Flies and Frogs

Kids

Jack and Sally 11/27/15

11/28/15

“I was just a fly on the wall in that meeting; it was too far over my head,” said Ryan.  He plays softball with me on the company team, so I know that he has a longtime girlfriend.  Between that and the fact that we work together, I try to ignore the fact that he’s a hottie.

“You should work harder to be a frog,” I said.  Before the words came out of my mouth, I meant that he should try to participate in the meeting.  After I said them, though, I realized that I was telling him to eat the flies.  Uh, could that be taken as a sexual innuendo?

Damn it.  I haven’t been sent to HR yet.  All it would take is a little slip of the tongue—frog-eating-fly pun intended.

Picking up on the frog reference, another co-worker flew in with, “If he’s a frog, then you should kiss him and make him a prince.”

Ryan blushed.  And since he has fair skin, his cheeks were a bright red.  And damn it, from the sudden heat in my fair cheeks, I’m sure that I looked similarly sunburnt.

I don’t have much of poker face.

He replied, “Don’t let HR hear you saying that!”

Whew.  He was talking to our coworker, not me.

We laughed it off and went our separate ways.

Speaking of things for which I am thankful…

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving was delightful!  I enjoyed a nice, lazy run in the morning (5 miles).  Then I took my time eating breakfast and getting ready.

I’ve discovered the TV show, “Lost Girl.”  It’s a lot like Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files (books), to the extent that I wouldn’t be surprised if Jim were writing for the show.  Except that the Lost Girl has a lot more sex than Dresden.  I’m talking, every episode she has sex, and she switches partners an average of every episode.  I say, “average” because sometimes she stays with the same guy for 2 or more shows.  But then she has a three-some to make up for it.

I watch the show for the plot.

Ya, like some people read Playboy for the articles.

Anywho, Jack and I attended a Thanksgiving feast at Elizabeth and Daniel’s house.  They are the best of friends.  They had taken pains to provide gluten free side dishes for me: steamed green beans, mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, and a crustless mini-lemon meringue pie.  Now that’s friendship!

I dropped Jack off at home and went to another friend’s feast.  I nibbled on salad and a small piece of turkey, which was perfect after my huge lunch.  I had told my hostess that I wouldn’t be eating at all, so I made up for it by being helpful: serving pie, clearing the plates, etc.  I’ve discovered that the more helpful you are, the more likely you’ll be invited back.  And just to be sure, I had brought a couple of bottles of wine with me.

Hey, I’m like NASA: I believe in redundant systems.  If one doesn’t work, the other will.

And as an extra back up, I brought the charm.  Who can resist me when I’m being cute?

Reality check: I’m still single.

Damn it.  Good thing I brought wine!

Before and after dinner we played the game, “Code Name.”  One person is the spymaster and he has a team of spies.  He can’t tell us who else is a spy directly, but instead gives us a code word which will lead us to one or more spy.  That is, he/she says a word and number like, “Peter, 3.”  There are cards with words on them, and the spies (team members) look at the random nouns and pick out 3 that connect to Peter somehow.  When I said that clue, I meant for them to pick out Pan, Kid, and Theater.  I had to be careful that they didn’t pick out something unintentional, like “Peanut Butter” or “Penis.”

Ok, neither of those was on the board, but unintended connections can and do happen.

We took turns being spymaster.  I was happy to be part of the team guessing what the clues meant, but I warned them that they didn’t want me as spymaster giving the clues.  My brain makes obscure references.  For example, when the spymaster said the word, “Monster,” I pointed to the “Rabbit” card.  Everyone was confused, until I referenced Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail.

“Bring the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch!” I quoted.

The peeps who hadn’t seen the movie were still confused.  Ya either get it or you don’t.  Like I said, my mind has obscure references.

This became even more apparent when I became spymaster and used the clue, “Q.”  My team looked for Star Trek nouns: Bridge, Space, etc. which connected to the character of Que, who was an omniscient being who liked to make trouble.  Like the Norse god Loki.  There weren’t any cards like the ones that they were search for.  When I said, “Q,” I meant the scientist who made gadgets for Maxwell Smart in the old television show, which was a parody of James Bond.  I was hoping they’d choose “lab,” “scientist,” and “research.”

Ya, no one got that one.  I may be smart, but that doesn’t mean that you want me to hand out clues!  Plus, I was so busy thinking of connections that I neglected to notice that “Peter” led to spies for the other team.  Oops.

I’m super glad that I brought wine!

Thanksgiving Part II

My darling daughter Sally and her girlfriend of two years (!!), Penny, visited from Austin the next day.  I am ALWAYS glad to see my mini-me!  This year, her blue-purple hair matches our Christmas tree.  How many proud mamas can say that?

Um, how many proud mamas want to?

At any rate, we watched Hot Fuzz and Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, followed by How I Met Your Mother Thanksgiving episodes.  We decorate the tree and hung stockings on the mantle.  I used to wait for December 1 before decorating, but since Sally drove back to Austin the next day (today, Saturday), I took advantage of her presence.  It feels more like the holidays with her here.  She and Penny decorated my study with silver mesh fabric, too.  The place feels absolutely ready for Christmas now!

