If you can’t figure out who the Yoko Ono in your group is, you’re the Yoko Ono.

This post was written on Monday, April 20, 2015.

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Here’s Todd looking at the Grand Canyon a few weeks ago.

This morning when I woke up, I told my boyfriend (his name is Todd, by the way, something I’ve never actually mentioned on here): “I think I’m your Yoko Ono.”

He laughed and, because he’s not familiar with nor does he give a shit about pop culture, said, “I sort of get that reference.”

So if you, too, are a pop culture novice or abstainer, know that many fans repeatedly blamed Yoko Ono for breaking up the Beatles and negatively influencing John Lennon’s music and career. Some people, even decades after the Beatles’ dissolving and John Lennon’s death, hate her guts, and celebrities from Courtney Love to Taylor Swift have been labeled Yoko Onos after having allegedly sabotaged or muddled the careers of their former significant others.

When I don’t feel great about myself, I don’t write, and if I do, it’s slop. So, judging from the lack of posts over the last several months, things haven’t been too shiny for me in this glitzy city. When Todd was abroad working for five weeks, I squandered away an opportunity to go out, make friends and join social groups or clubs, finish my fucking book, and decrease my dependency on him, instead opting to cuddle up under my comforter like a hermit, copyediting and, only occasionally, writing some slop.

Most of my friends know what Todd does for a living. Or, more accurately, they have a fuzzy idea of what he does. I told him this morning that I can’t remember who I’ve told which snippets about our relationship and life together, because I decide what information to divulge based on my determination of how accepting—or not accepting—each person might be.

My boyfriend teaches and practices pickup, or game. The art of seduction is his passion and area of expertise, and he teaches men how to be more engaging and interesting, more sexual, more aggressive (in a non-creepy, non-molesting way), and more alpha, in order to free them from clinging to the first girl who eye-fucks them and obsessing about what to text a girl and when and how much and Wah, why doesn’t she like me? He and his coworkers see sex as necessary and nothing to be ashamed of for either sex; one-night-stands as something men and women want; and sleeping with hundreds of girls as good practice, the ultimate way to find out what you want and don’t want, and also, as pretty fun.

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Hakkasan last Saturday night.

Our relationship, it would make sense, is open. This is okay by me, because I don’t have a preference about gender, and our arrangement allows me to explore that side of myself solo or sometimes with him, without that sedimentary guilt sitting in my gut as a result. If you’ve ever cheated on someone, you know what I’m talking about.

But, of course, because he does this for a living, it’s out there. And I mean, way, way out there. Not just on his social media and his company’s website, but on his YouTube channel, which boasts videos laced with pickup concepts, theory, and in-field footage, video of my boyfriend talking to, picking up, kissing, touching, and sometimes bringing home women. One video exists in which he very clearly has sex with Not-Me in a club.

It would take a pretty secure woman to be cool with all that, right?

While my confidence has never been described as sky high, it has been pretty good since I’ve been with Todd. When you date a guy who can have a Playboy model (because he has) and yet he picks you, you do kind of feel like you’re the shit. That doesn’t mean, though, that the visceral response I get to seeing him kiss another girl—or more—ever goes away.

My version of Yokoness comes out here. My insecurities, my jealousy, my Where were you last night? or Did you fuck some girl? questions don’t really help a pickup artist want to keep doing or teaching pickup. It makes him afraid of hurting his girlfriend at every turn, and it makes him dilute what he does both when she is and is not around. If our relationship were monogamous, the red flags would be obvious.

But it’s not. And Todd has been under the impression that I’ve known for nearly two years now what he does for a job and that I accept it, and he is right to have assumed both. For a while now, though, I’ve let my evaporating self-esteem, my dependence on him, and my inability to truly be open with the people in my life about my life . . . break up the band, so to speak.

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Synonyms make me happy (the bathroom at Little City Grill, Boulder City, Nevada).

Todd also said to me this morning, “Kaitlin, one of the reasons why I’m a pretty happy guy is because I don’t have any secrets. I’ve put myself and what I do out there for everyone to see, and I couldn’t erase it now if I tried. And I don’t want to.”

A long time ago, when I cheated on someone (this blog is the honesty blog, in case you haven’t noticed), I stopped my online writing. I didn’t tell my friends what had happened, and so I stopped making an effort to hang out with them, because I felt like what I had done had been splashed across my face. That it was oozing off me. That no matter what I did or said, I was a fraud because a small part of me was hiding.

So what Todd said made me think about my life, his job, and our life, and how my tolerance—or, I guess, intolerance—impacts me. When he first told me what his job was, I confided in my mom only a few days later. I didn’t tell my dad for more than a month and a half. With other friends, I wrote e-mails instead of telling them in person. That way, I could huddle behind a virtual firewall when they told me I was crazy. When I meet new people, I usually tell them Todd is a dating coach/motivational speaker (which is, on a very basic level, true). And when they say, “Like Hitch?” I just nod and say, “Yup. You got it. Just like Hitch.”

It definitely makes things easier.

If you ask my grandmother what Todd does for a living, she’d probably just say that she still can’t believe he wore sweat pants the first time he met her. We’re going to strike her opinion from this blog.

A friend once said to me, “If you intend to write as truthfully as you can, your days as a member of polite society are numbered anyway.”

