Tag Archives: dating

Have lasso. Will love again. Part IV

Part I

Part II

Part III

Sidebar

Boyfriend. Was I really ready for this?

Our worlds could not have been any different.

I lived in a gated community on the Plaza with a pool and fitness center. My apartment was small, but tidy. I prided myself in stuffing a few of my antiques into the living room and keeping dog hair off the couch. It was cozy.

He lived in a sprawling mansion with two boys. I would later refer to the house as the Man House. Because that’s what it was – a giant house filled with boy things and usually the opposite of tidy. And holy cow you did NOT want to use the bathroom there.

As someone who had been domesticated for nearly the past six years of her life, the man house was crazy foreign to my previous life.  And so were the inhabitants – both living and well… 

Not living.

Yes. Action figures.(Do NOT call them Action Men.) Hundreds of them.

They stared at me from the bookshelves they stood on. Their little beady eyes penetrated my skin. Was I woman enough to share this new boyfriend with them?

I said yes.

Yes, to wanting to see where this would go. Yes to juggling strange sleep schedules. Yes to meeting new  and often unique friends (living). Yes to table top game cards, action figures and comic books. Even yes to that freaking gross bathroom.

But mostly,  yes to this guy I was starting to fall for.

So a summer of sleep deprivation, bar-hopping in Westport, Rock Band playing, movie-watching and road tripping began. I couldn’t have been happier.

But my life wasn’t completely clean of the divorce. Around July the little bits of communication that I still had with my ex-husband got really ugly. Things were said that upset me. Then I got upset for getting upset.

But I’m so happy, I’d say. Why is this bothering me?

It bothered me because it should. Because as much as I was starting to fall in love with the boyfriend, there were still some messy emotional issues I had to face. I didn’t want to. I wanted to dive into this new thing with my whole heart and soul.

But was that fair to the boyfriend?

Whatever. I loved him. He loved me. We told each other that on the night of July 3, 2008.

The next morning on my way home from the man house, I wrecked, totalled my car.  The boyfriend was amazing. He arrived at the scene in minutes. He went to Winsteads and picked me up a butterscotch milkshake.  He held my hand through the process of dealing with insurance and the decision to get my old car that was sitting in my old garage running again instead of buying something new.

It was starting to feel like a relationship. I could depend on him. He could depend on me. We were a team.

And then, without warning, I hit the panic button.

We were at a concert with friends. Suddenly I started to feel like I wanted to cry.

For no reason. Like I was about to have a complete and total meltdown.

I left. I told the boyfriend I needed to home. To my home. Not the man house where I had planned to stay. But my tidy little apartment with my nice furniture and cute candles and snuggly pajamas. He was supportive, a little worried but not concerned. It was probably just PMS, I had told him.

By the time I got home, I was in the throws of an anxiety attack. But why?

Was I not just 20 minutes ago out with friends having fun?

I called Dawn. She was down the street at another friend’s condo. Come over, they said.

I put it all on the table. My doubts, insecurities, the pain of the divorce, the recent harsh things that had been said, this fast-moving, free-falling relationship I had embarked in.

They listened.

And then they asked me another question that I wasn’t quite sure how to answer: Are you ready for this?

I thought I was, but…

To be completed.

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Have lasso. Will love again. Part III

Part I

Part II

Sidebar

I looked up at him from the flowers, a little bewildered.

Doyouwannamakeout?

And as my brain translated his mushed together words, I remembered our conversation about kissing before the first date.

Um, sure? I’m a relatively hip, cool 30 year-old chick, dating multiple men, making out with strangers … why not kiss this red-headed boy before I kick his butt in skee-ball?

I leaned forward and our lips touched (this is weird, really weird) and we started to kiss (this is good, really good).  And then the kiss was over, and I was still standing there, holding a bouquet of flowers looking at this date of mine whose lips I had just been locked with.

What was his last name again?

He opened the car door for me. I didn’t know what to say, so I blurt out something about how he looked like his picture. He laughed, closed the car door and got in on his side. I pulled a gift out of my purse – a weird little pickle statuette that I thought he would find funny.

The ice had been broken, gifts had been exchanged, but there were still first-date nerves kicking around randomly  in my stomach like me trying to keep up with a kick-boxing class. 

We chit chatted all the way to Dave & Buster’s. He was easy to talk to, even if he was little hard to understand at times.

Understandably, he wanted to know why a seemingly normal [attractive, successful, talented, outgoing, smoking hot, sexy…oops, I inserted those.] woman such as myself ended up divorced at age 30. I promised him the story over dinner.

