Point System


“Date someone a point below you,” Carol said.

We were at Seaport Village in San Diego, enjoying wine and the beautiful view, in early November.  Mary was beside me; Carol’s handsome lawyer husband and cute fireman brother were at her table.

I laughed.  “I feel like I tried that,” I said.  “I dated a series of guys who were short.  One actually fell asleep and took micro-naps when there were pauses in the conversation.”  I closed my eyes and pretended to nod off.

“Oh no, we don’t put up with that!” Carol said.  “Unacceptable!  But seriously, you need to date someone a point below you, so that they will appreciate you.”


At my next happy hour in Dallas, I brought this up to my friends.  They had a lot to say on the subject, but more questions than anything else.

“Which point system?” Lana Lollipop asked.  “I think of it as more of a spreadsheet: intelligence, appearance, charisma…probably more…all play a role.  There’s not just one rating.”

“I think she means hotness,” I answered.  “I consider myself a 6, maybe a 7.  I mean, I need to lose a little weight, and I’m not tall or young.  I’m working on it, but I need a serious diet and more hours working out if I’m going to get back to the 8 that I used to be.”

“But you’re so intelligent!”  Elizabeth said, “You have a master’s degree.  To some guys, that will matter more than whether you have an extra pound or two.”

“Punctuality means a lot to you, too,” said Lana.

“You know me so well!” I said.  We talked about Bad Keith for a while.  Ah, good times (not!).

We debated the meaning of the Point System for a while longer, getting nowhere.


And so, I went back to the source.  “Carol, explain the Point System to me, and what you meant when you said that the guy should be a point below me,” I said. 

Carol’s Explanation

Ok Love, the point system isn’t as easy as, “I’m and 8 he’s a 7 on a hotness scale and now we are going to be the perfect couple.”  Not even close.  First and foremost, you have to be very realistic with yourself before you give yourself a number. Don’t do this with your nice friends that sugar coat the world for you.  Don’t let your friends excuse something that you consider important to you with a compliment on your intelligence.  Elisabeth and Lana both mentioned two amazing attributes about intelligence and punctuality and if you’re going to offer those as pros, you have to be looking for someone who is also forgoing the gym and diet to be on time and smart and you have to find that sexy. 

There is someone for everyone you just have to be realistic about what you want and what you’re giving. Think of it as an exchange.  For example, you wouldn’t want to exchange a sports car for a minivan. Here is the fun part: with every statement like that, there are plenty of families that very much enjoy having a sports car and a minivan.  There are always so many factors.  For example, I’m fit, I work out at 5 a.m. a few times a week, I take care of my body.  But, I personally couldn’t care less when I was single if I dated a man that was 400 lbs. and I have. I find intelligence and business sense and family values so much more important. I’m actually turned on by quick wit, confidence and amazing personalities.  So, like I said, there’s someone for everyone.  Just be realistic with what your giving and what you are wanting in return.

Always remember NICE ISN’T NICE!!!  That is the motto I live by. I enjoy honesty and if you are looking to get better or grow as a person, telling yourself nice little lies won’t get you there.   Please don’t read this to think I’m shallow or a bitch.  It’s just a fact that we all are looking to attract a mate.  It is a game and it’s competitive and all you’re risking by sugar coating facts is not finding a partner that you will LOVE to be with.

If you’re a mess you’re only going to attract a mess. If you KEEP attracting a certain type of man it is absolutely your fault. Something you’re doing, looking for or putting out there is drawing that to you.   Like attracts like kind or total opposites and in that case, you have a different set of issues.  I would be happy to discuss my opinions on opposites at a later date.  I will break myself down so you can see how work my point system or more my sliding scale. 

First let’s out the 5th grade girl in us and let’s write down our pros and cons list. Do this for yourself also write down one for your perfect mate. Write down everything your perfect mate would be, do, have, and achieved. Write down the things you must have and then on the other side things he can’t have, absolute deal breakers.  If you hesitate or are unsure don’t write it down these have to almost be things you have strong convictions for. If you don’t have any strong feelings or convictions and your list isn’t at least 10 plus bullet points then we need to address personal issues on why you don’t have the strongest self-worth or simply you haven’t spent the time thinking about the topic. It seems nowadays so many of us worry about our weight, careers, kids, pets, whatever but we give no thought to what we want so we settle for what lands at our feet.  We set goals for everything in life this is no different.

My perfect guy (also this was my match.com guide that I followed to get my husband)

1.            Blue eyes (I wanted light-eyed babies)

2.            Catholic/Jewish

3.            5’8-6’2 (best heights that match my height for dancing, sex…etc the shorter the better on that scale)

4.            Owns his own home

5.            Close to his family = good relationships

6.            friends I can get along with

7.            makes over a certain income

8.            Masters or better degree

9.            Lives in my area (don’t want to relocate)

10.          spontaneous- free spirit- funny- good personality (this you have to go on a few dates to see)

11.          No bad debt = good credit score

12.          loves to travel

13.          Wants kids

14.          can get along with a variety of people – good at networking

 My Cons: Absolute deal breakers these I keep to myself and check off as they come up in conversation. Don’t be quick to judge. Take your time to ask follow up questions make sure they have a chance to explain. There are always exceptions to all rules. 


Bad Debt,

baby mamma drama,

unstable career,

lack of focus and drive or motivation,

sloppy or messy,

don’t want to talk about kids or have more. 

All of these are 99% deal breakers for me. I won’t even waste my time. Most of these are fundamental personality issues or types that will simple hate life with me and I will hate them. We can be friends but that’s probably all. 

Know what you want and know exactly what you won’t put up with. Do yourself the favor and don’t waste your time trying to fix anyone. No one changes we can adapt and grow but we don’t change easily so don’t bother trying. You want a project pick up a hobby. 

One warning: think through what you really want in a man because you just might get it. I have always wanted a man that was close to his mother.  I once ended up with the worst momma’s boy! So be very specific.   Make this list super specific. If 6-pack abs and tan skin are on your list, I am sorry my dears, but you need to make sure you can keep up with that guy and you’re being realistic about wanting that. What I mean to say is have like goals and interests, don’t get caught up in looks. Looks will always fade and you and your partner can work out and get that 6 pack together if that’s really a desire of yours.   

Pros: (positive things about me that I can use in my favor depending on my type.)

Self Employed,


28 years old (at the time). 

I have good education,

great family,

great friends,

networking circle,

I’m focused,

I know what I want,

I can be wild and fun but also enjoy quiet nights,

I’m loyal to my loved ones,

I’m 120 lbs, 5’5.

With this list for my type of guy, I’m could safely say I am an 8. Let me say this again, I am an 8 for MY type of guy. Many men might find me sexually attractive and I would rank higher with them, but those guys don’t do it for me. Also and probably more prevalent many men might find me too outspoken and opinionated so I would rank as a 4 to these types of men.  Some issues really drop your score.


I’m opinionated,


honest and straight forward to a fault,

I can be crass,

I have a tendency to emasculate,

I can be a bit controlling and competitive.

Also recently divorced with 2 daughters under 4 years old. 

So as you can see some of these gems bring me down a point. So safely I say I am an 8. 

Now here is the fun part where you start to rack up a man’s points. Let’s do this point system for my husband. (He is going to hate this!)

Pros (for me):


athletic build,

practices same religion,


good family,

no bad debt,

owns his own home,

owns his own business,

has similar goals,

good family.



super cute and


easy to get along with.

My guy was almost too good to be true but this is where you have to look deep and read between the lines and ask some probing questions and the first couple dates.  I found out his cons (to me): He was way too attached to his mother, he still relied on his family for a lot of his support and direction, He is so nice he had a hard time standing up for himself, he knew what he wanted but lacked the push to get him there. So if you would look superficially he would be a 9 maybe 10. I mean a sexy. Partner in a large law firm, that likes me with good family, smart, fun to be with, easy going what’s not a 10 about that? Although at the beginning, I rated him as a 6.

To add to this:

             He had gone through a bad relationship.

             He had these mommy issue.

 These so easily drop him to the 6 rating. Emotional baggage is most times a huge deal breaker. Good thing I am a smart girl and saw this man is perfect for me he just needed to rebuild that confidence his ex kicked out of him and let him see that  his mother has been enabling him and I will have myself my own real life prince charming. I wasn’t changing him.  I was just showing him that he had negative influences and once removed he raised back to an appropriate score of 9 or 10.

 We always need to have a scale system in place when the bad outweighs the good RUN!  Lucky for me he saw his Ex was very abusive and mother was enabling negative behaviors. So with support from friends and other family members it was easy to make him happy again.

Let me tell you my negative attributes of being bossy are attributes he enjoys: He is very passive. So we balance each other out, which is a win-win for us.

So now together as a team I feel comfortable saying I’m a 9 because he balances me out and makes me the best me. My husband appreciates my drive and how much further that has gotten us and he loves my girls so truly he should be a point higher than me but he is just a humble personality and he keeps himself at an 8, so that works. He gets the fun of chasing and being with a girl he believes to be a 9 and I get to love a man that is on a lot of girls scale a 10 but keeps himself at an 8 my diamond in the rough. 

In this case, he is the same as me but because of his personality he tries very hard to always work on our relationship he is always chasing me. I enjoy being wanted makes me feel special and sexy.  In return I respect him and all he does so I work equally as hard to make him feel loved and honored. It’s a balance once you find a mate. If you think you’re going to find a guy, be super happy then you get to relax.  Watch out and hope no one has their eye on your man because you will lose him.  If you find a catch don’t be complacent and think he can’t do better it’s always going to be a give and a take. This way you also keep the sex fun and vibrant. There are more and more girls becoming women that can easily gain interest in your man if he’s a catch give him a reason to keep you. The benefit to this is if you’re trying he will follow suit. If your man doesn’t there you have some serious relationship issues. 

