O-H-I Can’t Even

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I don’t understand football—I never have. It’s not because it’s above me, or overly complicated, but really because I think it’s ridiculous. I know I’m going to lose half my readers with that sentence alone, but hear me out. I see men navigate more emotional highs and lows during one football game than I have during the duration of any of my relationships. Maybe, I’m just bitter because football gets more male attention than I do, or perhaps I just think it’s absurd to allow oneself to act completely belligerent over a game. As a child I’d run to my father’s arms after watching a terrifying episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark, and he would hold me and say, “Lizzy, why do you watch these things if it upsets you?” The only response I ever uttered was, “Well you watch football….?”

On Saturday I, along with several other miserable servers, catered a tailgate party during Ohio State’s homecoming. If you aren’t from Ohio than I’m sure you believe your hometown has the most ardent and true football fans this great country has ever seen—but you’re wrong. You are so wrong. Ohio State fans are some of the most blood-thirsty, emotionally unstable people you will ever meet, and they take intoxication to an entire new level. The thing is Ohioans, along with most mid-western people, are actually really kind. Ohio has more colleges and universities per capita than any other state. We are extremely intelligent, modest people—until you bring up football—and then everything goes to hell. Individually, fans are helpful and cheery, as a group they bleed scarlet and grey—which is a horribly disturbing motto. Once during an OSU-Michigan game tailgate, I watched a man drive up to a group of fans with a stuffed dummy in a make-shift Michigan football helmet strapped to the hood of his car. The man then proceeded to turn off his engine, get out of the car, and hand bats to the people in the group. All together they joined in beating the dummy with bats as they sang “Oh, How Firm Thy Friendship”. There was a car under that dummy. I’m going to bet that Allstate didn’t cover the damage.

Luckily, the group we were catering for was pretty tame. By tame I mean they were all doctors, aged fifty and over. My gynecologist was there. As uncomfortable as that hello was, if I’m at a party chances are good I’ll run into at least one person who has seen my vagina. She asked me how my boyfriend was—the only thing that all women of a certain age are interested in. I explained that he was fine and gave her my best fake smile. Really, I wanted to tell her that I wasn’t sure. I wasn’t sure how we were doing—or if we were even still together. We had been fighting the night before but I was working through a powerful cocktail of Nyquil and champagne and couldn’t remember where we had left things.

The buffet lines grew longer as I moved effortlessly through the cramped tent, between tables and chairs, clearing the plastic plates and empty bottles as I went. The DJ was playing classics from the OSU marching band. Big brass and powerful base filled the air as I tried desperately to maneuver around wheel chairs and walkers. I hit a snag in the midst of clearing tables. I found myself completely surrounded by elderly doctors singing Hang on Sloopy loudly and proudly. My tray was too full and my arm began to shake under its weight. I tried to make a quick retreat but everyone was moving too slowly and couldn’t hear me trying to clear a path. I, along with the tray was going down, and it was not going to be pretty. Everything slowed, and the second act of Ride of the Valkyries began to play in my head. I crumbed, with a sort of floppy awkwardness to the floor, bringing with me beer, wine, and sticky globs of pulled pork. I was covered from head to toe in grease and backwash. For the rest of my shift I smelled like a hangover. No one noticed—they were too busy chanting along with the shrill cries of the Medical Director as she shouted, “O-H” the elderly crowd retorted “I-O” and everyone cheered.

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The End is Just the Beginning

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I stared at the screen and my hands began to shake. Every cell in my body was seizing with anger and I thought seriously about throwing my keyboard through the office window. “He blocked me on Facebook?? Are you fucking kidding me?!” I screamed at the computer. And there it was, the inevitable ending I was looking for. I had been half expecting him to break up with me for weeks before it happened. Of course, I expected him to handle the situation…well a little differently then he did.

I hadn’t spoken to him in three weeks prior to the Facebook incident. We had decided to take some space apart, which is laughable considering we live almost 900 miles away from each other. He was set to try out for a soccer team in Thailand and assured me that he needed space to “mentally prepare for the challenges ahead.” Apparently for him, mental preparation requires having sex with his ex girlfriend.

