Tuesday, July 31, 2007

In The Dark

The problem with the whole dating thing is that, at least in the beginning, neither party knows what's going on in the other's mind. If you don't know the person from school, work, or through friends, there's no social context to ground your impressions and interpretations of the person. Instead, you have to go off of limited interactions to try to get a true sense of who the person is. Your impression of those limited interactions are further colored by your own expectations, your past personal experience, and your own set of generalizations, assumptions, and biases which all come together to create a lens through which you experience the other person.

I try to view each new person that enters my life as a chance to learn and grow, and I believe in the idea that things, people, and ideas are sent to you for reasons, such as to provide opportunities to learn certain lessons. I guess my concern is that I wonder if I've learned the lessons I was supposed to learn from past relationships, or if the universe continues to send me the same "opportunities" cloaked in different forms? I'd like to think I had learned my past lessons, had become wiser, and was no longer going to make the same mistakes, but I'm not sure about that and that uncertainty makes me nervous.

A mistake I've made in the past is to fall for unavailable men. By unavailable, I don't mean married, I mean unavailable emotionally. Men who are limited emotionally, or who simply have other priorities that take precedence over caring for someone other than themselves. Not all of the men that I've dated, nor even most of them have been like that. However, it's been a reoccurring theme that I've noticed in my past relationships that came out most starkly in my most recent one. I don't want to set myself up to become involved with another emotionally unavailable man, but I'm not sure I trust myself fully to see the signs of unavailability (especially because, try as I might to resist, I have a penchant for strong, traditionally masculine types). I certainly missed the signs in the past, so it seems possible that I could miss them again.

On the other hand, so what if I miss them? What's the worst that could happen? I could feel disappointment and hurt again, but I've already experienced that and I know I can handle it. I guess my worry goes beyond any fear of temporary disappointment or hurt; it's about being caught in a cycle and failing to progress. It's a fear of failing to learn lessons, more than a fear of the consequences of each of those failed lessons.

Unfortunately, in order to learn lessons, in order to progress, you have to take risks. Unless you give someone a chance, you don't know whether they will turn out to be unavailable or not. You don't know about their capacity for selflessness or caring. You don't know, for example, whether they've decided to be a bachelor for life and whether the time they're spending with you is destined to be nothing more than a fleeting affair...

Dating, and more specifically the uncertainty attendant to dating, is nerve-wracking. It would help things out considerably if we could read each other's souls - not minds because minds can be fickle things - but our souls because they expose our true selves. Then we could figure out before we even begin whether the risks outweigh the benefits.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Future Fears

I was having a conversation this weekend about Hillary's chances of becoming the next President of the United States. People have strong opinions about her on both sides of the political divide. Personally, I would love to see a woman elected President. However, I don't want a woman elected just because she's a woman; instead, I want the best person for the job.

It seems to me that one of the biggest challenges facing the United States and the greater world right now is how to deal with the threats posed by Muslim extremists. I don't mean to suggest that I'm one with the whole "war on terror" focus of the Bush administration, because I'm not. We are certainly not "at war," at least not in the traditional nation-state versus nation-state kind of way. Instead, we've been dealing with what appears to be a growing movement of extremism intent upon - apparently - destroying our way of life in the United States and the Western World. A movement that, based on the number of suicide bombers they appear to be attracting continually to their fold, may be winning the cultural war.

Why are the extremists winning the cultural war? What makes them able to attract more and more converts to their cause? What makes them able to convince educated young Muslims living middle class lives abroad with their pregnant wives to become suicide bombers?

I think one of the main factors is the vast economic inequality between the United States and the Western world and... pretty much everyone else. We have so much in this country, and I think the people who don't have as much are angry about it. And who wouldn't be? If I was looking in on the United States from the outside, I would want what we have as well. And, I would feel entitled to it because we're all human beings and we all deserve the same things in life.

But, it's not only about the economic inequalities. It's also about religion, or at least part of the motivation given for the attacks is portrayed as religious in nature. I wonder though, if there were not the massive economic divide, if the fundamentalist religious message would still be able to attract followers? If everyone had a decent house, educational and career opportunities in their life, clean drinking water, access to health care, the chance to succeed and practice their own beliefs without fear of discrimination and prejudice, and hope for their children's' futures, would the fundamentalist message still find the ground fertile for the recruitment of suicide bombers?

What's it going to take to make the ground less fertile for their recruitment?

If I'm right - that one of the sources of the extremism is economic inequality - it's going to take a lot more than military or intelligence efforts to stop the extremists. It's going to take a massive cultural and economic shift, and as history has shown, cultural shifts take a long time to happen and economic shifts take even longer. It's also going to take the United States living up it to its ideals of freedom, liberty, equality, and democracy, owning up to its past mistakes, and eliminating it's hypocrisy - something it has failed to do miserably under the current administration.

I don't know if Hillary could lead the nation effectively against the tide of extremism now threatening us. I think she could do a better job than Bush, but since he presents such a low standard to beat, that's an easy thing to say. I haven't been following the debates closely enough to know if there's anyone I think would be better than Hillary, but I'm thinking I should start paying attention.

The situation has been bad for a long time, but I'm afraid that unless the United States changes its course soon, it's going to get a lot worse.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Date De-Briefing

IP didn't flake! In fact, he was quite the gentleman. He texted me early in the afternoon with two suggestions of cute places to have dinner, got to the restaurant before me and ordered us a nice bottle of wine, and then put me in a cab at the end of the night. The date itself was fun. We had good conversation, the food was great, and overall I enjoyed myself.

I think he did too because he asked me to go out again tonight. Despite my reticence about allowing things to move too fast, since he's only in town for a few days and since we hadn't seen each other for a month and a half, and as I would like to see him again, I said... yes.

Tonight, I have a work happy hour to attend, and then after that I'm going to meet up with IP, probably for dinner, but again, we haven't nailed down our plans. He's working, I'm working, and all we've agreed upon so far is that we're going to meet up. He said he's flexible and that he just wants to see me. Awh...

