Learning to Love Me

This reminds me so much of my marriage. It’s funny how you think that loving someone is enough to make things work. I can’t honestly say I was in love with my ex-husband, but I did love him at one time. We got along pretty well, and I thought it was enough. But over time, I realized that I was the only one being supportive and I was the only one who could be counted on. I convinced myself that it was better to be in a marriage like mine — which wasn’t really based on love — because I knew that if something were to happen to him, I would be ok. Of course I would care, but our marriage had taught me that I could do just fine on my own.

But I was afraid to actually be alone.

What if no one else wanted me? That was the main thing, plus the unbearable thought of splitting holidays and time in general with my daughter, that kept me in my empty marriage for so much longer than I should have.

I actually remember when the turning point was. I was talking to a friend of mine one night, whom I hadn’t spoken to in some time. She had moved out of state so we hadn’t seen each other in at least a year or more. She asked how things were going, and the more I opened up and told her, the more she saw how unhappy I really was. She finally said, “You are in danger of losing your spirit. That part of you that makes everyone love you. You’re losing you.” I thought a lot about her words in the days and weeks and months after that conversation, and I knew something had to change. I didn’t want my daughter growing up thinking that marriage was separate bedrooms and very little laughter or real conversation or meals shared together as a family. I didn’t want her to grow up remembering me being miserable and short tempered. Not only had I stopped loving myself, I had definitely stopped liking myself. How could I expect anyone else to love or even like me, if I couldn’t look in the mirror and think of a single positive thing to say? I had to change.

One little change at a time, I started finding myself again. I started wearing clothes that fit me properly, rather than hiding under baggy, shapeless outfits. I started wearing makeup {which I seldom did before that because I didn’t see the point} and making more of an effort with my hair. And something changed. Men began to notice me and flirt with me when I went out in public. My confidence grew a little. People began to see the change in me, which didn’t go unnoticed by my {now} ex-husband. He accused me of having a boyfriend I was trying to impress. I said, “Did it ever occur to you that I’m doing this for me? I’m trying to take more pride in myself.” He didn’t seem to like that. Looking back, I wonder if he wanted me to stay overweight and miserable because it ensured that I would probably never leave. I believed no one else would want me, so I stayed. And even though he hadn’t been thrilled with my appearance over the years, he didn’t want to be alone either. He had also resigned himself to an empty marriage.

I don’t see myself as some beauty queen, but I like myself far more than I did five years ago. I like the person I’m becoming, and I’m so much happier than I was back then. I know that it shows because people have told me as much. A friend of mine at work, who I hadn’t seen in some time, saw me after my divorce and said I looked lighter. I thought she meant I looked like I had lost weight but she said,”No, you used to look like you had the weight of the world on your shoulders. But now you have some pep in your step. You just seem like a load has lifted off.” And it really had. My dad, who had tried to convince me not to get divorced because he was sure that my daughter and I would somehow end up on welfare and living in the projects, admitted how much happier I seem. He said that for a long time, it was like I was plodding through life — kind of a shadow of myself. But now they genuinely look forward to me coming over and the old me is back.

The old me is back, only maybe with a few upgrades. I’m proud of how far I’ve come. It hasn’t been easy and some things are still a struggle. But I’m on my way. And it’s satisfying to think my ex-husband must have looked at me at least once or twice over the past few years and wondered what the hell happened. I’m no longer that person sitting around on the couch all the time. I’m no longer hiding behind baggy clothes. I don’t dress up when I know I’ll see him, but I do make a point to be put together. When we split up, I swore I wouldn’t be that bitter divorcee who gains a bunch of weight and lets herself go. On my worst day, I still look better than I did on many of my best days with him. He never brought out the best in me, and I think now he realizes that. I woke up and realized there had to be something better in store for me.

I took a very scary leap into the unknown, and I flew.