Ladies lets always remember this…. men need to be loved, women need to be wanted. I don’t try to be sexist and consider myself a feminist. I can with a straight face tell you “I can do anything a man can do, and sometimes 5X better,” but there are just so many things that I don’t want to do that are better left to men or women that would enjoy the task.   I love my husband for what he does, how he handles life’s stresses, the man that he is, and he wants me, finds my drive sexy, fears me at times…hahaha but it keeps both of us chasing each other and trying. So, by being a 9 and marrying an 8 (in my mind a 10) he always tries to keep me happy and I love what. We meet each other’s needs. Find someone who fills your needs and then look for his needs and fill those. As a woman, it’s better to be chased then to chase. Find your balance and respect yourself.


Ok, Carol, I’ll try it your way. 

Last night, I reactivated my Match.com account.  Within 24 hours, I had 93 views and 17 likes.  I stuck to Carol’s plan: be picky.  I rejected the guys who were more than 5 years older than me (they had other flaws, too) and the guy who was 19 (still a teenager!).  I thought hard about the guy who seemed ok, but a little older.  After all, he was mostly awesome.  But no, Carol said to set narrow standards and not to settle.

So I emailed one of the guys, and we have a date on Saturday!  Yay!

If this works out, I’ll owe Carol, big time. 

“I think you’re hot,” the guy from Match texted me.

 Uh oh.  He’s testing the waters. 

“I think you’re handsome,” I responded, using a classier word than hot.  “Just take it slow, ok?  I’m a good girl (mostly).  (Sometimes.)” 

I was going for “Good Girl with a Bad Girl Side, but don’t move too fast.”  How did I do?  Damn it.  Maybe I shouldn’t have said anything at all.  Urgh.

Geesh, dating is hard!  Wish me luck!


Your California Dream Girl

P.S. San Diego is amazing!  Check out my Instagram (@jules_strawberry_rules) or Facebook (Jules Strawberry) if you want to see more pics.    I’m also on twitter, but I don’t tweet much (@JulesSberry).

P.S.S. Next time, I’ll share my lists.  Again.  I know, I’ve shared ‘em before, but get ready for some *updated* Jules Rules!



Poinsettia Tree in Little Italy





Hello, Handsome – Part II



My first real cowboy hat!  2006

“Have you ever been to San Antonio?” Harry asked me on Tuesday during our nightly conversation.

“Why, yes.  Back in 2002 my friend Edward—the gorgeous black bodybuilder—took me to San Antonio to check out a club.  Turns out it was a swinger’s club.  I danced on a pole and chatted with a really cute, nice couple.  Edward sprang for a hotel room (for just the two of us; I don’t get into the swinger thing).”  That would have been the most honest answer, but may have been a little too much honesty, so I opted for a shorter answer.  “I’ve been there a couple of times, but haven’t been there for years.”

“Let’s go.  I’ll drive and get the hotel rooms.  What do you say?”

“Separate hotel rooms?” I was just seeking clarification; didn’t want him to think I was scared of him, but I didn’t want to make assumptions, either.

“Of course.  We can go this weekend if you like,” Harry said.

“Sounds great!” I answered.

I called Portia to let her know.  She was excited for me.  “If ya’ll are still dating in February,” She joked, “You’ll need to send candy to Dawn to say, ‘Happy Valentine’s Day and Thank you!’  What am I saying—ya’ll don’t need to send candy, Harry will!”

We giggled.

“I’ll be in Austin this weekend, too.  Ok if I stay at your house?”  Portia’s ex-husband still lived in Austin (she had just moved to San Angelo the year before) and so Portia dropped their son off every other weekend for visitation.  I had given Portia a key to my house long ago and told her that she was free to come and go as she pleased.

“Of course you’re welcome.  Mi casa es su casa,” I told her.

So Portia was there when Harry arrived.  I had her take pictures of us in front of Harry’s truck and the grin on my face was so goofy in love that it was my favorite picture for a long time after.

My house is about 1.5 hours from San Antonio, on the north side of Austin, which means that Harry and I had plenty of time to talk along the way.  I’ve never been shy, so I came right out with what was on my mind.

“What’s your definition of a girlfriend?  I mean, when can you call someone your girlfriend?”  I asked.

“I don’t know, I hadn’t really thought about it.”  He replied, pensively.  “What do you think?  Clearly you’ve had time to think about it.”

“Well, there are three main criteria,” I said.  “First, a couple has to agree to be exclusive, which means they aren’t dating anyone else.”

“Ok, I can agree to that.  I’m not dating anyone else; are you?”

“Nope,” I said, a little surprised that he was applying the list to us immediately.

“Ok, what else you got?”

“You’ve got to date a certain period of time.  I’m not sure how long—my friends and I talked about at least 2 dates, or at least a month, but we couldn’t really agree.  What do you think?”

“Well I think that if you like someone, it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been dating,” Harry said, with conviction.  “What’s your third criteria?”

“That both people agree to use the titles.  I say that because I’ve known guys that just hate to be called ‘boyfriend.’ It scares them off, or they just don’t like titles.  What do you think?”

“I think,” Harry said, taking my hand while watching the road, and observing me with little glances to gage my mood, “That I know that I like you, I’m not dating anyone else, and I’m fine with calling you my girlfriend, if that’s what you want.”

I was a little surprised.  “Yes, of course!” I said.  Wow, what a great guy!

“Good.  Now that we’ve got that taken care of,” he said, “Do you want to stop at Cabella’s?”

Cabella’s is a new store located in Buda, just south of Austin.  It is a huge sports/hunting/fishing store featuring an indoor waterfall, stuffed animals (real ones, not the kids’ toys), and all the equipment a sports nut could dream up.  It was so huge that it had become a tourist attraction; the signs on the highway announced the exit.

“Sure,” I said.  Though not a hunter myself, I was curious to see this colossal superstore.  And it was everything that I expected it to be.  From the outside, it looked like a mall.  On the inside, it still reminded me of a mall; only, instead of stores, it had departments:   Fishing department, Gun department, Clothing department: different camouflage patterns, shirts with deer heads printed on them, hip waders, rubber boots, etc.  As we toured the testament to man’s love of nature, we chatted some more and held hands.

“Help me out here—I’m a little hazy on the dates.  When did you marry Jamie?” I asked.

“I knew this would come up,” Harry said, visibly nervous.  He looked around, trying to decide how to word his answer and said, “We got married in April 2003.  We were married just over two years.”

I tried to do the math in my head and it just didn’t sound right.  “That means you got divorced—when?”

“In May.”

“This past May?”  He nodded.  My mind was having trouble digesting this info.  That meant that he was married in April when we met.  Was he wearing a ring?  I couldn’t remember.  But it wouldn’t matter; lots of married people had bare hands.  The engineers that I worked with called rings a safety hazard.

Harry saw the confused look on my face and said, “I know you have a rule against dating guys within a year of their divorce,” Harry said, tensely, carefully, “That’s why I didn’t mention it before.”  Damn right, I have a rule, and for good reasons!  I’ve been bitten by this one before.  I struggled against the urge to run, scream, or both.  I took a deep breath.  I decided that given the opportunity to go home and wonder “What if” or spend the weekend in picturesque San Antonio with the handsome Mr. Handsome, I’d take the latter.

I smiled at him and said, “Well, we’re here now, I’ll take my chances.”  He let out the breath he’d been holding and smiled back at me.  We walked around for a while talking about the various equipment.  He carried around some ammo for a while, but then thought better of having to transport it all the way back to San Angelo, and put it back.

We were walking through the clothes—thermal underwear for the cold mornings tracking deer—when I asked Harry, “Where would you live if you could live anywhere?”

“My sister is in Tennessee, so maybe there,” he began.  “Or Fort Worth.  I’ve done some job shopping online—nothing serious, just seeing what’s out there—and FW has some ME jobs in the medical manufacturing industry; I could live there.  San Antonio’s nice, too.  I’m vested at J&J; if I stay two more years, then I’ll be fully vested.  So I’m going to try to stick around until then.  What about you?” he countered.

“I love Texas and I want my kids to be around family, where are here.  If I could have any job, it would be working for NASA.  But the jobs I wants are in California or Colorado.  Since I don’t want to leave the state, I’d rather live in Austin, San Antonio, or Fort Worth.  San Angelo is nice, too.”  I smiled at him.

“Did they tell you when you’d find out if you have the job?” Harry had insider knowledge yet pretended that he didn’t.  I respected his strong ethics; a lesser man would have told me what the interviewers decided.

“The HR rep said two weeks,” I replied, “Which was over last week. I sent an email to Kathy and she responded that I should hear back from them next week.”

Harry shook his head.  “That human resources department is so slow.”

We had walked around most the store (though not seen everything, I’m sure, since it is so huge), so Harry asked, “Ready to go?”

From there we went to San Marcos, which is the next major city on I-35.  San Marcos is known for its outlet malls.  Buses of Mexicans arrive every weekend, since the border is only a couple of hours away, and Texans drive for miles for the chance to get a name brand outfit for a good price.  Harry and I decided to look around.  I wanted some cute tops and Harry wanted some sunglasses.

Harry bought me three different tops from three different stores.  He’s a very patient shopper.  Maybe because has four sisters.  He pointed out shirts that he thought were cute.  We stopped in the Sunglasses Hut to get shades.  He tried on one wrap around pair and said, “Look!  McFly!”  He would have been happy to shop longer, but I felt like I was taking advantage as it were.  So we stopped for lunch.  I had seen a Schlotski’s Deli on the way in and suggested that, but when we started driving to it, we realized that it was on the other side of the interstate.  “Never mind,” I said, “We can eat at Applebee’s, right here.”

“If you want to eat at Schlotski’s, I don’t mind driving over there,” my ultra-sweet Boyfriend (!!) offered.  He was sincere in wanting to make me happy; there was no spite or frustration in his voice or eyes.  I didn’t really care; I could eat at either restaurant (they’re both franchises).  So we went to Applebee’s.

While we were sitting at the table, Harry said, “There’s this girl that I like…”  I stiffened up.  Was he dating someone else?  No, he told me in the car that he wasn’t.  “I’m taking her to San Antonio.”  OH he was talking about ME!  Duh.  In third person, how cute!

