~Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Let her rip

He holds me in my sleep.

Abraham wakes up about 10 minutes before me. He doesn’t stir. Instead he lies still as if he were sleeping and holds me.

This should be the start of some lovey-dovey story, but it’s not. Abraham holding me while I sleep isn’t the only thing I’ve learned. Apparently I also fart in my sleep.

I don’t know what’s going on with me. Maybe it was us going out to eat the night before and chowing on greasy food. Maybe I’m a chronic sleep farter. I don’t know. But I did it again.

I farted and as I was waking up, I heard Abraham gasp exaggeratedly. He was already awake. I stirred and once again felt him pressed against me. He knew this wasn’t the first time, because I had told him so.

“You!” he exclaimed. He still didn’t move.

“Baby, I’m sorry! I was asleep!” I murmured, still sleepy. I turned around and snuggled in his chest. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to.”

“I am going to get you back for this,” he pretend growled.

So I can think of one advantage to sleeping alone.

~Monday, February 27, 2012

The Not Friending

A few days later I was meeting my friends for happy hour. Abraham had plans, but they weren’t until later. I asked him to meet us at the seedy happy-hour bar. He agreed.

I walked in the bar and found a couple of guy friends at a table, including Schmoozer. I greeted him and spoke to him for a few minutes. Then I noticed there was someone else at the table: a guy who was looking down and not making eye contact with me. It was Guy, Schmoozer’s friend who left me on the side of the road.

I hadn’t seen him since that incident last September. The reason I haven’t seen him was because I have no intention of ever being around that guy again. I’ll recuse myself from anything he is attending. Schmoozer explicitly knows this. He’s asked me to attend parties he’ll throw, and I won’t go because that guy would be there.

And here is this guy sitting with Schmoozer at a happy hour I invited Schmoozer to.

I stared hard at Schmoozer. “You are a douche bag,” I said evenly and walked away from the table.

Had I not invited Abraham to meet the friends, I would have walked straight to my car and driven home. Instead I went and stood aimlessly at the bar. My hands shook in anger.

Schmoozer appeared beside me. “Before you get mad at me,” he said calmly, “I didn’t invite him. I invited other coworkers, and they invited him. I knew you would have a problem with him being here. We can sit at another table. Is that okay?”

I sighed. “It’s fine. I can sit at another table. I’m just not going to be around him.”

“That’s fine.”

I retrieved my pitcher of Yuengling Light from the bar and brought it back to a table catty corner from that guy. Schmoozer and another friend followed me. Then Katie walked in with her boyfriend. I groaned. This night is not shaping up very well.

Everybody hates Katie’s boyfriend. Katie once brought him to my father’s house last August, and he insulted my father to his face while we were sitting around the dinner table. My father laughed it off at the time but later asked me who the hell this guy was. You don’t insult my family, especially when they have invited you into their home.

But something happened. Something even bigger than insulting my father. It’s not my story to tell, but Harvey has refused to be around Katie’s boyfriend the same way I refuse to be around Schmoozer’s friend. And hey look! We are all in the same bar on the night Abraham is supposed to meet my awesome friends!

Harvey walked in the bar with her husband, took one look at Katie’s boyfriend and burst into tears and ran out of the bar. The same way I wanted to earlier. A friend and I were the only people to witness this. Katie and Schmoozer kept wondering where Harvey disappeared. They assumed she was standing guard at our normal table. My friend never said anything. I didn’t have the heart to tell Katie that Harvey left because I knew it would upset her, so I just kept my mouth shut.

It took Katie a half hour to realize that Harvey had left because of Katie’s boyfriend. Then she burst into tears and declared their friendship over. It was the perfect storm of drama. I had a bit of my own drama, then the group was fracturing in front of me.

I looked around. Katie was crying. Harvey was somewhere in the county crying. The main players—the people I wanted Abraham to meet—weren’t even there. Harvey and her husband had left. Swayze was on a date. I didn’t want Abraham’s first experience of my awesome friends to be Schmoozer, who I could give or take these days, a crying Katie and her hostile boyfriend. That’s not very awesome.

I texted Abraham. “Drama alert. Don’t come.”

He texted back, “Thanks for the heads up. See you later tonight?”


I was disappointed. I received texts from all the main players asking how the meeting went. I had to explain that it didn’t. Harvey apologized and said she would make it up to me.

I looked at Katie. “Well, we might as well get drunk,” I shrugged.


