Saturday, June 18, 2011

Your mother should have told you...

When I was 15, I got my first job.  I worked for a second rate women's clothing store that was not part of the mall.  Which, let's be real was the Laguna Beach of my hometown's retail center.  I saw a LOT of disturbing stuff.  The list includes: people peeing in the fitting room, theft, people hooking up in the fitting room, angry customers, people vomiting in the fitting room, crazy coworkers, and customers' husbands/boyfriends commenting on the level of "back" I have.  It was pretty horrible, and yet, it pails in comparison to some of the things you will see as a member of an online dating site.  

By now, you may be thinking, OMFG, would you just quit bitching about online dating and get off it (that's what she said).  I acknowledge the annoyance, but let's face it, there are some weird ass people out there.  They may not pee in fitting rooms or steal things, hell, maybe they do.  All I know is people post weird shit online and need help.  So, I acknowledge this is my heterosexually biased list, but here it is.  This list is based on previous discussions with my old roommate, Kelly.  The top 10 things your momma should have told you not to do in online dating land.  Feel free to add to this in the comments section if I missed anything Swinggles (you know you always can!!).   

Your momma should have told you not to:

10.  Post profile pictures with a lady in it.  I don't care if it is your Great Aunt Marcia and you are kneeling down by her wheel chair at her 80th birthday party.  Stop posting things with other ladies.  Let's be real, it is usually some friend or something.  I get it you have friends.  I like that, but come on, this is a dating website.  It is like looking at a house you are going to buy; you want to be able to picture yourself in (haha) it.  I can't do that with another girl smiling while she drapes her arm around some guy I'm scoping. 

9.  Write laundry lists of what you are not looking for.  This is kind of ironic, but I at least saved it for a blog.  On one of the websites I'm using it says something like "You should message me if..." and you fill in the space with whatever.  One person said people should message him if they weren't weird, worked out, didn't have children, didn't smile too much, had a clear path in life, played solitaire regularly (ok, I made that one up) blah, blah, blah.  I know people have the right to do this.  That's fine.  Maybe he just knew what he wanted.  I get that and will say he is probably engaged right now, but seriously, I voted him off my island.  

8. Message a woman and say things like, "Care for an encounter???"  No explanation needed. 

7. Post a profile picture you took of yourself in the mirror.  There is something creepy about these.  I especially hate the shirtless ones.  

6. Excessively comment about how much you LOVE running and working out.  Please.  (This comes to you from my old roommate Kelly).  

5. Call yourself an entrepreneur when you are really unemployed.  I'm not saying you have to skywrite you are unemployed on the website, but don’t lie.  That is just tacky. 

4.  Use the “About Me” section to fulfill your aspirations of writing your memoir.  Seriously, I saw a post the other day that was about 10 pages long.  I just didn’t care after the 2nd paragraph. 

3.  Select BeaverEater69 as your username.  REALLY?!? Really?!?

2.  Take pictures of your bulge.  I mean, save it for  Maybe some ladies enjoy this, but I just want to recommend a good therapist for these people. 

1.  Message a woman under the pretense that you and your “friend” are leaving the country soon and want to try your shot at a threesome.  This seriously happened to myself and a number of other ladies in the online world. 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The phone call from hell...

Ok swinggler's.  One, I would like to give a shout out to my friends from over seas!  With the rapture upon us and all, thanks for checking in with this.  Even though you may be joining the blog because of a direction from a porn site, we can always find meaning in things we don't always expect, right?

So, tonight I had the worst phone convo ever!!!  I mean ever.  This even trumps a time when I told someone I loved him over text message and he messaged back, "Thanks, I'm flattered."  So, I called this gentleman who gave me his number over the dating website we are using.  I thought he was being cute and wanted to talk to get to know me the "old fashioned way."  He called me today and left a cute message much to the effect of, "Hey Stephanie, I'm working today, but hoped to catch up with you.  Call me back when you can. I'd love to chat."  ADORABLE, right?  That's what I thought, but no.  

I called him back and he answered only to say, "Yeah, Stephanie.  Ummm,  I'm sorry.  Who are you?  I have given my number out to a lot of people this week and I can't place you."  My initial thought was, "Hark, fair Romeo speaks."  Anyway, he continues on to say that he is just a romantic who is "obsessed with internet dating" and hopes to find a genuine connection with another person soon.  News flash douche bag, you can't find a "genuine connection" when you give your number out to every Tom, Dick, and Amber on the face of the planet, even if it is the rapture. 

I continue on with this horrible conversation for some reason.  I learn early into the conversation that he is 36 not working (not because of hard times either) and still lives at home.  He carries on to say going back to community college to become a librarian.  He says he really wants to surround himself with intellectual individuals who need help expanding their minds through research.  Sounds nice right?  Well as we are talking it becomes shockingly clear he doesn't realize the dedication needed to do so!!!  Talk to my friend Stacey who got her MS in informational sciences!!  You can't get a degree from a CC when you need a masters for the profession you are attempting to enter.  Anyway, he continues on to ask me about what I do.  I begin talking about what I do and how I am finishing my dissertation in my area of study.  As I was talking about the workload, he chimes in with, "Yeah, I completely understand where you are coming from.  I tried really hard to get this facebook group going and it didn't work out."  WHAT!!  Seriously, it was horrible.   Kill me, I'm going to live the rest of my life alone.  I only hope I can pay for 1) a good male escort 2) a nice adoption agency.  Oye!