So, that’s sort of how it ended. He deleted our love with the click of a mouse and it was gone so quickly it was like it never happened. He sent me an email a couple weeks after, mostly so he could ask me to stop messing with his wikipedia page. Drinking can drive you to do crazy things sometimes. Luckily, I didn’t get much crazier than changing his name to “Douche” and changing the word soccer to “Douching”. Before I knew it his page looked like a poorly executed mad lib.

Work began piling up on my next, and by that I mean a FB post went unanswered. Regardless, I was not living up to my potential. I listened to nothing but Aimee Mann and Ani Difranco for two weeks straight before my CEO finally knocked on my door and asked me if everything was alright. I looked up from my desk and into his soul, “Tell your daughters to never date athletes.” He nodded his head and backed away from my office with caution. Everyone sort of left me alone after that. My weekends were filled with drunken debouchery and my attempts at dressing “sexy and single” fell short and I looked more like a baby prostitute than anything else. I stopped wearing pants and eating anywhere besides my bed. I had spent the last 8 months allowing my life and my future to revolve around someone other than myself, someone who was using me and who didn’t really care for me at all. It was time to pick myself up off the floor, put on my big girl pants, and try to get my life back on track. It was time for a rebound.

There was another guy that I had, had my eye on. He had meaningless leg tattoos, a beard, and dumb job–the attraction was immediate. One night he even got drunk enough to tell me that he’s incapable of loving other people. We made out sloppily for hours on his sweat stained sheets. His room, his bed, and his beard reaked of stale cigarette smoke. He had “rebound” written all over him and I went in for the kill. It wasn’t until he rejected me, that I thought seriously about revaulating the decisions I was making. “But I’m hotter than him. I have a better job and a brand new car. Like, I have everything going for me. How can he NOT be into this??” My friend stared blankly from behind her lit cigarette. “Do you even like him?” “No, I’m just trying to get back out there.” She took a long pause before finally responding, “He sends snap chats of himself on the toilet, and you want to have sex with him.” “Yes, that’s what I’m saying. Sure I get rejected in relationships ALL THE TIME but never for casual sex. NEVER for casual sex. What’s happening to me?” My friend practically fell over laughing, my face flushed pink with embarrassment and suddenly I felt deeply irritated. “You need to relax, you’re just hitting your quarter-life crisis a little earlier than most people. You’ll be fine.”

Quarter-life crisis–It didn’t need to be explained. I knew exactly what those words meant as soon as they fell from her mouth. College was over, my friends had all found healthy relationships or had moved away, or both. Real life had begun and it was sucking me in some unknown direction, one filled with morning commutes and paperwork. I thought about my job, how hard I work and how little money I make, I thought about still living in Columbus in a stuffy condo that I hate, I thought about my latest failed relationship and realized that this was not where I thought I’d be at 23. It was enough to push me near the brink of a complete meltdown, during which I continued to try to answer my own question of What the fuck do I want out of life?

The truth is that I only really think I know what I want. I do know that I don’t want to be sitting in an office watching the 27th severe summer storm of the season only to realize that my windows are down and my umbrella’s in the car. Moments like these remind me that my life might be a cruel joke. There’s a reason why I don’t know what I want and it’s the same reason why these little life crisis’ exist. It’s because we tend to lose ourselves sometimes. We put other people’s needs before our own until we stop remembering who we are and what we were made for. We allow ourselves to become disconnected from our goals and dreams and once realized, it can cause stifling depression and anxiety. I’m tired of trying to live my life for some guy, or for my friends, or even for my parents. I’m looking for me, and I’m not going to stop until I’ve found her. I’m going to prove that your twenties are not a lost decade by making mine the into gold.

Love & Life: It’s Complicated

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“What do you want to be when you grow up?” I always had a different answer for this question. One week I’d proudly tell adults and relatives that I wanted to be a psychiatrist and just days later decide that I was meant for the stage and I was made to be an award winning actress. I never had a strong hold on what I wanted to do with my life. The thought of doing one thing forever and ever sounds a bit mundane and passionless. In college, I changed my major three times, coming up with one new plan after another. Even at 23 I can’t really tell you what my ideal job would be because my dreams don’t really work like that. There isn’t just one thing I want to get up and do every day but more of a cause I long to stand for.

