...when there is always something there to remind me?
(Sorry, this was the best I could come up with if you wanted to sing along. The actual video on YouTube is un-embeddable, although after watching it, I can see why.)
But really, how am I gonna forget this girl? Seriously, EVERYTHING reminds me of her. And it's the great, happy reasons-why-I-love-her memories ('cuz to be honest, I have no bad memories of her/us.) Here's how my day went:
*Wake up and think to myself "Has the past week-and-a-half all been a bad, horrible dream?" Nope. It's reality. And it sucks.
*Get ready for work and reach for my toothbrush. Oh yeah, I packed it for the move. What's left in the apartment? Her old toothbrush. (I know you're dying to know if I used it: Damn right I did. Does that make me some sicko? Not in a physical kind of sicko just because I'm using something that was in her mouth, but in the mental kind of sicko...I sure hope not.)
*I head to the mailbox because I never made it yesterday. I have three items: Pizza Hut coupons (straight into the recycle bin...SHIT! She was so all about recycling and turned me into a good little green guy...not gonna lie, if there's ANYTHING I take out of the relationship, it was that she made me a better person in so many ways...recycling, converted me into a Brita Believer, got me to wear my seatbelt at all times, became a little bit healthier of an eater, invited me to sign up for my first (and definitely not last) 5K, caused me to love something -- her -- more than anyone should possibly be able to love, etc.) Okay, back to the mailbox. Last two items? The iconic blue Tiffany & Co. April catalog and my tickets to a concert coming up I bought a few weeks ago that I was hoping I could take her to. First off, not that I had (yet) bought anything from Tiffany's for her, but c'mon, what am I supposed to think of? And second, the concert is of two of her favorite artists, so when I go (if I do go), what am I supposed to think of during it? I'll be the guy in the crying in the corner of the Palladium...look for me on "TMZ" or "America's Funniest Videos of Single Men".
*A member at the club whom I haven't seen in almost two months comes up to me and gives me a big hug. She asks how I'm doing and how the ex is doing. (Of course, she has to refer to her as "your beautiful girlfriend"* which felt like a dagger into my right atrium.) Never been one to lie (yet never been one to be totally forthcoming and reveal exactly how I'm feeling), I sheeplishly say "Oh, I'm okay. She's doing really well. Unfortunately we're not together any more." (Dagger twisting...)
*Sidenote: When one of my department heads asked why I was walking around work like a strung-out zombie last week and I told him the bad news, it really didn't help when he tells the next co-worker who walks by all about why I've been so moody at work and goes on to describe the ex as "Oh my God, she was gorgeous. Looked just like Cameron Diaz. And so smart...she was in medical school, right?" Jeez la weez, felt like I had a winning lottery ticket but Deebo rolled up on his bike and snatched it right out of my hand.
*From my office I hear on ESPN Tom Izzo, head coach of the Michigan State men's basketball team, getting interviewed. Relevance, you ask? Oh yeah, her folks are from Michigan. Her dad is probably all excited about the Green and White being in the Final Four. And he's a sports junkie. Woulda loved to have watched a game or two with the guy...
*I make lunch from the kitchen and grab an apple. Just a plain ol' red apple. Pretty sure I've looked at an apple or two in the last two weeks but never thought about anything else until now. What vision runs through my demented mind? Her perfume. Sigh...
*During a trip to the bank, a song comes on that makes me think of her...My sister calls to ask how I'm doing and we talk it out...my wine hook-up at work drops in and asks "Why do you and your lady want to drink next?"...I'm sure a few more things happened that caused me to think about her, but it's been an awful day and I just don't have the fortitude to think back all that hard.
All I want to know is "Does it get easier?"
...when there is always something there to remind me?
It's 12:20 AM, spring of 2002 and I'm sitting on an uncomfortable futon in a second-story duplex behind the In-N-Out in Costa Mesa, California. Yes, the Costa Mesa. Home of the South Coast Plaza shopping mall, prodigal son Mike Ness of "Social Distortion", and numerous surfers and surfboard shapers, some more evil than others*. If you've never been to Costa Mesa, swing by sometime. Check out the Orange County Performing Art Center. Have a drink at the Detroit Bar. Say hi to Timo, the bartender.
Then I suggest that you go back to where you came from.
It's now 12:22 AM and I'm counting the seconds on the faded blue IKEA futon. Jenni's faded blue IKEA futon. In her living room.
Date #2 is exceeding expectations.
