Mr. Rescue and the Silver Stilettos

Since adopting my newfound confidence through this journey and blog, I haven’t felt the need to be rescued from the Plague of Singleness and its many hassles. And for me, that’s an accomplishment in itself.

I can’t even count how many times, previous to this revelation, I laid in bed, making bargains with the heavens to just give me my Prince Charming so I wouldn’t have to be continuously hurt and destroyed by the male population of the world. I dreamed of a man walking up to me in a bar, in the park, in a coffee shop, in a deli – really, anywhere - and declaring his instant love for me. How he saw me from across whatever room we were sharing and he couldn’t take his eyes off of me, how he knew in that single second that he could no longer imagine being with anyone else. And just like that – I’d be free. Free of the bounds of being a single woman longing for a love to call her own.

Now, when I think of being rescued from a single life, part of me silently giggles and another part is so thankful (and proud) of the growth I’ve made in the last five steps. Because, really, I don’t see anything I need to be be rescued from- my life as it is, regardless of any man, love interest or fling, is a life that gives me great joy and happiness. I feel secure and able to stand proud and tall (well, heel-induced height, anyway), and share with the world that I’m okay just with me, myself, and I.

However, sometimes, when you least expect it, a situation arises where even though you hate to admit it and you bite your tongue through asking – you actually need some help from a man. Say when your good friend is throwing up in the VIP section of a trendy midtown club on New Year’s Eve, unable to stand up, and you have no idea how to get her out the doors, into a cab, and up your three flights of stairs to your apartment.

Lucky for me, that’s when Mr. Rescue…came to my rescue.

My friend C and I dressed up in sexy dresses, silver-studded stilettos, and curled up our locks determined to paint this city red for 2011. We stopped for some Thai and then headed to our selected spot for the remainder of the year. When we arrived, there wasn’t much of a crowd but we decided to sip our wine, indulge in each other’s company, and because the men weren’t the priority (though we wanted a kiss at midnight) – we’d let them come to us. And as if we carefully orchestrated the perfect solution to gain a guy’s interest, within about 20 minutes, a group of guys – most rather attractive – surrounded us.

As I’m a sucker for the tall, dark, and handsome types – I found myself being entertained by Mr. Rescue. He was witty and quick with words, and had one of those dashing smiles that makes you wonder how many heads he turns with it. As I asked him my usual list of questions, which include where he’s from, where he lives now, what he does, etc – I caught my jaw drop as he replied, casually: “I’m in the Secret Service.”

Now – with a few glasses of Merlot in me and being quite the firecracker in the dating scene anyways, I quickly told him his BS was almost believable and asked what he really did. And then, he pulled out his badge. In a fancy wallet and all. I continued to let him know I didn’t believe him, but secretly, I found it a little sexy…if it was true, after all.

As the night continued, my friend C found her New Year’s kiss date, and I had mine, so we spent the minutes until the clock struck 12 in true Cinderella fashion – dancing and feeling like the belles of the ball (or as I was saying in celebration of my goal to learn Italian in 2011, “Ciao Bella!”). Once the 20-second countdown approached and champagne was in hand, Mr. Rescue looked at me and I decided that locking lips with a “Secret Service Man” to bring in what I know will be an incredible year for me wasn’t a bad idea at all.

So, as the bubbly warmed my tummy, Mr. Rescue placed his hand on the side of my face, pulled me in, and kissed away 2010 and welcomed in nothing but fuzzy feelings for 2011, I had my very first New York New Year’s. It also helped that he told me I was beautiful after our  exchange, brownie points for the Secret Service crew – their training is quite gentlemanly.

After a few more drinks, we took our places in the VIP section with our newfound friends and as Mr. Rescue and I were casually flirting over Grey Goose (which I denied because I’m just not a liquor lady – keep the wine coming, please) – I noticed C not looking in the highest of spirits. I rushed to her side and as I was turning to catch her attention, all of the Thai and booze we consumed came crashing down on the couch. Followed shortly by C, who in her state, couldn’t physically hold herself up. Mr. Rescue saw the detriment, got his friend to grab some napkins while he got some water, and I carefully rubbed C’s back, hoping there wasn’t anything left for her to rid of.