“Yes?”  I encouraged him to continue.

“How do I know that she likes me?”  He asked.

I laughed.  I couldn’t help it!  Here I was, all goofy over this guy, and he wasn’t sure that I liked him?!  I began in a Socratic way.

“She agreed to go with you to San Antonio?”

“Yes,” he responded.

“Does she ever hold your hand?” like in Cabella’s, surrounded by stuffed dead things, while pretending to enjoy the scenery?


“Then she likes you,” I concluded.  Maybe not the best or well-thought out argument, but it worked.  Harry beamed a pleased, slightly embarrassed smile.  He looked so boyish and young, he was just too adorable!

“What about you?  You seeing anyone?”  He prompted.

“Sure, I’m dating this guy,” I responded.  “But I’m not sure about when we should—you know—be physically intimate.  In my experience, guys quit liking a girl afterward.”

He looked confused.  “I think physical intimacy should bring two people closer together,” he said.

“Well it seems to me that beforehand, there’s romantic dinners and flowers and such, and none of that afterward.”

“I think there should be more romance after,” he said, confidently.  I hoped that he was right (despite my experience to the contrary).  I smiled flirtatiously.

The rest of the weekend was like a dream: so perfect.  We checked into the hotel, which was the Hilton on the Riverwalk.  Our rooms were on one of the high floors and were gorgeous; the hotel had recently renovated, so the paint was fresh and carpet was new.  The rooms were spacious, too.  From that and the location, I could tell that Harry had spent some cash and I appreciated it.

After checking in, we went down to the Riverwalk.  It is beautiful.  It’s below street level, with lots of trees and plants, so that its mostly cool and shady.  (Texas is hot, even in October.)  Restaurants and shops line the river and at one end there’s a mall.  The river is only four feet deep in most places.  Harry and I walked and talked and ducked into a few art shops just off the Riverwalk.

That night we had dinner at a great TexMex restaurant.  At least, I think it was great; the margarita certainly was!  Then we walked over to Howl at the Moon, a piano bar.  We had fun watching the Aggie vs. UT Fight Song war!  He’s an Aggie (graduated from Texas A&M) and I’m a Longhorn (I attend the University of Texas at Austin.)  One piano player would start playing the A&M fight song, then someone would tip the other piano player and he would play the Longhorn’s Eyes of Texas Are Upon You.  This would go back and forth, as the crowd got more worked up and the tips piled up, until finally a winner was pronounced to much cheering and booing.  This night, the Longhorns were more generous than the Aggies.

We stayed for a couple of hours watching the piano players perform, then walked back to the hotel.  Harry was a perfect gentleman.

I was not the perfect lady.  I kissed him, letting him know that I wanted more.  We really could have gotten just one hotel room; but I’m glad that it was a choice.



This was part II of the story of Harry and I dating.  We were together for another month before it ended; that story isn’t as fun.  If you missed Part I, it’s here.

Come back next week; I hope to share some life-altering good news with you.

May your dates be hot, if you want them to be 😉



Hello, Handsome


Jules & Portia, 2004

San Angelo is a typical west Texas town: dry, dusty, small.  Most of the occupants work for Johnson & Johnson, like Portia.  They hang out at the bar, church, or go to San Antonio (the closest big city) for fun.  So special events are exciting and get big crowds.

The Texas Wine & Food Festival was at the Coliseum, which was an all-purpose building; even the rodeo was held there.  The vendors set up along the perimeter of the oval and tables filled the middle.  The dirt floor was uncovered.


This story is set in 2005, the last semester of my undergrad degree.  I needed to find a job before I graduated, because I had two little mouths to feed (well, three if you count mine).  I couldn’t afford time to look around for a job.  I didn’t expect to find a lover, too.


As we walked in, Portia remarked, “They have a live band!”

“Of course, this is Austin, Texas—Live Music Capitol of the World.”  I looked at Portia’s questioning face and burst out laughing.  “I’m not in Austin, am I?!”


“Well, I have my best friend from Austin with me, so I feel at home, I guess!” I told her.  She smiled at the compliment.

As we walked around, Portia introduced me to the people she knew.  Which meant that every three feet we stopped to say hello to one of her coworkers.  I didn’t mind; they were all friendly Texans.

At the Capstone Wine booth, one of her friends begged her to help.  “Just for an hour, then Jamie will be here,” the woman said.

Portia apologized to me, “Sorry.  I volunteered to help with this a month ago, and then they said that they had it covered; anyway, I need to help them.”

“No worries, I can amuse myself,” I said.


I wandered over to the cars that were parked nearby.  A car salesman was getting people to register for a drawing and advertising the cars at the same time.

A handsome man about my age was looking the cars over, too.  I said, “Yep, looks like a car.”

He replied, “Four doors, windshield, tires…yep, looks like the cars that I’ve seen, too.  What a coincidence!”

I laughed and introduced myself.  “I’m Jules.  I’m a friend of Portia,” I pointed at Portia, who was pouring wine about 20 feet away.  “I’m from Austin.”

“Pleased to meet you,” he said, “I’m Harry Handsome. I work with Portia.”

Yes, you are, I thought, and shook his hand.  “Everyone here works with Portia.”

He returned the smile and nodded, “This is J&J Country.”

We continued our perusal of the vehicles.  Harry is about 5’7”, brown hair, brown eyes, and a wedding ring on his left hand.  Sigh.  He’s married.  Oh, well, at least I had someone to laugh with for a little while.  I almost wish that I didn’t have a date; I could hang with him all night.

Harry and I joked around some more, then he wandered off to get some food.  I wouldn’t see him again until October; but that’s another story for another time.

Girl Talk

“Dawn said that Harry really liked you,” Portia told me.  Dawn is her best friend in San Angelo.

“How does she know?  Did he tell her?”

“No, Dawn said that she could tell by the way he looked at you at the Texas Wine and Food Festival.”  I thought back to April and the funny guy that I enjoyed talking to by the car on display.

“I liked him, too.  Tell me about him.”

“Harry is about Pirate Boy’s height and build.”  Pirate Boy is 5’7” and petite (that’s a nice way of saying he’s skinny and small for a guy).  Since I dated him for over two years, Portia knew that I didn’t need a tall guy.  “Brown hair, brown eyes.  He’s a mechanical engineer and well liked.”

“And single, right?”  I asked.

“As far as I know.  Since you’re interested, I’ll make sure.”

I was visiting San Angelo for a job interview with Johnson & Johnson (Ethicon), the company that Portia worked for.  I wasn’t sure that I wanted to live in West Texas, but since Portia was like a sister to me, I’d have “family” there.  Also, Austin (my current hometown) was only 4 hours away.  That’s close enough for a weekend visit.  With nothing to lose, I accepted the interview.  At worst, I’d get an all-expenses-paid visit to see Portia.  At best, I’d get a job, and not have to worry about interviewing/job hunting –I could concentrate on finishing school.

I didn’t know that Harry was going to be one of my interviewers.  I was a little taken aback when I saw his name on the agenda that Kathy, the Human Resources (HR) representative, handed me the morning of my interview.  My mind raced; I could tell Portia not to invite him out with us.  ‘Cause I didn’t want him to think that I was hitting on him to get the job.  Then again, he was one of a dozen people that I talked to that day, and they all voted on whether to extend a job offer; so he didn’t have much pull as to whether I got hired.  Jeez, I hate being in this situation!

I put it out of my mind and concentrated on the interviews.  The whole day was packed from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Harry was part of my second interview, along with Ed, the HR manager.  When Harry shook my hand, he said, “Good to see you again.”  Shocked, I was momentarily at a loss for words.  He remembered meeting me in April, 6 months ago?  Cool!

I pulled it together and smiled at my interviewers.  Now was not the time to flirt, it was time to be charming, intelligent, and dazzling.

Harry said, “One of the advantages of working with J&J, is that they have different locations.  I could transfer to Tennessee if I wanted.”

I hope he didn’t want to move; I was looking forward to getting to know him.  Shifting my focus, I concentrated on the human resources rep, because my thought about Harry were too distracting.

After the interview was over (I nailed it, btw), Harry walked me to the next interviewer.  At the door, he shook my hand formally, but smiled warmly and winked.  I blushed and totally wished that it was time for happy hour.

The rest of the interviews went well.  The last interview was the most challenging.  Three interviewers (two engineers and one HR rep) sat with me in a small room and asked me more behavioral questions.  The last question they asked was, “Describe a time where you failed and how you handled it.”

I said the only thing that came to mind.  “My divorce signaled the failure of my marriage.  The root cause, I believe, was communication.  So after the divorce, I studied communicating.  The most helpful books were How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus by John Gray, and How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber.  The last is a parenting book, but it helped me to talk to other adults as well.”

The interviewers seemed to appreciate my answer and thanked me whole-heartedly for my time.  A couple looked like they wanted to hug me.

I was done and thoroughly exhausted at 2 p.m.  Went to the library to check email, called Mom.  I told her, “They have some cool machines, but I don’t want to work there.  Manufacturing is not what I want to do.”

Mom said, “That’s why you do these on-site interviews, to find out that you don’t want to work there.  That’s not a wasted trip.”

“You’re right,” I said, because Mom usually is.  “Still, I felt guilty, especially because Portia was so excited about the possibility of us being neighbors and coworkers.  We wouldn’t work directly together, we’d be in different departments in different parts of the complex, but we could still have lunch together.”

Mom sympathized with me, “Yes, that would’ve been fun, but you’ll find friends to have lunch with, at a job that you like better.”

“I guess.  Thanks, Mom.  I love you,” I said.  She echoed the phrase and we ended the call.

Happy Hour

The pool hall was the next stop.  Portia said that she invited several people, including Harry.  We drank, played pool.

An old man flirted with me, half-heartedly.  “We don’t see too many pretty women in here,” he said.  “You must be new in town.”

I laughed.  “You may be old enough to be my grandfather, but you just made my night!  Thank you!”