When we were making plans for her to come up, she said, “I have three Thanksgiving dinners on Saturday.”

I answered, “I’ll make homemade pizza.”

She said, “Mom, I love you!”

While here, we told Penny funny stories: why I don’t have a tattoo came up, as did the Greek tale of Oedipus Rex.  The last was mentioned on How I Met Your Mother, so I paused the show (at Sally’s behest) to tell the story.  That led, naturally, to one of Sally’s own.

“Mom and I were about to watch this show,” she said, referencing HIMYM, “And Mom said, He’s going to talk about how he met YOUR mom!  Not MY mom, but YO mama!  So I looked at her,” Sally nodded at me for emphasis, “and said, He’s going to tell me how he met YOU?!”  She LAUGHED!  “I had to remind her that I’m her daughter, and she’s my mom!”

True story.  I have so much fun with Sally Ann that she feels more like a friend than family.  I love you, Baby Girl!

Now, go out there and be a frog, not a fly!

Uh, still not the best metaphor.  I mean, go get ‘em!

Cheers!

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Jules Rules: A Single Girl Gives Thanks

 

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Strawberry Pie!  By Sally Strawberry, 2011

Let us take time to rejoice that we are single!

  1. I’m thankful that I’m not getting laid on a regular basis. Sex can result in soreness, walking funny, and UTI’s.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
  2. I’m thankful that I’m not getting married. I’ve seen Bridezillas, and I don’t want to become one, no siree!  I’d rather NOT obsess over place cards, the perfect dress, or why some people are so inconsiderate that they won’t return the stupid RSVP cards, which were self-addressed AND stamped for GOODNESS SAKE!!  (Don’t get me started on the seating chart – which uncle is an alcoholic and should be sat furthest from the bar?  Which cousin is mad at which aunt?  And where the hell will we sit Naughty Nadia, that she won’t steal someone’s date?!)
  3. I’m thankful for friends that cook. I was invited to two friends’ homes for turkey.  TWO!!  That means that I buy a couple of bottles of wine, and I don’t have to do a damn thing: no cooking, no cleaning, no dirty dishes!  Seriously, my friends are all like, “No, you’re the guest.  Please, sit.  We’ll do the dishes later.”  And, “We have a ton of food.  Please, just bring yourself!”  SCORE!
  4. I’m thankful for a paid holiday. My company wants to pay me to not work?  Yes, please!
  5. I’m thankful that I don’t have to shop for The Perfect Gift for a boyfriend. “Is it too soon to get him something really nice?  If not, what should I get him?  If he was a girl, I’d just buy jewelry.  A stuffed animal is so junior high.  A nice shirt says that I don’t think his wardrobe is good enough; and what if he hates it?”  Ha ha, none of that drama for me!

But in case you’re curious, I adore earrings for any holiday.  I could use some diamond studs.  And a matching tennis bracelet.  And a necklace would be nice.  Ya know, nothing too expensive.

  1. I’m thankful that I don’t have to juggle time with relatives. One of my coworkers said, “We alternate years.  This year, we’re spending time with my family.  I have five brothers and sisters, and between them, they have 20 kids and step-kids.  My wife and I don’t have kids, so we’re really not used to all the noise and activity.  It’s a little much.”  Uh, ya!  Like, the state fair is just a few rides!
  2. Along that same line, I’m thankful that I don’t have to make small talk with relatives. Seriously, have you tried talking to someone that you only see once a year?!  “Are you still working at that dead end job?  Oh, you were laid off.  Sorry to hear.  Oh, you have a new dead end job, and you hate this one worse?  Oh, sorry to hear that.  I mean, I’m glad you’re employed.  Excuse me, I have to go top off this glass of wine.”  Then I throw back my head and drain the mostly-fully glass.
  3. I’m thankful for time for bubble baths and chick flicks. That is, I’m thankful that I’m not forced to watch action movies in exchange for watching chick flicks.  Although I really enjoyed, “Shoot ‘Em Up.”  OMG, there are some AWESOME quoteables in that film!  “Bring me every lactating whore in this city!”
  4. I’m thankful that I can check out any cute, hot, single men that happen to show up to any soiree I attend. Which is to say, I’m thankful for my over-active imagination.

I am a writer, after all!  It could happen – we see each other across the room, and my friend says, “Have you met my brother, the incredibly talented neurosurgeon?  He’s been single for about a year now, and is ready to get back into the dating scene.  Maybe you could give him some advice.”  And that’s the story we’ll tell at our wedding the following year, around this same time…

Wait, what was the question?

  1. I’m thankful that my friends have plenty of good wine, and aren’t afraid to share it!

Seriously, though, I am thankful that I get to spend time with friends and my two darling children.  We’re going to get together after Thanksgiving and put up the Christmas tree, which is blue with purple lights.  Nothing about my holidays are traditional, I’m happy to say.

