Friday, June 01, 2007

In The Hampton's! Plus, Leonardo DiCaprio

To snag some quality gal pal time, take some dreaded online dating photos, and of course the usual hunt for Mr. Right.

I headed out with my friends Daisy and Melanie to Bridgehampton and some of the surrounding towns for the holiday weekend. They had snagged one of the last available cars at the rental place, which was a dull purple wagon we called the 'Grimace-mobile.' A real guy magnet. As you may have guessed, I succeeded at two of the three above missions.
As far as girl time goes, we read Star magazine on the beach, shopped, and test marketed double scoop ice cream cones from three different ice cream parlors. Despite a few road blocks, a good time was had by all. Our beach day turned cold and breezy, which gave me a good excuse to cover my lumpy bottom with a towel. Later, shopping almost came to blows in the changing room of Australian Feminity, a curiously named clothing store ran by Asian women where nothing is Australian. I was trying on dresses when a heavily tatood biker chick caught her boyfriend first staring at my breasts, which were stuffed together like grapefruits, and then heard him saying to me "Nice, that dress fits real nice." Then, we were surprised out of our wits to be charged 8 dollars each for take out ice creams in East Hampton. The poor pubescent soda jerk grumbled the exorbitant sum guiltily under his breath as he handed over the cone. Undoubtedly, our voices choraled the beginning of a long summertime arrangement consisting of What do you mean, 8 dollars? and What the fu** , is this ice cream laced with cocaine?
Daisy took a large batch of photos so I could get started on the As usual, in every picture I look enbalmed.

We decided to support the community by attending the local fire department's pancake breakfast on Sunday. I ate pancakes, eggs and bacon, and went back for a second helping in true piglet style. Melanie thought the frozen, pre-packaged orange juice was scary. I thought the orange juice was decent but was less impressed with the actual firemen, none of whom I could imagine featured on a calendar.

We did get to spend time with Daisy's dad, who is a chef, which puts him as the front runner for best male dinner companion so far this year.

When I got back to New York and my glamorous life of dog walking, I would like to tell you all that as far as Mr. Right goes, the news is, I found him! Unfortunately, doing so made me want to shoot myself. Here's what happened:

I was taking out a client, a bassett hound named Ziggy for the usual series of treeside leglifts, and, if I'm lucky, a moderately-sized curbside dump. The dog is not important to the story, but I really like Ziggy so I thought I'd mention him. Anyway, I saw a posting in Zig's apartment that a movie would be filming there for that day only. I started salivating when I found out who was in the building. The film's director was Sam Mendes, who directed one of my favorite movies of all time, American Beauty. I mean, two weeks ago, I rented the DVD just so I could see the director's cut. And I will save the detail about who is the star of the movie until I get there in my story. I talked to one of the tech guys who explained that they will be breaking for lunch shortly, if I wanted to stick around and get a glimpse of the star. Ziggy had already pooped, so I had brought him back upstairs already.
I leaned against the building on 101st street in the hot, sticky heat, waiting. I tried calling a bunch of friends on my cell so I would appear to be less obvious, but no one was around. So I just stood there. About five minutes later, I saw him. Leo (DiCaprio, of course) came strolling out of the building by himself. He passed right in front of me, and my God, did he look steamin', ladies. His shirt was unbuttoned about halfway. His skin was flawless and tan. He had been obviously working out and was larger that than I would have thought. And I mean that in a good way. He looked straight ahead as he passed within a foot of me, as I just stared at him like an idiot. I wanted to say something like, "take me to your world."
I cursed myself for not having Ziggy with me. He's a cutie, and I'm sure could have gotten
Leo's attention for me, I know it. Now that I'd already brought him back upstairs, it was I that was in serious danger of throwing myself onto Leo and humping his leg. I should have taken a god damned picture on my phone for this blog and to put under my pillow but I thought that would be rude.
The horrible excruciating part of it was when I saw Sam Mendes join him, and the two of them turned right to the restricted catering area. I had to turn left to go pick up Sam 10 blocks up, for another round of #1 and #2. It hurts people, it hurts.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Gift Deceleration

