Tag Archives: Romance

The Spirit of Christmas

Warning: This post contains spoilers for “The Spirit of Christmas.”

A few nights ago, I treated myself and my cats to a sappy Christmas movie. “This will be fun,” I thought, as I snuggled into the couch with my wine and blue corn chips. I landed on The Spirit of Christmas, a TV movie undoubtedly born of a focus group for single 20-something females.

From Netflix: “As Christmas approaches, attorney Kate Jordan travels to Vermont to oversee the sale of an inn, where she falls for a handsome but cursed ghost.”

I of course had some immediate questions, but — damn, you Netflix! — the research was solid. Ghosts, old-timey inns, Christmas, how could I resist?!

So, I watched it. But within minutes, I began to lose my shit.

To be clear, I have many, many issues with this film and Kate and Daniel (the ghost)’s relationship. However, these are the few I wrote down:

1  He’s a fucking ghost.

2  Not only is he a fucking ghost, he’s a fucking ghost with baggage. He’s dead, he’s cursed, he regularly haunts an inn, he’s pining over his ex-girlfriend who ended up marrying his brother. Hard pass.

3  He’s a dated ghost. He died 90+ years ago, so odds are, he’s sexist, more than a little racist and definitely not vaccinated. How the f is this girl going to introduce him to her friends and family? If you thought your MAGA Uncle was bad at Thanksgiving, can you imagine bringing around a wealthy white dude from 1901?

4  He’s a dick! He has 12 days with this girl, and he spends the first 3-4 days berating her. At what point do they fall in love? At what point does she think, “Man, I know this dude is dead, and also kind of a dick, but I think this could work.”

5  Syphilis. He definitely has it.

6  They barely know each other, and yet he forgoes eternal life in heaven with his former lady-love to live – and die again! – with a chick he’s known for 12 days. Twelve days! That’s still the infatuation period! What if, two months in, the hormones wear off and they realize they’re completely incompatible? How is he going to jump back into the dating pool? How is he going to explain himself to another potential mate?

New girl: “How are you still single?”

Daniel: “Well, I died. But then I came back to life for this girl because we thought we could make it work. Turns out, we’re just too different. Plus, she’s registered to vote.”

7  Does he age? Or will he stay the same forever, watching Kate slowly deteriorate beyond the point of Hollywood likability?

8  Is he sterile? Are they going to have kids? I hope not, because, again, HE’S. NOT. VACCINATED.

9  Wait, did she just pass out from kissing him? Never in my life have I passed out/fallen asleep while kissing someone. During sex, sure, but while making out standing up? Impossible.

10  This is a more general issue with the film, but how come we never see sappy romances about young, single dudes who “work too hard” to settle down and find love? Why is it always women who are confronted about their work ethic? Idk, maybe we work hard so we can avoid SLEEPING WITH DEAD PEOPLE.

Happy Holidays.

 

 

 

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Swiping Right Into Hell

I swiped left on a man because his Bumble picture was taken in a Joe’s Crab Shack.

It was at this moment I realized I might have a problem.

And that I might also be kind of a bitch.

It happened so quickly I barely had time to register what I was doing by the time it was done. My friend, Bumbling vicariously over my shoulder, yelled out, “No! Wait! It’s not Joe’s Crab Shack it’s Joe’s Steak House!” But it was too late. By the time she got to “crab,” my fingers were already flying across the screen to shield my eyes from the horrors therein.

I’m not proud of what I did, but it was instinctual. Visceral. My ovaries, folding in on themselves at the thought of mating with someone in an “I Got Crabs At Joe’s” shirt.

It wasn’t right, but it was real. And at the very least, it got me to ask some tough questions of myself, specifically: why do I hate every dude I meet?

Like any respectable, self-centered human, I of course blame my parents. My dad, presumably scared shitless at the prospect of raising two daughters, made certain my sister and I understood two very important lessons: 1.) Men are pigs, and 2.) Everything’s a rip off.

Could it be that his warnings worked so well, too well, that they guaranteed the end of House Clark?

I think it’s likely.

