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Since the World Cup Dating Plan has been a big failure (It was great in theory, difficult in practice), I am going to continue implementing various different strategies… in the name of research, of course.

This week I will be headed back up to Denver to celebrate the marriage of two very dear friends. I am quite excited, as I always am, to visit the friends I left behind when I moved to Austin four years ago. The Bull and Bush always feels like I never left it and my “bar family” always welcomes me back with open arms… and by open arms, I mean shots of Jameson and blue cheese and bacon nachos. Watch this space for pictures of debauchery. My best friend and I tend to go deep into the depths of our closets to play dress up after a few bottles of wine and games of Yahtzee. Sometimes we even get our friends to dress up in Brianne’s old gymnastics leotards (Jimmy Love, don’t even try to pretend that you will resist it) and dance around to Sinead O’Connor.

Anyway, I’ve decided to do a little bit of single woman research on this trip. I forgot to add to my list of lame dating advice that people are always pointing to weddings as a great place to meet people. I will admit, it is a great place to “hook up” with people. I have been in enough weddings to have that drill down pat. There are pretty dresses (unless the bride puts you in a clown dress to make her look good) and drinking and dancing, and the bride and groom are always strategically pairing the single people up to walk down the aisle together in secret hopes that two of their friends will fall in love. But, what I am talking about here is not the wedding night “grab and go”, it is the suggestion that weddings are a great place to meet someone you may potentially find a future with… I find this hard to believe:

1. Most people bring dates. Even if they aren’t married to them, or even committed to them, most people scramble to bring someone to peruse the buffet with, perch at the open bar with and leverage as an escape plan when trapped talking to crazy cousin Sheryl. Even if they are “just a friend,” only rude people would bail on their guest to pick up someone.

2. A lot of people are in from out-of-town. Just what I need, another man in some city I will probably never visit who I end up having a text relationship with for the next 18 months.

3. Single people get hammered at weddings, and its unattractive… unless you are both equally wasted, then it just ends up being awkward the following day and new-found relationship stops where it started.

All that said, the couple that is getting hitched this weekend actually met at a wedding. And they didn’t live in the same city at the time, so miracles do happen. Plus, pretty much every wedding I have ever been to I have been in the wedding party or I’ve been there with my significant other at the time, leaving little opportunity to meet the man of my dreams. So this weekend I will investigate the real probability of meeting someone in the joyous wedding environment.

Let me know if you have any tips for picking up at a wedding and I’ll put them to the test…

I have an addiction. I’m not ashamed to admit it. I watch an infomercial, I buy the product. They get me every time. I can’t think of one I have watched that didn’t end in a burning desire to dial that 1-800 number.

It all started when I was growing up in Toledo. My Grandmother had this infomercialitis too. We would go over to her house and she would have every weight loss gadget that ever got air time on her 1960-something television in the back room. The rest of my family would roll their eyes, but I would squeal with glee. It was a playground of Ab Rollers, Thigh Masters and that weird thing with metal springs and plastic handles, like Brandon on The Goonies works out with.

What is that thing called?

Then, in my highschool years, I had insomnia and found myself staring at hour long commercials for kitchen gadgets and massive workout machines with smart cards! All I wanted for my Sweet 16 was the Magic Hand Blender or the Snack Master.

Over the years, I have sucked my friends and roommates into this addiction. At one point I learned you can save a boat load of cash by purchasing these things on eBay instead of through the product number or site. One of my roommates was obsessed with the Ronco Pasta Maker (Ron Popeil is the king of the infomercial kitchen). She bought it. We used it. Once. That was the same time that I bought the food dehydrator. I used it to make the worlds best beef jerky and dried apples. Once.

Now that I’m living on my own, I’ve convinced myself that I will use exercise DVDs and gadgets in the privacy of my own home. I am a proud owner of the Ab Circle Pro. DID YOU HEAR ME? I HAVE THE AB CIRCLE PRO. How does this happen? I need to go back and watch the show again. I need to dissect it and figure out exactly how they convinced me that sliding around on this ridiculous and clunky disc-like thing would be beneficial and fun. Fact is, it does work your abs. But even in the privacy of my own home, I can’t bring myself to throw myself around on that thing. I’m embarrassed to do that in front of myself.

