Showing posts with label singledom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label singledom. Show all posts

jones break

Last night I was looking for information online about my foot fracture, because that is what you do when you're uninsured: you consult Dr. Google. (His bedside manner sucks but at least he accepts walk-ins.) Dr. G taught me that my particular fracture - the 5th metatarsal - is called a "Jones break." Cut to me searching under those terms and bringing up a page full of results...about the recent separation of Catherine Zeta and Michael Douglas. LOL.

Rather than ignore this useless information and refine my search to include the word "foot", I spent the next ten minutes laying in bed, bemusedly fleshing out a scenario in my head where the opposing bits of my broken bone are a fiery but beautiful Zeta Jones-type and an equally passionate (but noticeably more wizened) Douglas-type. But, like, bones instead of people.

A heated argument, neither even remembers how it started. Michael's been hitting the Macallan pretty hard tonight. He's still not over the time she accidentally cried out "Oh, Antonio!" in bed. Words are exchanged. Catherine calls him an anws blewog, and after thirteen years of marriage, you know he's learned that particular bit of Welsh. When Michael tauntingly asks her when the last time she fit in her Entrapment catsuit was, she loses it. She grabs her Louis Vuitton duffel, stuffs a few essentials into it, grabs the keys to the Bentley, and heads out the door...

....and Ellie's foot goes snap.

---

Got my ticket for The Vaccines show, which is just a couple of weeks away. Hoping against hope I'll be able to walk to it (I still have bruising on the bottom of my foot, so I'm scared to put weight on it yet even though it's been six weeks).

If you haven't heard of them, or if you didn't check them out the last time I banged on about them, seriously do so. Much awesomeness.

---

I got cold hit on yesterday. By a stupidly good-looking guy. Story time!

Late afternoon, I'm a hot mess. No makeup, unbrushed hair, baggy jeans, t-shirt. I'm taking Chaucer out for a quick potty. As we wheel out of the elevator, peripherally I notice a guy sitting in the lobby. I hear him say something, How ya doing? or something, to which I mumble a reply without looking up, because a) I think he's someone else, specifically a guy from my building and b) I know I look like hell/ridiculous on the scooter.

I let Chauc pee around the corner, and we return to my building.

As we're coming in the door, a very tall and handsome guy and a short blonde woman in glasses are exiting. The way the guy says hello and smiles at me makes me think I must know him from somewhere, and I wrack my brain trying to figure out who he is. Then I realize he was the guy sitting over by the elevators five minutes before, though I still don't understand the grin.

He and the blonde start chatting me up about Chaucer, with her asking most of the questions (Oh, is this your dog? Do you live in the building? He's a mastiff, right? "Chaucer"? Are you from England?), while the guy just sort of stands there watching me. I cannot for the life of me figure out why they're being so solicitous and chatty. Then she tells me she's a dog walker, and I prepare to be handed a business card. But she just introduces herself and her friend, and both of them shake my hand. He then chimes in to say that's why he was sitting by the elevator - he was waiting for her to be finished walking a dog from my building. The way this information is relayed by them - along with the very intent way the guy is looking at me (which, seriously, was starting to make me blush) - makes me realize they're purposefully clarifying their relationship because the guy, for some reason, digs the cut of my jib.

I have no idea what to do or say. I'm obviously done walking my dog, introductions have been made, what am I supposed to do? I maintain eye contact with the guy as directly as I can without it being ridiculous (because I really am blushing at this point), tell them it was nice to meet them, and wheel off towards the elevators. The last lingering look from the guy as they head out the door seals the deal. Yep, totally digging me. I wonder as Chaucer and I head back upstairs if he'll maybe come back by, leave his number at the rental office or something? The thought occurs to me that for the first time in my life there may be a Missed Connections listing on Craigslist in my immediate future. It feels like that kind of encounter.

I unclip Chauc, wipe off his feet, and then roll back out to grab a Starbucks across the street. My regular barista is there and we're yammering away as he's making my drink, so at first I don't notice: the guy and girl I just met are sitting at a table right outside the window.

A second later, they both turn their heads to look in at me. I realize they must have seen me leave my building, cross the street, and come in to order. I make the appropriate Oh! Hey again! face, and we wave at one another. Nervous, I pull out my phone and pretend to be engrossed in Instagram while I wait for my macchiato. I glance back out the window and see the guy slowly stand and sort of stretch while saying something to the girl (who remains seated). He looks at the cup in his hand for a second, then lifts his head to look at me. I have no idea what expression to compose my features into, but I realize I'd better pick one quickly, because now he's coming inside.

He's sweet and very direct about it. The pretense is to get some ice water from the barista, but right smack in front of another customer (and the barista), he looks me square in the eye and says something about not wishing to be weird, but could he give me his phone number?

I'm smiling all over the place despite feeling extremely awkward and ugly and self-conscious (seriously, not a drop of makeup - and I was wearing an absolutely beat-to-hell v-neck that shows my awful sun damaged decolletage), because his manner is really soft-spoken and lovely, and I appreciate the fact that he offered me his number, rather than asking for mine (and thus affording me the choice of whether or not to follow through). A minute later I've got his business card in my hand and he's got my word that I'll use it.

I have, as is my specialty, turned a very not-big-deal ten minute situation into a massive blog post, like a diary writing tween, so I will wrap it up with this: dark floppy hair, massive brown doe eyes, absurdly cute, actor/singer/media manager, huge internet presence that I resisted looking into beyond a quick survey (okay maybe I watched ten seconds of a video of him singing and playing guitar), lives six blocks from me, and is probably, oh hell I don't know, late twenties? But I mean, he saw me in the harsh light of day, and kids, yr blogmistress fully looks her age in the harsh light of day. Fully. So who knows. Maybe he likes the oldur wimminz.

I haven't texted him yet.

half-hearted

The first thing I want to say is that I am drunk. That is the first thing.

The list of categories in my sidebar tells me that this is the not the first time I have done something like this. I do not know what to make of that. Whether that adds legitimacy (?) to this post, or whether it just makes it more pathetic, I am not sure.

In any case, that is the first thing I want to disclaim: I am drunk.

The second thing I want to say is that I love my friends. I mean, fuck do I love them. I can say that it is not exaggeration or hyperbole when I declare that I am alive because of them, because I am. They do not like when I tell them this (I do not blame them), but it is true. I am alive because of my friends. When I am at the absolute end of my rope, the thought of good times and laughs with my friends is the only thing that keeps me tethered. It is the only thing that keeps me from letting go.

All my life I dreamt of having friends like I have now. I don't know what I did wrong, in high school and college and the years afterward. I don't know if I was just a complete asshole, or if the people I was choosing as friends were complete assholes. But I have never ever had friends like I do now. People who save my life without knowing it, with their humor and grace and kindness.

Tonight I went out with mah girl Kerrbear. She is a lovely, wonderful, huge and beautifully hearted person. She has a job she hates, but she works very hard at it. She commutes every day, driving for hours each way. She deserves better, and I have every faith in her that she'll get it, soon, because she is spectacularly dedicated and has a thing which I lack, which is an eye on her long game.

Kerry's long game is amazing. It involves living in Italy. I hope I am allowed to visit.

Anyway.

Tonight, Kerrbear and I went out. We had drinks at one bar, and then another. Lots of drinks. (Also, lots of fried food.)

And I told her. I said, "Kerry, I think I'm going to end it with the dude I have been seeing."

And she made the appropriate face, which was something between sadness and surprise, with understanding thrown in. Because she knows I have liked this dude, and am disappointed that it is not working out.

But I explained to her the thing that I will now explain to you, which is that it could not be clearer how not into me this dude is.

Alas. It sucks, but it is true.

What do you mean, Ellie? you say. How could he not be into you? You are so cool and funny and smart, albeit slightly ridiculous and rather self involved and oh yeah, you're thirty-eight years old and sort of mostly jobless and divorced, and that doesn't exactly recommend you to members of the opposite sex BUT OTHER THAN THAT how could he not be into you?

To which I say, I don't know. It is a thing I have puzzled over for the better part of six weeks, as I have rode the roller coaster which is His Interest Level, which waxes and wanes depending on how close it is to the weekend (i.e., how close it is to the day in which he will be sleeping with me).

I do not know, I tell you verily, but it makes me sad. It makes me sad that at first he seemed very interested in me. Texts and wine and making me dinner and stolen kisses and you know. That sort of thing, which made parts of me (which I will not name lest I embarrass myself further) swell up and feel full of promise.

It makes me sad that despite my doing everything I could in my power to communicate my interest in him, it was not enough to win his interest back.

What do you do? he asked me, understandably, and I tried to explain. I write, I said weakly. I told him I'm writing a novel (which I am! I really am!) and do you know how many times he asked to read something I've written? Any old thing at all?

Zero. He asked zero times.

One day not so very long ago he told me the name of his favorite book, and said I should read it. So do you know what I did? You know, yes. I bought it and downloaded it the very next night and read it. And do you know what he said when I told him I'd done so?

Nothing, basically.

He didn't ask me what I'd thought of it, or express any surprise or appreciation that I'd spent three hours of my life trying to better understand him.

There are, apparently, dudes who will sleep with you, spend an afternoon with you, and then not talk to you for three, four, five days at a time. You can reach out to them and send silly texts to say hello, or just to lob the ball over to their side of the net to say Hey! It's me! Just letting you know you're on my mind, and I'm interested in getting to know you further! - but they will not do the same.

And if you let them, these dudes will continue to do that for weeks on end, under the guise of being OMGbusy.

But it does not take very long to send a thirty second text. In fact, I timed how long it takes to send a thirty second text. It takes thirty seconds.

Also? The only times he ever picked up the phone to call me were to ask for my help with his fundraiser. So that sort of sucked, as well.

Christ I am drunk. Probably screenshot this if you hate me, because it will not stay up long. Or maybe it will. Fuck, I do not know.

This is the saddest thing I have ever written, but also maybe one of the funniest, because I am totally okay with it. I am okay with the fact that some dude is not as into me as I would like, and here I am on the internet being sad about it, like a teenager. It is okay because it is a thing that happens to all of us in our lives. Boy meets girl. One of them likes the other more. Sadness ensues. It doesn't mean I'm not worthy or awesome, or that I won't find someone who CANNOT BELIEVE I haven't been taken already.

Still, I think it's kind of dickish to never even ask to read anything I've written.

I mean, it's what I do.

Anyway.

