Monday, September 1, 2014

My Dating Diet, Part 2: A Tribute to 3 Friends I Met Since My Divorce

"It is that my friends have made the story of my life." 

–Helen Keller

I’m blessed to know how true these words are. 

Since I was a child, I have had great friends. Today, I have friendships that reach back to the 1980s, but I’ve also built new ones over the past 18 months.

Last week I shared my plans to work on myself while I take a 30-day break from dating, which included contacting three friends to tell them I appreciate their friendship.

Here are three friends who I’ve met since my divorce. I'd like to tell them in front of the blogosphere that they're awesome and I so appreciate them!


Mandy

  • When we became friends: We met at work, and I’d say we started hanging out in the summer of 2013. Then we trained for the NYC Half together, which meant running during one of the coldest, most snowy winters EVER. (Thanks, Polar Vortex.) You must really like someone if you’re willing to run in 5 degree temperatures with her.
  • Why I appreciate her: Mandy has a sunny personality and can talk to anyone. Whether we’re running 10 miles or hitting up happy hour, I am positive that we’ll have fun. Oh, and we are equally obsessed with talking about eating healthy and exercising as we are with discussing drinking and chocolate and peanut butter desserts.

Tina

  • When we became friends: We met through Yoshi and then became friends in January when she moved into my apartment building. We started going out together and it didn’t take long for me to consider her a good friend.
  • Why I appreciate her: She is smart and introspective, so we have really good conversations, whether it’s while taking a walk or going out. She is very much a “the more the merrier” kind of person, and I like that she wants to spread around the joy that her friends bring her. 

Meredith

  • When we became friends: Back in March, the night I went out with Tina and got drunk and awesome. Meredith and I happened to walk to the bar together, a little separated from the group, and we just hit it off. Before she left that night, I said, “You’re fucking cool. Let’s hang out. Can I get your number?” Over the coming weeks and months, we hung out more and I was right. She's fucking cool.
  • Why I appreciate her: First, Mary totally gets it when I talk about someone’s energy (some people look at me like I'm a little nuts). Second, she is just down, you know? I feel like I could tell her anything and she won’t judge. She is just all about trying new things, meeting new people, rolling around in new experiences. For example, she loves EDM, but randomly decided it would be fun to come see Miranda Lambert with Tina and me. Mary didn’t know a single country song, but just figured it would be a cool experience.

Honorable mentions go to..
  • Kevin, who I don’t see often but when we do hang out, the conversation is awesome. We are just really comfortable with each other and we can talk about anything. It’s cool to connect with someone like that, especially since we don't see each other a lot.
  • Steve, who I have only known for three months but we bonded quickly. I also appreciate his perspective on things since he’s older than me. But, since we get naked sometimes, I don’t think we can exactly call him a “friend.”

To all of my friends, I love you guys. 
I really, truly do!
I hope I'm as good to you as you are to me.

Other updates from my Dating Diet:
  • I weighed myself this morning and I’m down from my peak of 136! See photographic evidence. 
    • I’ve gone to yoga twice (omg you guys, this yoga studio is awesome).
    • I only drank with Sue on Friday and with the girls tailgating for Miranda Lambert on Saturday.
  • I donated two bags of summer clothes that I was sick of looking at. (I’m trying Stich Fix to update my summer clothes.)
  • I saw my therapist last week and I have another appointment lined up.
  • The electrician and painter are coming this week. Let there be light and color!
  • I deep conditioned my hair and did a purifying face mask. Toxins, be gone.

And no men! No booty calls, nothing. I’m just focusing on activities that are emotionally nourishing.


Back to the topic du jour – Dear reader, give props to a friend you’ve made recently (you define “recently”). Why is he or she awesome?

“Remember no man is a failure who has friends.”
–It’s A Wonderful Life

Monday, August 25, 2014

My Dating Diet -- A 30-Day Plan to Say "No" to Men and "Yes" to Me

Imagine it’s January 2. You just spent a month eating everything, ever (Christmas cookies! Candy canes! Salty snacks with dippy stuff!). Oh and while you were at it, you drank everything, ever (wine! Champagne! Poinsettia martinis! Winter lager!). Hell, you might even have had a drunk cigarette or two. Gross. Anyway, all this indulgence was super fun… until now. You hit that point where you just feel tired and gross inside and out. It means one thing: time for some dieting and detoxification.