I hope that you have the very best holiday, whether it’s with family or without.  Whether it’s with a significant other, or without.  And most of all, I hope your face is sore from smiling, and your stomach is full of good food, at the end of the day.  And may you have a long list of things for which to be thankful!

Cheers!

Blogger Recognition Award

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Happy Dance!

“OMG, that is SUCH a funny story!  You should totally write a book!” my friends used to tell me, when I’d share my latest dating debacle.

So I wrote a book.  I took the worst dates of my life, told them in you-won’t-believe-what-this-guy-did fashion, and published them.  At the end of every chapter, I added to two lists: one is “What I Want In a Guy.”  I list things like, “Not crazy,” or “Never been to jail.”

The other list contains lessons learned, like, “You can’t really know a person that you’ve only talked to on the phone and/or online,” and “If he won’t kiss you, the relationship isn’t going anywhere.”  Sure, these may sound like common sense, but they’ve all got a story behind ‘em.  And sometimes more than one story.  What can I say—I’m hardheaded sometimes!

I even sketched some of the guys with my own pencil.  Uh…that may not be a selling point.  I’m a word smith, not a visual artist.

Then I discovered that in order to sell the books, an author needs a platform.  That’s a fancy marketing way of saying that ya gotta have readers who are willing to buy your book.

So I started a blog.  This baby has been up just over a year, and I’ve reached people all over the world.  I’m on the New York Times best seller list, yet.  But I have met some interesting people and improved my writing skills.  Oh, ya, and I sold a couple of books.  BONUS!

And I discovered something marvelous: I can tell all the little stories here.  All the ones that are interesting, but not so interesting that they deserve a whole book chapter.  PLUS I can share all my lists, aka, JULES RULES!!!

The reason that I’m sharing this story now, is because it’s part of The Rules.  Not mine, but another set of rules.  Thank you to Little Monster Girl for awarding me a Blogger Recognition Award!  It’s my very first award for this blog, so it’s extra special to me!  THANK YOU!!

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Here are The Rules:

  1. Write a post explaining why you started blogging along with a few tips.
  2. Nominate some of your fellow bloggers.
  3. Comment on their blogs to let them know that you’ve nominated them.

KS Beth is my first nominee.  She brings joy with her clever poems and pretty pictures.

Carrie of the Shires is my second nominee.  She is struggling with dating—something with which I can really sympathize!

Ben Bitter is my third nominee.  He has a dry sense of humor and a skill with gifs and video.  His multi-media blogs fascinate me.  Seriously, Ben, ya gotta give me some pointers!  Not on the bitter stuff; I have enough sarcastic snark on my own 😉

As for the tips, here are some guidelines.  Heck, let’s call ‘em Jules Rules for Bloggers (even though they’re just suggestions).

Jules Rules for Bloggers

  1. Find a theme and stick with it. For me, it’s dating and my life.  I stay away from politics (that’s “poly” for many and “tics” as in blood-sucking insects = sure to make lot of people angry), religion, and hard core pornography.
  2. Start in the middle of the action. I’ve stayed up many a late night because the next chapter of the book started with an interesting sentence and just drew me in.  I had to know what happened next!  You need to do the same with your readers.  “It was a dark and stormy night…” No, wait, Snoopy used that one.  See above for an example; it drew you in, didn’t it?  😉
  3. When you don’t know how to wrap up a blog post, circle back to the beginning. For example…

Speaking of my book, Jules Rules: The Best Worst Dates of My Life, it’s available for sale on Amazon.  Do you know someone who likes chick lit?  Someone who loves to laugh?  Someone who is terminally single and will relate waaaaay too much to my bad dates?  The book would make the perfect present for all three people!  And if it’s the same person, she/he will REALLY dig this book!  Hey, Christmas, Hanukkah, and various other winter holidays/religious celebrations are coming up soon.  You have just enough time to order one for everyone on your list!

Thanks again to LMG!  Love ya, Jen!  ❤

Cheers!

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What I Learned From Romance Novels

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Being single means that I have time to curl up on the couch with a glass of wine and a good book.  Sometimes I read a romance novel instead.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, some romance novels are good.  Some are even great.  But the vast majority seem to follow the same formula: girl meets guy, they hate each other, crisis happens, they’re forced to work together, they fall in love despite themselves, and they live happily ever after.  Usually with a big wedding and pregnancy, not necessarily in that order.

