March 25th, 2011
Dater Unknown: Emailed Erudition – It All Comes Down to Lice
From: Dater Unknown
Date: Monday, March 21
Subject: Baby Bandaid
So this past weekend I was perusing the newspaper of record. No, not the New York Times, silly. I think it was US Weekly or People. Anyway, there was a headline betwixt the pages of stars photographed being just like Real People and an interview with a Kardashian (riveting) that explained how ol’ Brad and Emily of The Bachelor are rocky – but are thinking of having a baby.
Like a good American, I enjoy reading the glossy, Hollywood-y magazines while waiting in line to check out at the grocery store…then rolling my eyes and thinking how this is all so stupid and fake and everything wrong with the US of A…and then walking out with my bags thinking, “well, wait, I didn’t think Justin Timberlake was a cheater! I mean, WTF? Oh, and I love Suri’s clothes. What a saucy little minx”. But this. THIS biz about a Bachelor Baby sounded fishy. I am sure Em and B Dubs (Brad Womack) surely aren’t thinking of solving their relationship probs with a bandaid baby. Right. Right?!
Now, I know nothing about marriage and even less about raising a family (yet!), but in the past I have found myself in a regular ol’ committed relationship that found itself teetering on the edge of a cliff. And if those situations are like being alone in your 4-door sedan trying to find a parking spot at the Galleria on a Saturday afternoon, I picture adding a brand new baby to the situation morphs it into finding a parking spot at the Galleria on December 23rd while driving an Econoline with no heat and the acrid smell of old milk in the air. You’re going on 3 hours sleep and don’t remember the last time you washed your hair, and you look up and the Galleria doors are now those twin sphinxes from the movie “The Neverending Story” who will laser you to pieces with their eyeballs if you don’t feel your own worth.
Wait, what? Where was I? But you know what I’m saying, right? I mean, yikes! Deciding to add baby to an admittedly shaky, difficult situation surely can’t help smooth things over, no? Anyway. I had a good laugh – oh, those zany Bach couples – thinking of a new reality show on the Bachelor Bandaid Baby. The only episode I would want to watch is when the baby is old enough to speak, and he/she says, “Daddy B Dubs, why do you have a cross on your back the size of a Volkswagen?” And then Daddy B Dubs has to remember what he learned in anger management and takes a deep breath and says he’s going to get some water. Okay, I’m going to watch the Glee I DVRed from last week and eat leftovers.
From: Dater Unknown
Date: Tuesday, March 22
Subject: D as in D
It’s me again. I know it’s early, but I had to write you about this crazy dream I had – and one which I blame entirely on Em, B Dubs, and Glee. Oh, I know, other people’s dreams are the most boring things ever, but listen! So I had a stress dream. You know, one of the school variety. I was back in high school and it’s finals day. I had not been to class all semester for whatever reason, and I knew nothing and started to panic. Then I was in the midst of trying a myriad of locker combinations to get my books out. I was the 2011 version of me, but I was spinning the black dial of my high school locker with fervor and terror. And what’s weirder is I had my 1996 hair, which means it was about 7 feet long and moussed within an inch of its life.
And then I woke up. I was in my house. Laundry was on the couch that still needed to be folded. I heard the neighbor’s yard guys mowing. My alarm had not gone off yet. Oh, thank God. I wiped the sleep from my eyes and re-calibrated myself.
“Shhhh, it was all a dream. Calm down. You’re awake now. You work in corporate America. You won’t be eating a fried burrito from the cafeteria during lunch. You’re hair is now more a demure John Oates than the love child of Kenny G and Selena.”
Side note 1: Wait. Maybe I’ll take the dream?
Side note 2: Public school friends – how GOOD were those burrito things? And by good I mean what-in-the-hell-is-in-this-oh-well-more-chili-please.
As I brushed my teeth, the weird dream feeling waned and I began remembering the things that actually did stress me out in high school. My junior year I had an incredible English teacher named Mrs. Bennett. She was the best, and she pushed us to do our best. We used to have “pressure essay days”, which I remember fondly as the days I would need Pepto Bismol. We wrote timed essays on surprise topics regarding books we were reading. I remember getting my first one back and having a huge red D on the top.