Now everyone is up to speed. Ellie was seeing a dude who was only half-heartedly interested in her. She realized on Thursday how much that sucks, and decided that she's done with being the object of half-hearted interest.

But she still has fucking awesome friends, and that is something.

Goodnight.

serves two

Ingredients
  • 1 female, 38 years of age
  • 1 male, 30 years of age
  • 1 English Mastiff, 6 years of age
  • several servings of sushi
  • several ounces of alcohol
  • 1 premium Spotify subscription
  • 1 teaspoon optimism (if not in season, substitute with additional alcohol) 
  • 1 surprise kiss
Directions

1. Arrange sober, unfed humans on opposing barstools in neighborhood tavern. Slowly mix in six to eight ounces of alcoholic beverages, pausing occasionally for casual conversation, sustained eye contact, and laughter. 

2. When thoroughly toasted, remove from tavern and allow to cool momentarily on city streets before placing in nearby Japanese restaurant. Pour in roughly 3/4 of remaining alcohol. 

3. In separate room, allow Mastiff to slumber undisturbed for two to three hours. 

4. Divide sushi into three portions: what male will eat, what female will eat, and what female will leave behind on the plate for male to eat even though she really wants to eat it herself. Stuff humans accordingly. 

5. Carefully combine male and Mastiff in pre-cleaned apartment, using a dog treat to unstick Mastiff from female if necessary. 

6. Add surprise kiss.

7. Quickly, while kiss is still warm, sprinkle female with optimism.

8. Transfer humans to overly crowded scenester bar. Add remaining alcohol.

9. Return pair to apartment and add Spotify at maximum volume. Keep music on high until a loud pounding on adjoining neighbor's wall is heard; then adjust volume to low. Allow male to rest while whipping female and Mastiff into music-induced frenzy. 

10. Marinate overnight in separate zip codes.

Reviews

★★★★☆
Delicious! I thoroughly enjoyed this recipe, but I would probably use less alcohol next time. - Ellie, 7/20/13

★★★☆☆
The leftovers were a little lacking in flavor, so I just added a few tablespoons of perspective. Changed the taste completely though. - Ellie, 7/21/13 

★★☆☆☆
Hmmm, I don't know. Seemed pretty good at the time, but I'm not sure I'd make this one again. - Ellie, 7/22/13

★★☆☆☆
Needs moar treets. - Chaucer, 7/21/13

part the first (?)

People, I'd planned to flesh this out with more detail and context, and more snippets of our chat, which has been very lolzy. But I wanted to get it published before I left for the actual date,and be, like, all chronological for once. So I'm sorry it's not my finest and it's very sloppy and abbreviated and such, but you get the idea. 

Okay, gotta jet. Happy weekend you guys!


---

Sunday

Closing my tab at the bar. My friends are waiting outside. I'm fairly tipsy. "I like your boots." I look up to see a tall, dark-haired guy beside me, smiling and gesturing towards my feet. I hold up a finger: just wait. I reach down and grab my right ankle, then fold the back half of the rubberized heel of my combat boot nearly ninety degrees. Tall guy laughs. 

"See that?" I say, pointing at what looks like a glob of dried honey on the edge of the heel. "That's rubber cement. I've already Superglued them twice." Tall guy nods with mock seriousness. Says something I don't remember. I say something I don't remember back. This continues for another minute, while the bartender retrieves and then runs my debit card. As I'm signing my receipt, tall guy says something else that makes me laugh. I don't remember what it is. 

The important part is what I say: "Okay, this is what's happening now. My friends are waiting for me, so I have to go, but you're very cute, and I wish I'd met you earlier. So," I continue, tearing off the bottom half of my receipt, "here's my number. Use it." Tall guy holds the slip of paper up to the light. The digits are not very legible. 

"Here," he says, and pulls a business card from his wallet. "Just in case." We make solid, smiling eye contact for a moment before I say goodbye and leave.

I join my friends outside, triumphantly waving the card in the air. "I got a number! I got a number!" D. and I get bacon-wrapped hot dogs from a street cart vendor and compare notes.

"I saw him," he verifies to the others. "He was cute." 

"Ooooh," says L., "What does he do?" I read the card aloud. He shares a surname with a character from a novel I read and loved. His occupation is listed as "Executive Director" of what I gather is a non-profit. 

We'll call him Sawyer. 

Monday

I wake up to a missed text. Nice meeting you last night. You're going in my phone as "Ellie Boots". ...(This is Sawyer ___ btw...)

I Google him. There is a Linked In, which backs up the information on the business card. There is also an IMDb listing for someone of the same name. I glance back at the Linked In, compare photos. It's the same person. Director of a non-profit and an actor. The profile photo appears to be from some kind of awards ceremony, or possibly an opening. I Google some more. There are professional head shots. Classy, cute, not overly cheesy. There is a Twitter, similar to mine in spirit and popularity: snarky one-liners and the occasional personal tweet. There is a private Instagram. There is a sketch comedy video on a popular website, which I watch, biting back a smile. He's undeniably cute and funny, in a John Krasinski sort of way. Exceptionally blue eyes. Great hair. I do some quick math, based on his graduation date. Early thirties.

I text back. In that case it's a good thing I didn't wear clogs. ...Nice meeting you as well. I'm glad my hastily scribbled receipt survived. 

- If I lost it, I would have just searched "Ellie Boots" on FB and found you.

- Good thinking. Though you'd have to wade through thousands of comments on my fan page to find any dirt.

- All boot-related comments I'm sure.

- Yes. I'm like a meme. Ellie Boots. You should see my Reddit presence.

He texts a photo of a billboard. A blonde in a skimpy halter top, cut-offs, and Timberlands. The heading reads WORK BOOT WAREHOUSE. This is you, isn't it?

- BRB, calling my publicist.

We text on and off over the next few hours, some banter, some genuine questions. He sends me a photo of himself in a suit, seated at a desk with multiple computer monitors visible behind him, mugging with an exaggerated pout. Look at me in my monkey suit! All official up in hea!

- Well this is awkward. I thought I gave my number to a middle-aged black man. 

He tells me he lived in Malibu until recently, that his landlord died and he lost his place, that he's been couch surfing and housesitting until he gets settled. I have tons of friends still in Malibu, though.

- I met a really cool seagull in Malibu a few months ago. ...Maybe you know him? Frank.

- Frank Ramone or Frank Arnell? ...Did you get his number?

- Fassbender. Of the PCH Fassbenders. ...Don't be ridiculous. Seagulls don't have phones. 

And so on and so forth, here and there, all week, until Thursday night, when we make plans to get together Friday night.

And oh look, it's Friday night. I better go find some boots. :)

cliffhanger

Hi, weirdos.

You guys know that when I call you weirdos I mean it in the most affectionate way, right? As in, you crazy weirdos who care about me, don't you know you should be off reading Salon or Mother Jones or anything more educational and enlightening than this dumb blog? That's all I mean. I don't mean it in a pejorative sense. I don't even think of "weird" as an insult. All the best people are weird.

Anyway, I thought I'd just get down a boring, fourth-wall breaking sort of hello post, because I've gotten a few nudges over the past few days from friends online and off, making sure I'm okay. I'm totes okay. And I feel more than a little bit guilty that the cut-vein-bleed-all-over-page sort of posts I occasionally write make people worry. I'm not sure how to handle that. If I should stop writing those sorts of posts, or if I should just try to make a better effort towards staying in touch with this space, or IG/Twitter or whatever, so people don't get anxious when I'm silent for days at a time. I don't mean to be a drama queen or an attention whore, though I can see how it would look that way.

I've had a pretty good week, actually. I've been in a much more positive and calm space than I've inhabited in months. A sort of transitional space, I think.

On Friday I went and listened to some trance music, which was even more fun than I'd hoped it would be. That afternoon I'd made a very difficult phone call that I'd been putting off, and it was kind of stressful for me. As in, my hands were shaking when I hung up. So after that I wanted to blow off some steam. Not even that, really - that's a bad way to put it. I wanted to check out for a little while. And I felt like I deserved to, after that phone call. So I ate some mushrooms and went trancing. I got there way too early and was way, way too high too soon, so there was some comedy with that. Near-empty dance floor, scattered pairs of (mostly male) kids, and yr blogmistress, trying to stay upright and anonymous, off to the side by the speakers. Eventually the club filled up enough to where I could close my eyes and just float away in my head. Every so often someone would tap me on the shoulder, wanting to dance or talk to me or whatever, which, if you've ever gone trancing, you know is incredibly annoying. At one point I felt someone tug my shirt and I opened my eyes to see a teenaged boy holding his iPhone up to my face, with "I think you're cute" typed on the notepad. He could not have been more than nineteen years old.

I put my hand on heart, tilted my head, and made an Awww face that I knew would give me away for much, much older than him. Then I cupped my hand against his ear and said as kindly as I could, "That's very sweet, thank you. But you can tell I'm pretty dialed in, right?" He nodded, chastised. I asked him his name, told him mine, and shook his hand. Then I explained that I was just here for the music, but that he should have a good night. By the time we were done speaking, the poor kid looked like he just wanted to flee. A lecture from mom was not what he'd been expecting.

The visuals were incredible. There was a beautiful garden, that was the main thing. And some kind of crazy tribal dance thing going on - very sexual. All these dancers, positioned around me, dancing for me. Very bizarre. When the lights started, it was all over. Crazy, pulsing geometrical patterns that looked like...sound. It's hard to explain. I was smiling and laughing, my eyes completely shut, a total outsider in a crowd of micro dress-wearing twenty-somethings. Okay, I exaggerate slightly. There were some older people. But not many. Anyway, it was fantastic. Every so often I'd take a break and go downstairs, where there's a smaller room with another DJ, and couches lining the walls. I'd sit for a while, catching my breath, taking it all in. Some kid in head-to-toe neon came up to me while I was curled up in the corner and asked if I was okay. "I'm great," I smiled, and looked at him as levelly as I could. I knew I looked high as hell and that he'd probably seen me dancing alone upstairs.

"You look like you're having an amazing time," he laughed. "I just wanted to make sure."

Mushrooms do crazy, crazy things to the passage of time. They make tiny folds in it, so that a five minute period can feel like five seconds. Or they'll take long, slow drinks of it, sucking all the minutes out of an hour and then spitting them back out all at once. It's incredibly disorienting, but not in an uncomfortable or scary way. There's also some of that with, like, my spatial awareness. I'll just blank out for a few seconds at a time, and "come to" again, and it takes a moment to realize where - and when - I am. Like waking up from a dream, only you lose track of which is dreaming and which is waking.

