friends


Kevin and I go on a lot of bike rides. This weekend, we tried to bike with no hands, just as kids do.

The other day I saw a guy downtown reading a book while riding his bike hands-free. There’s some serious balancing skills.

I can’t do it. I only get a few feet before my hands come back to the handlebars to hold them steady. I had a lot of earaches as a child, and I think it has affected my balance. So much for that gymnastics career.

by elbragon

The day before, Kevin had asked if we wanted to invite other people along for a bike ride sometime. Sure, sometime, but not this time. Why not, he asked.

Good question. But the truth is, I like hogging Kevin to myself. I like our time together, especially on Saturdays. With our differing work schedules, Saturdays are the one full day I get to hang out with him. When we take bike rides, we do cute couple things, and we also push ourselves to ride farther. This weekend we rode for more than four hours.

Don’t get me wrong; I like to socialize with friends. I want to see them, but we tend to go out during the week, and we’re socializing on Friday nights. He’s usually out with people on Sundays while I work. Is it wrong to be selfish one day a week?

We’re trying to find balance in our social lives versus our couples life. We don’t want to be the couple that never goes out, never sees our friends. I don’t want people  to say, “Well, she used to do cool things and go out a lot, but then she got a boyfriend.”

I feel I’m pretty good at balancing life in general, but when it comes to this, it’s a little more like the bicycle.

I think I say “no” too much, but I also think he says “yes” too much. He’s always the one to plan, to get things moving, to drive, to pay for the tickets or beer and have people pay him back. Why not let someone else take a turn?

I told him it’s one more reason we’re perfect for each other. He and I are yin and yang on this one. Maybe we can balance each other out.

The girls and I are thinking about hitting the dance floor this weekend. We’ll probably end up at Solas, but last time I was there, the DJ would interrupt every good song after only 30 seconds. Any suggestions on where to go?

Dear Blog:

Happy Birthday! Today you are one year old.

When I started you, I was fresh out of two relationships, both of which left me heartbroken in a short period of time. I was underweight, because when I’m sad, I can’t eat. I was confused, but ready to leave it behind and embrace my single freedom. And as I wrote here a year ago, I was ready to learn.

What have I learned? The true harshness and depth of life’s lessons cannot be impressed upon others easily through a few keyboard strokes. But for the sake of simplicity, here is a list of five things I learned this year about life, love, dating and relationships.

-It’s fun to be single. I spent most of my life yearning for a boyfriend. Most of the time, I didn’t have one. But last year, I was single and I LOVED it. I had a full social calendar, hung out with different groups of people, and tried new things. It was awesome. Deep down, we’re all looking for love with the right person, but what I learned last year is that being single is only a negative if you have the wrong perspective. And that Debbie Downer attitude isn’t going to help you find love, so you might as well have fun.

– It’s not ok to walk on eggshells for your boyfriend.
Duh, right? It’s that Cosmo advice I always rolled my eyes at. What intelligent, college-educated woman doesn’t know something about self-respect? But when you’re me, circa 2007, and you are in your second serious relationship, admitting there is something wrong is impossible. Confronting a man about things that need to change isn’t going to happen. I never truly felt comfortable around Frank. I held my tongue when he was out of town for my birthday. I didn’t complain when he didn’t call, or when he chose others over me. I didn’t consider that his age and history might indicate he was a bachelor-for-life. So there went a year of mine, all because of denial.

-When a man says he loves you after three weeks, it’s probably not true.
Another duh. And it might be true in your case. But for most of us, fairy tales should stay on a bookshelf and not applied to real life. When Darren told me after such a short period that he loved me, I should have told Prince Charming to get a grip. That way it would not have been such a shock when, two months later, it turned out he didn’t love me after all.

-A rebound relationship can be a good thing.
Darren was my rebound after Frank. My fragile heart made a poor choice. He wasn’t my type at all, and many of his attributes would have raised a red flag had I been sane. But, looking back on it, he helped me get over Frank faster. And when we ended our short, crazy thing, I didn’t have much feeling left. Sounds odd, but it meant I moved on faster, started this blog and began living my awesome life.