We’ve come up with a technical term for all this crappy present phenomena: “gift deceleration.” We, and countless other women who have fallen for commitmentphobes, have been victims of this dynamic. Basically, the longer the relationship endures, the more thoughtless and impersonal the gifts she receives are.
Normal relationship conventions dictate that, with each passing anniversary, gifts become more personal, more thoughtful, and generally more extravagant (First anniversary paper, fifth anniversary linen and so on.) When the woman in question is with a commitmentphobe, however, gifts tend to get less personal, less thoughtful, and far less extravagant. For example, whereas the very first Christmas or Valentine's day you spend together might find you unwrapping tiny blue boxes with white ribbons from Tiffany's, your third or fourth might find you pulling unwrapped gifts out of plastic bags that bear the label Mart somewhere on them, as in Walmart, Sportmart, or Kwik Mart-you get the picture. For the woman this is particularly painful because, from her standpoint, the longer the relationship lasts, the deeper her emotional connection to the man grows. As for the man in question, it's anyone's guess. The length of time he spends in the relationship could be deepening his connection, lessening it, or not really affecting it at all. From the woman's standpoint, however, one thing is clear; the gifts she is receiving get lousier and lousier each year as her boyfriends morphs from a jovial and generous St. Nick to a bad tempered and parsimonious Bad Santa.
Following are some examples of gift deceleration:

V-Day, "Paul"
2000: Purebred Pekinese pooch w/Godiva chocolates
2001: Gundt stuffed dog w/Toblerone
2002: Dog Fancy desk calendar w/Whitman’s sampler

V-Day, "Joe"
2004: Tiffany earrings
2005: Fossil watch
2006: Necklace and earring set from Claire’s boutique

V-Day, "Aaron"
2004: Couples’ golf weekend in Palm Springs
2005: Obviously gratuitous photo album engraved with American Golf Classic
2006: Tin Cup DVD

V-Day, Brian
2004: La Perla lingerie w/Chanel perfume
2005: Victoria’s secret bra and panty w/Body Shop bubble bath
2006: $8.99 Cherokee T-shirt nightie w/Jean Nate body splash

V-Day, Steve
2004: Bang & Olufson state of the art car stereo
2005: Radio Shack Hands-Free Cell Phone Kit
2006: Typing program

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

V-Day Redux

Ooh oo ooh! BeenThere reminded me some V-Days that were equally as horrifying. Okay, first, MY boyfriend right AFTER college gave me a bracelet. It was marcacite and appeared to be a bit dulled. The clasp was also broken. He had no problem telling me that he actually found it in the dirt by his work. Let me tell you that all of these guys were ‘well-to-do,’ men, full of pride. No one ever thought they were scuzzies or anything. Except for us, in retrospect.
Valentine’s Day massacre #2: My ex actually took me out to a nice dinner at a fancy restaurant. Not too shabby, right? He didn’t say “Happy Valentine’s” or anything like that, I thought that maybe he had even forgotten it was Valentine’s Day. I expected he had a hotel or something lined up, because that’s what he did the previous year. Instead, we had a drink at the bar and he told me he felt like “a moth to (my) flame.” He said that whenever he wanted to take the next step, he started thinking about how I still lived with roommates and how he was troubled that I should be further along in my life. Check please.
#3 On another year, he decided to work late, but felt bad about it and told me I could order Chinese food on his dime.
#4 I bought a dress, made reservations at a fancy restaurant, and waited outside for an hour. He forgot to set the alarm to wake up from his nap.
Tomorrow I buy me big Valentine candy box for cheapie.

St. Valentine's Day Massacre

Ms. DunThat has had a number of bad V days, no doubt about it. I, however, have had many many Valentines Days that were much worse. At least DunThat got to go on vacation. I never went anywhere. And my gifts always sucked. So, the rundown:

College boyfriend: very cheap strand of 'pearls' that broke the next week. He informed me that I wasn't getting a card because he regretted spending so much on the cheap-ass necklace.