For your amusement, I will now summarize the Laws of Love.  Er, the Romance Rules.  Er, What I Learned from Romance Novels.  And some Rom Coms (romantic comedy movies), ‘cause I lump them into the same category (#NeverGonnaHappen #NotRealLife #SettingUnrealisticExpectationsThatNoManCanLiveUpTo)

  1. Be a bitch the first time you meet a guy. He’ll be intrigued, because no woman has ever treated him like that before.
  2. A major crisis will bring you closer together. A murder attempt or kidnapping works best—get his adrenaline pumping.  Bonus points if there are pirates involved (as the villain, or he might be the pirate, or heck—Equality!—the heroine can be the pirate disguised as a dude).  (Ok that’s not true equality, but stay with me here.)
  3. Strong women are bitches. A strong woman who suddenly needs a man to help her, is stunningly attractive.  (This is a combo of Rule #1 + #2.)  Damn it, why can’t I get kidnapped?!
  4. The poorest guy is the most attractive. Examples include Christian Slader’s character in Heathers, Judd Nelson’s character in The Breakfast Club, and Aladdin of the book/movie by that name.  If they are homeless or dress like a hobo, they’re dead sexy.  Must have wardrobe element: trench coat.  Bonus points for fingerless gloves.
  5. If the man happens to be rich, then he MUST be pouty. Think of Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice; he was definitely the broody sort, and extremely   At one point in the book, the heroine goes on a tour of his mansion with her aunt and uncle.  The only house that I know of, that allows tours, is the White House.  How rich was this guy?!  Another example of rich and depressed is the star of 50 Shades of Gray.  I didn’t read the book or see the movie, but I’m told that the main character was emotionally scarred.  Tell ya what: if I meet a guy like that, I don’t care how rich he is, I’m referring him to a shrink.  I WILL NOT let him use me as a punching bag, whipping post, or slave.  I know, I know, I’m strange—call me a hopeless romantic!
  6. “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” is false. Get in his face as much as possible—he’ll be more likely to fantasize about you.  Maybe involuntarily.  Maybe he’ll have nightmares.  But, hey, you’ll be in his thoughts.
  7. If there’s a lost/runaway/kidnapped child/dog/elderly person, convince him to hunt for him/her with you. Nothing brings enemies together like a shared manhunt—uh—or man’s-best-friend-hunt.
  8. On the hunt, if you’re lucky, you’ll get caught in a rainstorm/snowstorm/monsoon. Find an old shack/barn/hunting lodge and hole up.  Between your soaked clothes clinging to your curvaceous form and the way your shivering causes all the right things to jiggle, (BREASTS), you’re guaranteed to get lucky.  I mean, you need his body heat to stay alive, right?!  Bow chica wow wow!
  9. Assume he’s in love with his ex-wife/ex-girlfriend/dead wife. Throw passive-aggressive comments at him as often as possible, like, “She’s gorgeous.  I can understand why any man would want her,” and dare him to disagree.  He’ll be damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t.  Hmmm, maybe that’s why he’s broody.
  10. Evil stepmothers bring couples together, even when they’re trying to keep people apart. This is a corollary to #2.  See Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Enchanted…  Heck, just about any Disney movie with a princess in it.
  11. Take a plain looking woman, add fancy clothes and a lady’s maid to fix her hair, and she’ll look gorgeous. Think, Pretty Woman or Cinderella.  Since this rule is repeated in numerous books and movies, it MUST be true.  To any rich man reading this: contact me so that we can test this theory.  I will accept a Michael Kors dress and Louboutins in the name of science.

Or Jimmy Chu.  I’m not picky.

I’m SURE that I’d look like a supermodel.  Or at least an attractive actress (hair and makeup can’t hide pounds).

  1. When you meet The One, electricity will pass through you, every time you touch. This doesn’t sound fun to me, ‘cause I’ve been zapped with static electricity repeatedly by my brothers.
  2. His mother/sister/best friend will know that he’s in love before he does. He’ll be in denial for at least a week after he’s been told.  Unless the pirates move up the timeline; then he won’t have time for denial.
  3. When he finally gets around to expressing his love, you should get married immediately. Who cares if you never really dated?  Who cares if he hated you the week before?  True love conquers all.  Put a ring on it!
  4. Attractive men will be at least a head taller than their ladies and look like Greek gods with their shirts off. They’re also rich, whether you know it or not.  (Some masquerade as a pirate or minimum wage worker to learn their father’s business, get away for a while, or spy on the enemy.)
  5. If you don’t have a dark secret in your past, he does.  Or, heck, maybe both of you do.  Hide it as long as possible.  Men love mysterious women.

I hope you learned as much as I did.  Now I’m off to do more research!

Cheers!

Motley Crue (Chapter 2)

“Wanna go to a concert?” Tall, dark, and handsome asked. Derek wore his Albertson’s uniform: navy blue baseball cap, polo, and black pants.

I was in my Albertson’s uniform, too: white button up, navy blue apron, and black pants. I was standing at my register. As a recently separated single mom, I was surprised he asked me. After all, an attractive man had options.

“Sure, ya,” I said. “Which concert?”

“Awesome! Saturday, Motley Crűe. You can buy your ticket from Ticket Master; I’ve already got mine. Should be about 20 bucks. Cool! So I’ll get your address later.” He winked at me and went back to the Seafood Counter.

Ok, so he asked me out—but I’m buying my own ticket? I was a little thrown off, but still excited. I’ve got a date! My first date in almost two years!

Fran, a fellow cashier, saw the exchange and came over to chat. At 9 a.m. on Tuesday, no customers in sight, we had time to talk.