I was made to heal women and girls. I know this. It lives inside of me and continues to grow stronger and stronger as I become more engaged in feminist activism. There have been a handful of women who have entered my life at the exact time when I needed them the most. When I look back at where I’ve come from I imagine these women as a mile markers in my life’s journey. They guided me, pushed me forward, and gave me the hope and strength I needed to soldier on. I know what I was made for; I just don’t know what that looks like yet. I don’t know what form it has to take in order to be at its most effective.  So that’s what my life looks like. A long, winding, intricate, path that is leading me towards self-discovery.

His life isn’t really like mine. Well, it is and it isn’t. His purpose has a shape, has a name, has rules and guidelines. His career is already a fully formed idea. He’s an athlete so his career and his job are the same thing, whereas mine are not. I have a 9-5 position at a 3 million dollar a year non-profit in central Ohio. I have a salary and benefits, I even have a brand new car that I bought all by myself. He doesn’t have these things yet because sports don’t work the same way that a day job does. There are all these risks involved, make-it-or-break-it deadlines, fast transitions, and it can all be gone or it can all be up for grabs in the blink of an eye.

To me, his life seems terrifyingly unstable. On the upside, he has a dream that he can see. He is an athlete—he wants to be the best one, that’s tangible. He doesn’t have to go searching for a dream the way that I have to, but the downside is that he has to fight for it. He has to go where the money is, always chasing down the chance to advance, the chance to have control over his team and his life. Making plans is meaningless when everything is uncertain. So how could I, realistically, plan to move across the world with him when he asked me to? And honestly, I wanted to—I still want to. But I can’t leave my life, the life that I’ve created here, to live in constant uncertainty.

At first it seemed perfect—another undeniable sign that the two of us were meant to be together. Of course, I need to keep reminding myself that my life is not a Nicholas Sparks novel. When he told me about India I was in the middle of reading the national bestseller Half the Sky. I was drawn to the women in the book and I felt compelled to stand up and be a voice against sexual slavery and trafficking. When the opportunity to go to a country known for its mistreatment of women and girls arose I knew that this would be the next step in my journey and being beside him was where I needed to be.

But something went awry. In the midst of our excitement we stopped listening to one another. Somewhere between stress and hope we let communication spoil. Being a part of his life requires me to be able to pick up and leave whenever we have to, to stay in hot pursuit of his dream. I guess I didn’t realize this—that whatever kind of home I made there I would have to leave behind. I imagined working for centers that take in women who have escaped from brothels, setting up a make-shift school in a small backroom and teaching their children how to read and write, count and dream. I couldn’t just leave that behind and I couldn’t move to a country so hungry for change and keep my mouth shut, my eyes covered, and my hands at my sides. Once there, I would need to be involved and stay involved until I was damn well ready to move on.

This idea for my life doesn’t coincide with his. Because he’s never held a “normal” job he can’t quite grasp the restrictions mine has on my life. Professionally, I need to give my agency 6 weeks’ notice before I resign. If I quit without giving any notice then they have to struggle to find someone new to fill my position as quickly as possible. In the time they spend looking for a new hire my work would be piling up on the desks of my associates. I can only imagine what my next job interview in the states would be like….”What was your reason for leaving your last job?” “A man.” “Oh, I see.” It’s hard enough for a young woman in the workforce to be taken seriously, I don’t feel like adding “I’ll abandon my job for my boyfriend” to the list.

But did I mention that I’ve never wanted anyone more than the way I want him? The thought of being with another man just seems laughable and sort of sad to me. We’ve been at this semi-relationship-thing for a long time now but still the very sound of his voice in my ear gives me butterflies and starts Cee Lo’s Fool for You playing on repeat in my head. It’s the kind of infatuation where I could be a hostage in a convenient store shoot out and if he called I would shyly look up from the floor and kindly ask the masked assailant, “Can I take this?”