He listened as I told my story while we enjoyed beers before our food.

He shared that he has been in several serious relationships, recently ending a 10-month romance with a live-in girlfriend. 

I kind of already knew that, since I had stalked him on Facebook. Her profile was public and I had also checked her out – tall, blonde,  attractive and seemingly into all the same things he was into. She was also a foodie — someone who I thought would be a good friend to have.  She kind of seemed perfect for him, but what did I know? I couldn’t be intimidated by his past, just like he couldn’t be intimidated by mine.

Dating was so weird.

Besides, I was still trying to force myself to have fun and not get tied down. So while I was enjoying our date, I was trying not to map out our future.

But with him, everything was so easy.

After dinner, we loaded up some Dave & Busters game cards and hit skee-ball. True to my promise I beat him. (Aside from that game and one fluke game of Trivial Pursuit, it stands as one of  the only times I beat him at anything.)

After an hour or so we had enough tickets to claim some prizes in the ticket redemption shop. What to get, what to get.

When you are on a first date, these decisions matter.

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We discovered a pair of battery-powered whirly headbands. Dork-dom to the Nth degree. Awesome. We wore them out of the restaurant, holding hands with stupid plastic headbands buzzing above us.

But my heart was buzzing louder.

Have you ever been on a first date and you just.wanted.it.to.be.over?

This was not that date. With the kiss out-of-the-way, and more kisses during dinner and games, there was no anxiety, only a really strong attraction that was growing and growing. Oddly, it felt like a third or fourth date.

Even though it was well after 11 p.m. on a Sunday night, I couldn’t get enough of him. He took me to his favorite bar in Westport. We had a drink and more conversation. Then, he saw some friends, “c’mon I want to introduce you!”

Woah. Introduce me? On the first date?

After I met several people, he took me to another bar where one of his two roommates was working. Later, the roommate referred to me as the Alyson Hannigan chick. (This became the inspiration for my Band Camp Girl Halloween costume that year)

At some point, I had to go home. He came with me and we talked and kissed way into the wee hours of the morning. (Nothing else happened. It was PG rated. Ok, maybe PG-13.)

The next morning, exhausted, deliriously happy and bed-heady, I walked him down to the front gate. We kissed again as the elevator opened and out walked hot neighbor.

Hot neighbor who was so gorgeous that I often lost my ability to form sentences when I was around him. Hot neighbor who was a lawyer, worked out regularly, kept a great tan and was super sweet. Hot neighbor who could feasibly still think I was on the market and had never seen me with a boy.

I could care less. “Hi, [insert hot-neighbor’s real name],” I said. “This is  [KCFilm Guy.]”  Another kiss and then I was back upstairs to get ready for work.

That night, I had several friends over for a dinner party I’d been planning for a few weeks. I invited KCFilmGuy to stop by if he wanted to, after dinner. It was past 9 p.m., and any normal night I would consider cleaning up my kitchen and heading to bed after a few glasses of wine and a good meal.

But KCFilmGuy wanted to know if I wanted to come to his place and see a movie.

So began a week of absolutely no sleep whatsoever.

KCFilmGuy had a job that started after noon each day. My job started at 7:30 a.m.  I began to feel the effects of my sleepless week.

I wasn’t sure this was going to work out. I really needed my sleep and it seemed KCFilmGuy never slept. At 9 p.m., he’d only been  home from work for an hour or so and his evening was just getting started. At 9 p.m., I had already run a few miles, taken a shower, watched a few shows, eaten dinner and was thinking about bedtime.

But love is a funny thing. It keeps you going, even when you otherwise would be falling asleep at your computer during the day.

What were we doing? We had spent every night together since our date. And when we weren’t together, we were texting. This was so very different from the sporadic but reliable texts and dates I experienced with the other guys I had been seeing.

And speaking of them, what was I supposed to do about them? It was clear that I really, really liked KCFilmGuy, but I was trying not to settle down with anyone. And they were both really great guys. Was I ready to tell them good-bye?

I hadn’t had a chance to figure out the answers to these questions. I was just so tired and happy and confused…so, I put off thinking and decided to live in the moment.

But sometimes, you are confronted with a choice when you least expect it.

It was passed 1 a.m. on Thursday night. KCFilmGuy had made me a late dinner of  his famous tuna casserole (I didn’t have the heart  to tell him I  made tuna helper the night before and also had leftovers for lunch, so the last thing I wanted to put into my mouth was more tuna.)

We were talking on his front porch – we had really lucked out in that we only lived 1.5 miles away from one another – and then he presented something I wasn’t quite prepared for.

