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Hooking Up With a Coworker: Collateral Damage

11 Dec

For seven years I considered work to be my very own personal dating pool.  I swam laps in it, soaked in its warm waters, and nearly drowned a few times.

I was 23 years old when I started working in Corporate America.  On my first day of work, I was elated to discover that there were more than a handful of handsome bachelors parading up and down the hallways just waiting to leave their mark.  I had been warned, on more than one occasion, that it’s a bad idea to dip one’s pen in the company well.  “Who cares?” I thought to myself, “there are just too many options here, and I can’t pass them up.”

There were good relationships, there were traumatic ones, hot hook-ups, and there were even PG-13 encounters in the 3rd floor copy room.  While I have many fond memories of my escapades in copy rooms, training closets, and locked offices, there came a point when the consequences were too hard to deal with.  I’m not referring to the chance of getting caught with my skirt up around my waist, and bent over a table in a meeting room – only to get fired and end up welcoming you to Applebee’s and taking your drink order.  Oh no, it’s something far worse than that.

Have you ever had a friend who has just broken up with someone, and you can literally see the life drain out of them? They look pale. Their clothes are wrinkled, their hair is unkempt and unwashed. They lose the spring in their step. It’s a sad thing to watch. As much as you want to comfort them, there’s little you can do. Instead, you just have to endure their depressing shuffling and let them go through their mourning hoping that they’re able to heal quickly.

Now imagine that instead of that being your friend, it’s you.

It is 10 times harder to mend your broken heart when you’re busy airing your dirty laundry for every single person in Corporate America to see. When you break up with a coworker, every single person you work with knows that you’re a hot mess because you got dumped by Sal the Salesman who is now giving it to his hot new secretary. Oh wait, excuse me, I meant Executive Assistant. Yeah, I know. Pathetic.

After my second break up with Mr. Big X, I swore to myself that I would never date (or mess around) with another coworker again. I put my foot down and said, “no more.” The thought of having to pass each other in the hallways, end up in the same meeting, or see each other in the deli counter line in the cafeteria was too difficult to bear. Lucky for me, Mr. Big X was transferred to another state. Still, there was that slim chance that he and I would end up working on the same project. Then I’d have to hear his voice on a conference call-and that might lead me to remember how he used to call me every night when he was visiting his folks, and how we had planned to spend the next holiday with them, and blah, blah, snore. There was too much collateral damage.

I’ve kept true to my word-I haven’t touched a single coworker since. Ex employees, on the other hand, are a totally different story…

Kissing Frogs

20 Nov

kiss-frog

“You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you’ll find your prince.” That’s what a friend of the family used to tell me when I was a teenager. Here I am some 15 years later, and I’ve made my way through quite a large number of frogs. Yet I keep going back for more in hopes of finding that prince of mine. We’re raised to believe that that there’s someone out there waiting for us. Scratch that, not someone, but THE ONE. Our better half. Our soul mate. But how do you know when you’ve found him or her? There are some people that believe that you just know when you’ve found THE ONE. You will feel it! The the planets to align, the Heavens to open up, the angels to sing, the seas to part.

There has only been one person (so far) that I thought was THE ONE. He was it, I was certain of it. I dated Mr. Big X for nearly 2 years. He’s the one that I would describe as THE ex. He’s the one that set the standard, the one that each new potential beau is compared to. I thought we would end up married. I thought he was the father of my children. Alas, things didn’t quite work out as I had anticipated. Perhaps I should have known from that first kiss how things would wind up.

By the time the first kiss came along, we had known each other for about 18 months, and I had been crushing on him for about 18 months. I would pine away for him and clutch my pillow at night pretending it was him. I’d find stupid reasons to walk past his desk during the day at work. We would hang out at happy hour and I would flirt with him. I guess sometimes he’d flirt back with me, but I could never tell if he was being nice to me or if he was interested. I clearly remember one occasion when we were out at a bar, and there were 4 of us talking about hot female celebrities. His friend had mentioned some young starlet with a rocking hot body. Mr. Big X turned to me and said, “I don’t care for those girls. They’re too skinny. I like full figured girls.” I had to walk away because all I could thing to myself was, “He just called me fat.”

