“Hey, your face doesn’t look weird when your hair is wet.”
I look up from the stream of water, wiping my face, “Thanks… I guess?”
“That means you have a really pretty face.”
It’s the first compliment I remember; the first REAL compliment.
Last night was Valentine’s Day and work held him up until later than I was pleased with. I started cooking our dinner alone. A wave of annoyance and irritation ran through me which brought me to irrationally decide how mad I was going to be when he finally arrived.
I used to get more upset about things than I do now. In my past relationship, arguments were pervasive. Problems turned into cold shoulders turned into fights. This time around I have a new sense of respect for being patient and selfless and I catch myself when I get into that old habit. Our beginning was hard and before most people would’ve gone on their third date we had to decide if this was a relationship worth the effort it was going to take before we even had a chance to try. That process was slow and thoughtful and heavy but I learned more about the strength of patience than I ever have.
I remembered that last night. I knew he didn’t want to be at work late any more than I did. His excitement about the gift he had made me and the recipe he picked out for us to make was something he was looking forward to just as much as I was. When he walked through the door his eyes proved it. I wasn’t upset; I was so excited to see him. Instead of annoyance, a ten-minute hug. Instead of irritation, an “I’m sorry your day was hard. How can we make it better?” Appropriately, his Valentine’s card reads “You’ve taught me to really try at love and be selfless. Any time we’ve had issues, we’re able to calm the other down and work through it.”
The second time around you are more realistic when it comes to love. You look at the relationship as a whole where every moment and action and reaction matter. You realize it takes effort; constant effort. Moments matter. Shared gratitude for one another matters. Touch matters. Talking in person matters. The only thing you shouldn’t give a damn about is time, because if you do it right you’ll have lots of it and in order to do it right you have to sustain these moments. He asked me once if I think there will be a time where he won’t get butterflies when he sees me for the first time that day. Tears may not swell in my eyes the way they did at the first “I love you” but I promised this kind of love will never be taken for granted.
Last night, after we made our dinner, we curled up in bed and watched old episodes of Seinfeld. In one, George had just started wearing a headpiece when Kramer set him up on a date with a bald woman.
He turns to me and jokes, “You’d be pretty even if you were bald.”
I insert a hot dad joke about his who has a shaved head. I win.
This morning in to the bathroom I’ve got my wet hair wrapped up in a towel.
“See, this is what I would look like if I were bald” I say.
“Yeah and you’d still look good, because you have a really pretty face.”
“New Year’s Resolutions suck, am I right? It’s like everyone got together to say, ‘hey, let’s set really mundane goals for ourselves just because it’s January 1st, and then NOT accomplish them.’ B.S. I don’t want to lose weight or cut back on caffeine just ‘cuz. And I especially don’t want to watch my spending or start saving some pennies so that in 2013 I am less broke!”
Was the rant I gave at a classy Xmas party this holiday season. And in return, I received the best advice I have ever been given from a heavily intoxicated former DJ.
Money doesn’t expire, but your youth does
So here’s to 2013 being the (another) year that we spend our money how we want, and we eat healthy because we love ourselves, and do generally whatever we want. Because the truth is, we won’t be able to do it forever. Let’s include more boat rides, drunken outings, brunches, girl time, boy time, vacations, staycations, and Match.com stir events into our lives.
I guess all I’m trying to say is, although this is totally “2012”, my 2013 New Year’s Resolution is:
First and foremost, thank you to the Ladies Who Brunch for allowing me to pepper their stellar blog with a little ‘brospective’.
Every year, Washington, D.C. celebrates ‘Restaurant Week’, an opportunity to enjoy the finer culinary things in life in the Nation’s Capital at a price we all can get around. For many, this is the chance to take a loved one out for a nicer date than usual or rekindle a fading flame. For others (read: groups of women of all ages), it is a chance to dress up nicely and speak unabashedly about life’s nuances. For me (and likely several other guys), once a reservation for date night has been made, it is an opportunity to reconnect with the bros for the storied ‘guys’ night’.