Grad school boyfriend: Year One--'the honeymoon phase'--a very cheap plastic Casio watch. I got him a Coach leather briefcase. Did I dump him dear reader? Of course not. The next year I got a set of grapefruit spoons. When he gave them to me he said something to the effect of "I love that you don't need silly gifts like flowers, that you like practical things. Now we can eat our grapefruit together every morning" Instead of punching him in the nose, I thought "what a sweet simple guy" as I gave him $200 worth of Clinique mens skincare products. Year 3: "The Party's Over." Since this was the early 90s cordless phones were still a big deal. I searched high and low and spent what, for me, was a tortuous five days in stores like Best Buy and Electronics World searching for the phone that would best suit his needs since he was way into technology. I, you should note (becuase it is important) am NOT AT ALL into technology, phones, or anything like that. Well, V Day rolls around and I get NO GIFT! He tells me it is something very special and he will give it to me the next day. Well two days later he drops by and gives me THE EXACT SAME PHONE I GOT FOR HIM!! The bonehad says to me: "well, you talked about it so enthusiastically when you gave it to me, I thought you might like one for yourself." So lame. But I stil didn't break up with him until about six months later. When I went over to his house to get my stuff I discovered a closet that contained every gict I had ever given him--unopened. The Coach bag still wrapped in tissue paper. the skincare, all wrapped up and no doubt dried up since it had been TWO YEARS. The phone--never opened. The guy was such a commitmentphobe he couldn't even committ to opening up my gifts!!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Treasured Valentines Moments

Let’s just make this simple. The best Valentines’ days have been the ones that fall the closest to the beginning of a relationship. Silly me, I was under the impression that as a relationship progresses and grows deeper, V-Days would grow more and more romantic. Is that true for any girl besides my mother? Now that I think about it, my dad has his faults, but not worshipping my mother isn’t one of them. Once, he even surprised her with a necklace she had wanted by burying it in the sand while vacationing on the beach. And she still yells at him for not wiping up the bathtub after he uses it?
My experience has been a little different.
Was St. Valentine a sadist? Why on earth would they devote one day a year that is fueled with so much expectation? Some of you are reading this and thinking that I am a boob. “It’s just a day,” and “It’s shallow to place meaning on a gift” might be some of the things you’re thinking. I hear ya. The point is, I was enough of a boob in the first place to date these guys, so holidays turned into a test that pitted what I knew to be true against the last shred of hope that they would use this day to prove my hunch wrong. Namely, that I was doing the dating equivalent of dialing the wrong number over and over again.
I’m actually, finally, over the breakup, so Valentine’s day and all that comes along with it doesn’t feel like someone’s wrenching Cupid’s arrow from my flesh anymore. I’m just pretty ho-hum about it.
I do miss the chocolate, my favorite thing. But here’s a novel idea- I CAN BUY MY OWN! I can walk into Godiva, pay money, and walk out with lovely red ribboned box of truffles for myself and Mrs. BeenThere this weekend. Or, I could ask my friend John to biy me some. And those candy hearts stink; they taste like chalk and look like suppositories.
Anyway, I had a hard time picking a winner for Worst V-Day, but this one was pretty low.

My ex and I made plans to go away on Valentine’s Day, for four nights. Montreal. In the middle of February. Driving. Actually, I have to say it would be a fantastic, out of the ordinary, cozy holiday for a less-dysfunctional couple. The hotels are all discounted so you can pamper each other in luxury for less. But it would be better if your boyfriend wasn’t on the heels of a commitment freak out and treating you like crap. Remember that, cuz it’s pretty cold not to be nestled in bed almost the entire time. Anyway, so we left New York V-Day evening around six, right after he drove all stinky and smelly from his boxing workout. I thought to myself, “He’s probably waiting until we get to the hotel to give me my card or gift.” On the way up there, we were trying to find a motel to stay at but everything was booked, once again, on account that it was VALENTINE’S DAY. We pulled into this real dive motel, Campy’s, I still remember the name on one of those signs with the individual black block letters you put up yourself. We joked that it looked and sounded like a crash pad for patrons of the strip club we saw a while back. At the counter the old guy told us that he was sold out, although I didn’t know who else besides us rejects would end up here on V-Day. As we were leaving he shifted his gaze curiously and said, “Well, I do have one room available, but it’s a little rough.” Not knowing what “a little rough” meant exactly, we accompanied him to the room. When he opened the door we saw two cots with yellow teeth-colored sheets, stained walls and carpet, and a nasty smell. I felt like we were the investigators of a crime scene right out of “Murder She Wrote” or “Mike Hammer.” My BF adopted one of the most disgusted faces I’ve ever seen in my life, up there with when I tried on for him the kilt miniskirt I bought a couple years ago when the twenty-somethings started wearing them again.
We found another hotel, and at this point, it was 11:30 and I was now kidding myself with the idiotic thought “Maybe he’s waiting until 12:00 to celebrate Valentine’s.” At this point it was pretty clear I wasn’t getting a proposal. And anything valuable never would have made it out of Campy’s. The night ended in an argument and me saying “You didn’t even get me chocolates?”