I'm off to happy hour. Happy Friday!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Date Tonight, Maybe

Unless IP totally flakes, as males are wont to do, I have a date tonight. In New York, I've observed that relationships have a tendency of developing very slowly or moving at warp speed only to end in spectacular explosions after a couple of weeks. I think this is because everyone's so busy, spinning around in a billion different directions, that dating doesn't happen on any kind of normal, regular schedule.

Out of the New York context, I would imagine (though I could be dead wrong) that dating follows a certain basic, dependable, sweet pattern, something like this: Girl meets boy, boy asks girl out, girl says yes, and they go out that Friday night. In that same strange world, I would also imagine that if boy liked girl, boy would call girl on Saturday or Sunday - or if he's being a bit of a player jack-ass not until Monday morning - ask girl out again, girl would say yes (if she likes boy), and they would go out again that weekend. If girl and boy continue liking one another, I would imagine that their dates would continue each week, probably picking up pace so that girl and boy would see each other here and there during the week as well as on the weekends. At some point, girl and boy would have "the talk," decide they were exclusive (because they'd been being exclusive already), and the parameters of their relationship would be established.

In New York, more common would be the following scenario: Girl meets boy, boy calls or texts eventually, boy asks girl to meet him for a drink that night or the next, girl says she's busy, negotiations ensue, girl and boy decide to meet one another, and they go on a date. Boy calls the next day or several days later, or even a week or two later, and acts like everything is fine. If girl and boy have both been dating other people in between the time of their date and the call, it is fine. Girl and boy talk about going out again and compare their over-booked schedules to see if they can find time to meet up again in between their concerts, benefits, work functions, dinners, and plans with friends. Girl and boy pencil each other in for a Tuesday night after-work drink two weeks later, while thinking about who they can pencil in for later that night.

Dating, under those circumstances - where the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd dates can be stretched over weeks and weeks, or even months, where no one is exclusive and everyone has another possibility waiting in the wings or at center stage - can move very slowly.

Not that moving slowly is always a bad idea. In fact, I prefer moving slowly to the blitz-n-burn dating scenarios that many of my friends (and I) have experienced. Blitz-n-burn situations are those in which girl meets boy, girl and boy go out, (Blitz) boy tries and tries to have sex with girl, girl has sex with or makes out with boy, girl - confusing desire with genuine emotions, or just feeling hopeful - starts to like boy, boy wants to have sex or make out again with girl, girl and boy go out again, boy tries and tries to have sex with girl, girl has sex or makes out with boy, and after this happens a few times, (Burn) boy stops calling or girl realizes it's all about the sex or the making out and stops returning boy's calls.

Getting back to the situation with IP. After meeting IP two months ago, I went out on a first date with him about two weeks later. He called two days after our date (which was not perfect but acceptable), and since then, for the last month or so, we have been calling and texting one another a couple times a week while he's been out of town. At first I was quite opposed to the "texting relationship" that appeared to be developing, but he was entertaining, attentive, and cute so I decided to just have fun and see where things would go. There are worse things I could be doing with my time than sending occasional texts to a boy who seems, at least from afar and from my limited interactions with him, kind of cool.

So, after almost a month and a half - can you stand the suspense? - we are now supposed to go out on our second date tonight. As the date and time were set up via text (I know, could be a problem), I have no additional details to share at this point. I assume, even though I'm not supposed to be making assumptions, that we'll be going out to dinner somewhere. If he calls this afternoon and invites me over to his apartment - as opposed to a public place where things other than nookie time are appropriate - I will have to assume it's a Blitz-n-Burn situation in the making and decline. Here's hoping he acts like a gentleman and invites me to dinner at a restaurant sometime in the next couple of hours.

If this date does happen, and I'd say there's a 75% chance of that happening, the only thing I'm annoyed about is the fact that OF COURSE I have a zit on my chin. It wasn't even a big zit to begin with. It was one of those tiny annoying ones that I know I shouldn't have attempted to pop but did anyway, and then created an ugly, dark red spot that's pretty much impossible to cover-up. It's possible that even if this date happens he could take one look at my zit and run screaming away from me down the street. So much uncertainty.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

White Stripes Rocked

The White Stripes concert tonight at Madison Square Garden was SICK! I thought Ani rocked, and she did, but Jack and Meg White really ROCKED. Parts of the show - like "7 Nation Army" with the spotlights shining on the disco ball, spinning red and white starbursts of light out across the entire expanse of the arena, highlighting the sea of people screaming, clapping, and waving their arms while Jack stood over the crowd - were unreal.

The show has converted me from someone who appreciated their music but just didn't get them or the whole ambiguous sister-brother, wife-husband relationship thing, to a fan who now couldn't care less if there was actual incest afoot. That is how good they were.

Whatever it was that brought them together, they're dynamic is an integral, fascinating part of their music. It's awesome that two people with a drum set and a guitar can create that level of intensity. Jack White is Rock Star. It's that simple. I now understand what Renee Zellweger saw in him. He has incredible stage presence, his guitar playing was awe-inspiring, he switched effortlessly between the guitar, the keyboard, and singing, and his raw energy appeared limitless. At certain times during the show, it felt like he was playing around, inside of, and through me. Streams of vibrations were thudding against my chest and throat. Sex crossed my mind.

Jack was also, endearingly, pretty low key and chill for performing in Madison Square Garden. I got the sense that he was happy to be there, happy about the fans, but not overly impressed with MSG. He referred to it as a "bar" that he and Meg hadn't played in before which was kind of cute.

Meg, to my surprise, also kicked ass. Her drumming was good, and her voice sounded great on the one song she performed. Going into the concert I had clearly underestimated her talents. She's a key part of the performance, not just for the drumming and the occasional vocals, but also for what she adds to the overall look and feel of the band. She's a damn sexy drummer, and the way they had the lighting set up for most of the show with a shadow of her silhouette blown up against the background of the stage, makes me think they're quite conscious of her sex appeal.