On the fateful day of our first kiss, we found ourselves with my sister and a friend on a boat enjoying the fine summer day. The day had been perfect! We had spent the day flirting with one another and I had a feeling that he might ask me out. When he drove me home that night, and asked if he could come up to my apartment, I was positive that he just needed to use the bathroom. Once upstairs, something changed. Gone was his cool confidence-in its place was some kind of false charm. It’s kind of difficult to describe. Kind of like when you first meet someone and they seem very nice, then the second they find out that you’re in the market for a car, they suddenly transform into the stereotypical cheesy car salesman. That’s what it was like with him. He fed me cheesy lines like: “You’re such a great girl,” and “You’d be so fun to date.” I half expected him to pull out a chart showing a graph of the features and benefits of dating him. After about 15 minutes of him feeding me cheesy lines, he asked me out. Without making a scene, or wetting myself from sheer excitement, I said yes. I’m happy to say that he didn’t notice my voice shaking; at least I’m pretty sure he didn’t.

He then placed his right hand on my left thigh and asked, “Can I kiss you?” He tried to make this sound natural, but it came across as so awkward. Who the hell asks that question these days? I struggled to control my eyes from rolling. ”Sure,” I answered casually. I didn’t know what to do; he was sitting kind of far away from me. In my experience, when I was about to kiss someone, our faces were already near one another’s – not 2 feet apart. I leaned down and placed my glasses on the table, not knowing whether I should move closer to him or wait for him to close the 2 feet of distance between us. When I straightened up, he began moving his face towards mine. In the 5 seconds it took for him to bring his lips to mine, I remember feeling so nervous, and not knowing where to look or if I should just close my eyes.

I was expecting fireworks. I was expecting trumpets. I was expecting the planets to align, the Heavens to open up, the angels to sing, the seas to part. Instead, I got a wah wah wah. The kiss was not what I had imagined – what I had hoped for. BAM! Our lips met and he was suddenly darting his tongue in and out of my mouth like a snake. He was moving it in and out so quickly that I started to get nauseated. I backed away for a second to see if I could somehow get him to take it easy, or to try to kill his little snake imitation. No such luck. He grabbed the back of my head, and proceeded to shove his tongue half way down my throat. I’m surprised I didn’t choke and die right then and there.

Next thing I knew I was on my back, he was climbing on top of me, and he had 8 hands – 2 of which were up my shirt as I struggled for breath. I managed to wedge both my hands between us and shove him off of me. Unfortunately, I shoved a little too hard and he ended up falling off the couch, and smacking his head on the table. He managed to stay conscious and I managed to keep his tongue out of my throat for the rest of the evening. I considered backing out of the date, until I went to work the following day. There was a single white rose on my desk and a note from Mr. Big X. And that was the beginning of our relationship. A relationship that ended in tears and 2 broken hearts.

To this day I wonder if I should have known from that first kiss that he was actually a snake. Can a first kiss tell you whether the journey you’re about to embark on is something significant or just a booty call? Can it tell you if the person you’re with is THE ONE or just someone?

Dating Do’s & Don’ts

6 Nov

 At 34, I have been on more first dates than I care to count. Sure some of them were fantastic, like the one with Mr. Big X. We went out on his friend’s sailboat for the whole day. The weather was gorgeous, there was plenty of chemistry, loads of flirting, and a kiss at the end of the date that still makes my knees buckle when I think about it. Or the first date with Hairy McBacksweat. There was plenty of beer, tons of good food, and more than enough bad judgementjudgment to last me a lifetime. NevermindNever mind that I was still dating Mr. Big X at the time, or that I had consumed my weight in beer that day-which led up to 6 months of poor choices on my part. But the beer was free and I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth. Even if that gift horse carries the gift of “the relationship that you’ll regret.”

Then we have the bad ones. The ones that still give me terrible nightmares-the kind where I wake up sweating and thinking to myself, “thank God it was just a bad, bad dream.” Then I’m too scared to go back to sleep for fear that I’ll end up back in the dream with some random jerk rubbing my thigh. One of those that still haunts me is the tragic date with Lazy Eye. I had been using a dating service and they were convinced that we were a “perfect match.” If only I had known that their idea of a “perfect match” actually translated into, “you have absolutely nothing in common and we’re just setting the 2 of you up together so we can laugh at you behind your desperate single backs.”