I stayed until a little bit after two am, then walked the four blocks back to my apartment, feeling amazing: uplifted, independent, free, happy, optimistic. And no crash the next day - that's the best part of shrooms.

So that was Friday.

On Saturday I felt like walking around outside, in a crowd, so I took the bus to Glendale and just wandered around The Americana for a couple of hours. I tried on $1000 dresses in Barney's, just for fun, and ate an overpriced and under filled prosciutto and mozzarella sandwich for lunch. The cashier who sold me the sandwich and I had a three minute conversation about what flavor of San Pelegrino is the best. I was excited to be trying grapefruit for the first time that day, and he was promising me it would be my new favorite, even over lemon. He was kind of cute, so after I finished eating, I sort of lingered around the counter hoping he'd pop back out from the kitchen and see what I'd thought of it. But he didn't. Instead, another employee who didn't speak English very well asked me if I needed anything else. When I tried to tell him to tell the other cashier that he was right about the grapefruit, he just looked at me blankly. "Never mind," I said, and left.

I tried on some Chanel frames at an eyeglasses store, then went back later to try them on again, then went back a third time. I took a picture of them in my hand to post to Instagram, but when I saw the state of my fingernails I realized I couldn't post it. Instead I asked an employee if she would mind cleaning the lenses for me. She frowned and stared at the frames I was holding. "Well, you do know you'd replace the lenses, right? With your own prescription?"

"Yes," I explained. "But I'd like to see how they look without smudges, before I buy them. They're kind of expensive, you know?" She didn't say anything, but she took them from me and wiped them down with a rag behind the counter. I didn't buy them, but I can't stop thinking about them. Instead I bought a pair of baggy, roll-up khakis on sale at Free People, which was very exciting for me, because they are exactly what I've been looking for. I also really, really wanted to buy these, but I resisted. I have decided that women's underwear is some of the most ridiculous stuff on the planet. I plan on writing a post about it.

I missed my bus on the way back, and had a half an hour wait for the next one. My phone battery was nearly dead, and I sat on the bench watching the power percentage drop down to single digits, listening to music and scrolling quickly through Instagram. A guy I drunkenly gave my phone number to at Coachella texted to see if I was free that night, as he'd be downtown to see some band. I lied and said I had plans, and my screen blanked out before I could read his reply. I had a forty-five minute ride back home, and pretty much crashed after walking Chaucer.

That was Saturday.

On Sunday night I went out to Hollywood with friends. And met someone. With whom I have a date tomorrow. Oh boy, I can hear the squeals of excitement pouring forth from all quarters. SETTLE DOWN, PEOPLE.

I suppose I should back up and tell that story, because that's been The Most Interesting Thing of The Week - and I will, but Chaucer needs a walk, so gimme a bit and I'll come back and finish, because cliffhanger posts are dumb and annoying.

x number of times

His eyes are the first thing you notice. Bright and alert. Thinking. Mischievous and happy. A rich, syrupy brown that, when coupled with his little boy lashes, can cause mild devastation. If he knows that, though, he hides it - or at least unleashes it only in small, restrained flashes.

He's too smart for his own good. A recovering newspaper addict, overly self-educated about the ugly realities of the current world. Cynical, but not jaded. Suspicious. Opinionated. Not angry, though. Not anymore. Now he's just amused. Bemused. When politics come up, he'll go a mile a minute and be way, way down the road ahead of you before you realize what it is he's even talking about. And then he'll laugh. And it's genuine mirth, not bitterness. He's identified and parsed out The Machinations of The System, and since there's really nothing he can do about it, he just laughs.

And he's funny. He's clever and quick, and he challenges me to be clever and quick back, because getting a laugh out of him feels like an accomplishment. He'll glance at me in acknowledgment when I score one, and it makes me grin with pleasure. He used to perform comedy. He was quite successful at it.

He demurs when I compliment him. When we talked about women and sex - and women's sexuality - my jaw nearly hit the floor. I've dated some feminists, but he's on a completely different level. And it's particularly surprising and impressive considering his conservative upbringing. But when I pointed out how evolved he is, he shook his head. "No I'm not," he said. "I'm just an animal like every other man."

He's empathetic. He listens keenly, his eyes on mine as I speak. He engages and shares, and becomes self-conscious when he fears he's shared too much. He's scared of sharing too much, because he knows familiarity breeds contempt.

To that end - I don't know how old he is.

To that end - I didn't know his last name until just a few days ago.

These were two arbitrary rules we gave ourselves in a not so arbitrary game, the object of which has been to prolong the stage of mystery and intrigue, which we both know heighten the initial attraction. We're calling a spade a spade and enjoying doing so.

It's extremely casual.

He looks a bit like Jason Lee.

The chemistry is, how you say, top notch.

He's been hurt recently, and very badly. He's grieving some massive, fresh losses. But he's a happy person with a healthy sense of self-love and self-respect. He knows who he is, and he's well aware of his values and boundaries, even if his empathetic nature leads him to occasionally let them be violated.

He has, I think, a big heart.

I like walking next to him. I really, really like putting my arms around him, even though I've only done it a few times. Mystery and intrigue and casual, etc. do not mix well with prolonged hugging.

He's a self-proclaimed hick. He does yoga. He's a championship archer. He plays guitar and sings, and I was genuinely impressed when I heard his music. He loves classic rock and metal and The Beatles, and on Sunday night he gave me a crash course in Rock History that left me marveling at just how much Muse is inspired by Iron Maiden. I'd had no idea.

It started as a conversation at a restaurant, at a friend's birthday party about a month ago. The conversation lasted through two additional locations and far into the evening. I've seen him X number of times since then, where X is enough for me to determine that I enjoy his company, but not enough to say much beyond that. It's casual and fun and that's all either of us knows or cares to know.

So that is a thing that is going on with me. And this being a place where I Reveal Personal Things from time to time, consider this the latest (presumably interesting) revelation about my personal life.

Oh yeah, and I invited him to come with me to Bonnaroo.

He's thinking about it.

The Single Girl's Guide to Solo Attendance Music Festival Joyousness

I'm an expert in very few areas of life, most of which no one would want to gain expertise in, anyway (lolsob). I do, however, think I've gotten pretty darn good at going to music festivals. So I thought it would be fun to write up a guide on that, partly because my Coachella butterflies are out of control at this point, and partly because while I've seen several festival guides online, I haven't seen one written from the perspective of a single woman attending alone. One quick note - this guide isn't for campers. I'm not a camper (not yet anyway). I'm a hotel-stayer-at'er. So if you're looking for specifics on camping, I'm afraid I can't help you with that.

So far I've been to two multi-day festivals and three single-day fests. Last year I spent about half of my time at Outside Lands alone, and I've gone to all of the single-day electronic festivals alone. It's been my experience that when people find out I'm at these events solo, their reactions fall into one of two categories: a) shock + pity or b) shock + admiration. I completely understand the first reaction - it's one I would have had myself, even as recently as three years ago. But in that time, I've learned to love my own company, and to appreciate the unique joys of being and doing alone. I think it's a learned skill. It takes practice and an openness to growth - and a good attitude of self-love. But when you can find peace and joy within you, you've freed yourself in the most profound way: you're no longer beholden to the companionship of others to be feel good.

Don't get me wrong: I'm human and like everyone else, I crave and need the companionship of others. I get by survive with a little lot of help from my friends. Friendships and socializing are a very big, and very important, part of my life. But occasionally withdrawing to center myself - by myself - is really gratifying. And music (specifically live music) has turned out to be the perfect way for me to find that centering. Concerts and particularly festivals are like spiritual retreats to me, where I can go to remember who I am and, if I'm lucky, even learn a little bit more about myself.

So while I wouldn't want to speak for anyone else, in my case, any pity is misguided and unnecessary. I want to be there alone. I've got lots of amazing people in my life. I don't want for friendships - for fun, smart, creative and funny people to spend time with. So going to festivals alone, while occasionally pang-inducing (more on that below), doesn't make me feel bad about myself.

Plus, there are lots of positives to going to festivals alone. Most obviously, you can see whatever acts you'd like, without having to worry about what anyone else wants to see. No scheduling conflicts, no disagreements, no sacrifices. You can move at your own pace, too. If you need a water break, or a bathroom break, or you just want to lay on a blanket in the shade for half an hour - you can do that. You're not slowing anyone else down, or holding anyone else back. You don't have to worry about getting separated, or missing meetup times.

Festivals are intense experiences. Everyone gets something slightly different from them. They delight some people in ways that they challenge or frustrate others. Maybe, like me, you lov festival crowds. Maybe you, too, love being surrounded by hot, sweaty, happy, dancing people. Maybe you feel kinship and joy when amongst tens of thousands of other passionate music fans. Or maybe you need your space. Maybe the crowds are a drawback to you, and you need to have breathing room when you watch shows. Maybe you need to dance. Maybe you prefer to chill on the grass and watch quietly.

When you go by yourself, you can do whatever you'd like, without having to worry about what your friends or partner wants to do. And you don't have to worry that they're not enjoying themselves, or that they're more tired/hungry/hot than you.

You are completely free.

If you want to socialize, believe me, you won't have trouble. And this has nothing to do with being a woman - festivals are just friendly events made for mingling, and I've chummed up with other women as often as I've met men. If you feel a little lonely - say, for instance, when watching a band with whom you have some romantic, melancholic associations - just make some concert friends. There are thousands of people around you with whom you're sharing an amazing, once in a lifetime moment. Trust me, most of them will be happy to connect with you, if you just make yourself open to them. Smile, say hello, ask a question, strike up a conversation. Who are you here to see? Who else have you seen today? What's the best food here? I'm a first timer...

Some of the funnest times I've had at festivals happened when I hooked up with random strangers. We dance, we get drinks, maybe we watch a show or two together - and then we go our separate ways. Connection and memory made.

Obviously, though, you want to be careful. Especially if you're indulging in alcohol or other substances that can potentially compromise your self-awareness. Being a woman on your own, unfortunately, can make you a target for unwanted attention. So I'm going to throw out a small list of don'ts, most of which fall into the yeah, no shit Ellie category, but they're worth repeating, because they're that important.

DON'TS

1. Don't accept drugs - or even open container alcohol - from strangers. This is just common sense. And believe me, offers will be made. But no matter how friendly someone seems, you really know nothing about them. And it's just not worth the risk. If you're going to party, provide your own party favors. Buy your own drinks. Bring your own drugs, if that's your thing. There are just too many dangerous, deadly wild cards in the world, and you never know. Even seemingly harmless pot can be laced with seriously crazy shit.

