Thursday, February 7, 2013

Mr. Big Sucked--But Carrie Sucked More

When my fiancé is gone, my night goes something like this: order sushi, take bubble bath, sing Sade at the top of my lungs in bath, apply face mask, put on lavender robe, watch Sex and the City.

Despite owning the entire series, I always gravitate toward the seasons with Aidan. This isn't simply because he's delicious--it's because he is the only normal man Carrie dates in the whole series, and she disgusts me every time she runs back to Big.

Aidan is the only hope for real love in all six seasons, and I can't help but turn off the TV every time her relationship with him ends by her screwing it up, of course. Watching Carrie date every other man in the series makes me feel like I'm watching myself circa 1999 to 2009, aka the "dumb ass years." The difference is I was in my teens and 20s. As Carrie reaches her late 30s in the series, she not only learns nothing about healthy relationships--she actually regresses.

It's no surprise that when the series continued onto a movie, Mr. Big left Carrie at the altar. Why? Because Mr. Big always sucked, and Carrie sucked even more for ending up with him.

Carrie says in the last episode of the series that she's looking for "inconvenient" love, then ends up kissing Big on a bridge in Paris. Could ending up with him possibly be more convenient? With Big, Carrie can continue acting like the self-sabotaging woman she is, Daddy issues and all. But Aidan is completely unlike her usual roster of commitment-phobe rich Wall Street types with his turquoise jewelry, love for the countryside and, oh yes, his devotion and understanding. Not to mention, Aidan wants a wife and kids.

Soul mates (I use the term lightly because I don't believe there is just one person for everyone) are supposed to challenge you to be better and take you out of your comfort zone. And sometimes that's simply uncomfortable. After all, it's easier to remain the same. It's easier for Carrie to keep every outfit she bought since 1980 and date uncommitted man after uncommitted man.

The bottom line? Carrie was supposed to end up with Aidan, her "soul mate," but she blew it by backing down to her fears and habits--and by refusing to continue therapy after messing around with Bon Jovi (aka Seth from the waiting room).

Lastly, what's with wearing the ring around her neck? I mean, really.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Perfect Proposal

For those of you who have been following my blog since its inception, you know I didn't always make the wisest choices in men--immature alcoholics, anyone?

For the past three years, I have been dating a wonderful man who is 1,000% different than all the other guys. And as of one week ago, this girl is engaged!

From the very second we told people, they asked us where and when. My response: No clue. For now, we will bask in the glory of that newly engaged feeling, and I will be annoying and tell the story over and over.

I arrived at my boyfriend's office around 6:30, one Guinness deep after drinks with coworkers. On my way to meet him, I felt an indescribable peacefulness, which now I can attribute to that irrational girly feeling I had that this could be "the night." It was our three-year anniversary, and as usual, we were set to go on our first date: Dinner at an Italian restaurant, followed by tree-gazing at Rockefeller, followed by watching ice skaters fall on their asses at Bryant Park.

We were a tad early for our dinner reservation, so we slipped into a nearby bar, where I was blessed with quite a romantic line: "I remember after our first date," my boyfriend said. "I couldn't stop smiling like an idiot the next day all the way to work."

I said "Awww!" about 10 times and then we sailed blissfully along our date. By the time we got to Rockefeller, I noticed my boyfriend kept checking the time every 20 seconds. "Ready to go?" He said after a tourist snapped a picture of us in front of the tree.

As we walked to Bryant Park, I got that feeling again but told myself I was being a psycho girlfriend. Sure, there were some signs: a new-found obsession with the size of my fingers, secrecy with his phone, comments about being in "money-saving mode." In fact, I had secretly gone so crazy that the night before--while working out on the elliptical--I listed on my phone 16 clues that he may propose. (You can see how hard I work at the gym.) Still, I didn't want to get my hopes up.

When we arrived at Bryant Park, a giant, stupid grin spread over my boyfriend's face. Little did I know, he had just seen a "spy," his coworker who would be taking pictures of the proposal. "What's with the dumb smile?" I asked.

"I ... just love Bryant Park," my boyfriend said.

