The Stranger

Oh wow. I was sure that I was being punked…

Last Sunday, I took J to see Iron Man 3 at Alamo (it was great. Go see it). Afterwards, she treated me to coffee at Genuine Joe’s Coffee on Anderson. We walked inside, and there was this guy standing at the counter, just staring at us. And not in a “I am going to casually glance your way and then look away quickly” kind of way; no, this was a full up and down and then stare into my eyes to make sure that I knew he was checking me out. He looked like a younger version of Will Schue on Glee, except that his hair was not as similar to a Chia Pet. As we walked up to the counter, he smiled widely, and then walked over to sit with some people. I just looked at J, smiled, and we took our drinks outside.

J and I must have been sitting there and gossiping for an hour or so, when she asked, “Isn’t that the guy that was checking you out inside?” I tried to do the casual look over the shoulder to see (that never works, by the way). He caught me looking, smiled, and WALKED OVER TO THE TABLE, PULLED THE EXTRA CHAIR OUT, AND SAT DOWN.

Okay, if this happens to you all of the time, congratulations. This has never happened to me. Ever. I’ve had guys approach me at a club or a bar, sure, but to be so bold as to seat yourself at a table where two women are obviously chatting with each other and not looking for a hookup is… rather appealing.

“How are you ladies doing?”

I looked at J, sure that at any moment she was going to start laughing. There was no way this guy would just come and sit down with us. She answered him.

“Fine. How about you?”
“Oh good, just finishing up a Spanish class. What are you two up to today?”

So now I answered.

“Not much. Went to see the new Iron Man, now we’re just gossiping over our coffee.”
“I didn’t even realize the new Iron Man was out yet. I’m not much into movies.”

Okay, you’ve lost my undying love, not because I am such an Iron Man fan, but you’re not into movies? Who even says that out loud? Okay, so I ask what he is doing for the rest of the afternoon, and that’s when…

“Actually, I’m on my way to a swing dance class. Would you ladies like to join me?”

What? Did you really just ask us out? Like, two girls, at once, you just asked out? Without knowing our names, ages, whether we are psycho killers?

I demurred, as B had been sick, and I needed to get back to her. J passed, as she was still in the early stages of seeing someone, and she wasn’t ready to juggle. But this guy was all good with it. He sat there talking with us for a couple of more minutes when J blurted out, “So do you usually talk to total stranger girls without giving your name?”

Our guy laughs, ask me if my friend is always so impatient, and I said, “Sometimes, although she’s usually more patient than I am. I gotta say though – I don’t think I want to know your name. I think I’ll call you The Stranger. It goes with the whole mysterious vibe you’ve got going on.”

The Stranger smiled, nodded approvingly, and stayed there talking with us for another 15 minutes. Around 4, he announced that he had to head over to the dance class, asked us again if we wanted to come with, and then said goodbye. No names were exchanged, no numbers, nothing. It was pure and simple flirting, and was truly the highlight of my day (well besides the movie and hanging out with J. So it ranked in the Top 3).

I did have to ask J afterwards if she was punking me. “Did you actually know that guy?”
“NO!! I swear to you, that has never happened to me before. That was so weird!”
“Weird?!? That was so cool!!”

Thus endeth the tale of The Stranger. Wherever he is, he goes there boldly and without restraint. God bless him!

– Finch

I’m tired of asking stupid questions

I cannot even begin to explain how done I am with asking stupid questions, both of myself and to friends. “Am I pretty?” “Do you think I’m funny?” “Will I ever meet someone again?” “Will I ever get married again?” “What if no one thinks I’m cute?”

I literally feel sick even admitting that I ask those questions, but it turns out that a lot of my friends have been asking themselves these same questions lately, so I feel the need to address them. Quickly, to answer –
Yes, yes, yes, yes – if you want to, and people do think you’re cute.

Here’s the thing – we, as a society, put so much emphasis on coupling up that we lose ourselves in the process. I’ll see certain family members, and the first thing they ask me is, “Are you seeing anyone?” Who cares? If I am, I’ll let you know (if I even want to bring it up), and if I’m not, do you really think that I need your pitying glances? How about asking me how I am? Ask me about school or work or anything besides my relationship status. Because, no matter what is going on in my dating life, if I am not happy with myself and how my life is going while I’m on my own, it’s not going to get magically better once I’m coupled up. In fact, I’ll probably pay even less attention to myself, and then my problems will become larger.