I’ve thought about what some of my friends, acquaintances from high school or college, or my parents’ friends might think. My aunt in her seventies. My cousins. Anyone, really. But the thing is, if I can’t tell people what my life is like without sugarcoating it or smothering the little dirty parts, I have no business living my life, and in many ways, I haven’t been.

Maybe now I can start.

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“women are the only exploited group in history to have been idealized into powerlessness.”*

recently thoughtcatalog put up a blog post entitled “10 old-fashioned dating habits we should make cool again.” (i’d strongly recommend that you have a go at it before reading this post. also, i added the hyphen to old-fashioned. come on. proofread that shit!). i knew, without even clicking on the link, images of disney characters and rose petals frolicking in my head, that i would disagree with the majority of the list, but i read it anyway. this is probably because i’m a bit of a masochist, but more so because i smelled my post brewing.

everyone is different and expects different things from a relationship at any stage, from the first date to the proposal to makin’ babies, if applicable, but being that this is my blog (mine!), i’d like to talk about what i think of old-fashioned dating habits.

i think they’re old and out of fashion.

i’d say it’s likely that i’m destined to live somewhere only outcasts go, like under a bridge or a remote cabin or las vegas, so i don’t feel too badly about tossing some opinions out there, of which most people won’t be too fond.

my general opinion on flowers as presents has always been that they are dumb—unless, that is, they’re in a beautiful garden through which i can stroll, much like the one my mom has planted to the right of our house. i appreciate the thought behind flowers, like when they come from someone who i’ve known for a while. my ex-boss gave me flowers after i’d been in my position for a year, and that was a lovely gesture. those daisies, however, were earned. flowers on a first date? did we meet in a bar and probably not have a real conversation because that would have required screaming in the other person’s ear? are the only things you know about me the ones in my online dating profile? what did i do to deserve those flowers? oh, i have a pretty smile? i couldn’t feel more objectified. give me flowers once i’ve shown you my sparkling personality. or, you know. never.

i’m obviously assuming that these flowers are to be given from man to woman and not the other way around. i’d therefore be apt to feel pretty silly, having shown up (or, wait—he came to my door, according to cool old-fashioned dating habit number one) empty-handed. i’m for gender equality and, after all, as kristen wiig said in bridesmaids, “this is the nineties.”

“i feel as though i should be bringing the guy something in exchange,” i said to my male friend the other night while we were discussing the thoughtcatalog post. “what would you want for flowers? a subscription to maxim?”

he paused and looked up. “porn?”

ah, i see now why women don’t bring anything to a first date.

a man comes to your door to pick you up so he can make sure you don’t trip walking down your own sidewalk and are able to get into a car properly by opening and closing the door for you. i’m pretty sure the last time someone opened and closed a car door for me was after i’d been placed in a car seat, and i’m fine with having been somewhat nonverbal the last time this chivalrous event occurred. i checked, and i am quite capable of walking to a car, opening the door, and sitting on the seat all by myself. okay, so maybe the “here” text message isn’t too romantic, but how about: “hey, you, i’m outside, waiting in the car for ya, keeping it warm. :-)”? i’d take that over being extracted from my place of residence any day.

and on that note, having the door held open for me so that i can walk into a building or a room first? do i get a prize for being first? am i being put on a pedestal? i’m a person, i don’t belong on a pedestal, and i can open a door well enough on my own.

so you’re on a date. you’re wearing a nice dress. you’re sitting across from your date. you’ve been talking for an hour. you’ve had a glass of wine. the bar is dimly lit and all sorts of romantical. you’re finding your date attractive. you’re thinking, i wouldn’t hate it if he kissed me. and then, just when you think he might, he puts out his hand timidly and asks:

“is it okay if i put my hand on your thigh, on the intimate-but-not-too-invasive place just above your knee?”

well, that was clunky and awkward, akin to the ass-out hug vince vaughn describes in wedding crashers. if i don’t want you to touch my leg, i’ll find a way, quickly, to let you know as much. but don’t approach me as if you’re asking a waitress if you can sub sweet potato fries for regular, because you weren’t sure if that’d be “cool” with the kitchen? is that cool? are you positive? touch my damn leg.

the other day i was talking to a single friend of mine about her dating life, and she said she was seeing a guy, but she wasn’t feeling that into him. i asked how they met, and she gave me a rundown of their brief relationship thus far (they exchanged a few messages online and have since had a number of dates over the time period of a month) and, “of course,” she said, “typical me, i slept with him too quickly.”

i didn’t ask what “too quickly” meant, but i could gather that it meant either dates one, two, or three, because women usually think they’ve exited slut territory around date four (what the reasoning for this is, i’m not sure). i told her that she must stop, quit, cease, and desist feeling as if sex is something to give up, something women aren’t supposed to want or find enjoyable until it’s socially acceptable to want and enjoy it.

the list of ten says, “a date does not have to be a precursor for sex.”