Now, I am well aware of importance and institutional status of ‘girls’ night’ after years of serving ample time in the ‘friend zone’, watching years of situational comedy on television, and dating women with impressive groups of lady friends. To the best of my knowledge, ‘girls’ night’ is a chance to escape the pressures of the dating world (and straight male presence in general) in order to vent openly about all things — ranging from troubling to exceptional — about one’s personal, social, and professional life.
I am also aware that there is a colloquial perception among women (and to a certain extent, broader society) that a male-equivalent to ‘girls’ night’ is a raucous, often unemotional gathering where topics rarely diverge from sports, movie quotes, and sexual conquests. Now, these topics are often discussed at length, but I’d like to briefly shed light on the softer side of ‘guys’ night’ for you:
For a majority of my bro friends (and yours truly), young adult life is stressful and chaotic- with several of us fighting to juggle full-time work, graduate school, relationships, and hectic fantasy sports schedules.
After months of fighting life’s battles, a light at the end of the tunnel materializes when someone receives an e-notification to reserve tables for ‘Restaurant Week’ and promptly forwards it to an established e-mail chain of close bros.
Once a date and restaurant have been picked by consensus, an anxious few weeks of closely following sports news and watching slapstick movies passes by- arming us with abundant information about topics expected to come up during a bro reunion.
After guys meet at the restaurant on the big night, stiff hand-shakes and boasts of intentions to order gigantic food portions are voiced, and orders of craft beers or grandfatherly cocktails are placed, the first order of business is usually going around the table to provide a rundown of one’s life.
In my experience, all it takes to get the emotional ball rolling is a simple, “So…how are y’all doing?”
Topics range from girlfriend or boss troubles to developments in family life and provide all bros present with a deeper and honest understanding of where our friends stand with them and life in general. The deep conversation usually continues throughout the dinner as Manhattan’s are downed and steaks are devoured.
In fact, the yearly get-together often turns into a therapeutic and stress-relieving conversation for all involved supported by a safe atmosphere that cements the closeness of our relationships with each other (not unlike the conditions surrounding a successful ‘girls’ night’).
In my experience with ‘guys’ night’, the first mention of the next fantasy draft often surfaces as dessert is served.
A loyal member of the Friend Zone for 20 years, Brian Principato enjoys sports, fuzzy animals, and a nice pair of mismatched argyle socks.
20th Century (brizard cacao, cocchi american, lemon, gordons): “My generation, we drink because it’s good, because it feels better than unbuttoning your collar, because we deserve it. We drink because it’s what men do.” - Roger Sterling. This cocktail is Don Draper in a cup, a classic man of distinction with expensive taste and a disregard for the flashy. He’s timeless, but he’s also got mass appeal. Be careful with this one.
Corpse Reviver #2 (st. george’s absinthe, lemon, cocchi american, cointreau, gordons): Bloody Mary’s male counterpart + a dash of Love Potion #9, this drink is scraggly, yet appealing, just like you after a long night out. You want him but you shouldn’t. This is Johnny Depp with smudged eyeliner in Pirates of the Carribean…minus the dreadlocks.
Tomas Collins (pickle brine, lime, aalborg, seltzer) - He’s the hippest of the bunch. He drives an old motorcycle that he learned to fix growing up and he’s been adding pickle brine to his drinks and wearing Chuck Taylors for years, not knowing it’s the thing to do these days.
Oliveto (olive oil, egg white, lemon, Licor 43, Gordons): He’s sly, he’s smooth, he slips the egg white into your drink before you know it. He whisks you off on his vespa, carefully securing your helmet before you ride through the dim evening light. While away on business, he calls you late at night to tell you, “Paris just isn’t the same without you.”
Honey Spot (black pepper-infused honey, lemon, cabin still, pilsner): Blipster to the max with his black pepper-infused honey. He performs poetry hiphop on Thursday nights at a divey bar uptown. His v-neck sweater is freshly ironed as he walks with you hand in hand, unabashed, to the coffee shop for espresso and intellectual discourse.