Harry showed up with two friends (Jeff and Mack).  Jeff was a hunk: tall (~6’0”, muscular (obviously worked out).  I was tempted, but stayed focused on Harry.  After all, Jeff wasn’t an engineer.  I’ve dated guys without college degrees and they just don’t understand my nerdiness.  I couldn’t talk to Mike the Plumber about physics class and the disparity in our educations made him a little defensive.  So now I’m looking for a guy as nerdy as me.  With a little sigh of regret, I tore my eyes away from Jeff’s pectorals and concentrated on Harry.

He seemed surprised by the attention.

Jeff was miffed that I wasn’t more interested, evidenced by how much he teased Harry.  “Come on, Harry!  Have a drink!”  Then to me he said, “Harry gets drunk after 2 beers.  Once, we drove to the edge of town and drank in the park.  He was falling down after 2 and a half cold ones!”

I just rolled my eyes; like I cared whether a man could hold his liquor.

Portia let her boyfriend Frank lead her onto the dance floor (the open area by the juke box).

“Wanna?” I asked, and nodded in that direction.

“Nope, I don’t dance,” Harry answered.  “But I like watching.”

So I went on the floor by myself.  I’ve never been very shy, and I love to dance, and so I did.

Later, we exchanged numbers and hugged goodnight.  I didn’t have a good read on how well the night had gone.  Sure, he had stuck around until Portia and I said it was time to go; but was he just being a gentleman, so that I wouldn’t be a third wheel?


I didn’t have long to wonder.  The next morning, Harry called me about 9 a.m.  I took it as a good sign that he didn’t wait a day or two to call me.  I agreed to lunch and he picked me up promptly at 11:30 a.m.

After the usual, “Where do you want to go,” conversation, we wound up at Chili’s.

“I love Chili’s,” I told him, “It’s a good, American restaurant with a variety of foods.  You can a hamburger or fajitas, a salad or flatbread pizza – which means that you can decide while you look at the menu.  It’s a great place to bring kids, too.”

“So you have kids,” he said.

“Yes.  Jack is 11 and Sally is 8.  They are blonde-haired, blue-eyed little angels—though I may be a little biased,” I said, and we laughed.

“When did you get divorced?” he asked.

“We separated in August 2000 and our divorce was official in October 2001.  We waited over a year to give the kids time to get used to the idea.  What about you, ever been married?”  I always hold my breath when waiting for someone to answer that question, ever since one guy told me that marriage was forever and he was only doing it once.  Well, duh, don’t we all hope for that?!

“Yes, I was married for just over two years.  She was young and we rushed into it.  We just weren’t compatible,” he said, then quickly changed the subject.  I’m glad; I didn’t want to spend the entire meal commiserating about failed marriages.  “So you went out with Joe back in April, is that right?” he asked.

“Yes.  We got along fine, had a good time.  Talked on the phone once or twice since then.  Guess we just didn’t like each other well enough to have a long distance relationship.”

“That happens,” Harry acknowledged.

“We’re friends now.  Had dinner last night, even.  It was nice.”  I paused, not really knowing where to go from there.  So I did what I always do when I’m nervous and don’t know what to say: I babbled.  “Portia set me up a couple of times before that.  Once was a plumber who left me on my 30th birthday.”

“No!  On your birthday?!” Harry exclaimed, shocked.  He was so animated that, had it been anyone else, I would’ve thought that he was being sarcastic.

“Ya.  And then there was the guy that bought me jewelry and poetry after our first date.”


“I know I’m beautiful, but he went a little overboard.” I rolled my eyes.  “Of course, I was the first person that he dated after his divorce.  Now I have a rule that I don’t date a guy within a year of his divorce.”

“Really?” Harry seemed interested.  I swear his ears perked up.

“Ya.  Guys—girls, too—go a little crazy after a divorce.  They aren’t centered.  Even people like me, who were separated for a long time before the actual divorce, need time to get their heads together.  You know Portia; she really went wild.  She hadn’t been with anyone but her husband, and was kinda of a prude.  Since the divorce, she’s been with three different guys.  She’s like a new person.  I’m ready for her to calm down and go back to normal!”

“You’re right, she has been different since her divorce.  I didn’t know that she was that wild.”

We paused for a minute while he struggled with what to say next.  He surprised me by changing the subject entirely.  “What do you think about San Angelo?”

“Well, I like what I’ve seen so far, which isn’t much!  Are there any parks where we can go hiking?  Or at least go for a walk?”

“Parks, yes—but they’re not big enough for hiking.  I can show you, if you like.”

The park was representative of domestic West Texas: mostly grass, some trees, with an unexpected garden oasis.  We talked and walked for a couple of hours.  The flowers delighted us, we swung on the swings, and in a magical moment under a canopy of green trees, he kissed me.  It was a perfect moment.

“What do you think about joint checking accounts?” Harry asked.

“I had one when I was married.  Not at first; in the beginning, I was writing checks out of two checkbooks and balancing two checkbooks.  That seemed silly; it was just extra work; so we combined our accounts.  Why do you ask?”

“When I got married, I wanted to keep our accounts separate, but Dad said that married people should have joint accounts.  He talked me into it.”  Harry made a face like he just tasted a sour pickle.

“What about the kids?” he asked.

“What about them?  They have a father and a father figure (in my father).  I’m their mother.  They’re good.”

He thought about that for a moment.

“I’m not looking for a dad for them.  I’m looking for a partner for me.”  He accepted that and looked a bit relieved.  I can only imagine that going from single with no kids to being a step dad of two half-grown children would be intimidating.

That night he had a prior engagement and invited me along.  His friend Tanya was in a beauty pageant.  Tanya is a beautiful 20-year-old college student intern at J&J.  She’s about 5’6” with shoulder-length brown hair, brown eyes, and dark that skin implied a Mexican ancestry so common to Texas.

The pageant was interesting: besides Tanya, the contestants included a large girl who barely concealed her nervousness as her family and friends cheered her on and a couple of professional contestants who (we later learned from Tanya) traveled to different pageants.  One of these last women won.  She was a bleached blonde, tanned beauty who looked more like Ms. Santa Monica than Ms. San Angelo.  Afterward we went to a restaurant for dinner with Harry’s family and friends.  She confided how the new Ms. SA had stretch marks and cottage cheese fat that looked awful up close, but weren’t visible in the audience.  Plus it didn’t seem fair that residency wasn’t a requirement; the winner was from Houston, an 8-hour drive away!

Harry dropped me off at Portia’s house with a kiss good night.  I floated in with hearts in my eyes.  I might have to rethink whether I’d accept the job, if I were offered it; San Angelo just got a lot more attractive.


What a great memory!  Come back next week for the second half of this flashback.


Conner the Computer Geek, Pt. 3



2001: Brother Ryan, me, Jack, Sally. Look at their personalities shining through!

Sunday night, my friend Jose was in town from New York, visiting his parents.  Jose and I had been friends for years.  I had worked with his wife Kate, who didn’t come with him this trip; she planned to come down later in the month.  We had double dated when I was married, and even though I was now single and they had moved, we had kept in touch.

I asked Conner to come out with us to happy hour.  He wasn’t interested, so I decided it was just as well: Jose and I might reminisce, and Conner would be bored.


This is part 3 of the Conner story.  I wrote most of it in 2002, while in the thrall of infatuation and added more just this week.  Can you tell the difference in styles?  Enjoy!


We met at PF Chang’s China Bistro, one of my favorite restaurants.

“You look great!  So great to see you!  Order anything you want, I am picking up the tab,” he said.

I laughed and hugged him.  “It’s great to see you, too!”

We snacked on vegetarian dumplings while we discussed what was going on in our lives.

“Kate and I aren’t getting along very well,” he said.  “She doesn’t like the cold of New York, and complains that I mess up the kitchen, or I work too much, or I get in her way.”  He shrugged it off.  “We’ll get over it.  It’s just a rough time, that’s all.”

Then we talked on & off about Conner for the next three hours.  When I told him about the Circus Sex, Jose replied, “I call it Wild Jungle Monkey Love.”  I laughed!  Jose made monkey noises and I almost fell off my barstool!

After we had talked about Conner more seriously, Jose said, “I can see a twinkle in your eyes when you talk about him.  It’s like you light up.  I can tell he makes you happy.  That is bad ass.”

As the night went on and we got drunker, Jose wanted to meet the esteem Conner Jeffers, so we called him up.  He didn’t answer, so Jose decided to prank call him.  He left a message in a fake accent that went something like this, “Yo, this is Jose, and I’m here with your woman.”  Then he thought better of it, and said in his regular voice, “No, seriously, this is Jose, and we’re out having drinks.  We’d like you to join us, so call Julie’s cell phone, okay?  Bye.”

I laughed.  So much for a bad ass prank call!

“Hey, I don’t want this night to end.  Is there a bar where we can hang?” Jose asked.

I smiled.  “Sure!  We can drive down to the Strip,” I said, referring to Guadalupe Street, near the University of Texas at Austin campus.

We left my car at the restaurant, taking Jose’s truck to the Alamo Draft House, then walking to Trudy’s (south), and the Spider House.  The last is a coffee house; we went there to hang out for a while so that I could trust Jose to drive.  He’d had one of Trudy’s famous Mexican martinis and I wanted to make sure that he was ok.

Over cappuccinos, we discussed Neitche and Hitler’s interpretation of his work; it was very intellectual and I loved it.  Jose is working on his master’s degree in Chemistry, so he’s got a college student’s mind.  I’m an intellectual, too, and a college student part-time, so I thoroughly enjoyed our discussion.

“There is one thing that I don’t like so much about Conner,” I confided.  It was the somber, sober part of the night where I set aside my overwhelming infatuation and bring up the things that really bother me.  “He asked me to go shopping with him, you know, to help him pick out clothes.”

“That’s a girlfriend thing, alright!  One of the first things that Kate did was taking me shopping and then, later, throw out my ratty t-shirts,” Jose said with a grin.  “I miss my old Captain America t!”

