I wish they all could be California Guys! (NOT)

LaPoussie_Wine (2)

Jack and I found some La Poussie at the store and had to text Sally to see if she’d tried any.  #LesbianJoke #Wine

 

The guys here puzzle me.  They talk to me for a little while, then ghost.  That is, they disappear without saying, “Goodbye.”  I’ve even had nice dates where the guy doesn’t contact me after.  It’s possible that their work became busy or they met someone else; but why don’t they send a simple email or text to say as much?  I’ve tried sending messages after a few days, and some guys respond, while others don’t.  Seems like this happened a bit in Texas, but not nearly as much.  How hard is it to send a simple text or message saying, “I found someone else.  Good luck!”?

Full disclosure: I dated two guys that were really nice.  They were home-bodies who liked to watch movies.  One was devoted to classic rock bands and cover bands; the other was devoted to his son.  They were so single-minded that after five minutes of conversation, we had NOTHING to talk about.  Nothing.  I asked them about hiking and sights to see around town, but they didn’t have anything to contribute.  So after two dates with the first guy (in January) and one date with the second guy (last week), I texted, “You’re a super nice guy, but we’re not a match.  Good luck!”

Both guys texted back, “Thanks, good luck to you, too!”

That’s how it should be done, people!  Don’t ghost!  Send a simple text.

Easy peezy, and no one is left asking, “WTF happened?  Did I accidentally say something offensive?  Was there spinach in my teeth?  Did they know that I secretly checked out the waiter, who had a really nice ass?”

Or maybe that’s just me.

The most recent guy that I talked to, Ray, expressed interest in me on Match.com.  Cool, he’s handsome and a year older than me, so I was interested in him as well.  We emailed a couple of times before he asked to talk to me on the phone.  Great, I’m happy to cut to the chase, especially after all the ghosts.

His text was a long one, which is odd.  It was more like an email!  The just was, “I’ve been busy…you seem really smart.  I’ll have to brush up on the Periodic Table before I meet you, haha! I’d like to talk to you on the phone.”

So I responded with a time that worked for me to talk, letting him know, “I like my schedules and lists; I’m a planner. : – )”

He replied, “So do I!  I’m a project manager : – ) I’ll send you an Outlook invite!  Lol”

Great!  So far, so good.

That conversation was in the morning.  That afternoon, he sent me a screenshot of one of my pictures on Match and said, “Looking at a few pics…this one is my favorite.”

This creeped me out a little.  First, he could click a heart on the picture to tell me that he liked it, much like clicking a thumbs up on Facebook.  Second, he now has a picture of me on his phone, and we haven’t met.  We haven’t even talked on the phone at this point.  Third, it’s a pic of me in a Supergirl costume at Comicon, which I don’t consider my best picture, so it’s an odd one to single out.

Then he texted, “Too cute.  Nice to see what you’ll do for family.”

I pondered this.  The picture’s caption is, “ComiCon Dallas, May 30, 2015.  What a great time!  I loved seeing the range of costumes.  Good times!”  My family isn’t mentioned.  He may be assuming that I went for my kids, but that’s a big assumption; I may have been there with a date.  An alternate interpretation is that he cyberstalked me and found this picture on my blog or Facebook page, both of which have pics of Jack and Ed as well.

Weird, right?

It gets worse.

That night, I ran errands and was late making dinner.  Rather than talk to him while my dinner got cold or try to talk around a mouthful of food, I asked for a raincheck on the call.  His answer was, “Of course.  I fly home tomorrow night.”  (He was out of town on business.)

Later, he texted, “Still can’t talk?  I take it you went out?”

Wow, big assumptions!  I could talk at that point; my dinner was long gone.  Since he was in a different time zone, however, I thought he’d be asleep.  No, I didn’t go out; I am quite single and looking for a guy.  If I had a date with a guy, I wouldn’t have scheduled a call with Ray.

I sighed and picked up the phone to call him.

