I took my friend C. to the opening party for Balena, that new restaurant in the old Landmark space, last week. There, we confirmed that men who go to restaurant opening parties are awkward.
Pick-up line A: “What did you just say about a Cameron passing out in your bed?”
We had said nothing about beds, or Camerons. (We had said something about passing out. To be fair, St. Patrick’s Day had occurred less than a week ago.) We told him we had said nothing about beds, or Camerons. He insisted we had. His followup was to introduce himself as Cameron.
Pick-up line B: “You look so familiar. Are you from Michigan? Or Wisconsin? Or Chicago? Or did you go to UChicago?”
Meanwhile, he did not specify which one of us looked familiar. I am from Wisconsin, but we both said no, and uncomfortably sipped our wine. Darts is a risky game: throw too many at once and they’ll all clatter to the ground.
Were I single, I would appreciate a: “Hi, I like your dress.” “Hi, what brings you here tonight?” Even: “Hi, I couldn’t help noticing you.” A little cheesy, but direct—with extra credit points for no implication that we drunkenly slept together. Cam, a little tip for next time: Say something nice about my hair instead.
Survivor could refer to: Gloria Gaynor’s 1970s power ballad, the washed-up CBS reality show (quick Wikipedia check: that thing is still on?!?!), a patient who has triumphed over a terminal illness—or, in my case, the ’80s band behind the song Eye of the Tiger, as made famous by the film Rocky. I appear on a local morning show every week for my job, and in the green room last Friday, I was greeted by a man with a guitar. He had a purple streak in his hair and was wearing snakeskin cowboy boots. This was, quite simply, amazing. When he burst into a set of familiar lyrics—”Risin’ up/back on the street…”—I figured out he’s Jim Peterik, Survivor’s original lead vocalist/guitarist, who now lives in the Chicago suburbs. To be fair, to figure this out, I also had to look at the card he handed me, which also happened to include his cell phone number. I put him in my phone as Jim Rock Star.
Naturally, at karaoke that night, my friends and I decided we had to get him to join us for the best Eye of the Tiger rendition that Shoes Pub has ever heard. I texted him and we put in the song, just in case. Unfortunately, he didn’t text back until the next morning: “Shoot!! Woulda loved it girl! Jp”
One more definition of “survivor:” someone who suffers the disappointment of not singing on stage with a bona fide rock star. Jim, if you’re reading this, I’m holding you to your promise of “next time.”
…you stop blogging, apparently. Long story short: went on a first date that involved a haunted house, an enormous New York-style pizza and a pinball tournament; got home; called a high-school friend in San Francisco and said, “I just met the man I’m going to marry.” Six months later, we’ve been on a trip to Costa Rica, have a date scheduled to move in together and have discussed how many kids we want (two). Which brings me to the absence of blogging, because who wants to hear tales from a googly eyed girl in love (besides other googly eyed girls in love)? However, several hilarious encounters of the male kind, the most recent involving the former lead singer of ’80s band Survivor, have convinced me that I still have plenty of stories to share, even if I’m not single anymore.
I just had the urge to type “Back in the saddle!”—but then I realized this is a dating blog, not a Clint Eastwood movie.
As of 5:24pm on a Thursday, HTTM has not answered a text I sent him around 11am…on Tuesday. A text that asked a direct, not-hard-to-answer question: How do you feel about Michael Jordan? The WTF flag is flying at full mast on this one.
The original end game here was to invite him to the opening party for the new Michael Jordan Steakhouse on Michigan Avenue, where No. 23 himself is slated to make an appearance. But this MIA stuff is NFM—not for me. New end game: Hit on Michael Jordan; have tall, athletic babies; live happily ever after in a home with several basketball courts.
In March I briefly dated a Groupon manager, a friend of a friend who had a not-so-hidden crush on me for three years before finally asking me to dinner. After a few promising dates, he inexplicably decided to make our deal the kind that Groupon doesn’t hawk: adult entertainment. I was filed under booty call. How’s this for fine print: Not valid…ever.
He still Gchats me when my status strikes his fancy. Last night, he wanted to bond over mutual adoration of 25 Degrees, a new hamburger establishment in River North. Yes, my 9oz sirloin burger topped with green hatch chili and Pleasant Ridge Reserve was delicious. No, I didn’t watch Glee tonight. You know what—what the hell? Why were you such a dick six months ago?