-Friendship takes some work.
Technology is a wonderful thing. But having 392 Facebook friends or 286 phone numbers doesn’t mean you’re any closer to other human beings on this planet. Our lives are all busy, with work, families, boyfriends, girlfriends, activities. But life is short, and when it comes to keeping up with the people who mean something to you, once in awhile, you’ve got to find 15 minutes for that phone call, and spent 10 working with your google calendars to squeeze in some girl time. Because when the shit hits the fan and the boyfriend is out of town, who is going to be there?

-Painful lessons are a good thing. All of this living meant learning. Without it, maybe I would not have realized last spring that I had the possibility of real, true love right under my nose. I had dismissed the idea of dating my friend Kevin, but through this blog, some soul searching and some thoughts on my lessons, I realized that it was worth it. Now, nine months later, we’re living together in domestic bliss. We still haven’t had a fight, but it’s not because I’m holding my tongue. I just made a smart choice this time.

So thanks, blog, for teaching me a thing or two about relationships. Any chance you can help me figure out my career? Oh well.

Love,
Suzanne

A year ago at this time, I was sad. The previous September, I’d gotten out of a year-long “serious” relationship. By October, I found someone new, and fell extra hard on the rebound. Within three weeks, he told me he loved me; by December, things weren’t going well. By January, I knew it was over, but I was in denial because the chicken shit couldn’t just tell me to my face that he wanted to break up.

I went on a trip to Disney World, the happiest place on Earth. But I still thought about him, questioning what went wrong, foolishly blaming myself and thinking it would work if he would just stop walling me out.

During the night fireworks at Magic Kingdom, they play “When you Wish Upon a Star.” So I wished upon a star, and I bought myself a little Jiminy Cricket figurine to remind me.

A few months later, the light bulb clicked and Kevin and I began dating. My wish really did come true.

I don’t recommend focusing on the past, but if you bust out the bifocals once in awhile, you can learn a thing or two from it.

I looked back at Darren, and our whirlwind courtship, and I learned that when it’s right, you click, but it’s not a roller coaster of ups and downs. The real deal guy wouldn’t refuse to return my phone calls.  My theme song for him, which was on the radio 24-7 as he was jerking me around: Hot N Cold by Katy Perry.

Weight loss? Quitting smoking? Bullshit.

Yes, it’s a new year, a new you, right? Whatever. It’s just one of those things we tell ourselves to make the Tough Choices easier. (more…)

couples2When I was single, I loved smurfin’ it. There’s nothing more flattering and ego-boosting than being a single female hanging out with a bunch of male friends. You’re the sole proprietor of female advice. They’ve got no other attention to vie for.

For those who haven’t been reading this blog long, I was friends with Kevin and this group before he and I began dating.

So now we still all hang out, get drinks on weekends and generally do fun stuff. Only one other man in the group has a girlfriend, so sometimes I’m smurfin’ it, sometimes not. But it’s less fun now. Now, I wish the guys in the group had more female friends to bring in.

Why? Good question.

Lately, I yen to hang out with another couple. Is that odd?

I think my interest in hanging with couples is to get some female company without leaving Kevin at home. Right now, I go see the girls without him, or we hang out with our main group of friends. The trick is finding a couple you both get along with. My girls have boyfriends, but the men don’t have a ton to talk about.

On my meetup listings recently, I noticed that there is a new couples meetup group in the area.

Although I’m a big proponent of meetup groups and their advantages when it comes to making real-life friends, I wasn’t sure about this idea.

I asked Kevin if he would be down with going to that sometime. He said he’d give it a try, but I haven’t set that up yet. It’d be like going into a room full of new possible dates. “Hi, we’re a couple seeking a couple to hang out with.”

Would you ever attend a couples meetup event? Do you hang out with other couples?

A lady never pukes on herself.

I am not a lady. One of my best drunk stories hails from many years ago when I joined two other femme fatales at Coyote Ugly in  Chicago, where I lived at the time. I looked hot and danced my ass off.

Solas

Solas

At least until I was falling down and my friends dragged me out of the bar. Fast forward through three red-headed slut shots and one big glass of mixed alcohol that cost $10. I don’t remember much from that night, but I do recall being on my knees in the grass, puking up my guts along a Chicago tollway.solas

I am getting older and slightly smarter, so I didn’t puke on myself a few weeks ago on a girls’ night out.