A couple weeks ago I met a boy. Well, I guess he’s actually a man. Clean, interesting, with a charming smirk. I thought about how easy my life would be if I was with him instead of the athlete. If I could throw my phone in the Olentangy and rid my mind of India and greatness and just kiss him instead—everything would be so much simpler. Ignorance is bliss but I’m not ignorant. I can’t unlearn what it’s like to be with a good man, one whose dreams and goals are as big as your own—a man who doesn’t just want to take a bite out of life but wants to consume every last crumb of it. So I turned away from the boy knowing that he’ll never be enough for me.

So that’s all of it—my big dilemma, my wanting to have my cake and eat it too scenario. I want our lives to intersect without having to make changes to either of them. I’ve known women who have thrown away their dreams to chase men—men who didn’t love them for long and who eventually threw them away. I’ve also heard the other story, the one with a woman who chooses her career over her lover and still wakes up every morning thinking about “the one who got away” even as she wears another man’s ring on her finger. For the first time in my life I don’t have a plan. I don’t have an answer to that daunting question of what I want to be when I grow up. I have found myself at a crossroads that I wasn’t at all prepared for. As I think of my path and the places it’s taken me and the long road I still have left to travel I take a look at the crossroads and wonder, “which way should I go?”

Merry Christmas, Ya Filthy Animal

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And on the 12th day of Christmas my true love…shat on my heart. Proving that all men are created equal; equally shitty. That’s right kids, gather ’round for a truly memorable holiday tale filled with sex, lies, and full blown douche-ary. This is the story of Christmas – Girl’s in the Boy’s Room style.

“Why are you trying to have a relationship with me if you don’t have time for it?” It was the third time in a month I had asked him that. Still, like the times before he responded only with a long pause and an exhausted exhalation. This was his way of saying, “I’m trying my best” but of course his best proved ultimately to be half-assed. In just 9 weeks my “gentlemen in Burberry” had become a tool in tacky diamond studs. Our conversations had gone from talk about life and love to endless ranting about his soccer career and his dreams of being part of the 1%. No, I’m not kidding. He is actually aspiring be part of the group that holds all of the money and power and well – doesn’t fucking share. Right, because that’s what you should’ve taken away from the Occupy Movement. I’m sure you’re all dying to know how this “star athlete” was planing to spend his money. Feeding starving children? Helping to pay off the national debt? ERR wrong. He wants to live in a castle, build a mote around it, fly around in a rocket ship, and pay his friend to drive him around in a Ferrari. THESE ARE HIS REALISTIC GOALS. First off, anyone who flies around in a rocket ship simply because he can, eh em Richard Branson, is completely environmentally irresponsible. We need less of you flying to mars, and more of you investing in green energy. Thanks! Finally, I want to add how gracious it is of him to consider his friend’s livelihood. Focus on your own career goals? Psh, no I’ll just pay you to drive me around and be my ride bitch. He’s so considerate.

This is all I heard for weeks after he received a rejection from an indoor team in Baltimore. He returned to Tampa with his head low and his faith shaken. We agreed to make it work no matter the distance because having a relationship over the phone was better than not having one at all. Things began to change rapidly. He called less often and when he did he no longer seemed interested in my life. The focus of our conversations almost always consisted of him detailing his plan of attack against the soccer world. Plotting and visualizing where he would be and which team he would play for, with me standing on the sidelines, agreeing with everything he said and assuring him that everything would work itself out. Then, when he had run out of things to say he would casually ask, “How was your day?” and even as I began to describe board meetings, and event marketing I would sense how uninterested he was and stop talking. It’s exhausting trying to be someone’s cheerleader when you receive absolutely nothing in return.

Waiting for him to change back into the person I had fallen for was hopeless. Most times I would hang up the phone feeling empty. I had waited all day to talk to a person who it felt could care less about talking to me. He rambled on about his ex girlfriend from time to time, something that should have been a HUGE red flag. He tweeted angrily about her, used our precious talk time to curse her name, and posted poorly executed rap songs about her on his already faulty sound cloud page. Cool! More and more I began to see why she broke up with him. He was self-obsessed asshole.