The phone call contained the usual getting-to-know-you chit chat, plus these zingers:

  • I mentioned that my daughter was coming to visit me. He said, “I thought your daughter lived with you, and your son lived elsewhere?”
    • How did he know that I had a daughter & a son? My profile says that I have two kids, but I never specified their genders.  And up to that point in the call, I hadn’t discussed my kids at all.
  • He said that lives at the corner of X and Y street.
    • THAT’S WHERE I LIVE!!
    • Either it’s big coincidence, or he’s STALKING ME.
    • I told him that we must be neighbors; I didn’t confirm or deny that we were in the same apartment complex.
    • He may work for the NSA and be tracking my cell phone’s every move.
      • Eeek! What if he listens to my phone convos and reads my texts?!
      • If he does, he might be super bored. He’ll be sending *me* a good luck test soon!
    • He admitted to guilting me into calling. “I really wanted to talk to you,” he said.
      • On one hand, he is a manipulator.
      • On the other, he owns it.
    • “I travel Monday through Thursday. I think that’s why I’m single.  Could you handle that?”
      • Um, chip on your shoulder, much?
      • “I work Monday through Thursday, attend yoga, and play softball. I wouldn’t miss you during the week anyway,” I told him honestly.
      • “I see where I stand,” he replied huffily, then tried to laugh it off.
      • Ok then!
    • “I don’t believe in dwelling on the past,” he said, moments before asking, “Why did you get divorced?”
      • I answered, “I’d rather not discuss that, at this point. I will tell you that my divorce was final in 2001 and I am well over it.”
    • Since this was Wednesday, I asked if he wanted to meet for a drink on Friday. He countered with, “I have plans with a friend on Saturday, but I might be able to reschedule that, and meet you instead.”
      • He was finding out if I was free on Saturday.
      • He never committed to anything.
    • Later in the call, he asked if I had been to the local winery. “Sundays are fun there,” he said.
      • He was finding out if I was free on Sunday.
      • He never committed to anything.

I am a planner.  I don’t like to sit home alone on Friday and Saturday, and I don’t like to be jerked around.

On Thursday, Ray texted, “You’ve been on my mind a lot today.”

Um, ok?  What do I say to that?  “We’ve talked on the phone once and you haven’t asked me out on a date yet,” I thought.  “I’m thinking about you, too.  Wondering if I should worry about you showing up on my doorstep, stalker!”

Instead of that, I texted an answer to another comment that he’d made.

On Friday, Ray texted, “I’m staying home tonight because I’m exhausted from my travels.  My weekend opened up; let me know if you’d like to grab a drink.  I’d like that very much.”

“Well, Jerk, if you’d like that sooooo much, why don’t you ASK ME OUT ON A PROPER DATE?!” I thought.  “Show some respect!  Don’t treat me like an after-thought or a booty call.  I deserve better than that!”

I might be getting jaded and cynical.  Just a tad.

I answered, “Ok, enjoy your quiet evening at home.”

Which is just what I did.  I poured myself a glass of wine, made myself some nachos, and binge-watched “Elementary.”  I spoil me sometimes.

And *that* is why I didn’t have a date this weekend.  To all you guys who thinks that women can get laid so easily, THIS!!  If I don’t have a date, I don’t get kissed, etc.

On days like this, I call Elizabeth and she expounds on the latest sin that her husband Daniel committed and why she’s so angry at him.  Daniel is a super great guy, but (like most of us) isn’t perfect.  I let her rant, she feels better, then she says, “See?!  Aren’t you glad that you’re single?”

“Thanks, Elizabeth,” I tell her.

“You’re welcome,” she says.  “Any time.  No, really, I can bitch about Daniel any day of the week, just call back if you need to hear more.”

Cheers!

Jules Rules

  1. Do not ask a person why they got divorced in the first call. Or on the first date.  In fact, don’t ask; if they feel like confiding in you, they will.
  2. Don’t infer that a person was with family if they’re dressed as a superhero. Ok, in my case it was true, but I could’ve been there on a date!  Any Doctors in the house?  (Preferably David Tennant-era.)
  3. Ask the person out if you’re interested, to a specific place and time. Don’t feel out whether I have any plans at all, then leave me hanging.
  4. Don’t be a dick!

 

 

3 Bachelors Down, 1 Still in the Running

 

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The Hotel Del Coronado was decked with Christmas Lights

My first weekend in San Diego, I had three guys lined up, and all of them disappointed me in different ways.  Three!

The reason that I made a Match.com account was because Carol told me that I should.  She gave me precise instructions, which I’ve vowed to follow.  Carol, this is all your fault!

