and…”
My voice trails off as I realize just how insane I sound. I’m half expecting The Wedding Date to ask for the check and invent some sort of “forgotten” New Years Eve plans but he just smiles and says, “It sounds like fun.”
So there you have it folks: I’ve got myself a date for New Years Eve.