Wait, Wait, Please Call Me!

As human beings, we have an innate anxiety regarding the unknown.  Ernest Becker wrote a whole book about how we go to great lengths to shield ourselves from having to think about the limited nature of existence (It is a kick ass read, but if you were the kid who watched the movie version of everything, you can also watch Flight From Death: Quest for Immortality).  We do this in a number of different ways.  We construct monuments and shrines.  We idolize certain people who fit our example of strength, which is usually someone with power and money.  Basically, there is a shit ton of things we do to try to avoid thinking about unknown events.  While I can totally get a number of these, there is one human dance I HATE as it pushes my unknown anxiety through the roof.  Is it having a near death encounter?  Well, not really, but maybe it should.  Rather, it is the ole is he/she or isn't he/she (he/she=someone one is interested in and chats with or has gone on a date with) going to call, text, write, or communicate in some way?

Granted, while nearly being hit by a bus would throw anyone into re-evaluating their life, the "is he/she going to call me?" bit can stir anyone's emotional engine.  The fact that there is little to no control over whether or not someone calls me back drives me insane.  More insane than thinking people consider the Kardashians to be legitimate "celebrities."

I was just chatting with my old roommate, Brenda, about this very phenomena.  Brenda and I are attractive, intelligent, and insanely hilarious, young professionals, but in our conversation, we transformed into questioning, obsessive, over analyzing, Felicity-type women.  Brenda is one of those super cool headed people (unlike my super neurotic ass), but we shared the constant questioning when it came to waiting for a phone/text/message back.  It is just horrible waiting for that call that sometimes doesn't come.

I think the worst part is trying to decipher the code of the next step of communication.  There is the stupid rule that "You aren't supposed to call for three days" because doing so obviously indicates desperation.  Then there is the obnoxious idea that one person has to wait for the other to call or initiate something before the other does or I don't even know what will happen.  What about my favorite, "What does it mean if I am always the one to initiate the text/call/whatever and they answer, but never initiate themselves?"  Oh and then there is the horror upon horrors, what to do if the person regularly calls/texts and needs to do so everyday.  Oye.  It is all too much for me.  I have no freaking clue what to say about any of these things.

Maybe the best way to approach the whole communication quandary is the same way we approach death; it super sucks and we can spend our lives wallowing in self pity about our predicament or we can breathe, bitch about the situation, drink a glass of wine, and decide how we are going to approach it when we get there.      

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Love Story

For those of you part of the living world, you are probably aware that today marks a day full of anticipation, excitement, and for me, a little sorrow.  You see, today Prince William of Whales married Kate (Catherine) Middleton.  It was a glorious event full of class, a little humor, and a lot of love.  It was a bit of a sad day for me because I, Stephanie Ann Swinggle, used to profess to the world that I would one day marry the prince.  What can I say, from a young age I had big dreams.  I think he made the right choice.  Let's face it, I'm way to rough around the edges to be queen one day.  As one couple sets out to begin their lovely life together, I can't help but think back to the love stories I've had a chance to bear witness to in my life and how grateful I am to have them to ascribe to.

At this point you may be thinking, "Hey, girl! Are you going all sentimental?"  You bet I am, swinggles.  Sometimes we need to be sentimental to add balance to our lives.  Everyday can't be full of jokes about boobie tassels and penis pumps.  I mean, am I right or am I right?  

The most poignant love story to influence my life has to be that of my parents, Momma and Pappa Swinggle.  Theirs isn't one of jewels, fanfare or fame, but one of simplicity, love and dare I say even a little fate.

My parents met at work in their 20's.  It wasn't exactly one of those love-at-first-sight situations, but who cares, they ended up together.  They had an average courtship until my mom experienced a collapsed lung.  Due to the severity, she had to be hospitalized and was restricted from seeing visitors aside from family.  My dad, not one to follow rules, told the nurses he was my mom's brother.  He then walked into her hospital room not on a white horse, in dapper clothing, carrying beautiful roses; rather, he visited in jeans, a t-shirt, hiding McDonald's french fries under his hat to relieve my mom of the terrible diet provided by the hospital cafeteria.  Now is that romantic or what?  When he left my mom told one of the nurses, "You know, he wasn't really my brother."  The nurse answered, "They never are dear."  I don't know if that was the moment my mom knew he was the one she would spend her life with, but for our purposes we'll say she did.

They dated a while longer and eventually married.  One day they happened to be talking about their rival high schools.  My dad said to my mom, "You know, I remember a time when our school played Smithville (my mom's high school) and I saw a hilarious scene from one of your cheerleaders.  I had just gotten done with my ROTC stuff before the game and came out into the hallway.  There was one really cute cheerleader from Smithville who was walking and tripped going up the stairs.  Her skirt flipped up and showed her [enter some word for hind end that probably wasn't as nice as hind end].  She struggled to get up and her friends kept laughing.  She was really cute and had a nice [hind end again]."  My mom just looked at him and said, "Steve, that was me."  So, needless to say, even if they hadn't married, fate tried bringing them together before.

Time passed, they had me and my siblings, and things went on as usual.  There were the usual ups and downs, job losses, trouble with us, excitement with us, the occasional fight, family dance nights, and time for laughing.  Then, my dad was diagnosed with the big C.  Yep, he got cancer.  There's no real way to make that funny unless you're playing Apples to Apples.  In that case, AIDS, CANCER, RAW SEWAGE and ELTON JOHN are always funny no matter what the matching word.