J said something so true yesterday. We were hanging out at Pints for Pups at Independence Brewery (great place) and I was complaining that nothing was adhering to the schedule which I desired. I was telling her that what I really wanted, right now, this moment, was for Tripp to call me up and tell me that he made a mistake, and he’s not getting married. Then I wanted Ex to call and say that he made a mistake and threw away the best thing in his life, me. Then I wanted a Joshua Jackson look-alike, with a good job, his life together, and a great attitude to tell me that I was totally the one, and that he would do anything in the world to make me the happiest girl ever.

After J laughed at me, she said that all of that was great, but it wasn’t really what I wanted. “Here’s the thing. You think that you want all of that, but you really don’t. If Tripp came back, you would love to think that you would tell him ‘thanks, but no thanks,’ but probably you would start something up with him again. If Ex came back, it would just bring up more anger over the way things ended and you would want to get back at him or something. And even if a JJ twin came up and was everything you dreamed of, where would he fit into your life right now? You’re studying your butt off, you’re spending more time than ever with friends and family, and you’re coming into the busiest season at work. So what would you give up to date him? Your running? Your time with B? School? I know you like to think that you’re ready, but you’re not. And that’s okay.”

It occurred to me later that my asking these stupid questions is almost like a shield. If I can find something “wrong” with me, than I have an excuse for not dating. If I’m not pretty enough, or funny enough, then that is the reason why I’m not coupled up. So maybe it’s time for me to acknowledge that there doesn’t have to be anything wrong with me to explain my singleness. In fact, maybe the fact that I am single right now, that I’m taking care of myself and making myself happy, is the most right thing I can do.

– Finch

Tis the season

I always read so many stories in November and December about people becoming depressed during the holidays. It’s actually January that I dread. The buildup from Christmas parties and seasonal gatherings has passed, I’m ridiculously broke, whether from present buying, or traveling, or tons of hostess gifts. I’ve probably gained a pound or two (or five), and it’s ALWAYS dark and cold (even in Austin). I long for the sunny hot days of summer, which bring me down even further. This has been a pattern in my life for the past nine years (and yes, I am aware that I have SAD) so when I feel it begin to start, I try to combat it naturally, because I freaking hate how I feel on anti-depressants.

Exercise

I usually walk/jog with B 3.5 miles per day, but the dark, cold days make me want to stay inside, which makes me more susceptible to sad feelings. Also, every MLK day, I get hit with Cedar fever, just like clock work, so I can’t really go outside for long periods of time. Hurray for the treadmill! I don’t like the workout I get on it as much as I do the workouts I get outside, but hey, something is better than nothing, right? Also, this is when I usually start in on my yoga and pilates. I figure it’s a good time to try and sculpt my bathing suit body. As Elle said in Legally Blonde, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t kill their husbands.” And I will admit, being happy makes me less likely to kill people, husband or not.

Diet
I don’t use that word as “I’m going on a diet;” I mean it strictly as “what I eat.” Because everything is so dark and glum, and we go through a week of freezing, followed by three days of 70s, followed by a week of freezing, my diet can look a little glum as well. I’m talking fast food, massive amounts of bread and potatoes, and soda (which I had cut out back in September). So I try to do little things to perk my meals up. I add lemon in every place that I can think of. Lemon just has that light, happy zing that I need. My favorite recipe is this – Pasta Carbonara with Lemon and Leeks. It is so freaking simple, incredibly satisfying, and very uplifting. I also eat oatmeal – it satisfies the stew-like thickness that I crave, and the sweet, but without all of the sugar (I eat sugar-free varieties). Fun flavored herbal teas make drinking warm things more enjoyable.

Meditation/Personal Time
I really am not very good at meditation, but I do try every now and then, and I do set aside pampering time for myself. I am, as most of us are, my own worst critic, and I am constantly trying to be easier on myself. It helps to have dinner/drinks with J – she is really good at talking me down when I’m nutso. Also, I recognize that I am human, and that sometimes, I need to cut myself some slack. So my stomach is not perfectly flat. I am not a supermodel, I don’t get paid to look like a twig. I’ll be honest – writing this blog helps. It’s cathartic, and it is insanely embarrassing to write things down that I was so upset over and seeing how idiotic it seemed. But hindsight it 20/20, and I try to remember that.

– Finch