Happy hour lasted six hours. I sat there for six hours and listened to her douchey boyfriend. Schmoozer was oddly flirty. He seemed almost glib that Abraham didn’t show. He said now I was free to date other people. Katie yelled at him and told him to shut up.

I drank so much that Abraham did show at the bar. He showed six hours after he was supposed to be there. I climbed in his car, and he drove me home.

“I’m both really glad and really sad you didn’t make it,” I wavered.

He put his hand in my lap. “I’m sorry.”

As I told him about the night, I purged all the drama as fast as I could. I spoke quickly and my voice rose in pitch. By the end of the story, I was squeaking while tears fell down my cheeks. I had put too much emphasis on the evening and it blew up in my face, not by Abraham, but by my normally drama-free friends.

We’d try again. We agreed on that. We still had the double date planned with his friends, but I decided to not push meeting my friends. I learned my lesson. It’ll happen when the timing is right, preferably at Harvey’s house when she’s hosting one of her parties. And then it will be great.

“Hold my hand?” I asked Abraham.

He intertwined his fingers in mine.

~Monday, February 20, 2012

The Friending

Abraham and I were watching How I Met Your Mother and kissing during the commercials, per my request. Things were good. The mood was light.

CBS switched to commercial break, and Abraham leaned over me.

"I'm ready to meet your friends," I announced. "Why haven't I met them yet?"

Abraham's face softened. He didn't squirm as he normally does when I put him on the spot. However, this wasn't the first time we talked about our friends. We've laid in bed on several nights and counted our friends on our fingertips as we described their personalities and how long we've known them. He knows Harvey, her husband, Swayze and Mel by name. I know the same of the major players in his life. We've talked about going on a double date with a girlfriend of his I got to know during kickball season. I guess instead of feeling put on the spot, this was more of an ongoing dialog.

He shrugged. "I guess sometimes I feel-- Oh look! How I Met Your Mother just came back on!" He leaned away from me and sat back into the couch.

I ripped the remote from his hands and paused the television. "No! You were about to say something important. I want to hear it."

"Sometimes I just want to go out and relax and have a good time without worrying about someone else's feelings."

I relaxed. That was it? That wasn't about me at all. It turns out that most things aren't about me.

I know what he meant though. There have been events that I specifically didn't invite him to because I know I'll spend my time worrying whether he's having a good time, and I won't enjoy myself as much if I were alone. I understand this sentiment.

"It won't always be awkward, Abraham. Only the first time," I said.

He sighed. "You're right. I guess I just have to get over that initial stage of awkwardness."

"And there are friends of yours that I already know. Like your kickball friends. Why don't we start there?"

While How I Met Your Mother was paused, we set up plans for that double date to take place.

"I want you to meet my friends too," I added. "I'm proud of you, and I'm proud to be with you, and I want to show you off to my friends. They are asking for you too."

I met Abraham's eyes. His lashes fluttered. How could he resist a pitch like that?




"You know you would have to miss a random Friday or Saturday with your friends to spend time with my friends?" I clarified.

"I'm aware of this." He rolled his eyes.

I laughed. I had completely relaxed.

"They've been asking when they were going to meet you," I said, referencing Schmoozer in particular. "And I had been saying 'Never.' They make fun of me a lot and I didn't want you to hear them make fun of me. I made them promise not to do it if I ever brought you around."

Abraham blushed. "Me too. That's another reason. But my friends would never agree to stop making fun of me."

"Really?" I asked. "That's the real reason?"

His blush deepened. "Yeah."

I don't have a problem being honest and admitting my deficits. Sometimes I forget that others still want to put on a brave face. I remember sitting in a hot tub with Swayze one drunken night in December. We were talking about our families and our hopes.

"I don't want kids," Swayze had told me.

"Really? I want kids. I just worry that I won't find anyone to have kids with," I admitted.

"Yeah," Swayze shrugged. "Me too. When I say I don't want kids, it's because I don't know if I'll find someone that will want to have them with me."

I'm used to admitting something and having others follow with Me too.

"Don't worry," I said to Abraham as I leaned in to kiss him. "There's nothing they could say that could make me not like you." I leaned back and looked him in the eyes. "So we're doing this? We're meeting the friends?"


I squealed and kicked and thrashed. "I'm so happy!"

As I'm spazzing out, Abraham held me down and planted dozens of rapid-fire kisses across my nose, cheeks, eyes and forehead. It was an homage to me: it's what I do to him when I'm extremely happy.