I also have Barry’s Bootcamp DVDs (I followed up the once used “Slim in Six” system with this). It kicks your ass. I used it… once. No matter how much you tell yourself that you are going to pop these 20 minute DVDs in every day, it just doesn’t happen. Unless the real Barry is going to physically come into my home and yank me off the couch, his digital version is going to remain in the DVD case under my TV. That one came with a giant exercise ball, that is really a giant cylinder… We call it the “giant pill” because that is exactly what it looks like. It now sits in my guest room and haunts my visitors. Paint half of it another color and Dr. Oz could use it for one of his giant clown props.

The Giant Pill

I guess what I am saying is, if I had all the money back from these items gathering dust in my apartment (I also have the neck line slimmer, sheer beauty products and the bullet blender), I’d probably have enough money to order those P90X DVDs…

I often post about my pathetic dating life. Not because I am looking for pity or sympathy, but because it’s mildly entertaining and sometimes freaking funny, so I want to share it with you. Truth is, I thoroughly enjoy my life. I’m happy. I’m fulfilled. And there is nothing worse than some of the patronizing comments we single women have to endure from the happily coupled-up folks that surround us (often complete strangers). I am frequently the 3rd, 5th or 7th wheel during gatherings and outings, and I’m totally cool with that as long as I’m enjoying the company. Stop pitying us. Stop being awkward and uncomfortable with the single people around you.

A Glamour Magazine dating blogger, Erin Meanley, posted about clichés you should never say to a single person. Now I know I often make fun of the ridiculous articles we see in magazines like this (especially Cosmo) but this particular post was spot on. I find myself compelled to add a few more to the list and comment on a few that could use some reiteration.

  • “You just chose your career over love. Now that you are successful you can focus on finding someone.”

If I had a dollar for every time someone has said this to me, I wouldn’t need a freaking career. I’m pretty sure that almost no one actually chooses their career over love. When you don’t have a needy man or family occupying your time, you focus on the things in your life that you do have control over. Yup, my career took off because of hard work and dedication but suggesting I prioritized that over love is just insulting.

  • “Just wait for the right guy. Be patient.”

This one came from HP (thanks!). Be patient my ass. This is particularly irritating coming from someone who was married in their early 20s. As my single friends and I climb higher into our 30s and 40s the pressure builds, but not all of us are freaking out about biological clocks or finding someone to walk down the aisle with us in the next 5 minutes. Most of us just want someone to have fun with and to get busy with. Who the hell is panicking and stop telling me to calm down!?!

  • “It will happen when you least expect/aren’t looking for it.”

Um, thanks for the valuable insight. Who ever really expects it? Do the math, friends, and remember your single days. How many people did you meet before you found your significant other? Dating is a game of pessimism, so of course you won’t be expecting it to work out.

  • “You’re just too picky”

Have you seen the divorce rates in this country? Maybe most people are just not picky enough. I prefer not to settle and I’m not going to see that as a fault. Neither should you.

  • “When Zippy and I met….”

As mentioned in the article, I don’t give a rats about how you and Zippy met. We are talking about me here.

  • “You’re not going to meet that special someone in a bar.”

Actually, if I polled my close friends, I bet the majority of the married folks did meet in a bar. Why? Because I hang out with people who like to go to bars. I like to go to bars. My future boyfriend will also like going to bars. Where I am not going to meet them is at the gym, so stop suggesting that. Have you seen me at the gym? My face is beet red within 5 minutes and I tend to sweat profusely. I don’t want to meet someone at the gym. Stop suggesting the grocery store too. I don’t know a single couple that met in the produce aisle.

  • And everybody’s favorite: “There are plenty of fish in the sea”

Well no shit. I have eyes just like you and I can see all the persons of the opposite gender wandering about living their lives. This saying is just crap anyway because it suggests that I am sitting with my pole waiting for any random boy to sadly get caught on my hook. When will this one phase out already?

Ultimately, as Erin so perfectly points out, if you don’t have unique valuable advice to give (like the World Cup dating plan), don’t give any at all. We aren’t fishing for it and most of what you say ends up sounding condescending. We’re doing just fine so there is no need to assume we walk around under a dark cloud feeling miserable about our single status and need some sort of pep talk.

