Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Lola vs. The Regret

This is actually a post I wrote about a year ago that I never posted. Possibly because it's a bit different and more serious than most of my other posts but also because I'm still friends with the person and I thought it might be just, well, a bit awkward since he was an avid reader of the blog. I think enough time has passed that even if I do post it, it wouldn't matter. Although, I'm sure it would come as a shock to him, if he still reads this blog, that some of this actually transpired in my head.

I got into a conversation over the weekend about how a song can evoke strong feelings about a person and I stubbornly refused to believe I had anything like that in my past. I've always shied away from associating a band or a song with a person because I would never want someone or a period of time to ruin a song for me. But over the weekend, I went to a concert and heard a particular song and suddenly I was transported back to when I wrote this post.

Halfway around the world lies the one thing that you want
Buried in the ground, hundreds of miles down
The first thing that arises in your mind when you awake

I've never had any regrets when it comes to men. I go after what I want, often blindly, and without paying attention to the consequences. And I've done it all proudly with a damn-it-to-hell grin on my face. However, there is one person (or situation) where I've held my subtle-as-a-wrecking-ball mentality in check. I've been thinking about him a lot lately, because it's around the time when I usually see him and because I've been recently accused of being "utterly and completely callous" when it comes to the opposite sex. I wonder what the person who accused me of this would think about this story and about this period in my life.

I guess, if you had to put him in a category- since I do that so often in this blog- he might be TOTGA. I'll let you puzzle that acronym out, readers.

Maybe it was because when we were together our bodies would automatically angle towards each other, or maybe it was because our fingertips were always touching without actually entwining, or maybe it was because in a crowd of 400 plus people we would always, somehow, find our way to each other within minutes but people always assumed there was something going on between us. Which was true. But not in the way everyone thought.

In the seven years we knew each other, our lips never even touched.

I met him when I was in the middle of a horrible relationship that I stubbornly refused to extract myself from due to a seriously misguided sense of loyalty. It was during a happy hour and he knew about me before he met me so the very first time we were introduced, he said immediately- and with what would become the trademark wry smile that I liked so much-,"So you're Lola...I was told in no certain terms that I needed to watch out for you."

The connection was instant, powerful, and skirted just on the edge of burning. James had a checkered past, a knife's edge sense of humor, and a tenable kindness that belied his cadence of speech. He also looked at me through brown eyes flecked with bottle green and a quiet intensity that suggested so much more than I was ready for.

It was a heady combination.

Over the course of about a week, we spent every free moment we could together. There were nights that we were up far, far past the time anyone around us had gone to bed. We snuck out of the bar early once just to walk in the cool night air alone, arms brushing and heads bent close together. When we bumped into someone we knew she lifted a suspicious brow and said simply," I approve." We just laughed because nothing had happened and it was both amusing and awkward that people recognized the tension that had begun to build between us.

I think he had a lot more of an idea what was happening than I did. I remained stubbornly unaware so that I could enjoy the sanctuary he provided.

When it came time to leave and head back to reality I considered extending my trip, ending my relationship, and following him on an adventure before he flew back home. But I got a phone call from the ex that was an apologetic and passionate plea so I ended up heading home to try and salvage my crumbling relationship.

My decision turned out to be a huge mistake but that's another story, for another blog.

Despite my best attempts to work on my relationship, I couldn't stop the pages and pages of emails fraught with unspoken longing that were sent back and forth between James and I. We were very careful about the things we said to each other so that it wasn't inappropriate but there was still an undercurrent of electricity and comfort, oddly enough, that had been missing in my life. He was the first person I ever truly and deeply trusted almost immediately. He was also the first to broach the subject of the dreaded f word by ending one of his emails with "How can I be falling for someone that is so very, very far away from me and who, for all intensive purposes, I don't really know?" 

By the time he actually said the words, I had begun to fall back into my relationship again and decided that it was best to find happiness close to home. But there was always a little part of me that would wonder as the years passed and we remained friends.

A few years ago, suddenly my life irrevocably became complicated and my relationship ended in an explosion that would shatter any need I had to be connected to anyone else. And I went just a bit crazy in my personal life (see all previous posts).

Soon after my life changed so drastically I was confronted with the prospect of seeing James again. And I was surprised at how excited I was. When I first saw him I couldn't control the shaking of my hands or how my body pulsed with an energy I hadn't felt in years. I remember his arms slipping around me and the smell of his cologne as the scratch of his stubble brushed my cheek. He held me tight, my head tucked right under his chin, and I swear, as cliched as it fucking sounds, it was as if no time had gone by. That connection was instantly reignited.

This time he was the one who had someone waiting for him back home. So again we found ourselves in a situation where we couldn't really touch and still managed to spend every free second together. For someone who was so used to getting what they wanted when they wanted it, it was pretty damn near torturous for me. But as screwed up as I was about men, I never wanted to cross that line and break apart someone else's relationship.

Our last night together was spent watching a really, really crappy movie. I don't even remember what it was or who was in it because I was barely paying attention. It was the first time I had allowed myself to be wrapped up in someone- even counting my past relationship- and it felt easy and exciting and fun. When he left my place that night and looked down at me to give me one last hug, I remember chanting in my head just kiss me just kiss me just kiss me because I cannot do it

He didn't.