. . .

i have already seen relationships, even the mothers of all relationships, marriages, fail because people have married the male version of their best friend, someone who shares their likes and dislikes, is caring and nice and sweet and funny, earns a good living, likes babies and animals, but isn’t—

  • the guy whose clothes they want to rip off, or
  • the guy with whom they want to stay up all night, talking about absolutely everything.

women will later cite the cause of this breakup as a lack of:

  • “connection,”
  • “passion,” and
  • “romance.”

your partner should not be one or the other—a sexual, passionate man or a reliable, wholesome nice-guy—and it’s a myth that they have to be. your partner should be both. the best friend who tells you when you have a booger in your nose and the lover who kisses you (or touches your leg) without asking, maybe so unexpectedly that you jump in your seat a tad.

sex is really fucking important. for men and women. i said it. if you don’t think of a date as a precursor for sex, why are you going on the date? i can think of a slew of ways to make new friends, but a date isn’t one of them—at least it shouldn’t be at the top of the list. i’ve had friends come out of dates, but this result certainly wasn’t intentional or planned.

the excessiveness and ostentation of engagements, showers, bachelorette parties, and weddings has hit an all-time high, and is one of those often-discussed small-talk topics that late-twenties/early thirties women bring up at dinner or drinks. it sits alongside how texting is ruining relationships and communication, why can’t we be more like canada and have free health insurance, and gosh, everyone on facebook is getting married or having a baby, and i found a gray hair and there’s a new wrinkle on my forehead. the ironic thing is that i’ve heard the same women with high-carat (not karat or carrot) rocks on their fingers poo-poo another woman who spent “too much” on her wedding. side note: i wrote high-carat because i’m not even sure what is considered a large carat diamond on an engagement ring. one carat? two? anyway . . .

when did life become so much about things? women want to be equal. they want the same pay and opportunities as men. they want the same respect. but they also want to be treated like princesses? if you want to make certain that you continue to earn less than men, keep expecting them to buy you drinks all night, bring flowers to every first date, and take you to fancy places so you can waltz your ass around.

if a man were to go on four first dates in a month, he could conceivably spend ten dollars for gas to pick up a woman (or take a cab to get her), twenty dollars (conservatively) for those damn flowers, and fifty dollars (again, conservatively) for dinner and/or drinks, bringing one date to a grand total of eighty dollars, on the low end. times four, that’s $320 a month. and then, i’m sure, if it turns into a relationship, he’s expected not just to keep the status quo, but most likely to improve upon it. shows and concerts and ballets and expensive dinners and elaborate proposals and an engagement ring worth, at the very least, three months’ salary. i make practically pebbles for the work i do and i cannot fathom spending a few k on anything, least of all a symbol for something that should not need such extravagant symbolizing.

“i’ve put dating on the back burner because i can’t afford it,” my other male friend said to me once a few years ago.

i hear ya, pal.

i went to costa rica at the beginning of october, and while i was there, i wanted to get my boyfriend a souvenir. all the usual things—t-shirts, shot glasses, and coffee—oh my god, the most incredible coffee ever—seemed ill-fitting. i’ve rarely caught him wearing a shirt containing any sort of writing; the only shot i’ve seen him take he sipped and then gave the rest to me; and he pretty much categorizes coffee as molten poison. i had my work cut out for me, until i saw the imperial beer–labeled, waterproof drawstring bag my traveling buddy was toting. i flashed to an image of my boyfriend’s suitcase, his laundry kept in one of those plastic, tall, kitchen-dwelling garbage bags, and i thought, that’s it. i made it my goal to find one of those pouchlike bags. when i finally did, i realized it was the first outright gift i’d ever bought him, even though i’ve known him since late february. i also realized that while he’s paid for flights and club covers and food, he’s never once placed a traditional (or old-fashioned, if you please) gift into my hands. i smiled. i smiled again days later when i saw him use the bag exactly as i’d intended it.

then i realized that other people probably think all this is weird—insane, even. but then i realized, oh, right! i stopped giving a shit about what other people think a long time ago.

ladies, go halfsies, i say.

or start bringing porn to your first dates. it’s only fair.

*erica jong

“action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.” *

the other day i was going through my e-mail drafts and deleting messages. the half-written e-mails were often ones i had never intended to send or had chickened out on sending, or they contained poems or snippets of dialogue i’d thought to include in some nonexistent novel or blog. but in one case, i found part of an unfinished post that i had entitled “timing is everything.” it had been buried under e-mails with no body (which, by the way, are now inundating my draft folder due to gmail’s new lightning-fast auto-save function—i find this to be both savvy and beyond irritating). anyway, it’s interesting to read your thoughts and then to go back to figure out when you wrote them, what was going on in your life, and what would soon follow. below is what i had started writing and then stashed in the gmail vacuum.

yesterday i went to lunch with a friend who is leaving early thursday morning to go on vacation for almost three weeks. i won’t see her until i get back from my trip on march 20. after ordering my edamame dumplings, the woman behind the counter gave me my order number—2283—and i had one of those illogical, childlike reactions, thinking that some good luck had to be coming my way. twenty-two is a lucky number not just for me, but for my family, both on my maternal and paternal sides, and i was born in 1983 (!).

a few hours later, after getting out of work on the tardy side, running an errand for my friend, and returning to my apartment around eight, hours of freelance work ahead of me, i ended up doing only half the work i’d planned to and went to sleep with my contacts in and full makeup on, my eyes puffy and swollen. my last thought before i drifted off was that i should have stepped in that dog shit on the way home to double-guarantee the luck i’d been hoping for was in transit to hoboken. if only a bird had pooped on my head as well, to make the luck trifecta. the lucky numbers weren’t cutting it.

when my coworker and i had sat down to eat, we’d started talking about timing. about taking a train later than your normal hour and meeting someone who never takes that particular train but happened to that day because the a, c, and e was x, y, and z. about a coincidence that can’t possibly be just that. about luck. my ten-year-old self would have called it magic.