I know there are some whiny people out there that never shut up about their life sentence in singledom. But honestly, the comfortable/confident singles way outweigh the desperate ladies. Now, off to study that World Cup schedule…

Day one of the World Cup Dating Plan wasn’t a total bust, but I can’t say it was a complete success either. I’m going to call it a fact-finding trip. I needed to spend a day in the environment to assess how the people act and where the windows of opportunity are. Truth be told, I was having such a blast hanging with friends and cheering for the USA, that my mind was not on seeking out targets. Plus, that would defeat the purpose of finding a foreigner. During the England game, we set up a satellite office in Fado and we all were more absorbed in facebook and answering emails than anything else. I did learn that the English folks like to chant. It does not matter what it’s about… Could be “I’m England till I die,” or “I love beer,” or “the guy in the hat is a wanker.” One person starts the chant and the rest of the bar joins in. Its kind of fun. Although our “office” was set up right next to the chant leader, which got annoying after a while.

At one point I did have a gentleman come up and give me a World Cup sticker book. He said he saw me eyeing it (wha?) and “when you see a pretty lady coveting something, you have to give it to her.” Unfortunately, he had no accent and did not meet the height requirement. I know, cruel, but I only have a few weeks window. I need to stick to the plan. Am thinking Italy versus New Zealand tomorrow could be a great option. I’m going to the Passion Pit show tonight, so a 9am game is a bit aggressive, but hey, what’s the point in making a plan if you are not going to be dedicated?

In other news, the porch family has finally returned. I am not sure where they disappeared to for a week. Maybe they went on vacation, but they are back in full force. They were carrying speakers bigger than me into the apartment. They invited me to their party tonight. Must be a welcome back to the porch party. I also talked the guy who owns the pee shop to start carrying diet Mountain Dew. I’m really starting to make an impact on this neighborhood.

Watch out. I have moblog capabilities. World Cup dating begins today. Fado is blowing up as the US is unable to put the biscuit in the basket. Still the most fun I’ve had outside the bedroom before 10am. Let’s hope for a USA comeback and lots of good looking Englishmen for the next game.

It was about a year or so ago that I found myself sitting in a conference room at our agency headquarters in Portland with several of our senior execs and two scientists from Dallas. These gentlemen insisted they had invented a scientific model that could predict anything in the world. They were demonstrating how they could apply their predictive model to PR and told us about all the impressive global companies in telecom, space travel etc. for whom they had predicted all kinds of outcomes. After they left, I made a side comment about how I should apply this predictive tornado model to my dating life, if it worked so well. One of the agency founders looked at me and said “Oh, I have the answer to your dating problems.” Well, I was immediately interested because she is a very wise woman who I have learned many valuable things from. At lunch she gave me the details of her “104” dating plan. There are 52 weeks in a year and two weekend nights each week, hence “104.” She committed to going out on a date every Friday and Saturday night until she found someone she wanted to stay with. I think she said she only ended up going on nine dates before she found “the one”…

Given my track record, I am not ready to hand over all of my weekends to terrible dates, but what I did learn from this conversation is, just like in business or most other parts of your life,  you gotta have a plan. Enter “The World Cup 2010 Dating Plan.”

I went to Fado yesterday afternoon to visit with some of my Australian friends during the Australia vs. Germany game. When I opened the front door, to my surprise, hot men with accents were spilling out all over the place. And we aren’t talking frat boys or West 6th douchebags. I pointed this out to my friend Dec and we began to devise a plan. This World Cup thing goes on everyday until mid-July! Dec noted that I could also be very targeted about what type of guys I meet. If I’m looking for a Greek guy, I just show up when Greece is playing. I’m warming up to this idea. I am now very interested in the full World Cup schedule. I should brush up on my knowledge of the game, but I reckon being there to celebrate or console these fans of their home country could be a good spot to be in…

I’m off to study the schedule and develop my “outreach” plan.

You know where to find me

It took me 45 minutes to drive the one mile to downtown last night (yes, I am single-handedly keeping BP in business). There are three things that make Jen cranky: Extreme humidity, hunger ….. and traffic. Its Republic of Texas (ROT) Rally weekend in Austin. For this, everyone that owns, or pretends to own, a motorcycle within 300 miles of Austin rolls into town to take shots and do stupid things on dirty 6th street. It’s a mini-sturgis. Don’t get me wrong, I am not one of those haters of things that bring people to this ridiculously awesome city. I love the bikers. At least while I was sitting in the completely gridlocked downtown Austin I had AC, great music and glorious people watching.

HP and I used to say “Fucking trail of lights” every time we got stuck in traffic. This was because every year around Christmastime, Austin would roll out the Trail of Lights just a mere .25 miles from our apartment. Thousands of cars would line up for miles to drive through the park and gape at pieces of wood shaped like snowmen and presents lined with 25 cent twinkly lights. Meaning, we were pretty much shut-ins unless we were willing to fight an hour of traffic to get 3 blocks from our home. Its like fireworks. I don’t get it. Please explain to me again why we think it is so amazing to look at strands of lights wrapped around objects or explosions in the sky? They bore me. Beer please.