2. If you do bring them, don't share your drugs with strangers, no matter how tempting it is to invite someone into the amazing physiological party your body is throwing you. There are undercover cops at festivals, and nothing would suck worse than getting ejected and losing $$$ because you tried to be cool. It's just not worth it. Not to mention, knowing nothing about these strangers, you have no idea what their familiarity with / tolerance of drugs is, or if they're taking something with counter indications, or if they're already fucked up, etc, etc, etc. You could potentially harm someone, and badly. Not worth the risks.

3. Don't do any drug for the first time. If you're not already comfortable with it - with how to take it, and how much of it to take - skip it. Not worth the risk of overdosing and being miserable / hurting yourself. And if you do over do it, don't be shy about asking for help. Festival staff are there to support your experience and keep you safe. They're neither naive about nor underprepared for any and all emergencies. I can't speak to Coachella yet, but at Bonnaroo and Outside Lands, there is a very friendly, "no questions asked" policy of providing help to festival-goers in trouble. Take advantage of this if you need to, and don't be too proud to admit if you've fucked up. You won't be the first or the last to do it!

4. Don't get so messed up that you lose self-awareness. This is largely related to #3. Don't get obliterated. Don't get so high you don't know where you are. This is dumb and potentially disastrous. Have enough self-respect to take responsibility for your mind and body. You are your own guardian. Take care of you and be smart. Rest. Hydrate. Relax. Enjoy. Absorb. Reflect. These are days you'll want to remember for the rest of your life - take care to leave your brain the capacity to do so.

5. DO NOT LET ANYONE HARASS OR MAKE YOU UNCOMFORTABLE. This is a huge one, so I put it in shoutycaps. It's been my experience that being at a festival alone, as a woman, can make you a magnet for assholes. Guys who want to dance with you, when you want to dance alone. Guys who want to talk to you, when you don't want to talk to them. Be friendly but firm. Thank them for their interest, but make it clear you have none of your own. I have seen far too many young women looking miserable and trapped in conversation/interaction with pushy men who are unable to read body language and take a hint - and I'm not just talking about at festivals. Women, don't ever be shy about saying no, clearly and loudly. (At ANY point in your life, when interacting with men.) Unfortunately at festivals, the party atmosphere makes it easy for drunken and high guys to be oblivious and obnoxious. If you feel uncomfortable, walk away. Festival grounds are huge and massively crowded, and you can ditch people in a few seconds. And if you ever feel that your safety is threatened, find a festival staffperson immediately.

Ok! Non-fun stuff out of the way. Onto the fun stuff, much of which is probably also Yeah, no shit Ellie-esque, but I'm going to write it up anyway.

PLANNING

1. Book your travel and lodging as early as you can. There's no escaping the price jack-ups that area hotels do. Once they find out the festival dates, they shoot their prices up enormously for those weekends. It sucks. It's a fact of festivals, though. But you still want to book everything as soon as possible, so you don't have to worry. If you want one, book a locker early, too. They go fast. Also arrange for pet boarding/sitting if you need it. (I lucked out and have a friend staying at my place with Chaucer, but I may give DogVacay a shot next time.)

2. Study! This, for me, is the funnest part of festival planning - going through the massive lists of artists to decide who you want to see. Be warned: it takes several hours to get through it, but it's worth it. There's nothing worse than discovering, after the fact, that a band you now love was at the festival you attended last year, and you either didn't see them at all, or you saw them without knowing any of their music, and thus didn't really appreciate them nearly as much as you could have. This happened to me with The Walkmen. I'm now obsessed with them (and madly in love with Hamilton Leithauser), but when I saw them at Outside Lands, I had only the barest familiarity with them. Had I taken more time to go through the lineup and audition artists, I would have realized how much I love them, and would have gotten much, much more out of that show. Ugh. Kills me to think of it. Not to mention, some of the best shows turn out to be the "fine print" artists - unsigned, new, unknown, and thus billed at the bottom of the lineup. It's worth doing your homework to find these gems.

My system now is to type up a master list of all the artists performing, and then audition them, one by one, by listening to at least four of their songs (more if I'm on the fence about them) - though obviously, there's some music that I instantly know I'm not into. I put all of my "must sees" in bold, and highlight the maybes. I jot down notes next to any band I'm unfamiliar with, but that I think I may want to see (e.g., "electronic, downbeat" or "alternative, grungy" and so forth). It's impossible to become familiar with every single band in the lineup, so if you keep a master list with you at the festival, you won't be stuck trying to remember who's who, and what kind of music they play, and if you wanted to see them, etc. This is especially important to me because I like to go with my mood at festivals, instead of being locked down to a rigid schedule. Sometimes I need to break up more upbeat acts with mellow ones where I can chill for a while. And sometimes I just want to dance for hours on end. Having a cheat sheet with me helps me know who's playing at any given time, that will suit my mood.

Spotify has been indispensable in this endeavor. I made playlists for each day of Coachella, as well as a playlist for running consisting of only music that will be at Coachella. For every band that I'm seeing, I put their most recent album in the playlist plus all of the other top hits that are likely to be played. I also made a playlist of "leftovers" - good music that will be at the fest but that I probably won't see. Unsigned or new bands aren't always on Spotify, though you can usually find them on SoundCloud (a great resource for auditioning electronic DJs), or of course, their own website.

I then listen to these playlists over and over and over, for the weeks leading up to the festival. It builds the anticipation, and makes it infinitely more fun and gratifying, to be familiar with the music by the time I hear it live.

3. Pack early, so you have plenty of time to make sure you have everything you need. Nothing worse than running around last minute. Don't forget sunscreen, baby wipes, hand sanitizer, Advil, and any meds you take. Of course, if you're like me, it's much more fun to pack the other stuff.

CLOTHES/ACCESSORIES

Festival wear is kind of a unique beast, in that anything goes, style wise - and it's fun to take advantage of that - but you still want to be comfortable. I think you have to decide what your priority is. For me, comfort is always tops. I've seen lots of women who prize fashion above everything: $300 Frye boots (trekking through mud), gorgeous boho ensembles, ornately styled hair. And that's cool, if that's your thing. It's your festival experience, and you should do what will make you enjoy it the most. And if looking fabulous is what's most important to you, go hog wild. Anything and everything goes at festivals. Wear as much or as little as you want, and don't be shy or self-conscious. It's one of the few times in life when you can embrace your inner wild child in public - go for it!

That being said, you need to bear in mind what it is you'll actually be doing. It's all fine and good to wear an awesome feather headdress and suede fringe bra, but if it impedes your dancing/crowdsurfing/whatevering, it's just going to be a bummer to deal with. If you're the type to chill on the sidelines and observe away from the crowd, you can really wear whatever the hell you like - my only recommendation is to be sure and bring enough layers to keep warm out there by yourself.

I've found I'm happiest when I dress for comfort and for movement. Since I dance at almost every show, it's a basic requirement for me that my clothes can accommodate my moooooves. :) I like to wear soft, lightweight layers - four of them to be exact:

First layer (on the bottom) - either cargo shorts or a lightweight cotton skirt. No matter what you're doing or how good you want to look, you'll still want to be in comfortable clothes. And gauzy, breezy cotton mini skirts are perfect for summer/warm weather festivals. They keep your legs cool, they're easy to deal with in the gnarly port-a-potties, and they're fun/flirty to dance in. Cargo shorts are great for holding stuff, but again - your best bet in the face of those bathrooms is a short, lightweight skirt that you can lift up easily and keep far away from the nasty toilets and floors in those port-a-potties. Gross but true.

First layer (on top) - bathing suit top or camisole - something bare that I can keep cool/feel sexy in when I'm dancing, but that's still supportive and fitted enough that I don't have to worry about wardrobe malfunctions. String bikini tops aren't going to cut it, for my body, and for how I move. The bikini tops I have are an awesome Free People find from last year - they're supportive and tight, but still sexy with a little side boob action and the back crisscross lacing. I also have a white camisole/bra top that fits snugly but is lightweight enough to stay cool in.

Second layer - a tissue weight/sheer/burnout tank top or muscle tank. This is more or less so I'm not self-conscious walking around the festival in just a bathing suit top. Lord knows there are thousands of girls doing just that, and I usually end up like that when I start to dance, but I like having something over me when I'm navigating the grounds between stages. Tank tops add next to no weight, but essentially the same amount of coverage as a t-shirt.

Third layer - a button down. Any cotton or flannel button down that's soft and lightweight, but will cover my arms as it starts to cool off at night. Button downs are perfect since you can rock them unbuttoned too. (I love letting them fall off my shoulders when I'm dancing, with my arms still warm inside the sleeves.)

Fourth layer - Zip up hoodie (again, can be unzipped for even more temperature control), and either over-the-knee socks or legwarmers (or both!). And here's the thing. This isn't exactly the most fashion forward ensemble. But I tell you what. If by the point in the night that you need to layer up you're not having such a great time that you don't have a shit what you look like, girl, you're doing something wrong. Or you've got your priorities whacked. You're there to have fun, first and foremost. Don't forget it! Legwarmers are perfect in my opinion, if for no other reason that they're a snap to pull from your backpack and slip on right over your shoes, without having to take them off. And if it's really chilly, I rock the tall socks underneath those. This too is largely a port-a-potty concern. At cold weather festivals I've changed into lightweight leggings at night, but ugh, pulling those suckers down when you're drunk/high while trying to not touch anything in the gross-beyond-words bathrooms - not fun, people.

Shoes - My festival shoe of choice is a canvas sneaker. My favorite are Gola Quotas - they're super lightweight and are more form fitting than Chucks (but order them a size up! they run small). They lace up nice and tight, and hug your foot almost like a sock - and being so lightweight, they're perfect for dancing. And I always stuff some Dr. Scholl's gel supports into my shoes. I also recommend bringing a pair of low rain boots. They're bulky and a pain to pack, but I was glad to have them at Bonnaroo and Outside Lands, where the ground was ridiculously muddy by the third day.

Accessories - I like to skip both earrings and rings, since I find them uncomfortable (and potentially dangerous, haha) when dancing. But I do wear some fabric/thread bracelets and a colorful fabric belt/obi. And while I sometimes start the day out with a cute headband, that goes the way of the dodo pretty early on. Same with hats.