and that’s where it stopped. i remember that lunch very well, but today i had trouble placing it on a timeline, so i used facebook (i knew my overuse of social media would come in handy) to pinpoint the date, which ended up being february 12 of this year. i had just gone to nashville with one of my best friends and was about to, that weekend, meet her and a few others in washington, dc. on the next day, february 13, the time of writing, i was nine days away from knowing my boyfriend even existed, eighteen days away from leaving for my trip to cambodia and thailand, and nearly thirty days away from making a huge life choice, which was ultimately to quit my job to focus on writing and freelancing. i wrote the post less than a day after telling a best friend, a guy who i had been dating then stopped dating but remained friends with despite still having feelings for him, that we had to stop speaking, stop hanging out.

whatever happened to me that day hours after lunch had caused me to arrive at place where i felt that luck, that timing, no longer mattered. because i’d seen a “sign,” because my friend had been talking about being on a train at the right time, because i was about to go on a life-changing trip, i’d expected the rest of my day to turn out gloriously. instead i got home late, didn’t finish my work, told my best friend i couldn’t speak to him anymore, and cried myself to sleep. i realized i wasn’t content with my life, and the worst part was that i was letting myself be that way. i was contributing zilch toward changing the view outside my window while hoping for what, i’m not sure. some dog shit to step in, i suppose.

i read a quote recently (and i cannot find it, which is fantastically pissing me off) about how, if you’re writing about your life, you need to be willing to embarrass yourself. otherwise, the product is going to reek and be ridden with an assortment of holes, and trying to sell it to your audience would be akin to selling someone a moth-chewed sweater you found in a very old, very neglected dumpster. no one wants it, and frankly, it stinks. keep this in mind for the next few paragraphs. please.

anyway . . . as i said, on february 13, i was nine days away from knowing that my boyfriend existed. if you’re not familiar with online dating, and in particular, if you’re not familiar with match.com, there are several methods of communicating with people you’re interested in. you can send them a match.com e-mail or instant message, like one of their photos, or wink at them (typing that makes me gag, but oh well). the splendid thing about match.com is even after you’ve let your subscription run out, if you’ve left your profile set to visible, charming bachelors can continue to send you messages and wink up a storm. the caveats of course are that you can view the profiles of said messengers and winkers, but 1). you can’t read the content of their messages, and 2). even if you could read them, you can’t respond in any way other than with . . . yup, a wink. the reason for this is that match.com hopes you’ll get enough batting eyes and sexy texts to make you want to renew your subscription and be able both to see what poetry was sent to you and to chat with these fine young poets.

so i got a wink from this gingery-looking guy, a self-proclaimed narcissist workaholic with commitment issues, who claimed he was 5’10” and whose headline read: “life is too short to dance with fat chicks.” he read—actual books!—had a degree in mechanical engineering, and strung words together much like i do, as if he believed, also like i do, that they matter (though maybe he could have used a thesaurus for that “fat chick” part to soften it up a bit). and then, toward the bottom of his profile, i came across a quote he had listed as one of his favorites, one by mark twain, and one that my sixth-grade english teacher had made us write as the first line in our journals: “the difference between the right word and the almost-right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” this was also the same teacher who had had us learn about the genocide in cambodia, my soon-to-be travel destination, and had assigned us cambodian pen pals shortly after the khmer rouge was overthrown. the quote has been, since that day, one of my favorites. as a writer, it only makes sense.

long story longer (it’s my way, i’m sorry), i winked back at this man and told myself that if he e-mailed me, i’d consider spending the money to rejoin match to be able to read his message and respond to it. i half-hoped he wouldn’t message me—i knew i’d be out at least the one-month subscription fee if i opted back in—but he did, and i spent a day wavering between letting the thing go and renewing my membership. ultimately, i renewed. i told myself that if i didn’t, i’d always regret it.

i told him this story on our first date (according to the rules, what a no-no, right?), but he didn’t see it as pathetic or loopy and he didn’t believe that my openness about telling him was too forward. i was really george constanza’ing it in reverse, embracing every natural impulse instead of going by the unwritten book of dating. my propensity is to overshare, overcompliment if i like someone, and overexpose bits of my personality and vulnerabilities upfront, and this, not shockingly, scares the shit out of guys, if not most people. we continued to talk after i left for asia, four days after our first date, and when he suggested that we meet in the airport the night i returned to new york (his flight from la happened to be landing a mere forty-five minutes before mine), i thought that the sensible thing to do, after traveling for a day straight and sitting in a cramped airplane seat for sixteen hours, would be to say no and figure out a better time (as if any other time when you’re not exhausted, jet-lagged, smelly, and dehydrated wouldn’t be better) to hang out. but i said okay, and there i was staring at a guy with whom i’d had one date and whose face i’d struggled to re-create from memory during three weeks of eating ganja pizza in siem reap, trying to ride a motorbike in koh lanta, and peeing, drunk, in the andaman sea off phi phi island, my dress hiked up to my hips, my phone and bag dangerously close to plummeting toward saltwater death. my friend and travel companion told me i was nuts for not ditching the guy to go home and head straight to bed, but i knew i’d regret it if i didn’t see him again and, not only that, i’d regret it if i didn’t see him that very night.

timing isn’t everything, but it is something, if only we capitalize on it. ultimately, we have choices, and we have the power to make the most of our luck. we aren’t helpless bystanders in the coincidences in which we find ourselves. i used to believe that the good things in life came to you if you were good, if you waited patiently for them to find you. and maybe, for some, they do arrive in that way. but the most satisfying good, for me, has come out of action, not passivity, from seeking out, not waiting for.

our airport “date” was six months ago, and i got off the phone with him around eight this morning, he in a cab in las vegas en route to eat steak and eggs, i in my room, packing for my trip to costa rica. the person i love is 2,500 miles away, but i am happy he is in my life to love this much (i’m currently stretching my arms out to my sides as far as they will go—that’s how much). tonight in san josé i’m meeting my friend, a girl i met a year ago at a hostel in amsterdam, another example of timing capitalized on, the result being a best, lifelong friend who i’m spending my birthday and eleven days with on another continent. a part of me continues to believe in luck, and in magic, but above all, i believe in the present progressive, in those -ing verbs: moving, going, and most important, doing.