By the time we found it, things had progressed to an incurable point.  Slowly my dad weakened, growing sicker and sicker.  He finally grew so weak it was apparent he would not be with us much longer.  Day and night, I remember watching my mom sit in the recliner by his bedside (the very one that once served as his captain's chair) not wanting to pull away for even a second.  The day before he passed away (I found this out later, of course), my dad opened his eyes to my mom and said, "I'm going home."  With tears in her eyes, my mom answered, "I know."  He said, "Are you coming with me?"  "No," she said, "I can't go right now.  When it's my time will you come back and get me?"  He answered, "Of course."  He died the next day.

Theirs isn't the typical love story; yet it is theirs.  It is a magical blend of universal timing, simplicity and love that formed together to make something I consider really special.  It is because of them I believe in love.  It is because of them and what I saw between them that I hold out and hope to find someone who will sneak me fries when I need it or will sit in the recliner when I'm sick.  Sometimes it is nice to witness a royal love story like we had the opportunity to today.  Other times, it is important to take a step back and look at the real love stories that influence our lives.

To my mom and dad....thank you for inspiring me to believe in love.  I love you.        

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Facial hair, wrinkles, and gray hair...Oh, my!

There are certain events that occur in our lives marking the end of an era.  There is going to a movie or the mall by yourself for the first time, learning to drive, graduation from high school, perhaps another from college (if you are a glutton for punishment like me there may even be one for an advanced degree), the prom, the death of someone we love, meeting that special someone and maybe deciding to share a life together, buying a house, and a slew of other things.  Some of these events are happy, some sad, others thrilling, others scary.  Then there are those events that are...I don't know...what's the word I'm looking for...old feeling?

Before I regale you with all the gory details, I feel I should preface this with a little background info.  Now, I have never been one of those people who looks young for her age.  I have friends who can now pass as 18-year-olds in their late 20's, but I could pass as a late 20-year-old when I was 17.  There was a stint in high school where I looked like a mid-30 tax accountant following a terrible hair-cut that is in all my senior pictures.  All I'm saying, I've never been super young looking, but I also don't think that I look that much older than my actual age now.  I mean, I did get it together when I figured out that straightening my hair with a straightener was necessary as was regularly plucking my uni-brow.

Over the last few months, events took place foreshadowing what was to come.  I overheard a daughter telling her mom she was dating herself by referring to 'Pretty in Pink' in a discussion.  I referenced 'Dougie Howser' to someone and they stared blankly at me.  Finally, some adolescents I come in contact with asked me if computers used floppy disks back in my day.  Still, none of these things prepared me for what was to come.  So, last week, I was talking to a group of young girls about body image.  We were discussing how the media influences our concept of beauty and the pressure placed on people to attempt to live-up to unrealistic expectations.  As we are discussing this and looking at a slideshow (thanks Dr. Neurotic), we got to a picture of an older woman.  One girl goes, "Ugghh, how is being old pretty?"  So, we talk about age and beauty and I say something to the effect, "We live in a culture that glorifies youth.  I say, embrace our wrinkles it just means we are using our faces appropriately."  I was just high fiving myself in my head when one young girl says, "Yeah, you do have wrinkles.  I mean they are only on your neck, but yeah."

Balls.  Oh course I wanted to run screaming to the bathroom to investigate my neck and then make a Botox appointment.  I would never do that, because I don't believe in it, but still my head nearly exploded.  Chalking it up to just youthful challenging, I went to my waxer to get my eyebrows done.  I walk in and she immediately goes, "Oh, it's been a long time since you've been waxed hasn't it."  The truth was, I had just had it done 2 1/2 weeks ago.  It didn't stop there though, she looked at me and said, "Are we doing something about this mustache today too?"  AAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!  Perhaps it was just clever marketing and sales on her part, but SERIOUSLY!  I had her slap some wax on my upper lip pronto.  The worst part though, she had to pluck some nose hair as well.  Punch me in the face.

My week was rounded out by finding my first gray hair yesterday.  Oh well, aging happens.  All I can do is wax, pluck, and embrace. : )    

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Finding water in the wake of a dry spell

Lately, I have been in a slump.  I came to my blog several times these last few weeks, attempted to write a few posts, but was never satisfied with anything that was coming out.  At first I just chucked it up to watching too many consecutive episodes of Criminal Minds.  Then I realized that was just crazy talk.  I mean how could I blame anything on a show with Shemar Moore (am I right or am I right).  Then I thought that my writer's block was the result of ingesting too many Pop Chips these last few weeks.  Not to go all commercially on you swingglers, but Pop Chips are these amazing new chips that aren't baked, aren't fried, they are popped!!  What the hell does this mean and/or have to do with this post?  Nothing much, but it does mean that you can eat like 22 of these delicious chips and it will only cost you 100 calories.  Win, win.  So obviously, this was not the problem. 

I racked my brain trying to figure out why blogging, something that usually comes so naturally to me (like coloring in between the lines, drinking beer really fast, or eating a pound of licorice in one sitting...ask any or my friends, I can really do these things well), was now starting to be a challenge (like the Double Dare kind).  Distressed, I thought I had lost my edge.  I usually always have self deprecating or other people deprecating things to say.  Had I, Stephanie Ann Swinggle grown vanilla?  Did I lose my sass?  Then I had an epiphany!!  No, I had not invented the world's first over the shoulder boulder holder....yeah I just really wanted to put that line in something because I love it (thanks for indulging me); rather, I was having a dry spell. 