Still I soldiered on, dreaming of Christmas when he would be back in Columbus and we could finally be together. One thing you should know about me is that I take the holiday season very seriously. I truly believe it should be the merriest time of the year. Baby Jesus  and over gifting aside, Christmas is an opportunity for old friends to return home, families to be reunited, as well as an excuse to over eat and drink! This Christmas would be the best one yet. I would finally get to spend it with someone I truly cared about. I spent most of the autumn months convincing myself that everything would be perfect. Of course everything really went south after I purchased $60.00 worth of gorgeous Victoria’s Secret lingerie to wear for him on Christmas. As soon as I cut the tags off the clouds rolled in and shit hit the fan. The second his plane touched down at CMH he started ignoring my calls. When my messages went unanswered and my calls were directed to voicemail I’d start to think about every time he told me he missed me, every time he told me he was excited to see me, and my heart would fall into my stomach. We spent almost three months talking about seeing each other and when it was finally a possibility he was no where to be found.

We saw each other once. He came over late. I was surprised by his stature, I had remembered him taller than he was.  He talked about himself as he gulped down my wine. We had sex which was empty and meaningless though I tried my hardest to pretend otherwise. I woke up early the next morning and looked over at him as he laid there sleeping. I thought seriously about kicking him in the head but instead I slept with him once more before taking him home. After three months he showed up empty handed. Arriving without flowers, condoms (way to be safe bro. You’re 24, get it together), or any hope of repairing our dwindling love affair.

When I agreed to make it work, I meant it. I don’t run out on promises that I make to people and when I say I’m going to do something you better know damn well that I’m going to do it. This is because I’m an adult. I’ve transitioned out of my selfish college years and have become a real person of substance. Unfortunately this isn’t where he is in life. arrogant and unable to see how his actions, or lack thereof, effect the people around him is a clear indication that he hasn’t quite gotten it together yet. So, when he blew me off AGAIN I decided that the only sane thing to do was to tell him to kick rocks.

This Christmas I won’t be standing under the mistletoe or kissing anyone on New Years Eve. I’ll be alone, again. But I’ll be happy knowing that I didn’t hang on too long and that I finally stood up for myself and walked away from someone who wasn’t able to give me what I needed. I’m not happy with the way that it ended, but I’m completely elated that it’s over.

For those of you who may be wondering: No, I did not actually burn his soccer shorts. Although I did run over them a couple of times.

Pubes; Should They Stay or Should They Go?

Ah, pubic hair what a wonderfully uncomfortable topic! So uncomfortable in fact that I can guarantee that at least one person scrolled past this post and let out a big “EW!” in annoyance. But regardless we’re talking about this, it’s happening.

Tragically, I realized that everyone in my circle of friends had decided to liberate themselves from the shackles of pubic hair before a pool party. It was the summer going into my freshmen year. We were all changing when a snarky blonde and my worst frenemie cried out, “Oh my God, you don’t shave?!” Wait, what? I just got these though. I looked down at what puberty had thrown my way and felt completely humiliated. However ashamed I may have felt I also remember being unutterably pissed. I had waited for womanhood and now that it had arrived I had to go back to being twelve? That’s like going out and buying spike heels and the second you put them on everyone around you is shaking their heads and saying, “No. Take them off; flats are totally in this year.” So I picked up a razor and bid womanhood adieu because I’m a spineless lemming.

Okay, so yes it may seem awkward or ridiculous to discuss these things but they actually carry quite a significant role in women’s lives. Doctors in the 1960’s used to shave women’s vaginas before they gave birth because women’s (not men’s) pubic hair was seen as unclean. Excuse me, but what the fuck does that even mean? This naturally occurring hair on my body is somehow dirtier than a man’s? So dirty in fact that my child can’t pass through it? This is just one example of how the medical field has medicalized women’s bodies leaving them “othered”. A term used most often when a dominant culture or group looks at another and says, “you’re different than me therefore you must be wrong and we must fix you.” So there it is, white-male OB/GYNs were tired of looking at bushes all day so they made up a reason why they didn’t have to. Perfect, as if it’s not already agonizing enough to heal from giving birth, let’s throw razor burn into the mix!