You're going to screw this up. This played in my head like a skipping record. I drummed my fingers on my knees. Screw it up big time.
Jenni walked out of her kitchen holding two Heinikens.
She's completely naked.
It had been over a year since I had seen a naked woman in person. It had been so long that the concept had become quite foreign to me. I could have turned on C-SPAN and watched British Parliament for an hour and been more knowledgeable on the subject.
I watch her walk over to me. I, being part-gentleman and part-dork, am making complete and total eye contact with her, almost ashamed to take in her nakedness. No, definitely not almost ashamed. I was completely and utterly ashamed.
She hands me the cold green bottle. She sits next to me. (Did I forget to mention she's naked?) She sips her beer. I take down half the bottle in a swallow.
Now is clearly the time to do something stupid, Joe.
"Do you think I'm sexy?" she asks, almost playfully.
At this point, I wish I could have froze time like Zack Morris and broken down the fourth wall and addressed the studio audience. It would have gone something like this:
"Time out! So forty-five minutes ago, I was sharing a pizza with this girl when she tells me her best friend thinks we should get sex "done and over with" since we both liked each other. Ten minutes ago we were fooling around on this very futon. Trying to hide my erection was like trying to tippy-toe around an antique shop while holding a garden rake out. At some point during Date #1, I had -- much to my surprise -- unfastened her jeans, only to hear her whisper "Soon." What was I to do? Time in!"
"Well? Do you think I'm sexy?"
Five seconds pass. During any instant other than this particular one, I would have come up with twenty responses that would have been worthy of her re-telling her gal pals and having them instantly fall in love with me. Her question was simple, yet treacherous...like 60% of all questions asked by women and 100% of those who are naked. I've now been silent for a lethal ten seconds. I'm desperately searching for a cinematic replay.
What next escaped from my mouth is very telling of who I am and who I am not.
"I don't have a condom."
This response was completely ridiculous for four reasons:
1. To this point of my life, I'd inhabited this planet for 23 years and I had slept with a grand total of two women.
2. I never thought to carry condoms as I've never been the one to anticipate sex on the fly.
3. I decided between Date #1 and Date #2 that I wouldn't have sex with Jenni. Ever. Not that I thought I could. Nor did I think I would. But should the planets align and allow the scenario to take place, I wasn't going to do it anyway. Her ex-boyfriend was a body-builder who was some kind of steroid-raging lunatic who somehow found out about me and told Jenni he'd rip me in half. This caused me to drive to Costa Mesa that evening with a golf club in my front seat**.
4. To top it all off, Jenni had lots of tattoos. Hearts, roses, stars and a few punk rock verses. She had the tattoos that simply must belong to a woman who would toss you unmercifully on her mattress and nearly kill you...and that's just foreplay. I don't have anything against tattooed women per say, and yeah, it's not like she had a Harley-riding flaming demon on her back, but when I imagine the mother of my children at a PTA meeting, inked-up Jenni wasn't the one.
"It's okay," Jenni purred, reaching through my shirt buttons and grabbing my chest hair. She gives me a long kiss. "I'm not ready either. You'll know when I'm ready. One night at dinner, I'll say 'dessert's on me.' That'll be our little signal."
After some making out, she walks me to the door...still completely naked. As I leave, she stands in the doorway, waves and in baby talk says "Bwhy bwhy, Joey. Wemember the signal."
I never did have dessert with Jenni and that was the last time I enjoyed Costa Mesa.
*A certain Costa Mesa surfboard shaper plays a large role down the road in my life. But we'll get to that later.
**Unfortunately, I had only brought with me my nine-iron. From the sound of things, I would have needed at least a driver to be able to defend myself against Tony Atlas.
To those unaccustomed to online dating websites, it’s a lot like laying lobster traps: you set the bait, go to sleep or eat or drink a beer, and just wait. Then you go back the next morning and see what good fortune has waiting for you. This, my friends, was my immediate take on internet dating.
I decided to throw my proverbial trap into the ocean. All I had to figure out was which ocean I was going to ultimately set sail on. I surely wasn’t going to use something as simple as the Yahoo! personals. As a shegetz, JDate was out of the question. I heard Chemistry.com’s online personality test took only slightly longer than it takes to get a double major in Chemical Engineering and Latin at Princeton. SugarDaddie.com rejected my online application. It was down to the über* site Match.com and the ever-growing-in-popularity eHarmony. Basically it was a coin-flip between the two. I ultimately chose eHarmony for two reasons: I had a crush on one of the girls in the commercials and I was truly intrigued by their “scientifically-based” matching through “29 Dimensions™ of personality.” Fate and luck hadn’t done me any favors in the dating world thus far, so why not give science a chance, right?