Blanket or sheet - It's nice to have something dry and clean to sit on throughout the day, and I found the best option for this is to go to the fashion district and just get a few yards of vinyl-backed fabric. It's not as cute as some of the prettier, gauzier picnic blankets and quilts I've seen, but it's lightweight, waterproof, and rinses off easily. They come in funky, colorful patterns, and if you get sick of lugging it around, it's cheap enough to ditch. And really, all you need is something between you and the ground, anyway. I stick it in my locker when I get to the festival each day and then scoop it up a few hours in, when I start to lose steam and know I'll be wanting to sit for longer periods - or if I'm seeing a mellow show that I want to sit for in its entirety. Having a blanket is essential for creating a little bit of space for yourself, since no one will stand or sit on it once you lay it down. Just don't be a jerk and plop down in an area where most everyone is standing or dancing.

Backpack - I don't like the weight and hassle of a regular backpack. Plus I feel like an asshole pushing through a crowd with all that bulk bumping against people. Instead, I take a lightweight drawstring backpack, into which I put as little as possible (sunscreen, lip gloss, money, sunglasses), and get a locker for my heavier night layers and sheet. When I'm moving through the crowd at a show, I move the backpack around to my chest and leave it there until everyone is done jockeying for position and the music starts. Then I either keep it on if I'm just watching, or take it off and rest it just in front of my feet, if I'm dancing. The area I tend to watch shows in is toward the back where the crowd starts to thin out, so my bag isn't in anyone's way - and if it is, I move. I try to always practice good festiquette (which probably could be another post entirely...).

I just picked up the perfect bag from Fliteline on Etsy. It's lighter than air and silky soft, but strong (it's made from recycled parachute warning labels).

And here's what all that looks like, assembled!







OTHER RANDOM BITS OF ADVICE

If you want to socialize/meet people (read: guys), go for it. But if you're there primarily for the music, I definitely recommend going back to your hotel (alone) promptly at the end of the night. You won't realize how truly exhausted you are until you get back and lay down. It is a huge tax on your body, to be out in the sun all day, dancing and drinking and whatevering. And while you can meet guys anytime, there are only a few times in your life you'll be watching your favorite bands perform live. Save your energy for that!

Take cheap sunglasses. Or if you take good ones, make sure to have a hard clamshell case for them.

Make a playlist of maybe twenty of your favorite, most-anticipated festival songs. Listen to it often, and think about the kind of experience you want to have when you're there. Like so much in life, attitude is everything! If you go into your fest with the mindset that you're going to have an amazing time, you will. And it's all about the music. Having a set of songs that you're most excited about will make it so, so much fun to hear them live. Everything will come together and you'll think to yourself, This. This is what I was waiting for. Curate your experience ahead of time - it's worth the planning.

ENJOY. Make an effort to appreciate what's uniquely fun about going alone. You'll be surrounded by thousands upon thousands of people, almost all of whom are in groups or pairs. And that's a really cool and beautiful thing. But what you're doing is pretty darn special, too, and hella adventurous. Be proud of yourself that you have the independence and spirit to travel and fest on your own! Take your time, enjoy your own company, sit back, smile, and watch the incredible scene. Explore. Get lost. Engage. Get found. Close your eyes. Listen. Dance. Don't worry about anyone else. Love life, love music, and love yourself. 

Decide that you're all you need to make yourself happy, and you will be happy

Joyeux Festival, mes filles! :)

blur, blur, blur

When the alarm goes off at 7:15, I've been asleep for about four hours. Snippets from the previous evening float back to me as I try, with futility, to suppress thoughts of the soju still in my system. An unreasonable amount of heavily seasoned, oil-soaked meat at Korean BBQ. The somewhat wild drive from K-town to Little Tokyo, looping unnecessarily through Skid Row, while listening, weirdly, to classical music. A private karaoke room, stuffy and dark, filled with loud and intimidatingly beautiful girls I don't know. Later: cramming into a photobooth in an Arts District bar, with the three people I do.

I consider canceling my 8:00 hair appointment, but I know I can't. My color has reached the crisis point; I can see it in pictures. Plus, I want bangs.

My stylist is a friend; she and her husband own the salon a block from my apartment. When I was married, the four of us were close, and hung out several times a month. Extravagant dinners at Mastros, drinks at Nic's in Beverly Hills; impromptu, slightly drunken trips to Malibu, where I once skinny dipped in the pitch black surf. They often cooked us meals at their home, and we'd stay late afterward, sitting around the fire pit on the rooftop, talking and drinking wine long into the night.

Chaucer dawdles on his morning walk, and 8:10 sees me running down the sidewalk, sloppy in Saturday sweats. But my rush is for nothing; she and her husband haven't even arrived yet, and as I take a seat to wait, my phone rings. Husband has been made to call by wife; it's his fault they're running late, and they're still another ten minutes out. I tell him not to be silly, and to just drive safe: I'm relaxing on the salon sofa and catching up on Instagram.

As usual, I entrust as all decisions re: my hair to Y., who has never once made me regret it. What color, how much, the cut, the length of my bangs, etc. As usual, she deeply discounts my color, and doesn't charge me for the cut. As usual, I make up some of the difference in my tip.

Back at home, Chaucer has energy to burn, having not gotten a good long walk the day before. So I grab a hoodie and we go up the street to the John Ferraro Building, where after a long session of fetch, I spend several minutes brushing him. The area we play in is still flooded in the building's cool morning shade, and when he accidentally kicks his ball in the fountain, my ankles and feet go numb from wading into the icy water to retrieve it.

Wally and I pick up our text conversation from the night before. He's at All Worlds Resort in Palm Springs, and has invited me out to join him. I decline, citing the estate paperwork that sits unfinished on my desk, and a lack of preplanning for boarding Chaucer. Plus, I'll get to see him when he's in town next weekend. Our three-day conversation covers such topics as porn, sex toys, and video games.

- I've been informed that the TV in our room gets a myriad of porn channels.

- Speaking of porn, I have a theory that so far has held up, which is that guys who watch it are demonstrably better in bed.

- Interesting. The only potential flaw in the theory might be that guys who say they don't are lying. Unless they're me, of course.

- I've thought of that. Corollary theory: guys who are hung up about porn to the point of lying about it aren't good in bed because they have hang ups.

- The corollary theory seems sound. Good science. (thumbs up emoji) ...I am using the wifi at All Worlds to play Mermaid World. Only 8 days left to get Lum, the Easter mermaid. 

He sends a screenshot from the game: a trio of animated, doe-eyed mermaids with scant clothing but elaborate hair and makeup. Lum is in the middle, between Aries and Aqua. Her eyes are mint green; she wears a white pearl choker and white seashell bra. Her hair is cotton candy pink and woven through with flowers. A badge above her head reads 8 Days Left.

- Lum has awesome hair. I can't stop laughing about the fact that you're playing Mermaid World. It makes me inexplicably happy.

- It might as well be porn, because I probably act as if it were, closing out of it or positioning the screen so it can't be seen if someone walks by.

- So awesome.

- Awesome. Tragic. It's a fine line. 

Spyro texts, too, from San Diego, where he's partying with Mason. They'll be there until tomorrow, he says. This is standard operating procedure that we undergo every few weeks. He invites me to drop everything and jump on a train. I explain patiently that as much as I love spontaneity, I have a pet who requires forethought. The invitations are always last minute, often drunken, and disclose little to no information about the logistics of travel or accommodations.

- Is this the part where you half-assedly invite me with no tangible details or plan? I love this part.

- No it's the part where you get your ass in a rental car. We're seriously with 16 good looking German dudes who all make great money and they're humor. ...They'd love you. You could be here by 4.

- East or West Germany?

- East. It's Mason's last night with us.

- Jew so funny.

- We're getting him a forearm tattoo at dusk.

This goes on for some time. I have absolutely no intention of shoving Chaucer, last minute, into boarding so that I can join them (and he knows it), but we'll banter about it, anyway.

- Please ask the Germans to take ein piktur of you, ja? Both of you at samen timen, ja?

My request goes ignored, but a little while later I'm sent a picture of what appears to be a party bus full of attractive thirty-something men, smiling widely for the camera. Mason sits towards the back, also smiling.

- They heart Mason. Shocker. When do you get here?

- Whoa, fuck. Some of those dudes are right bone-able. 

- 14 inches and then down. If you stack them we can climb out of a building.

- Do you think they'd be down to enact my WWII sex fantasy? I'm a French girl living in the countryside; they're the Nazi troops occupying my dad's farm. We're all bored and there's an abandoned barn in the back...

- Get your ass down here. Mason came last minute. It's so good that he paid to come, when he could have come for free with my buddy pass.

- I can't. I have to shave my mustache, see? I take and send a picture of myself pointing sadly at my upper lip, scrunched tight so that the shadow above it is enhanced. This is a reference to a recent, profanity-laced exchange we had wherein he complimented my use of the "mustache removal" filter on an IG selfie.

When he doesn't reply, I make a visit to my bathroom, where I uncap an eyeliner pencil and carefully run it under my nose: line, swirl, swirl. I text again.

- It's grown, look... I take and send another picture of myself, this time with the thin handlebar mustache I've just drawn, the edges curlicued delicately on either side.

(no reply)

- You don't like it. :( :(

(no reply)

I go the bathroom, wash off the handlebar, and reapply the eyeliner in heavy, up-down strokes, a narrow rectangle that spans only the bow of my lips. I take another picture and send it, captioned GO GERMANY.

Finally, I get a reply.

- You're an idiot.

- The carpet matches the tablecloth, if you know whumsaying.

He ignores this and tells me he's coming to LA next weekend with his daughter, and that I should "be ready". I neglect to ask specifics or even reply at all, because I've learned better than to believe Spyro's plans until I see them enacted with my own eyes.

I decide to take a nap. It's about 2pm.

---

I wake up a little after 4pm, and see missed texts from Wally, Spyro, and Mason, and a voicemail from A., which I listen to. He just wanted to say hi. He wants to see if we can continue our plan to not lose touch. He wants to know if I'd like to grab a coffee today or tomorrow. If so, call him back, or send a carrier pigeon, so he can stop leaving this stupid message, ok, bye.

Still laying in bed, I return the call immediately.

Small talk. What are you doing? - Nothing, just took a nap. You working? - Yeah. - How's it going? - Good. I can't hear you. You're eating the phone. - Sorry, is this better? - Yeah. Are you still in bed? - Me? No. - Oh. 'Coz that's what I sound like when I talk on the phone in bed. I hold it too close to my mouth. - Ok, yeah, I'm still in bed. 

