Wednesday, July 20, 2016

When it rains... pt 2

(Quick summary of part 1: I slept with my best friend while she was visiting, might have ruined that relationship.)

After I broke up with Stephanie last year I realized I wasn't in a place for relationships.  Mentally, emotionally... with the impending move and everything, I just couldn't do it.

But I didn't want to be celibate either.

Enter Jane.

A few months after I broke up with Stephanie and she moved away (months apart), I put up a Craigslist ad for a FWB.  I met Jane, who is one of the most fun and interesting women I've ever been with.

What was so fascinating about being with Jane right after Stephanie was that they were so opposite each other.  I mean, opposite in almost every way you can think of except they're both nice people and have good curves.  Tall, short, dark, light, hard, soft.

One of my biggest frustrations with Stephanie was that she was a novice in the bedroom.  She wasn't a virgin but about as close as you can get and still break the hymen.  Not only was she new, she was difficult.  The kind of girl that's so self conscious and in her own head that she can't relax and have a good time.  I worked with her and she gained a lot of confidence but I'm... miles beyond her experience level.

Jane is the opposite.  She's this tall, bouncy, outgoing woman who knows exactly what she wants, doesn't have a problem getting it, and is a freak between the sheets.

I had a lot of fun with Jane for about a month until she met her current boyfriend.  We broke off the benefits part but have stayed good friends.  She's wacky and fun... and part of me was pretty sure it wasn't going to work out with the BF.

Anyway, while Stephanie was here I told Jane that I slept with her and wasn't sure if that was a good idea or not.  She's my friend, I tell her most things.

I wasn't expecting her reaction; she got jealous.

She didn't do anything too weird, and she wouldn't admit it, but she reacted all week.

What's weird though was as soon as Stephanie left...  I found myself craving Jane.  Weird, right?  Maybe it was something to do with tapping the keg and wanting more sex, maybe it was because last time I stopped seeing Stephanie I moved on to Jane, maybe after a week of fun-sex part of me was really craving some dirty, wild, sloppy, nasty shit.  I don't know why, but it definitely happened.

And then Jane started talking about how poorly things were going with her BF, she's unhappy, and how every relationship she's ever been in she's cheated.

This was less than a week after Stephanie left.

Jane went on about how she's really not getting what she needs, she's ready to leave the BF.  She started getting really flirty with me.

This weekend, Jane was hanging out with me on my couch in a long t-shirt and nothing else.  Long story.  The first night we met up as FWB started in almost exactly the same way.  We're drinking, we're having a good time, we're flirting a bit.

Before anyone loses their mind, I didn't sleep with her.  It was plainly obvious that that was on the table if I wanted it but I didn't want to put myself, or her, in that position.  I'm actually friends with her BF, I've been making a very concerted effort to not be that guy.  That said, it's not easy.  And, like I said in the previous post, I'm bad at not sleeping with women.

The problem with Jane is that she's just like my ex-wife, if she can't have something she wants it even more.  Me not having sex with her ramped up her flirty texting to NSFW level.


Another strange fact, both ladies have a sixth sense for when the other texts me.  I can't talk to just one, the other almost always pops up halfway through.

So, this morning I was chatting with Stephanie who was going on about how she might have to buy a body pillow because she misses the cuddling, while Jane is texting me about the new hitachi she got and how she's going to have to do laundry because her sheets are soaked.

I felt like I was losing my mind.  I got nothing done.

I have exactly two close personal friends and right now they're both trying to sleep with me.  This probably isn't going to end well.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

When it rains... pt 1

So, I'm not entirely sure how it happened but in a few short weeks my life went from simple, easy, and predictable to something very different.

I'm really tempted at this point to copy and paste some of the text conversations to illustrate what's going on... but I'm not sure anyone would believe me.  Without understanding the backstory and the ladies involved, I wouldn't believe it either.

Let's rewind a few weeks and lay it all out in order.

A few weeks ago, Stephanie came to visit.

Background on Stephanie: We dated last year for a while but I couldn't handle it for a variety of reasons and broke it off.  She's very inexperienced in the whole relationship realm.  She's a really sweet girl, king of fragile, so I was really careful with her during the break up and we managed to stay friends afterwards.  She moved a few states away last year but has been back several times since.  She's still single.