After picking out an ornament--another date tradition--my boyfriend and I stood by the skating rink and watched people glide by. "I'm really thirsty," I said.

And so my boyfriend agreed we should go grab water. But on the way there, right under the Bryant Park tree, he proposed. I only recall fragments of the speech because both of us were "blacked out" with giddiness, but piecing it back together in my mind the next day, I can tell you it was every woman's dream. "I love you, you make me happier than I've ever been, I can't wait to spend my life with you and make babies with you."

Of course, I was all waterworks. He didn't even get to show the ring before I hugged him and yelled "Yes!" as passersby gathered around us and yelled "Congratulations!" After hugging for at least 30 seconds, my boyfriend revealed a peach sapphire ring surrounded by diamonds with a rose gold band: My dream ring, which he figured out by asking my best friend (Ladies, always give your best friend a ring wishlist). I am now on Day 7 of staring at the ring as I type, which makes being a writer difficult.

After the proposal, my fiance (hehe) revealed that he had sent spies into the park to take pictures of the entire date and proposal, which I have also been staring at all week. I invited the spies to have celebratory drinks with us, unaware that my fiance already had a surprise party waiting at a bar a block away. We arrived to cheering from all my closest friends, as well as two glasses of champagne. After a few minutes, my fiance handed me a hotel key and said we were staying down the block. Could he have been any better at this proposal thing?!

So here I am, Day 7 of our engagement, watching him play video games as I type away (and...yeah...stare at the ring). And I know that I cannot wait to spend my life with him.

In the coming months, I'm sure you will be hearing a lot about the trials and tribulations of our wedding planning.

Readers: What's your engagement story? Leave a comment below or e-mail me at didhereally@gmail.com.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Top 5 Winter Dates

Thanksgiving is over, and you're feeling the need to snuggle up next to someone and endure a long winter. When you can muster up the strength to leave the couch and do something, here are some ideas that work for the first, or the one-hundredth date:

1. Ice skating--This offers a great opportunity to hold hands, as chances are one of you is about to fall on your ass. If you're pro skaters, it offers a chance to perform an elaborate dance routine around the people about to fall on their asses. Either way, it's sure to be a good time. Ice-skating rinks abound, and if you live in the New York area, you can choose from famous ones at Rockefeller Center or Bryant Park--just be prepared to wait in line for awhile.

2. Hot chocolate--Nothing says winter or romance like a steamy hot chocolate by the fire or on a romantic stroll through the city. Serendipity in NYC may be a tourist trap, but it has some pretty darn good frozen hot chocolate--just stay inside so your fingers don't get hypothermia. If you want to make your own, whip up some Nutella hot chocolate by mixing Nutella and milk over medium heat. I just guess on the proportions but food.com has a recipe here: http://www.food.com/recipe/nutella-hot-chocolate-74086.
Lastly, I top with marshmallow fluff instead of whipped cream, but you can't go wrong either way.

3. Look at lights-- If you have a car, take a few hours to peruse neighborhoods looking at holiday decorations. Just be sure to pay attention to the road.

4. Pick out a holiday ornament or trinket together--First dates, beware: This isn't for you. Your date will run away and tell all his/her friends you're a clingy psycho if you try this. For more serious relationships, take a trip to your local holiday store and pick out a holiday ornament or trinket just for you. At Bryant Park in NYC, you can even have your names written on ornaments for free.

5. Build a pillow fort-- Yes, you remember pillow forts from childhood. You know, put three chairs in a triangle, throw a sheet over them and fill the inside of your "fort" with pillows and blankets. Nothing says romance quite like a living room pillow fort.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Hairy Legs? That's Probably Because You Have a Boyfriend

As I sit in my living room feeling my prickly leg hair through my silk pajama pants, I laugh at this post from YourTango, "Does Having a Boyfriend Affect How Often You Shave Your Legs?" The website's editors asked readers how often they shave their legs, generating responses that vary from summer to winter, as well as from single to taken. This is my favorite survey result:

"10 percent said that they would likely never shave if it wasn't for their significant other..."