An hour later, after a trip to the bathroom, Mr. Rescue and the understanding body guard helped C walk out of the bar, where in my silver stilettos, tiptoed behind, holding my clutch and our jackets with care and trying to figure out how I was going to get her back to my place safely. But when the cold New York air greeted me, I watched Mr. Rescue go into rescue mode – getting us a cab, no matter the amount of blocks he needed to walk, and talking to the policemen to help him out (I wonder if he flashed his shiny badge?) Within ten minutes, I was walking across snow and ice in heels as Mr. Rescue made sure C got into the cab with me and he rode uptown to my apartment to make sure she made those flights. He paid for it, too.

Once we got C onto my air mattress and safely sobering up, Mr. Rescue asked me if I needed anything and if I was alright. Amazed by his kindness and compassion, I told him that I did not and thanked him endlessly for helping me make sure she was out of harm’s way. He merely shook his head, told me he had fun and didn’t mind, and then….

asked me to dinner this weekend. And you know, I think I may just go. As long as he knows that I’m not usually the type of gal who needs rescuing, even if he is a Secret Service man.

Ciao Bella 2011!

I’m a big fan of making lists – for my groceries, for things I have to do, for things I’d like to do, for people I need to call, for blogs I need to write, emails I must return, ideas to pitch at work, qualities in a man I’d like to find…and the list goes on and on (pun rightfully intended).

Every year before this one, including 2010, I have made a quite lengthy list of resolutions that I wanted to fulfill before December 31. More often times than not, I almost always complete this list, like a good schoolgirl, checking everything off in red pen.

But lately, as I’ve been attempting to decide what I should seek in 2011 – I’ve found myself drawing one huge giant blank. Sure, I could probably stand to lose five pounds (but then, would I have boobs?), I could save more money (but, then would I have such a saucy collection of heels?), I could write more (but I write everyday), I could vow to drink less (but I live in New York),I could decide once-and-for-all that this will be the year I find love (but, that’s out of my hands), and I could have a more optimstic viewpoint (but, I’m happy as I am).

And then, it occurred to me – really what I’m doing with this journey, with this blog, is one multi-step resolution in itself that is simply to be the person I want to be. To be someone who is self-sufficient, obsessive-free, and confident in herself…regardless of a man. For so long, I’ve let all of the guys- from Mr. Fire and Mr. Fling to Mr. Idea, Mr. Unavailable, and Mr. Disappear, control not only my perception of love and its infinite confusions, but also my opinion of myself. I’ve allowed their choices, that ultimately do not have anything to do with me, let me feel like I wasn’t good enough to be picked as their partner. Or that some woman was always better than me or had something I simply could not offer. And for whatever reason, I wasn’t “good at relationships” – when in reality, relationships aren’t something to place on your resume. I’ve placed “meeting The One” on my life’s checklist, when I know in my heart, it should not be a box to check – and even worse, I’ve punished myself for each and every single thing that’s gone wrong in a relationship, allowing the men to have countless “get out of blame” free cards.

And so while it wasn’t the start of a New Year when I started this journey in September, it was then that I made a resolution to release their grasp, and the power of negative thinking, and let myself walk confidently in the direction of a healthy relationship – with myself. Past be damned, I’d rather have today, and the all of the hope for a tomorrow I can’t even imagine.

So for 2011, I’m moving on to Step 5I have admitted to a higher power, to myself, and to another human being the exact nature of my wrongs. Not exactly sure how I’ll go about this one -but as I always do, I figure it out somewhere along the way, have no doubt.

And in addition to moving forward with this path that I’m so enjoying taking as a single woman, I’m also doing something that’s simply for me, without a goal in mind. Or at least one that’s intimidating. I’ve spent the majority of my life saving up for my move to New York and because of that, I haven’t been able to travel as often as I’d like. And of all the places I’ve always wanted to go, Italy tops the list (sorry Irish heritage, but I’ll get there).

Something about the elegant and sexy way they talk, how they drink gallons of wine like it isn’t a big deal, how food and company are meant to be enjoyed for hours beyond end, and there is an endless amount of pasta, pizza, and bread – not to mention the country is shaped like a shoe - makes me long for an extended visit.

For my 25th birthday, I will go to Italy for a month, alone (or perhaps with another single gal pal or two) – and see all that there is to see: Rome, Sicily, Florence, Venice, and Capri. And step one to catching the flight to Italy is learning the language, just as I’ve always wanted to do, so I signed up for classes at Scuola Italiana in the lovely Greenwich Village.