So I signed up, dropped my credit card down for a one-month trial membership, took their personality test, filled out my profile and posted up the best photos I could come find that didn't make me look like I belonged on "To Catch a Predator." Within six hours, I was reading the profiles of nine different women. Lobster poaching was in full season!
To be honest, this initial crop of females never had a chance. They were my little beta testers for online dating. I had no idea what to expect and I was hoping to familiarize myself on the site using these women as my guinea pigs. Since you know the women on these sites are (hopefully) single and looking, and you can garner enough info in their profile to concoct thoughtful-sounding, relevant questions (“Do you enjoy working with meth addicts?”), getting an initial positive response isn’t too hard for most men who a) aren’t sexual predators, b) don’t look like Eric Stoltz in Mask and c) have a couple of brain cells available to craft innocuous emails. And the negative responses? I believe Winston Churchill said it best with “When you have to kill a man it costs nothing to be polite.” Unless you counter one of the relatively few sadistically polite women who insist on responding to your note with a “you seem nice but you are definitely not my type”, you might forget that you even emailed the chick. You’re being rejected and you don’t know why or care! For those who appreciate the difference, that’s a benefit.
For a hopeless romantic like myself, there’s the draw of the serendipity of have a stranger drop into your life via your email inbox at any moment and freely stoke your internal flame of faith that you won’t die alone in an apartment with mustard-colored shag carpeting and a dozen cats. In addition, there are those photos of real – sometimes – women who are looking for love just like you. These women exist! And can be contacted! Instantly, in fact! Unlike the thousands of women I would see every day walk right past me, these were legitimately attainable prospects of love who, at the very basic least, were telling you they too were single and available. And quite possibly so hard up that they may jump on you.
Okay, before you judge, let me make this point abundantly clear: I wasn’t on eHarmony with the intent of getting laid. I mean, admittedly, I sometimes worked my way down the thumbnail photos on my computer screen thinking, “I could have sex with you, or you, not you, or you, definitely you, or…” Oh, who am I kidding. It was more like "You could be the mother of my children, or you, or you, not you, definitely you, or..." But I digress...
I'm sure for some online dating can be an efficient vehicle for serial sex but I’m not that guy. Ask anyone I've known to describe me and “sexual” is not a word that will land in any top-twenty lists. Hell, I used to think a one-night stand was something you could purchase at IKEA. I’ve never used a horse tranquilizer on a woman before. My number of sexual partners can still be counted on Mordecai Brown’s right hand. Using eHarmony to get some action just wasn’t even the slightest of a motive.
Plus, it wasn’t like I was looking to find a girl who was looking to get horizontal immediately herself. I was looking for the transformational Virgin Mary who just happened to be instinctually a vixen in bed**.
*What’s up with the annoying frequency of people using the word “über” these days? Didn’t we beat the Krauts in ’45?
**I'm still accepting applications for this position.
Dear family and friends,
This year, I'll be participating in a very special event called the Breast Cancer 3-Day.
From November 21st to the 23rd, I'll be walking 60 miles up and down the San Diego coast over the course of three days with thousands of other women and men. The net proceeds will support breast cancer research, education, screening and treatment through the Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the National Philanthropic Trust Breast Cancer Fund.
I've agreed to raise at least $2,200 in donations. I've set my personal goal at $5,000, so I need your help. A donation in ANY amount would be huge towards my goal and ultimately, towards finding a cure. Please keep in mind how far I'm walking - and how hard I'll have to train. You can give online at www.The3Day.org. You can also call 800.996.3DAY to donate over the phone.
According to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, approximately 200,000 American women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, and nearly 40,000 will die from the disease. That's why I'm walking so far. To do something bold about breast cancer. I hope that you'll share this incredible adventure with me - by supporting me in my fundraising efforts!
Thank you in advance for your generosity!
With a lot of Facebook friends unaware of the blog and asking to read what will (hopefully) potentially become a published book, I've decided to go into the Year of Joe archives and repost (in chronological order) some of the more popular stories from my crazy lil' life.
Enjoy and thanks for reading!
Happy New Year! (also known as Post #1) (1.01.2007)
The post that started it all.
The Year of Joe (1.04.2007)
Why I started the blog.
Great White Hype (2.02.2007)
The kind of rants I've become accustom to.