Golden Age (licor 43, cynar, tio pepe, flor de cana gold): Caesar, he’s blinged out, he’s chiseled, and he’s wearing a toga… or at least a well-fitting cardigan. Remarkable in his dress and stature, you easily stare down this man candy from across the room. He always travels with a group of attractive females to ensure only the boldest of women approach him. Don’t be afraid of this one, he’s yours with confidence. (Pro tip: get to the point; leave him before being left.)
Jack Rose (grenadine, lemon, laird’s 100 proof): If survivor Rose had carried Jack’s baby, this would be his son. Sweet, charming and adventurous with the strength of a survivor of a sinking ship. Too many of these and you’re going down to the bottom, too. You may have to ask the bartender for a side of iceberg to keep you from falling too deep. He’ll cause you to break all the rules much to the display of your family. Go for it.
El Presidente (grenadine, cointreau, noilly prat dry, flor de cana gold): He’s the original scruffy hipster, comes with a cigar. He has a hairy chest and back. He’s also the guy with Che Guevara posters in his bedroom. He’s the original rebel, the guy Taylor Swift talks about in I Knew You Were Trouble. You know he’s no good, but it’s impossible to turn away when his hand crawls up your neck to the back of your head as he pulls you in. Shame on you.
Bobby Burns (peychaud’s, benedictine, antica formula, white horse): Bobby Burns is the 1950’s jewel you see in your grandmother’s photos. You’ve known him since grade school, the kid you knew across the street who collected baseball cards growing up. He owns Warby Parkers, a record player and a vintage bicycle. He thinks “Going Dutch” is a crime and takes you out for a greasy spoon brunch every Saturday. Take this crooked smile home to mom.
The fuck is your life. Answer it.
May the swagger be with you. — Excellent life-advice from a friend as I try to convince myself that I’m VERY CAPABLE OF ASKING SOMEONE OUT FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY ADULT LIFE ASDF-FUCKING-JKL;
Things I’m Mediocre At:
So maybe I haven’t found my calling in life yet, but there are a number of things I can do that I will stand by in confidence saying I did quite a mediocre job at, and for now, that’s okay.
Finding cheap flights
While at work.
With an average of 5 notes a post, my queue of pictures, words and feelings is pretty alright.
Having only been to the salon twice in the last 3 years, you’ll find that my bangs are always straight with few split ends. Also known to be pretty decent with the clippers on my male friends, only once resulting in a mullet. (Sorry, Todd)
Since I don’t cook with meat, it’s pretty difficult to mess up. I also own a rice cooker.
I’m also known as Post-it Girl at work.
Whatever that actually means, I can do it just as average as the next girl.
Curating mix tapes
From my early days with KaZaA to Vuze and others, I have a moderate talent at tracking down any song you wan’t legally or not.
Man, did you see that weather today? How about that sports thing last night?
Mediocre at giving because I’m better at receiving.
Box mix, bake sale, homemade… you won’t know the difference.
Embrace love in all of its forms, live with a strong connection to your higher self, laugh loudly and often … with yourself as your main source of amusement.
Eliminate manufactured fear. Root out all messages and warnings of fear instilled within you by parents, teachers, leaders, TV, media and your imagination. Look around you and see the ways you are safe, secure and empowered. Regardless of your circumstances, there is good in your life. See it, acknowledge it, enjoy it and be thankful.
Life is an adventure. There’re opportunities every day to learn new things, meet new people, gain new perspective and explore new ideas. Many only appear once; don’t miss them.
Tell your truth of the moment. (It will evolve as you grow and change.) Be authentic by your definition, not what others cast upon you.
Treat each person you meet as the unique individual they are. Learn something from every person. Notice their eyes; their spirit, their beauty. Acknowledge them with a smile, nod or thought.
Become aware of your negative and judgmental thoughts. Counter them with love. Forgive yourself for actions that have hurt others. Vow to change the behavior. Forgive those who have hurt you because in doing so, you make room for love, laughter and joy.
Remember and honor those who have loved, cherished, protected, guided, taught, and, yes, even those who have pissed you off.
The way I see it, Love is a much better place from which to live a life.
Penny Rice, age 65 via The Listserve