She worked it, he worked it, and it was all awesome. Dutch and Wood, you were so right about them.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Busy B

I don't know what it is about this summer, but it's way more busy than I had anticipated. Each week I think, this week I'll have time for [fill in the blank with anything lazy, luxurious, and having to do with sunshine, curling my toes in the fresh-cut grass, and margaritas on the rocks with salt]...

...and then BAM! Five thousand things pop up and shoulder their way into my tightly packed schedule. I've had invitations to leave the city for the Hamptons, Pennsylvania, and this weekend, Chicago, but there's so much to do, I can't seem to find the time to make airline tickets, let alone leave! Not that I'm complaining, I'm just saying. Eh hem.

Last week, in between the gym, the nutritionist, and therapy, there was work, an explosion, the Ani concert, and Harry Potter. Though I started off thinking that this week would be kind of slow in comparison - other than work which has the potential to get a tad intense towards the latter part of the week, potentially screwing up all of my plans - I think it's actually going to be even more busy than last week. I have an event every night, and was so jammed up that I had to switch therapy from tomorrow night to Thursday and forego running except for tonight. I guess this is what they call "burning the candle at both ends."

I'm going to the White Stripes concert tomorrow night, to a fancy dinner and public interest law benefit on Wednesday, (potentially) out on a date with Mr. Reunion (aka "IP") on Thursday, and - probably - to a party on Friday night that Pirate (who's in town from London) and his brother are throwing. I say "potentially" about the date with IP because this is not the first time he's said he'll be back in the city and that he wants to take me out, only to have work and polo keep him away from New York for yet another week or month. It would be interesting to see him again, but given his track record I'm not holding my breath.

The weekend is going to be really busy too, although part of that depends on whether I try to scrape together a last minute trip to Chicago for the Blogher Conference. If I went to Chicago, I'd fly out early Saturday and then have to fly back Sunday. I think it would be cool to go to Blogher, and I'd love to be able to see my girl friends who are going to be in the area, but I just can't decide if it's worth it to fly all the way to Chicago for one night. Plus, I don't even know if there are tickets.

What to do, what to do? For now, I'm off to do some work. There's a lot to do between now and the White Stripes. Too many events, too much work, and too little time. Luckily, I stopped by Origins today (Mr. Eye Candy was back) and bought some fun, new make-up, including navy-colored mascara. Ooh la la. At least I'll look cute while sprinting from one thing to the next!

I must say, after burning the candle at only one end for such a long time, it is rather fun to have two ends to burn. Now, if only I had a third for sleepytime.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Blog Bits

Happy Monday! I hope everyone's week has gotten off to a good start. I was lagging a bit this morning after slogging to work in flip-flops through the rivers running down New York City's streets and getting soaked to the skin from my thighs down, but just pepped myself up with a small coffee and some berry-flavored gum from Starbuck's.

I have two blog-related questions for you all:

First, I've been thinking about changing the layout of Tout de Suite Buttercup! Among other things, I want to add some graphics and a cool header that captures the spirit of my blog better than the plain dark purple, light purple combo. If I was more tech-savvy I'd do it myself, but alas, I'm not. I've found a couple of people who do that kind of work but they use Typepad instead of Blogger.

Does anyone have any recommendations for a person who could help me give Tout de Suite Buttercup! a make-over?

Second, are you going to the Blogher Conference in Chicago this weekend?

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Ani's Set List - Celebrate Brooklyn (July 18, 2007)

As promised, here's the set list from Ani's concert in Brooklyn last Wednesday night. It was an awesome mix of older and newer stuff, and she rocked on all the songs. My favorites of the night, although all the songs seriously were fantastic, were "Napoleon," "Shameless," "Gravel," and "Little Plastic Castle."

Not a Pretty Girl and Dilate continue to be my two favorite Ani albums, although I was so inspired by her show that I bought Knuckle Down off of i-tunes and have been listening to it for the past few days. There were two songs from the concert that I didn't recognize and couldn't figure out what their titles were. Anyone know?

1) Manhole - Knuckle Down (2005)
2) Done Wrong - Dilate (1996)
3) You Had Time - Out of Range (1994)
4) Lag Time - Knuckle Down (2005)
5) Napoleon - Dilate (1996)
6) Paradigm - Knuckle Down (2005)
7) Alla This - (New)
8) Subdivision - Reckoning (2001)
9) Lyrics about a Polar Bear (?) - (Don't know the name or album)
10) Lyrics about Insecurity Glaring in the Mirrors (?) - (Don't know the name or album)
11) Everest - Up Up Up Up Up Up (1999)
12) Gravel - Little Plastic Castle (1998)
13) Little Plastic Castle - Little Plastic Castle (1998)
14) 32 Flavors - Not a Pretty Girl (1995)
15) Shameless - Dilate (1996)
16) Overlap - Out of Range (1994)

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Running, Explosions, and Ani

As you could probably tell by the infrequency of my posts last week, I've been incredibly busy. I miss my blog! I miss you all! Mostly, the busy-ness is related to work. I'm doing all these things I've never done before and there's a steep learning curve. At my new firm, it's like I'm a real lawyer! Insanity.

After finally finishing my work this afternoon, I went for an awesome run around the reservoir in Central Park. There's a 1.57 mile loop that goes around the reservoir and I did it THREE times for a grand total of 4.7 miles! After a week of stress-related, late-night binging on creative peanut butter concoctions and tamari roasted almonds, I was incredibly proud of myself for going on the run. Running outside is so much better than running on a treadmill inside a stinky gym.

Now that I'm done with my work, I finally have a chance to post about the Ani concert. It was AWESOME! Awesome, awesome, awesome. She freakin' rocked. I almost didn't go because, as you might have heard, there was an explosion in Manhattan the night of the concert, and it happened two buildings away from mine. That was some nerve-wracking craziness, but thankfully it wasn't a terrorist attack, and it didn't prevent the cabbies from driving to Brooklyn.