Well, in terms of dating, consider August 25 to be my equivalent January 2.

Since June, I’ve done quite a bit of proper dating plus an assortment of other strange communications with men (such as the 22-year-old texting me for the first time in four months asking if I’d like to fuck him). I’ve had some great first dates that led to second dates… and yet I’m here alone in my (awesome) apartment, reflecting on the letdowns of the past two months. Definitely not unhappy, but definitely still single.

I’m a firm believer that dating should be fun. No, it must be fun. If it’s not, it means it’s time to reassess.

I hate to admit it, but dating is starting to get not fun for me.
That's not okay.

So, effective now, I’m going on a Dating Diet for 30 days. 

I need to take a little time recenter myself. Whether things are going well or poorly in my dating life, it’s quite distracting. So, I need to cut back or eliminate distractions and replace with emotionally nutritious choices.

My Dating Diet


Goal: From August 26 until September 25, I will specifically focus on my personal and professional goals for one month without the distraction of dating. 

I will not pursue dating, so, for example, I will not contact anyone from my past and I will not sign up for online dating. (If a date opportunity presents itself, I can consider going if the fit really seems right.)

I will not booty call either. (But I might accept a bootycall. Sorry, a girl’s got needs.) I will use my toys as needed because there’s no emotional fallout from dancing with myself!

The Plan

Physical 

Between now and September 25, I will –
  1. Lose five pounds. I currently weigh 136 pounds, which is the most I’ve weighed in over five years. It’s a small gain, but it’s making me self-conscious, so it’s time to change. So, I'll keep up my veggie intake, and I'll need to decrease my booze intake, which leads us to...
  2. Drink alcohol no more than two days per week. I’ll try for just one. I'm not going for sainthood, people.
  3. Deep condition my curly mane hair two times. Minimizing frizz makes me happy.
  4. Apply a deep conditioning face mask three times. Fighting breakouts and wrinkles makes me happy.
  5. Go to six yoga classes. I just got a killer Groupon for a fancy studio! Between not dating and  training for my third half marathon in a year, this is the time to tap into my Zen or something.


Professional/Personal

Between now and September 25, I will –
  1. Update my resume and cover letter. They say you should always keep your resume current because shit happens. But I also believe it will be good for me to reflect on my accomplishments the past few years (especially through the end of my marriage).
  2. Go to my therapist. Just seems like that should be on my list since I haven't had a session since May.
  3. Donate at least two shopping bags of stuff. I’m not a packrat, but I’m sure there’s crap in my closets I don’t need. Getting rid of unnecessary stuff is good for the soul.
  4. Contact three people to say thank you for his or her love and support. I am constantly in awe of my circle of friends and family and feel so very blessed to have them. This is the time to tell them.
  5. Finish my book for book club on time for our September meeting. I was the loser who didn’t finish the book in time for our last two meetings, and honestly, it was in part because of how much I was doing dating-related stuff.
  6. Stop avoiding my financial planner. I have a mortgage to pay, so shit is real. She has my financial documents. All I have to do is meet with her. No more excuses!
  7. Hire an electrician to install overhead lighting in my living and dining rooms. It’s so freaking dark in here that I can imagine what Laura Ingalls Wilder felt like. Well lit spaces must be good for my mood or something.
  8. Hire a painter to paint my living room, kitchen, and guest bathroom. Everything is white. White is for a boring rental, not for a place I own. Give this girl some color!
So that is my personal version of my Dating Diet! Notice that I have chosen to not think about what’s next for me with dating. If I’m in a good place, good things will (continue to) come.

Over the coming weeks, I'll keep you updated on how my diet progresses!

Related reading: The Dating Detox.