Things I Love (2.13.2007)
Looking back, I gotta say I still love each and everyone of them. Maybe "holding hands" less so, but that's just me being Bitter McBitterson.
You Can't Spell "Valentine's Day" without V.D. (2.14.2007)
Man, I am bitter! Of course, by the time you finish reading the excerpts of my life, you'll clearly see why.
The Year of Joe continues! (1.02.2008)
The first of two blogging hiatuses, I catch my readers up on the previous eight months.
A Nickname Timeline (1.28.2008)
The nicknames I've acquired during my lifetime are a little insight into why I am the way I am.
The Void of Not Knowing How (1.29.2008)
I get serious in this post in light of my Grandma being sick. She soon passed on and it changed me as a person, both in respect to my value of family as well as my path towards finding God. Clearly not your typical The Year of Joe kind of post.
29 Dimensions of Compatibility, My Ass! (2.12.2008)
The first eHarmony post! This experienced what I like to call the "eHarmony Chronicles," which gave me waaaay too much material to blog about. These are the experiences that most likely led to my book deal about being an unlucky bachelor.
Save The Date! (2.19.2008)
Just over seven years til I'm married, ladies!
Monday Night Raw (2.25.2008)
This was one of the most fun posts I've ever had the chance to write. A subsequent post should be read as well.
6% success.....or is it 94% failure? (2.29.2008)
I really shoulda got out while I could...
Mr. Strangelove (or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love eHarmony) (3.06.08)
If there is one post to read (well, make that "one series of posts to read"), make it this one. This is the start of the great eHarmony-match-turned-Nigerian-scam. No, really, I'm serious. You won't believe it until you read it (all.) After you read the first post, follow the ten-part series. Read all ten posts, you won't be disappointed, I promise!
Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part VII, Part VIII, Part IX and finally Part X.
iPod is Dead and The Call From Hell (3.21.08)
The phone call with an eHarmony match at the end of this post is possibly most readers' favorite The Year of Joe moment ever.
The word of the day is... (3.23.2008)
Maybe my standards are too high and I'm doomed for the single life forever?
Ill Communication (4.09.2008)
Another phone call gone awry.
Date #2: Obama Drama and No Reach-Around (4.17.2008)
How Obama screwed my date up. Another failed date post. I dated some real winners, like the girl who suddenly grew a boyfriend, the horrible liar, the girl who never called back, the gal who smelled like cheese, the birthday girl who thought I was someone else, and, of course, the homeless chick. It's all real people...really messed up this happens to me!
I Love It When You Call Me Big Poppa... (7.08.2008)
The blog address used to be on my Facebook profile and when the ex and I connected on Facebook, she came across the blog. She read it without my knowledge and loved my writing! I think it was my writing, sense of humor and, in particular, this post that I think caused my ex to take interest in me before we started dating. The post still holds true and it's very painful that I'm not any closer to that dream.
Well, there they are peeps. It's a lot to read through but c'mon, I'm a great writer and the material is gold! Hope you laughed and are hungry for more material!
Well, I had a bunch of posts all lined up...a funny story about me getting my foot stuck in my tuxedo pants, causing me to fall out of the dressing room half-naked at the Men's Wearhouse, one asking you faithful readers to help me decide what to keep and what to trash when transporting all my belongings from one dwelling to another, how a pitcher on the Padres ended up agreeing to let me take live batting practice before a game sometime this year, an open letter to God asking him how the hell can I write a Best Man's speech about love, marriage and commitment when I thought I knew the answers but now those words seem so foreign. I had a few more up my sleeve, but alas, they are all a moot point.
"Say it ain't so, Joe!", you scream. (Someone has to be screaming that, right?) Well, it is so. Life raised it's cruel head and intervened. A few days ago I had a fainting spell, a few anxiety attacks and what a doctor diagnosed as basically a nervous breakdown, so less of me I think is the way to go for now, which means I'm going to sign-off the blog for a while. I know, I know...I just got back. But then again, it was the return of this blog that led to part of my problems. Although I didn't do any trashing and had nothing but good things (and the best of intentions) to say about the ex (other than the hurt that I was enduring), I felt horribly guilty about blogging about it. It was stupid and pretty crazy and I wish I never had done it.
So there's that guilt that quickly built up. Then there was the break-up itself...ending a relationship with (and basically being shut-out from) the person whom you loved more than anyone else in the world, the person that will always be a part of me, the person that I spent the most amazing time with and the person that I will never, ever regret having those memories forever embedded inside me. I think you can see where I'm going with this. Throw in a few consecutive 60-hour work weeks, stressing over the move to the new apartment, the reality of my two best friends getting married within a month (leaving me as the only unwed guy of the bunch), and well, yeah, it was the perfect storm for me to cave in, emotionally and physically.