*william james

all my friends are forward-thinking / getting hitched and quitting drinking / and i can feel them pulling away / as i’m resigned to stay the same*

back in the day, in college, when i had trouble figuring out what to write about in my supercool xanga online journal, i often went searching for old diary entries to get inspired—or simply to see what on earth was going on in my head x number of years ago to the day, or as close as possible. most of the time they were highly comical, especially the farther back i poked (think eleven-year-old kaitlin, who, you’re right, was totally weird), with my dear diaries consisting of listing who i liked and who was a “stupid butt” (i didn’t realize at the time how satisfying it would be to call someone a “fucking asshole,” as i do now) and which friend i was mad at and which one was mad at me and so on. so i decided that, instead of subjecting you to my prepubescent self, i’d see what was going on eight years ago, in may of 2005, which was the spring of my junior year of college. if i remember correctly, at that time i had been single for seven months and was seeing god only knows who, was finishing up finals, had just had my first poem published in my college’s literary magazine, and was looking forward to a summer at the jersey shore, which would include being able to drink alcohol legally, hanging out with my high school friends, and going to the beach. i had failed to get a summer internship at a publishing house (yet i’ve since wiggled my way into not one, but two houses, thank you very much, albeit years later) and i had my sights on obtaining a steady babysitting job to earn money for gas (which was just a bit more than two dollars a gallon), booze, and, well . . . i guess that’s about it.

here’s what i wrote on may 2, 2005 (also, here’s a “retro” photo of me):

so i deleted my last post because, well, i just didn’t like it.

when i was a freshman in high school there was this girl in my algebra class who had a sticker on the side of her notebook that said, “relax, you’ll get there,” and every day, i’d stare at the damn thing and think to myself, “wtf does that mean?” and then later on i thought, “well, i guess that means you have to be patient with life because eventually it all works out.” soon after i found someone with whom i had a 5 and 1/2 year relationship and was like, “well, i guess this is what i was waiting for.” five and 1/2 years later, i discovered that i had gotten pretty close, that i had been “there” for a while, but now i was back to point a, and have not recovered since b/c every time i think i’m there again, i get stuck hitchhiking miles away and “there” is only a mirage in the distance that isn’t really, which, getting to my point, is that some people just don’t make it. and i might just be one of those people.

with that, i’m going to bed early, putting my paper on the back-burner and my heart in my pocket. i’m tired of wearing it on my sleeve.

kaitlin

"retro" photo of my friend and me from april 2005

yawn. twenty-one-year-old me was so emo and dramatic. but to be honest, and i apologize to you, young adult self, although you sounded pretty juvenile, i really thought whatever you had written was going to be a lot more terrible. while i do see plenty of spots where i’d add a comma or a hyphen or, for pete’s sake, spell out “five and a half,” i didn’t express myself too differently than i do now. and i didn’t expect that. so either i was quasi mature for my age at twenty-one, or i’ve regressed to having the mindset of a college student, which would not be at all shocking.

i remember that preachy sticker very well, though. i had been fifteen and perplexed by the concepts of relaxing or getting anywhere. i was too impatient to enjoy the figurative ride, and i think, even up until a year ago, i was still too willing to rush through each fleeting phase of the life cycle. i think i’ve gotten a bit better at appreciating the minutiae as i pass the hours each day, but one recurring theme i haven’t abandoned is that i’m going to be alone. it’s what we nerdy book people would refer to in a novel as a motif.

my best male friend once told me that i’m really bad at relationships. i responded to that with “but i’ve been in only two, and they both lasted for more than five years.” to that he replied, “are you still in either of them?” and then i didn’t say anything, although i’m pretty sure i unleashed some sort of physical violence, like punching him in the arm. clearly, i missed his face.

the problem with this post is that people are going to see it as negative. i don’t. i just see my “getting there” as a bit different from other people’s, and apparently, i’ve felt this way for a long time. i used to try to force myself to believe that, for me, it meant finding the right guy and getting married and having a house and children. for everyone who has these things and is happy, i’m happy for them, and i mean that without any trace of sarcasm or condescension. and i don’t necessarily think that some part of me doesn’t want those things; but like any antihero or pathetic protagonist, i might just be incapable of obtaining them. or holding on to them. i’m not sure which. either way, i’ve come to accept, and embrace, my reality.

or, maybe more likely, i’ll read this in eight years and think, what a stupid butt i was (i predict that i’ll have stopped using both fucking and asshole by then, only because they will have gone out of fashion. stupid and butt will be all the rage. or i’ll just be old).