“I was thinking that I don’t want to date anyone else. I really like what we have here and I want to see where it can go.”

To be continued…

Part IV

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Bendy Straws – every good story needs a sidebar

IMG_1074

If you’ve been following Part I & Part II of  Have lasso. Will love again, this is a side bar to the main story. The scene: a month before the fiance winked at me on Match.com.

I was dating two guys at once.

As a girl raised to believe dating was for the sole purpose of finding a spouse, and anything else was a complete waste of time and energy, this was a huge milestone.

Dating for fun. What a novel concept.

I was having a blast.

One day, after returning from an appointment with my attorney (those were always a good time,) and picking up some fast food (ah, the days of the post-divorce weight-loss. When I could eat anything and not gain weight…) I returned to my desk to discover a terrific prize inside my paper bag.

A bendy straw.

Oh, how I love bendy straws. They make an ordinary soda into a fun look-at-the-liquid-bend experience. Plus, you can play with the straw — crink. crink. crink. —  bending it back and forth. (My co-workers love me.)

I decided to hold a little contest. I sent the same text to both guys at once. [gasp!]

“Aren’t bendy straws the greatest thing ever?”

I was hoping to see who would respond first. The thought being that the guy who could come back with the first witty response totally “got” me. He and he alone was man enough for my quirky.

Send.

I waited.

And waited.

No response from either boy.

hmmmmm….strange but ok. People are too busy to play my stupid game. Fine.

A little while later one of the guys responded with something stupid about how they are pretty good, but not the greatest thing.

Eh… probably a sexual innuendo in there I purposely overlooked.

Boo.

Months later, I discovered that KCFilmGuy not only loved bendy straws, he had recently purchased the ultimate DIY Drinking Straw from ThinkGeek.com. In true nerd-boy fashion, he showed me a world of bendy straws I didn’t even know could exist.

He was marvelously perfect for me in every way.

And I don’t have to text another guy to figure that one out.

Stay tuned for Part III of  Have lasso. Will love again.

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Have Lasso. Will Love Again. Part II

Part II of Have lasso. Will love again. Part I.

Call me a Match.com conservative, but I would typically respond with a wink back to my winkers. Put the ball in their court and see if they could string a sentence togehter. (You would be so surprised at the level of writing that was out there.)

There was something different about this one. I took a gamble and sent a note.

Within a few hours my phone vibrated, alerting me to a response.

He  had me at cheese. Specifically one of four question in his first e-mail to me: cheddar or Swiss?

I love a man who can talk cheese. I responded with a  diatribe about the intricacies of cheddar and Swiss with the moral that Swiss often gets stuck between wilted lettuce and soggy tomatoes and cheddar gets all the glory.

Ok, so boy could write, boy was attractive and boy spoke cheese, but there were still lingering questions. He was 28. I was 30. Why had he winked at me? I could tell by his profile that he was only interested in women up to 30. Had he not seen that I was pushing 31?  He claimed in his first note to me it was a moot point. But I had to press the issue…

Thanks for squashing my insecurities about being 30. I feel old often, but I think it’s because I re-entered the singles scene and find myself out until 1 a.m. with 23 year-olds who don’t yet want to saw their feet off at the end of the night when wearing a killer pear of stilettos. They also don’t go home and smear on Oil of Olay nor do they have five different kinds of sunscreen for different parts, but I digress…

Yeah, way to be sexy, Stephanie…

Back and forth we went. Witty banter at its finest. I grew more ridiculously happy with each e-mail that was exchanged. For some reason, I wasn’t holding back with this one.

Soon the e-mails moved to texts and became more frequent. Two days after I received the Match.com wink, I was laying out by the pool, exchanging texts with KCFilmGuy, and my phone rang.

It was him.

After letting out some Jr. Highesque squeals, I clicked the green connect button.

“Hello?” (As if I DIDN’T know who it was.)

On the other end was the fastest talker I had ever heard.

“Idecideditwouldbeasiertopickupthephoneratherthankeeptexting.”

<blink. blink.>

Huh?

Eh, go with it. So he talks fast. Big whoop.

Two hours later, I was flushed with sun and infatuation. He  asked me on a date. It was Friday afternoon. We would go out on Sunday. The plan was to hit up Dave & Busters. I thought it was the most genius first date ever. (Later, I learned I wasn’t the first girl he’d taken there, but whatever. I was the last. That’s what matters.)

We talked late Friday night and again on Saturday night. I have no idea what on earth we could have discussed in all that time on the phone, but new relationships are so exciting.