I smiled back, thinly, and continued on with my serious thoughts.  “Sure, and I did the same thing with Alan, too.  I couldn’t WAIT to throw out his Hunting Beaver t-shirt.”

“WHAT?!  He really had a t-shirt that said…”  Jose broke off, laughing.

As I was thinking that we might need a second coffee to allow him more time to sober up, he cleared his throat and motioned for me to continue.  I said, “Lisa showed up and disagreed with everything I picked out.  I finally quit trying, because Conner sided with her and tried on every faded, second-hand-looking t-shirt that Lisa handed him.  He didn’t even TRY ON one of the shirts that I picked out.”

“Burn!  I mean, well, why did he invite you along at all, if he wasn’t going to listen to you?”  Jose said, puzzled.

“Right!  I don’t know!  I was completely useless.”  I pouted.  Then I noticed that patrons were leaving, and even though the place was open ‘til 2 a.m. (a good two hours away), the crowd was thinning.  “Well, I guess it’s time to say goodnight,” I said, yawning.  “Drive me back to my car?”

“If I must,” Jose said, winking.

We walked back to Jose’s truck.  Jose would drive me to PF Chang’s to get my car, then I’d drive home.  Under the moonlight, walking by friend, I was happy.  I had a good boyfriend, I had good friends, and it had been a wonderful evening.

Jose grabbed me and kissed me passionately.  I pushed him away.  He told me, “I’ve wanted you for a long time now.  Damn, you look good in those jeans.”  He grabbed me again.

“Jose, I’m with Conner.  I don’t want to do this.”  I avoided saying the obvious, that he was married.  And his wife was a really good friend of mine!

“I know, and I totally respect what you two have, and I wouldn’t want to ruin that.  I just want to eat you out.  I want to masturbate in the same room with you.”  Again, he tried to kiss me.

My mind was working overtime.  I could call a cab, but I didn’t have any cash to pay one.  I could walk back to Trudy’s and call somebody.  Damn, I wasn’t sure what street we were on!

I convinced Jose to get in the truck, and he kissed me again, and tried to get me to touch him.  I told him, “No, Jose, no more kisses.  Take me to my car.”  He pulled himself together.

“I am a rat bastard.”  I didn’t argue with him.  I just wanted to get back to my car and get home.  And probably take a hot shower, too, because I suddenly felt dirty.

“You put me in a precarious position.  What do I tell Conner?”  That phrase, over all the others, sobered him up.  Maybe he was wondering if I’d talk to Kate.

“You can’t tell him anything.  If you do, he’ll ask more questions, and suspect more than you’re telling him.  Don’t tell him anything.”  Jose said.

“But a relationship should be based on trust and truth, and I should be able to share everything with him.”  I said.  But would Conner think that I had led Jose on?  Would he?

We finally got to my car and I drove myself home.   When I got there, I called my best friend Renee.  “Oh My God!  Jose kissed me!”  I gave her a brief overview of how Jose had attacked me.  “Should I call Conner?  I don’t need to wake him up; he’s so busy with work; but will he get upset if I don’t tell him?!”

“Don’t call Conner.  He doesn’t need to hear it tonight.  We’ll talk tomorrow.”  I guess she didn’t realize that it was 12:30 a.m.

“Okay; sorry I woke you up!  Goodbye.”  I was a little calmer after talking to Renee, but I was still upset.

Later that day, after some restless sleep, I called Renee again.  She sagely advised me, “Don’t tell him.  Men want to fix things.  If you tell him, he’ll just try to fix it, and there’s nothing to fix.”

I pondered this, and realized that she was right.  What could Conner do, punch Jose?  Call him and chew him out?  That wouldn’t change anything or help anyone.  But even if I had decided to tell Conner, I didn’t have the chance.  He was so busy with work that I scarcely talked to him.  I didn’t see him for several days.

We talked on the phone occasionally, and on Thursday I told him, “Happy three weeks.”

“Has it been that long?” he said, with wonder in his voice.

“Ah, yes.  That’s good, right?  Time flies and all that?”  I answered, uncertain how to take his response.  “Would you like to make it three more?”

“We can try,” he said.

I wasn’t very optimistic.

That night Lisa and the gang got together for happy hour.  I saw Conner there, but he was distant.  He talked to me, but I didn’t feel like he heard me.  It was like talking to someone who was watching TV: I got answers, but I wasn’t sure if he’d remember the conversation later.  He answered every cell phone call that he got, interrupting our conversation and making me feel unimportant.  After two hours of talking to our friends and trying to talk to him, I got fed up and left.

He seemed almost relieved to see me go.  By way of apology (I suppose) told me, “I told you that when I’m in the game, I’m in the game.”  His mind was on business.  I had looked forward to seeing him for almost a week, and as a result of his behavior I was very disappointed and hurt.  He didn’t even walk me out.

His friend Troy held my hand longer than necessary.  He had hugged me closer & longer than necessary at the last happy hour, too, come to think of it.  At least someone was sorry to see me go.

On the drive home, I tried to make sense of it in my mind.  Then I ran a mile to get out the anger I felt.  I walked another mile.  I tried to sleep.  Then I did something I shouldn’t have done: I left a voicemail for him.  “Conner, your priorities seemed to be business first, friends second, Mike’s cat third, and then me.  I don’t appreciate it, ok?”  I hung up the phone, pouting.

Then I came to my senses.  Mike’s cat?!  Did I really just put his roommate’s cat on that list?!  Okay, that’s my fruitcake side talking!

But what I was I really angry about?  I didn’t feel like I was his friend.  On GNO night, he called Lisa, not me.  At happy hour, he leaned around me to ask Troy to help him come up with a business name.  I felt like less than a friend.  I felt like a fuck buddy.  But if that was all that he wanted, why did he say he wanted something more serious?

The next morning I called and apologized for leaving an angry voicemail.  But I didn’t talk to Conner; I talked to his voicemail again.  Later that day, to let him know that I was (more or less) over it, I left him a voicemail asking if he needed help with his work.  He hasn’t called me back.

And that, my friend, is how the story ends.  What started out as a fine romance has ended, as so many relationships do, without a climax.

Renee tells me that it’s not over yet.  She optimistically pointed out that he could still call me.  He may be working.  But if it is over, then I like to believe that all things do happen for a reason.  Conner did help me through a difficult period in my life.  I only hope that I gave him something in return, that he has fond memories of me as well.

Two Weeks Later

“Hey, Jules, this is Lisa,” she said over the phone.

I almost dropped it.  “Uh, hi?” I said, making it sound like a question, because I hadn’t expected to hear from her again.

“Hey, wondered if you wanted to get together and watch a movie?” she asked.  Her tone sounded forced, like she was trying really hard to be peppy and casual.

“Ok, sure?” I said, again making a statement into a question.  I mentally kicked myself.  “Which movie?  Where?”  Ok, I promised myself that I would make at least one statement—without a question mark—in this conversation.  Eventually.

“Well, if you’re ok with Conner joining us, we could meet at his place.  Mike might be there, too.  We’d just be some friends, getting together, hanging out,” she said, again with the casual tone.

“Uh, ok.  Conner’s place, sure,” I said, not really understanding where this conversation was going.

“Ok, I’ll text you the time.  Bye!” she said, and hung up.

I stared at the phone.  What was that?  We’re all going to be friends now?  FRIENDS?!  Conner hadn’t called me after my crazy voicemails.  I had talked to Lisa briefly, and she had made it clear that she didn’t want to be in the middle.  What had changed?  Did they miss me?  Ok, that’s reasonable, but why ask me to a movie at Conner’s house – why not meet a bar or some other neutral location?  I sure as hell wouldn’t invite an ex over to my house, if I wasn’t sure how it would go.

I shrugged.  I didn’t know, so I decided to go.  I dressed in a very casual t-shirt and blue jeans, with minimal makeup and no accessories, to go see my friends (?!).

Movies with Friends

“Hi!  So good to see you!” Lisa said, opening the door and hugging me warmly.

Surprised that she was opening the door to his house, and surprised that her greeting was so enthusiastic.

Conner sat on the couch, cautiously watching me.  “Hello?” he said, with just a touch of question in his voice.

“Hi!” I said, too brightly, infected by Lisa’s generous greeting.  “Which movies did you rent?”

“Comedies,” he said, handing me the boxes.  “Which one do you want to start with?”

Lisa handed me a glass of wine.

“Oh, thanks,” I said, a little surprised.  I chose a movie and handed it to Conner, “Why don’t we watch this one first?”

“Ok,” he said, and put it in the VCR.

We settled on the couch, with Lisa in the middle.  At some point, she got up to fill our glasses, then sat on the other end, forcing Conner to move closer to me.

“Well, I have to go!” Lisa declared.

I jumped at the sudden proclamation.  The movie had only been playing for 30 minutes or so.  “Really?” I asked.

“Yep.  See ya!” she smiled brightly at me, then left.

I stared at the door for a minute, wondering what that was all about.  Why invite me over, then take off?

Conner stretched out on the couch, lying down face down with his head in my lap, stretching his arms out like he was Superman.  “More room for me!” he said.

I laughed.  “What, so now I’m part of the couch?!”

He smiled up at me, and for a minute, it was like we were back to three weeks ago, before he had stopped calling me.  He sat up and reached for me, pulling me into a kiss.  I went with it; I had missed him so much.

When he started to pull up my shirt, I stopped him.  “Conner, what’s going on?  Did you invite me over to act like nothing happened?  Because, I’m pretty sure that we broke up.”

Dumbfounded, he stared a minute.  “We did.  I invited you over because I missed this,” he said, kissing my neck.  “We’re good together.”

I pulled away.  “Do you want to get back together?” I asked.  The whole situation was surreal; suddenly, he wanted me again?

“I didn’t say that.  I just wanted to—you know—have some fun,” he said.  “People do that after they break up, you know, hang out.”

It clicked; I got it.  “Fuck buddy.  You want me to be your fuck buddy,” I said.

He shrugged sheepishly, “Ya, and?”