The 1970’s brought with it disco, cocaine, and of course an explosion of pornographic films. It’s as if everyone was just tired of fighting after the civil rights movement and made a unanimous decision to just say “Screw it” and start a party. More pornography meant a greater visual of the vagina which it was decided had to be altered to be more ascetically pleasing. Throughout the decades as the popularity of pornography grew so did the notion that hairless vaginas were beautiful and more desirable than ones covered short and curlies. This phenomenon expanded so much so that now it even affects men. Ever slept with someone and feel like there was something missing that you couldn’t quite put your finger on? Yeah, it’s because like anorexia more men are adapting this catching trend as well!

So what does it all mean? Well, whether we like it or not rejecting pubic hair posts two problems. One being, that we are altering our genitalia to resemble that of a pre-pubescent child and two, that we accepting that our bodies must be changed in order for us to be beautiful or presentable. When we make the claim that being bald is brilliantly sexy, what we’re actually doing is sexualizing children. Seriously, I’m sure Nabokov’s character Humber Humbert would have been absolutely enthused by the idea of grown women running around with baby vaginas. Sexualizing children doesn’t stop at Holister or Abercrombie, where young girls are being prompted to buy miniskirts or bikinis in order to impress their male counterparts; it stays with us into adulthood. Women are constantly being forced to adopt trends that may seem harmless now but actually began under some very degrading circumstances. Patriarchy has medicalized our bodies countless times throughout history but the fact that this practice has roots in pornographic film making makes it even worse. That’s right ladies, when has porn helped us out? I mean really. Is anybody else tired of hearing “Can I cum on your face??” Um, no and you just completely ruined the moment.

Now, I get it. Letting it grow poses some problems too. The number one problem being that it is seriously uncomfortable. Or perhaps you’re afraid to be categorized by your partner as “that weird art girl” or the ever popular “feminazi” I get it. At least get educated about your body before you decide to alter it. Know exactly what it means before you pick up your razor, and above all else if you choose to shave, shave it for yourself not for your partner, because I’m sorry ladies but if you’re man has a serious problem with hair then it’s time to accept that he’s probably a pedophile.

To New York, With Love

My love affair with Manhattan began as a crush. I became completely infatuated with the city after watching the Broadway musical turned major motion picture Rent when I was sixteen. Yes, that’s right. Something about extreme poverty and debilitating diseases seemed utterly romantic to me. After that I became obsessed with the humble beauty of fire escapes and neglected apartment buildings. I was absolutely certain that I would make it to New York one day, so I did.

I finally met New York when I was eighteen. Young and starry eyed I arrived at the door of my dormitory wearing a new outfit my mother had purchased for me days before. I settled into my tiny bedroom filled nothing but a single bed, one dresser, and a sink and knew that I was exactly where I was meant to be. For two memorable months New York was my man. In the mornings I would take the train to 23rd street and walk two blocks to the yoga studio where I worked. I would stare unapologetically at the people  I passed on the streets or waited with in the subways, pretending to be one of them. I would laugh with New York when the derelicts and ne’er-do-wells called me pretty and begged me to marry them. I would get drunk with New York, standing on the roof of my building singing to the city. I even fought with New York when I took the wrong subway and wound up in the wrong parts of town. And in the evening I fell asleep listening to the sounds of the streets below.

I didn’t want to leave him. But of course mothers will be mothers and mine was determined to make me finish high school and attend college the following fall. So I said my goodbyes, vowing that I would be back one day. And I was, for weekends, sometimes weeks. I came back to smell the city, visit old friends, and fall in love again. Every day I spent with him assured me that he was my dream, and that New York was my somewhere over the rainbow.

The last time I was in New York was almost two weeks ago. Now, I’m aware that visiting right before a hurricane was supposed to hit probably wasn’t a good idea but luckily I got out before the winds kicked up and the water came in. Regardless, New York and I found ourselves on different pages. The cab drivers overcharged me and the bank froze my account. Faces were cold and unfamiliar and found myself missing Columbus’ quiet streets and affordable food. I tried to party with New York but instead I took too much, threw up on my shoes and ran away from my French guide. It was like bad sex or emotional cheating. I woke up cold in the bed the next day hating New York and realizing finally that maybe we just weren’t meant to be together.