Bachelor #1 started out strong with an email that complimented my profile and picked a specific topic to discuss.  After two emails, he asked if he could call me, and I said yes.  We had a terrific conversation!  He asked if I’d like to go out on Saturday, and I accepted.  I like that he moved quickly; it showed real interest, like we had a connection.

But then he sent me a picture and said, “My face looks fat.  I’m not really that fat.”

I laughed, because women are usually the ones who feel insecure about their looks.  So I sent him a full-body selfie and said, “I’m just as fat as I look!”

Now, I’m not perfect, but I do believe that I look good.  I don’t usually call myself the f word (fat), but I was trying to make a point: pictures don’t lie.

He didn’t respond to my jest.  A couple of days later, on Friday, he texted, “Hi, Julie, how has your week been?”

I replied, “I’m about to start driving, can’t talk now, will text you when I get home.  Week has been good!”

Once I was home, I added, “How was your week?”

He responded, “Good.  I was going to ask you if you wanted to meet up for Happy Hour and wait out the Friday traffic.”

Huh.  Ok, nice thought, but too late.  He couldn’t have texted an hour earlier?

I replied, “Oh hey, that would’ve been great, but I’m home now.  How about tomorrow?”  As in, Saturday.  As in, the day that we said that we were going to get together.

“I’m meeting up with a friend at 4 p.m.  I was hoping it would be earlier,” he texted.

OUCH.

I read his words a couple of times, and every time it came back to, “I’ve got a date with someone else on Saturday, so could we do something before that?  You don’t rate a Saturday night date, but I’d like to meet you, in case I want to take you out some other time.  Or, you know, if the other woman doesn’t put out, I’ll definitely schedule you for next weekend.”

Ok, so maybe I read a little too much between the lines.  However, he could have (and should have!) said, “I’d love to take you out for lunch,” or, “I want to take you to this cool brunch place,” or a hundred other ways of letting me know that he really wants to see me.

Instead, he let me know that he’d fit me in, around the date that he’s really looking forward to.

I didn’t text him back.

I pinged Carol, “Can you believe he said this?!”

She answered, “San Diego guys are ducks.  Just go out at 1p.m. or tell him to fuvk off.”

I guess she doesn’t like to cuss.  I answered, “Ok then!”

Bachelor #2 innocently asked me for more pictures.  I told him, “You’ll see me soon enough,” because we had plans to meet up on Friday night.

But then, I thought about it, and a good way to make sure that you’re not being catfished is to ask for a candid, right-now photo.

Definition: Catfish – verb.  When two people meet online, and one posts another person’s pictures fraudulently, leading the other person to believe that he/she is someone he/she is not.  See Catfish the movie, Catfish the TV show, or the life story of Notre Dame football star Manti Te’o.

So the second time he asked me (after some solid conversation), I capitulated and sent a cute selfie.

“More, please!” he asked.

“Your turn!” I answered.

He sent me a quick one, and he looked exactly like his online photos.

So just to be funny, I sent him one of me from Halloween, wearing my pirate costume.  It’s an elaborate costume with head scarf and hat.  The coat, trousers, and boots cover almost every inch of my skin, except my face and hands.

“You look sexy in that pirate outfit!  Is it bad that I got turned on by the pictures you sent me?” he texted.

He texted me that at 9:38 a.m. on a week day.  He was AT WORK.

Just…no.  I don’t sext.

Definition: Sext – verb.  To send provocative and/or nude pictures to another person online via text, email, or some other means for the purpose of arousing them.  See also Cybersex, which involves Skype or another video software.

I didn’t text back.  When he texted later asking how my day was, then I texted back.

“Are you going to take me out for drinks in Little Italy?”  I asked.  San Diego is comprised of neighborhoods (which would be cities back in Texas).  Little Italy is one of the downtown areas.

“Haha, is that where you live?” the Picture King said.

“ATM,” I responded, meaning, “Yes, that’s where I live at the moment.”

“Why don’t you come up to Encinitas?” he replied.

OMG Encinitas is at least a 30-minute drive from downtown, and probably longer at 5 p.m. on Friday, which is when this convo occurred.  It was a major turnoff that he wasn’t willing to drive to come see me, and more of a turnoff that he expected *me* to drive to see him.  Why hadn’t we planned this, instead of exchanging pictures?

“Not tonight.  Just drive up to UTC and back to check out a condo; that was 45 minutes in traffic coming home,” I wrote.