Cut to the Chase, Part I

This scene from My Best Friend’s Wedding is on my mind today. More and more in recent years, I have found myself being the chaser, rarely the chasee {or, if I was, the chaser was less than desirable and I was likely to keep running indefinitely}. Something happened last night that was both unexpected and yet somewhat predictable, and I don’t know what to do with the way I feel about it.

Charles is someone I met online a few years ago. I really liked him right off the bat and could see a future with him under different circumstances. He’s a family man, seems to really have his act together. Cares more about spending quality time with his family than going out and partying. He was a refreshing change to most of the guys I had met {and have met since}.

He lives here but works out of state, coming back and forth whenever his schedule allows. He didn’t look me up every time he was home, but did on occasion. I always wanted more from him but was somewhat content with what we did have. Even though I’ve gone on plenty of dates with other guys and have even gotten at least a little serious with a couple of them, part of me still held out hope that somehow things would work out with Charles. We’ve kept in touch, seeing each other very sporadically, but his genuine care and concern kept me from letting him go. Without ever meaning to, I began to love him. I subconsciously compared other guys to him, and they usually came up short.

Sometime last year, I found out he had serious heart problems. I can’t say I was surprised. He was under a huge amount of stress, working full time out of state and regularly driving back and forth eight hours each way to be there as the head of his family. His kids are here, as is his grandmother, who is in poor health. I was genuinely concerned for him, telling him more than once that he couldn’t continue like this. He was slowly driving himself into the ground in an effort to be there for everyone else.

Around Christmas, he told me he’d had quintuple {!!} bypass surgery on his heart and was in town recovering at his sister’s house. I was glad he’d had the surgery but it was still scary to think of him going right back into the same situation that got him there in the first place. It bothered me that he only just got around to telling me after who knows how many weeks here. Granted, he was recovering from serious heart surgery, but if I meant anything to him at all {other than a friend with benefits, which I strongly suspected was the case}, he would have contacted me much sooner.

Late last week, he said he’d be going back to work soon and wanted to see me. He didn’t say when, and I didn’t ask. After feeling like I’d been chasing him for the better part of our ‘relationship,’ I figured that if he really wanted to see me, he’d make it happen.

Earlier today, we were texting about Mardi Gras, and he asked if I’d ever been to New Orleans. I said that yes, I had been there twice and would love to go back because it’s such an amazing city. His response was that I should find us a nice hotel room and we should go. I was utterly speechless. Was he saying I was more than just a friend? You don’t just invite a woman to go on vacation unless she means something, do you? My mind was reeling. Finally, I said, “You really want to go on vacation with me?” He replied, “Why not?” {A confident ‘yes’ would have been nice, but whatever.} I decided to put it out there. I said that I had thought I was nothing more to him than a friend with benefits. He didn’t respond for an hour or more, so I said, “Maybe I’m just reading too much into it,” to which he quickly replied that yes, I was reading too much into it. Then he said, “We can even get separate beds if you want. I just want to go on a real vacation.” I felt like he had punched me in the stomach.

We’ve really shared some emotional times, like more than once when he was on the verge of tears over missing his kids, like when he was genuinely concerned for me at times when I was sick. On more than one occasion, his kids were there when I came over to see him. I thought that meant something, somehow. He has told me more than once that if he was working here, he’d want me to be his woman. But I guess all I am is a convenience to him. I’ve found myself in this position before…realizing I’m nothing more than someone to pass the time with. Why is that? Because I’m a nice person? Because I foolishly allow myself to become emotionally invested in people?

I think, where Charles is concerned, the blinders have finally come off. I’m forced to see things for what they are, and it hurts. I guess I’ve known all along there was a strong possibility that nothing long-term would ever come of this relationship, but I can’t help feeling like we might have been good for each other as more than FWB. I’ll never know. I can be his friend, but I won’t ever allow myself to drift back into that gray ‘benefits’ category. As much as I enjoyed spending time with Charles, I need to have enough respect for myself not to be convenient to him anymore.