Lazy Eye suffered from a lack of listening skills, and had less personality than a dead dog rotting in the sunshine. I spent the night answering questions that he had just asked me 5 minutes prior, and then correcting him when he made up his own answers. He would ask me questions over and over again, and then pull things out of his ass. An example:

  • Lazy Eye: So, what do your mom and dad do?
  • Me: My mother is a doctor, and my dad is a naval officer in Hawaii. What about yours?
  • Lazy Eye: Wow! That’s really interesting. My dad is dead and I haven’t spoken to my mother in about 15 years.
  • Me: Oh.
  • Lazy Eye: How does your mom like working in Washington DC?
  • Me: Pardon?
  • Lazy Eye: You said she worked for the Mexican Embassy, right?
  • Me: Um…no. She’s a doctor. She’s Mexican, but she doesn’t work for the embassy.
  • Lazy Eye: Oh, sorry. How long has your dad been a photographer?

Umm, what? Where on god’s green earth did he get that from?? The date pretty much continued straight down the road to nowhere. But I tried. I kept on answering his questions, and trying to help him be less nervous. I smiled. I cracked jokes.

When someone ends up on a bad date, they immediately blame the other person. In my case, I know it’s absolutleyabsolutely their fault-never mine. I do all the right things on the first date. No, seriously, I mean it, stop laughing. In my book, here’s why my date would not like me: because we have zero chemistry, because I’m more rubenesque (or robust, chunky, fleshy, curvy…take your pick) than he would like, because I respectfully disagree with his opinion that his paying the bill will lead to a tawdry romp in the backseat of his car, or because we have nothing in common. I will never be the person on a date that doesn’t hold up her end of the conversation, that doesn’t make the false move to pay the bill. That’s just not my style. I believe that what I put into the date, is what I’ll get out of it. How can I expect someone to have a good conversation with me if I only supply one word responses and never ask questions in return?

So think about this the next time you find yourself on a first date: what makes you a good dater? If you have trouble answering that question, here are a few tips for you:

Do:

  • Have a series of open ended questions that you can ask to get your date talking.
  • What do you like to do for fun?
  • What travel plans do you have for the winter/summer?
  • What sports do you enjoy?
  • Would you rather be thrown down the stairs into a giant vat of rotting jellyfish or listen to the latest Rascal Flatts album? Why?
  • Answer questions with more than just one word. If you’re asked, “Do you like to fish?” and the answer is yes, tell them what you like about it. If the answer is no, ask them what they like about it and what their other hobbies are.
  • For the love of God, smile!! No one wants to be out with someone that’s dead inside. Even if you’re not having a great time, smile, and start thinking about what you can do to change the way things are going.
  • This one might get me in trouble, but I don’t really care. Men, be prepared to pick up the bill. Ladies, be prepared to offer to pay for your share. Men, you should reject this faux offer from the ladies. Ladies, you should insist on leaving the tip, or buying a round of drinks. Men, it’s up to you what you do with that offer.
  • Keep things light hearted. There’s no need to tell your date all about your upbringing as a latchkey kid and how you feel your mother didn’t hold you enough when you were an infant.

Don’t:

  • Dress like a slob or a hooker. Gentlemen, that means no t-shirts or sneakers for you. Ladies, that means that you should not be showing off your tramp stamp or your nipple rings. Think about the first impression you want to make. If that’s that you’re a guy who still lets mom do his laundry and can’t be bothered to learn how to match his socks to his pants, or that you’re the type of girl that gives it away in exchange for a drink and a few nice words, by all means….
  • Fire up the grill and start quizzing your date on how many sexual partners they’ve had, how their last relationship ended, why they’re not married, or why the marriage ended. If they want to share that, they’ll tell you.
  • Tell him that your clock is ticking and you plan on having a baby immediately if not sooner. This will cause him to break out into a sweat and run to the bathroom, never to return.
  • Mention that you have some bold ideas for a wedding, and that you think her first name sounds so melodic with your last name. Again, this will cause your date to sweat, and maybe even weep a little bit.

What are some things you do to make sure that you’re a good dater?