Me and her, we text all the time.  We became best friends after the break up.

This time, she asked to stay with me since she'd gotten rid of her place and just had a few things to take care of locally.  I don't really like having people in my space but she's pretty easy so I figured I could handle it for a week.

I could go into the whole story but suffice it to say that no single woman has stayed the night beneath my roof without us sleeping together.  Still.

Now, to be honest, Stephanie is about the worst possible candidate for a friends with benefits situation.  She's too... innocent?  Naive?  It's hard to describe, but she just isn't as calloused as the rest of us.  She's softer.  But it had been a year since we broke up and we had a lot of conversations about it while she was here, I thought we were at least close to the same page.

My thoughts on the whole thing were as follows; we're friends, we're both adults, both single, we're both lonely, we can have a nice time together while she's here.  Simple, right?  While I knew Stephanie was a bad candidate for FWB, I was happy to overlook that and have some fun (I've had a crappy couple months, after all).  She seemed fine with the idea and was more than happy to get naked.

We were really honest, we communicated well, and we had a good time.  It was a good week in general.

Yeah, but now that she's back to her home I'm not sure she was listening at all while she was here.  Or maybe the words just meant totally different things to her, I'm not sure.  She's texting me all this lovey dovey stuff all the time, it totally changed how she viewed "us".

So... I might have royally fucked up things with my closest friend.

And that's not the end of the story, that's just part 1.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Just Another Night

So, I have a bunch of stuff I should probably write about, I've even started several posts, but I just had an interesting experience and I want to write about it.

Tonight was my first philosophy class.  Woohoo, I know.  It's really cool that I got back into school.  Anyway, the class didn't start until late so I didn't get back home until late.

I pulled into my parking spot about ten o'clock at night.  As I walked toward the apartment building I noticed that there was a light on in the car besides mine.  It wasn't a big light, it was almost invisible from outside the car, it was one of the little ones for the back seat in a sedan, but it was definitely on.

Now, I don't know where you grew up, so what I'm about to say might sound weird, but in my home town if you see something like that you make sure to say something about it.  Where I'm from, a dead car battery is, no shit, a life or death situation.  And with the cold temperatures, someone leaving their headlights on (or dome lights, or whatever) can kill a battery way faster than you might think.  Sometimes it only takes ten minutes and the car won't start.

But where I live now it's definitely not a life or death situation to have a dead battery.

I hesitated, I'll admit it.  It was late at night, I didn't know those neighbors, and most modern cars have circuits that will turn off lights before the battery dies.

((A quick side note: the reason I don't know these neighbors is because they're renters that just moved in.  That unit has a really high turn over rate.))

I only hesitated for a moment though.

Now, nobody likes having a stranger show up on their doorstep after 10 o'clock at night.  I know that.  I also know what's worse than having a stranger show up after 10 o'clock is having a big, strange, white dude with a shaved head and tattoos show up.  (What made it slightly easier for me was I'd just come from class and was dressed nicely, a polo shirt instead of my usual black T.)

Another relevant detail, while we live in a gated apartment complex the neighborhood outside gets pretty sketchy when the sun goes down.  We all lock our doors.

So, with all that in mind, I struck a pose as submissive and apologetic as I could and knocked on the neighbor's door.  (This is America, I assume everyone has a gun.)

A very cautious, young, black woman answered.  Now, I knew that the reinforced screen door ("bad" neighborhood) was locked because I tried to open it so I could knock when I realized they didn't have a door bell, so I wasn't surprised when she opened the inner door but made no motion towards the outer door.  Smart woman.

From her body language I'm sure she was alone.

I quickly apologized for interrupting her evening and explained that there was a light on in her car.  She looked like she was still in shock over having a white dude on her porch, either that or she thought I was trying to pull something over on her, so I ended up explaining the car-light-battery thing a couple times.

It was a very quick conversation.  When I was sure she understood what I was talking about I said good night and turned to leave.