On the bright side, something else is brewing that could {possibly} make this a moot point. When Charles first mentioned the vacation, I knew that had he brought this up a year or two ago, I probably would have jumped through hoops to make it happen. Now, I’m not so delusional, and I realize the grass is not really greener on his side of the fence. Stay tuned.

Ok, Cupid

It had kind of slipped my mind that Valentine’s Day is this week. I stopped looking forward to it long ago…too many disappointments, too many unmet expectations, too much sappy love everywhere. After my divorce, I started jokingly referring to it as Singles Awareness Day. It was much easier to poke fun at the holiday than to admit how much of a drag it really was. But really, this holiday sucks when you’re single. You get bombarded with ads from jewelry stores and candy shops, knowing full well the only way you’re getting either is if you buy it yourself. It’s hard to read all the Facebook posts about the husbands and boyfriends who didn’t drop the ball {as mine always did} and not feel a little twinge of resentment.

So I was kind of surprised, this year, to discover that I’m not dreading February 14. It’s been quite a little bit since I’ve had a sweet, romantic Valentine’s Day, but to be honest, I love the whole idea of it. The romantic in me loves the idea of hearts and gifts and surprises and LOVE. I like the little candy hearts and the big red heart-shaped boxes of candy. I love the decorations and the little valentines that kids exchange every year in school. I really like making homemade treats for my co-workers and friends, and I like surprising my daughter with sweets and cute cards.

Maybe that’s why I haven’t entirely given up on Cupid. Yeah, I’d love to be surprised with flowers at work or a sweet card in a red envelope. But it’s also ok if I don’t. It’s not so much that I’m celebrating being single, but my life is truly full with so many blessings. I have people who love and care about me, who make me feel treasured and special every single day.  I find plenty of reasons to laugh and I get hugs from my sweet daughter every morning before work and every night before I go to bed. Life is good.

Happy Hearts Day!
xoxo

Letting Go

“I believe it’s time for me to fly…”
~REO Speedwagon

I officially ended things with Michael yesterday. Things just weren’t working, and the relationship wasn’t making me happy. I was feeling more and more distant from him, and part of me wasn’t really interested in reviving things. I told him I was feeling very distant from him, and he said hopefully we could reconnect when he came back to visit {he was due to arrive right after Christmas}. I wasn’t so sure, but I figured it was worth a shot.

The day he arrived, he said that one of his suitcases hadn’t made it and that we’d have to come back for it {the airport is an hour from my house}. He said the Christmas gifts he had bought for my daughter and me were in the lost suitcase. The first night was fine…we fooled around, and I had to admit it was nice to see him again. The next day, he wasn’t feeling very well. I knew he was a little under the weather before he came to visit, but he insisted he was ok for the trip. He said he had called the airport and that his suitcase still hadn’t arrived. I didn’t worry too much about it at the time. On the third day, I started to not feel so good, either. I assumed it was just a cold or a sinus infection, but it started getting worse. We were both cold all the time and exhausted. The rest of his visit pretty much consisted of us laying around and sleeping under piles of blankets.

Ringing in the new year is usually something I look forward to. I always buy a bunch of Elvis food and my daughter & I watch the ball drop, toast with sparkling cider, and shoot the poppers all over the living room. This year, however, I could barely drag myself out of bed to watch the ball drop. But we listlessly rang in the new year, had a few sips of cider, and went back to bed. What a drag! On New Year’s Day, he was scheduled to fly home in the afternoon. I was so sick and exhausted that I didn’t feel like I was ok to drive the hour there and back in a blizzard to drop him off. He finally {thankfully!} called a cab and paid $98 to get to the airport while I spent the day sleeping on the couch. Incidentally, his suitcase never did make it, so he flew home without it, assuming it would eventually reach him. After he got home, he said it had finally caught up with him and that he would mail our Christmas presents in a day or two.