What is a dry spell?  Well, swingglers.  A dry spell is best described as my entire adolescence and sporadic parts of my adult life.  More specifically, a dry spell is when one single person (ala me) does not have any other meetings, dates, interactions, talks, or messages with any other individual of the opposite sex for quite some time.  It hasn't been a full out dry spell, but it has been pretty barren.  Let's just say cobwebs may be starting to form in really weird places and where those places are, I will let you use your imagination.

I went on the no-name date a few weeks ago.  I thought it went really well.  He was really funny and awkward.  He could form sentences together and we had a three hour coffee date.  I thought we hit it off.  I mean, even the SS Minno couldn't withstand a 3 hour tour, but I was sure we were destined for greatness.  Well, he told me had back-to-back work trips, one involving European travel over the next few weeks.  We ended things with a hug and a "I'm not sure when I will be back verbalization."  I followed this up with a cleverly composed, "I had fun email."  I have since lost all ground control.  The rational part of me thinks 1) He just wasn't that into me.  2) He was into me, but really is on a trip.  3) Got hit by a car right after our date and is in the hospital unable to call, email, text, or form sentences any longer.  The crazy part of me thinks: 1) He really has a whole other family which is the reason he is having to take these long "trips" 2) He was an ex-boyfriend dressed up in a new man suit to torture me 3) He was a zombie or serial killer so who cares.  : )
With him gone, I really haven't had much going on.  I had one gentleman email me to ask about the "mysteriously amazing waterfall" in the background of one of my profile pictures and inquire where the location of it was because he had "never seen it before."  Yeah, it was a picture of me at Niagra Falls.  Then I have the assortment of 50-year-olds asking if I want to meet for an "encounter."  I am still facebook friends with one of my internet cuties that never amounted to anything.  I'm not sure what happened with that one.  One minute he is giving me his number and texting a lot.  We become facebook friends and then, BAM! POW! KAZAM!  We stop talking.  I still totally creep him, but that's cool.  He'll probably be in a relationship in a week.  Right now, it is just me and my cobwebs.  : )     

Friday, April 1, 2011

You know you're going to be a Spinster when...

My Grandpa Swinggle always use to recite the old saying, "Red sky at night, sailors delight.  Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning."  I used to believe this only referred to the weather.  As I sit here today, I wonder if it can be generalized to other areas of life.  This week has been a week of, what I am coming to believe, may be red skies for me in my life.  No, I don't think a storm is going to erupt in my living room, rather I believe I may be seeing red skies signifying the potential for difficult waters.  With this, of course, I mean I am receiving input that may validate the potential that I, Stephanie Ann Swinggle will end up a spinster.

In saying this, I recognize that spinster is a hot button term.  Some individuals would say it is a term used to perpetuate the stigmatization of single women within a male dominated society.  Single men of a certain age are often referred to as "bachelors" or "playboys" and have images such as the bed hopping 007 or Hugh Hefner (although he is totally getting married, albeit he totally picked the wrong one).  These images often convey the message that the life as an older single man is exciting and hip.  Women of a certain age who are single, however, are often referred to as "old maids" or "spinsters" and have images such as Miss Havisham ruining lives or the scary cat lady conveying the message that if you don't find someone soon you will die miserable and alone.

You may ask yourself, "Well, Stephanie, why the hell would you use this term to refer to yourself?"  Well, part of me is doing it because I'm sick and hopped up on cold medicine.  The other part is because I'm currently watching Being John Malkovich on Netflix.  Finally, the last part of me feels like the term best signifies my fear of not finding someone and I kind of think it is a funny image.  If I can make fun of it, then I won't be hurt, right?

By now you might be saying, "Jeez, when are you going to talk about these red skies and save the rest for your therapist (that's right, I love therapy!!)."  Well, here it goes, the top ten signs I am slowly becoming a spinster:

10. When I am getting ready to change into my pajamas at night, I now have a habit of leaving the pants I've been wearing that day in front of the toilet.  Yep, while I'm completing my nightly ritual I just swap pants right then and there.  So now I have a huge pile of pants in my bathroom.

9.  My grandma who used to be obsessed with asking me if I were dating someone and incessantly prayed I would find my soul mate in her lifetime has resorted to only inquiring about the health of my "little dog."

8.  Going to Costco is the highlight of my month.

7.  I was eying a carpet bag the other day and seriously considered buying it.

6.  My Netflix Best Picks list includes: Bones, Brothers and Sisters, an assortment of romantic comedies and Dogs Decoded.

5. I adhere to a strict 10:30 PM bedtime.  Even my dog is trained to know when it is bedtime.

4. I've already referenced my dog twice in this list.

3. When talking with friends and family about the developments in their lives, they talk of new pregnancies or interesting trips they are planning.  I tell them about the new balcony furniture I purchased at Target, my monthly purchases from Costco, and new developments with my dog (that's three).

2.  Jordan Seligman is engaged.  Jordan was a blond, curly headed stud muffin I tutored in college.  He was a semi-drug dealer, but that just added to his mystique.  I thought he was super deep and philosophical.  It may have actually just been all the pot he smoked, alas.  It's the end of an era.  My hemp shrouded icon found someone.  