I think it’s also likely – perhaps more likely – that I am the problem. When presented with the opportunity to hand-pick a mate, I turn into the monster my father groomed me to be. That is to say, I rip men to shreds. I pick apart their profiles with reckless abandon, violently swiping away those who displays signs of romance (emojis) or outright insanity (“Ask me anything you want to know 😜”). Fishing photos, boating photos, baby photos, gym photos, and any sort of Jesus or CrossFit reference are also grounds for immediate and irrevocable elimination.

Ellipses are unforgivable. But the real tragedy is now I’ll never know what sort of guys I normally attract. 

Once I’ve whittled my matches down to a small – but elite – group of sea-fearing atheists, the real work begins.

First, I test the waters with a GIF. Dwight Schrute and Buster Bluth and are my baits of choice, as both say “I’m casual, I’m hip and I’m probably a little left-leaning.”

If he responds favorably (Impossible! I hate everyone!) I find something wrong with it. If he responds unfavorably, it supports my theory that dating is dumb and why am I even on here.

I am not a nice person on Bumble.

My friends think I sabotage myself in order to prove there’s no one out there for me. I think no one gets my humor (see exhibit below), and that men are time sucks.

(On the left, Rex, the sea lion. On the right, me questioning Rex’s mortality. It’s been months and I’ve yet to receive a response.) 

I get that a lot of this stems from insecurity. Make fun of yourself before anyone else can, reject people before they can reject you, blah, blah, blah. But, still. Why am I so unwilling to give someone a chance? Why am I terrified at actually liking someone and why, for the love of God, can I not get an update on Rex?!

It’s Not You, It’s Me

I’ve decided to start dating again. Which means I’ve decided to go on one date and call it a year.

I’ve been out of the game for quite some time, but I understand it still works relatively the same: you meet at a bar, you forget meeting at a bar, you wake up to a mysterious text from “R. Dumbledore Glasses,” you exchange witty messages for weeks on end until finally someone says, “Let’s just get this over with.” So you meet.

Romance may be alive and well. But I will not stand for it.

My prep for this date begins well in advance. I spend an hour trying to make my hair look effortless. Like I totally forgot about the date (because I’m so busy and important!) that when I remembered, I yanked out my ponytail, walked into the wind and let Jesus take the wheel. I do my makeup lightly. I want him to think I’m a natural beauty. That I don’t even care about makeup. That my big, dark eyebrows are such a hassle (“Ugh! Genetics!”) and not in fact an elaborate illusion.

I imagine what I’ll say when he compliments me.

“Stop, I’m a mess!”

But I’m not a mess. I’m a masterpiece.

Next, I call my roommate into my room for the dressing portion of the program. I have no idea what to wear. My black jeans feel too fancy, my boyfriend jeans no longer fit. I’m not mad about it; I’ve always wanted an ass that won’t quit. But not having these jeans really spoils my cool/casual idea.

“What’d you wear last time you saw him?” She asks

“My Slytherin shirt,” I respond.

She nods, and tells me to wear the black jeans, a cotton t-shirt and my leather jacket. I put them on and observe.

“I look like a little dick,” I say.

“No, you don’t,” she says. “But we need to give you a waistline.”

We then attempt to tuck my shirt into my jeans in a haphazard way. Like somehow, I raised my arms, and the front, left edge of my shirt made a miraculous leap into the waist of my jeans, falling **just so**.

15 minutes later, we nail it.

5 minutes later, I have to pee and we have to start all over.

When I’m finally deemed fit for public viewing, we head to the kitchen for shots of tequila. My roommates and I started this ritual my first month in Chicago when, against all odds, all three of us had a slew of dates lined up. Before each date, we all took a shot. None of the men stuck. But the tequila did.

I meet my date at the bar and am pleased with myself for recognizing his face. It’s been over two months since we met, and the last we saw each other, I was so drunk I admitted to being a Hufflepuff.

In spite of this, our conversation flows pretty comfortably. We reintroduce ourselves, talk about work, friends and relationships. He asks if I’m on Bumble.

“I don’t have time. Wait, that’s a lie. I could make time, I just don’t want to. Dating is such a waste of mental space, you know?”

I sip my drink.

“Why? Are you on Bumble?”

He is.

Later, we exchange of pick-up line horror stories. I tell him my favorite: the time a man offered to buy me a drink because I looked “vulnerable.”