After he left, I barely heard from him at first. I knew he still wasn’t feeling great, so I dismissed it. After a week or so, I mentioned something about how he must have other priorities since I wasn’t really hearing from him much. Suddenly he started pouring it on really thick, calling me “honey baby” and “my sweet” and leaving me voicemails about how wonderful I am. It seemed almost contrived, like he had rehearsed what he wanted to say, and I wasn’t really sure how to respond. I wondered if he was busy talking to anyone else since he hadn’t really been talking to me for all that time.

Two weeks passed, and there was no mention at all of the Christmas presents. Now, I’m not one to have a fit about something like that, but I really started to wonder if there were ever any presents in the first place. I had never heard him talk on the phone about the suitcase to anyone at the airport myself. It was always him saying he had finally reached someone when I was in the shower or not in the room. I really did a lot of thinking about the relationship, and it wasn’t sitting well with me. I thought about the time, a few months ago, when I said something that upset him. He had talked about wanting to marry me before, and said, “Well, that’s real nice. Tomorrow I was going to go pick out your ring, and here you are thinking blah blah blah…” {again with the shaming}. There was never any mention of a ring again after that, and I never brought it up. I thought about how he flat out refused to acknowledge our relationship on Facebook, despite professing his love for me and saying he wanted to marry me. I thought about how he got so defensive about unhiding his friends list. I thought about a lot of things that had really been bothering me, all of which I had discussed with him multiple times, to no avail.

I realized this relationship was doing the opposite of making me happy. I realized that it didn’t feel so good to be involved with someone who insisted on keeping me a secret, despite knowing how much it hurt my feelings. So I wrote him a long e-mail explaining how I had been feeling, and basically ending things with him. I removed myself from his friends list {and told him so} and basically said that I couldn’t do this anymore.

When he read the e-mail a few hours later, he had a fit. He acted like this came out of left field, like this was the first time he was hearing any of it. He didn’t like that I didn’t answer when he tried to call. He chose certain parts of my e-mail to respond to, and completely ignored other parts. He said that couples talk things through, they don’t just send e-mails and disappear. I couldn’t believe what a prick he was about it. He pretty much turned the whole thing around to be my fault. I responded to his e-mail and again brought up certain things, reminding him that we had, in fact discussed them before and that he had totally disregarded my feelings. Again, he ignored certain topics {namely, anything having to do with Facebook} and attempted to lay a serious guilt trip on me. Interestingly enough, when I woke up this morning, I was in a great mood, as if a huge load had been lifted from my shoulders. I think that speaks volumes.

here we go again...

I admit, sending him an e-mail might have been the cowardly way to handle things, but to be honest, I’m much better at getting out what I want to say in writing rather than an actual conversation. There were no distractions and I was able to really think about what I wanted to say. As my friend Ace said, Michael didn’t like that I had taken control of the relationship from him and was having a tantrum. He didn’t like it one bit.

I just know that I can’t be in a relationship with someone I constantly have doubts about. I can’t be involved with someone who dismisses my feelings repeatedly. I was married far too long to someone who did that, and I won’t do it again. I told Michael I need a man who is proud to tell the world I’m his, who won’t insist on keeping me a secret. Apparently, Michael wasn’t that guy. Onward and upward.

Santa Baby

Santa baby, slip a good man under the tree, for me
I’ve been an awful good girl {some of the time, anyway}
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa baby, if you could make my wishes come true,
I’d kiss you.
I’ll wait up for you, dear
Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight

Think of all the fun I’ve missed,
Think of all the fellas that I haven’t kissed.
Next year I could be oh, so good
If you’d check off my Christmas list

Santa honey, some sex that’s hot and really,
that’s not a lot
I’ve been an angel all year
Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa cutie, a good man is just what I need — agreed?
One who loves me for me.
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa baby, a guy who’ll call and not just text
{unlike my ex}
Not one who’ll give me some line
Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight

Come and trim my Christmas tree
With a tall, dark, handsome man sent just for me
I really do believe in you
Let’s see if you believe in me

Santa baby, I guess a nice massage will do,
{back and feet, too?}
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight

Hurry down the chimney tonight
Hurry down the chimney tonight…

Mama Needs Some Sugar

Maybe it’s because winter is upon us, maybe it’s because Christmas is right around the corner, or maybe it’s because I am, by nature, a very affectionate person. But more and more lately, I’m craving physical contact. I miss holding hands and kissing and being in someone’s arms. I miss just being close to someone, running my fingernails lightly down his arm, or getting a back rub {one of my guilty pleasures, for sure}.