Have you had to go on your own version of a Dating Diet? How did you spend the time? What behaviors did you change?
Our Three Peas

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Modern Dating Means Waiting to for a Man to Hunt For Me

I can sum up dating in one word: 

Waiting.

How will I know if someone texts me on this thing? Sigh.
I always seem to be waiting for a man to do something. I’m waiting to be hunted.

Waiting for him to ask for my number.
Waiting for him to use it.
Waiting for him to ask me out on a date.
Waiting for him to confirm said date.
Waiting for him to pick me up for said date. (I’m so punctual that I’m the type who’s ready 15 minutes early, so I’m sitting there tapping my fingers and triple checking my eye makeup. I’m cool like that.)
Waiting for him to kiss me (if said date was fun).
Waiting for him to ask me out again (if said kiss was good).

I have never been good at waiting. It’s very distracting and it can make me snippy. (My ex-husband can attest to this.) And the worst part is that waiting to be hunted can make me insecure. For example:

  • Why hasn’t he texted me back? Did I reply too quickly? Should I have ditched that last winky smiley?
  • It’s been three days and he still hasn’t asked me out yet. Is he seeing someone else too? Did I come on too strong? Is my hair too frizzy?
  • He said he’d get in touch today. It’s 8:00 p.m. Is he bored of me already? 

Contrary to how this might come across, I really do love dating when I’m actually on a date or talking directly to a guy (and by talking I mean texting because it’s 2014 and no one talks anymore). But as a woman, even a pretty assertive woman like me, I have to disregard my own nature to go after what I want and make plans.

The silly reality is that men really do like the chase. Just like the cavemen, men today still love to hunt, only now they hunt in urban jungles to fill their iPhones with contacts. Meanwhile, women like me are stuck waiting for these men to get off their supposedly evolved butts and use those phone numbers that they have hunted for.

That said, I’m not one to play games. When a guy does throw me a bone (no pun intended), I’m ready and willing to show him if I’m interested. But I do know I have to at least try to let the man hunt me. And that crap is annoying!

(And, yes, I’m waiting to be hunted as I write this. Andrew, the guy I went out with last Sunday and again on Friday, is supposed to get back to me about making plans for tomorrow. UGH!)

So what do you think, dear readers? When it comes to dating, are we women the ones doing all the waiting, or do men feel like this for men as well? Is it old fashioned that I (try to) let the men come to me? 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Why Did I Have Sex?

Me. Me. ME!!!!!!!!!!
My pal Yoshi openly stalks my Twitter account and is an avid reader of this blog. So when I was tacky enough to tweet Thursday morning that I’d had sex, I knew Yoshi would want the pre-blog scoop.

Friday night, he had cooked dinner for me and our other friend Summer. Summer is a mom, so after we’d polished of a bottle and a half of wine and the clock struck 10, it was time for her to take off. I knew what was coming: wine and sex talk!

Yoshi poured more wine for both of us and without missing a beat, he said:

“So, Kat. You had sex.”

“I sure did!” I took a swig of wine and smiled at my friend. 

This was not enough of a response for Yoshi. I just liked messing with him.

“With Steve?” he probed, slightly irritated that I wasn't dishing the gossip.

“Yup,” I replied. Then, it was quiet for moment.

“Why?” he asked simply.

Dammit, Yoshi, I wasn’t expecting that question. I don't know if anyone has ever asked me why I had sex!

I thought about it.

Wednesday night, I had gone to Steve’s apartment. I showed up in my finest Mickey Mouse t-shirt and yoga pants. Steve was wearing an FDNY t-shirt and mesh shorts. Yup, we totally dress to impress.

The plan was to just hang out and watch Sharknado (it amuses him that I don't have cable so he recorded it for me). But it was a beautiful night, so we sat outside on his balcony and just talked. About writing. About our professional dreams and disappointments. About porn. About family. Even a little about dating. (Yes, he knows I'm dating other people.) We hardly touched each other as we spoke, I think because we were really listening to each other. Meanwhile, his absolutely adorable dog circled our feet, hopeful for attention. I freaking love that dog.