More small talk. Ok, I'll let you go. - What? Why? I don't have to do anything. - Because I'm gonna get sappy. I just wanted to say hi. - Get sappy! What? What's up? - Nothing. ...I kind of want to come cuddle, but you already had a nap. - Come cuddle! I'll cuddle. I'm still sleepy. 

And just like that, that happens. No hesitation on my part whatsoever.

I'm straightening up, hurriedly picking last night's rejected outfits off the floor and wiping down my island countertop, when he texts to say he's downstairs. I retrieve him from the lobby and we hug in the elevator. It isn't until I step back to lean against the railing that I notice he's holding a large piece of poster board. He unrolls it to show me: a pen and ink drawing he did recently, of characters from an animated short we used to still joke about. He's brought it as a gift for me.

From that point, things started to blur, as they are wont to do, when they're things that you want to remember, but that you also maybe try not to, because you know you probably shouldn't, because you know you're walking a fine line between being OK with all of this, and not being OK with it at all.

Blur, blur, blur.

"Make yourself at home."

"I will," he replies, with exaggerated tartness. "I'm going to lay on your bed.He throws himself jauntily onto my just-remade bed. I step into the bathroom to brush my teeth, run a comb through my hair, and swipe a makeup remover-soaked cotton ball under my eyes. I do these things with the door closed. Because he's not my boyfriend. He hasn't been my boyfriend since July, in fact.

July.

I come out, we take each other in with smiles. I feel well rested, in a great mood. He's not well rested, but is in a good mood anyway. I throw myself on top of him and he hugs me tight, growling and burying his face in my hair, my neck. I pull back to look at him for a moment, then jump back up to blow my nose in the bathroom. Spring allergies.

When I come out, I lay with my chest between his legs, which are bare except for long khaki shorts - an extremely rare wardrobe choice for him. I run my hands up his thighs, raising my eyebrows playfully at him.

"Stoooooppp."  He's grinning though.

"What?" I say with faux innocence. "I just want to see if there's any cargo in these cargo shorts." The grin widens. "Well, is there?"

He doesn't move an inch. "Get outta here."

"You're going to have to clear it with customs if there is. And I've heard the customs officer is a real c**t." I emphasize the last word. We're smiling like idiots.

What else is new.

He reaches down towards me, the grin growing more coy by the second. "I've heard she can be a real whore..."

---

Afterward, my head on his chest, he asks if he can buy me dinner. I scoff. "Oh my god. You don't have to buy me dinner. This isn't a commerce-based transaction."

He pulls away to look at me, his voice rising in genuine indignation. "Fuck you! I know this isn't commerce. I'd just like to get dinner with you."

We stop at his place so he can change first, and on the way over, he takes my hand. When we cross a busy intersection, he moves to position himself between me and the rush-hour traffic, which inches impatiently into the crosswalk. In his apartment, I wait while he puts on a clean shirt and jeans. I wander around his living room and kitchen, feeling like a stranger among familiar things - clothes I've helped fold, a guitar I've watched him play, a pocket knife I've fiddled with a dozen times before. "Be careful with that," he says, when he sees me fiddling anew. He shows me his rooftop, which I'd yet to see. When we step out onto the terrace, the cold hits us hard, and without a word he takes off his heavy leather coat and drapes it over my shoulders.

On the way out of the building we run into an acquaintance of his. Pause for a conversation, introductions. Afterward: Ugh, I don't like that guy. We had it out pretty badly recently. Tells me the story. You should be nice to him, I advise. Clean slate. He clearly idolizes you. I could see it in his face, in his body language. - Yeah, well, he thinks I'm a reputable artist. That's his problem. I shoot him a look. You are a reputable artist. 

Back down on the street, the city has grown hectic around us. Sushi? - Perfect. - Little Tokyo? - Yes. Let's drive though. Indecision as to where. Yelp something good. - I can't. I'll throw up. - Yelp makes me nauseous, too. I hate that site - Shush. I can't look at my phone when I'm in a car, I'll get carsick. - What about the place we went to that one time, in the Arts District? - The one when we went running? - No, the other one. Where the chef gave us free samples. - No, let's go someplace else. - What about the ramen place, where we sat at the counter? - Is that what you want? - I don't know. - How about the place on First, with the good tempura, and that mango soda I like? - We could do that. 

Running through our options feels like leafing through a tour book of our relationship. Yep, ate there. Remember it because it was the night we talked about possibly living together one day. Yep, remember that place, too. You humored me by joining me on the longest, coldest run ever that night, even though you hadn't run in ages.

All of this is in my head, of course.

Dinner. Dumplings, shrimp tempura, miso soup, noodles, sashimi, rice, mango soda. While we wait for our food, sitting at the sushi counter, he shows me the misunderstood spider meme on his phone. When I laugh loudly, he sighs, looking momentarily sad. "What?" I ask.

"Nothing. It's just good to hang out with you, that's all."

A pair of middle-aged blond women relocate from their table to sit adjacent to us. They speak excitedly in German, studying the menu and looking over at our plates. I catch the expression on A.'s face.

"You'd so talk to those women if you were alone." He doesn't answer, but laughs guiltily. "You totally would. You love talking to people. You'd totally be all friendly and charming to them, wouldn't you? Because you'd know they're tourists, and you'd want to be nice to them."

"Yeah, or to fuck with them."

Blur, blur, blur.

We rehash and revisit the relationship, as we compulsively, inevitably do. When he feeds me bites of food with his chopsticks, I shake my head. "Remember how mad I used to get? When you'd try to get me to eat things I didn't want?" He nods. "Why did I do that? So dumb. You were only being sweet. I should be so lucky, that someone wants to show that kind of care to me."

He shakes his head. "Yeah, but come on. That was annoying. I got really pushy about it." But I won't accede.

"No," I say. "It was ridiculous of me."

And so it goes. We rehash and revisit. We apologize, we take accountability for this, we refuse to let the other person take responsibility for that. I'm told I was the best relationship he's had. I'm told I was his favorite girlfriend. I'm told I'm awesome and amazing and so smart and so talented and so pretty. Prettiest pumpkin in the patch. I smile. - I love when you say that. - I've said that before?? - Shut up, you know you have. 

Somehow, the subject of my father comes up. Somehow, I start to tell the story of the recent dentist's letter. I get as far as "...because apparently, he had an appointment scheduled for October..." before hot tears surprise me, choking me mid-sentence. The German women glance over.

A., who is straddling the chair he's turned to face me directly, squeezes my arm briefly before wordlessly lifting my purse from the back of my chair. "Let's go," he says softly, and puts his hand lightly on my elbow to help me up. As I move past him, wiping my eyes quickly in the busy restaurant, he wraps his arms around me. He holds me like this for a moment before letting me walk outside, where he again hugs me.

I tell him about having written to a reader of my blog a few days ago, a young women who recently lost her own dad. "You know," I say, as we walk slowly down the sidewalk, "I put a lot of effort into my blog. I really do. I try to make it somewhat interesting, even helpful, on occasion. I try to write things that will make people laugh or smile or maybe even think. But nothing I've ever written felt as good as the letter I wrote this girl. She's so young, A." I look at him. "She's so young. And I felt like I knew what to say to her, you know? I knew what would feel good to hear." He nods. He listens. He tells me for the hundredth time how resilient I am. How much I've bounced back - in his eyes, anyway.

And then he takes me for frozen yogurt.

Which we gorge on while walking back to his car. Where he takes my hand briefly, to kiss the back of it, before returning it to my lap. Where he plays Bon Iver and Angus Stone while we drive to my street. Where he drops me at my door, but not before inviting me to the art show he's on his way to. Where he texts me from a little bit later, with a picture of one of the sculpture's descriptions. Which I read carefully and reply back about, before picking up the conversation with Spyro again, telling him where I've been for the past few hours.

- Never take relationship advice from me again. I'm the world's biggest hypocrite.

- You suck almost as bad as I do. 

- I feel like I want to vomit my heart up. 

- You could have come down here and laughed your ass off. You should be here. 

- Sorry, too busy putting my heart through a meat grinder.

- Stop. You're better than this.

We text for a little bit, but I can barely keep my eyes open, I'm so exhausted. Spyro's a good friend. He says all the right things to prop me back up after this unexpected little storm dustup of emotion, and to help me get my head back on straight. And that's what I start to do, as I drift off, vacillating between the need to write it all out, the fear of misrepresenting what went down, and the uncertainty as to precisely what that was, anyway.

The facts are these: it's very easy for me to get swept up in the good feelings of being around A.: the affection and the playfulness and the care he shows me. And the intimacy. Because intimacy is nice. But nothing has changed. We are still who we are, with all the same things to offer one another which are good, but all the same things to thwart a healthy relationship, which are bad.

So it was just ... what it was. And today we return to status quo. And I'm mostly ok with it, even though I have a few creeping regrets that are less easy to kill than spiders with books, because I have this neat little trick my brain does, which is to go blur, blur, blur...

ex-as-friend

This is sort of unusual for me, but a few comments from friends on IG have made me realize it's probably just easier to respond here than in a massive reply on Instagram. The comment that was made and echoed by a couple others is essentially, Ellie, you say you and A. are wrong for one another, but your writing says differently. The way you write about him is lovely.

Ok so first, that's really nice to hear. :) Thank you. Second: you have to take into account that the other day, we took a drug. Called ecstasy. LOL. I don't know which, if any, of the readers of this blog have taken ecstasy or its purer, mellower sister MDMA (ok well I know a few, haha), but if you haven't, the thing to remember is that it's (obviously) perception altering. Joy enhancing. Like wearing the most magical, rose-colored glasses you can imagine. All that is ugly and dull and bad in life drops away. Actually, that's not true (for me, anyway). All that is ugly and dull and bad in life is still there, but you're able to view it with a positive, bigger-picture perspective than you're able to, otherwise. You really do realize: it's all ok.

(I hate to glorify drug use any more than I know I already do, but the truth is, my experiences with ecstasy, MDMA, and particularly mushrooms have really changed my life. I've found a way to bring that amazing, wider perspective back from those highs, so I can call on it again, albeit in a limited way, when I'm sober. It takes a conscious effort to do it. You have to really stop and imprint on yourself what it is you're thinking and feeling in that moment. It's like putting a stamp on your emotional passport, so that even though you have to leave that beautiful, exotic country, back at home you're able to flip through it again, and remember those sensations and thoughts. It's takes practice, but it's possible. The first person to ever give me ecstasy taught me how.)