I let go and allowed him to kiss me everywhere. Then I tilted my head back and screamed, "YES!"

How I Met Your Mother was good too.

~Thursday, February 16, 2012

Be mine

About a week before Valentine's Day, Abraham sent me an email. Inside was a link. The link took me to an announcement that Waffle House would have a special Valentine's dinner.

Waffle House is located primarily in the South. It's a roadside diner found off interstate exits and is known for its interesting mix of patrons, including brawling Kid Rock, good ol' boys and the late-night drunk crowd. It's not a nice place. It's not a fancy place. So whether or not the chain intended it, it is with a hint of irony that it is dressing itself up for Valentine's Day.

The article boasted white tablecloths covering its scuffed booths, a prix fixe menu and dinner by candlelight. To eat at this 24-hour diner on Valentine's night, one needed to make a reservation. The tagline was 5-star service on a 1-star budget.

I closed the article and laughed. This exemplified Abraham's personality to do something like this and laugh at ourselves. I replied that I thought it was a great idea.

My coworker had gone on the same date the prior year. She said that neither she nor her boyfriend are romantic people, and this fit them well. She said she had a great time. She recommended that if there is a photo option, to take it.

We snickered as Abraham and I walked hand in hand into the diner. From the outside we could see that the store had covered its fluorescent globe lighting in pink plastic. "Isn't that a fire hazard?" I asked.

Abraham held the door open for me and we were quickly greeted by a manager in a suit with a clip board. "Excuse me," he said. "Do you have reservations?"

"Abraham. 8 o'clock."

He looked at his clip board. The reservations were written in green highlighter. The manager directed us to sit in the banquet chairs until a booth became ready.

Abraham looked around the small restaurant. "I can't believe so many people are here!"

"Baby, it's Georgia," I said. "Do I need to remind you about the Monster Truck Phenomenon?" For the past two years my friends have tried to go to the monster truck show at the Dome because we thought it would be funny, and both years the show was sold out by people who actually wanted to go. Shrugging and saying, It's Georgia seems to the only explanation.

The tables were cheesier than we imagined. The white tablecloths were the plastic kind found at children's birthday parties, and they were sticky from the diners before us. The flower vase was filled with red and pink carnations, not roses. The candlelight were two tea lights.

The waitress apologized and said she had only one heart napkin left. The napkin looked like it had seen better days. She placed it in the middle and told us we had to share it. I said the heart napkin was our centerpiece and I used it to cover one of the sticky spots on the table and placed the tea lights on top of it.

We had both wanted waffles from Waffle House, but they weren't on the prix fixe menu. We had our choice of steak, pork or chicken with salad and hashbrowns and a slice of pie for dessert. Pork was out of the question. We looked at each other. Do we dare? Do we order the T-bone steaks from Waffle House? The answer is yes.

"You know, I was thinking about it today," I said. "I've never eaten dinner here. I ate here once for breakfast with Lawyered, but otherwise it’s always after midnight when I'm drunk."

"I think I was here once before midnight, but it was still like 11:50 and I was drunk," he admitted.

Abraham had to ask for our salads. I never knew that salads were even on the menu here. Then our steaks arrived.

"Don't touch it!" I hollered at him. "I want a picture of this." We both paused as we snapped photos of our spread with our phones. I immediately uploaded mine to Facebook.

The steak wasn't bad. It was no worse than the one I had at Ruby Tuesday, but Abraham and I both agreed to stick to its breakfast menu in the future.

The waitress collected our plates. "Honey," she said to me. "Your chocolate pie is still frozen. We didn't know we would sell so much pie tonight. Would you like to swap it for another kind of pie, or would you like to take it to go?"

"Bring it out. If it's too frozen, I'll take it home," I said.

The waitress turned around to the short-order cook. "She said she still wants it!" she shouted across the diner. Abraham and I met each other’s glances and broke out into snickers.

She brought out the pies. "Would y'all like a picture?"

"Yes!" I had warned Abraham that I was told to not turn down the photo.

We leaned in to each other from across the booth and smiled for the camera. It was our first picture together. The plastic tablecloth, the carnations, the shared heart napkin have been captured for eternity.

We left the restaurant fuller than we anticipated and climbed into Abraham's car. I checked my phone and updated him on the Facebook comments on my Waffle House check in. He then uploaded his photo of dinner to Facebook and we began a contest of who had the most likes and comments.