I knew if I had just said something, done something,  he would have told her. He said as much later on and about how the open ended way we had left things that night had plagued him incessantly. But at the time I had just gotten out of a long relationship and I had that wildness within me that would not be quelled. And my first instinct was to run. Not really a big surprise there, given my track record. I also felt the distance between us was insurmountable and it was too soon and too complicated to handle so I ignored, and then buried, any trace of those feelings.

I remember having dinner a little while ago with our mutual friend who was on holiday in New York and he said to me that when James came back from that first trip, he couldn't stop beaming. That it was entirely obvious to everyone around him how he felt. This friend had also seen us together in person on more than one occasion and remarked, not for the first time, how there had been "this bright, infectious infatuation" sparking between us that was impossible to miss.

"But it's for the best," he said slowly as he watched me through knowing, hooded eyes. "As he's happy with her now. And you're happy with your... multiples."

I remember laughing it off but still, every once in awhile, that intangible what if flickers across my mind unbidden.

To this day I've told very few people in my life about him and what almost happened. I've gotten the "It's never too late" adage several times. But it is too late. Maybe it has to be.

But if I had one regret, it would be that I never took that chance.

A lot of time has passed since writing that and I now know, for sure,  I was never meant to take that chance. Because when tragedy struck my life, he provided an uncomplicated safe haven that I'll never forget and will be forever thankful for.

Besides, there is always a reason why you run. And always a reason why you don't.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Lola vs. Porch Dreams and Perfect Hair

So obviously this post was supposed to go up last September and I just completely forgot to hit the Publish button. It somehow seems fitting to throw it up right now, as it is unseasonably warm for March and I just told someone how I was desperate to start using my porch again. So here you go...

Have you ever had one of those weekends, the kind that is a perfect remedy for an amazingly hellish week? The kind that has the power to loosen up the knot in your gut and remind you just how many people around you actually like your presence in their lives? Well, I had one of those.

It started off on my porch. After work, a friend from my neighborhood dropped by with the generous offer of martinis and music. He had his lemon drop martini and I had my sweet tea vodka, which is basically crack in liquid form, and we sat cross legged on my slider. I proceeded to get smashed and sing along to music while he attempted to psychoanalyze the fact that I have three dates with three different guys, tentatively scheduled within the span of seven days. I know, it sounds bad. But I have a free week and I have to cram this stuff in before my life takes over again. Plus, I get to give them nicknames like Perfect Hair Musician Guy. (Yeah, I know, really not helping my cause here.)

Sometimes all it takes to begin to ease the week's stress is music, martinis, and wicker furniture.

Lucky for me, the weekend got even better. I planned a birthday outing for my friend Z, which included a sangria and mojito filled cuban dinner, a bongo-drum serenade with fedoras, lots of cleavage from a few of my girlfriends, and a slightly ska, mostly maniacal cover band. Z, after I dropped him off at his house at around 3:00am, sent me several grateful texts and then by way of a goodnight sent me a: "Now if you'll excuse me, I must masturbate to all that cleavage before bed."

I guess that means he went to bed happy?

Then after Z's drunken masturbation ramblings, I get a txt from a random friend who decided to surprise me with a little praise. Usually I'm used to deranged compliments like these. So when someone gives me some of the best compliments I've ever gotten, without prompting or expectation, I'm not quite sure how to react. I get a little flustered, a little embarrassed, and very surprised. Especially when the person giving out the compliments doesn't want to sleep with me. Because then I know that they actually mean them.

So my weekend ended as it began, me drinking on my porch listening to the sounds of the night closing in around me. Wondering if I'm actually going to be alive at the end of the week between the dates, the drinks, and the city.

I'll be sure to give you an update on my condition come next week, fellow bloggers...

So several months later, here is my condition: Perfect Hair Musician? Wasn't perfect. The other two dates? Completely forgotten. The city? Irish Bartender. Me? Still alive. Still drinking. Still naughty.

I suppose some things never change.

Now my question for you, dear readers, is what has the power to loosen up the knot in your gut?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Lola vs. Her Oh No No List

I need to give credit where credit is due here. This post is one part Tom Haverford and one part Lola and all parts Mr. O.

Don't know Parks and Rec or Tom Haverford aka the self-dubbed "Brown Ryan Gosling"? You should. But, I suppose I can easily nutshell it for you. When Tom Haverford dates a woman he has something he calls "His Oh No No List". If a woman commits an Oh No No, it could end a relationship. For example, according to Tom, not loving 90's R&B music is number three on His Oh No No List. Not ever having seen a Paul Walker movie- huge Oh No No. Not caring about Bluray? Another Oh No No.

When Mr. O came to me with the idea of a Lola version of the Oh No No List I couldn't really refuse now, could I? After all he has been a loyal reader from the very beginning. Plus the fact that he remembered that I'm a Parks and Rec fan was just the icing on my red velvet cupcake.