I was listening for it, she didn't leave her apartment to check the car until I was halfway to my place.  She wasn't going to step outside until she was sure I wasn't anywhere near her door.  Smart girl.

Now, part of me found this whole thing totally ridiculous and at the same time totally justifiable.  It's almost hard to explain.

I was trying to do this family a favor... but I was scared I might get shot for being a strange dude knocking at night... and she's scared because there's a strange dude knocking at night.  (The Luis C.K. joke comes to mind, "Men are the worst thing that ever happened to women.")

For both of our safety we have to do this established dance.  I make sure I leave at least an arms length between me and the door so I'm not in their face immediately, keep my hands visible, communicate clearly and make no moves that might be taken as too assertive or aggressive.  For her part, keeping a locked door between me and her, making sure she didn't leave any openings or vulnerabilities, waiting for me to leave before opening the door, etc.

I mean, those are the kinds of practical precautions that I would teach my son or daughter - for both sides of the situation.  I did what I could to keep a potentially tense situation from escalating, she answered the door but took practical precautions.  It makes sense.

And yet, at the same time, it's really kind of ridiculous that a two second favor requires that dance.  It seems silly but I can't think of an easy alternative.  Ridiculous but justifiable.

Just had to share.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Shit day

I've been collecting thoughts about grief today, writing down all the crap I've been through in the last two weeks.  Eventually that will be a post, probably, but I need to write about today... well, today.

Losing Georgia was, and to a large degree still is, devastating.  She was such a huge part of my life, every part of it every day, her loss left a huge hole.  I was seriously a fucking mess for the first week.  There was the whole roller coaster of emotion, my head was a pit, I could hardly get through the days.

My ongoing mantra was: It's okay to be sad, just don't let it control you.  (I've had problems with alcohol and loss before, I wanted to make sure I didn't repeat those patterns.  And I haven't.)

Gradually it got better though.  And now, two weeks later, I thought I was through the worst of it.

Turns out there's a lot more to go.  That shouldn't be surprising, but grief often is.

Today, I found myself on the verge of very publicly falling apart in the check out line at the local grocery store.  Just like every other time I pulled out my wallet, I got out my club card for the discount.  Well, behind that card was one for Pets 'R Us.  In my surprise, my first thought was "Well, I guess I don't need to carry that around any more." My second thought was absolute horror over the cavalier first thought and all the sudden the dam was breaking down.  Everything dredged up in an instant.  In public.  Trying not to look back at the team of firefighters behind me, or the cashier, because they'd see my eyes welling up.

I managed to make it to the car before breaking down in tears.  I've gotten used to crying in the car over the last two weeks.

When I got home, still shaken, I checked the mail.  Inside was a reminder from the Vet that I needed to schedule a check up.  No shit.  I had the pleasure of calling the Vet and explaining to her why she should take me off her mailing list.  To say that I struggled with my voice would be an understatement.  She was very polite but that's not a fun conversation to have.

And now I'm home alone, feeling very vulnerable all the sudden.  In a lot of ways grief is like an injury, a mental and emotional pain that's very real.  For the first week I felt like I was constantly on the verge of falling apart, like I was mortally wounded and stumbling through.  I felt like someone had ripped out my guts, my entrails were dangling, and it was a constant surprise that no one else could see the massive injury.  It felt like I'd been disemboweled but that was all internal.  Even today, when I thought everything was scabbed over and well on it's way to healing I get reminded how fragile I still am.

It's a process, I know.  And not a short one.  But writing is also how I process.

For any of you worried, I did find a good therapist.  I'm not spiraling or doing anything too stupid.  I'm just processing.  And I'm sad.  I'm really, really sad.  But that's okay, that's understandable, just don't let it control me.  And I think I'm managing that pretty well so far, all things considered.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Super Dog - Georgia

This is going to be a tough one, but Super Dog's story is too good not to tell.  And hopefully writing it will be both a good memorial for her and a reminder to me about the good times.  I'm ridiculously paranoid about preserving my anonymity but I'm going to use Super Dog's real name, Georgia, because it doesn't feel right to type anything else.