So, knowing that we were extremely high when we spent the day together might help explain my romanticized view of it. Also, there's a sort of day-after "glow" to MDMA, under which I wrote the post. But I know that I've written other posts about him that give the same positive impression. So what's up with that? It's hard to explain, but I'll try.

A. and I tap into something special for one another. He's so silly and playful and creative and affectionate. I mean, you guys remember those posts from last year, when we were getting to know one another? All the horsing around on the streets, the public affection, all the things he made for me, all the clever texts and romantic whatnots? That shit is amazing. I love that shit. Who wouldn't, right? But I mean, I really, really love it. It brought me immediately back to another relationship I had, the one that spanned into my late twenties, where I was involved with someone very similar. Someone very youthful and full of life, who would leave love notes in my pockets for me, or show up in a costume at our door (we lived together), just for the fun of it. He made me feel incredibly special. And A. did the same thing. I mean, he really would do anything for me, and still tells me so all the time. And as someone who didn't feel particularly treasured as a child or teenager, finding someone who flipped that paradigm and made me feel lovable in a way I never had - it was, and is, amazing.

And I do something similar for A. I fill a certain need for him. I don't really like to speak for him, but I'm fairly sure he'd agree with me on how that breaks down, because this is stuff we've talked about a lot. For one thing, he has a hard time connecting with his emotions sometimes, and he feels that's something I'm good at (connecting with my own emotions, that is). So, I don't know. I think maybe I help him with that? He is also incredibly, heartbreakingly hard on himself. He starts to think nothing he does is good enough, that he's not good enough, in spite of how smart (I mean, I never even went into his mechanical and technical acumens, which are mind blowing - the guy can build anything, and there's nothing computer related he can't master) and talented he is. And I was always very good about validating him in that way, and making him feel his worth. He also has a hard time just letting go and enjoying the fun side of life sometimes, of relaxing and being in the moment. And he always said that he feels like I'm the opposite - that I'm very vibrant and fun-loving and able to soak up the happy, present moments. So it was refreshing and uplifting for him to be around that energy, maybe?

Also, and this is a big one: he feels happiest when he has someone to love and to care for. And, holy shit, think about how much love and care I needed coming off of the death of my father. He's built to be a boyfriend, he really is, and he's extremely good at it.

But.

But as much as we hit those very nice buttons for one another, they're actually very superficial, circumstantially-based things. And there's a lot more to relationships. Relationships have to have a solid foundation of shared values, which A. and I don't have. Or if values isn't the right word, maybe perspective is what I mean. It's really, really difficult to explain what I mean by this without sounding critical of him, and that's the last thing I want to do. A. is an incredible person, but he's built a different way than me. His background and experiences have led him to be one kind of person, and mine have led me to be another. Not better or worse - just different. When he and I move through life, we often experience things very differently. We relate to the world, and to people, in different ways. Someone could say the exact same thing, under the exact same circumstances, to both us, and we'd interpret, process, and respond to it very differently. It might make me upset, and it would be something he'd laugh off. Or it might draw me in and make me like that person, whereas it would alienate or anger him. And that's just an example of someone saying something. Extrapolate that out to events, and to behaviors, and you can imagine the sort of disagreements that would ensue.

I know that's very vague and esoteric, but it's the model of our relationship that we saw played out, again and again and again, in our time together. And it led to a lot of arguing and hurt feelings and miscommunication and alienation. (And as I was still in a world of pain over the loss of my dad, all of that was amplified in the most awful way.)

And I mean, there were also some of your garden-variety, more mundane relationship issues, too. I could list them, but whatever, we all know where the standard faultlines are. And some couples have what it takes to hold tight through those quakes and tremors, because they have that solid foundation. We didn't. We don't.

It took me an age and a half to get over him, partly because it was so easy to get deceived by the many lovely-but-somewhat-superficial connections we have, and partly because I was so sensitive to more loss in my life. But we really are just friends now. We don't actually talk very often, we don't follow one another on IG or text, or anything like that. We give one another plenty of space, because we both do want to meet and date other people. But he lives a few blocks away, and we do run into one another every so often. We also just reach out here and there for support or a hello, or a quick coffee when we need it. And if I'm ever out and stranded/effed up (which happened more recently than this 37-year old would like to admit), or need a ride someplace, he's there in a heartbeat. I can't quite return the favor for him in that way, not having a car, but I do what I can to be there for him in other ways. I try to be especially supportive where his painting is concerned, and lately I've been very excited to how much he's been experimenting with new ideas, new mediums, etc. The guy is ridiculously motivated, and just got back from a whirlwind trip to NY, Miami, and Chicago to promote and sell his stuff, and to get representation. I have enormous respect for him as a person, and I'm lucky as fuck to count him an ex-as-friend, because in my opinion, that's a really unique and special bond worth keeping (when it's good for both parties).

tl;dr: we have tremendous affection for and appreciation of one another, but we're just not compatible as partners.

Hope that clears things up a bit, and thanks for being interested enough to comment about it.  :)

encore

I'm surprised when he texts on Monday. I haven't been expecting to hear from him again. But text he does, to see whether I am free any night that week. I tell him I am, as it so happens, and that any day after Wednesday will work. With a bare bones exchange in which he repeatedly fails to punctuate his questions with question marks, we agree to Friday. We don't talk again until Thursday night, when we confirm plans in another minimalist conversation, also short on question marks.

Then on Friday afternoon, as I'm walking Chaucer, this: Should I bring a turtle. 

I laugh out loud, and stop on the sidewalk to reply. If you wouldn't mind. ...By the way, if you need some question marks, I've got extra. Here: ???????????

Will it get along w ur dog. ....I don't use punctuation.

Maverick, I say, and then: Chaucer vouchsafes the safety of all visiting amphibians.

Even mine??????????

----

He arrives downtown a little after seven, and follows someone into my building. We stay in my apartment only long enough to briefly greet with a quick, one-armed hug, and for me to gather my things. He looks at my Hipstamatic wall while I steal glances at him from behind, noticing how tightly his plaid shirt fits across his back and shoulders, which are broad and well-muscled.

"Racy," he says, nodding toward a black and white semi-nude of my body. It's one of five such shots, in a wall of nearly two hundred.

I join him to see which one he means, then point out another. "How about that one?"

"How do you even do that by yourself? How do you get the right angle?"

I laugh. "Too much practice. Ready?" I grab my keys and bag, and we start to head out. "Actually, let me just get a sweater," I murmur, stepping back towards my closet.

"You don't need it," he says. "It's amazing out."

I pull a dark grey cardigan from my sweater drawer. "Never know. Restaurants get cold."

For dinner, we decide on a newish French place a block away, with an outdoor patio situated on the busy intersection. The night air is warmer and more lush on my bare arms than any in recent memory. When the hostess seats us, Aaron asks whether we can move to another table, closer to the street.

"Of course," she says, smiling brightly and picking the menus back up. "Anywhere you'd like."

We order cocktails and chat. I watch him spread butter thickly over a slice of sourdough. "You go, Crossfit," I tease. He smiles, but doesn't respond. He leans back in his chair and looks at me across the table. "So, did I make the blog?" he asks.

I sip my water and nod. "Oh yes."

"Do I get to read it?" I glance at him quickly, trying to determine how serious he is. He wears the same intent expression that made such an impression on me the week before.

I speak slowly, thinking back on what I've written. "Well...yes. Of course. I mean, it would hardly be fair of me to not let you, if you want."

He nods. "Good." I take this in, and start filing away the words that will float up to me over the course of the night, slowly fleshing out the unknown qualities of this still-strange man. Direct. Masculine. Confident. Brusque. 

Cocktails arrive, and we toast, slowly slipping into a comfortable conversational rapport.  We talk and joke, occasionally revealing slightly more personal information as the liquor enters our bloodstreams. We agree some and disagree some. My impression, on balance, holds to what it had been at the end of our first meeting. Conservative. Opinionated. 

When our entrees come, he cuts a small portion of his and places it wordlessly on my plate. I haven't asked, nor had I planned to, but the gesture touches me. Gentlemanly. Considerate. As dinner winds down, he leans back in his chair again. "So, what next?"

I make a few suggestions, all centering around additional drinking. When I float the option of karaoke in Little Tokyo, expecting him to wrinkle his nose and say no, his enthusiastic response takes me by surprise.

"Really?" I frown. "Just the two of us? You want to?" I've never done karaoke with less than four people, to dilute the schadenfreude, and I'm not sure how comfortable I feel at the prospect of making an utter fool out of myself in front of someone I barely know - particularly someone whom I want to remain attracted to me.

"Absolutely," he enthuses, and nods in a way that makes it clear the matter is settled. "Ok, done. Karaoke." The gears in my brain jiggle a little bit, adding, adjusting. Self-assured. Fun loving.

We stop off for another round at one of my favorite bars, a tiny, candlelit speakeasy about the size of my apartment. The tables all full, the doorman seats us in a pair of chairs beside a covered piano, separated by a tiny metal wire table. I drop my purse behind my seat and take my sweater off, slowly pulling my arms from the sleeves, and keeping my eyes on Aaron as I do so. I sit down and angle my chair toward him. When the hem of my dress inches slightly above my knee as I cross my legs, I don't pull it back down.  "It's just like 'Between Two Ferns', with Zach Galifianakis," I say, and he laughs. We have to lean in slightly, to hear one another above the hum of the crowd.

We pass an hour in conversation which, thanks to the bar's notoriously strong cocktails, ranges to topics neither of us, we'll later confess, had planned on broaching anytime soon. But broach we do, and the subsequent exchange makes things lively and interesting, and forces the papers in my mental file to shuffle yet again. Grounded. Disciplined. Serious. At one point, he lets his fingertips graze my knee, and I find myself wondering how long it will be before we're back at my apartment. I finish my drink quickly.

On the walk to Little Tokyo, I press him with questions that are springing up on the tail of his recent revelations. After each, he says, "What else? What else do you want to know?"

I laugh. "You can't say that," I scorn, tipsy. "You can't ask someone what else they want to know about you, it's..." But I don't want to say the word that comes to mind, which doesn't feel quite right or fair, though it's close: arrogant. It's close, but it's not quite right.