I don’t know much Italian yet, though I think I’ll be able to learn pretty easily (if not, Rosetta Stone it is!) – but I do know “Ciao Bella!” and that will be my mantra for the year: always greeting myself and others with beauty and excitement, no matter what bumps in the road, or men, who may get in the way.

And because Italians are simple with their greetings – keeping “hello” and “goodbye” the same – I may be forced to say “Ciao Bello!” to the men who just don’t measure up to what I need.

Ciao bella amantes fino a domani! (Goodbye beautiful lovers – until tomorrow)

New York, How Do I Love Thee?

As I sit in the Charlotte airport, waiting for my flight back to my city-sweet-city, I find myself recalling the year that’s passed. Of every year I’ve had, 2010 was my very best one.

When years come to a close, the natural thing for anyone to do is to think about what happened, what they can learn from it, and determine what they should work towards in the months to come. I could go through a long list of all of the amazing dreams of mine that came true this year, how I survived a very difficult breakup with Mr. Idea, or how I got myself in shape and started a blog that somehow has made it across the web. Even more easily, I could share the insight I’ve gained from the several ups and downs, the men of Manhattan I’ve started to date, and the growing pains that come with finally being 110 percent on your own.

But if I really think about what 2010 has meant to me, why this year is so paramount in comparsion to any year previous, it is because I finally settled in, drew up roots, signed papers, and secured a zip code in the place that I know was meant for me. This year was everything grand and difficult because it was the year of New York.

Now, being the best year yet doesn’t mean it was all smooth sailing, easy riding, and without frustration or worry (for it was far from any of those things) – but rather, it was the first year that instead of letting something or someone decide or steer my life – I defined myself. I stopped waiting for fate to take its course, for the stars to align in perfect order, for a man to come and rescue me from the “Curse of Singleness”, for everything to be symmetrical and ideal…and I just started living.

And without any doubts of being left (or being forced to leave), without worrying about being vulnerable or destroyed, without feeling the need to protect my heart – I fell in love with this city. With this place, that is now my home.

Being away from New York for a week longer than I anticipated made me realize, more than ever, how much it means to me and how when I’m gone, a piece of me feels like it is missing as well. Today and in times of war in our history, those in love were separated by oceans, worrying about their partner’s safety, and praying to just lay eyes on them again. The men fought in battles that risked their lives, the women held onto prayers and hopes while keeping the home (and workforce)  in tact, and to keep their flame alive, they wrote letters ensuring their love and declaring their longing.

So New York, while I was in North Carolina, waiting for the storm to pass, and there you were fighting the blizzard that sneaked up on you, please know that my unyielding love for you was still strong, and sincerely, I counted the minutes until we would meet again. In thanksgiving for 2010 and all of the city-inspired blessings it gave me, let me write a letter to you, Mr. Big Apple, the first real love of my life.

Dearest New York City,

Our love story, like many, began many years ago. When I first saw your gleaming lights, heard your boisterous sounds in my pink jacket and awful haircut, I felt like I had found someone I would love. While it was the time of Disney Princesses, tennis and piano lessons, and I still wasn’t convinced boys didn’t have cooties – something about you, in all of your congestion and creativity, made me believe that maybe there was something more out there for me.

We were not serious when I left at first, but when I showed up on your doorstep the second time, for the interviews at magazines I had always dreamed of working for – I think we both knew there was something magical developing. You welcomed me back into your life, showed me just a few of the perks that would be at my disposal if I decided to stick by your side, and then with graciousness and kindness from the Publishing Gods, I was able to spend a glorious three months falling in love with you. Guarded by the security of my university’s loft, I sorted through beauty products at Cosmopolitan, pitched ideas to the many editors I admire, and felt my drive for writing grow. But through it all, the single thing that made even the worse days bearable, where I missed the simplicity of my Southern upbringing, was the look of you. I could grab my subway card, go through the front doors, and there you were, waiting to greet me with wide eyes and you renewed my spirits – no matter how low they were.