“Not interested,” I said.  I grabbed my purse and was out the door before he could move.  Because I did miss his kisses; we were good together.  And if I had stayed, I may have caved.  I worked up a good anger; who the hell did he think he was?  Did he really think that I wanted to be his fuck buddy?! I have too much self-respect to be someone’s toy.  If Conner or anyone else wants me, he’ll have to take the whole, crazy, voicemail-leaving package.



Jules Rules

  1. I don’t do Friends with Benefits.  It’s all or nothing, buddy!
  2. If you’re out with a guy whom you are not dating, take your own car, if for no other reason than to avoid awkward rides like the one I had with Jose.
  3. You can leave one voicemail or text.  One.  Think carefully before leaving it, because you can’t take it back or erase it.  I know, from firsthand experience!  “Conner, just ignore the last two voicemails, ‘k?  Call me.”  (Shudder.  I’m embarrassed for the girl in this story.  Can we just pretend like she was someone else?  Like, Lulie or Kulie.)
  4. If the guy’s friend (male or female) is invited to almost every date, then you might want to ask yourself whether you’re willing to date both of them.  Lisa was great, but she kinda harshed my jam.  That is, she made me feel like a 3rd wheel, when she was the one without a date.  How wrong is that?!
  5. If a girl invites her friends to join you on a first date, it’s probably not going well.  If she talks to her girlfriend more than she talks to you, then it’s REALLY not going well!
  6. Married men should not hit on people other than their wives.  Period.
  7. If a person is going on and on about how wonderful her boyfriend is, then DO NOT HIT ON HER.  She is NOT going to fuck you!

Um, that last one – ok, the last two – should kinda go without saying, right?

Here’s to having a good time and a sexy romance, however short the time.  The rug burn and heart break was worth it.

Well, almost.


This was part 3 of the Conner Story, which I hope you enjoyed it!  Next week I’ve got another throwback story for you, from 2005: two engineers in love.  Expect puns and much nerdiness!

Conner the Computer Geek, Part 2


Notice that Gina’s cigarette (left) looks like it’s about to burn some girl’s crotch.


That Friday Lisa, her friend Gina, and I went on a Girl’s Night Out (GNO).  I was a bit unsettled when I realized that if I said or did anything stupid, which I sometimes do when I drink, Conner would hear about it, because Lisa was Conner’s best friend.  But Gina & Lisa were so easy to get along with that I soon forgot my fears.  We talked about Gina’s husband, my two kids, and everything else.  Lisa had also dated Mike, for 2-3 months, so we had that in common.

GNO started out at Saba’s (a bar) and moved to Malaga’s (another bar) where we ordered Portobello mushrooms and artichoke heart dip on crostini.  The fact that we all loved these foods brought us closer together and we drank and giggled over more life stories.  Polly Ester’s was our next stop: an 80’s themed night club where the hardcore dress the part.  We danced, played Ms. Pac Man, and sang Karaoke.  Our song was “Friends in Low Places” by Garth Brooks.

“I’ve got friends in low places, where the whiskey drowns and the beer chases my blues away.  Ya, I’ll be ok.  I’m not big on social graces, think I’ll slip on down—to the O-asis!  Oh ya, I’ve got Friends!  In low places!”

I thought it was fitting.  Lisa had a sore throat, so she didn’t sing, and Gina didn’t know the song too well, but we had fun.


This is part 2 of the Conner story.  I wrote most of it in 2002, while in the thrall of infatuation.  OMG I’m such a dork when I’m in love!  Enjoy!


Conner called to check on us (what a sweetie!).  Well, actually he called Lisa.  Gina pointed out that they had been friends for six years.  After Lisa talked for a few minutes, she passed me the phone.

I told him, “I miss you terribly.”  I couldn’t believe how true that was.  I had seen him the morning before, but I still missed him.  The feeling was made worse by the realization that I didn’t know when we’d see each other again.  He was working all weekend.

He said, “I miss you, too.”  We discussed his visit and soon said goodbye.

I went back to the girls and had a few sips of my drink, then excused myself.  The margaritas were hitting me hard.  I called Conner back and said, “I still miss you.”

He said, “I miss you, too.  Tell you what, we’ll do something tomorrow night, okay?”

Okay?!  I was overjoyed!  I meekly answered, “Okay.  Sweet dreams.”  I was smiling as I rejoined my friends.

Later Gina went home, but that didn’t faze Lisa or me.  We continued dancing.  Since none of the guys were approaching us, I asked Lisa if she wanted to attract some attention.  She said, “Yea!” so I dirty danced with her.  She happens to be a very good dancer.  The guys were all over us in two seconds flat.  Lisa met James, and I tried dancing with his friend Arnold, but the guy kept getting too close.  I brushed him off and went to get another drink.  I had to let down five more guys on the way to the bar!

I knew beyond a doubt that I liked Conner.  Even when I was married, I’d flirt with the guys and even get their numbers.  I never called them, but it was fun to pretend.  If I was unwilling to play that game, I must really like my guy!

I was finally able to drag Lisa out the door.  We went through the Whataburger drive thru (yep, I was drunk enough that I ate a burger AND fries).  Then I crashed in her bed for a few hours before driving myself home.

After waking up early Saturday afternoon, I called Conner to see what time he was coming over.

“When do you want me?” he asked.

It was about 2 p.m.  “Right now,” I said playfully.

He said, “I’m going to take a shower & I’ll be right over.”

“I was joking! Don’t you have work to do?” I said, laughing.

“It can wait until Monday,” he replied.

“Alright, then, can you be here at 4?” I said.  I needed to shower, change, and make a mad dash around the living room picking up kids’ toys and laundry.

He said he’d try.  He was here at 3:40; he was eager to see me!  And he had grabbed McDonald’s hamburgers on the way over.  He remembered that I didn’t eat fried foods, but everything at Mickey Dees is fried, so he took a chance and got me a cheeseburger.  It was so sweet of him that I hated to admit that I hated ALL fast food!  I ate part of one anyway, and promised myself that I’d run an extra mile or two the next day.

We snuggled up on my couch to watch movies.  I had been watching “Hercules” and sang along to Meg’s “No chance, no way, I won’t say it, no, no; it’s too cliché, I won’t say I’m in love.”  Then I turned it off so that we could watch an adult movie.  “Monkey Bone” was funny and sweet.

Afterward I announced that I was hungry, so I took Conner to the Texas Land & Cattle Company.   I wore a little hot pink tank top dress and we were very affectionate with each other in the car: stroking each other’s thighs, kissing at red lights.  I popped in my Garth Brook’s CD and sang “Wrapped up in you” to him.  He smiled at my animated singing and was even bopping along with me by the end of it.

At the restaurant I told Conner about my academic history.  “I attended a high school for gifted and talented students in Louisiana; THE state school for the gifted.  There I earned a full scholarship to LSU, but instead accepted a partial academic scholarship to TCU.  I attended TCU for only a year before meeting and falling in love with my first husband.”  Since my relationship wasn’t the point of the conversation, I kept talking.  “I didn’t return to school for two years, and that was only to take some secretarial classes.  After another marriage, baby, and divorce, I returned to school.  I’ve been in school part-time for a year and a half now, working toward a degree in engineering.”

“Why?” Conner asked.

“Because I can, because I am capable of so much more.  Secretarial duties are boring, repetitive.”  I answered.

“Engineering can be, too!” Conner said.

I was shocked.  I didn’t know what he based his answer on, but I didn’t ask.  “Engineering also pays more.  I’d rather be bored making twice as much money.”  I said, disappointed that he didn’t admire or support that goal.  “But if I decide that it takes too long to get an engineering degree, time spent away from my kids, I can take two classes and have a ‘consolation prize’ of an associate degree in foreign languages (French).  I signed up for the classes and planned to go to school half-days, but that was while I working at my last job, where my boss was understanding and flexible with my schedule.  I may have to drop the classes so that I can work a full-time job.  I don’t know if another employer would let me go to school half-days.”  I had mixed feeling about this; I really wanted a degree, but I needed to provide for my family, too.  “An associate degree isn’t going to help me get a job, but after going to school for so long, I want a diploma.”

Conner was obviously uncomfortable with the discussion.  He changed the subject.  “If this deal goes through, my business can put some money in the bank—to fall back on—and reinvest the other half into equipment.”

While I was interested in his business and appreciated the fact that he confided in me, I felt like we missed something.  He hadn’t appreciated my feelings about school and hadn’t really understood the depth of my feelings.  He didn’t care enough to give me advice or offer support; he just changed the subject.  I felt deflated.  Suddenly, my food lost its taste, and I picked at it as Conner continued to share his business plan.

After dinner we returned to my house and started another movie.

He told me, out of the blue, “I decided where to put ALF.”

“Oh really?  Where?”

“On top of my desk hutch, so I can see him all the time while I work.”  He smiled at me, pleased as can be.  I was thrilled that he liked that old puppet so much!

I asked him his middle name, to which he replied, “Conner.”

“Well then what is your first name?”  I asked.

He hesitated.  It was obvious that he didn’t care for it, but he begrudgingly said, “Charles.”  What a fine name!  Charles Conner Jeffers.

“My brother’s middle name was Conner.  As a matter of fact, you and he have similar noses & face shapes & body types (tall & skinny) & both wear glasses,” I said, surprised that I was just now realizing this.

“Oh really?  So you’re telling me that I remind you of your BROTHER?!” Conner asked, amused.

“Uh, not really.  My brother is an officer in the Air Force, extremely quiet, and very pure.  He speaks Spanish, some German, and Russian; he doesn’t want anyone to understand him.  You, on the other hand, are very communicative, which was one of the many things I love about you,” said, kissing him.

Charles Conner and I were back at the house attempting to watch “Training Day,” a movie that wasn’t very good, when we paused it so that he could take a smoke break.  I called Lisa to check on her first date with James, the guy we had met the night before.  She said it was okay, then asked us to meet them for drinks.