Because of the explosion, I got to the show late and missed most of the opening acts. However, I made it in time for Ani and that's really all that mattered. Standing around on my own before Ani came on, in a sea of dread-locked hair, pierces, patchouli, and girls caressing one another, I felt a little out of place and just the tiny-est bit lonely. I'm no longer a college kid with hippy-esque leanings; I'm a boring lawyer. Sometimes, I think that I might be one of the "Napoleons" of Ani's songs; not really, and not on the inside, but I certainly must appear to be that way on the surface at times. None of my friends had wanted to go to the concert, so I had to go on my own, and I think those kind of things - like most things, probably - are more fun shared.

But, the minute Ani took the stage, all of those feelings were banished, and I was overcome with a sense of exhilaration and excitement to be seeing her perform again. Her guitar sounded fierce, her vocals were incredible, and she peppered her set with the usual bits of laughter and stories in between songs. Watching her up there, I was so happy that I had made the decision to go to the concert. One of the things I love about her is the sense of joy she brings to her performances, songs, and commentary, even while singing or talking about profoundly serious issues, such as our infamous President, the state of the world, war, poverty, and issues of race and gender. She's constantly giggling. She sees humour and irony amidst pain and sadness, and that's inspiring.

While the show was going on, I texted myself the playlist and will post that later. The show sparked a lot of feelings and thoughts that I also plan to post about, but at another time. I'm still letting them percolate. One thing I learned at the concert that I had not known is that Ani recently gave birth. How awesome is that? Thirteen years after first listening to her music, I still have a mad girl-crush on her. I hope she's happy. She deserves nothing less.
* * *
By the way, the picture above, which was taken at a different concert than the one that I went to, shows a shot of Ani's fingers wrapped in black electric tape. That's how hard she rocks; she plays so intensely that she has to wrap her fingers in electric tape to keep from shredding them against her guitar strings. That's pretty much one of the most bad-ass things ever.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Date With Ani

I would be hard pressed to express in words what a profound impact Ani DiFranco has had on my life. I listened to her religiously for most of college, and for many years after, until her tastes shifted, and mine stayed the same, and she got more funky than fierce. I could easily track at least 6 - 8 years of my life by Ani records if I felt so inclined.

I can't remember the last time I saw her in concert, but I think it might have been a few years ago while I was in Law School. Tonight, after a multi-year hiatus (mine, not her's), I'm scheduled to see her in concert down in Brooklyn and I'm so excited! The only problem is that New York is experiencing torrential downpours at the moment, and the concert ticket says "rain or shine."

I'm crossing my fingers that the rain will let up by tonight, but even if it doesn't, I'll be there. It's not every night that you have the opportunity to relive so many years of your life.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Relationship Recycling Pitfalls

Although I've not necessarily followed it in practice, for quite some time I've been a firm believer in the "No Recycling Rule" with respect to relationships. By "not necessarily followed," I mean "acted in diametric opposition" to said rule.

It all started with my high school boyfriend, Cameron, so named in this blog because years after we stopped serially dating, I finally saw Ferris Bueller's Day Off and realized that my ex-boyfriend Cameron bore a striking resemblance to Bueller's best friend, Cameron Frye. Really, the resemblance is eiry. Looking at that picture now I'm also struck by the fact that Cameron Frye was wearing a Red Wing's jersey, a team that would factor significantly in a later relationship. If only I had seen the signs earlier!

Despite looking like Cameron Frye, I thought Cameron was HOT, and was convinced that we were destined to be together forever. We had been friends through high school and started dating our junior year. Cameron played lacrosse (I still remember his lacrosse shorts), was the Drum Major in the band (which was cool at my school), and had the fortune to be part of a group of guy friends that my best girl friend in high school, Simone, and I used to play pool and drinking games with each weekend. "Asshole" and "Three-man" were our drinking games of choice, and Natty Light or Purple Passion wine coolers, purchased over the border from a gas station in New York on nights when it was necessary in order to evade Connecticut's blue laws, our poison.

Cameron wasn't that smart, wasn't terribly unique, and thought that being high was a fantastic way to experience life, but for some reason (did I mention he was hot?), I fell for him. I was a straight-A student, highly ambitious, and aside for the drinking games, was fairly straight-laced. Clearly, it was a perfect match. Despite our dissimilarities, we had a surprisingly sweet, fun year together in our Junior year, at the end of which, a week or two before summer began - and my job as a life guard with a group of fun, hot lifeguards who also played drinking games - I dumped him. With visions of summer fun dancing before me, it seemed quite clear in my mind that Cameron and I were not in fact destined to be together. We were too different, it would never work out, and it was better for both of us if we parted ways sooner rather than later.

I broke up with Cameron, didn't waste a second thinking about him, wiped my hands of our relationship, and went on to have a fantastic summer full of stories for another time. Everything went swimmingly until Senior year started and I found myself suddenly back at school, interacting with Cameron in band, watching how the younger girls flirted with him while he worked his Drum Major voodoo on them, and hanging out with Cameron as part of our usual group of friends. I started second-guessing my decision to break up with him. He was the Drum Major, I was the Captain of the Flags, he was cute, I was cute, and we had history! What had I done? I spent the remainder of the first semester of my Senior year writing dark love poems about my unrequited (and recently rediscovered) love in between A.P. Calculus and History, and obsessing about ways to get him back.

Allow me to remind you at this point in the story that the object of my somewhat mercurial affections was not terribly smart, not terribly unique, and a pothead to boot. How I went from being perfectly zen about breaking up with him, to somehow convinced that I had made an enormous mistake which had potentially jeopardized my future chance at a magical love that was "supposed to be," is a mystery to me, but that's what happened.

By second semester, I had moved on with another boy who I actually ended up not recycling. Looking back on that relationship, I think I chose not to recycle him because after he pushed me for 5 months to have sex, and after I finally consented to rid myself of my virginal state the night of my graduation after erroneously having decided to spend it with him instead of my girl friends, and finding myself in a less than perfect situation decided to make the best of things by once and for all determining whether sex was all it was cracked up to be, it only lasted for 3 seconds. So much for the undulating golden shores of ecstasy that I had read so much about in my romance novels. We tried a few more times after that, but there was very little to salvage. I broke up with him two weeks later, conveniently just at the start of summer, and never second-guessed the decision.