I threw my mane into a scrunchie, felt the tears boiling up from below and thought, well, my life is over. It’s all downhill from here.
But it wasn’t. I continued to massively suck at the pressure essays, but then the sucking subsided and I got better. And now I successfully write sentences with the word “suck” not one, but two times.
Crap. I really need to be getting ready for work. I’ll write you when I get there. I’ll consider your breath bated.
From: Dater Unknown
Date: Wednesday, March 23
Subject: M as in Moments
So, I’m late on writing you. I know you were dying to hear more, but – wait, did you even notice I didn’t write?
Anyway, I got to work on Tuesday and began the dizzying Outlook/Meeting dance until noon. At noon I left to go visit some friends who had welcomed a baby girl the night before. On the way over to the medical center I was feeling very Mazeltov-y and – shocker alert – sentimental about my friends’ new arrival.
Driving along Montrose I began to think how certain moments in our lives feel like The Moments. Sometimes what we think are the capital-M-Moments are actually just lowercase-m-moments. For example, I distinctly remember feeling that every single quiz was a Moment. If one was bombed, then that would lower my grade, then my GPA, and then I would be living under I-10 talking to a stuffed cat named Pickles.
And in dating, it was even worse. What do I wear to the 7th grade dance? In my head, this dance was a Moment – not merely a moment – and if I picked the wrong thing, well, life would clearly CLEARLY be over. I’ll tell you what I went with and was totally thrilled with: Fluorescent orange Z Cavaricci shirt. White Z Cavaricci long walking shorts. Fluorescent orange socks. White Keds. Yep. That’s what I wore for what I thought was a Moment.
And then sometimes, you get surprised, and moments are truly Moments.
Like when you find yourself at the hospital with a dear friend who you’ve known since you wore orange Cavaricci shirts and she was fond of Reebok high tops. And she’s holding her hours-old baby and is nauseous and beaming and exhausted and you congratulate her and her husband.
You’ve seen this look on her before. This look-of-love-but-oh-so-tired. It’s a beautiful look. You saw it on her during lunch at Little Pappasito’s when you both had imbibed a bit too much the night before. As your day-after rituals begin – you with your queso, she with her buttered tortillas – she is lethargic but ebullient about the man she’s newly dating and is sure is the One.
And then you’re holding her baby whose nose is the size of a cheerio, whose fingernails are the size of Chicklets, and whose cheeks you just want to kiss off her face because she is your dear friends’ most beautiful, wonderful Moment.
Alright, well, Idol’s on. You know what that means.
But love you more than Idol (almost),
From: Dater Unknown
Date: Thursday, March 24
Subject: Lice can live up to 30 days
Over the years, when I would talk to my older sister about a relationship worry, she would listen and usually have an opportunity to say something along the lines of “It just shouldn’t be this hard yet” and “Trust yourself, you will just know.” It normally went something like this:
Me: And, I mean, I just don’t know what to do.
Her: It shouldn’t be this hard this soon. Wait; hold on, “Honey, your Go-Gurt is right there. Over on the counter. Wait, why are you naked? Go put your clothes on again. 1……2……” Sorry, what were you saying?
Me: I just don’t know what to do. I mean, relationships take work, you know? So I feel like I should work harder at this or something. But I’m giving 110 zillion percent!
Her: Yes, relationships take work. Continually. Always. Marriage is a ton of work. But I just want you to realize – NOT ON THE CARPET! – Sorry. So what I am saying is this is a new relationship. It should be fun and honeymoon-y and giggly. It shouldn’t be this hard for you already.
Me: I guess. I don’t know.
Her: Oh, you will. When you know, you know. Trust yourself. If you are questioning it this much, that’s not a good sign. Listen. When you are treating your kids for lice and they are in hell and you are in hell and your washer stops working because you’ve washed 97 loads of lice laundry and you’re practically sleep walking and you and your husband both have work to do after your lice patrol duties, it’s not easy. Plenty of wonderful difficulty will come, and having a solid partner in it is key. I knew, and I still know. And you’ll know too. Does that make sense?
And it does.