We were the first to arrive at the dive bar near Conner’s house.  One of the waitresses, Holly, was way drunk and regaled us with stories about her and her boyfriend Ray.  “He doesn’t treat me right,” was the summary.

After she left, Conner confided, “Ray is married; Holly is his mistress.”

I replied, “If (heaven forbid) if doesn’t work out between you and me, I’m not dating one of your friends.”

“Thank goodness; we have enough soap opera drama around here,” he said.

Lisa showed up first, wearing a sexy short black skirt.  We had a few minutes to catch up before her date arrived.  James brought his friend Arnold Johnson.  James called him “Johnson,” but the man introduced himself as “Arnold.”  That didn’t faze James a bit; he still called him Johnson all night.  I recognized the man, but he didn’t seem to recognize me; he was one of the guys I had rejected at Polly Esters!

James talked about himself, the police academy, and his future as a small-town police officer the whole time.  Lisa was not impressed.  She and I had some side conversations while the boys talked.  At the end of the night (she later told us) James expected to go home with her.  She set him straight.

Jules Rules: If a girl invites her friends to join you on a first date, it’s probably not going well.  If she talks to her girlfriend more than she talks to you, then it’s REALLY not going well!

Back at my house that night, Conner and I snuggled.  We can never get enough of touching each other.

He looked at me seriously and said, “I want something serious.  I enjoy the sex, but I want more.”

I was very touched, because the implication was that he wanted something serious with me.   I answered, “Just take it slow, okay?”  I was surprised, nervous, excited.  I had just finalized my divorce in October; I wasn’t sure if I ready for a really serious relationship.  Not sure how to verbalize my complex feelings, I changed the subject.  “You’re so handsome,” I said.

“You think I’m handsome?” he asked, rather taken aback.

“Yes.”  He eyed me skeptically, then thoughtfully.  Apparently the thought had never occurred to him before.  Maybe he was realizing just how nearsighted I really was.


Click here for part 3, the last part of the Conner story, where I leave some crazy voicemails and I have a great non-date with a married man.  Expect to see a lot more of Lisa!


Conner the Computer Geek, Part 1



Halloween 2001.  This picture has nothing to do with the blog, I just love it.  Call me She Devil!

Every time the phone rings, I hope it’s him.  Every time there’s a knock on the door, I’m hoping that it’s Conner making a surprise visit.  Every time I kiss him, I get a warm feeling, and I just want to tell him, “I love you.”

My friends haven’t met him yet, but they already like him.  When I told Renee that he’s a bit goofy, she pointed out that goofy was just what I needed.  Jose said that he sounds like a bad ass.  Lee gave him the greatest compliment of all.  She said, “Julie, you sound happy.  I haven’t heard you sound this happy in a long time, especially where guys are concerned.  I’m happy for you, I really am.”  And she’s right; in spite of the fact that I’m unemployed, broke, and just had the worst month of my life, Conner makes me happy.  I giggled out loud in the shower the other day, just thinking about how happy I am.


Originally Written August 4, 2002, this is total cheese!  I wanted to share what I’m like when I’m completely into a guy.  I giggle when I read this, because the 2002-me is so dreamy-eyed and wistful.  The hopeless romantic in me wants this again.


But let me start at the beginning.  I was dating his roommate Mike when we meet.  Mike was a quiet man; I found it difficult to get close to him because his thoughts were so closely guarded.  My friend Jose told me that all things happen for a reason.  Perhaps I dated Mike so that I would meet and get to know Conner.

One day while Mike prepping his boat to go to the lake, he told me to make myself comfortable in the living room.  Conner kept me company.  Mike was such a quiet man that it’s hard to know what he’s thinking.  Conner, however, was refreshingly gregarious.  As we talked, I put my suntan lotion on my body.  At one point I dropped my shorts to put lotion on my hips.  (I was wearing a bikini, of course.)  He did a good job of keeping eye contact, though he later admitted that it was difficult!

We discussed Conner’s business, my kids, and other things; we got along like old friends.  When Mike told me he was ready, I glanced at my watch and was shocked to discover that Conner & I had talked for a full 30 minutes!  I felt that we had shared a lot in those 30 minutes.  I wanted to hug him, and he seemed to want to hug me; but I wasn’t sure how Mike would react, so I didn’t.  I told him that I regretted that he wouldn’t join us and waved goodbye.

Later I told my friend Renee that I liked Conner.  She told me that I had a good thing going with Mike and warned me that the grass is always greener on the other side.  She even said that she had had similar feelings about friends of her boyfriends, but after she got to know the guys, she thought, “What was I thinking?!  This guy is a dork!”  I heeded her advice and tried to keep my mind on Mike.  It wasn’t easy, especially when Mike admitted that Conner thought I was cute!  I told Mike that I liked him, too.  I couldn’t read Mike’s expression, so I changed the subject.

First Date

Mike and I dated for a month.  We just weren’t compatible and parted as friends.  Conner waited two days before asking me out, under the guise of a business lunch.  He could do that because he worked for my company as a contractor.  The conversation rapidly degenerated to raunchy jokes and sexual innuendoes.  At one point he admitted that he wasn’t wearing any underwear; I told him that we had that in common.  He blushed prettily.

I told him a joke about a young virgin who didn’t know how to wear a condom, and he told me that he detested the things.  He admitted that he preferred a fuck buddy; someone who could be a casual friend.  One of my friends said that she would have slapped him and walked off.  I was honest with myself: I had had one or two fuck buddies in the past.  But I’d outgrown that practice.  I wanted a boyfriend.  My heart sank.

He dropped me off in front of my work in full view of my coworkers, which made a goodbye kiss inadvisable, so instead I promised to call him.  The words stuck in my throat; as much as I liked him, I didn’t want to be anyone’s fuck toy.

My friends & I discussed how awkward it would be for me to date my ex-lover’s roommate.  But it had been a short relationship with Mike, and one should find happiness where one could; so I decided to take a chance and emailed Conner.

He made me smile, laugh, and feel pretty.  We emailed.  We talked about everything.  I even had the balls to email him, “Are you looking for a girlfriend or a fuck buddy?”  He emailed me back, “Your choice.”  Then he thought better of his answer and sent back, “That wasn’t a fair answer to a fair question.  I’ve never been good at one-night stands.  I’d really like a relationship.”  I smiled when I read the words; that was the answer I had hoped to receive.

Less than a week later, I was fired from my job as an office manager.  Conner was familiar with the office politics and I should have seen it coming, but it was still a shock to both of us.  The same day I was diagnosed with a heart condition, bigeminal premature ventrical contractions (PVCs).  My family physician referred me to a cardiologist for further tests, to see how serious it was.  A week later I found out that it wasn’t serious and I could continue to run and exercise.  “The diagnosis is on the same level as a heart murmur,” the doctor told me, “Avoid stress and caffeine.”

HA!  As if I could!  I’m a single mom with two kids, and unemployed on top of that!

However ridiculous the doctor’s advice was, knowing that I was fine a big relief.  That week of waiting, however, was very stressful.  Conner was very supportive, though, and I couldn’t have asked for a better friend during that difficult time.  I had already fallen for him before that, but I fell even more deeply as he held my hand and offered comfort.  It’s hard to communicate how much his support meant to me and how much he helped me through that time.  To go back to what Jose said, perhaps I was meant to meet Conner for this reason.

In an email, I asked if Mike was cool with us dating.  I didn’t want to come between two good friends.  Conner said that Mike encouraged it; apparently he was already dating someone else.  I asked Conner, “Didn’t he tell you what a nut I am?  And you still want to date me?!”

Conner replied, “Yes, but he calls me a fruitcake, too.  I figure that since we’re both fruitcakes, we should get along.”  I couldn’t argue with that logic.

Then we discussed our relationship rules.  His were simple: don’t lie and don’t cheat on me.  I respected those; they were two of my own.  Also on my list were “don’t belittle my feelings” and “don’t ignore me.”  I explained to Conner that Justin (the guy I dated in November) was a workaholic.  He would ignore me for days at a time.  Conner assured me that he’d call me and that I’d always know where he was.

“I don’t want to have you on a leash,” I said, “because I wouldn’t want to be on a leash either.  But if I call you, please take the time to call me back.”  He agreed wholeheartedly.

Second Date

Our second date was a week after our first, on a Friday night.  We ate dinner at a nice restaurant then went to see a band and get some drinks at Cool River Cafe.  We didn’t pay much attention to the band; we were too busy talking.   Conner is so easy to talk to, and we have lots in common.

Conner is 6’7” tall.  I’m 5’4” and a size 4.  Conner tells me all the time how small I am!  I love to hear it, because most of my life I was an average height, average size 9, with average brown hair.  Working out (running) has helped me slim down, but the compliments are still wonderful to hear.

Somehow we started talking about Office Space, a movie that played three years ago.  Conner claimed that the machine the characters beat up was a printer, while I claimed it was a fax.  [After watching the movie again, I’m still not sure; it seems to be a combination printer/fax machine!]  He asked how sure I was, and I bet him $10.  He told me that he wouldn’t have bet money; I asked for his suggestion.

He said, “Oral sex, all night.”

I told him, “All night is too open to interpretation.  A better choice would be oral sex to climax.”  He was slightly surprised that I had taken his suggestion seriously, but he agreed.

That three-year-old movie was pretty popular still.  Both the VHS and DVD versions had been checked out of the local Blockbuster.  Rather than traveling around town trying to find it, we went back to my place and consummated our relationship.  Conner later described the event as “Olympic.”

I asked him, “Does that mean that it only happens every four years?”

He smiled, and instead described our time together as “wild circus sex.”

That night was incredible.  We clicked together in so many ways: talking, kissing, etc.  I hated that he smoked, but with a guy this wonderful, I can overlook a flaw or two.

On the phone the next day, he asked me awkwardly about the kids.  He said, “I don’t know the rules, I’ve never dated anyone who had kids.”