“Would that be an invite for me to spend the night at your place after going for drinkings? :-P” he sent.

OMG I haven’t even MET this guy and he’s asking if he’s going to get lucky!!

“No,” was my reply.

“Okay hah no worries,” he sent.

He and Bachelor #1 tried to contact me a few times after that with, “How are you?” texts, but I didn’t answer.  Creeps.

Bachelor #3 came on strong, calling me as soon as I’d let him and telling me how it’s going to me.

“I’m a Scorpio, baby!  Let me be a man and plan the date!  You say you want to go hiking.  I say, let’s sit on the beach and drink, somewhere nice, so you can be all dressed up and not have to worry about it.  Hiking!  Ha!  I’m wearing the pants, I got this!” he said.  “We’ll go hiking another day.”

I actually laughed.  I thought it was funny that he wanted to take charge; we wouldn’t last long.  But hey, I’m all for trying new things.

Later that day, he texted me, “Send me a picture.”

Uh oh, here we go again.  So I sent him a selfie right then – very little makeup, just me and an old t-shirt.

“Oh baby you’re so beautiful.  Don’t be shy, show me the rest of you.  Give me a full body shot,” he texted.

Sigh.  Ok, here’s me in my old t and yoga pants.  Nothing too exciting.

“You have those huge tits, I love em,” he texted.

  1. Calling me beautiful is one thing, commenting on the size of my chest is another. But, this guy had been great so far, so I tried to salvage the conversation.  “Hey, take it slow!  I’m a good girl.”

“I just meant that you look fantastic,” he quickly clarified.

Ya, right.

“Now send me one of you,” I texted back.  Again, this is a good way to ensure that there is no catfishing going on.

“Now?  I just got done working out.  I’m naked,” he texted.

“LOL no, not naked!  Put some clothes on,” I replied.

About 15 minutes later, he texted, “I’m still killing it at the gym.”

Is he working out naked?  Or did he stop in the middle of the workout to text me and change clothes?

Jack told me, “He wanted to see if you’d accept naked pictures.  That’s what he wants.”

I never did get a candid photo from Bachelor #3.  I refused to text him until I did.  And so, there goes that guy.

Bachelor #4

And then there was this guy.  He sent short answers to my emails, but they were articulate and concise.  He’s handsome and a professional; everything that I wanted.  At this point, I just wanted someone who wasn’t going to ask me for naked pictures.

He asked for my phone number and we agreed on a time to chat.  Except, he got busy at work, and asked if we could meet for a drink instead.  Since I’m much better in person than on the phone (non-verbal communication is a large part of the convo for me), I agreed.

My 2nd week in San Diego, we had a great first date!  On a Monday night, nonetheless!

Even though I’m a total dork and I said this, “My friend from high school is going to be in town this weekend, so I won’t be able to hang out.  I’m letting you know this *now* because, I don’t want you to think that I’m blowing you off.”

He looked at me a little strangely, thought about it, and said, “I understand.  Thanks for telling me.”

And so my 2nd weekend in California, I had a fabulous time with my high school friend.  We visited La Jolla (the Cove and Winden Sea), Coronado Island (which is really an isthmus), and Little Italy (Farmer’s Market and Italian restaurants).  It was truly amazing!

My 3rd weekend will be spent with Bachelor #4 on Friday night and a new guy on Saturday.  Even though I’d like to believe that Bachelor #4 is the man of my dreams, I’ve got to be realistic.  And the reality is that the new guy (#5) asked me to go a play on Saturday before #4 asked me out.  Even though I’d really rather spend the time with #4, because he’s awesome.

More about him another time.  I don’t want to jinx it by saying too much!

But he really is awesome: handsome, smart, sarcastic…and he has great taste in women, because he wants to see me again!

YAY!  Thanks, Carol!

Cheers!

Jules Rules

  1. Don’t ask me for more photos.  I put 10 online and if you’re lucky, you’ll get to see me in person.
  2. Ok, you can ask for one candid.  But don’t make rude comments about my attributes!  (By which I mean my titties!)

Point System

20161201_jns_downtown_sd_night

“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. 

Cons:

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,

successful,

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.

Cons:

I’m opinionated,

demanding,

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):

6’2,

athletic build,

practices same religion,

Lawyer,

good family,

no bad debt,

owns his own home,

owns his own business,

has similar goals,

good family.