1.  The character I most identify with in He's Just Not That Into You is Drew Barrymore.  The thought of that makes me want to kick a baby.  Granted, she finds someone in the end, but still.  I literally have become as obsessed with things as she has and that is just fueling that car to Spinster City.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

What's in a name?

I'd like to say I know quite a few things.  If you asked me questions about classic literature or to quote a line from Scrubs, I could probably do it.  Though I believe there are many things that cannot be known with certainty (such as the nature of our existence), there are others that would really be helpful in certain situations.  For example, I have an afternoon coffee date today with a gentleman who I cannot remember the name of!! 

GASP!  How does this happen you ask?  Well, I deleted our previous conversations that held the name.  You see, we have been chatting online, back and forth, for some ungodly amount of time.  He had to leave the country for work (this sounds legit to me and not like he is a serial killer.  Though swingglers we do want to take precautions to weed out the weirdos as best we can).  Thinking we would never actually meet up, I just deleted our messages.  Now, we are meeting to have coffee and I have no idea how to greet him.  Maybe  a nice, "'m Stephanie!"  Yikes. 

The last time I did not know the name of the person I was going out with it ended disastrously.  I mean disastrously!!  I was a sophomore in college.  A friend of mine who had transferred to another area school set me up with a friend of hers.  She mentioned his name, but I could never fully remember it.  Thinking it would be no big deal to not really know much about him, I agreed to go on a date.  From the beginning things were a nightmare. 

Kyle, we'll call him (I still have no idea what his name was) picked me up 2 hours after he originally said.  Now, you might be thinking, "Maybe he hit traffic."  Yes, swingglers, this would be a possibility if we lived in an urban area at the time, but traffic was never an issue where we lived unless a heard of cows got out.  So he shows up and asks what I want to do.  I said anything sounds nice, but maybe we could see a movie.  He agreed, but wanted to grab dinner first.  I obliged and we headed out.  Not hungry because I had eaten an hour into my waiting for him, I sipped a diet coke while he ate and told me a sob story about how he had a negative balance in his bank account and hoped his card worked to pay for the food.  Not knowing how to respond, I made chit chat about his major.  He said and I quote, "I recently switched majors from History to PE."  I asked him why to which he replied, "I don't really like reading or books."  Yep, he was an idiot.  Unable to release myself from his grasp, the date continued with conversations about politics to which we did not agree on anything, how he intended to be the manager of a professional football team without reading, followed by him paying more attention to the sports on the television in the bar than me. 

Kyle and I then uncomfortably made our way to the movie theater.  He let me go first, so I bought my ticket and waited for him.  He tried to buy his ticket with his credit card, but at the time cash was still king.  I offered to take him to an ATM so he could withdrawal cash, but remember, he had a negative balance because someone "hijacked" his account.  Looking to me to pay for him, I simply asked the ticket holder if I could sell my ticket back.  She said yep and the date ended there.  That's right, I sold my movie ticket back.  Maybe I was too hard on him, but in that moment I thought, "Why should either of us have to suffer through anymore than we already have."  So,  I had him take me home.  Later I heard from my friend that he thought things went really well aside from me not kissing him good-bye.  Kyle or whatever your name is, please.

We will see how this no-name date goes today.  I figure I can't sell coffee back.  Win, Win.  Wish me luck!!       

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

If luck be a lady, then she ain't livin...

Growing up I always wanted to be a glamorous, graceful lady.  I wanted perfect manners, a beautiful "figure", great hair and style, to chew my food in tiny bites, a flirty laugh, men to fall at my feet because I was just so magnificent, and apparently to not have any fun.  I am not this person (which you've probably already figured out if you've been reading) and thank goodness for this.  I drink beer, like to use the word BALLS whenever possible, my laugh is intense, and I am devoid of grace as evidenced by my tendency to fall down.  I floss my teeth in front of the television, eat ice cream directly out of the tub, and love trash tv.  Though I can write these characteristics and interest with ease now, I haven't always possessed this acceptance of myself.  In fact, for a majority of my life I tried to fit myself into a mold of what I thought a "classy lady" was, coming up short each time.  I have always taken the road less traveled, but secretly wanted to take the highway everyone else did.  This has had a huge effect upon my dating life.  I have so desperately wanted to be in a relationship and find that special someone.  Instead of finding that someone who loves the me I love (thanks Carrie Bradshaw), I was trying to be someone I wasn't for people who weren't that great.

Not anymore, swingglers.  Thank the bejesus.  I've gone balls to the walls and am taking no prisoners.  I want someone who loves me for the slightly less graceful lady I am.  To do this, I am being ridiculous and it is awesome.  Seriously, it feels so freeing.  This is the one thing I love about online dating and I HATE online dating.  I can be and say whatever I want and who cares because, like my dad used to tell me, the dudes are like trains and if one doesn't respond or passes me by there is another one along soon.  You're probably asking, "Stephanie, what are earth are you doing to these poor men?"  Well I'm glad you asked because I'm going to tell you.

Yesterday was probably my most crazy written statement to a dude.  I recently read that to date someone hotter than you you have to rise above the standard messages that just say, "Hey, I liked your profile, so I thought I'd say hello" and really wow them by honing in on someone unique to their profile and comment on it.  Well, I didn't quite understand this assignment because I was looking at this one guys profile and I honed in on was his love for potatoes.  WHAT THE WHAT?!? Who hones in on that?  Me, I guess.  So I sent the following message:

"I just wanted to say hello. Also, you said your favorite food is potatoes, but the million dollar question is what is your favorite way they are prepared? I'm partial to scalloped. : ) Anyway, hope you are having a good day." 