“Let me worry about them.  If there’s a problem, I’ll let you know.”  Later I regretted my quick answer and sent him an email explaining that their father (Allen) and I have a pact.  The pact is simply that we won’t introduce the kids to our dates until we’ve been dating over 6 months. This is to protect the kids.  I also pointed out “Jerry McGuire” (the movie) as a bad example: Jerry seemed to fall in love with the kid before falling for his mom.  I don’t want that to happen.  Conner understood, said that he knew people (his sister-in-law?) that had similar pacts.  He assured me, though, that he liked me for me.  He is so sweet!

He loves kids, too.  I can tell by the way he talks about his friends’ kids and his nephews.  He was determined to keep a dinner date with a friend, in part, to keep from disappointing his kids.  That is so sweet.  I missed him that night, but I respected his dedication and thoughtfulness.

Third Date

We didn’t wait another week to see each other.   The following Tuesday I invited him out for lunch.  After we ate, we ended up at an empty building (his company’s former location), locked in a small office, pleasuring each other.  That was the first time I’d gotten carpet burn in years; I had it on my knees and elbows!

He called me the next day and said, “Hello, Monkey!”

“I’m not a monkey!  I’m a Gobo.”  I replied.


I explained that in high school, I was named after a character in the children’s show Fraggle Rock.  I even sung the theme song for him, “Dance your cares away! Worries for another day; let the music play/down in Fraggle Rock (clap, clap) Down in Fraggle Rock.”  I don’t think he understood, but he rolled with it.  After that he called me Gobo.



On Sunday Conner helped his friend work on a roof.  When he told me, I laughed and told him that my sister’s boyfriend, also named Conner, had owned a roofing company!  My sister and I had dated guys named Randy & Brett at the same time (in first & third grades), and later Greg and Craig!  Conner thought that was just too much.

Fourth Date

The next day (Wednesday) we met his friends at happy hour.  I was nervous; what if they didn’t like me? What if I didn’t like them?  Would we have anything to talk about?  I wasn’t even sure what to wear.

The last one was easy enough: I put on a sexy top and a pair of blue jean short shorts and asked Conner what he thought.  The shirt was cut low, so he loved it.

I presented him with a gift bag with several goodies inside:  cookies that I had made, a note that I had written, and a sketch of my Gobo character.  I had also sketched a quick likeness of him; little more than a stick figure, really; I told him that it was just a scribble.  He told me, “That’s a better scribble than I could have done.”  I was pleased with the compliment.

The part that he may have enjoyed the most was an ALF puppet.  ALF (Alien Life Form) was a Muppet that had a TV series in the 80s.  He had recently shown up on a TV commercial and Conner & I had discussed how cool it was to see him.  Conner loved ALF and said that he was going to put him in the kitchen.  He enjoyed the thought of his roommate’s face when he saw ALF!



His friends were easy going and I enjoyed talking to them.  When they asked, I was pleased to tell them that Conner and I had been together two weeks.  He was surprised that it had been that long.  Time flies when you’re having fun, I said, and kissed him.

Happy hour was fun.  It was Linda’s going away party, and she was so sweet that even I was sorry to say goodbye, even though I had just met her!  I almost hyperventilated when his best friend Lisa showed up: if Lisa didn’t like me, chances were that Conner & I wouldn’t last.  But Lisa was great (if a bit distant; I could tell that she had something—possibly work—on her mind).   She & I got along like old friends.

Conner told everyone about ALF!  He was as pleased as a kid with a new toy.  In a way, he was just a big kid with a new toy!  He told the group that I had bought ALF in the 80s, which made the puppet even more special to him.

Conner was so comfortable with his friends that he told them about our nooner.  Even he was shocked when I added that we were in the room for an hour and a half!  I apologized for keeping him so long, but he reassured me with, “Honey, I’m self-employed.  I can take as long a lunch as I want!”  We kissed (not for the first time that night).  We were told (by his friends, no less!) more than once to get a room.

One of Conner’s asked me if I had any cute friends and I told him about my friend Karen.  He gave me his phone & told me to call her, so I did.  My honey made it hard for me to speak: he kissed the back of my neck so gently that I could feel his lips on every inch of my skin.  I was finally able to explain to Karen the reason for my call, but she couldn’t join us.  Just remembering those kisses on my neck warms me.  It’s hard to explain how sweet and sensual they were.

At the end of the evening we all hugged friends goodbye; I felt they had become my friends, too.  Linda told me privately, “Stretch—oh, I call him my son, always have—he’s a good guy.  Take good care of him.  I’ll see you when you two come up to visit.”  She said it with conviction, as if she knew that the two of us would stay together.  She’s a sweet, warm woman.  Even though I had just met her, I hated to see her go!

That night Conner and I had more Wild Circus Sex.  I asked him if all his relationships were so fun.  He answered honestly, “No, usually by this time, we’ve had a fight.”

His candid reply emboldened me, so I stated, “I’ve had more sex with you these last two weeks than I’ve had the whole rest of the year put together.”

He replied, “Honey, I haven’t had this much sex since,” he thought for a minute, “three years ago.”  He kissed me.  “When you’re good together, you’re good together!”

“You are too perfect.  What are your flaws?”  I asked.  “I suppose one would be that you smoke, two would be that you’re not financial stable.”

“That’s true, but once my business is up & running, that’ll change.”  He considered for a moment, then answered me quite seriously, “I have a temper.”

“I do, too.  Sometimes I can be mad for a couple of weeks.”

“Mine is usually over in a couple of hours.”

“Mine can be, depends on the offense,” I replied.  “What else?”

He named off a couple more inconsequential things, which I can’t even remember.  I truly liked the guy.


There’s your dose of cheese for the day!  Click here for part II of the story, including a girl’s night out with Conner’s best friend Lisa.  Will she like me?  Or will she tell Conner to dump me?  Tune in to find out!



Sassy Sally proposes to Pretty Penny



Sally bent down on one knee, holding up the ring box.  Her blue eyes were glowing sapphires in the shade under the trees.

Penny’s mouth gaped for a moment, taking in the scene.  Hot and sweaty from the hike up the mountain, she had stopped to take a break and gaze out over the beautiful view; she had not anticipated this.

Wordlessly, she reached into her pocket, pulling out a similar ring box.  She fell to one knee and held it up, imitating Sally’s posture.

They looked into each other’s eyes, matching sapphires frozen for a moment in time.  Then they started laughing.

“I’m asking you to marry me!” Sally said.

“Well, I’m asking you, too!” Penny answered.

“I asked first, so you answer first!” Sally insisted.

Penny rolled her eyes and leaned over to kiss her girlfriend.

“No!  Answer me first!” Sally again insisted.

“Um, don’t ya think it’s pretty obvious?” Penny replied.

“Say it!” Sassy Sally said saucily.

“Yes!  Alright?  Yes, I want to marry you!” Penny said, exasperated.

Sally rewarded her fiancée with a kiss.  “That wasn’t so hard now, was it?  And I say, ‘yes’ to you, too!”

The Real Story

That’s not how it really happened, but that’s how I had envisioned it.  After all, Sally had teased Penny for months, letting her know that she (Sally) was ready for a ring.

For example, at the mall, Sally said, “Oh look!  There’s a jewelry store!  Let’s go look at rings.”

Penny would look the other way and pretend not to hear, or point at something in another store.  “Oh look, shirts!”

Penny always wore solid color, basic button ups or t-shirts.  It’s safe to say that she isn’t a big shopper.  Sally actually forced her to try on some shirts which had patterns on them, which was way outside Penny’s comfort zone, but she dutifully tried on the shirts, anyway.

Another time, when we were chilling at home, this convo happened.

“I have a Pinterest with all my wedding ideas,” Sally had told me.

“WTF?!  I don’t even have a Pinterest account,” I answered.  “Does Penny know about this?”

“Yes,” Sally said.  “I started it so that she’d pick out the right ring, when the time came.  It also has bridesmaid dresses, and my wedding colors, and…”

I stared at the alien sitting next to me, the alien who had almost certainly taken over my daughter’s body.  Unless it was a doppelganger, and my daughter’s real body was locked in a closet somewhere.  Although some myths state that the doppelganger uses the bones of the person, in which case there wouldn’t be a body to find.

Later, I casually questioned Penny about her feelings on the topic.  “Are you going to pop the question?  Are you even gonna ask her parents’ permission first?”  (For the record, I think asking the parents is old fashioned and I didn’t really expect to be asked.  I was just giving Penny shit.)

“I’ve told Sally,” she said, with what sounded like long-suffering patience, “that when the time is right, it will be a surprise.  But it has to be a surprise.

My daughter is a lot like her mother (and yes, that’s me), in that patience is not her strongest virtue.  So I wasn’t extremely surprised when we had this phone conversation.

“Mom, I spent a little money—not too much, I promise—and I bought Penny a ring.  I’m going to propose to her when we’re on our romantic vacation in Colorado in two weeks!” Sally said, bursting with excitement.  I could see her big grin and how she jumped up and down, even over the phone.

How it went down

Sally and Penny spent the morning hiking around Engineer Mountain, until they were tuckered out.  They drove to lunch, then back to the hotel to wash the mountain dust and sweat away.

“What do you want to do?” Sally asked.

“I dunno, I don’t want to move very much, I’m sore!” Penny said.

“Ok, I know what to do!” Sally said.  See, Sally (like her mother), is a planner.  Plus, she’d been on enough hiking trips with me to know that this moment would arrive, so she pulled a wrapped box out of a drawer in the dresser where she had hidden it.  “Open your present!”

“What’s this?” Penny said, opening it to find the Lego tie fighter kit.  “This is great!”

The ladies took turns putting the pieces together, following the instructions, until they were down to the last piece: the windshield.

“Where is it?” Sally asked innocently, hiding it in her pocket.  “Oh, here it is, under the bed!”  She pulled out a ring box, and told Penny, “You’re my missing piece!”

And she said yes!


Congratulations to the newly engaged couple, Sally Strawberry and Penny Pineapple!  They plan to be engaged for three years, allowing Sally time to graduate with her undergrad degree.  Since both ladies are so very patient and…

I can’t even finish that sentence.