“What did Derek want?” Fran asked, dislike clear in her voice. At 5’8”, she had two inches on me, but my long brown hair was 6 inches longer than hers. She was average in every other way: average weight, average looks, and brown eyes. We had worked together and become friends over the past 4 months.

“He asked me to the Motley Crűe concert,” I answered.

She made a face. “Why would you do that?!”

“Uh, I said I would. He’s nice enough. And cute,” I said in defense of my decision, confused that I had to defend it.

“I went out with him before. We were sitting on the couch, kissing, and he tried to—you know—do stuff. I wasn’t into it.” She shuttered with revulsion.

Again, I wasn’t sure what she wanted from me. If you don’t want to kiss a guy, don’t kiss him. If he tries more and you’re not into it, tell him to stop. Still, I was concerned. “When was this?”

“I dunno, months ago, maybe even a year. I tell ya, stay away from him.” She went back to her register to check out a customer.

“Thanks for the advice,” I said, though I wasn’t sure what to do with the info.

Fran’s customer was a regular; he was in his late 60’s. Still very spry, but maybe as old as my grandfather (65). He always made small talk and made us smile. I went over to say hello.

“Always a pleasure to see you lovely ladies smile,” he said with a grin of his own. Fran had finished checking him out and was standing in the bagging area at the back of the register. She gave him a hug.

Now, I’m naturally a hugger; my friends and I hug “hello” and “goodbye.” I have never before hugged a customer, but I figured that it couldn’t hurt.

That old man had a young man’s dirty mind! He hugged me and then pulled his hands over the sides of my breasts as he pulled away. To a casual observer standing at a distance, it might look incidental. His eyes followed his hands, which pressed hard enough that I knew it was intentional. I was stunned; I felt violated.

The man left and I told Fran, “He just felt me up!”

She looked at me with disbelief, “Mr. Reynolds? No way. I was standing right here; I didn’t see anything.”

I tried to explain what happened, but she thought that I made it up. I realized that reporting it would be useless; it would be his word against mine. It wouldn’t help if Fran sided against me. One thing was clear: I wouldn’t be hugging any more customers!

And if Fran wasn’t going to believe me about Mr. Reynolds, then I wouldn’t listen to her about Derek.

I got felt up by an old man! EWWWW!!

Getting Ready

My ticket cost $30 and I had to drive across town to get it.

Then I had to figure out what to wear. I wanted to make a good impression and look nice for Derek, so I tried on several outfits before settling on a black silk tank top, gray skirt, and heels. I fixed my hair and makeup and asked my sister, “Well? What do you think?”

Sister made an effort to be nice, indicated by the way she scrunched up her face and hesitated a minute before answering. As a single college student, she was the closest thing to a dating expert that I had.

“Uh, sweetie, you look very nice, but aren’t you going to a concert?”

“Yes,” I said, in a small, sheepish voice.

Which concert?”

“Motley Crűe.”

“Um, ya. Sweetie, you’re a little over dressed.” She led me back into my bedroom, where she pulled out a t-shirt and blue jean shorts. “This is what you should wear to a concert.”

I balked. “It’s a first date! I have to make a good impression!”

“You’ll most likely be sitting in the grass. You’d ruin that skirt.”

We compromised. I wore my black silk tank top with blue jean shorts (nice ones, with the ends folded up neatly). Sister lent me her gold chain necklace.

“Whatever,” Sister said. “It’s a little dressy, but okay.”

Derek’s Arrival

The doorbell rang and I was so excited that I nearly ran to the door. Sister put her hand on my arm and said, “Wait. You don’t want to appear over-eager.” She counted to ten, then let me open the door.

I hardly recognized the man standing there: brown Mohawk (not spiked up, thank goodness), plaid button up with the sleeves torn off, dirty cut-offs, and shades. How did I not know that he had a Mohawk? I asked myself, stunned. Oh, ya, he wears a baseball cap at work. He looked like every parent’s nightmare.

“Let’s go!” he said. No comment on how nice I looked. No, “How’s it goin?” Just, “Let’s go.” I smiled stiffly and followed him to his car, which was almost as dirty as his shorts.

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The Concert

We arrived at the coliseum without incident. Walking from the parking lot into the building, Derek stopped and picked up a discarded cigarette box. He looked at it, then threw it back down. A couple of feet later, he repeated those actions. I looked at him quizzically.

“I’m collecting Marlboro Miles,” he said, matter-of-factly. “You know, Marlboro cigarettes puts a certain number of miles on each pack near the UPC. You collect ‘em and trade ‘em for stuff.”

“I know. I smoke. I used my miles to get a beach blanket, a tote bag, and some lighters.”

“Cool, so you know what I’m talking about.”

“You don’t smoke, do you? I haven’t seen you outside with the smokers.”

“No, I just pick ‘em up when I see ‘em,” he said, and continued to check every empty box in our path.

We passed a trashcan and I prayed, Please don’t dig through the trash! He looked like he might, but we heard the band playing, so he rushed us to our seats. Out of every twenty boxes, he found 1 with miles attached. That day, he collected 2 total.