He acknowledged his transgressions and apologized with something about how he “talked himself out of it.” It meaning a relationship, I presume. Readily accepting this as an excuse made me realize I’ve already filed him under no big deal—about as noteworthy as when Groupon offers a $4 discount at a third-rate pita place. But he said one thing that will stick with me (despite his poor typing skills):
Words to live by. Also, on date two, he introduced me to a killer milkshake shack at Montrose and Elston. Overall, I’m chalking this one up as a win.
J. and his motor scooter zoom around in a world where it’s perfectly normal to call an ex-girlfriend in the middle of the afternoon and ask for help picking out shoes. Specifically, help deciding between three pairs of caramel-hued Allen Edmonds, lined up like little premium leather ducklings in a photo he emailed me from the AE outlet in Wisconsin. For my input, I was rewarded with the promise of New Glarus beer (only sold north of the border; I can’t palate anything hoppy but I like to have it on hand for guests).
Surprisingly, he followed through, arriving at my door at 8:30am two days later with a six-pack of Spotted Cow. I had been up since sunrise baking chocolate chip cookies, so I impressed with the seductive combination of milk chocolate chunks, Kerrygold butter and a half teaspoon of Aleppo chili powder.
A mixture of this encounter, frustration at HTTM’s disappearing act and alcohol (always alcohol) sparked me to text J. from the Topshop opening party at Paris Club, where Miley Cyrus was seated two tables away from me. Before I knew it, I invited him to the afterparty, where I danced with Miley (no amount of exclamation points can do this justice) and he professed that I’m the only ex he has ever genuinely cared about after the breakup. It was a surprisingly platonic and altogether refreshing evening, until we left and he informed me that my six-inch-heel mohair leopard print ankle boots (chosen by a Topshop stylist specifically for the party) were stripper shoes, and I told him—no, screamed at him—to go F himself. Overreaction? Perhaps. But these were words long coming.
To be fair, with the wrong outfit, the shoes would toe the line between high fashion and hooker. But I thought I wore them quite ANTM-style, runway ready with a tastefully high-necked, mid-thigh-grazing coral dress.
One outraged phone call to my best friend later, I woke up at 9:04am, barely mustered the energy to brush my teeth, put on the first outfit I saw (a J. Crew tank top and slightly crumpled jeans) and dragged myself outside at 9:12 to see…
…J., who just happened to be riding that damn scooter by my apartment at the exact second I stepped out the door. At this point, I shouldn’t be surprised. He pulled over and offered me a ride to work; I threw up my hands and acquiesced. We joked about Miley the whole way. When he dropped me off, I spun around and yelled my apologies for cursing him out in the middle of Dearborn Street. He just laughed.
I think…we’re friends? Fate is a funny mistress. So, I suppose, is whiskey.
Last week, I took a break from my all-Glee playlist (commute champion three weeks running) to revisit 2004 Hilary Duff classic “I Am.” Particularly seven words from the third verse:
Sometimes I’m perfect,
Sometimes I’m a mess.
Let’s compare that to, oh, Saturday and Sunday nights of Labor Day weekend.
Saturday night, I organized a “small dinner” that snowballed into a 10-person Filipino feast at a BYO restaurant in Lincoln Square. I think we ordered one of everything. Everyone brought wine. Plates were passed, toasts were made, HTTM came and was approved of. Perfect.
Sunday night started with a healthy dose of whiskey at an earlier barbecue. I should mention that my friend bought said whiskey at a yard sale ($20 for a box of assorted 20-year-old alcohol—SOLD), so its quality level was questionable at best. Next up: HTTM’s barbecue and a smorgasbord of shots that even I, a 26-year-old who quotes Hilary Duff, cannot endorse. Bacardi iced tea, really? After that, it gets hazy. Monday came with the nagging uncertainty that follows any night when you’ve done pink vodka punch and sweet tea something or other out of the same “Eat, drink and be merry—tomorrow you may be in Utah” shot glass.
After that, it was one hell of a week. I flirted with a 23-year-old lead singer sporting a forearm tattoo of an obscure F. Scott Fitzgerald quote. I went to a champagne brunch and was seated across from one of the two blind Valentine’s Day dates I had in February. I cursed out J. in the middle of the street. I met Miley Cyrus. (For real.) (Clearly, many, many more posts to come.) And, throughout it all, I heard nada from HTTM.