Once I stuffed down the difficult trip up, we had a couple of nice days. We actually made it to a wild animal reserve about a two hour drive away. We saw deer, ox, wolves, bears, etc. You could buy carrots and feed the animals, which was nice, and we were the only ones there. It is definitely something I wouldn’t mind repeating someday, with a guy that didn’t actually want to leave me there.
We had to stay an extra night on account of bad weather. During check out, he would only ask me to split the cost of the extra night, since it was Valentine’s Day and all. Keep in mind this guy made five times my salary. And then he paid with his corporate account! Actually, he paid for a lot of stuff with his corporate account. It wasn’t until much later that BeenThere informed me that he could charge that stuff to his place of work. So I guess he was screwing me and his boss.
On the drive back, he reflected that the best thing about it was that he got a close-up picture of a wolf.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

ME on CBS Early Show!

On Wednesday, I was proud to be a guest on the CBS Early Show. That's right. Sometime around Valentine's Day, friends and family will be able to catch a glimpse of me dishing it out with 6 other women about my breakup with the ex and its aftermath.
As you can guess, this is part of every girls fantasy. To be able to go on NATIONAL TELEVISION and talk about ridiculous and horrible things about your ex? Come on! It's only a 3 1/2 minute spot, but hopefully something shaming I said about him will get aired, and he will be sitting in front of the telly eating his non-fat Muesli and watching it, along with his friends and his mother (who all think he's such a stand up guy).
It was so nice to take a little walk down memory lane and revisit some of the more vile behaviors I subjected myself too. With two years distance now, I was able to look back and have a real Idi Amin moment. An Idi Amin moment is precicely that moment when a man who you formerly considered charming is suddenly revealed as a vicious and predatory louse.
On the Early show panel, I got to talk about the breakup. How he called me out of the blue to break up with me at 10:30pm , right before a yearly children's dance recital I had to coordinate the next day. How he sent all my stuff back in boxes minus all the jewelry and clothes he gave me. I got to show the viewers at home the only thing I got to keep, his first stuffed animal: a faded and stained stuffed snake. I got to talk about how after every time he treated me badly, he would shut me up with chinese food. He'd buy us a big feast, and after I munched down spare ribs and lo mein, we'd end up in the sack. I should never have been a willing participant in this. And about how he backed out of our vacation plans to stay in New York for his mother's surgery. And before you think I'm a bitch, like all his friends did, can I tell you about how I had to pay for the vacation myself, and how I found out that HE DIDN'T EVEN VISIT HIS MOTHER AFTER THE SURGERY?!

Chances are, each of us willl be hauled to the dump at least once in our lives. I am an expert on getting dumped. At least when it comes to what NOT to do. I've broken all the rules and have lived to tell what what could have been done, what should have been said, what might have been read, and what I'd wished I'd learned when I was eighteen.
If you would like to become an expert like me, I've got a few tips.
First of all, like anything else, you can't expect mastery overnight. You should get one good decade and at least three devastating dumps under your belt before you consider yourself an expert. Here are some things to get you started.
Communication. Make sure you check into his voicemail a few times a day so he can see your number flashing on his caller ID.
Home Decorating. Each time you visit his apartment, bring a gym bag full of your things to stash there. It's not a home until your tampons are edging out his shaving supplies.
Compromise. In this case, fight for what you want and deserve, but if it lasts too long, just give in.
Holidays. An IPod or a Typing program is a really good gift, much better than some girly crap like diamond earrings.
Other Women. If he is still licking his wounds from a previous breakup, by all means, proceed. If it doesn't work out with the two of you, you have the great personal satisfaction of knowing you have helped heal his soul just a little bit, enough to reunite with his ex.

More tips to come...