The story of Georgia actually starts two years before she came into my life.  After the divorce but before Cat moved out, she adopted a terrier puppy for her impending marriage, Pepper.  They were looking for a place together but hadn't found the right one yet, so the puppy stayed at our place.

Pepper was the first terrier I ever had, all the others were bigger breeds, but she was awesome.  She was an amazing little dog, by far the best runner I've seen, and lived with me for about six months before Cat moved out.  Even when the pup was living with Cat and them, I would take her out for runs and hikes on the weekends.  She's in great shape and still lives with them.

Fast forward a couple years, Cat and family moved half way around the world.  I knew it was going to be a lonely couple years and had just moved into a better place so I decided to adopt a dog.

On the Humane Society's website there were dozens of dogs to look through.  There were all varieties, shapes, ages, but I was looking for a terrier.  I wanted a dog with similar athleticism and personality to Pepper.

I picked out a couple that looked interesting, among them was Georgia.  The site was a little confusing, there were two photos of her, one with both eyes and another where you couldn't really tell if she had both, and the text talked about medical stuff.  It didn't matter to me either way, but I remember noticing.  She kept coming to mind.

About a week later I walked into the Humane Society, trying to go see the dogs, Georgia at the top of the list, and was surprised to see a poster by the volunteers:

"Come check out our one-eyed wonder dog!"
With a large photo of Georgia.

I told the lady at the counter that it was a sign.  And it was.

Georgia had come to the society as a stray that had been in serious need of medical attention.  She was about five years old, had to have an eye removed (it had been infected), and had heart worms.  They had been trying to get her adopted for a long time but due to her medical and aesthetic issues no one was interested in her.

They actually incentivized it, if I adopted her it wouldn't cost me a dime.

I'd already been interested, obviously, so it was like all the stars just lined up to make the adoption happen.

And yet, rarely are things that simple.

She was interested in me, but she was interested in everybody and every thing.  That's one of those things about adopting an adult dog that's had some tough experiences, they aren't the same as dogs that have been socialized and grown up normally.  They might like you but it isn't the same thing.

But that was okay, I knew it would take time to build a bond.

On the way home, Georgia with her head out the window, I noticed how much she shed.  It was insane.  At the time I figured it was just stress and maybe the conditions at the shelter.  (Nope, she shed more than dogs three times her size.)

The first months were interesting, we were more like roommates than anything else.  She did her thing, I did mine, we'd go for walks together.  We were feeling each other out.  To her, I was just another human, taking a turn at feeding her.  She had some behavioral issues, especially with other animals, so we worked on that too.

A couple times a year I travel for work and every time I had to board her I felt awful.  I'm sure in her head she was back at the shelter.  I'd pick her up a week later, get half a wag of a tail in response.  She wouldn't sleep in bed with me, first dog I ever had that did that.  She liked me, we were roommates, but that was about it.

Then, and I'm going to cry as I write this, one day, I got back from a week long trip and she was excited to see me.  That time she had stayed with a friend, and when I got there to pick her up she went nuts.  She was jumping and spinning around in circles and wagging her tail and was sooooo excited to see me and go back home.

That day, I cried.  My friend did too, she knew Georgia's story.  That was the first time that either of us saw her act like any other normal, happy dog.

I mean, imagine that dog's life.  She's a stray for so many years, all scarred up, lost an eye, spent more than a year in the shelter waiting to get adopted...  It took her a YEAR to let her guard down with me, to allow herself to become attached.

We had to earn each other's respect and love.  It took such a long time and so much work but it was worth it to see her do all the stuff that regular, happy dogs do.  It wasn't easy, at times it was very frustrating, but we both put in the effort.

I adopted Georgia about three years ago, she was basically a wild but well-intentioned dog then.  When I got her we couldn't go anywhere because she didn't know how to act with other animals, how to be on a leash, anything.  It took all of that time to get her to where she should have been; happy, healthy and socialized.  Two weeks ago we went to our first dog park and it was amazing.

In fact, if she hadn't come so far in the last three years she wouldn't have died quite so suddenly.

Jane and I have stayed friends since our short spell as FWBs, and she was always head over heels for Georgia.  We've joked that the only reason we stayed friends was because she wanted to spend time with Georgia.