Flash-forward another fantastic summer, several instances of making out with boys, one broken collar bone, my first year of college, and the beginning of another summer, all the way up to one particular lifeguard party where Cameron suddenly, strangely, and to my great surprise, made a re-appearance in my life.

At first I was merely cordial. We exchanged the standard pleasantries, me with only half my attention on him, the rest of my attention focused on the party and the other people around me. With the passage of time, and the haze of beer-infused memory, the chronology of that night is not wholly clear to me now. All I remember is that at some point I found myself drawn out to the front yard under a tree by Cameron, who proceeded to tell me in broken-boy fashion that he had loved me since Junior year, that we were destined to be together, and that he wanted me back. I remember a cacophony of emotions, including intense feelings of vindication, complete triumph, disbelief and gratitude to the universe for granting me a wish I had long since (thought I had) let go. I also remember a feeling of power. I remember thinking I did this; I wanted it and I made it happen. Ah, the maniacal egotism of youth. If only I could say I didn't find myself thinking similarly now.

So began Phase 2 of the Buttercup & Cameron saga, not to be confused with Phase 2 of Buttercup & Drummer, Phases 2 or 3 of Buttercup & The Evil One, or Phase 2 of Buttercup & EXBF (he who was heretofore named "Raj" on this blog, but obviously no longer bears the right to be called "King" by anyone of my acquaintance).

Phase 2 of the Buttercup & Cameron saga ended as one might imagine it would have, knowing as you all do that Phase 1 ended with Buttercup giving Cameron the boot as a result of serious incompatibilities in their relationship, all of which - of course - reared their ugly little heads again in Phase 2, just as they had in Phase 1 (just as they always do). Shocker. I got my worst grades of college that semester that I dated Cameron. I was taking two science labs and three science courses (I ended up a Women's Studies Major), and hated lab with the white hot intensity of a thousand suns, yet I blame Cameron for my failures that semester. OK, I blame myself, but he most definitely contributed to my lack of studiousness. The final straw came in the form of a party at my apartment, a too-drunk boyfriend getting wasted, a left-over keg, and a groggy, smelly Cameron waking up and declaring it a fine morning to resume drinking. Immediately. I was done. Cameron got the boot a second time.

If it hadn't been for Drummer stirring up memories of the past, I would have stopped my story about Cameron at the end of Phase 2. But, as luck would have it, Drummer waltzed back into my life for the briefest of moments, turned a few emotions topsy-turvey, and inspired me to bust out the journals that I've kept since the age of six. Do you know how surprised I was to discover that Cameron and I had had a brief Phase 3 fling after I had graduated college?

Clearly, I've had a serious problem with recycling in the past. I've let boys in, kicked them out, and then allowed them to remain in my blood. It's an absolutely terrible cycle. And, I can assure you, I was 100% convinced that I was completely broken of this cycle as a result of the debacle that was my relationship with EXBF (previously known as "Raj"). (Bollocks, I don't even want to think of him long enough to come up with another name for him, but I find myself wishing for some point of reference to distinguish him from my other exes. Hmm... Ideas anyone?).

My relationship with EXBF, in which I - lest you've forgotten the sordid details - date him for a year, break up with him, think about him for a year, and then date him again for a year only to have him - gotcha! - break up with me that time around, should have cemented the No Recycling Rule so deeply into my veins that I would never, ever, ever, ever again think about dating another man with whom I had previously been involved.

Eh hem. However, I'll admit it. When I had such a wonderful time the other night seeing Drummer again, and then when he kissed me (hello?, said in Valley Girl accent), I thought about it. Not obsessively, not consistently, and not without substantial reservations, but I thought about it nonetheless. A vision of possibility grazed my mind. My thinking was not helped by the fact that numerous people in my circle of friends and family expressed the following sentiment multiple times, "He was the best one out of everyone you dated," nor was it helped by the fact that Bean had - what she believed was a prophetic - dream in which Drummer and I made out and then ended up riding happily ever after into the sunset.

Tonight, Drummer and I were supposed to grab a drink. For several reasons, it didn't happen. I internally kicked myself for caring, then took out my disappointment on the treadmill. The funny thing is that one of the reasons I had been looking forward to seeing him was so that I could tell him that I thought him kissing me while he had a girlfriend was inconsiderate, not only to her (which he readily admitted), but also to me (which he seemed to have missed). Alas, that will have to wait for another time.

After 3 miles, I felt back to normal, my disappointment abated. It was silly of me to allow myself to contemplate, even for a second, the idea of a Phase 3 with Drummer. If it had been in the stars, surely it would have worked out during Phase 1. I am once again (mostly) firmly resolved in my committment to follow the No Recycling Rule.

I stand ready to crack open a fresh can (or three).


In the nearly year and a half I've been blogging, I've rarely been at a loss as to what to write about. Usually, I just sit down at the computer and write whatever comes to mind. More often than not, I end up writing late at night. My late-night blogging has been one of the chief causes - along with my penchant for procrastination (that's what that post was about), my social activities, and my work demands - of me getting way too little sleep lately.

But, my lack of sleep is actually not what this post is about (as I'm just now realizing). This post is about the fact that I'm starting to question what it is that I actually write about and why. Gypsy raised this a while ago, asking What Kind of Blogger Was She? I have the same question because unlike the mommy-bloggers, the burger-bloggers, or the fashion bloggers, I don't have a neat little hook for my blog. My blog is about my life, and my life isn't a neat, hooky package. Gypsy, who writes about similar things, as in her life, suggested that the category of blogger that we fall into are the "Chick Bloggers."