There is one conversation I will never forget. In fact, I will probably be 95, sitting in a rocking chair, embarrassing my grand-kids with the tale of the make-out talk with Mr. Quirky.

Ah, making out. Love it. And during my Crazy Time, I may or may not have instigated making out with random guys. It was harmless, usually in public and always when drunk.  Good times.

Two weeks before I met the fiance, there was a very legendary make-out incident with a stranger in Virginia. It was fantastic.

It turns out, KCFilmGuy also liked to make out with virtual strangers. It was kind of his shtick too.  As a self-proclaimed nerd, he enjoyed flexing his confidence and approaching girls with a single question, “wanna make out?” Some responded with horror/walked away, but sometimes it worked. He wasn’t trying to take these ladies home, he simply wanted to enjoy the contact of kissing an attractive woman.

I liked his style and his confidence.

We exchanged stories.

Then I made the comment that it’s weird that people wait until the end of the first date to exchange a kiss. Why not get it out in the open? I mean, really, there is no sense in going on if the kissing is bad. We all know that.

The conversation ended there. The tension was building and the date was 24 hours away.

D-Day – I went to the pool, picked out my outfit and dinked around online. Nothing terribly special. I was nervous, but more excited than anything. There were certainly not worries of running out of conversation points.

I wore a sheer short- sleeve sweater with a shimmery silver thread and silver wedges with good “butt” jeans.

He was the first guy I had met on Match.com that I allowed to come pick me up at my apartment on the first date.

(Side note: I later found out that he found my apartment the day before so he wouldn’t be late to pick me up. That could have gone either way on the creepy scale, but seeing how things worked out, I now find it adorable.)

My phone rang. He was outside. I scratched Gertie’s head and told her to be good, grabbed my purse and was out the door.

He was unmistakable standing outside my gate. Slender build, red curly hair, freckles, charming smile. I saw a bright mix of flowers in his hand.

I swung open the heavy iron gate and he handed me the bouquet.  Awwww…while I was looking at the flowers, I didn’t quite catch his question, “Wannamakeout?”

To be continued…

Part III

Sidebar

Part IV

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Have lasso. Will love again — my personal dating after divorce story Part I

old StephanieSome days, I look back and it all seems a bit like a dream.

<==== Here I am in 2005 — right around Valentine’s Day to be specific. My ex-husband and I were going to enjoy a night on the town and a free room at the Marriott downtown that I had won at a work event.

I thought I was reasonably happy back then. Life was pretty predictable (or so I thought.)

I had no idea that only four years later I’d be channeling my inner goddess of truth…

Wonder WomanI never really thought of myself as a super hero before.

I never really had to.

But things happened and like many women who suddenly find themselves faced with a very different truth than the reality in which they were living, I had a choice – pull myself together or don’t.

The latter didn’t seem like a very productive option.

And just a month after my separation, I decided to test the dating waters and joined Match.com on a whim, hungover one Sunday morning after a night out with the best girlfriends on the planet.

I figured I could always bail, if the waters got too weird or rough, but why not? After all, my soon to be ex-husband had already more than moved on (and in with)  his relationship. Why shouldn’t I?

Well, we all know there were probably a few good reasons why I should have waited a tad bit longer, but look, doing things the “right” way isn’t exactly my story. Besides, if I had waited, I might not have been around at the right time to meet my now fiance.

But I wasn’t quite ready for him yet…I needed to date. You know, casually date for a while.

And so, I sent my friend Kristin a text telling her that I just signed up for Match.com. Was I crazy?

No, she responded. Absolutely not.

I love Kristin because I knew that was going to be her response, and that’s probably why I asked her and not my more cautious, logical friend, Jessie.

Selective advice seeking, folks. I’m good at that.

Wierd.

Match.com was a weird and wacky place. But still, a fun place for someone who is testing the waters of dating after seven years of being off the market.

Soon, I found myself on my first date. We met at The Blue Koi, one of my favorite restaurants in Kansas City. I was dog sitting for my friend D who lives just around the corner.

As I was standing there waiting for my date, my stomach felt like it was in my toes.

“This is what it must feel like before one jumps out of a plane” I sent that text to Jessie and Dawn.

What was I doing here?

I hated all the other people sitting at the tables. They were all probably married, I thought. They didn’t have to stand here and wait for a strange guy to come in and then wonder if they would have anything to talk about and ohmygodwhatifhekissesme?!

I was seconds from walking right out the door. This wasn’t worth it. I wasn’t ready to go on a date.