For the most part, hugs from my daughter are all I get. Don’t get me wrong — I love and cherish every hug, especially at her age. But I realized last week at the hair salon how much I really do miss just being touched. As my stylist was washing and styling and drying my hair, I was struck by how nice it felt to have fingers running through my hair. Stop it — I’m not attracted to my stylist! But I do love having my hair played with, and I could have sat there all day getting prettied up.

Christmas is coming, and it’s bittersweet for me. I love the music and good cheer and the get togethers that seem to spring up at this time of year. But I long for someone to spend it with, to drive around looking at Christmas lights with and make snow angels with and watch corny Christmas specials with. It’s only been about 3 months since I’ve been with a man, but I seriously feel like I’m going through withdrawal.

Maybe I should get a sign like this guy and walk around getting hugs from strangers. Actually, when I was in Vegas a few years ago, I was heading back to my hotel room alone at 3am because my ‘friends’ had decided they’d rather hook up with some random Irish guys. I was exhausted and bummed out and frustrated, trying to figure out how to cross these bridge things to get to my hotel, when I came upon a guy with a ‘free hugs’ sign. At that time, I was nearing the end of my marriage and hadn’t been physical with my {now} ex-husband or anyone else in at least a year. The guy looked at me and smiled, so I walked over and got my hug.

I’m not even picky about what kind of hug I get. It could be a friendly hug, a quickie hug, a one-armed hug, or a hug with a pat on the butt {or, as I like to call it, a hug with an exclamation point}. Just gimme some sugar {and don’t get me started on kissing}!

Cuffing Season?

Looking back at my last few posts, I guess I’m overdue for a progress report. I’m still talking to Michael, and after some very intense conversations, I feel like we’re in a better place. I feel like he’s understanding my insecurities in general and I’m understanding his. He has since unhidden his friends list, which helped. It wasn’t so much that I had this burning need to see who he’s friends with. I just really have a hard time with secretive people, and me wanting him to unblock his friends list was more a matter of principle. If he was really serious about wanting a future with me he’d unblock it, and he did {I didn’t put it quite that way. I’m NOT one for ultimatums}.

We still talk every day and he’s talking about coming to visit again in the next month or so. I’d say things are going better. I think we both have emotional baggage we’re dealing with. When we first started talking, he said he was suspicious of my motives because he couldn’t figure out why a woman as attractive as me {his words} would be interested in him. We’re working through some things and I’m hopeful.

With that said, I’m suddenly finding myself getting attention from every direction and it’s so foreign to me. I’ve never been the girl with the guys chasing her, but now I’m hearing about this guy or that guy who’s interested in me. Huh. As far as I can tell, I’m still the same person. I don’t know what’s changed that’s got guys noticing me.

First, there’s Joe, who I had kind of a FWB relationship for a while. He’s probably the best cuddler I’ve ever known. He’s about 6’5 and his hands are as big as my feet {which are not little or dainty}. Joe makes me feel small and safe in his arms. Romantically there wasn’t much there, though. We fooled around a few times, but sexually I wasn’t really into him. For one thing, he referred to his package as his “li’l wee-wee” several times. I finally told him to stop it. I told him that’s not sexy. He’s not small {more like average} but I don’t know any woman who would be turned on by a guy calling his dick a wee-wee. Anyway, I haven’t seen Joe in maybe a year or so, but lately he keeps poking me on Facebook and texting me from time to time. Maybe he’s lonely, I don’t know.