ROFL!!!  This is so hilarious and freeing to me.  Of course he hasn't responded, but damn this made my day to send.  I just don't care anymore.  In my mind, if it was right between the two of us he would have responded.  I'm not saying I've totally lost control of reality, but I know me and I know what I need.  I need someone who will love my randomness.  If we can't even connect on basic levels, how are we going to make it when I trip for the hundredth time or fart when I laugh too hard.

The graceful lady I used to want to be would never have sent that message and that's ok because that isn't me.  I'm not that woman who is delicate and graceful.  I don't wait for the tannins to whatever they need to do before I drink wine and I don't say no to fried food.  I just am who I am and thank god for that.  I'm convinced I will find the person who loves me for this.  In the mean time I will live by the words Carrie Bradshaw gave us on the Season 2 season finale:   

Maybe some women aren't meant to be tamed. Maybe they need to run free until they find someone just as wild to run with.-SATC

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Stephanie Swinggle Selects a Series of Stupid Suitors

A few years ago I decided it was time to get a dog.  I was really excited about the prospect of doing it and did all my research in order to make a good decision.  I lived in a big city at the time, so I knew I needed something small, potty trained, non-shedding, and good tempered.  I also knew I wanted to adopt a dog from a local shelter.  Every week, for about a month, I visited the pound looking among the adorable pooches, but never quite feeling like I'd met the "one".  Finally, after weeks of looking, I met Petey.  I remember that day like it was yesterday.  It was puppy day at the shelter.  The local visitors were captivated by the adorable little pooches who did not have a history and were just waiting for a home.  I browsed by them and they were cute, but not my dog.  I looked in a cage next to the puppies at a curly, white little dog cowering at the commotion from the puppy buzz.  I glanced at his information card the shelter provided and noticed all of the criteria I was looking for was selected.   Instantly, I knew he was my dog.  Petey was everything I was looking for in a furry companion.  He has been a great dog and we continue to be good pals.  Let me just say, I pick out a good dog.   

While I have stellar skills selecting a dog, I have terrible skills selecting a suitor.  Maybe it is because life is not like the pound.  You can have an idea or criteria for the type of person you are looking for, but there is no information card that checks off behaviors/skills/temperament based on previous observations.  Online dating offers some of this, but much like puppy hunting it takes time.  Unlike the pound, however, you can't just spend 30 minutes with your date say, "No thanks" and have him put back in his kennel.  Usually, you have to suffer through some sort of awkward encounter.  Boy, have I had a series of awkward encounters.

Last post you heard about my most recent adventure, but there have been a series of them.  Before Herman, there was Jake.  Jake was a 30-year-old program developer for an area company.  He loved programming and loved himself more.  This date was probably the worst out of all of them.  He was super tall (which was good for him because it made it easier to look down on people), super into himself, and super rude.  Right away, I knew we were not a good match.  He came in and instantly seemed uninterested.  That's cool.  Sometimes people just aren't a match.  He came in looking for puppies and found something sassier.  We started talking about our interests.  He droned on about only watching documentaries on Netflix.  I'm not talking about wanting to get a little culture documentaries, but I intentionally want to judge people for not watching these obscure documentaries, documentaries.  Doing an inner eye roll, I pretended to seem interested.  He then began asking where I went in the area and I told him.  He started talking to me about how he used to go to some of the places I mentioned, but since becoming a vegan had shunned all of it.  He followed this up with a discussion about the downfall America as a result of our obsession with consumerism to which I brilliantly said, "Oh, I guess you wouldn't like the fact that I attend Black Friday shopping at Walmart with my mom and sister each year."  Needless to say, he bolted soon after.

Then there was Mark.  Mark was sweet enough and we went out twice, but I'm pretty sure he was gay.
Before Mark was Kent.  Kent was an interesting one.  He worked for a group of attorneys in the area.  He was a nice guy, but strange.  First, I should have known we wouldn't be a match if not else for his annoyingly weak chin.  If you know me you know there are two things I can't stand in searching for a partner, a weak chin and someone who despises the television show Scrubs. (Ok, so maybe not only these two things, but if you don't even pass these criteria, forget about it.)  Anyway, he started the date upset because the place we originally were going to go was having a band night.  This of course messed up his outfit, which he intended for the first place and did not translate to our final meeting place.  Needless to say, I spent a majority of the date reassuring him that 1) The place we ended up was fine 2) His outfit was fine for the place we were in 3) It was ok he loved Star Trek.  The date also felt more like an interview.  At any minute in the date, I was sure he was going to ask me my strengths and weaknesses as his dating candidate.  Ugghh, oh well.

There have been many before these suitors and each of these men had strengths, but just weren't what I was looking for.  I sometimes think of how easy it was for me to figure out which dog was meant for me and I grow frustrated that I can't have the same luck in dating.  I mean, maybe there should be a facility where single people go where there are check boxes highlighting criteria.  Just kidding.  I do have to remember I spent months looking and comparing dogs.  The right one will come up eventually.  Until then, I will continue with my Selection of Stupid Suitors. 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Another one bites the dust...