And then, with studies left to study, I had to leave you again. You were understanding and forgiving, and ensured me that before long I would be back. I promised you I would return to your glittering pavements and endless opportunities, no matter what it took, what bridge I had to cross, who I had to leave, or what price I had to pay. We both knew that destiny brought us together and that nothing could stand in our way. As I flew home that faithful August day, I let the tears stream down the cheek and said a little prayer that nothing would change in my heart or in your willingness to take me back between then and when I would return.

Sometimes, my dear, when the gods of time decide to be in your favor, prayers are answered as easily as they are pleaded. At college graduation, I wrote on my cap “New York, Here I Come”, and three months later – I did.

With three suitcases, savings I had resting in my bank account since I was 15, and all of the ambition in the world, I touched down on your streets and took off. You encouraged me to keep going when I thought I would never get off my friend’s couch and you led me around your beauty with hidden pennies of fortune and chances of success that I never imagined. You showed me new parts of yourself that I wasn’t aware of, and as I always seem to do, I fell in love with you even more.

Out of nowhere, the cards gave me a great hand and I moved into your place, well our place, on the Upper West Side. It is a starter apartment and maybe old and miniature - but I have no doubt you will do your best to give me everything I ever wanted. And my job, while not perfect and ideal, is extremely good to me and a wonderful place to begin my career. You believe in me, New York, and because of that faith, I believe in me, too. It is only up on the ladder from here, and I know you’ll be there with me through it all.

Thank you for forgiving me when I cursed your name and doubted your brilliance. Thank you for reminding me of how beautiful I am and how lucky I’ve been my entire life, just to know you. Thank you for warming me with incomparable inspiration – just by being you. Just by being the shimmering, unpredictable, faithful, and dependable city I’ve grown quite accustomed to. Thank you for taking me back when I left you and for knowing I’d always return, even when I was scared I never would. Thank you for allowing me to shine and stepping out of my way, even giving me the freedom to stomp all over you in the process. Thank you for an endless amount of dinners, shows, walks in the park, and peaceful evenings. Thank you for making me want to be a better person, a better writer, a better woman, and a better almost-New Yorker. Thank you for becoming as much a part of me as my high heel shoes, my skinny jeans, this blog, and my signature Mac lipstick.

There may be many things I’m unsure of, but one thing I know will never change, no matter what crazy journey this life takes me on, is that I love you, New York City. And I always, always will.

Can’t wait to see what’s ahead for us in 2011.

With love,

Linds


The Single Girl’s Holiday Calendar

In New York, I decided to not get a television in an effort to use my money wisely. Somehow, to me, mini-trips, shopping, and trying out new restaurants around the town is a much better use of my hard-earned cash than sitting at home flipping channels. For those shows that I’m admittedly addicted to (Desperate Housewives, Glee, etc.) – there is always my very reliable and free friend, Hulu.

However, when you’re stuck inside an Igloo and the only way out is in - keeping your eyes glued to the tube seems to be the way to pass time. So, in between gazing outside, running on my family’s 15-year-old treadmill (very scary, by the way), cleaning, and cursing the clouds for their snow invasion - I’ve been hanging out on the couch, remote in one hand, puppy on the knee.

As I’ve watched reruns of Full House and spent hours salivating at the Food Network, and crying over the fancy trips on the Travel channel that I can’t afford to take – I’ve noticed a very strange theme in commercials. Before Christmas, regardless if they were advertising home appliances, jewelry, or electronics – almost every 30-second clip featured a happy, smiling couple. All the taglines promised to “bring a smile to her face” or “to give him the gift that keeps giving” or “be the envied couple of the year.

Ironically enough though, most commercials now are geared to the single crowd with the focus on New Year’s Eve. Beauty companies, fitness centers, major retailers, and all that’s in between – are now promoting themselves as the must-have for independence, for a “brand new beautiful you” or “the back-end that’ll make them take a second look” or “bring in the New Year with new gifts just for you.”

So, apparently flying solo while Santa’s in town is not recommended, but ringing in the next January 1 is? Does that much change in just a week?

I know about targeted marketing efforts and audience sampling to help determine what registers with viewers and maximizes a company’s return-on-investment for their clip during prime time. I know the process to create a commercial that the majority of people mute is a strenuous and standardized process – but maybe playing into our emotions and directing us to the special-times-of-the-year where being single is acceptable, isn’t the best route to take.