Then there’s Finch, who messages me every other week or so, saying he dropped the ball and hopes I’m single soon {I had told him I’m talking to someone} so he can have another chance. I suppose I might be flattered if I didn’t know that he messages me after each failed attempt at a relationship with someone else. I see him posting on Facebook regularly, looking for women and referring to himself as a handsome chocolate teddy bear, just in time for winter cuddling. I don’t know if he thinks I don’t see those posts or what. I told him I can’t offer him anything more than friendship but he still persists.

Next there’s Freddy, who I talked to for a while and had a couple of meh dates with. He also knows I’ve been talking to someone but messages me every few weeks, I guess to remind me that he’s still there. There was no chemistry at all when we went out, and he had a weird habit of staring at my elbow while he was talking to me. At least, I think that’s what he was looking at.

Another one is Calvin, whom I met a year ago at my friend Keisha’s house on Thanksgiving. He’s a friend of her uncle’s who happened to be there. They were all playing Pokeno, which I had never played, so he was coaching me. Nothing at all happened with him, other than playing cards and laughing a lot, right along with everyone else. Well yesterday, when I was at her house on Thanksgiving, Keisha’s uncle told me Calvin was down in Louisiana with a bad attitude. I asked why, and he said, “Because he knows you’re here and he’s not.” I was really surprised. A whole year had passed since I had seen Calvin, and like I said, our interaction was nowhere near romantic in nature. But Keisha’s uncle said Calvin sure remembered me, and was not happy that he wasn’t able to make it home {he’s a truck driver}.

And finally, there’s Nate. If anyone is a temptation, it’s him. We became friends on Facebook within the last couple of months or so. He’s seriously good looking and we’ve had a few good chat conversations online {some flirtatious, some not}. He lives much closer than Michael does and told me he’s recently single and would love to meet me. Of course, REBOUND was the first word that popped into my mind when he said that, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t just a tiny bit interested in meeting him face to face. I was good and told him I’m talking to someone, but damn. He definitely caught my attention. That’s all I have to say about that one {for now, anyway}.

I suppose this all might come off sounding conceited or vain. But on the contrary, I don’t get it. I’m actually perplexed by it. I’m not overly flirtatious. I don’t wear clothes that show all my business. I don’t hop in the sack with every guy who smiles at me. I’m friendly…I pay attention when people speak to me…I’m generally kindhearted and I love to laugh. Maybe it’s just that Christmas is coming and people get sentimental when they don’t have a special someone. Maybe they’re just looking for someone to fool around with. Who knows? But I’m definitely not used to the attention, and I’m humbled by it for sure.

On this day after Thanksgiving, I’m grateful that I’m in a place emotionally and mentally where I can be selective about who I spend time with. I’m ok with spending an evening on my own and don’t feel the need to constantly find some random guy to validate me or to stroke my ego {or to stroke my…*ahem* never mind}. I’m grateful to have a good head on my shoulders and friends I can count on. The past few years have been quite a ride, but I see myself evolving, and I gotta say, I kinda like who I’m becoming.

Out, Damned Spot!

It’s been a while since I thought of him. I suppose I went through the stages of break up, not necessarily in the correct order: anger, sadness, more anger, apathy, rebound sex, acceptance. I admit, I truly thought things would be different with him. Despite our near-constant bickering, there seemed to be something underneath that held us together — chemistry, amazing make-up sex, or some kind of shared brokenness that we both understood.

When we split up, it was kind of a relief. Being with him had stopped bringing me much joy and I had stopped smiling when his name popped up on my phone. Sex had become less about physical love and more about his own enjoyment and release. I lost count of how many times I was left unsatisfied while he seemed blissfully oblivious. His carefully chosen words in his last few texts were like poison darts, hitting each mark and digging in under my skin like little barbs. But I never responded. As much as it stung to read those words and to know he was deliberately trying to hurt me, I knew my silence would hurt him just as much.

