Monday, April 27, 2009

In the Dating Trenches...with Gratitude

When you are in the dating trenches, some days it's just plain hard to count your blessings.

And then some days are brilliant gifts in the midst of such warfare.

Saturday was just that day. With my head in the lap of a rather distracting, adorable guy I suddenly recall that one of my fabulous friends was due to go on a date just this past Thursday . So here we are, a full day-and-a-half later (I told you he was distracting), and I've heard nothing from my girl about her night out for drinks.

Nothing. Not a peep.

Being one of the smarter girls I am so lucky to know, I have no real worries. I know she's not struggling in duct tape in the back of some wackos trunk. But I am curious. Why the silence? I grab the phone to send off a text. It goes like this:

Me: "Did u go on your date, yo? Spill it!"

Fab Friend: "Suuuuuuucked. He had lady-hands."

There is something so wicked about instant hysterical laughter. Can you beat it? Not often, I say. I immediately dial the phone while trying to catch my breath, knowing I am in for a delicious tale that will provide as much solid entertainment as the Yanks being swept out of Fenway Park.

She answers the phone without missing a beat:

"Yeah. I said it. Lady-hands." She begins to sing "Moist Ladieeeeeeeee-hannnnds..."
(I am laughing so hard at this point that my breath is actually hitching).

I think author and supreme SmartMouth Goddess Susan Jane Gilman may have said it best (a quick thank you Jamie for gifting me with this very smart book): "It's not a date. It's entertainment. Since ninety-nine percent of all dates we'll ever be on will end in disappointment, we're far better off approaching each date as a source of endless entertainment and mockery for ourselves and our friends." And let me tell you this. While I haven't been dating long, I have accumulated a few odd fucking tales to tell. Including the moron who talked through an ENTIRE movie. Plot points, opinions, and oddly-forced laughter for all to hear! While rifling handfuls of popcorn into his mouth, as stewing people look at me from all sides to shut him up while he's taking these slight snack breaks. People all around with eyebrows crossed into X's, their faces painfully begging me "Shut your asshole-of-a-boyfriend up, would ya?! PLEASE?!"

And me (on first date) wanting to bury my head in the popcorn bin like Buckethead.

In the midst of these moments, I am so happy that I have a few lovely, smart friends in the dating trenches with me. First, they enable me. Damn, they are brave in battle. They encourage and challenge me to do the unthinkable. They scoot the horror out of me, pour me another gimlet, spray a little Betsey Johnson on me and push me back into the dating game when I want to curl up and die from my wounds (many self-inflicted). They dust me off, put a band-aid on my scraped ego, and toss me good pain killers so I can forget how much my heart hurts in the midst of this guerrilla warfare.

They are so witty and wise. They know of my anticipation. They have navigated the delicate balance of head-in-the-clouds expectations and sobering reality that each date brings. They truly know and feel the pain. Most importantly, they will share (and listen to) stories about every faceache and idiot we might have to suffer through in our attempt to find someone we can truly love with abandon.

So tonight I raise my glass of Malbec (yes, it's been one of those days) and send my love and gratitude to all of my girls in the deep, dark trenches. And yes, that does include the wise ones who are still married and who endure. You know who you are...

I love doing battle with you.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I Like Being Frightened...

I've been battling a bit of an addiction.

Happily, it's to a very manageable and affordable substance. I'm a hopeless junkie to a one-time download that grips me like a bad crystal meth habit. Minus the need for any dental work.

And the really cool thing about this is that it supports my very firm belief that every life needs a really good soundtrack.

I should first thank Rob for this bittersweet introduction to the elixir known as Frightened Rabbit. Specifically their album "The Midnight Organ Fight". (I would also like to thank him for writing very beautiful and severely warm e-mails to me during the first part of my separation and divorce. I am indebted to him. But that is a tale for another day...)

Who knew upon zipping a quick $9.99 to iTunes that I would become completely and instantly addicted? So madly in love with this as though I conceived and gave labored birth to it myself? Earlier this year I struggled with a mild habit to Connor Oberst and his solo album. However, I kicked that in a few short months. No twelve steps needed. But this? I still cannot go a single day without injecting this into my ears. Turning up the volume and hitting repeat until I feel the oddly necessary ache or the sincere relief that each perfectly symmetrical word brings.

Much like Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of The Moon syncs up perfectly with The Wizard of Oz, The Midnight Organ Fight syncs up perfectly with the past two years of my own life. It sweetly, boldly tells the tale. I listen and fragments of my damaged life (more black and blue than black and white) present themselves boldly etched in my mind like Edward Gorey is working feverishly away in my noggin. I listen as I lose bits of myself and bits of my children like a leper loses limbs...while I need good arms to fit perfectly or twist around my waist to bring heat around my cold, aching body. I hold my breath while I struggle to swim through deep, drunken, panic-stricken waves. I am on the brink of sincere sorrow, needing to speak of things that can kill, or possibly salvage, an important relationship.

Every raw and intimate detail. Every honest want and thought I've had over the past couple of years is addressed so clearly in this recording as though I had dictated my life out loud to these Hutchison boys (and they had seen fit to listen and create their brilliant musical interpretation). It is truly, selfishly, my personal soundtrack. It's become my musical habit of choice.

And much like the enlightening ending of The Wizard of Oz (the ending I have always been so madly in love with), Scott Hutchison's gorgeous songwriting reminds me every day that I have the heart, the brain, and the courage I had once sadly forgotten I had possessed all along.

No wonder I remain a hopeless mainliner.