*from “i was once a loyal lover” by death cab for cutie

on dating and deriving

it’s six p.m. on sunday night, and i’m sitting in my parents’ living room in a brown leather recliner, staring at a pile of freelance work that i’ve been poring over all day. i’ve reached that point where i’m bleary-eyed and spent, and every word i read slides by the others and gets tangled, to the point at which, as a copy editor, i start to do more harm than good. i’m editing a memoir, a pretty heavy one (and i mean heavy like marty mcfly meant heavy, not physically burdensome) and the author deserves someone who is 100-percent alert and diligent to be working on his/her manuscript. and, well, right now that person is not i.

mother nature has been eking out more minutes of daylight since december 21, but save the glow of the moon and the streetlamps and the suburban family rooms, tonight it’s still quite dark. and cold. not that i’m confused or surprised—after all, it’s january, and that’s a news flash for most facebook users who won’t stop yapping about the low temps—but all i’d like to do right now is take a long run to defrost my psyche without wiping out on a patch of black ice or slamming cartoon coyote–style into a street sign. instead i’m going to sit here and imagine myself eating ice cream. anyone who says that sad, moody girls wallow in their emotional downward spirals by lounging around eating ice cream and watching chick flicks hasn’t met me. i’m going to lounge around, wish i had ice cream but make no effort to get any, put the same death cab for cutie song on repeat, and blog with the hope that this post will alleviate some of this high school-esque angst i have.

anyway, yesterday my mom and i waited in verizon wireless for about forty-five minutes while calvin the verizon tech third-wheeled me onto my parents’ family plan and synced my old phone with the iphone 4s upgrade i bought. before doing the latter, he asked if i had backed up everything on my computer’s itunes account and i of course said, “sure,” though i couldn’t remember the last time i had done so. it turned out that the last time i had backed up everything was in october 2011, a few months before i went from being kind of normal and predictable to being whatever animal i am now.

when i got home, i plugged baby siri into my computer and attempted to sync her. i got some prompt that i naturally didn’t read carefully, and whatever option i choose caused new phone to take on the insipid personality of old phone, aka kaitlin’s iphone circa october 2011. at least ten people who i now couldn’t imagine not speaking to on a daily or weekly basis didn’t exist as far as october 2011 phone was concerned, and then heaps of old messages flooded my recent texts as if they had been sent or received within the past few hours.

it was creepy. there’s something very different about reading old texts, as opposed to other forms of written communication, or looking at other memorabilia, so to speak. they’re not often thought out, so it’s not the same as reading a diary entry or a letter or an e-mail. it’s not like looking at a photograph, which is often a posed, unnatural portrait of who we were or who we were trying to be. reading those texts was akin to looking squarely at an unabashed series of snapshots of myself as i chatted about my day and my feelings and my fears with a person who, at the time, was my best friend.

so i couldn’t help myself; i read the texts—many of them—going back as far as may 2011, until i realized that a half hour had gone by and i’d never get that half hour back. but i kept thinking, who was that person? i mean, good lord. i had left the hyphens out of e-mail and good-bye too many times to count (wordpress will probably flag this phrase as a cliché. and i’m thinking i probably could count them if i really wanted to. typing these three sentences just cost me a minute i won’t ever get back).

aside from blatantly ignoring what can only be described as egregious and despicable spelling errors i would never ignore now, i was different then in many other ways. and, as i sit here eating an imaginary frozen dessert and listening to round ten of the world’s smallest death cab for cutie playlist, i don’t know who i like better: october 2011 me or january 2013 me. i think if i asked siri she’d say it’s a toss-up, but we’re both sort of pains in the ass and for god’s sake turn off that emo hipster shit in the background.

my parents just walked through the door, my mom saying in a singsong voice that she has a sweet treat for me. hazard a guess what it is. and yes, i put peanut butter in it.

something else i found on old phone was a note i’d typed on its electronic steno pad. like much of the random crap i jot down quickly, usually at a bar or on some form of public transit, it was cryptic and vague, and it took me several minutes to recall what it was that i had thought was so critical to remember. the note, from april 2012, just before i vacated my old apartment, read:

convo in margon. plantains and rice and yucca. the logic of relationships. 8/10. your happiness versus others’.

after wracking my brain for several minutes, and thinking that the above would make for some excellent instagram hash tags, the day came back to me clearly. i had been having lunch at a cuban restaurant in the city with a friend, and we were talking about relationships, and more specifically, why people settle for mediocre ones. this friend said that relationships should be thought of in terms of probability and logic. so if you are dating someone who is an eight out of ten (ten being your ten—not the world’s ten, where someone like angelina jolie would be a ten and we normal womenfolk would hang out somewhere around a four), that the logical thing to do would be to stay with your eight. because if you drop your eight to find your ten, you’re more likely to find a bunch of threes and sixes and a lot less likely to find your perfect ten. meaning that, once you see what else is out there, that eight isn’t looking too shabby.

i’m not good with numbers in any facet of my life—figuring out the bill at a restaurant gives me agita—but i’m not at all likely to use numbers, probability or logic or statistics of any kind, when it comes my love life. you can find the person who is your ten, whether on paper or in your heart or both, and the relationship may still not work out. it may not work out with your eight, either. maybe your six is where it’s at. maybe you wouldn’t even know your ten if she or he threw up on your shoes outside a club (i’m sure a few tens have come off as twos that way). maybe some of us will feel it immediately. maybe it will take others months, or even years, to realize that the right person had been in front of them all along. maybe we’ll never find our ten or our eight or even our one. maybe we’ll be alone.

ah-ha. there’s the real fear, isn’t it?

my dad just asked my mom for more ice cream. she responded that he had already had two bowls. he said that he had had only one. they’re still going back and forth about how much ice cream my dad actually consumed, and i’m just sitting here, typing, and laughing at them, and eating my second bowl of vanilla chocolate chip swirl.