Maybe that's true, but tonight, that category isn't really helping me figure out what to write. I mean, all "Chick Bloggers" are are girls/women who write. Even if that label applied (which I guess it does under my very loose definition), it still would not give a direction to my posts. Maybe the problem here is that, in this moment, I'm getting stuck wondering about what all of you want me to write about. I'm thinking about my readers, and maybe that's stumping me. I won't lie and say I never consider my readers, because in fact you all are quite important to me. I like the feedback, the community, and the camaraderie of sharing my blog with you, and being able to read yours. But usually, in order to keep some integrity on my end, I try to write honestly, off the cuff, about whatever is going on with me, and try to refrain from being too audience-centered.

But tonight, dear readers, I'm wondering what it is about Tout de Suite Buttercup! that interests you. I'm wondering what it is that you come back and visit me for? For a while, my blog had more of a theme and a story line. It was, in short: My job is a nightmare, Help! Then, for a period of time, the theme was more like: I'm making huge life changes; Watch me Transform! But now... Now, I'm just living. I'm still in the transformation stage, but there's not a specific driving force unifying my efforts. There's no arch nemesis to fight against, no seemingly insurmountable hurdle to attempt to triumph over.

Now, my main focuses (which I just realized this past week) are getting acclimated to my new job and getting healthy. I don't feel a desire to write about my job because it's going so amazingly well. Isn't it funny how when people are warm and fuzzy, it leaves a lot less to blog about? About getting healthy, I've written a little, and I could write more, but is that interesting? Is my failure to lose more than a pound last week, and the very real possibility that I will have gained a pound back this way at all engrossing?

There are other things I could and do write about like books, movies, fun places I've been out in the City, things I'm realizing in therapy, and the various men in and out of my life. Are those things interesting to you? What do you want to know about?

I guess the overall issue is that my blog - other than being about my life - has no theme. I suppose that by asking you what you're interested in about me, I'm trying to figure out if there's an overarching theme that brings you all here. I guess I'd like some focus in my blog.

My life is pretty focused right now. It's moving along at a pace at which I'm comfortable. I'm single and having fun every week, if not each day. I'm enjoying New York, I'm getting used to my new job and trying to master it, I'm trying (slowly) to get physically fit again, and I'm contemplating getting a new apartment (things just aren't working out with the bitchy actress or with Sven). I'm trying to learn and to have fun.

All in all, the summer is going well and I feel happy the majority of the time. But I digress. Maybe my problem is that relative happiness is striking me at the moment as less than exciting? Not for me, but for you. Hmmm...

So tell me, why do you come here on occasion? What brings you here? What would you like to know about Buttercup? What, pray tell, is Tout de Suite Buttercup's theme?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Skater Chick

When asked when it was that I first met her, I couldn't say at first. I couldn't think of a time when she hadn't been present in my life, but I couldn't remember when she had first entered it. I don't really remember her in elementary school, but I'm sure she was there, somewhere lurking, perhaps waiting to pull me outside to play. Or maybe not? I was a relatively serious kid, mature for my age, and very focused. I didn't really have space in between school, after-school activities, baby-sitting, and hanging out with my friends for a punk, teen-aged skater-chick with short spiky hair and baggy pants who just wanted to have fun, chill out and relax. She would have been very different from the girl I was back then.

My earliest memories of her are from middle school. I spent lazy afternoons watching soaps, making meringues, and devouring books one after the next, when I should have been working on papers, reading "assigned" books, or studying for tests. I did things last minute, and I did them well, and she helped me.

It was her idea to stand out in the snow in bare feet early in the morning to get a chill, so that I would have an excuse to stay home from school for just a few extra hours on the days that papers were due. She convinced me that I didn't need to start writing until midnight, and she was proved right when I got one good grade after the next after staying up all night. She brought me packs of spearmint trident gum, smarties, neccos, M&Ms, diet cokes, pizza, coffee, and anything else I needed to stay motivated; anything else I needed to make the final push - the only push - bearable. She made cramming fun, and I did well at the cramming, so the system worked.

Through middle school, high school, and college, she was an unquestionable ally. Infrequently seen amidst my schedule of studying, waiting tables, and (in college) partying, she pulled me away from my work when I needed her to. She was resourceful, imaginative, and very persuasive, and she came up with amazingly creative ways to buy me more time to do the things she and I both wanted to do.

The relationship worked so well for so many years. I was grounded, focused and (felt) very much in control (of everything). Giving in to her whims was something I could easily afford. Sometimes, following her lead brought me temporary moments of stress, but I worked well under pressure, always got everything done, always did well, and with her also had time to experience life and have fun. It seemed like a perfect, balanced match, and for the longest time I never questioned it. She was just a part of my experience, someone who forced me to carve out space to enjoy life when I was least able to do that.

If I'm completely honest, I think the relationship worked as well as it did because she had less influence back then. She was a constant presence, an always willing partner in crime. But, back then I wasn't all that into rebelling against what was expected of me, because I expected it of myself. I was my own worst task master. Back then, she provided a welcome respite. She was the bad influence that was good for me, because I was so focused and in control that the risk of me falling prey to any influence, bad or good, in more than a passing fashion was such a remote possibility.

Back then, I felt so in control that the idea of being "out of control" never crossed my mind. Granted, that was before I turned 30, before ice cream started stick to my body, before a series of relationships self-combusted, before two dream jobs turned nightmarish, before I had really loved, and before I had lost anything precious to me. It was before I grew up and realized how much of life is completely out of my control.

I had goals, dreams, an unswerving belief in myself and the future, insulating walls around my heart and body, and a clear path that I followed unerringly. I was disciplined, diligent, and wholly determined to succeed. It would have taken far more then one teen-aged skater chick to lead me astray. At 12 and 18, I was so much more together than her.
Now, not so much.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Scorching in the City

It's hot, steamy, and sluggishly stifling in the City. I made the mistake today of wearing a slim-fitting light grey suit skirt with a navy blue knit top. The top was fine, mainly because the color hid the beads of sweat that started rolling down my back as soon as I walked outside into the oppressive early morning heat.