Sorry to leave as quickly as I arrived, but it's for the best. With my apologies to Edward R. Murrow...
Good night and good luck,
Being de-friended by the ex-girlfriend on Facebook is just about as painful of a trivial thing you can imagine for us Gen-Xers.
Seeing photos of us vanish one-by-one from my shared album then having her completely cut off from me reminds me what it must have felt like for Marty McFly when his family photo started fading before his very eyes due to the possibility of his (and his siblings') existences coming into question.
My problem is I don't know how to play the guitar or own a DeLorean, so I'm pretty much screwed.
First time bloggin' via the BlackBerry, so bare with me (and my drunk comprehension of the English language...) (Post-blog posting drunk edit: Jeez la weez, I'm so friggin' anal...I re-read my post and wondered, is it "bare with me" or "bear with me" so I Goggled it...wouldn't ya know, it's "bear," not "bare." I'm leaving it as it for honesty's sake.)
I'm at my favorite San Diego gin joint, Dirty Birds (for all you in the LBC, think Riley's on 2nd Street)...love my boys who run the place (Adam, Johnny O and Leigh.) I headed there after a 13-hour work day and I drowned my sorrows with my Red Sox-brother-from-another-mother bartender, Walsh...three pitchers of Shock Top later and I close out my tab. What do I get in return? A blank receipt. Fucking bastards. Love you guys.
So I'm pretty hammered and I have my fantasy baseball draft tomorrow in the O.C. and I've done jack crap in research and I need to be moved out of my apartment by Sunday and have ZERO items packed...I'm a God damn mess.
If there is any silver lining, I did happen to get into some great text convos with an ex and with my 11th grade prom date (Thanks Anne and Danielle!!)...they said some pretty great stuff to boost my self-esteem. It's too bad I won't remember it in the morning.
Adios, mother f'ers. 'Bout to jump into a cab and see what O.B. has to offer tonight...
(Post-blog posting drunk edit #2: Why, oh why, did Dusty Springfield's "Son of a Preacher Man" have to come on the jukebox?!?!?)
Just got back from a great concert in Solana Beach: Justin Nozuka. It was my first time seeing Justin live, but I've been a big fan ever since I discovered his music. In fact, I recommended Justin on this very blog almost exactly a year ago (and again here.)
Ben Harper last night, Nozuka tonight...when I'm down, I like to get lost in good music. Last time I needed a pick-me-up like this, I went to four concerts and caught Travis (in their only '08 US appearance), Ozomatli, The English Beat and Years Around The Sun, all in about a month stretch. I have a few more tickets purchased for a few upcoming concerts (Mat Kearney & Keane, Greg Laswell) so I'm looking forward to some good tunes.
You wanna know what's embarrassing?
When your BlackBerry rings during a regional General Manager's meeting.
You wanna know what's really embarrassing?
When Beyoncé's "Diva" is your current ringtone on your BlackBerry.
I'm off to LA to catch Ben Harper tonight on a taping for Late Night with Carson Daly. Should be sweet...
Now I'm not going to air out any dirty laundry here...that's not how I roll and it's not fair to those who were involved. Any details will be between me and my future therapist. But to catch all you up since I stopped blogging last year, here's the quick update:
1. Boy re-meets Girl after 15 years apart.
2. Boy digs on Girl.
3. Girl digs on Boy.
4. Girl breaks up with Boyfriend.
5. Boy dates Girl.
6. Boy and Girl fall in love.
7. Ex-Boyfriend haunts Girl.
8. Girl gets feelings for Ex-Boyfriend.
9. Boy freaks out.
10. Boy and Girl break up.
11. Boy and Girl get back together.
12. Ex-Boyfriend still haunts Girl.
13. Girl freaks out.
14. Girl breaks up with Boy.
15. Still in love, Boy freaks out.
What kind of world do we live in in which Chris Brown goes Ike Turner on his girlfriend and she comes back a week later, yet I pour my heart and soul into a relationship and am nothing but supportive and loving and I'm left with nothing? Answer me that!
Well, there's at least this blog...
I love the irony of my last post before the blog went on a seven-month hiatus.
Oh so cruel...
1) This is a great, GREAT song.
2) This video nails it on the head. Big time.
Enjoy. Or not.