the fixer upper

I have a favor to ask. Have you ever said to yourself, “Eureka! I know the perfect person for janeintraining…”? Because let’s face it, I know you’re constantly thinking about me. But be warned: too much me will fry your brain into one of those charred and shriveled potato chips you occasionally find in an otherwise fresh bag. I hate that! What’s it doing in there?!?

Oh, right, my favor: DO NOT TELL ME YOU ARE FIXING ME UP. Bold, italic and underlined should tell you how serious I am about this. Never in the history of my blog have I used all three at the same time. (Or maybe I have. I’m too lazy to check.)

It’s way too much pressure. I will get stressed out and act how I think a normal person should act, which will result in an even weirder version of me.

…awkward…(like my dating life)

I suggest asking me to meet up for a glass of wine and I’ll be there without blinking. If you mention champagne, I’ll dress up and arrive a few hours early. And then you can casually introduce me to your brother/cousin/nephew/grandpa/son. This way, he’ll get a few minutes of normal before I start to turn.

This woman obviously cares more about her date than the champagne she’s about to spill. Where are her priorities?

I’m bringing all of this up because…

[a few months ago while getting my hair cut]
MyHairStylist: “Hey, I almost forgot to tell you – I have a client whose cousin just moved into town. She says he likes Asian women!”
Me: “…uh…” (brain short-circuiting)
Me: “…(mental capacity now like one of those charred chips I just talked about)…”

Is this what people do on dates now? Is this hygienic? Why is she hiding her hands? Has she fallen asleep from too much romance?

I’ve been single for the last four years, dating here and there. I like being single, except for when it sucks to be single. I have hope, but I don’t want to use that hope as a life preserver. I’m shifting towards being okay not finding that forever-and-ever person; rather, I want to connect with allies, gather a tribe, surround myself with a gaggle of heart-wise, laughter-invoking tricksters and soul-tenders. I want to add to my existing menagerie of superstar friends.

My brain has somewhat recovered and I’m more relaxed now about being set up. My initial thoughts of rejection, disappointment, and general fear have given way to the possibility of meeting a potentially awesome person to add to my menagerie. (Don’t worry, I don’t actually tell people this when I meet them. They might think I want to display them in a glass case with the rest of my collection of humans. Oops. I’m always revealing too much information.)

As 2016 swiftly approaches, I’ve decided to try looking at the world as a curious explorer. Somehow, this idea gives me more courage to move forward instead of staying still and worrying about an unpredictable outcome…

“A much more interesting, kind, adventurous, and joyful approach to life is to begin to develop our curiosity, not caring whether the object of our inquisitiveness is bitter or sweet. To lead a life that goes beyond pettiness and prejudice and always wanting to make sure that everything turns out on our own terms, to lead a more passionate, full, and delightful life than that, we must realize that we can endure a lot of pain and pleasure for the sake of finding out who we are and what this world is, how we tick and how our world ticks, how the whole thing just is.”

― Pema Chödrön, The Wisdom of No Escape and the Path of Loving-Kindness

 

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love, naturally

attraction in action

Couples fascinate me. If it weren’t for the possibility of life behind bars, I would make it my mission to capture, tag, and study them as they moved about in the wild.

How did you meet? Was there an immediate attraction? How did you ask him/her out? Wait!! Where are you going? Tell me your special tale of love!!! Remember, you’re tagged – I will always find you!!!

When it comes to love, I don’t think logic and science have anything to do with it. Have you noticed the variety of couples out there?? What you see in each other simultaneously baffles and delights me. If you have luck, timing, and mutual juju, the two of you are off and running into the sunset. Or the car wash. Maybe a Star Trek the Next Generation convention. Listen, I don’t presume to know what you like to do. It’s all good. It’s about togetherness, right?

valentine's sunset

I haven’t come across mutual juju in a long time. I’m not sure why. I’m relatively normal (don’t read my About page) and…well, that’s all I got. Oh, I’m not high drama (don’t read my other posts) and I get easily lost, which means I won’t crowd you. Because I’m lost. And I have no idea when I’ll return, so stop asking. Geez!! Get off my back!! Leave me alone!!!!

See? Plenty of space.