Back at his house I produced a neatly wrapped present.

"Hold on," he said. He left his room and came back with a red envelope. "I just got you a card." The card was light and funny and compared me to a beer.

The fun date and the card were enough. I honestly wasn't expecting anything. More than anything, I was impressed he made it through the whole ordeal without once uttering "Hallmark-driven holiday."

Undecided on what to do for him for the day, I had gotten him a copy of the Kama Sutra and inscribed it, Here’s to making your heart race all the days of the year.

He laughed as he flipped through it. “I really need to lose some weight,” he remarked as he looked at the pictures of the models.

“You have to choose one tonight.”

He decided to start at the beginning of the book. Only there is only so many ways to put a p inside a v. The first 30 or so pages demonstrated different kissing and hugging techniques.

“It says to suck your tongue into my mouth,” he read.

I laughed as he tossed the book aside and came at me. He covered his mouth on mine and began sucking the air out of my mouth. I shrieked in giggles. It quickly dissolved into us trying to suck the air out of each other, which turned into blowing into each other. It was weird, and it was gross. But mostly it was funny.

And as we’re laughing and doing gross things to each other’s faces, our phones chimed with the Facebook likes and comments we were receiving about our date. We were tied in likes, but he was beating me in comments.

My phone chimed again.

“Ooh! Maybe I’m winning now!” I said as I retrieved my phone that was tangled in his sheets.

And, on Valentine’s night, I received a friend request from Christopher.

~Saturday, February 11, 2012

Dutch Uncle

Filling out the intake forms when I started therapy was scary. The questionnaire instructed that I circle the symptoms that I identified with: anxious, depressed, suicidal, etc. Yes, yes, no, etc.

I don't know what I expected from therapy. Actually, I do know what I expected: I thought it was going to be like Felicity visiting stinky Dr. Pavone. Dr. Pavone asked thought-provoking questions and enlightened Felicity about all of these unknown aspects about her. I thought I too was going to be enlightened with revelation after revelation. Who is in my drawer?

That's not what happened. I explained to my new therapist the circumstances that brought me to her microfiber love seat. And this is what she did: she told me I was normal.

"You were reacting normally to an abnormal situation," she kept repeating.

When I sat in her love seat, I was broken and timid. I didn't know which direction was up. And instead of telling me where up was, she let me find it on my own and encouraged every decision I made. Her support helped me learn to trust myself. That's all she did: support me. I didn't have any revelations other than I have a pretty good head on my shoulders, and it's time I start trusting it.

This had been a stark contrast from the way I had been living. Not to be all poor little rich girl, but I had an absent father and a very overbearing mother growing up. I didn't make a single decision until I was 18 and living away from home for the first time. Everything had been dictated to me. And the times I did try to express myself, I was told my feelings and thoughts were wrong.

It's always been this way. I think parents tell you what to do because they know best. I think some boyfriends tell you what to do because they are controlling. I think friends tell you what to do because they want to help.

I never had a space where I could simply breathe. I wish I could articulate exactly how refreshing it felt. I want everyone to feel this way: normal. Flawed, but acceptable.

My therapist's support was such an uplifting experience for me that I realized this was how I wanted to conduct myself in my relationships. That’s the person I want to be. I don't want to tell my friends what they should do, and it seems like a waste to get emotionally invested in their decisions that have nothing to do with me. People aren't going to heed advice they aren't ready for anyway. They have to come to those terms on their own.

~Monday, February 06, 2012

Peas be with you

I dropped my purse and jacket on his bedroom floor, down by the foot of my side of the bed. He adjusted the bedroom lights: overhead light off, hallway light on.

"Are we going to play Strip House again?" I asked while kicking off my ankle boots.


Strip House was a game he invented the previous week. The rules are simple: remove an article of clothing any time the words "tumor" or "cancer" are spoken. We were disappointed with the results for the first 55 minutes of the game; however, the last 5 minutes had proved to be more than effective.

I climbed into bed with him. I encircled my arms around his abdomen and laid my head on his chest. He flopped on the bed like a fish out of water, rotating our entangled bodies on his mattress until my big head wasn't blocking him. He enclosed his arm around me where he would periodically tickle my back with his fingertips throughout the night. I kissed his neck. It tasted like salt, mainly because he had been playing racquetball before climbing into bed with me. I picked up the bag of frozen peas and re-adjusted it on his bad knee. He then reached for the remote and turned on his TV.

This is happiness.