Sweet,

kind,

super cute and

smart,

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!

Cheers!

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!

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Poinsettia Tree in Little Italy

 

 

 

 

Cali or Bust! Married in a Year!

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“I can have you married in a year!” Carol Courgette told me, assessing me with her serious gaze.

Shocked by her confidence and her words, I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or run.  “I don’t want to get married!  Been there, done that!” I said.

“Oh, you just want to get laid,” she said, putting down her wine glass.

We sat on the deck of a wine shop in Seaport Village, San Diego, California, overlooking the water.  The weather was a perfect 65F and I was buzzed from the wine that I’d already imbibed.  Mary and I were in San Diego on a house hunting trip, and Carol was sitting next to us.  She had jumped into the conversation when she heard us talking about neighborhoods, and as usual with me, the conversation had turned to dating.

That’s right, I was in San Diego to look for a condo.  I’m moving to Cali!  On Facebook I joked about moving to become an actress; that’s not strictly true, I’m moving for my day job.  If I get discovered one day while looking fabulous in a coffee shop, well, who am I to question fate?

Until then, I’ll see if Carol knows some magic tricks that I don’t know.

“Um, no.  I would like a boyfriend,” I answered.  “What’s your formula for getting me hitched?”

Carol Courgette’s Rules for Snagging a Husband

  1. Don’t put out for a while. Make him wait for it.  Ok, we’ve heard this one before; The Bitch’s Guide to Dating stated, “Don’t give away the jujubes; make him want the candy store.”  Or was it, “Men Love Bitches”?  You know, I get those two books mixed up.  Anyhow, I’m sure that rule has been around for a while; it’s just not very fun, so people choose to ignore it.  Hey, I didn’t say that I ignore it, I said   You know, in general.
  2. Let him pay for the meals. “Wait a minute,” I said, “I like to pay, so that I don’t feel obligated.”  Carol snorted and said, “Guys like the old fashioned shit.  Trust me.”
  3. Create a very specific Match.com profile. Ok, I feel like I’ve been there & done that, then widened the search because the guy I wanted, didn’t exist.  “Trust me,” Carol said.  “I wanted a guy over 6’ tall, blue eyes, professional.  Here sits my husband, the lawyer.”  Can’t argue with that evidence, counselor!
  4. Join clubs, so that you can meet people. Ok, so I feel like I’ve done this before.  Maybe all the engineering clubs are full of men, but they’re either too young, too married, or too…well, not my type.  I need a cool engineer, like me.
  5. Wear sandals; you get used to them. Hey, Mary and I walked all over the city, and through several condos, so I wore sneakers with my dress.  I wasn’t there to pick up guys.  So what if I looked like a tourist – I was one!

I asked a couple of bankers what they thought of these rules (ok, not the last one—that one’s solid).  Yes, bankers—they were nice, we were having a good time, and so I asked ‘em what they thought.  They were married, so they had no vested interest in whether I used the rules or not.  The convo went something like this:

Banker #2 said, “I’m sure it’ll get you married, but it might get you divorced.  You should be yourself.”

Wait, I should be myself and put out as soon as possible?  What kind of a slut does he think I am?  And does he expect a guy to divorce me because I love sex?  Or does he think that I’ll get married and go back to wearing sneakers with dresses?

“Well, uh, I’m not going to comment on whether you should or should not put out.  I do think you should join clubs, so that you can meet people who share your interests.  And then, if you hit it off, great!” the first banker said.

The second banker said, “No, don’t join groups just to meet people!  Join them because you want to be there and want to be doing those things.  If you meet someone, they don’t have to love all the same things as you; you should share some interests and have some things that you do, that he doesn’t, and the other way around.”

“That’s what I said,” Banker #1 (the hot one) said.  Too bad he’s married!  “Join a running club, meet some people, and if you find a guy there to date, then you know that you have running in common.”

“No!  Don’t do that!  If you like running, then join the group, fine.  But don’t do it expecting to meet someone!” Banker #2 (the funny one) said.

“Um, I think you’re saying the same thing, in different words,” I finally said.

Banker #2 wasn’t sure, but he quit arguing.  “So, do you know anyone in San Diego?” he asked.