But soon, this guy walked in and smiled at me. Thank GOD he looked like his picture, maybe even better than his picture.  Nice eyes. Nice smile. And we didn’t run out of things to talk about.

That was my first date after separation. There were more, of course. With him. With others. I was a wild woman – dating multiple men.

I had to fight my urge to want to get serious with the guys I liked. I fought the temptation to angst over texts unresponded to and get overjoyed by texts I did get.  When I started to try to imagine a future with each guy, I would get right back on Match.com and respond to my many “winks” and e-mails.

Sure, there were moments of weakness when I would gleefully tell my co-workers how big my crush was on so and so. They would roll their eyes at me.  But seriously, I’d say. He’s sooooo cute. Just look at this text he sent!

No, I told myself. This is fun time. Don’t get serious. I clung to my copy of  Crazy Time like it was my Bible.  The book told me that it was ok to feel and act a little crazy during my separation, and even up to two or three years after my divorce.

Oh crap, I thought. Would it really take that long to feel normal again, I wondered.

I knew none of the guys I was dating were “right for me.” Sure, they were good guys, but was I really going to be happy with a landscaper by day, soccer coach by night who was still playing the field at age 37? Probably not. And it was painfully obvious I did not share his love of hunting.

And the very hip and attractive 40-something salesman who was legally separated from his wife but had no divorce date in site? No, not really a good idea, Stephanie.

I’m going to pause and say, I’m so so glad I didn’t have any children. This story would not be the same if I had. I know I’m one of the lucky ones – lucky to get out of a worthless marriage of five years without spawn, lucky to not have that lifelong connection with my ex-husband and lucky to only have the responsibility of a needy Vizsla Lab mix.  I admire my friend Ms Single Mama and all the other single moms out there who weren’t so lucky.

When I wasn’t going on dates, I was enjoying my new apartment, reconnecting with old friends on Facebook (I never had an account when I was married.) and, trying to blog about my divorce without upsetting the settlement process with my ex. Needless to say, I was very careful what I posted here.

I was starting to really enjoy life. Sure, I was really, really sad sometimes. And there were a lot of “firsts” of being back on my own.

But these were part of the healing process.

And then one day, I got a call from my attorney that the divorce was final. It was the weirdest feeling. And a celebration with friends was to be had. (Truth be told, I had my fire engine red party dress ready to go at the drop of a hat.)

And the very next day after a night of wine and many toasts to my future, this guy calling himself KCFilmGuy a self-described “nerd with social skills” winked at me on Match.

He had red hair and a charming smile.

His profile said he loved the Muppets and The Princess Bride.

I had to know more….

(To be continued.)

Part II

Part III

Sidebar

Part IV

[Editor’s note- after I wrote this, I realized my title was a little too close to The Pioneer Woman’s From Black Heels to Tractor Wheels title for her love story with the MM. Completely unintentional, of course, but a correction worth making. ]

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The Hunter

A while back, I posted about this tool.

Last weekend, I inadvertently had another tool run-in. Actually, my friend DD Girl did. But I was with her, so it counts.

Here’s how it went down:

DD meets Dude at friend’s birthday party. (Friend of friend kind of thing)

Dude seems nice, attractive and has a very respectable job. (I’m not saying that career is the only thing of importance, but  this guy’s occupation was something that most people would find admirable.)

Dude engages in a nice chat with DD about their respective jobs, this place we are in etc… He is clearly giving out vibes to DD that he’s interested.

Suddenly, I spot my family doctor and dash off to hug her.

DD and Dude end conversation because it seemed like a nice breaking point.

Later, DD runs into another friend who witnessed her chat with Dude.  DD mentions how nice he seemed and her friend gives her the ultimate female to female warning: STAY AWAY.

See, Dude has a bit of a reputation among his friends. He has given himself the nickname: The Hunter. And, he has been known to call women his prey.

There are a few terrifying things about this experience:

1. Dude seemed by all accounts normal. By association alone, he was earning brownie points.  He was a friend of one of my very respectable friends, and his aforementioned job was respectable. He even had a KU shirt on! (Ok, I’m kidding. We all know you can’t assume a guy is all right by his fan loyalty, but still.)

2. Dude did not give off the typical “creepy” vibe that us girls are used to looking for.

3. Dude could be any guy.

It’s sad really. Have you met Dude or any of his kind? Please share.

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A few good men

They boyfriend and I have been dating six months today.  He’s turned out to be an amazing addition to my life and he’s taught me that there are still a few good men out there.

Unfortunately, some don’t make the cut…

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