The karaoke bar fills up fast, and the night starts to spin faster around us, a blur of music and lights and laughter and drinks. We make friends quickly, and Aaron is fearless with the microphone. Impressed, I kick off my shoes and give myself over to the unexpectedly fun moment. We do solos and duets, we sing with strangers and with one another. We dance and horse around with our karaoke companions, and have an undeniably great time. When I take to the stage alone, he uses my phone to snap a few photos.

A couple of hours later, we begin to lose steam, and sit to catch our breath and watch the others. After a minute, I move from sitting directly in front of him to perching in his lap. He holds my hips lightly, and I notice not for the first time how massive and strong his thighs are.

Fast forward.

Fast forward to being back at my place. I read him the blog post I've written about him, pausing nervously at the parts I fear may offend. But he receives it with enthusiasm, humor, and good grace. He nods and laughs, asking me to repeat the parts he misses, correcting me on small details I've gotten wrong. He agrees that I'm not far off in my assessment of our first meeting. He compliments my writing, and admits to being pleasantly surprised by it. He asks how many readers I have and I smile, suspecting that he's enjoying this tiny taste of notoriety. "Not many," I say honestly. "But the few I do have love to read my dating adventures. They'll be excited to see you make another appearance." He asks whether he can have an alias, but I shake my head at his first suggestion of "Todd."

"You can't be Todd," I say. "I know a Todd. How about Aaron? That's an easy change. Same first letter as your real name." He agrees.

Fast forward.

Fast forward to the last shared moment. He wraps his arm around my waist, moving me with ease to precisely where he wants me. He teases, his voice low in my ear, "Can't wait to read this post." I grin to myself in the dark, thinking of the parts I've already written in my mind, and wondering whether he'll enjoy reading his encore as much as hearing his debut.

green eyes

On Saturday night, I went with some friends to a bar just down the street from where I live. There was nothing remarkable about the evening, except for this: I met a guy.

Note that I said "guy", not "boy", because I suffer from a case of arrested development, and I still think it's cute to refer to potential romantic interests as "boys" rather than "guys" or even "men." Maybe subconsciously I believe that this infantilizing language choice will somehow keep me from growing up, too. A woman girl can dream.

So know that I've already slipped you a clue as to how this encounter panned out, in saying "guy". Because, to me anyway, a guy is just a guy is just a guy.

A guy I know is having a party...

Some guy at the store cut in line...

I met a guy on Saturday... 

I met a guy on Saturday. I wasn't planning on it. I didn't even want to. I was happy just to be out with my friends, enjoying a salty dog, people watching, and roasting my back sitting much too close to a rooftop fireplace. But one of those friends was needling me a little bit about the lack of OMGmenz in my life of late, and pushing me out of the proverbial bar nest. Like, Wait, wut? It's been how long since you've had sex? Ok, you need to put that drink down right now and go have some fun. 

Actually, he didn't tell me to put the drink down, because hello. No friend of mine would encourage such drastically unnecessary measures. But he did prod me with some kind and encouraging and hilariously locker-roomesque things like, Come on! Look at you. You could pull down anything here that you wanted. 

Pull down, he said. LOL. Is that how guys talk to one another? Good grief.

Well, whether it was Coach's whistle in my ear or the two doubles I'd had - or the fact that I required the fingers of both hands to do the math in order to answer his question - I decided to do as advised, and to go have some fun.

I touched up my lipgloss, adjusted mes bretelles, and toasted my wingman before setting off on my quest.

Actually, I don't remember if I did any of that. I was pretty drunk. There's a very good chance I didn't even think of the lipgloss or of straightening my clothes, and just wordlessly stumbled off in search man-meat with my shirt blousing sloppily out of my skirt. But let's give me the benefit of the doubt and assume I was more on the hot side of hot mess. Can we do that?

Here's what I do remember: making a lap around the bar that culminated in some pretty hot eye contact with a guy on the dance floor. Naturally you'll want to know what he looked like. Well, you're in luck!  Because I remember that, as well. At first glance, I put him at 6'2", but that's only because I was wearing my 4.5 inch Dianne Von Thirstybird wedge heels, and he seemed taller than me in those. I'd find out later he's only about 6'.

His height is not important.

What is important was his suit, which was well cut and fit his athletic build beautifully, his startling green eyes, and his spectacles, all of which, taken in sum, combined to give him an air of...oh, fuck it: he looked like he was in the industry (by which, for any non-Angeleno readers, I mean the film industry).

Ok well now I've just gone and bullied my memory again, because the fact is that I wouldn't know his eyes were green until the next morning.

OH NO SHE DI'INT.

Oh yes, she did.

But back to the scene. Green Eyes was standing with some impossibly massive, jovial-looking man, also in a suit, who looked like a cross between John Goodman and Harvey Fierstein. I walked close by them, tall highball in hand, and the three of us sort of took one another in, in the way that happens in drinking establishments populated by spiffed-up persons holding cocktails, looking to attract other spiffed-up cocktail holders for conversation and whatever else unfolds.

I should disclose that I didn't walk close by out of any desire to be seen as "bold" or whatever, but because I am fucking blind and have to, in order to make out someone's features.

This drive-by complete, I returned to the table where my friend sat anxiously awaiting my report, the enthusiasm of which would suggest I'd forgotten my earlier counting exercise: "Ummm, I dunno. There's a kinda cute guy over there, I guess. I think he was checking me out, too. Whatever. Let's get some shots." My ambivalence notwithstanding, I nevertheless glanced over to the dance floor to see whether my trajectory had been tracked by a certain pair of green eyes. It had. And they were on me still.

Cut to five minutes later, when those same eyes (and their friend) have strategically placed themselves behind the sofa where my coach/wingman sits, in clear and obviously intentional view of moi truly. It having been quite some time since a man in a bar anywhere had looked so directly at your blogmistress, she continued to sip her drink demurely for all of five seconds before deciding to take the bait. My friend, having missed this exchange of body language, looked up in surprise as I bounded off the chaise where I sat, mumbled something about being right back, and went to join the strange men standing behind him.

We introduced ourselves to one another, and he, his friend to me. (I immediately forgot both of their names.) His friend discreetly stepped away in pursuit of beverages, allowing us to talk. So we talked, getting each other's vitals, flirting, one-upping one another as the conversation allowed. He was very smart, sharp-witted, and intense. I really, really liked the way he looked at me, and rarely away.

After a little while, he made to leave. Something about a driver and needing to get back to the beach where he and John Fierstein room together. He asked for my number. I took his phone and texted myself: OMG you are sooooooo sexy. Love the suspenders! We said goodbye and I returned to my friends, confident enough in the chemistry I'd just felt to believe I'd hear from him again. And forty minutes later, I did.

- Great meeting you tonight.

- Likewise. And I'll just get this embarrassment out of the way right now...I forgot your name. (I'm Ellie.)

- Aaron.

- A most excellent name. Don't take my forgetfulness as anything other than just that.

- I won't. So when do I get to do this again?

- I'd venture a guess that my schedule is more flexible than yours, so you tell me.

- Now.

(!!)

- You left for the coast, no? Your "driver", etc?

- We're downstairs. We got stuck in the ping pong area.

- You mean Spin? On the mezzanine?

- Yes.

I glanced at my friends. One of them was deep in conversation with a girl. The other one was staring at the fire in a daze, clearly hammered.

- I'm coming. 

- Lobby. 1st floor.

- I'll be right there.

I bid my friends goodbye, grabbed my bag, and rode an elevator and then an escalator down to the lobby, where Aaron and his roommate were sitting on a low couch. They stood when they saw me.

Aaron smiled invitingly. "Wanna come out to the beach?" he asked.

I blinked. "Now?"

"Right now," he said. "We can bring your dog."

"My dog?" I echoed dumbly, pointlessly. I'd already made up my mind. His offer to include Chaucer in the evening had sealed the deal.

"Yeah, he can ride in the back. We've got a big place with plenty of room for him. He'd be ok there, right?"

I considered my words - and composed my face - carefully. "You mean, like...overnight?"

He held my gaze, refusing to flinch at the directness of the unspoken. "Do you need to be somewhere in the morning?"

I laughed and turned to his roommate, whose name I would shortly re-learn as Avi. "It's your house, too. Are you ok with a 140 lb dog crashing the party?" Avi was ok with it.

"Ok then," I said, shrugging. "Why not."

Fast-forward through me deciding Chaucer would do better staying home alone, than pacing around, all stressed out, in a strange place. FF>> through me obtaining a promise I'd be back by noon. FF>> through Aaron returning briefly to my building with me, to walk Chaucer. FF>> through the three of us riding to their house in Hermosa Beach, driven by an Eastern European man named Jack, or possibly Jacques. FF>> to us not getting to a liquor store in time to get wine to accompany the from-scratch pizza Avi wanted to make.

The next hour consisted of, among other things, the following: Avi preparing the aforementioned pizza (spinach, hot peppers, four cheeses) while Aaron and I sat on the couch and I read a copy of an article he'd written, which had been published in the Wall Street Journal. Avi bringing us the finished pizza (on a pizza board) and the three of us talking about music, festivals (Aaron is going to Coachella as well), and local politics. Me asking permission to take one of Avi's boxer turtles out of the tank to play with it. Me being granted permission and then accidentally dropping said turtle (whose name was Samantha) from standing height, onto the carpet, on her back, because her little nails scratched me and it startled me. Me apologizing profusely to Avi (and to Samantha), and then crawling around on the carpet for ten minutes behind her, excited as a kid, while she explored/fled my clutches.

Eventually, Aaron and I retired to his room, where we passed the next few hours getting to know one another more, and in a different way. The promise of his athletic body was kept, and when I said as much, he explained simply, truthfully, and with no small touch of ego: "Crossfit."

One more moment I'll share, before drawing the curtain: Him murmuring in the dark, after our first kiss, as he pulled me closer: "Did you think the chemistry would be this good?" and me not answering, because it wasn't necessary to.

And though I enjoyed myself, and though it felt good to be touched again after so long, I did not fall for this Green Eyed Guy, this writer of scholarly articles, this man with the pizza-making, turtle-having roommate, who lives heartbreakingly close to the beach, and who drove me home, back to my tiny apartment, at seven the next morning, where an oversized and slobbery-sweet dog-child greeted me with sniffs and wags, and more excitement and enthusiasm than my arrival anywhere merits.

Because it was clear after a few more hours of talking that he and I don't have as much in common as we first thought, and we may in fact have mildly clashing personalities.

So I did not fall for them - nor will I, I expect - but I may see those green eyes again, anyway.