I was so... comfortable. This guy really respects my mind (and he tells me that I’m hot, so bonus points for him). In that moment on the patio, I looked at Steve and had a flash of “this guy totally feels like my boyfriend.”

And then I looked at his cigarettes. Ewww.
I heard him say he’s “exhausted.” I hate that word and he uses it a lot. Seriously, unless you have an infant or work manual labor, you’re not exhausted. You’re just not. 
I remembered how rarely we see each other outside of our apartment building – that's right folks, we haven’t really gone on a proper date after two months of talking, texting, and hanging out!

Uh, yeah, newsflash, Kat: Steve is, rather unfortunately, unlikely to be my boyfriend.

But… shit, you guys. He’s cute, he's smart, he thinks I'm hot, and he’s a damn good hookup. Oh, the temptation.

He asked me to sleep there. I agreed. Even though I still get weirded out by sleepovers, I felt so good sleeping beside him. It felt right.

We fooled around a little that night, and he actually said at one point, "I wonder what the angel and devil on your shoulders are saying right now." Creepy, right?! (My answer was that both were telling me to have fun!)

And in the morning, we had sex. 

And I was right! We had hot sex!  Hot morning sex!
How the hell was I ever in a sexless relationship? SEX IS AWESOME.
And yes, we used a condom, duh.

(By the way, for all I love to talk and write about sex, I hadn’t had sex in awhile! My last new sexual partner was Aaron back in February, and otherwise I’d only had Incredible Sex with Jason a few times in late May and early June. I was kind of due to get laid, right?!)

I left Steve’s place with morning breath and that stupid "I GOT LAID" smile plastered across my face. No weird emotional stuff. It was fun, I like him as a person, but it felt oddly uncomplicated.

So, back to Yoshi’s question. Why did I have sex with Steve?

“Because I felt like it and I wanted to.”

Sometimes that’s really all there is to it.

Your turn, dear reader. Think about the last time that you had sex. Why did you do it?

Epic Mommy Adventures

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Avoiding Zombies, Sleepovers, and Guys in Their 20s: My 9 Lessons Learned After A Year of Post-Divorce Dating

A year ago, I ventured into the wild world of dating. It had been almost nine years since I was last single. Holy crap, stuff had changed. Online dating was hardly a thing in 2004. The only social networking site anyone used was Friendster. Texting? Yeah right. People still made phone calls on their Razr flip phones. And, most of all, I was nine years older and reentering the dating world with the experience (baggage) of having been in a sexless relationship with an upstanding guy.

Suffice it to say that shit was really different being on the dating scene again in 2013. But you know what? I’ve loved dating. It’s been fascinating to flirt, approach guys, kiss, screw, reject guys, get rejected. I love observing myself and reflecting on my choices. It’s like I’m opening this whole new side to myself, and, man, does she love dating!

Anyway, an old friend of mine, Pete, is recently divorced and attempting to date, so he’s been checking with me and asking about my dating experience.  So, let’s capture my post-divorce/mid-30s dating experience in this week’s blog entry.

My 9 lessons learned from getting back into dating:

  1. Don’t go looking for the next significant other or spouse.
    When you first start dating, just have fun. I had no idea what my taste or desire was, so I just went out with anyone who wasn’t a zombie, bigot, or murderer. Thanks to this approach, I met Jason, the Incredible Sex, who turned out to be the perfect person to help me rediscover my sexual self (without the messiness of emotions) and have peel-me-off-the-ceiling sex.
  2. It’s OK to have some requirements for dating – and it’s also OK to actually adhere to them.
    I said last year that I had four basic requirements for dating me, and I’ve violated them time and again. I came up with that list with a clear head. I was on to something, so it’s time to start listening to me! (For example, NO MORE 27-YEAR-OLDS.)
  3. Getting dressed up is fun.
    Indulge in yourself and have fun dressing for your date. Whatever your best asset is, own it and flaunt it. I’ve been known to send bathroom selfies to my girlfriends so they can tell me what to wear. After years of not being desired, it felt amazing to dress to be noticed and be called sexy.
  4. Sleepovers will be really hard.
    Honestly, I had more trouble with my first sleepovers than my first sex. Sleeping over is so very intimate, so don’t rush it. Waking up (assuming you were able to actually sleep) next to someone who isn’t your former spouse is super weird and pretty sad. I spent my first sleepover staring at the clock and contemplating jumping out the window (being on the 39th floor ruled that out).
  5. Don’t recycle.
    Give just about anyone a chance, but only one. If it didn’t work with the person on the first time, it probably won’t on the second, third, or twelfth. (See: me with Jason. Or Todd. Or John.)
  6. Deleting numbers from your phone feels good...
    I’m big on deleting people from my phone. After the “we’re not a match for dating” conversation, he’s out of my phone. I like the symbolism of deleting someone.
  7. …but deleting doesn’t make people disappear! 
    Every guy I’ve deleted from my phone has reappeared! Yup, Todd, John, Zach, Sean, Aaron. They have all come back. (See Lesson 5.) In most cases I could figure out who it was. The best was when I knew it was Aaron, who dumped me in February, asking me to get together for a drink sometime – at 11 p.m. on a Thursday! – and I responded, “I’m sorry, but who is this?” He didn’t respond, and I think it’s safe to say he’ll never contact me again. Ha!
  8. People are weirded out that I might blog about them.
    I’ve learned to keep my blog on the DL. Apparently dates don’t want to be written about. For example, Carl. (Too bad, potential suitors! I’m still going to write about you.)
  9. Stay true to you.
    I’ve kept a close watch over myself in this sense. First, I stayed single for a while and enjoyed my own company before jumping into dating. I had never been 33 years old and divorced before, so I had no idea what I was doing when I started dating a year ago. All I knew is that I lost some of myself in my marriage, so I had to make sure that I didn’t let that happen again. Part of the thrill of dating is the unknown, but the thrill doesn’t change that you are you. Don’t try to change to be anything you are not.

Don't go out with this guy.
He could be a bigot.
Most of all, I try to live by my brother’s advice: 

I will not be with someone who needs to be convinced that
he wants to be with me. 
He should see me for who I am and just want to be with me. 

As I’ve said before, Max was far from a perfect husband, but he never needed convincing to be with me. He always felt like he was fortunate to be with me.

I would much rather be single than be with someone who is only “meh” about me.

DATING UPDATE:
I had a second date on Sunday with Nick, a guy I was set up with on a blind date, then tomorrow I’m hanging out with Steve (pointless, but fun), then on Saturday I’m going out with Nick again, and finally next Sunday I’m going out with Andrew, a guy I met last night through a friend. Yup, I like dating. Who knows, one of these days dating might even lead to a boyfriend! And in the meantime, I will keep enjoying my life. I am quite good at being single.

What did you learn about dating after your divorce or breakup?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Kat is a Homeowner!

Just 11 months ago, I sold the condo I lived in with myex-husband, divided our belongings, hired two different moving trucks going in two different directions, and then moved into almost 900 square feet of unapologetically unshared living space.

Since then, I’ve worked to recalibrate my financialpriorities and goals. We all have that magic number that we like seeing as the balance in our checking accounts; now I was one person with one income paying rent that was a little more than half of what I’d previously paid for my mortgage.

Articles about stuff divorced people need to think about all pointed in the same direction: do whatever necessary to be financially stable. Reevaluate my goals and dreams.

Goals? Dreams? Umm, what? 

Time for more post-divorce decisions?!


When I was married, I assumed we’d eventually want a house because married people want houses and do yardwork and other boring crap like that. I assumed we’d want some babies to go in our fictional house, and babies need karate lessons and summer camp and college savings accounts. I assumed we’d eventually want some big ass car to tote around our fictional son and daughter. Lots of stuff to save for when you’re married and going to do married people crap!

But, now I was single. I had absolutely no clue what a 33-year-old single woman should be saving for. I am a pretty risk-averse person, so I knew that actively growing savings accounts would bring me much peace and confidence.

I needed some goals and dreams that would be completely mine. 

What did I really want?