Anyway, Jane got hurt in a recent accident and was unable to work.  She asked if Georgia could go stay with her for a day while she was on sick leave.


Well, on that day, that specific day, Georgia found some way out of the fenced yard and was hit by a car within about fifty feet of the house.

I got a call from the Humane Society and was very confused when they were asking me about a car accident.  I called Jane who was 100% convinced I was pulling a mean joke on her when I called to ask what was going on.

Turned out, it wasn't a messed up joke.  Georgia was gone before I got there, though I got to see Jane's boyfriend carrying her away from the scene and hear Jane's wailing.

What a fucked up way to spend an afternoon, taking care of your dead dog with the two people who blame themselves for it (even though it's not really their fault).  I don't recommend it.  I'm just going to say here that it wasn't Jane's fault, I don't blame either her or her boyfriend.  When I look at how everything happened that day, I just shake my head.  It was such a ridiculous, improbable chain of events, it was even re-scheduled, (I'm not going to go into detail, but it's like the odds of getting struck by lightning), all I could take away from everything was that shit happens and that day was just a really shitty one.

...But the thing is, that was one of the best days ever for Georgia.  She woke up with me, our regular routine, but instead of being left home alone when I'm at work she got to go have a bunch of adventures.  She went to a coffee shop with Jane, went to the dump with Jane's boyfriend, and she was about to have take out for lunch.  And then, (best guess) the gate broke, she got to go out and explore a new neighborhood...

Jane was even posting that stuff online, taking pictures and everything, unintentionally documenting Georgia's last day.  (Which kind of sucks the next morning)

So, as shitty as that day was for me, Jane, and her boyfriend (and, really, everyone that knew Georgia, because she was awesome), at least she went out on a really good day.

And really, the last three years of Georgia's life she was happy, healthy, and loved.  She might have spent most of her life without having a home or a family, but the last three years she had them.

And with all of the little coincidents, the little nudges, the improbabilities... It just makes me feel like I was supposed to find her when I did, we were supposed to have exactly this much time together, and then it was time for her to move on to her next good works.  Like a little doggy angel moving from lost cause to lost cause.

I keep telling myself it's okay to be sad, just don't let it go too far.  That seems to be helping, grieve but don't totally lose it.  I'm sad for myself, I miss her so much, but I'm also sad for all the things that I won't be able to share with her in the future, like she never got to visit my home state, or meet my daughter (though they met by skype).

She was my best friend, partner, roommate and buddy all rolled into one.  For the last three years, she has been the most important part of my day, every day.  And now she's gone.

I thought of an analogy last night.  I talk all the time about moving to a cabin in the middle of nowhere, I've been asked if I ever see anyone else there with me.  Usually, no, I don't see any other humans there.  But up until this week, there was always at least one dog.

She was cremated the next day.  Her ashes are at home with me.  I've been asked what I'm going to do with them, I'm going to keep them.  She spent a lot of her life without a home or family, she will always have a place in mine.  And one day, we'll be put to rest together.

So, Rest in Piece, Georgia.  She was a good girl.  She was happy, healthy and loved, and died having a really good day.  I suppose any of the rest of us would be lucky to say the same.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Just a Tease

This afternoon I was at a coffee shop with a friend.  It's a weekly thing we do, just to get together.

This week, at the table next to us was a beautiful, older woman.  Where we were, in that area, right outside the college, there are always a ton of young, hot women around.   Granted, she was a bit older than the usual college crowd but nothing that far out of the ordinary.  Both me and the friend are single but that's not why we go there, it's just a convenient location, it does make for fun scenery though.

This woman was one of those almost ageless types.  The kind where you have to give a generous range when trying to guess an age.  I'd have to say, somewhere between mid-40's and early-60's.  Seriously, it could be anywhere in those two decades.  Mature but hot and in terrific shape.

So, I kept half an eye on her while she was there.  I try and go for "appreciative of a beautiful woman" and polite rather than "leering" but it's hard to judge one's own behavior.  PG on the outside, whatever NC17 stuff is going on inside my head.