Growing up, I was obsessed with romantic comedies and heartfelt television shows with an emotional climax (pun intended).  Some of my most coveted scenes have ruined my realistic expectations for what someone will do for my love to a pretty high degree.  You're probably thinking, "Wow, those are movies and television weirdo."  This I know, but I can't help it that I still dream of a Jake Ryan-esque individual showing up to give me my underwear back or that Jordan Catalano type trying to hold my hand.  Hell, I even kind of hope for an Adventures in Babysitting ending where the hot guy I met at an event shows up to return something to me and background music fades into 'And then he kisses me.'  (For additional romantic scenes, see also Dylan McKay and Brenda Walsh's first date 90210 episode and multiple episodes involving Casey and Cappie from Abc Family's Greek).    I'm not completely devoid of reality and know that most of these events will never happen, even if based solely on the fact that I'm way past my age limit for it to.  Yet, I do want some sort of romance.  Isn't that what most of these scenes convey?  Someone taking an interest in another, being interested in their quirks and still going for it.  Well, this probably still happens, but lately my encounters have been anything but.  These scenes are nice to foster a sense of hope (I mean why else would I youtube them over and over).  They don't, however, prepare you for the opposite end of the spectrum.  By this, of course, I mean online dating.   Nothing and I mean nothing, prepared me for what I would find in my online dating adventures. 

Last night I went on date three with, I'll call him, Herman.  Herman is a fairly decent looking guy with a respectable job who consistently emailed me back.  We went out two times before and had a fairly good time.  I mean I didn't want to immediately take my top off when we hung out, but I figured this was a sign of maturity.  Let's be real, college is long since gone and so is that 6'5", mutton chopped dreamboat who paid for my cup at a few keg parties, leaving me all a flutter.  I'm an adult now with standards.  Still trying to figure out my feelings for Herman, I decided to ask him to a movie and dinner at my place before.  He offered to bring dinner in which he would "surprise me."  My heart melted at this gesture leaving me to question, "Is this my Jake Ryan driving in his Taurus to steal my heart?"

He wasn't.  Two seconds after he entered my apartment  I wanted to punch him in the face and eat a bag of chicken strips to heal my wounds.  Herman put the capital D in douchebag.  He walked in and his first statement was, "Wow, this building and the hallway look really terrible, but your apartment looks nice inside."  SERIOUSLY!!  It didn't end there.  Within the first 15 minutes he managed to insult my dog, make 2 comments beginning with, "Not to be racist...followed by a racist statement", and asking me a few times if I get super bored and completely lonely being by myself in my apartment on the weekend.

Now, I'm not trying to criticize this guy, because I genuinely think he is well meaning, just completely clueless.  The slight digs continued.  He looked at my books and said, "Hmmmm, your books really make me think you are into philosophy."  Granted, I love philosophy.  I mean, my pantie dropping book (Pantie dropping book (PDP): A book being read by someone in a public area resulting in an instantaneous reaction by the observer to remove undergarments and hump the individual.  See also: Geek groupie), is a philosophy book (sorry cheeky monkeys, no specific information on what this book might be will be provided).  Anyway, his answer was not "Hey, not my style, but good for you."  It was a scoff followed by, "That's basically the opposite of me.  I only read presidential biographies."  Good for him, eye roll.  My response because I'm done at this point, "I almost bought a biography on Lincoln's life when I went on a girls trip to Springfield, IL this summer."  Yes, it was passive aggressive, but he was asking for it.

The final nail in the coffin, however, came after we viewed a movie.  In the car ride home, he began critizing teachers.  My mom is a teacher of which he is aware, but not.  Needless to say, when his car pulled to a full stop it was everything I could not to do a lunge and roll out of the car.

Well, back to the drawing board.  Herman isn't even the worst of my dating disasters.  There have been many, which you will eventually read about.  And even though it didn't work out with good ole Herman, I am sure I will one day find my Jake, Jordan, Dylan McKay or Cappie.  Afterall, going through the growing pains of dating only prepares us for being able to spot that one good apple reading our PDP.     

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Swinggle Says

By now you may be thinking, "Stephanie, your blog is intensely hilarious, full of spunk, and an accurate depiction of my swinggle life; if only I knew what leading a swinggle life means."  Rest assured, today is that day.  So, sit back, relax, draw yourself a glass of wine, and I will regale the tale of the birth of swinggledom.

This story begins with a simple disclosure.  I also apologize if this is going all Sex and the City on you, but I am blessed to have the greatest friends in the world.  Everyone thinks they have the greatest friends, but I live in the certainty that this is actually true.  Granted, I would venture to say this is a truth for everyone and rightly so.  It is important for us to experience that level of allegiance and care and share it.  With this being said, the story begins with two of my good friends enjoying a leisurely Saturday morning brunch, regaling each other with their frustrations about dating and living a single life.  Dr. Neurotic and Dr. Charlie, as I'll call them, were discussing their spreading body mass and poor hygiene practices, which they attributed to the brutalness of attempting to find a decent companion.   Tired of feeling less than they were, they made a pack designed to shed the bulge, improve overall hygiene, and celebrate the wonderfulness that is them. 