The skirt was pretty much a disaster. By the time I walked the 8 blocks to the subway, the tight material was riding up my legs, sticky with sweat, causing my thighs to feel like they were wrapped in a shrink-wrapped rubber sausage casing. Standing on the subway platform, weighed down by bags, trying inartfully to straighten out my skirt, engulfed by the humid, stale, hot air of the subway tunnel, I felt beads of sweat start to roll down my legs. Disgusting, right? I didn't sit down on the subway car for fear that my tush would leave sweat marks on the back of my skirt.

These are some of the horrors of working in Manhattan in July.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Subway Tadasana

In one of the most basic yoga poses, Tadasana, or "Mountain Pose," you are supposed to stand purposefully with the soles of your feet pressed firmly into the earth, your thigh muscles firm, your knee caps and sternum lifted, your shoulders pulled back and downwards, the crown of your head centered directly over your pelvis, and the weight of your body perfectly balanced.

Like all yoga poses, there's nothing passive about Tadasana. Instead, the pose is a dynamic attempt to create a line of energy running from the crown up your head, down your back, through your groin and legs, and out the soles of your feet into the ground. Standing in Tadasana takes energy, and it also creates energy, energy that you can use to stabilize yourself and ground yourself firmly into the floor. The term "Mountain Pose" makes sense to me, because in Tadasana you attempt to become as stable and evenly balanced, and as firmly rooted into the earth, as the most mammoth of mountains. It's a pose of power that is also excellent for your posture.

I practiced Mountain Pose this morning while riding the subway on my way to work. Usually, I hang on to the nearest rail with a grip of death to keep me from flailing about the subway car. It's express so it goes really fast. But, today I loosened my grip and concentrated instead on planting the soles of my feet, and the weight of my body, firmly against the shaky floor as the car careened down the track. I felt the tension and strength in my thighs, knees, and toes, and envisioned myself as perfectly stable and in balance.

My experiment was a resounding success. I managed to stay perfectly up right without having to grab the railing through both jerky turns and a screeching stop. It was a triumphant start to the day.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

The Fish In the Sea

Apparently, all your advice worked because I've been getting winked at and emailed at a steady pace on Match.com. You all are internet dating geniuses. Since starting last week, I think I've been winked at about 15 times and received emails from approximately 20 different potential suitors. That's about 35 points of contact with the male species that I would otherwise not have had, had I not joined Match. Sounds positive, right? Not so much.

The problem, as it turned out, was not with the bait, but with the types of fish swimming about in the New York dating sea. Among the multitudes of short, balding, unfit, and uninteresting men, I've also encountered the following subspecies of male: the "Looking for a Babe," "Looking for 18 year olds even though I'm 35," "Brainiacs are Turn Offs," "Public Displays of Affection are Turn Offs," "Looking for an [insert race or religion of choice] Woman Only," "Unable to Write in Complete Sentences," "No College or Other Degree," and "Power and Money Are Turn Offs" type of male.

Admittedly there's a built-in level of superficiality in internet dating. So much depends upon the picture that you or a potential suitor decides to toss out into the ether. I'm as guilty as the next person of judging people based on their pictures. If someone has chosen a weird picture where they look slightly demonic, massively dorky, or, for example, are wearing acid-washed jeans up to well above their belly button with a skin-tight white shirt tucked into the aforementioned jeans while standing in an aggressive body builder pose, I assume we would not make a good match and delete them. Match has a feature that allows you to delete a member forever so they never come up again as a possible choice once you've given them the boot. So far, it's my favorite thing about Match.

Similarly, I give most males shorter than 6 feet or lacking a college education the boot. There's no question that there are many fantastic men who are shorter than 6 feet and/or who lack a college education. However, I know from experience that (a) men often lie about their height so even the ones who say they are 6 feet could be slightly below that and (b) I like tall men. Short men make me feel like an ogress. Admittedly, that's my issue, but I'm comfortable with it and it's not going anywhere, so I'm just going to go with it. I also know from experience that I tend to have more in common with and more to talk about with someone who's at least college educated. I like being intellectually stimulated.

Moving on to men who don't get booted out automatically by my basic criteria. Anyone who says they don't like brainiacs or public displays of affection makes me a little suspicious. Do they not like smart women? As far as PDA, I agree that you should get a room for intense displays of affection, but see nothing wrong with hugs, hand holding, snuggling and kissing in public. That's kind of what love looks like to me, and anyone who's afraid of that makes me wonder. As for the men who are uncomfortable with money and power, well, I've got both of them so that probably wouldn't be a good fit. For the men who want "babes" (read: arm candy and/or sex) or 18 year olds, for obvious reasons, I don't spare them a second glance.

That's the pool of fish with which I'm dealing.
The situation, in short, is bleak.

I had thought the situation might be taking a turn for the better when a 36 year old doctor with an interesting profile and handsome picture began emailing me today. However, after an email or two of pleasantries, he wrote me to see if I would be interested in a "flirtatious phone conversation" and/or a walk with hand holding and "a kiss or two."

Was I just propositioned for phone sex? Even if it wasn't a phone sex proposition, who asks someone to go on a walk with them with the expectation that there will be a kiss or two? I haven't even met the guy, and I most certainly am not going to be holding hands with him on the first date handing out kisses like stamps. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, I guess it's possible that I totally misread his email, and that in fact he was simply trying to be sweetly flirtatious... However, now I'm in a quandary because any response I make will have to somehow address his improper invitation for kisses. I suppose I could just respond and say, "Let's meet for a drink." But should I do that? Agree to go on a date with someone who may have ineptly propositioned me for phone sex?

I'm thinking... no.
Although you can't tell from this post, I actually haven't been spending all that much time contemplating the bleakness of internet dating.
Instead, I've been thinking about this. Not good, Buttercup. Not good at all.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Pondering Friendship

Men are such trouble.

They're far too handsome, and far too much fun to snuggle with, for their own good (and for ours).

They inspire you to cook them soup and to take care of them, and then they break your heart.

They text incessantly, and mistake that for communication.

They kiss you when they're otherwise entangled.