Side Bar: The only time I was ever stimulated by twinkly lights was the Pelzer light people. It was a neighborhood just outside of Greenville, South Carolina, where my parents lived. It was kinda white trashy. And this family would do up their house then wrap themselves from head to toe in lights and stand at the end of their driveway waving at people. That, for some reason, was highly entertaining. We went in the minivan and kept the side door open, drive by style. I hate shows like Cops and Dawg the Bounty Hunter because I truly feel embarrassed for the people that those shows exploit, but for some reason I enjoyed seeing these jackasses wrapped in 50 lbs of Christmas lights, wandering around their driveway. I bet the kids are now old enough to fight the tradition. “But Dad, I want to go TP Fatty Patty’s house tonight, I don’t want to stand on the driveway chained to a power cord waving at people. Plus Susan might see me.” “Son, you will wrap your ass in these lights and you will wave like the queen of the gay pride parade, because the money that people throw in this bucket to help pay for the electricity bill is going to send you to college!”

And we’re back. Now, I hear, the city is saving money by shutting down the Trail of Lights. No argument here. I’d much rather put up with traffic because all of the bikers in town. From now on, traffic, regardless of where it is or why, will be met with “Fucking ROT Rally.”

Me and Berta, stuck in the biker parade

I will live this weekend as if I had no car, because it will be sleeping in my downtown parking garage until Monday. After I literally hopped up on the sidewalk and took out two orange cones yesterday to finally put Berta to rest in the garage, I have no desire to finesse my way back home with that piece of machinery. That, and by the time I went home last night there was a bit too much vodka running through my veins to safely put this fine piece of human machinery behind anything with horse power.

Tonight is the tour send off and CD release party for an incredible band called Stonehoney. If you are in Austin, head to Threadgills South. These guys will blow you away. I just have to figure out how the hell I am going to get there. Forget calling a cab. It takes hours because of all the people that wish they owned Harleys and who want to get downtown to gawk at the real deal. Maybe if I just start walking that direction someone will let me hop on their hog…

I love my hood. I have decided that if my business fails I am going to ask the family always hanging out on the porch in the affordable housing behind me to adopt me. They are some of the happiest people I have ever seen. There is always, without fail, regardless of the time of day, at least 3-10 people out there hanging out. Always smiling, always playin. That is, until today. I went by on my daily morning walk to the Comal Food Store (super dirty, smells like pee), as I do every day for a fresh diet coke. They were hanging out, but there was some official looking dude walking over to them. He had a magnetic name tag that he seemed to wear with pride, but I couldn’t make out who he was affiliated with. All I know is when I came by again on my afternoon run, the porch was empty. Sad. Hopefully this is just a brief hiatus, because I am pretty sure they would take me in after the Window AC Unit Incident.

Smells like pee, but you get used to it after awhile

Side Bar: The Window AC Unit Incident

I was casually walking by the porch family. It was a happy day because there was like 15 of them hanging outside. Probably four generations of men and women. Kids were playin in the lawn, gramps was on his rocker. Then, all of a sudden, a window AC unit comes flying down from the top story. We all froze, cuz that thing surely would have smashed the little girl on her big wheel if she had been in the landing zone. After about 4 seconds of silence, a lady leaned out the window that the AC had previously been perched in and she said “Shhhiiiiiiaaaaat.” The whole lot of us looked at each other, then keeled over with gut bursting laughter. I have to say, when you get 15 black people together in a fit of uncontrollable laughter, its bound to pretty much make anyone’s day. It was a moment of bonding for me and my friends on Comal street.

Where is Everybody?

I was letting the bad day get the best of me when I am pretty sure my grandmother intervened from the heavens. When mom and sis and I were guzzling tequila down in The Mexico, we were discussing what tattoo we would get to commemorate my grandmother that passed last year. We have shamrocks for my Dad’s Irish mom, so we started thinking we should do something Polish for my Mom’s mom. But the only thing we knew in Polish is “How are you?” and we had no clue how to spell it. Well, problem solved. I saw this bumper sticker today, and it took me awhile to understand it because I had never actually seen the phrase, only heard it. When it became clear… I tailed this old woman for 2 miles trying to get a picture. We wound up in a Walgreens parking lot.