There was this guy, a real guy not a city, and it was kind of the same way with him. We made love happen in two weeks. Then he left (the way men sometimes do) and moved to Spain, then Germany, then California and last thing I heard he was living in a tent on top of some mountain in Oregon. Needless to say it didn’t work. But loving him felt like loving New York. I would wait to see his face appear on my computer screen the same I would wait to see that silvery skyline peak over my airplane window.

Then this other guy showed up completely unannounced. He’s actually quite perfect. You know, with looks so good they make you weak and a voice so powerful that the mere memory of it in your ear moves things inside of you. Things that you never thought would move again. This time it was two days. Two days of kisses and conversation that was so sweet it left butterflies lingering in the pit of my stomach. But he left to, because his life was waiting on the other end of some airport terminal and his goals were riding the conveyer belt at baggage claim, waiting to be picked up.

So here I am with this great sense that I’m not where I need to be. That this universe is trying to tell me that I’d better pick up and leave if I’m tired of being left. But then there’s this other thing idling above my shoulder. An eerie sense that perhaps I love the things I cannot have because I’m unable to see what’s right in front of me. Well, I”m not going to waste my youth dreaming of tomorrow because I’m unsatisfied with today. Or settle for a life that wasn’t chosen for me just because it’s easier to do so. Working on a dream is like working on a relationship and true love doesn’t end with an argument anymore than it can with one bad weekend.

Gentlemen Wear Burberry

“God, I don’t even know what I’m doing right now.” I looked over at my friend who was driving me home, he said nothing. Waiting hopelessly for a little support I continued, “Like, I don’t even know this guy. It’s almost 3:00am and all I want to do is sleep. Why did I invite him over?” “Yeah…” He replied half heartedly as he focused on the road. Realizing that he didn’t care I fell silent and stared out the window, watching the falling rain. When we finally arrived at my apartment we said goodbye and parted ways. I climbed up the stairs to my bedroom and threw on an oversized sweatshirt that smelled like stale smoke and secretly hoped that my suitor would get lost and go back the way he came. But he didn’t and when I heard him knocking I put on a smile and walked cooly to the door.

I knew him in middle school. By “knew him” I mean we had exchanged glances in the partially finished basement of my best friend’s apartment when we were thirteen. My only real memory of this person had been overshadowed by the scraggily haired boy he was with who was busying himself by undressing old barbies and making sexually disturbing comments. I sat on the arm of an old couch and watched it in disgust. He hadn’t crossed my mind in almost ten years when I noticed a message from him lingering in my inbox. I skimmed it on my lunch break and saw “blog” a couple of times and honestly assumed he was writing to accuse me of being a man hater (I get that a lot). But as I read on I realized that he was actually complimenting me for it. Being that I’m a sucker for my fans I responded politely. Of course for me, being polite often ends in a one night stand. Oh you love my writing? That’s so sweet! Please, come in and help yourself to my vagina. I know what you’re thinking and yes, I’m working on it.

So there I was wanting to kick myself for being such a lush when I opened the door. There before me stood a gorgeous, impeccably dressed man that I hardly recognized. Fuck. Why didn’t I shave my legs for this? He glided into my kitchen with ease already talking about the night he had, had bar hopping with his friends. We sat down and I poured him a glass from the bottle of Cabernet I purchased earlier in the evening. He swirled it around smoothly before he sniffed it. “Uh, no it was $3.99 it’s nothing fancy.” I said shyly and probably stupidly. “Oh, yeah I was just being polite.” He removed his Burberry scarf and placed it on the table. He’s polite, easy to talk to, and he’s wearing Burberry. He must be gay. After all, how else was I supposed to make sense of his flawless manners? Men in their early twenties behaving like gentlemen was a phenomenon that I knew nothing about. “These girls at the bar were trying to take my scarf from me. I was getting real salty about it.” And there it was, the evidence I was searching for. “It was a gift from my mother, I’ve had it forever.” I was ready to call myself a fool when he directed his gaze at me, “I love your blog, by the way.” Naturally, I perked up for a moment and in a seductive tone he said, “When I was reading your last post I just kept thinking, damn you’re really blowing your chance with an awesome girl.” He’s not gay and I’m wearing sweats, damn it. Before too long the talking turned into playful flirting and when he leaned in to kiss me I felt my knees weaken. He eventually pulled off his shirt to reveal a perfectly chiseled six-pack. I imagined what was under my sweatshirt and thought, Oh yeah, we’re definitely having sex with the lights OFF. But we didn’t have sex. We kissed sweetly and spoke in low whispers until well into the morning.