2007: My Year in Review

31 Dec

As we are nearing the very bitter end of 2007 it’s time to reflect on all of the exciting “accomplishments” we all have made.  Here are my top 10:

  1. Made out with my friend’s engaged brother in my car parked outside of a bar in February. 
  2. Started my blog.  Yay!
  3. Started a new family with Michael Kors and my cherry red ipod.
  4. Made out with a gay boy at a charity event.
  5. Did the dirty deed with Notebook after getting all boozy suzy at a wedding and THEN managed not to hurl in front of him the next morning when I suffered from a treacherous bout of the cocktail flu.
  6. Managed to enjoy a family vacation without killing my niece or nephew after being trapped in the car with them for 2 days.
  7. Made out with a loser guy in his yellow Mustang that was parked outside of a bar and then didn’t get all crazy when he didn’t call me.  Oh wait, no, I did get all crazy when he didn’t call me.
  8. Embraced my Mexican heritage by mowing the lawn for the very first time.  I’m so ashamed proud of myself.
  9. Made out with Notebook in my car parked outside of a bar.
  10. Posed for my very first (and probably only) professional photo shoot where they’ll probably choose a picture that shows off my assets (including my fat arms).

Wait, I’m sensing something here.  What’s with all the making out in parked cars outside of bars?  As always, I’m keeping it Klassy.

Museum of Broken Hearts

29 Oct

The other day, BBC News ran an interesting article about The Museum of Broken Hearts.  It’s a traveling exhibit made up entirely of souvenirs from failed relationships.  The exhibit include photographs, clothing, letters, and other odds and ends.  At the moment, the exhibit is in Berlin.  There are plans, however, to bring it on over to the U.S. at some point.

 I was thinking about what I’d give to make the exhibit even more interesting than I’m sure it already is.  There are only so many t-shirts that one could handle walking around the exhibit, and I’m sure no one is intrested in the crotchless panties from Hairy McBacksweat (klassy guy).  I decided that it would be a bear that Mr. Big X had given me.  He was living in Chicago at the time and had gone to a Build-a-Bear shop with his little niece.  He decided that I’d like for him to make me a bear.  He dressed it in a tuxedo, gave it a red rose, and recorded his voice saying something along the lines of “good night, sweet dreams, blah, blah, blah.”  If only I had kept it!!  Instead, when I moved into my house, I trashed it.  Damn it, it would have been perfect!!  People all over the world could have heard his empty promises.  Darn it.   So here’s the question: if you were asked to donate, what would you give?

I’m So Totally Mature, For a 12 Year-Old

25 Oct

Several months ago I found out that Mr. Big X was moving back to Baltimore.  We had met at work, dated for a year before his job took him to the midwest, tried the long distance thing, and then broken up.  Then we got back together.  Then he dumped me on New Year’s.  Very kind and generous soul, and by that I mean rat bastard.  We didn’t have the same friends, he has not family here, and I had been fortunate enough to not run into him. . .until Tuesday night.

Muffy, Lola and I were enjoying some quality time during Lola’s festivities at Little Havana’s.  The night was gorgeous, food had been tasty, we had gotten rid of the annoying 20 year olds, and were basking in the glow one gets after enjoying mojitos.  I suddenly looked up and saw him standing there.  I did what any rational woman would do: I proceeded to have a panic attack.  It was great!  I suddenly felt dizzy, warm, and nauseated-it felt just as if I had suddenly gotten drunk.  Thankfully, the feeling went away quickly-mainly due to the fact that he went back inside the bar.

Everything was fine and dandy until I finally had to use the loo.  I’d been sitting in my chair for about 20 minutes trying to motivate to run to the ladies’ room, and could finally take it no longer.  The problem was that (being 12) I didn’t want to walk past him.  Muffy was kind enough to get up from the table to see where he was sitting.  Unfortunately, he was standing at the end of the bar and I was going to have to walk right past him.  Again, no problem.  Being the mature woman that I am, I came up with a plan: I called Muffy on my cell phone, put it up to my right ear to cover my face, and walked right past him.  Totally reverting to grade school shenanigans, but a lady’s got to do what a lady’s got to do.

Success!  I made it to the bathroom with no trouble.  Do my business, open the stall door and there’s Lola.  “He’s just moved outside, to the table next to us.” DAMN HIM!!  When Muffy and Lola had realized that he was taking the table next to us, they decided that Lola would have to come after me to find out what we needed to do.  What to do, what to do?  Okay, I’m an adult, I can do this.  I can sit next to him and not freak out, and I really believed it.  “Call Muffy and let her know the plan.”  So, as an adult woman, I’m calling my friend from the loo as we make our plan.  Thankfully, Muffy had moved all of our stuff inside.

Our plan worked!  We left shortly thereafter, and I didn’t have to look at him again.  I may not be in the 6th grade anymore, but it’s nice to know that things that worked back then, still work today.

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14 Sep

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