Occasionally, I’ll see something that reminds me of him and momentarily forget that we haven’t spoken since Valentine’s Day. When the new Thor movie came out {swoon} I felt a little melancholy because we’d both enjoyed watching all of the Marvel movies together. I knew he’d probably be going to see it as well, and I wondered if seeing that movie or the new trailer for Captain America made him think of me.

Sometimes I do wonder if he’s written me completely out of his memory banks or if I ever cross his mind at all anymore.

But I do know that thinking of him at all feels unwelcome, as if he snuck in and whispered hello in my ear before dashing away. His presence is not welcome in my thoughts anymore, and it annoys me that he still has a place there at all. In a way, I feel the same about any reminiscing about my ex-husband. There were some good times earlier on in our marriage, but as the years wore on, I felt like my face was becoming the way Bill Cosby described his wife’s face after they had children, saying that the corners of her mouth had drawn down into a permanent frown.

Only it was my marriage causing that face, not my child. I frowned for way too many years during my marriage, and I felt myself becoming much the same way in this relationship. It had stopped bringing me any kind of joy and it had to go.

So why, if this relationship made me miserable, would I waste a single thought on this man-child? No, I don’t want him back. And if he were to come looking for another chance, he wouldn’t get it. Maybe because, as with my marriage, I was deeply hurt by someone I never would have thought would hurt me. I guess, like anything, it takes time to heal — especially with emotional scars. It takes time for those thoughts to fade and find their proper place in my distant memory. Until then, I’ll mentally scrub and scrub like Lady MacBeth in hopes that one day they’ll finally be gone.

Angels, Devils, and Players

Last weekend, Stacy and I went to a Halloween party. This was my fourth time going, and it’s always a lot of fun. We started planning our costumes at least a month ago, and were really looking forward to cutting loose and just having a good time.

Back in August, we went to a party with the same group of people, and I met Aaron and Julie, a married couple whom I had seen before but never met. They were very nice and seemed very much in love. The night I met them was the night before their first anniversary. I remember telling them they gave me hope for finding someone myself. When we walked in to the Halloween party, we saw both Aaron and Julie right away, and they were happy to see us.

Several of our friends, whom we don’t get to see very often, were there and we were all drinking, laughing, and dancing. There was a guy sitting at the next table, whose chair was right beside mine, and I commented to Stacy that he had nice shoulders {in case I haven’t mentioned it, nice shoulders on a guy are a big turn-on for me}. He turned and commented on something Stacy said, and we started talking. He was cute and really nice. He said he wasn’t into playing games, that he was looking for something more long-term. We really hit it off and he asked me to slow dance.

After we went back to our table and kept talking, Aaron came walking by and I gave him a hard time for not having worn a costume. We joked back and forth for a minute, then he leaned over and said that if he had met me before he’d met his wife, that we’d be dating. I was so surprised at what he said that I don’t know if I even responded. He went on to say, “You’re a beautiful woman and you have an amazing body. Trust me, you’d be a very happy woman.” He walked away and I was standing there completely dumbfounded. I couldn’t believe he said that to me with his wife sitting right across the room.

Randall {the guy I had danced with etc} and I kept talking, and he said I was exactly his type and he wanted me to be his girl. I was really enjoying hanging out with him. He was 40, single, and retired Navy. Suddenly, we heard a commotion on the other side of the ballroom, and saw that there was a fight starting. There were both men and women involved, yelling and hitting and carrying on. When I saw the scuffle moving toward our side of the room, I tapped Randall on the shoulder and said we should get out of there. He was intently watching the fight, so I got up and left him sitting there and made my way out to the hall, where Stacy was.

Apparently, it had all started because two people were having sex {or were trying to} in the hall. Someone saw them and reported it to one of the moderators, who tried to kick them out. Their friends all joined in and it turned into a brawl.