We were there only a minute when I started having trouble breathing. I looked around and couldn’t identify the source of the cloud of smoke that was aggravating my allergies.

“Derek, I think someone is smoking pot,” I said.

He laughed. “It’s a concert, of course someone’s smoking weed!” he snorted, like that was the stupidest thing that I could’ve said. “Why, you want some?”

“Uh, no, I’m allergic. And I’m having a really hard time breathing. Can we move?”

He looked like I had punched him: shocked and hurt. “Move? But these are great seats! If you want to get away from the smoke, we’ll have to move to the lawn.”

I looked at him pleadingly. “I can’t breathe,” I repeated, and wondered if I should leave without him.

He hesitated, and I suspect that he was thinking the same thing. He sighed, then said, “Come on.” He led me high up on the lawn. “If I had known that we’d be sitting up here, I would’ve brought a blanket.”

Finally able to breathe, I ignored Derek’s grumbling and sat back on the grass to watch the show. We went to the grass to avoid the grass smoke! Hee hee! I giggled. I turned to share the joke with Derek, then saw his grim face and decided against it.

Motley Crue was rocking on the stage flanked by big screens that showed them up close. Looking at the nearest screen from here was a better view than down in our seats and there wasn’t anyone directly in front of us. So when the lights danced across the stage, I could see their shapes clearly: swastikas.

Shocked, I looked around at the other music lovers. None of them seemed to mind or notice. I looked back at the screen to see if I was mistaken and saw a close up on the lead guitarist. His armband was red, with a white circle, and in that circle was a black swastika, as clear as day.

More shocked than before, I again looked around. I had a nice view of the crowd and all their white face and/or arms. The only black face was one of the ushers walking down the aisle; he had a white coworker by his side, and neither was looking at the stage. I felt sick to my stomach, again. If I had known that MC were racists, I wouldn’t have come. Jules, what did you get yourself into?! I asked myself.

The concert finally ended, and we walked towards Derek’s car. Very casually, he asked, “So, what kind of birth control are you on?”

“Excuse me?!”

He repeated the question.

I was flabbergasted. It was our first date, we hadn’t even kissed, and there was zero possibility of sex that night. “None of your business!” I replied indignantly.

He mumbled, so that I could barely hear him, “Well, if we’re dating, I should know.”

Well, since this is the only date we’re ever gonna have, you don’t need to know, I thought, and ignored him.

I had cooled off by the time we got to the car. “I’m hungry,” I announced.

“Me, too. There’s another band playing tonight that I want to go see. It’s free with our MC ticket stubs. Starts at 7, in this little club, not too far from here. Wanna go?”

I thought about it. It was free, it’d be so loud that I wouldn’t have to talk to Derek, and it would get Motley Crue off my mind. “Sure, why not,” I acquiesced.

“We don’t have time for a nice sit down meal,” Derek said, obviously torn between food and the concert.

At that point, I knew that I wasn’t going out with Derek again, so I didn’t care too much. “Let’s have some fun,” I said. “Just get me a happy meal.”

“Really?” I could tell that Derek was thinking, “Cheap Date!”

“Really.” I smiled reassuringly.

Derek drove towards Mickey-D’s. “Uh, is it ok if we eat on the way? I don’t want to be late.”

I sighed. What could be more perfect than ketchup spilled in my lap? “That’s fine,” I said.

Derek was so grateful that at the next stoplight, he bought me a $1 rose from a homeless guy. As he handed it to me, he beamed like a child who had picked his mother a wildflower bouquet. It would have been completely charming if it hadn’t been bought from a dirty tramp and we weren’t on our way to McDonald’s. As it was, I wondered if I could catch a disease from the rose; or maybe it was really a weed; the way the rest of the date was going, I wouldn’t be too surprised!

Zebra

I had only eaten half my happy meal when we pulled into the parking lot at the club.

“We can sit here while you finish, I guess,” Derek said, fidgeting like a 5-year-old.

I popped the last chicken nugget into my mouth and said, “Done!”

“Oh, you aren’t going to eat those fries?” asked my date, who hadn’t ordered anything at McDonald’s. He said that he wasn’t hungry, but I suspect that he was just broke.

I shook my head and he shoved most of them into his mouth in one big bite. I had to turn away.

At the door, the hostess asked for a ten-dollar cover charge.

“We have Crue tickets,” Derek said, and showed her. “I heard on the radio that we get in free.”

She nodded and held out her hand for the ticket. He was willing to let her look at it, but he wouldn’t surrender it. “Sir, you have to give me your ticket if you want in.”

“No! It’s a souvenir! Why can’t I keep it? Oh, Man, that’s so bogus!”

I narrowed my eyes and he looked like a five-year-old throwing a temper tantrum. I hope I don’t see anyone I know tonight, I thought.

Finally, Derek gave up his ticket and we got in. He immediately rushed the stage; not difficult to do, since less than a dozen people were standing in front of it. The band looked at him like, Where did this weirdo come from?, while Derek continued to whoop and cheer. “Zebra! All right! I love you guys!”