At the moment he kissed me I made the practical decision not to get my hopes up. Mostly because I figured he was a figment of my imagination brought on by a hallucination induced by desperation and loneliness. But also because he was a professional soccer player who lived out of state. When my girlfriend called around eleven that morning I came back to reality and decided that it was time to kick Romeo out of my bed. I left him to finish gathering his things as I headed into the shower hoping to wash off whatever was left of him from my body and mind. I expected that he would show himself out and that he would be gone by the time I returned. I opened my bedroom door and to my surprise he was still there, standing poshly with his hands in his pockets. I glanced over at my bed and found that it was perfectly made and stopped breathing for a moment. It was a small gesture, but it was big in it’s own rite. I was sincerely touched because I wasn’t used to that kind of consideration. He kissed my lips, still wet from the shower, and made his way down the stairs and through the door.

“Girl you better get it.” My friend stared at me with a sort of stern seriousness. She held a cup of coffee in one hand and a cigarette in the other as she spoke, “Are you hanging out with him tonight?” Her question hung heavy in the air along with the smoke from her cigarette. “I think so, I mean he wants to.” I raised a soggy french fry to my mouth and she batted my hand away. “Bitch, you’re getting naked tonight. You better get your mind right!” I threw it down and picked up a cigarette from my pack in accordance with my modern woman’s diet. “No but really though, what are you going to wear?” I brushed her questions off nonchalantly but inside I was stirring. I was madly in “like” and feeling crushed by my own “crush”.

As day faded into evening I began rushing around my house, frantically vacuuming and cleaning in preparation for his arrival. I lit candles, fluffed pillows, and thought seriously about baking something. I wore lipstick and slipped on high heeled boots knowing full well that we were staying in. I was a woman possessed.

When he came, he brought with him cheesecake and raspberries. Oh dear God if you let this go well I promise to never again wake up with my bra in my purse or make fun of the senile receptionist behind her back at work. I was absolutely smitten and it was probably entirely too obvious. We laughed and talked as if we were old friends and I was surprised by how comfortable I felt in his company. He explained that his only prerogative was to treat me like a lady and make me feel like a woman. He expressed his embarrassment for other “boys” his age and the way that they objectify women. “I feel like I should apologize for my gender. It’s unbelievable how much these dudes are messing up.” It was by some divine intervention that my clothing didn’t melt off of my body and evaporate into nothingness. He continued on to talk about his soccer career and the goals he aspired to meet. He spoke with such drive and determination that I considered chugging my wine out of sheer intimidation. It was official, I was hooked.

Again I invited him into my bed and for the first time in a long time I allowed myself to experience true intimacy. I didn’t want to crawl out of my skin and run away while he was on top of me. In fact, the thought had never even crossed my mind. I felt good and I felt safe. When morning came I didn’t feel the urge to bang my head against the wall or sneak out of my own bed as if I didn’t live there. I just stayed and enjoyed the feeling of having his arm around me and drifted back to sleep with my head perfectly nuzzled into his chest. He left later that morning, but he’s not gone. He’s not forever fossilized in my memory, he’s present. As I begin to acclimate to a good man I can feel my sense of trust finally rebuilding itself. It’s terrifying, but I’ve decided to stay put. If he can remain present in my life then I can resist my urge to run for the door.

The truth is, I was a romantic before I was a cynic. I only became bitter after believing that prince charming didn’t really exist. I was so accustomed to being treated poorly that a true gentlemen was almost unrecognizable to me. Is that right? I think not. If we, as women, stop settling for less and start expecting more then we will undoubtedly find what we’re looking for. A man can’t properly take care of your body unless he can take care of your heart first and we should accept nothing less. If chivalry isn’t dead and gentlemen actually exist outside of Nicholas Sparks’ books then perhaps it’s time I admit defeat and finally put an end to my cynicism…for now anyway.