Anyways, my history of attraction has always been off-kilter:

I’m attracted to them > They don’t know I exist
I want to run away < They are attracted to me
I’m attracted (but he’s wrong for me) <> They’re attracted (but I’m wrong for him)

My future is a mystery. I don’t know if there will be several people over time or just one. I don’t know if I will ever meet them. Perhaps they exist but our paths may never cross. However, if our paths do cross, I’m sure I’ll recognize them. Until then (or never), I will go my merry way.

hearts

And while I was on my aforementioned merry way, I happened to speak to someone whom I failed miserably at recognizing. Not only did he feel familiar, he was kind, funny and warm. No warning bells went off like they usually do. We connected in a very easy way, had a lovely conversation, and then we went our separate ways.

It wasn’t until later that I thought: Oh…that’s the type of guy I should date! If he had asked me out, I would have said yes without hesitation. Not that he would have (see history of attraction above). I honestly don’t know much about anything anymore.

I had preconceived notions about attraction: !sparks! *fluttering* Mr. Darcy walking across a dewy field of grass at sunrise with the intention of proclaiming his love for me. While I was keeping my eye out for all of that, I didn’t see what was in front of me.

That's either Mr. Darcy or someone coming to kill me. Well, let's let him come a little closer before jumping to any totally logical conclusions.

That’s either Mr. Darcy or someone coming to kill me. Well, let’s let him come a little closer before jumping to any totally logical conclusions.

That guy gave me a gift. He showed me that connection can float in with an easy grace that is so organic, you don’t know anything is happening. It’s synergy in motion: click click with that person, click click click click with another person. If you’re lucky, your inner self aligns with another’s inner self with more clicks that you’ve ever experienced before. You get them and they get you. It’s real and heartfelt as opposed to thrilling, yet fleeting. Thrilling and fleeting are overrated. I’d rather have the fullness of the real thing.

So I’m on my merry way again: schooled once more, with Darcy on the shelf, and my heart click clacking as I go. With it being Valentine’s Day, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Love on the Pretzel Train

Because I never really dated that much in the past, I was looking forward to finding out what it was going to be like. I joked about wanting to juggle men. I pictured myself being cool, casual, carefree. “Date like a man” my friend Neal told me. But I’ve started to notice that I’m looking for that connection, that recognition of oh, hello…yesI feel what’s possible with you. Does that happen? Is that too much to ask? Maybe all those romantic, meet-cute comedies I used to watch have twisted my brain into an over-salted, unrealistic pretzel.

I’m not looking for the perfect, fantasy man. I know he doesn’t exist. At my high school reunion, one of my former classmates nodded knowingly when I shared that strange men tend to be attracted to me. “I hear ya,” She said. “But it only takes one.” He could be anywhere. Mae, is it true? Could he be with another woman right now? Take your hands off my future man, you hussy!!

I only want to discover the one who is perfect for me and I for them. It’s possible, right? Or am I on the Pretzel Train and every stop is SingleTown?

It’s also possible that I could drop dead tomorrow. Or the next day. I would be dead without ever having found love again. That pisses me off. But if I’m dead, I won’t know how to get upset – I won’t even know I’m dead, so I guess it’s a moot point.

Life doesn’t follow a straight line (like this post), so I have no idea what it has in store for me. Before I don’t know I’m dead, I would like to accomplish the following things this year and the next:

1) find a new job
2) move
3) travel to Italy and/or Spain
4) keep

— my mom just informed me that my face looks really round: “You look round here [cups her cheeks with her palms]. I wonder why…you exercise enough. Maybe I just don’t look at your face that often.”

1) move
2) exercise more
3) find a job that keeps me moving
4) travel
5) continue to date
6) continue being open to possibility
7) keep…keep what?? (I have no clue what I was about to write.) keep on truckin’? keep my head up, my spirits high and hope to love again before I die?

That train stop at my reunion must have done a number on me.  I thought I had chased away the dark clouds that my mom the inner critic brought in a few days ago, but some of them still linger.

Next stop?

Not sure. Think I need to catch that transfer out of CheekFat Town, so I’d better start running.

The Chihuahua Effect

I didn’t expect to get picked up during my double date last weekend.

And then he literally lifted me straight off the ground and pretended to abduct me into a windowless van.

This happens every so often – the lifting part, that is. Not a very dignified thing to happen at my age, unless you count the time I needed to be carried across a rushing river.  But that was based on survival.

The Librarian wasn’t the one who picked me up – it was the husband-portion of the double-date. He totally upstaged The Librarian with his enthusiastic, open personality. I’m friends with his wife, but this is only the second time I’ve met him – the first time being very brief. He hugged me after I joked about my personal space, he lifted me up, and in general, he seemed to like me a lot. My friend was nonplussed. My own biased opinion is that I believe other women find me completely non-threatening. You can totally trust me with your husband or boyfriend. Seriously. Hand him over.