I hung back, embarrassed. Derek seemed to have forgotten that I was there, so I looked for a chair. I sat down next to a nice couple in their 40’s. In fact, most of the patrons were their age. This wasn’t surprising since Zebra was at their climax 20 years before.

The singer said, “Ok, we’re going to take a little break. We’ll be back in 10.” The band members went to find refreshments.

Derek jumped onto the stage, grabbed the drumsticks, raised them triumphantly and said, “WHOO!! I got Zebra’s drumsticks, WHOO WHOO!”

The drummer looked perplexed. I imagined that he was thinking, How am I supposed to play the second set without my sticks? Who does that guy think he is? He sent the band manager to retrieve his sticks.

Derek finally realized that he was missing something: me. He spotted me talking to the nice couple (and pretending that I didn’t know him) and came over. “Great band! Aren’t they? I love ‘em, they’re great.” Derek was sweating like he had been on stage.

“Ya, Derek, they’re great,” I said indulgently. I might’ve enjoyed the music if Derek had quit hollering.

He noticed the drink in front of me. “Got yourself something already, eh? Guess I’ll go get me a beer.” He walked toward the bar. A few minutes later, though, he called me over to the souvenir stand. “Jules! Hey, Jules! Which one of these shirts do you like better?”

I was surprised that he was getting me one. After all, I thought that he was broke. “That’s tough, they’re both cool. Hmmm; the one on the left, I think.”

“Cool, thanks!” he said, and bought himself an XL.

Stunned, I wandered back over to my drink. Could the man really be that thoughtless?

When the band was finally done, Derek drove me home. It was a 20-minute drive, so (unfortunately) we had time to talk. As usual, I babbled nervously, “Dad has a job down in Austin. He’s been living there for the past 6 months in an apartment; Mom’s moving down at the end of the month,” I told him. “I think I’m moving, too. Don’t tell anyone at work; I haven’t submitted my two-week notice yet.”

“Ok. Wow, Austin, huh? Whatcha gonna do down there?”

“I dunno, probably work for Albertson’s if there is one, maybe go to school. I could learn how to type and be a secretary, like my Mom,” I said. I turned the conversation to him. “How ‘bout you? You gonna work at the seafood counter the rest of your life?”

“Hell no. I’ve been talking about moving to the meat counter. There’s more variety and the manager gets paid well.”

I was stunned. I didn’t think that people really planned careers at grocery stores. I mean, now that I think about it, some must. For me and most of the front-end employees, it was just a job until we could go back to school or find a more lucrative position.

We pulled up to my house. Thank God I’m home! I thought. “Thanks for driving, Derek, good night!” I tried not to run inside, but I did get away as quickly as possible. As I shut the door from the inside, I sighed with relief, glad that was over!

Phone Call

Derek called the next week and told me what a great time he’d had. “I know that you’re moving to Austin,” he said. “I’ve got friends down there, and we visit 6th Street every once in a while. So let me know your phone number and I’ll call you when I’m gonna be in town, ok?”

“No,” I answered, wondering why I had taken his phone call at all.

“No?” he asked, in disbelief.

“No. I didn’t have a good time, ok? Don’t call me again. Bye.” Was he really oblivious to the fact that I had a lousy time?! Go pick up some Marlboro miles, Derek, and leave me alone! Why is it that I always think of the best things to say after I hang up the phone?!

Jules Rules

  1. Even though you may work with someone (in this case, for 4 months), you may not really know him. People are different outside of work.

The List

  1. Personable. (Not a jerk!)

Post Script

I hope you enjoyed this chapter out of my book, Jules Rules: The Best Worst Dates of My Life.  If so, order yourself a copy for Christmas!  Then order one for your BFF.  And another for your favorite aunt – it’s PG-13, after all.  

Cheers!

Ex Sex

Ex_Sex

“Ex Sex is free!  Go for it!” Naughty Nadia replied, in response to my statement that an ex-boyfriend had called me.

“Whadya mean, free?” I asked.  “I never pay anyway.”

She laughed.  “I mean, it doesn’t increase your number—the number of guys that you’ve slept with.”

I laughed, too.  “Ok then!”

“When did you date this guy?” Nadia asked.

“About two years ago,” I told her.  “He was after I broke up with the guy from the Costa Rican vacation.  We dated for a little while, then he moved away.  So, I’m going to drive four hours and meet him…”

“Hold up!  You’re going to drive 4 hours for a booty call?!” Nadia exclaimed.

“Uh, well, I prefer to think of it as two old friends getting together,” I explained.

“Uh, well, NO!” she said.  “Call a local ex.  Go to a bar and find someone new.  Hell, let’s go out tonight, I’ll be your wingman!”

I laughed again, and told her about my friend Wendy.

Wendy

“I’m back with my ex-husband,” my friend Wendy told me on Thursday night.  We were at a get-together at a bar.  I hadn’t seen her in over a year, so we were catching up.

I was shocked.  When you ask someone, “How have you been?” you don’t expect that particular answer.