In no particular order of importance and in the spirit of Tom Haverford, here is an excerpt from the Lola Oh No No List:

1) Sends me flowers for any occasion. Yuck. And I swear I'm not just being contumacious. I really do hate flowers. All kinds.
2) Wears tighter pants than I do.
3) Doesn't understand sarcasm or its proper uses in the verbal smack-down arena.
4) Pluralizes words like underwear.
5) Throws around phrases like "my stock portfolio" and "those anger management courses I took once" on the first date
6) Cannot name at least one Goonie.
7) Thinks Legos are just kids toys.
8) Has an affinity for driving moccasins or personalized condoms.
9) Uses inspirational quotes via txt message in an un-ironic way.
10) Is a Patriot fan.
11) Does not think Indiana Jones level of cool is something to strive for.
12) Will not let me frequently play with his sonic screwdriver.
13) Whittles some sort of wood and/or also plays the banjo.
14) Is not a fan of delicious flavor.
15) Cannot handle a few shots of Jameson at an Irish Pub.
16) Invites me to his brother's high school play as a second date.
17) Does not red eat meat. Never trust a man who doesn't eat red meat.
18) Has seen The Wire and still does not appreciate the sheer brilliance of names like Stringer Bell. Or running drugs in the projects of Baltimore.
19) Believes that Archer is offensive and trite and gets into an argument awkwardly in front of the wait staff about it with me. On a first date.
20) Makes Oh No No Lists. What can I say? I'm a contrary bitch.

There you have it, readers. Anyone else have any of their own Oh No Nos to add to the list?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Lola vs. The Ideal Man Who Will Kick Her Teeth In

I have men thrown at me on a consistent basis. This has nothing to do with my confidence, looks, or personality. And has everything to do with people trying to rise above seemingly insurmountable odds in order to find me a relationship. These set-up offers, most of which I refuse, have increased steadily over the past year and now seem to be tinged with desperation. As if people don't actually believe I'm happy with my life the way it is.

I worry my co-workers. I baffle my family. Most of my girlfriends look at me as though I'm one of those Chinese Finger traps- useless, strangely designed, and mostly annoying.

It's even become a challenge to the people in the periphery of my life. My deli guy is bound and determined to find me a husband. Not a day goes by that he doesn't ask me if I'm still single while questioning my sanity. Although he also alternates from threatening bodily harm to the guys who walk in there with me to looking at them through pitied, dark eyes and shaking his head as if to say "why do you put up with her?".

I'm not sure if he can be trusted at this point.

My driver, Jimmy the Greek, is so concerned now that I'm over thirty and still single that he has taken to calling up his investment banker clients and forcing me to talk to them while I'm on the way home from long business trips, jet-lagged and disgruntled. I went out with one of them once.

It didn't end well.

There are very few people in my life who haven't jumped on the Must-Get-Lola-Settled-Down-Tomorrow Bandwagon. Possibly because they are convinced I turn men insane. One of them actually compared my lady parts to the One Ring. Maybe some of the guys I've gone out with eventually danced to the tune of crazy but I certainly can't say that I've created a string of bald, drooling Gollums who clutch my picture in their cold hands while whispering,"My precious." Thanks, CT, for giving me that creepy image.

I find it incredibly strange that it's become a thing for people to try and find a guy who will bring me around to the idea of, well, being with them on, yikes, a regular basis. At this point it almost seems less about me and more about who can finally find someone to bring me down so that they can laugh maniacally about it.

Kane generally finds my stubborn refusal to give in to the whole relationship epidemic amusing and has said that he would much rather see me continue my Valentine's day tradition of trampling the hearts of the innocent. However, according to the Notes App on my iPhone at 3:58 am a few months ago, even he has broached the subject of the man who might possibly one day "kick my teeth in." Since I've pieced together our conversation from the absolute mess of drunken words jumbled together in the note, I can only assume "kick my teeth in" is meant in a good way. As best as I can tell the discussion must have gone something like this:

Kane: Smart, definitely. And he has to have an interesting job so you won't get bored.
Lola: Musician?
Kane: (making a deafening buzzer noise) You've been there. Done that. Someone involved with space.
Lola: Space? Like a Jedi? Okay, so he's fictional. I'm less nervous now about the teeth kicking.
Kane: A modern day Jedi. An astronaut. Maybe he's socially awkward about being an astronaut. We don't know.
Lola: Wait- is that an actual job still? And why does he have to be socially awkward?
Kane: LISTEN TO MEEEE.... (I don't think he actually yelled at me during this conversation but it's fun to imagine him yelling at me. Because he's a really great drunk yeller. Like champion drunk yeller. He once got kicked out of a bar at a wedding we both attended after buying the entire bar Patron shots. It was amazing.)... Obviously, when you try and run he won't let you do the actual running. But he'll be so good at making you not run that you won't even realize that you aren't running.
Lola: So basically you've decided that I'll end up with a manipulative stalker astronaut who may or may not have Aspergers and who could potentially tie me up and keep me locked in his basement. Awesome.

Do you hear that you dirty, filthy set-me-uppers? The gauntlet has been thrown. If someone out there can find me the exact man that Kane has described, maybe I'll let my teeth get kicked in.

Or not.