To achieve this, they formulated specific rules such as 1) Maintain a clean, decluttered living space.  Not only will you feel better about your Cleaver-esque abilities, but it will ensure your place is always prepared to invite guests.  2) Floss everyday.  Sure, flossing is a pain, but good oral hygiene is no joke.  In the event you do find that special someone, you don't want them to be able to detect what you had for dinner when you "get close."  3) Trim it up.  No one likes shaving, waxing, or whatever other crazy hair removal practices are out there.  No one likes to snuggle up with Sasquatch either.  4) Exercise.  Not only does it release those good neurotransmitters and promote our health, but it helps firm up that pesky flab.  When we feel more confident about ourselves, people notice.  5) Love you for you.  This is an important one.  The "rules" aren't to try to change ourselves for someone else, rather, it is about taking pride in ourselves and wanting the best for us (body, mind, spirit).  By recognizing our greatness and what we have to offer, we will more likely want to share this with someone worthy.  6) Don't forget your friends.  Time and again I have lost friends once they entered into a relationship.  I'm not unreasonable and know that things will obviously change when one enters into a partnership.  Priorities are different, but this is no excuse to ditch out and give the middle finger to your friends.  They have typically been there through the rough times (ie. Bringing you chicken fingers and Ben and Jerry's when you have a break up, thanks Dr. Neurotic...more on this later) and the good ones.  Be smart, find time to prioritize them too. 

With the formulation of these simple rules to live by, swingglehood was born.  Why swinggle, you say?  Because to be a swingin' single (ie. Swinggle...the Doctors spelled it Swingle, but I believe the extra g is sassy) is not to give up your keys at a group "party" and engage in raunchy escapades with various couples (I mean if you are into that cool.  Frankly that is a lot of limbs to wrestle with and way too much work for me.)  Rather, to be Swinggle is to recognize your inner fabulousness and all you have to offer.  Once you do, you may be surprised how others see you.  So, swing on fellow swinggles. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Head tilt, sigh, "Don't worry, you'll find someone."

I like to think my pet peeves list is rather short.  Sure, it is annoying when I ask for Dr. Pepper at a restaurant and they say, "No, but we have root beer."  It is moderately irritating that no matter how much I spend at Victoria Secrets I never get the good glossy bag.  And hey, I cringe when someone has a weak chin.  There is one thing, however, that makes my skin crawl.  Makes me want to throw myself into a catapult and jet off into the sunset.  The good ole head tilt, sigh followed by the words, "Don't worry, you'll find someone."  Any single person knows exactly what I'm talking about.  It usually comes right after someone asks, "Are you seeing anyone?" and the answer is no.  I want to tell them I'm fine with it and give them a number of a good psychologist because apparently they aren't.  Thinking about the countless times this has happened  sends me into a tizzy of self deprecating analysis, leaving me only to question, where have a gone wrong?

Considering this question, I feel I need to start from the beginning.  No, I'm not talking Genesis, rather Daniel Brent.  Daniel Brent was, well, I don't know how to describe who he was.  Daniel was a good friend of mine from kindergarten.  Yep, I can trace things way back to this time, when I was afraid to go down the slide, hated eating anything green, and loved Little House on the Prairie.  Well, Daniel was a good friend of mine in class.  We laughed, cried, shared our sandwiches with the crusts cut off (j/k, my mom was way too cheap to cut the crusts off), gave each other cooties, and were genuinely good pals. 

Everything was great until Valentine's Day.  He gave me a little bear that said I Love You and a kiss on the cheek.  I was disgusted.  Seriously, don't I sound like a mean little girl?  He gave it to me and I seriously just kind of stared at him like, "What is wrong with you?"  Some kids are good at Candy Land, others puzzles, still others being generally ornery, I apparently was good at stabbing a young boy's dream.  That was the end.  I don't really remember how things happened after that, but I still think of him some days.  Could my current state of spinsterhood be a result of this moment?  Is it possible the disgust I felt at that moment when a nice, genuine, friendly guy attempted to share his feelings set into motion a series of unnatural events in which I am now destined to date loser after loser until I have served my time?   Nah, but I wonder, was I born choosey?         

Saturday, January 29, 2011

In the beginning, I blamed Disney!

You may be thinking, "Great! Another female blogger telling the world about her struggles as a single (although I prefer the term Swinggle) lady."  Some of your contempt may be warranted, but then I think, "Stop reading."

I come to you as a late twenty-something, moderately intelligent, hilariously passionate woman who feels cheated.  Why, do you ask?  Well, because the movies of my youth lied to me.  I grew up watching the Disney classics and witnessing Princess after Princess ending up with her prince.  Never once has there been a Disney movie where the princess ends up with countless bad dating experiences, an advanced degree, and blogging to the world about her awkwardness in the dating world.  Am I right?  The princesses make it look so easy.  Take Ariel for instance, she doesn't even speak an actual word to Prince Eric until the curse is broken and they just get married.  Maybe that is my problem and the result of my current single status, I talk.  Then there is Sleeping Beauty.  Sure, she's pretty, but the prince just kisses her and knows she's the one?  She then returns his advances without even knowing if he has secured employment or a substance abuse problem?  It sounds good in theory and maybe I'm jealous because I don't have her pizazz, but seriously!!

Life isn't a Disney movie.  There is no happy ending.  I know that, yet I think a part of me still looks for it in some real way.  Disney isn't completely to blame for my stunted relationship abilities; yet, I can't help but think some of my current difficulty goes back to these examples of punch drunk love.  Follow this up with the John Hughes obsession I had in my tweens and adolescence and I'm screwed (and not in a good way, if you know what I mean).  The truth is, I'm a non-princess, slightly inappropriate, modern lady trying to see where I went wrong in my dating blunders and personal choices.  Right now, I walk down the street, listening to my MP3 blasting Queen's "Somebody to Love" and asking myself, "Can anybody really find me, somebody to love?"