Jak Se Mas?

Pretty sure that is not what we will get tattooed, but at least we know how to spell it now if we are ever in a bind.

Its approaching the hours that people refer to as “wee.” And I’m restless. At 8:30pm (most of you were probably gushing over the season finale of that irritating show called Glee) I was so freaking tired that I could barely carry myself upstairs to crawl into my nest (chauffeur Ants would have been nice here), and wouldn’t you know it, as soon as my head hit the pillow my mind started racing and sleep became forever out of reach. Even a Xanax didn’t help. All that did was make me start thinking about George Carlin. So I decided to read some of his quotes, which won’t likely put me to sleep, but that shit will forever be funny. During the Googling of George Carlin process I came across http://blogzarro.com/. This guy is pretty freaking hilarious. Not to mention, did a post back in 2007 on 100 of George Carlin’s best quotes.

Some of my personal faves:

  • I wanna live. I don’t wanna die. That’s the whole meaning of life: Not dying! I figured that shit out by myself in the third grade.
  • The very existence of flamethrowers proves that sometime, somewhere, someone said to themselves, “You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I’m just not close enough to get the job done.”
  • So I say, “Live and let live.” That’s my motto. “Live and let live.” Anyone who can’t go along with that, take him outside and shoot the motherfucker. It’s a simple philosophy, but it’s always worked in our family.
  • Hooray for most things!

I agreed to be set up again today. I must be a masochist. That, or I am willing to take one for the team (that’s you) in order to bring you yet another recount of what will likely be another dating disaster. I’ve never been able to articulate what it is I am looking for, so how can someone else possibly know? I do, however, have a long and ever-growing list of what I am not looking for. I suppose one day, simple math says I will run out of things to not look for and either arrive at the Cadmus conclusion of a perfect man, or simply realize that one does not exist and go back to low expectations.

Meanwhile, my trainer decided it would be fun to hook me up to a bunch of wires and assess my fat content. Hmmm. I do not like this idea. Not one bit. After she sat me down and delivered the sad news, she gave me a print out of my results… I guess I am supposed to hang them on my fridge or something. Pretty sure I will ceremoniously sets them on fire. I suppose it did accomplish the goal of lighting a fire under my ass…which then accomplished her goal of getting me to spend the money I should be setting aside for taxes on another round of sessions with her. End of month and gotta meet quota? Break out the calipers and start pinching some fat.

I can’t help it. It’s like a car wreck or a giant mole, I just can’t look away. The danger of working from home is that I am now becoming intimately familiar with daytime television, and quickly realizing that there is a definite need for a new talk show that targets smart/witty people who happen to work from home or have the luxury of a flexible schedule. I mean, I am entertained as much as the next person by Kathy Lee’s drunken behavior and Kelly Ripa’s sinewy arms. But holy Lord are they all stupid. I don’t really think they are stupid, they are just catering to what networks believe are the general viewing public on a weekday morning. That was likely the case 10 years ago, but these days, not all the smart people go to work at an office from 9-5.

I just watched Dr. Oz break out some more clown props. This time it was giant thermo gloves to explain how frostbite works. Yep. It’s June. This is a very timely segment. He chose a woman from the crowd to help with the demonstration. She about broke the stage jumping up and down in excitement like the next contestant on the Price is Right. Except there is no opportunity here to come on down and win a dining room set, spin the big wheel or go to the showcase showdown. All she gets to do is get on stage with the Doc and make an ass of herself. She briefly donned the clown thermo gloves and manhandled some dry ice. Then, she also got to be timed to goofy music while dressing a mannequin for winter from a pile of hats, gloves and scarves. Lame.

They then moved to the Q&A portion of the show and a woman in the audience asked Dr. Oz why her eyelashes were falling out. Hello? It’s called the Internet. Google “thinning eyelashes” and go with the most frequent answer. Don’t go on national television to get the answer from clown doctor.

I’m proposing a new daytime show that makes us feel smarter, and cooler, and funnier and more appropriately entertained. Stop treating people like they are morons. We’ll make fun of people with a humor that may fly over the heads of the target audience of The People’s Court, but it’ll provide a channel that keeps the stay at home smarties from getting dumber. Oh, and there will be people on it that are under 40 (yes, I know Elisabeth Hasselbeck is only 33, but do not even get me started on The View here). I’ll let you know how I get on with the networks. Feel free to email me with suggestions.

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