“i think i’m being bamboozled,” my dad just said.

“well, i think you’re gas-lighting me,” my mom replied.

despite their excellent vocabulary, i think they’re both acting like fours. but i have a hunch they’re each other’s tens.

after reading those old texts, after scrolling through a relationship’s high and low points, after watching as it slowly and sadly deteriorated, and after mulling over the cuban lunch conversation with my friend, i realized, as i said before, that a ten in your heart, no matter how much you want to will it to work, won’t always be worth a ten in a bush—that’s how it goes, right?—and, well, frankly, october 2011 kaitlin wasn’t anyone’s ten. and i don’t think you can be someone’s else’s ten until you see yourself as one. maybe, once you get there, well, i guess . . . we shall see. and maybe, after revisiting them one last time, i’ll have the strength to move on and delete the ghosts of texts past from my virtual icloud nine. but whether you go by the numbers or as princess jasmine once sang, that “indescribable feeling,” i hope we all find our tens.

“i have my books and my poetry to protect me / i am shielded in my armor.”*

i wrote this post early this morning and tweaked it during lunch.

new york city (and hey, why not throw hoboken in there too) has been called a meat market when it comes to dating. and when it comes to me in terms of dating, i’m what the french call les incompetents. it’s still foreign territory for me, and i don’t think i’m wrong when i say that anyone who was in a relationship for a long time and no longer is can feel like, well, a fish out of water that doesn’t know how to date.

i’m currently typing this on my phone and it’s 5:30 a.m. i woke up because i’m angry about something and i’m pretty sure my subconscious was way too anxious to let me continue sleeping, so i figure that instead of lying here stewing about it, i should use all this energy i have in a positive way. however, my laptop is in the top drawer of my desk at work (don’t steal it!), which means that typing this on my phone is laborious and annoying, and my anger level may continue to rise as i will no doubt go on and on about some mundane topic. most people in my family on my dad’s side are long-winded and that trait didn’t skip a generation.

the closer you get to thirty (i’m less than a year away and i don’t really care so much, at least not as much as everyone else seems to), people feel as though they can ask you questions like, “do you think you’ll freeze your eggs?”, as if freezing your potentially unborn children is as easy as popping chicken cutlets into the icebox. let’s save those for later! according to an article on cnn’s website (which is old, but still accurate, i’m sure), it can cost thousands or tens of thousands of dollars to freeze your eggs. maybe that’s one of those things i can ask my grandmother to pay for because she is probably the one who is most worried that i haven’t yet taken a husband and spawned any long-winded children.

oh my god. someone just hocked the biggest loogie of all time outside my window. he (although, to be fair it could have been a she) really wound up before he/she launched that one. impressive sound quality, considering that i’m on the fifth floor. anyway, it interrupted my concentration, so it deserves to interrupt this post, too.

the other day my friend posted on facebook that she is going to write a book on dating entitled [for the sake of her privacy i won’t write it, but just know that it was a really clever mocking of fifty shades] and she commented that “no, it won’t be sexy.” she is thirty and i’m on the cusp, and i’m sure some of our married/in-a-relationship friends may look at us with a bit of pity and a shake of the head. but dating is hard, and often the setups, the online match-ups, the chance meetings at a bar, or however means you happen to acquire a date turn out to be as successful as anyone’s attempt to make a real hover board (so far, anyway—i just googled hover boards to make sure they haven’t made any progress since back to the future part iii). the dating scene is especially difficult for someone like me, who, once when talking to another friend, said, “i think i give off an intimidating vibe,” and to which she responded, “yeah, you kind of have bitch face.” well, at least we’ve pinpointed a problem area.

jerry seinfeld—or, at least the fictionalized character he played of himself—dumped women for a slew of asinine reasons, which include but are not limited to:

  • having “man hands”
  • having a name that rhymes with a female body part (“dolores!”)
  • having a stomach that he pictured talking in a funny voice
  • wearing the same dress on every date
  • having breasts whose realness couldn’t be determined on sight (he asked elaine to “fall” on them to find out)
  • being a “sentence-finisher” or a “close talker”
  • eating peas one at a time
  • having dated his archenemy (“newman . . .”)
  • liking a commercial he hated
  • getting covered in toilet water when a pipe exploded
  • being too much like him
  • refusing to taste his pie at the coffee shop

most of these are not realistic—or maybe they are and we should all be very afraid—but they prove a point that human beings will find an excuse, however ridiculous, not to date someone again if they don’t feel that person is the right one, or a right one. i don’t like to believe there is only one person for everyone. but i do think that if you really love someone, you’ll love them man hands and all.

i do have a few odd requirements of my own, and one is adeptness in the departments of spelling and grammar. you don’t have to be the master that i am (or as pompous about it, apparently), but if you consistently mix up their, there, and they’re (and don’t even realize it!) or think that it’s cool to spell silent-p words with s‘s (think sychology), then we are not meant to be. i’d be willing to forgive these missteps if the guy admits he’s not one for spelling or grammar, but don’t tell me, after i tell you what i do for a living, that, yeah, you hate when people misspell words, but then you incorrectly spell a word like involved, which is, not coincidentally, something we won’t be.