This got me thinking about the guilt I feel when I don't shave my legs. My boyfriend would never say, "Ewww, can you please shave?" but sometimes I feel like he's thinking it, which prompts me to lather up and remove that leg hair every week or so.

However, I must admit that in my single days I was much more apt to shave my legs on the regular for dates and nights out on the town. Shhh...don't tell my boyfriend.

Monday, September 17, 2012

"Ditch Your Ex"

I once had a coworker whom I considered sweet, attractive and completely date worthy. I often thought about setting him up with my eligible single friends, save one problem: He was still clearly in love with his ex. Every other conversation somehow weaved in his ex, making it obvious that he still not only spoke to her on a regular basis, but even went on vacations with her.

In the age of text messages and social media, it's easier than ever to keep on touch with an ex-- but it doesn't mean you should. There's a reason you broke up, and you may be forgetting that reason each time you speak. I have never believed in the exes being friends mumbo jumbo, even when I've done it! Exes are exes, and unless you literally started out as best friends chasing each other around the playground, there is absolutely no reason to be friends post-breakup. Yes, it's sad to cut ties with an ex, but it's much sadder to continue communication with that ex and ruin your chances of meeting someone better.

As corny and elementary school as this sounds, I am a big believer in the goodbye letter. I was surprised to find one of my therapists advocated this method, too. A handwritten or e-mailed letter is a great way to cut off your ex in one swoop. It also gives you the chance to say all those things you would forget to say face-to-face. Goodbye letters offer a peaceful goodbye: "We had some great times, and I will always care about you. Unfortunately, I don't think it's a good idea to continue talking. We both deserve to find someone who makes us truly happy."

If the goodbye letter is too dramatic and Victorian era for you, schedule a time to chat in person. And do it fast--your new significant other is waiting!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Ten Summer Date Ideas

You may already be thinking about crisp fall leaves and apple picking (especially when you live in New York City, where the excessive heat in crowded spaces causes people to transform into giant ass holes from May to early October). But summer is still in full swing, which means there are a handful of good weeks left to go on some great summer dates. Here are 10 ideas for you and your partner (or potential partner!):

1. Ice cream- Who doesn't enjoy feeling like a kid and licking a cone topped high with ice cream? If you live in NYC, I suggest Ample Hills in Brooklyn, where I was recently introduced to fresh ginger and lemon cookie ice cream. Mmmm.

2. Boat ride- If you live near water, why not cool off with a romantic boat ride? If a boat isn't available, take a walk along a lake or hang out on a quiet dock.

3. Beach- Speaking of water, a day at the beach listening to the crashing waves may be just the ticket to unwind and spend time with your main squeeze.

4. Golf- If you live in NYC, Chelsea Piers driving range overlooks the water and has some great restaurants and bars nearby for afterward. Mini golf is also always a playful date choice.

5. Upstate visit- Sorry, this is New York again. A quick train ride upstate to quiet towns like Beacon can be a relaxing almost-staycation. Rent a room at a bed and breakfast for extra romance points.

6. Park- A walk in the park--or better yet, a picnic--is affordable and fun.

7. Garage sales- Grab a coffee and spend a morning shopping for hidden treasures at garage sales and flea markets.

8. Hike- A hike is both romantic and good exercise. Plus, it brings you closer--especially when the hike has giant rocks to climb over and you think for a moment that you may tumble to your death. It also provides a sense of accomplishment after you live through the rock scramble.

8. Drive-in movie- What's more iconic than a date at the drive-in? Be sure to grab a root beer float and some popcorn, too.

9. Outdoor concert- I just went to an outdoor Counting Crows concert. Yes, that's right. Counting Crows. And it was couples galore.

10. Barbecue- While you're not technically leaving your house, you can light some candles and have a backyard date. Just be sure to bring the bug spray if you stay out past dark.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Is Pop Culture Ruining Your Chance At Real Love?

If you think real love is like a romantic comedy starring Matthew McConaughey, you’ve been brainwashed like millions of other women into thinking that unrequited, dysfunctional love will somehow prevail. Sadly, this is all a giant, female delusion. It’s far more productive to stop believing in fairy tales and start believing in real, healthy love that provides lasting happiness and security.