This is the second time I’ve seen such a fight at one of these parties, and both times, Aaron was involved. The first time, he had come dressed like a cheerleader {complete with fake boobs and a wig}. Right after he won the costume contest, he got in a fight with a big girl dressed like a caveman. It’s kinda hard NOT to laugh at a grown man dressed like a woman trying to act tough and yelling at a woman who was easily nearly a foot taller than him and had to outweigh him by a good 80 lbs.

This time, Aaron was involved because he was acting as security/bouncer for the party and was trying to remove the offending parties. There was a lot of yelling and hitting and people holding other people back.

Again, it’s just comical to watch people so furious and fighting when they’re dressed in costumes. The girl who started it all was dressed as a devil, one girl trying to break it up had changed out of her gangster costume and into footie pajamas, another girl yelling and carrying on was dressed like Snooki, and a variety of superheroes stood around watching.

The police were called and eventually the whole thing broke up and everyone was told to disperse. Randall was getting ready to head home, so we exchanged numbers, kissed a little, and said our goodbyes. He said he’d call me the next day.

True to his word, he texted and then called the next morning. He made it clear that he was very interested in me and said that he would definitely come see me {he lives a few hours away}. He said he usually came to my hometown once a month or so for his job, so it wouldn’t be difficult to make plans to meet sometime.

It didn’t take long, however, before he showed his true colors. Later that evening we were talking on the phone and I mentioned that I was home alone because my daughter was still with her dad. He said, “Aw, too bad I’m not there. We could be bumpin’ and grindin’.” I said, “Umm, no we wouldn’t.” He seemed very indignant and asked why not. I told him I’d only just met him the day before and that I don’t just jump in the sack with guys like that. He tried to say that he wasn’t talking about sex. Sure… I don’t know about you, but I don’t describe hanging out and watching movies as ‘bumpin’ and grindin’.’

Needless to say, I haven’t heard from him since, which cracked me up. He sat there at the party talking about how he’s not looking for booty calls, that he wants something serious etc, but totally shut down when I made it clear that I’m not a sure thing. He might not have worn a costume, but I know a dog when I see one.

What a crazy freakin’ night, seriously. Can’t wait til next year’s party!

Falling for Him

It’s my favorite time of year, when the air is crisp, the leaves are gorgeous, my sweaters seem snugglier, and hot cocoa is never more than a whistling tea kettle away.

It’s also the time of year when I feel myself yearning more than usual. Wishing for someone to snuggle on the couch and watch football with, someone whose hand fits perfectly with mine.

Some women have a very specific list of what their ideal man must be: salary in six figures {or at least high five figures}, nice car, certain height, certain hair color, etc. I admit, I do have a list, but who he is to me is much more than what he earns or drives.

He’s taller than me and likes to laugh. He works hard for his money and wouldn’t mind that I’m a goof. He’d like my cooking and wouldn’t mind fixing things for me — hammering a nail, changing a lightbulb, working with his hands…

He’d hold the door for me and his kisses would make my knees weak. He’d slow dance with me and hold my hand when we’d go walking. My birthday could be as simple as a list of reasons why he loves me, or as romantic as a room full of candles and soft jazz.

He’d look at me like I’m the only woman in the room and his arms would feel just right around me {hugging me from behind would be a bonus}. He’d call me baby and want to know how my day went. He’d like snuggling on the couch together watching movies and he’d playfully pull me back into bed if I got up too early.

He’s the one I’d grow old with, sit on a porch swing with, and laugh over the same old stories with.

I’ve seen glimpses of him in some of the guys I’ve known and dated, and many times I’ve wished I could take all of their best features and make the perfect guy. I’d combine Eric’s gorgeous body, Winston’s bedroom skills, Charles’ tenderness and amazing kisses, the intelligence and sense of humor of Ace {a very good friend of mine}, Ben’s strong arms that felt so right wrapped around me, and of course Sonny’s sweetness and beautiful heart.

Who knows, maybe I’ve already met him or seen him. Or maybe he knows someone I know. The romantic in me will keep looking.