I really tried to think about what I wanted.
A hot car? Not even remotely interested.
A trip to Fiji? Eh, sounds really far.
Some designer shoes and handbags? I’m way too practical.
A condo to call my own? After my moderately traumatizing experience of trying for months to sell my condo with Max, that sounded awful, but probably the most realistic.

I actively continued my “Downpayment” savings account (as well as other conspicuously named accounts). Half of the money from selling my engagement ring went straight into this account. Every week, a set amount of cash went directly into that account every week for “someday.”

Well, my friends, “someday” came sooner than I had wanted or expected. The opportunity presented itself to buy my beloved apartment, quite possibly my favorite place I’ve lived since leaving the bubble also known as college. I love my town, I love my many friends in my neighborhood as well as the proximity to my family, I love my in-unit washer and dryer, I love my garage. Did I mention I have a walk-in closet? Yeah, this is the place to shell out disgusting amounts of money. This is the place to throw down my roots and embrace my new life.

As of July 25, 2014, less than a year after I sold my condo with my ex-husband, I signed my (maiden) name a million times. I agreed to pay the bank hundreds of thousands of dollars by 2044. 

This divorced woman bought a home. On. Her. Own. Rock on!

What was a huge post-divorce accomplishment for you?

Skip To My Lou

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

"Lay With Me So It Doesn't Hurt"

Since the first time I heard the heartbreaking yet sexy Sam Smith song, Stay With Me, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. I get that song, you know? I really get it.



Sex with Someone I Loved

I haven’t had sex with love, actual love, in years. It’s a distant memory, but I can still remember the richness, the beauty, the sensuality, of being physically intimate with someone I love. Sex can be painful, ugly, funny, and mindblowing, sometimes all at once. But when you’re having sex with someone you love, it’s all OK because you’re lost in the flood of touch, smell, taste, and emotion.

Years ago, I remember lying in Max’s arms in my fullsize bed. We were sweating on my hand-me-down sheets and the room smelled like sex (in a good way). My head fit into that spot between his shoulder and chin. I kissed his pale Irish skin and whispered into his shoulder, “Bursting.”

“Hmm?” Max mumbled sleepily.

“I’m so happy, I feel so good. I just didn’t know…” I said quietly, as I fumbled for the right words. “It feels like... like I’m bursting.”

He pulled me closer and kissed the top of my head.

“I know,” Max said. “I’m happy too. Love you, Bear.”

God, I miss those days so much that my chest aches and my eyes tear as I write this. I miss that kind of sex. What is more thrilling than the vulnerability of sex with someone you truly care for?

Sex with Someone I Kind Of Like But Not That Much

Since Max, I’ve had three sexual partners as well as a smattering of “special friends.” (By the way, somehow I still haven't had sex with Steve, but oh how the temptation lingers.) I think about Jason and the Incredible Sex in particular when I hear Stay With Me.

I like that I’m in such control of my sex/almost sex life again. I haven’t been really without an option for a hookup since I filed for divorce, which is pretty awesome. I love the honesty of just hooking up with someone and we both know it.

After having my orgasm, part of me wants the guy to disappear. It was just physical; I’ve had my fun, so get out and I’ll go back to my empowered single woman life. I'll beckon when I want more.

But there’s that small part of me that yearns for him to stay, even when I don’t particularly like the guy. This is not the guy for me (JASON) nor will he ever be, but he’s here now and in a moment... I’ll be alone.

"Oh, won't you stay with me?
'Cause you're all I need
This ain't love it's clear to see
But darling, stay with me"

…but I’d never, ever say this to the "special friend."

When I’m alone again, I coolly go back to watching Beverly Hills 90210 or doing laundry or I just fall asleep. Usually, I feel perfectly fine with my choice.

But once in a while, I question my actions.

Why the one night stand? What does it accomplish? What void does it fill that I can’t take care of on my own?

Once in a while, I don’t just want to take my orgasm and run. I want someone to hold me like Max did.

“Lay with me so it doesn’t hurt.”

Do your sexual encounters usually come with emotion? Can you separate emotion from being sexual?