A lady does, however, allow herself to get drunk sometimes. THAT, I did accomplish. I barely remember half the night, which sucks, because my goal was to actually catch up with some of my girls. So here’s a few tips from Girls’ Night Out.

5. Eat dinner. Yes, duh. I went to college. This is freshman year 101 stuff, like learning to tap a keg or stashing a pen in your purse so you can make it to your final the next day even though you crashed at some guy’s house. (Despite my hangover and bar ho outfit, I walked into the final, took it in about 20 minutes and got an A!) Anyway, eating dinner helps ensure you don’t get majorly wasted majorly fast. Apparently half-priced appetizers at Borough don’t count as a full meal.

4. Pace Yourself. What? You mean two drinks, one shot and a big glass of wine between 6 and 9 p.m. without dinner was a bad idea? Yes, by 1 a.m. I was trashed and incoherent. Time to go home.

3. Just dance. We hit Solas (before the 10 p.m. cover – woot!) and yes, there are usually some sleezy guys shakin’ it around you, but hey, it’s just dancing. On one recent visit to Solas a couple I was with got hit on my a pair of 40-something swingers, both with a bit too much muffin top peaking out of their slightly stonewashed jeans. Eek. But hey, all in good fun, and a simple, “No thank you” goes a long way!

2. Mix it up. Some of my friends are anti-Glenwood snobs. Some of my friends don’t go out anywhere but Glenwood. Personally, I find that Raleigh isn’t that big and you can’t just visit the same three bars each week. Variety is the spice of life. Not only should you venture to a dance club once in awhile, but check out Jackpot next time you’re in the mood for a dive bar  or hit up the Hargett/Wilmington/Moore Square section of town.

1. Take care of yourself. Again, a big duh from college. Wear shoes that you can dance AND walk in. Afterward, don’t be afraid to hit up the hot dog stands on Hargett and Glenwood or the shish kabob guy who hangs out near the gay bars. Drink water, take aspirin. Don’t drive. Pass out and hopefully wake up to a cute boyfriend or roommate who is supplying you with water, caffeine and food.

I skipped No. 4 and No. 5, and I managed to have fun, but if it weren’t for my camera, I wouldn’t remember much. So next time, I think I’ll follow my own rules.

Of all the many reasons being in love is just phenomenal, one of the best is that you’ve got a best friend right there with you. All you want to do is spend your time with him.

You’ve seen it. Your friend hangs out a lot, goes out multiple nights of the week and is generally very social. Want to go shopping Saturday? She’s in. Want to see that chick flick? Definitely.

Then BAM! She gets a boyfriend. Or, he gets a girlfriend. Time and time again I’ve heard single people mention that their friend “used to hang out all the time until…”

cloud_9I’m guilty of it. And I’m guilty of dissing my coupled friends for deserting me when I’m single.

Lately, my world has a narrow aperture. I’m feeling out of touch.

Three of my best girlfriends are all in serious relationships and we’re all making lots of fun plans with our guys. Hey, it’s summer. We’ve got things to do.

Aside from vacations and weekend trips to Carolina Beach, I’ve been busy at work, so even there — where I see two of my girlfriends daily —  I don’t feel like I have time to talk much. Plus, I don’t feel like I have much to say unless they want me to endlessly wax poetic about Kevin and how happy I am and how perfect it is and how I’ve never felt this way about anyone and blah blah blah. You’re bored, right? I mean, who wants to listen to someone go on and on about how perfect life is? Your ears would bleed.

This disconnect bothers me. I love having close girlfriends. Now that we don’t need to gossip about boys and sex anymore, what do we talk about? As we get older and change, hang out with other couples, other people, do we grow apart? We all have different priorities, busy schedules. There are only so many hours in the day. It’s no one’s fault, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. And hey, I’m happy — the view is pretty from my perch on Cloud 9.

Still, the wise old people always say that marriage takes work. But what about those other relationships in your life?  Doesn’t it take a little effort to make sure my best friends and I still talk, hang out, know some of the minuscule details (and the big ones) about each other’s lives?

Shouldn’t my aperture widen to also extend to the other people who’ve been cast out of focus lately due to all of our busy plans and my current cosmic residence?

I think it might be time for a girls’ night out. See you all on Glenwood Friday?

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