Apparently, the kid belongs to the “out of sight, out of mind” school of thought; he was on a week-long Army adventure to Fort Knox and—after seven days of silence—contacted me the second he got back to town (today) and wants to see me ASAP (tonight).
Whatever. I’m getting sick of this. As my friend S. put it: Boys come and go—but Miley is forever.
Around 3pm yesterday, my phone lit up with a photo text from…J. It’s probably the first time in a month he’s contacted me at an hour that’s not 1am, 2am, 3am or 3:50am, which is when he left me an indecipherable voicemail last Friday. And what he chooses to send me is a photo of an absurdly large flock of pigeons gathered on a sidewalk. Granted, I am terrified of absurdly large flocks of pigeons, and he knows it. Still…WTF? At this point, I think I may even brave a pigeon mob to get inside that boy’s head.
But the part that makes my head spin is that it came less than an hour after our online editor asked us to create funny should-be-on-fall-TV concepts—and my faux show was When Pigeons Attack. (“This trip to Starbucks is about to go horribly, horribly wrong.”) As with most things in our post-break-up relationship (see: here, here and here), dude certainly has his timing down.
Rescuing me from a night where I would have been one of approximately four single people at a 351-guest wedding: HTTM, who offered to drive two hours to meet me at the reception at the Country Springs Hotel in Pewaukee, Wisconsin after figuring out his commitment to teach a board-breaking seminar at his tae kwan do studio prevented him from leaving Chicago in time to make the ceremony. He offered this without knowing about the everyone’s-a-couple predicament; like any normal person who invites someone to a wedding after only four dates, I acted like I would be fine flying solo.
About two hours into the reception, he was matching me step for crazy arm wave on the dance floor—pretty heroic, since once the music starts, I don’t sit down. Shortly thereafter, I leapt onto a luggage cart that the maid of honor wheeled onto the dance floor, he whirled it like a merry-go-round and I faceplanted onto the hardwood floor, resulting in a shattered tumbler of Jameson and a terrific spotlight dance to “Walking on Broken Glass” by Annie Lennox.
In other words, come Sunday I couldn’t wipe either the black eye or the goofy smile off my face. Then…nothing. Four days of nothing. No calls. No texts. No “What are you doing tomorrow/this week/this weekend/the wedding was awesome/I want to see you.”
I fretted. I talked to my best friend on the phone, who oddly enough was going through the same thing with the guy he’s dating (minus the black eye). I finally caved and texted him late Thursday night, convincing myself at least I could confirm he had lost interest and move on. And when he replied with a very cheerful recap of his busy week and a question of when I was free that weekend, I realized I was playing the part of the crazy girl. Sometimes, it’s hard not to. Luckily, the only people who know are, oh, the eight dozen or so friends I enlisted to reassure me between about noon on Monday and 8:29am on Friday. Special shoutout to C., whose response was “Seriously, I’m going to commit to celibacy. Maybe he’s come down with a near death illness? Botulism?” I may like this guy, but I love my girlfriends.
On Tuesday, I spent approximately three hours and fifty minutes plagued by thoughts that my iPhone was broken, before the nice boy at the Genius Bar fixed it by pushing two buttons. He also “cleaned up some software,” a process that resulted in me losing a fair number of the phone book contacts I have added in the last year. But not any text conversations. Oh, 734-223-[redacted], also known as the person who texted me “the party is at dannys this week” in the wee hours of the morning on May 1, who are you? Using context clues, I was able to deduce about 93% of the nameless numbers and program their names back in. After all, you have to know which person you never want to see again is inviting you to which poorly lit hipster bar, right?
On this list: Mark Roof, Kevin Shoes, Owen Bandit, Adam Elevator, Damien Neo and Bill Rubiks Cube, so named not because he was exceptional at solving the 3-D plastic puzzle, but because I met him at a party where everybody showed up wearing six colors and left wearing one. Adam Elevator courted me by noting what button I pushed in the elevator, calling my then-place of employment (the only business on the 8th floor; he worked on 6) and asking me to lunch. Shoes and Roof are bars, Neo is a nightclub defined by its high volume of European dancers and smoke machines, and the Bandit is another story for another day.
I wonder if I’m in anyone’s phone as [first name] [last name designated by where we met or other discerning thing about me]. If so, I hope my last name is either Hangge-Uppe or Karaoke.