my shallow bitch rant has ended. but maybe i am missing out on fine male specimens by cutting the grammar-challenged from the list. oh well. as jerry might say, la la la.

i had dinner with a friend the other night who had been single for about four years and who told me she has finally come to the point at which she is ready to be someone’s wife. since coming to this conclusion, she has started dating two people somewhat seriously over the course of a month and will soon have to choose between two pretty great guys (life is hard). she said that she thinks when you “get there,” people find you, because they, too, know you are “there.” it certainly makes sense that you’d attract someone more easily if you seem ready to make a commitment . . . as opposed to giving everyone bitch face.

the other morning i received an automatic e-mail from the melting pot wishing me a happy anniversary. because i was still sort of asleep, i couldn’t imagine what in the world the e-mail could be about, but then i realized, painfully, that the message was referring to an anniversary that no longer exists—i hadn’t thought to remove it from my melting pot account (i can’t imagine why it wasn’t the first thing i did), and i can very well assume that the melting pot doesn’t stalk its customers’ relationship status changes on facebook.

this past week i have mostly stayed off social networking sites and have kept myself signed out of gchat and ichat (except to talk to coworkers). while i love my job, and am working on loving myself, i feel as though i’ve been putting both on the back burner for some time. i make plans for every night of the week to try not to let my subconscious consume me with thoughts i don’t want to think. but inevitably those thoughts find me—usually around 5:30 a.m., during the wee, small hours of the morning. so, for a bit at least, it’s going to be just me—and my books.

because whether you are or aren’t over your last relationship or it’s been months or years since the most recent one—or you’ve never had one at all, if you aren’t ready, you aren’t ready. if you don’t have room for someone else, trying to squeeze anyone in only makes things tight, uncomfortable, and forced. and all i want and need now is some space to breathe. and maybe some fondue. for one.

*”i am a rock” by simon & garfunkel

well, i don’t know if it is / i don’t know if it should be / i dont know if i could be satisfied that way / today is not the day you will hear me say that is what i want*

one of my single friends hasn’t quite decided to make her match.com profile visible, so this past thursday night, during the monsoon that attacked the new york metropolitan area, we had a good time perusing the various bachelors available within thirty miles of her zip code. i don’t know if it was the weird weather/freakish lightning or if the sushi we ate had been infused with nitrous oxide, but we were in hysterics over some of the profiles we stumbled upon. here was one gentleman’s idea of a perfect date, verbatim:

gun range. arabica. dinner. whiskey. movie. cuddle time. (not necessarily in that order, but that’s an amazing lineup!) 😀

personally, i think the order should be: arabica + whiskey. gun range. cuddle time. eighty-six the dinner and the movie. who needs food and cinematic entertainment when you have firearms and spooning?

sometimes you have those weekends that, when attempting to recap, you don’t even know where to start. this past weekend’s adventures have left me wondering how i possibly did everything i did in forty-eight-hours. so much happened that i even forgot that my friends and i listened to—i use that verb loosely, because, in fact, we could hear him from my friend’s dwelling in ocean grove as we were getting ready to go out for the night—kirk cameron give a talk about marriage and god and whatnot (oh, and sing the growing pains theme song a few times) while in the background gay rights activists protested his appearance. (if it sounds like i made this up, please, by all means, read this article.) i’m not going to comment at length on this, but all i will say is that anyone who knows me knows that i’m a). an agnostic, near-atheist, b). a gay rights supporter (HRC gets $15 of my hard-earned money every month), and c). indifferent about who wants to get married to whom.

moving on . . . as daniel tosh would probably say in this situation, here’s this weekend’s breakdown.

a combination of: celebrating the engagement of your oldest friend with your second-oldest friend and being named co-maids of honor while eating dinner and drinking wine at langosta lounge in asbury park; severe lack of sleep; going to bed in your contact lenses two nights in a row; wiping out during a two-mile fun run for charity and letting an attractive (yet married) officer bandage you up while you and your friends recite quotes from super troopers; taking part in an hour of free miller lites at 11 a.m.; getting low; having a dance party in the rain; watching ryan lochte win a gold medal; engaging in no fewer than five USA! USA! chants; sweating with five of your closest friends and countless acquaintances, frenemies, and strangers in the parker house, a once-victorian-beach-house-turned-bar-and-restaurant in manasquan; watching a severe thunderstorm pass while you eat lunch on the porch of said place; fighting with your two oldest friends like you’re still in high school; buying gauze and surgical tape in rite aid and taking pictures next to walkers, canes, and depends because you think you’re funny; getting and (failing) to give piggyback rides; going to the turning point, a quaint family breakfast spot, wearing matching parker house run shirts and looking hungover; eating beach pizza at three a.m.; taking three-hour naps in an ocean grove tent; having photo shoots at the bar; climbing over locked gates and potentially plunging into deal lake; taking a photo with albie and chris manzo’s roommate from the real housewives of new jersey; wearing sunglasses indoors; learning a great new pickup line involving a parrot (if you want to know, ask); and, of course, getting a lesson in life and love from the one and only kirk cameron.

i wonder if anyone would take me up on it if i were to describe the above as my idea of a perfect date. i don’t think it’s too much to ask. i hate to be a product of my generation, but, as a wise canadian rapper once said, YOLO.

*from “that is what i want” by michael zapruder