~Friday, February 03, 2012

Male Delivery

What's the personality difference between breast men and ass men?

...I find the ass men I know are the more subtle ones. If I'm out (drunk) with two friends, the one up on stage, ordering shots, taking over the DJ booth is probably a tit guy. The guy sitting next to me ordering pints and criticising dance music is likely the ass man. But keep in mind, this isn't as simple as "tits = extrovert, ass = introvert".

My question is about men and video games.

While I find the occasional video game play can be fun, what makes men obsess over them? I'm not talking teenagers here, but married men with kids who have better things to do with their time (and their wives).


...There are worse things. Video games are an escape. Every man, going back to when he was a boy, wants to be the hero. Most of us don't get the chance in real life--so video games are a chance to be the star. Think about it--no one plays video games to be a role player, to be a background character, to be the un-named thug, to be the "red-shirt". We do it because it's our chance to be the rock star, score the game-winning goal, make the kill-shot, or to be captain of the ship.

Let me give you some context, by re-writing your letter, switching gender stereotypes:

While I find the occasional [shopping trip] can be fun, what makes (wo)men obsess over them? I'm not talking teenagers here, but married (wo)men with kids who have better things to do with their time (and their [husbands]).

I guess it comes to this...Is the issue that he likes vids, or that you don't like them?

I had a best friend. I lost him because my marriage was in serious trouble and he gave the advice to move to his state, and actually found me an apartment right next door to his family. I moved away and separated from my husband because our differences were bad enough not to live together. Wouldn’t you know it my friend had issues with his wife who it ended up was cheating on him. He moved in with me and slept in the extra bedroom. His wife gave him ultimatums about moving in but he still moved in. I ended up sorting things out with my husband and my friend became horribly pissed at me as I was doing this because he claimed I had been the catalyst to his breakup..... He accused me of purposely trying to break up his marriage and of always being involved in his relationships.

Now he does not speak to me and my husband has moved to my new state and moved back with me and we are working on our marriage. Should I try to reconcile my friendship with him or just let it be? It would be 22 years of friendship down the drain and I miss our phone calls. I love him dearly but he accused me of breaking up his marriage. your advice?

...There is no way you two can be friends. Why would you want to? He accused you of trying to break up his marriage, after all. And if you're as innocent in this as you make it seem, that's not something a best friend would say. Funny how time softens the blow. This is not a minor thing.

You didn't have a best friend, you had a guy who wanted to sleep with you and was slow-playing it.

If there's no chance this guy can sleep with you, there's no chance he wants to be friends.

*Dr. Kodiak is not a real doctor, but he does give free physical exams. Send your anonymous questions to desperatesarah@gmail.com.

~Thursday, February 02, 2012

Ice, Ice Baby

I've been making a conscious decision this year to chill out. Historically, I haven't been very good at it. I'm one of those people that can't brush off a perceived offense. No, I have to address it, which can sometimes cause more trouble.

Jenna and I spent most of last year at odds with each other. She had hurt my feelings, then I had hurt her feelings, then she hurt my feelings until it was all we knew of each other. After a break from November to January, we were at the same event together. I had missed Jenna.

I had a choice: I could either be happy or right. And I wasn't even sure I was right after all of these months. I do know there were distinct moments where I was decidedly not right.

In the end I chose to be Jenna's friend instead of continuing the feud. I acted friendly to her and she reciprocated. We resumed texting. Then she accepted my invite to the toy party. In letting go, I saved a friendship. I'm a much happier person for it.

Similarly, at work there is a divide between departments. Both departments feel like it is the most important part of the company. One department is the the thinker; one department is the doer. The thinker department arrives late and stays late; the doer department arrives early and leaves early. As a thinker, it was always viewed as strange that I ate lunch with the doers. And then one day last year department tensions spiked and, as a sign of solidarity, I stopped eating lunch with the doers. The departments stopped speaking to each other.

Then one day a couple of weeks ago, I wanted to talk to a doer, well, just because. I was tired of the fighting. I wanted to let it go. I walked up to one of the doers and was nice. She reciprocated. And then we started chatting over the office instant messaging system. She told me she missed me at lunch and extended the invite that I return. I have, and I'm just happier.

I've mostly seen positive changes in chilling out. The change in the way people receive me has been night and day, and the change has been instant. Sometimes it still requires cognitive thought and a self-administered pep talk, but I think that will get easier with time and practice. I think the important thing to remember is that I'm a happier person for it.


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