When you live in a fantasy world created by pop culture, you shut off reality and ruin your chance with a real partner who can offer real romance. True love isn’t all fireside chats and love poems sent by carrier pigeon. Sure, it has its sexy, flirty times. But it also has the little, everyday times that make you see how much you love each other. A real partner will clean up your barf after a violent bout of food poisoning. A real partner will let you drool on his chest at night. And a real partner will know all your little annoying personality quirks and love you for them anyway.

So where did our perception of true love get so off course? It all began in childhood, particularly with Disney. As we got older, we were bombarded with songs, movies, books and TV shows that gave us hope for happily ever after. Somewhere between “Snow White” and “When Harry Met Sally,” we started believing that if we just wait long enough, endure enough pain and/or move far enough away, our Prince Charming will wise up and marry us.

As adults, we are conditioned to enjoy the pain, seek comfort in it and even crave it. Instead of pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps, we wallow in our self-pity by listening to depressing song lyrics and watching “Titanic” on loop. After knowing the joy of my first real relationship, I lost interest in nearly all songs because they encouraged so much unhealthy love.

It’s a rarity to end up with the illusive heartbreaker unless he discovers Jesus or has a brush with death that makes him realize how precious and short life truly is. Most of the time, he will remain the same immature douche bag until another woman comes along and tames him.

You might be asking, “Well, why can’t I be the one to tame him?” For starters, you laid the groundwork from day one for him to walk all over you, and men never respect women who don’t respect themselves. Secondly, why would you want to tame him? A man like this is not to be trusted or dated. A man like this is not marriage material.

Mr. Big is a prime example of a man who is completely undateable, yet Carrie Bradshaw ends up with him at the end of the “Sex And the City” series. In fact, she marries him even after he walks out on their wedding. If Carrie were my friend, I’d drive her straight to a therapist or mental institution and have her work out some deep-rooted daddy issues. But the SATC series based its entire love story around this dysfunction, and viewers ate up the Big and Carrie saga.

So how do we stop believing in the idea of love that pop culture has created and start believing in realistic, long-lasting romance? Here are a few tips:

1. Clean out your music library. You’ll probably find that nearly all of your songs are about sad little love stories, because very few songs exist otherwise. Even if you don’t pay attention to the words, you subconsciously retain the message. This is dangerous, as studies have shown that music has the power to alter a person’s mood.

Listening to sad love songs is even worse when you’re specifically pining after someone because you start to believe the singer’s situation applies to your own life. Replace all of your songs with empowering ones, or songs about healthy love. Create a new playlist with a positive name, like “Putting Myself First,” “I Am Beautiful,” or “I Deserve Real Love.” If you’re unsure what songs to download, just Google. Here are a few to get you started:

• “I Will Survive” – Gloria Gaynor
• “Me Myself and I” – Beyonce
• “Shake It Out”- Florence + The Machine
• Anything from “Save The Last Dance”
• Anything from “Flashdance”
• “Strip Me” – Natasha Bedingfield
• “Single” – Natasha Bedingfield

2. Stop watching romantic movies. Watching sappy love movies is even worse than listening to sappy love songs. Movies are visual, making them seem like real life, and they last much longer than a three-minute song. A dramatic movie can stick with us for years or even a lifetime and subconsciously make us believe real life mimics movies.

After I saw “When Harry Met Sally,” it merely reinforced my delusional thought that I would marry my best friend. “My Best Friend’s Wedding” is a much healthier alternative to best friend romantic comedies because they don’t end up together in the end. This is not to say that best friends never end up together, but I believe it’s a rarity.

3. Find relationship role models. At the height of my singledom, my therapist told me I had an extremely unhealthy, codependent group of friends who fed off each other’s dysfunctional views of relationships. I had no relationship role models to base my own on, beginning with my parents.

Find relationship role models that you want to be like. Maybe it’s your parents, your aunt and uncle, or a childhood friend and her boyfriend. Whatever couple you choose, make sure they are completely functional and uphold the standard for normal love. You’ll know this because their relationship will be happy, drama-free, and they will both be confident in where the relationship is going.