About half an hour after she arrived she opened up some boxes she brought with her.  I thought maybe she'd just finished some shopping and was looking at her purchases but then she started setting things up.  Some speakers, a little projector.

She had even less technical know-how than I have, so I ended up helping her.  All the while I wondered why anyone would be setting up speakers and a projector in the middle of a coffee shop, but I put that question aside while helping her find outlets and the right cords.

Best guess, this woman was a little younger than my mom, probably early to mid 50's, blonde, leggy, and attractive as hell.  She was wearing this sun dress that clung to every curve, and she had some nice curves.

We chatted a little bit, she was really nice.  I was tempted to put some moves on until I found out what she was doing...

With permission from the owners, she was showing an educational film about the wonders of child birth at home... and those of use in that area of the coffee shop were warned that the film was quite graphic...

In a coffee shop.  At four o'clock on a week day.

Yeah, that's a quick libido killer.

Me and my friend made some quick goodbyes and beat feet out of there.

Too bad, I liked her.  There's just no way I could sleep with a woman who goes around to coffee shops and shows movies like that.  Nothing against the movies themselves, or the ideas behind them, but that's just too much for me.

Friday, April 1, 2016

The cost of sex

When my last FWB, Jane, broke things off so she could do some "real" dating, I was happy for her but torn for myself.  I'm only going to be in my current location for about six months before moving a few thousand miles for work.  I'd already decided that dating was off the table, it would have just complicated things, but I didn't want to be entirely celibate either.  So, should I get  back into the search for a new FWB or just lay off until after the move?

I was lucky with Jane, despite how short the fling was.  She was exactly what I was looking for, someone who knew what they wanted, were comfortable with the conditions, and was a ton of fun.

Knowing I was unlikely to get that lucky again, I decided to just wait until after the move.  It sucks but seemed like the best option for the time being.

Well, it's gone surprisingly well so far.

Last night I was bopping around the apartment, getting some spring cleaning done with a spring in my step, whistling a tune and thinking that life was pretty good.  Looking back, I've gotten more positive improvement done in my life in the last two weeks than in the last six months.  Seriously.  I got myself enrolled in classes for my Masters, my apartment has never been cleaner, and I've even picked up the slack in my workout routine.

I've lost ten pounds in two weeks.  No shit.  And I feel great.  I'm less stressed, I'm happier, it's like going on anti-depressants without the side effects.

All this got me thinking, was dating holding me back all these years?  Was the time, effort and money put into getting sex and looking for relationships actually detrimental to my quality of life?

The answer wasn't obvious so I decided to meditate on it.  Here's what I've come up with:

Dating is a lot like going to the mall every day with a particular purchase in mind, but it's never in stock.  Some days you see something that looks promising but it turns out to be the opposite but most days there isn't even anything close.  It's frustrating, it's depressing, and generally going to the mall that day wasn't worth the time or effort.  It's like having a goal that is constantly frustrated and isn't really achievable.

In other words:  Fuck yes, dating was detrimental to my life.

That's when I decided I needed to write this post.  But not just that, I wanted to do some research to see if I could back up my opinions with facts.

Well, it's surprisingly difficult to find studies on how many people stop dating and it's affects on their mental health.  Most of the results were click bait titles like "Stop dating men in their 30's who pop their collar" or other bullshit like that.

But I also found a few articles like this one:

The search also led me to a large online group of men who've also decided to give up dating.  It's called Men Going Their Own Way.  While some of their articles are a little weird, there were also some that I found quite interesting.  It's always good to get a variety of opinions.

And that's when I had something of a Eureka moment.  Men are truly f***ed in modern American society.  No wonder so many of them just decide to stop playing the game.  They're society's scapegoats.  Imagine growing up like that, doing the right thing, and still being told that you aren't doing enough.

It's not just dating, it's society that puts a ridiculous amount of pressure on men to be successful, to fill certain roles, to shoulder the burdens of the world while being constantly harassed about not doing enough.

How is that fair?  It's not.

And you know who is the only presidential candidate standing up for men's rights?  Who understands the difficulties and doesn't put up with all the political-correctness bullshit?  Who isn't afraid to point out when a woman is being a B****?

You guessed it.

Make America Great Again.