Holidays have always been, until late, a very difficult time to be sans-boyfriend for me. There is something about celebratory dinners with families, seeing long-lost friends, or anticipated dates that make me wish I had a physical, in-flesh date by my side. However – I will say that amidst the pressure from grandma and the Green Monster of Envy of your friend’s engagement ring, there is something to be said about the hype surrounding holidays that could make a minus-one lady lonesome. I won’t blame Hallmark or the Saints, but I may shy away from kneeling and purchasing for a bit.

And while most of it may very well be in our minds, watching couples frolicking in between Man vs. Food isn’t exactly appetizing for those of us who would like to take a bite out of a man ourselves. So instead of signing up for OkCupid or hitting the bar hard between now and the-holiday-that-shouldn’t-be-mentioned in February (deep breaths) – why don’t we create our own Single Girl Holiday Calendar?

I propose the following:

January 6- National No Regret Spending Day

While everyone else’s credit card bills will be coming back maxed-out to the limit due to purchasing expensive watches for their boyfriends and fancy chocolates for the boyfriend’s mother – ours will be happily balanced and in tact. And if not, at least we can glance down at our feet and see those Louboutins smiling back at us.

February 15- “I’m Prettier Than Your Box of Chocolates” Day

Those attached may be recovering from a romantic evening of imported wine and smelling the roses, but all the single ladies who spent the last week pampering ourselves with facials, manicures, blow-outs, and treatments, will be the ones who turn heads for days to come. Love does look good on people, but so does radiating skin courtesy of a fancy salon in midtown.

March 17- Kiss Many Irish Men (or Those Who Claim It) Day

Instead of having to wonder if our men will be getting a little too drunk to handle himself maturely at the bar, you’re free to indulge in green specialities, and if the Irish happen to get lucky by your standards, you may even steal a kiss. Or two.

April 24- Born-Again Single Woman Day

If instead of celebrating your singleness on New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, and St. Patty’s, you decided to eat a full half-gallon of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream and drink yourself into a hot-mess oblivion, today is the day to rise up and rejoice! If you accept yourself as single, flaws and all, your power and strength will be returned to you. This also pertains to those who have newly been forced into or chosen the single status.

May 6- Single Ladies Get Out of Work (with Pay) Day

Due to an excessive obsession with guacamole and margaritas, any woman who is not attached to a man by formal titles bestowed by the state, church, or Facebook, is permitted to not go into work to recover from her hangover. She will get paid as she usual does and her attached friends are required to send her orange juice, diet coke, and appropriate feel-better food.

June 24 – National One Night Stand Day

Since this is a time where single ladies should be gallivanting to exotic places by themselves or with other free ladies, this is the day to celebrate being non-committed by enjoying a one night stand of your choice. By having the out-of-this-world sexy seduction during this 24-hour period (every minute, if you’d like) – your overall “number” does not go up, your emotions do not go haywire, and you are free to enjoy with no-strings-attached. Protection a must. Foreigners encouraged.

July 4- National Independence Day (USA)

Enough said.

September 5- Anti-Labor Day

In celebration of the fact that we’ve never had to go through labor pains and we don’t have to labor over pleasing a man, let us all raise a glass and a diamond-less hand to our slender bodies and well-rested heads. (Single mothers are the exception because we can’t even imagine how they can do it all on their own, even if they have actually been in labor)

October 29- Free to Be Scary Looking Day

With masks and costumes preparing to roam the streets, single women of the world honor the fact that they can just be themselves, in the privacy of their own apartments, without having to worry about their looks for a man. No makeup with a green cleansing facial masques, no clothes or pushup bras, no shaving in any area if we don’t fancy, and no zit-left-unpopped for this day. Be free, be a tad-bit scary looking…and still feel beautiful.

November 30- Thank Goodness I’m Single Day

While attached ladies are busy worrying about how their in-laws will get along, who will bring what dish to dinner, and if they’re boyfriend/husband will say they are thankful for “them”  when the crowd counts their blessings around the table – we’re encouraged to do whatever we like. Don’t want to go anywhere but our friend’s place and drink wine while “cooking” a turkey? Go for it. Try and make a list of reasons why you’re thankful to be single, too.

December 10- National Sparkle’ for Singles Day

Put down the third gift for mom, and the rice maker for Aunt Jo. Tis time to buy yourself something…just for you. There is no better way to say “I love me” than to feel like a star at the end of the year, throughout the year…and always.