Why do I sound so creepy? I might as well have a windowless van, too.

Before you think what you’re thinking, I have to explain that The Husband’s reaction towards me is what I call the “Chihuahua Effect”. I never had a term for it before, but it seems fitting since I seem to like referring to Chihuahuas. If for some reason you think they’re cute, and they do something you think is cute, as in: “Did you see the Chihuahua? She has an underbite!  Haha! That’s so cute – I gotta take a picture of her!”, then the Chihuahua Effect is taking place.

I don’t know why I can’t find a single man that I find attractive to react this way. I wouldn’t have to work so hard. I’d simply flash my underbite at him and I’d be golden.

Different but the Same Match #2: The Motorcycle Chef

I know. I was beginning to exit through the dating door and leave The Chef behind because I didn’t think he was attracted to me. I swear to you, he had given me no signs whatsoever on our first date. No obvious body language, no touching me anywhere (I actually wanted him to touch my elbow), no walking me to my car. The last time I heard from him was through a late-night text apologizing for not calling. All I thought was, oh, he didn’t have to do that – he could have simply faded quietly away into the woodwork. Four days after the text, I got a phone call and we set up Date #2. I can’t believe I made #2! (this poo poo joke is dedicated to my more sophisticated reader. I love you bunches, you one person reading this post.) Two days after that, I got another call to change the time of our date. We ended up talking for over an hour. But I’m hesitant to take this as a sign. I think we just get along, you know, buddybuddy-like. It’s not my place to understand the minds of men, so I’m not even going to try. I say that, but since I’m a woman, the urge to know what they’re thinking is incredibly seductive.

“How about a hike?” He asks after telling me he can’t get together for dinner.

“Hiking makes me grumpy.” Every hike I’ve been on has been hot, dusty, and strenuous.

“How about a walk in the woods?”

I take this as a completely different suggestion and happily say yes. He laughs. Wait – did he just trick me?

“Or we could go for a ride.” He offers.

“Ride?”

“On my motorcycle.”

“M-motorcycle?” My voice cracks. YesNoYesNoYesNo! Good Japanese girls don’t get on the backs of motorcycles! 

But I’m not a girl anymore and good is a relative term, isn’t it?

“Ever been on one?”

Now I have.  

I didn’t become Asian roadkill like I thought I would. Images of me tumbling off the back of his bike flashed through my mind during the first few 45 minutes of the ride, and I wondered if I would be able to tumble onto concrete skillfully enough to survive. He told me I could hold on to the rack behind me or hold on to him. Uh, yeah, like I’m going to sit away from you and reach back to hold on to two skinny little handles while we’re going 50 mph? I prefer to hold on to your handles, thank you very much. As soon as we sped up the hill from his place, I was like a suckerfish. A suckerfish using a Thighmaster. I haven’t been that scared since…well, I can’t remember. I don’t verbally freak out when I get frightened. I get quiet. And I was very quiet.

After a while, I realized that it seemed wrong goodjapanesegirl to be clinging to him like a baby chimp. My thighs and crotchal-area had become way too neighborly with this new man’s behind. I didn’t even know his last name. But what a thrilling, beautiful ride. We had a nice lunch at an outdoor cafe with a spectacular view, and we lingered there for a few hours before we had to head back. I was much better on the ride back. Less chimp-like, but my legs refused to stop clamping on to his no matter how much I told them to relax. I proudly call this “survival flirting”. Did I see any signs from him? No, unless I’m incredibly dense. I clung to him like brown on rice and he didn’t touch me once, although I suppose I did enough touching for the both of us. No flirting from him, no innuendo, nada. I thought I felt him looking at me when I was glancing at the menu, but he could have been looking at my chin hairs or thinking about Chihuahuas. How am I to know? And how can I compete with an adorable Chihuahua??!!

When we got back to his place, we stood on the sidewalk talking. I told him that I had to go to the local farmers’ market for work the next day and he said he would drop by. We made more small talk, and I started to get the distinct feeling that we were eyeing each other like two gun slingers – who was going to move first? How were we going to end this date? I finally went in for a hug, he kissed my cheek, and then HE over hugged ME.

Finally. A sign I can sink my teeth into. Now we’re getting somewhere.

Postscript: I texted him from the farmers’ market. He wasn’t coming. He didn’t want to fight the cold, windy weather to get there.

I’m beginning to hate signs.