“No, I don’t,” I answered honestly.  “I’m going for a new job.  It’s exciting and scary and OMG I can’t believe I’m leaving TEXAS!!!”

“Have you visited yet?” Banker #2 asked.

“Yes, my friend and I went house hunting,” I said.

“Ah ha!” he said.  “So you DO have a friend there!”

I just looked at him.  Then I explained verrrrry slowwwwwly, “My friend and I bought tickets and boarded an airplane, so for the short time that we were in San Diego, yes, I had a friend there.  However, since we are now back in Texas, having returned from our trip, I no longer have a friend in that city.”  Like, DUH!  I imported a friend for the weekend!

Ok, that sounds a tiny bit pathetic.  Stay with me here.

“And who is your friend?” he asked, voice dripping with suspicion, leaning forward and glancing slyly at Banker #1, as though saying, We’ve got her now!  She has to confess!

I wonder what I was supposed to be guilty of.  Having a friend?  Having a lover?  Did he think that I was hiding a hot guy in my closet?  Well, sorry to disappoint!

I answered, quite honestly, “My friend Mary.  She’s a 65-year-old grandma, who is a dear friend of mine.  I was very grateful that she agreed to house hunt with me.”

Sigh.  I wish my travel partner had been a hot guy!  (No offense, Mary.  I’m sure you wish that I was a hot guy, too.)

The movers will be here on Monday and I’ll drive into the sunset on Tuesday.  Ok, I’m driving west, so technically, I’ll be driving into the sunrise.  At any rate, I’ll be leaving my beloved Texas, friends, and family behind to start a new life on the west coast.  As much as they’re sorry to see me go, several have promised to come visit.  It warms my heart to have such great friends.  Ah, who am I kidding—they’ll be visiting San Diego, not me!!

And who can blame them?!  The city is gorgeous, the weather is fabulous, and there’s so much to do!  Legoland, the zoo, Balboa Park (which is 140% the size of New York’s Central Park and boasts 17 museums PLUS gardens, and more!), Little Italy, the Gaslamp District, Old Towne, and…what else? Hmmm, what did I leave out?

THE OCEAN!!

Jack told me, “Mom, I don’t like the ocean.”

I answered, “Sweetheart, you’ve never seen the ocean.”

“Yes, I have,” he answered, “I’ve been to Galveston and Port Aransas.”

I stared at him in silence for a moment.  Oh, no, the boy was serious!!  “Um, Jack?  Those are Texan cities on the Gulf of Mexico.  Comparing the Gulf to the ocean is like comparing a bathtub to a swimming pool: they both have water, but they’re verrrrrrrry different.”

He said, “I reserve judgment until I see it.”

His sister first saw an ocean in 2010, on the east coast: she ran to it, jumped up and down like a child (she was a mature 12 years old at the time), and insisted that I splash in the waves with her.  Then we had to build a sand castle—YES WE HAD TO!  It’s MANDATORY when visiting a REAL BEACH for the first time.  At least, that’s what Sally I-Love-the-Ocean-And-I’m-Never-Going-Home Strawberry told me!

So now you know why I haven’t posted in a while.  And now you know that you have much to look forward to: stories of my adventure in a new state with foreign customs!  Ok, so California isn’t really “foreign,” per se, but Trust Me when I say it’s a different culture!  Who knew that you’re not supposed to wear sneakers with a dress!

(Ok, so I knew that.  I was just throwing out a convenient example.)

And I may just have to try Match.com again, with Carol’s pinpoint precision instructions.  Who knows – maybe I’ll actually meet a guy.  And maybe—just maybe—I’ll want to marry him.

Hey, I’m a dreamer!

Cheers!

P.S.  “All my exes live in Texas.  That’s why I hang my hat in San Diego!!”

P.S.S. It’s not strictly true, but I’m going to say it anyway.  Sorry, King George, for misquoting you!

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My sad face when I had to get on the plane leaving San Diego.

Hello, Handsome – Part II

 

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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?

“Yes.”

“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.

Cheers!

********

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 😉

Cheers!

 

Hello, Handsome

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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?!”

“Nope.”

“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.

Harry

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?

Saturday

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.”

“What?!”

“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.

Cheers!

Conner the Computer Geek, Part 2

gno-august-02-2002-close-up

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

GNO

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.

Cheers!

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!

Cheers!