“I hate it when men offer to buy me drinks. It’s like, ‘Go away! I don’t want to talk to you!'”

We sit in silence for a moment.

“You know I’m going to buy your beers, right?”

“Yeah. Sorry. My bad.”

I sip my drink.

At the end of the date, he asks if I had a good time.

“Honestly, I can’t tell,” he says.

This shocks me. And it is at this point I realize I spent the entire date shitting on romance. I was the dating equivalent of a bad interviewer. Had our conversation actually been a job interview, it would have gone something like this:

“So, what interests you about this job?”

“Nothing really. I don’t even want to work.”

No wonder this man thinks I’m an asshole.

But I’m not an asshole. I just don’t know what I want, and, apparently, that reads loud and clear. I don’t want a boyfriend, but I enjoy the attention of men. I enjoy the attention of men, but I hate the power this gives them. This imbalance of power is a constant struggle in my life. I let everyone else dictate how I feel about myself. So when I say I don’t want to “waste the mental space on dating,” I mean I don’t want to waste time working through the self-loathing that inevitably follows.

Or as I prefer to put it, I’m just too damn busy and important!

Bumble for Beginners

For Mom, and for my coupled friends with questions.

Bumble for Beginners: How to Swipe Your Way to Marital Bliss  

First, you redownload the Bumble app. You deleted it last week after a string of anticlimactic exchanges. But you’re halfway through a glass of wine and your cats are ignoring you. Your fate is sealed.

You open the app. You see the face of a nearby man who likely falls into one of three categories: The Weightlifter, the Wanderer or the Young Republican. If you like him, you swipe right. If you don’t, you swipe left. You swipe left on nearly everyone until Bumble casually tells you, “Keep this up and you’ll die alone.”

StraightOuttaOptions

Frightened into submission, you swipe right on the next viable subject — Steven, we’ll call him. He seems decent enough. And it’s a match! You celebrate for .075 seconds before you realize what this means: now, you have to talk to Steven. An actual conversation. It seems too much to bear. It’s all happening too fast. You’re not ready for that kind of commitment. You panic. You throw the phone facedown on your coffee table and rewind the movie you’ve been half-watching for the past 10 minutes.

-15 minutes later –

You miss Steven. I mean, did you even give him a chance? You pick up your phone and return to Bumble. You send Steven a GIF – a safe and easy first-move. He responds. It’s overwhelming. Stop smothering me, Steven!

You take a break from Steven and return to swiping. Every so often, Bumble throws in a fellow you’ve already thrown to the wayside. This feels very condescending. Like somehow, Big Bumble is spying on you. Watching you heartlessly sift through men, as you yourself sit cross-legged and pant-less on your couch. “Are you really in a position to be this picky?” Bumble says.

Me, Bumbling IRL.

Me Bumbling IRL.

No. You’re not. And so you vow to do better. You agree to a date with Steven. You decide to go for beers because God forbid you spend an entire meal with this nut job. I mean, you don’t even have any mutual friends.

….

You don’t even have any mutual friends.

What if he’s a serial killer?

You ask him if he’s a serial killer. He says no. Which is exactly the thing a serial killer would say, you knowingly tell yourself.

Date night comes. You try on forty different outfits. Why do you even care? It’s just Steven. For all you know, he’s only in it for the kill.

Regardless, you land on something cool and casual. Coincidentally, it is the same outfit you wear on all your first dates. You dab on bug spray the way most women would perfume, and you head out the door to meet Steven and potentially your own demise.

You walk inside the bar. You see a man that might be Steven. As you approach him, you tell yourself, “Be cool. Be cool.” You wonder if people around you know that you’re on a Bumble date. They don’t. Until you yell, “There you are! Wasn’t sure if I’d recognize ya from your profile picture!”

He blushes. You hesitate – do we hug? You barely even know each other. You go in for a one-armer. He goes in for a full-body. Somehow, you end up patting his back like a 50-year-old rec league coach. He says you look nice. You say, “Thanks. I didn’t brush my teeth because I don’t want my beer to taste weird.”

He laughs. But it’s a sad laugh.

You never see Steven again.