They have a habit of popping up when you least expect them.

They email, text, and call, and then they don't, leaving you, if you care at all, which often times you do, waiting.

They cause so much drama, and add such confusion to life.

It's a wonder we all don't drown our agitation in Hershey kisses and wine and forget about the lot of them.

But, instead of writing them off,

we entertain their texts,

snuggle with them, and more,

feed them,

kiss them back,

and contemplate being friends with them,


...even though we know that the experience may leave us crestfallen.

Art found here.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Thursday Thirteen - Fireworks

Thirteen Fireworks from Brooklyn, NY




8) 9) 10) 11) 12) 13)

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It's easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy 4-Mile 4th of July

For the first time since I started working out three weeks ago, and for the first time in about 4 months, I ran more than a mile and a half without stopping for a break. Then, I ran past 2.3 miles without stopping for a break, and then past 3.4, and before I knew it I had run 4 miles. FOUR. On the 4th of July. Coincidence, I think not.

Actually, it is a coincidence. I'm just being a dork.

Here are the real reasons why I think I had a good work-out:

* I had eaten healthfully, and the perfect amount, the night before, so I had energy once I got on the treadmill;

* I've started doing pilates again, and I think it's already made my core and legs stronger, which also helped me once I got on the treadmill;

* The last three weeks of working out, though grueling and exhausting at first, have started to pay off;

* I committed mentally to running for at least 3 miles because I knew it would make me feel good, and I knew I would be proud of myself;

* I was motivated by watching my legs pumping on the treadmill and detecting just the slightest increase in muscle tone (hurrah!); and,

* I had an awesome 10-hour sleep last night.

Here's my 4-mile playlist:

1) Since You've Been Gone - Kelly Clarkson
2) Buttons - PCD
3) Tell Me - Diddy and Christina
4) I Like To Move It - Bang Gang
5) Banquet - Bloc Party
6) I Drove All Night - Celine Dion
7) Breaking The Habit - Linkin Park
8) Rabbit Run - Eminem
9) Fighter - Christina
10) This Ain't A Scene, It's a Goddamn Arms Race - Fall Out Boy

After that great start to the day, I'm off to celebrate the 4th down in Brooklyn with Em and some friends. I hope everyone has a lovely holiday!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The Drummer

Did that just happen?

Did you just email and I respond, and we decide to meet up? Finally, after over two years?

Did we actually talk about where we were in our relationships, or lack thereof, about what had gone wrong in our past relationships, about what had gone wrong between us?

Did I admit I had kept you on a pedestal since we broke up?

That I'm drawn to you powerfully, still - but not necessarily sexually (but maybe?) - in a way that makes me want to be next to your body, surrounded by your arms. Protected. Held. Safe.

No, that I didn't say.

But I thought it, for almost the entire time that we sat together at the bar, the edges of our knees touching.

Did we open up to one another? Did you, when I asked what went wrong between us, say that you thought that I closed down, which made you close down, even though you knew that what I really wanted and needed was for you to stop me from closing down, and that you felt at the time like you were incapable of making things right?

That you felt powerless? That I couldn't handle seeing that in you, maybe because it reflected back to me a vision of my own vulnerability; a vulnerability that took me many years and one particularly bad break-up to find?

Did I admit that I've made a lot of men feel that way, and that I'm not sure why?

Did I not say that you were right that I looked to you to fix things when I should have looked to myself?

Did we hold each other as you walked me home?

Did you lean down and kiss me?


Did that really just happen?

Monday, July 02, 2007

Another Friend Ties The Knot

In February of 2006, shortly after my little sister and I started this blog (it used to be a joint effort and it was called "Buttercup & Bean"), Starshine was one of the first people to leave us a comment. I don't know how she found us, but her comment led me to her blog, and there I discovered one of the warmest, kindest, most genuine people I have had the pleasure of encountering.

We went from fellow bloggers, to "blogger buddies" (Starshine's phrase), to actual, real live friends after meeting up in November of 2006 for coffee down in Houston, Texas, where, coincidentally, both of our mothers live. During that meeting, I also met the man who was to become her husband, eSuitor.

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending Starshine and eSuitor's wedding. It was a beautiful, deeply religious ceremony, marked by humorous quips by the presiding minister that made everyone, even the bride and groom, laugh through their tears of happiness. My mom was with me and she cried watching Starshine walk down the aisle. Starshine looked gorgeous in her mink-lined Winter wedding dress, and was radiating happiness, joy, and serenity. ESuitor was also beaming. They were both so obviously overjoyed to be marrying one another and so in love; it was beautiful. Seeing such blatant love always makes me get a little misty-eyed. The reception was fun, with two of the highlights being Starshine and her sister singing. They're both so talented!

After the wedding, I spent the rest of the weekend with the fam, first at my mom's house, and then at my dad's. In between QT, I contemplated this stage of my dating/single life. I'm realizing more and more that I am genuinely happy with who I am, and with the life that I'm creating for myself. I love living in New York, I love that I'm (slowly) getting healthy and fit again, I love that I'm exploring new classes and activities to do, and I love, and feel so lucky to have, such a great group of amazing friends, both in and out of New York.

Sometimes I feel a sense of urgency to find what Starshine and eSuitor, Dutch and Wood, my friend Pas and her husband, Prue and Astro, and several of my other friends have found - a deep, meaningful love, and the start of a life together. It's what I want in my future, and sometimes I feel like I'm running out of time to make it happen.

Othertimes, I'm just happy being where I am right now, happy to have the freedom to plan whatever I want on any given day, the entirety of my Queen-sized bed all to myself, the ability to make and clean messes in my room on my own schedule, time to spend with all of my girl friends, the liberty to spend money on things without anyone commenting, weeks without the need to even think about waxing, no fear of imminent diaper changing, sleepless nights due to going out too late, not because of a crying baby, harmless, entertaining flirting just for the heck of it, and the hope and promise of meeting someone incredible someday when I'm ready, after I've had more time to figure out and enjoy me.