Monday, May 24, 2010

Third Wheel...and then the fourth wheel...

Everyone has been there at some point in time -- the third wheel. Now, there are some couples that being the third wheel is not an issue; the two people in a romantic relationship know how to interact with the friend who is tagging along. And then there are those who seem to forget that you are even in the same universe as them. As they canoodle on the other side of the table from you, you pull out your cell phone and pretend to look busy. Luckily, I didn't have to deal with the second type this least not on Saturday night. Saturday night was a evening of fun with new friends at another friend's birthday party. It was a night that had some nice mellow moments and some filled with some crazy, liquor influenced dancing. Yes, it was obvious that I was with a couple, but they were a fun couple!

Then came Sunday. I knew that this birthday party might be a little awkward depending on who was there and who wasn't there. It's funny how you can be a third wheel at a party that you're going to by yourself. When I get there, it's only me, the hosts and their parents. Not awkward yet. I keep hoping my friend, let's call her Martha, will show up so I can have a wing-man. More guests show up and the small talk begins. I can handle the small talk, but even these short conversations keep getting interrupted by other events going on. More guests show up, but they're coming in groups of three. Guessed where I am yet? I am at a two-year olds birthday party with friends of friends and all of their children. As I keep waiting and hoping for Martha to show up, I realize I am the ONLY person at this party without a child. While I've met some of the older guests before, I don't know them very well, and the ones I do know well are busy chasing their offspring. And so, I am left to talk to the grandparents of the guest of honor. After standing by the snack table for a couple of hours and nursing a single beer (the vodka from the previous evening was still affecting my stomach...oops...), it hits me: I am the fourth wheel at the birthday party for a two-year old. It's like being the only single person at a "couple party."

The fourth wheel is not an entirely new concept in my life, but I don't think it has ever smacked me in the face, and then upside the head, and then back across the face. Don't get me wrong, I love my friends' kids. Some of them taught me the benefits of being an aunt before I really was one. I have even had the honor of seeing one of them be born. I am extremely lucky to have them, and their parents, in my life. I suppose I'll have to readapt to this new idea. And I thought life was getting boring and routine...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

After 27 you fit into a category

The majority of my friends are 30+. The majority of them also have been with their significant other for a long enough period of time that they were fortunate enough to bypass dating after 27. I have tried many times to explain what it is like now, but to no avail. It is a confusing, odd, and frustrating ritual at times, and exhilarating and fun at others. With most of my significant relationships being in years (I'm a little to embarrassed to admit) passed, I have honestly forgotten what it is like to have a boyfriend. I promise you that I am not looking for a pity party here, but it has been a while.

At this point in life, I have learned how to take care of myself. The dog and I have a nice routine that I would hope someone special could adapt to. I have a job, as many do, that require a significant amount of decompressing before I am normal again. It is difficult to think that I could fit into someone's life and they could fit into mine. It's a whole 'nother ball of wax once you pass 27, let alone the big 3-0.

There seems to be a few specific categories that boys (yes, I am calling them boys) seem to fall into now. If I have dated you and you fall into one of these categories, please know that I have been on many unsuccessful first and second dates with others who also fall into these categories. All descriptions are based on multiple subjects.

1. Serial-monogamist-guy
At this point in life (ages 27-32) it is very common for people to have had at least a couple of serious relationships. On the first date you hear about the series of ex-girlfriends, the good and the bad. I have found that those who were serial monogamists in their earlier years have become the "playas" of this age. They know that deep down they want a relationship, but are trying to be "that guy". Um, I dated you when I was 22 when I was trying to be "dating girl." No thanks.

2. "I want a relationship...starting now!"-guy
By the end of the first date you know that this guy is wanting a relationship, but are usually not completely turned off by it...yet. The first date goes well-enough, but during the second date he does one or any combination of the following: calls you "Honey"; talks about your grandchildren, and gives you a wrapped present. Please imagine cartoon legs spinning with dust clouds behind me while I can't get out the door quick enough.

3. The male-feminist
According to this guy chivalry is dead and will not even walk you to your car. I'm a girl who appreciates her independence and the ability to provide/take care of myself. I am also a girl who likes being taken care of. Nuff said.

4. I think I want this, I don't want this, I think I want this, I don't want this ("this"=relationship)
Oh. My. God. Make up your ever-loving mind and make some girl very happy.

Yep, this pretty much sums up the men of the last 3 years of my life. It's been a wild ride, but I'm getting ready to get off the roller coaster...

Monday, May 10, 2010

A quick catch up...

The last time I sat down to write one of the ridiculous stories that make up my life, summer was just about over and I was trying to mentally prepare for the return to the classroom. I have to admit that there have not been many stories worthy of a small amount of cyberspace, but I do feel like I need to catch up on a couple of things.

1. Speed Dating: Chivalry is apparently dead.
So, I swallowed my pride (okay that was already long gone from going speed dating), and went out with Africa guy. I figured it was a good reason to go out to dinner and get to hear the rest of what was a very exciting, and hopefully true story. We take a seat at a table out on the patio. This particular restaurant is on the roof and has an amazing view of the city. Within five minutes I am already grateful for a beautiful evening because we will shortly need a topic of conversation. Another five minutes passes and the story is over; decent ending but nothing to write home about. We eat, we have a couple of drinks and I'm ready to go home and then the bill comes. Now, I am always willing to split the bill but generally expect to at least have the mock debate about who is taking care of the check. The bill is set down on the table, he opens it up, sets down his card, and pushes it over to me. I place my card in the folder, a little surprised. We tip, sign, and get up to leave. He heads right to the door and barely holds it open for me. Now we're walking to our cars, and reach his first. He asks where I'm parked and I point down the street. A small, uncomfortable hug and a fake, "Let's do this again," and I am walking to my car in the dark, alone. No offer, nothing. Two days later I find an email from him asking me to go out again. Um, no thanks.

2. I survived 30!
Not only have I survived, I actually accomplished quite a few items on my 30 x 30 list. I'm planning to finish those this summer. Yes, finishing War and Peace is still on my list.

3. Dating
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha...get the picture? I spent all summer on a dating hiatus. School started and I decided that the hiatus was over. Who knew that being athletic director, trying to prepare for a move to a new school, and just taking care of everyday business would leave me inept at dating? Apparently, it does. This morning I was watching the Today Show while Obama's Supreme Court nominee was giving an "acceptance" speech. As I expected (yes, I can be a smidge judgmental from time to time), there was no thanks given to a husband or significant other. Not that I'm looking to become a Supreme Court justice, but I am over sacrificing my life for my students. My search for a new career has intensified and am hoping the relaxation that comes with summer helps me regain a bit of a hold on the dating world...I pause to wonder if that is even possible...hmmm...something to ponder as I put off the giant pile of grading in front of me...