Ever.

She had been pretty near wrecked when she divorced him a couple of years ago.  Then she rallied and attended kick boxing classes, getting into great shape in the process.  The last time that I had talked to her—about a year and a half ago—she had had a boyfriend helping her around her nice suburban home.  I wondered what had happened to him.  Eh, I’ll ask another time.

“Congratulations!” I said, half-heartedly.

She glanced over to her ex-husband and added, “He’s nicer now.”  She rolled her eyes.  “Wish he’d appreciated me before!”  She shook her head.  Looking at me directly, she continued, “He told me that we should get married because it would make paperwork easier.  Paperwork!  I told him that if he couldn’t ask me to marry him for the reasons that he had asked me years ago, that I don’t want it.  Besides, I’m the one that sold my house.  I’m the one that’s going to get screwed if this doesn’t work out.”

“Makes sense to me!” I said.  I wouldn’t want to get married to someone just to make it easier to fill out forms, either.  I can pay for my own insurance, thank you very much, and beneficiaries can be friends just as easily as spouses.  Marry me because you love me; because you can’t live without me; not so that you can get a tax break for filing as “married.”

Later, I walked over and congratulated her man.  He replied, “For what?”

I smiled and nodded towards his lady.  “For reconnecting,” I said.

He looked guiltily down at his hands, then said, “We were only apart a short time.”

I wasn’t sure if “a short time” had been two years or less, since I hadn’t seen them in a while.  I’m pretty sure that it was over a year.  I guess in the length of a lifetime, a year isn’t that significant.

12 months.  52 weeks.  364 days.  But who’s counting?

Another friend snorted, noting that he didn’t look too happy about the situation.  I wondered if that was because he didn’t like to talk about their time apart, or if he was bummed that she hadn’t accepted his—erm, uh—proposal. 

This reconciliation was a good thing, right?

“I didn’t use the term ball and chain, and I won’t,” I said with a grin.

We laughed, a bit awkwardly.

I went back to Wendy and asked her, “Do you still enjoy kick boxing?”

She scoffed.  “No, we spend most of our evenings drinking wine on the deck.  It’s nice, but I don’t have the energy to work out any more.”

“You used to picture his face on the punching bags, didn’t you?” someone else piped in.

Wendy smiled and said, “Ya.  Gave me that added energy, you know?  But now, it’s not the same.  I’m happy.”  She smiled towards her ex—I mean, her boyfriend.

I thought about my ex-husbands.  Lord knows I couldn’t reconnect with either of them.  We broke up for some very real, very compelling reasons.  In fact, I could say the same about my ex-boyfriends, too.

Jules Rules #23 (chapter 12): Exes are exes for a reason; don’t try to date someone that you already broke up with.

This rule was written after breaking up with and getting back together with (and sometimes, rinse and repeat, multiple times):

  • Mike the Workaholic. He was so sweet during a break up, I just wanted to kiss him.  He looked so sweet and vulnerable.  The self-absorbed asshole.
  • Mustang Mike. We weren’t really dating, so we never really broke up.  It was complicated.  And idiotic!  Don’t date a guy who repeatedly insists that he’s not dating you.  Chances are, he’s not committed to the relationship.  This may seem obvious to someone hearing it about it now, but it was hard to remember that Mike wasn’t dating me when he was showering me with flowers and taking me out to the movies.  Mixed signals much?
  • The Pirate. He wasn’t really a pirate, he just liked to wear bandanas on his head.  Our relationship was all ups and downs.  After I finally broke up with him for the last time, he was diagnosed as bipolar.  Then, all the ups and downs made a LOT of sense.
  • Alan (ex-husband #2). We dated after I kicked him out, before the divorce was final.  That was one of the most awkward dates I’ve ever been on.  “How have you been?”  “My wife kicked me out.  Oh, wait, that was you.”
  • Read chapter 12 to see how that went.  In a nutshell, he was weird.  SUPER weird.
  • Shall I go on? How much time do you have?

Nadia

“Wendy was married to her husband for about 20 years, right?” she asked.

“Yup,” I answered.

“And you were with your guy for about a week, right?” she asked.

“Two months, but I see where you’re going with this,” I answered.  “Face it, it’s been a while since I’ve had a nice date.  There are only so many nights that I can stay home watching TV, while living vicariously through you.”

“I say again, we can go out.  Remember, he broke up with you.  So what if he misses you now?  Wait—I know.  He was good in bed, wasn’t he?” she asked.

“He was damn good in bed,” I agreed.

“Then go for it!  I mean, if he’ll drive to see you, that is,” Nadia advised me.

I sighed.  “I’m not the type to have friends with benefits.  Damn it.  I guess I need to text a guy about cancelling this weekend.”

“Damn straight!” she said.

Rules are easier made than kept.  A road trip still sounds fun.  Then again, a crazy girl’s night out with Nadia sounds like a blast!  I think we’ll invite Wendy.

Congrats, Wendy—I hope you and your man have a long, happy relationship.

Cheers!

Ex-sex2