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When I was a child, my mom always told me I would know when I found “The One.”

She said this in pensive tone with a knowing look in her eye: “Oh, Suzanne, you’ll know.”

I didn’t believe her, as I often didn’t about much of anything. But of course, as mothers are, she was right.

When I moved to Raleigh three years ago, I didn’t have much dating or relationship experience. I came here, tried on a few pairs of jeans, including one year-long relationship with a man. But the entire time we were together, I never felt that connection with him, that THING. He taught me many things about myself, but clearly wasn’t The One.

Soon, Kevin and I celebrate our one-year anniversary. I’ve known he was The One since our first month together.

More than one of my friends has suggested to me that for this blog to live and keep growing in readership, I should start making stuff up.

“No one wants to read about your perfectly happy, content relationship,” they say.

Maybe they’re right. No drama to entertain you with this week, that’s for sure.

I started this blog to deal with being dumped twice within a few months. It gave me a new perspective on being single: the fun side. Going to The Men’s Club, trying speed dating, kissing random guys — all good for the aching heart and fun reading for others.

But things have changed, and I have no desire to  sell out and write fiction just to bump my numbers. Sure, I could turn this into a relationship blog, and to some extent, that’s what this has become.  But I find myself interested in writing about other topics. I want to keep blogging, but not here under my pseudonym.

This blog has taught me a lot about myself, but it isn’t The One.

I read an article last year by a social media guru called “Five Signs It’s Time to Kill Your Blog.” I think I’ve hit most of those. He’s had several blogs, and his advice was “know when to quit and move on.”

Thanks for reading, sharing and caring with me for the past year and a half.

Those of you who know me know where to find me. If you don’t know me, but want to keep following me on my new blog, send me an email: singlesuzanne@gmail.com.

Several years ago, I went backpacking in Europe with some friends. Toward the end of our trip, we all split up to check out different cities and countries.

Six weeks on your own gets lonely. Eating alone, walking alone, seeing the cool sights alone. I met up with other backpackers at hostels and took some tours with them, but in the end, it was just me traveling the world. It teaches you something, and I’m glad I did it.

One of many new experiences was attending a movie by myself. Thanks to train schedules, I was stuck an extra day in a French city I’d already seen. I found a hole-in-the-wall movie theater showing American movies in English with French subtitles.Cost: 2 Euro.

Oh the joy! I escaped the hot sun in the cool, dark theater and wrapped myself in the comfort of hearing my own language and seeing familiar faces in Shrek 2 and Harry Potter. I forgot where and who I was, drowning my isolation in the movies. It’s something I’ll never forget.

I recently overheard a girl exclaiming how ridiculous it would be to go to the movies by yourself, and I smiled. I’ve done it, and it was fantastic.

Since returning, I have never gone to the movies alone. Here, it’s a social activity, and I don’t often want to shell out $12-15 for a movie anyway. But I feel like it’s something you should not be afraid to do.

1. What??? A DRY wedding reception. At a church?

2. My super conservative side of the family asking me if I’ve found Jesus.

3. It’s forcing me to drive to the northern midwest. In March. There’s probably still snow on the ground.

4. What??? A DRY wedding reception?

5. Family members asking me for the upmteenth time why I’m not married yet. “Aren’t you turning 29 this year?”

6. Related: I’ll no doubt be one of two women shuffled onto the dance floor to try to catch the bouquet. The other will be 18 years old.

7. The bride was hospitalized this week with kidney stones. It doesn’t bode well for a good party, but I’m hoping she feels better!

I’m a glass is half full kind of girl — even if that glass is short on the Captain Morgan — so here are a few bright sides to my cousin’s nuptials this weekend:

1. I get to see my adorable nieces and nephew.

2. I get a long weekend away from my job.

3. Kevin will finally get to meet my two older brothers. Now THAT is more than worth the price of admission.

It’s a dish I used to love. The flavor, the satisfying feeling afterward.

And after all, food brings people together. Dishing about boy information is something my friends and I used to taste daily.

I’m not even sure guys understand what kind of details women share. What’s he like? How was the date? Can you believe that douchebag said that to me at the bar? And yes: how big was he?

But my friends, mostly in serious relationships, don’t dish anymore. Neither do I.

Now, it feels almost sacred. Kevin and I have our couple stuff. But it’s our own flavor of behavior, and a dish we do not share with others. In fact, when another couple serves too much of it in front of others, we question the appropriateness. Keep your cutsie stuff in your own kitchen, please.

Sometimes I miss the flavor of the dish. Really, I just miss the connection it gave me with my girlfriends.

And there is no way I’d trade in the blissful happiness Kevin and I have just for that taste. Bliss is an entirely different thing: a whole sweet, salty, savory meal.

Do you ever notice a shift in sharing when in a serious relationship?

The other day, a friend of mine asked me when Kevin and I will get engaged.

Actually, he asked if Kevin and I were “talking,” and pretended to wiggle a ring on his left finger.

Sure, we’ve been talking. And at this month of the year, it’s hard not to think about. Because now is the time of year when cute proposals hit the news.

You know, the guy who proposes at a sports game on the scoreboard. The guy who pops the question in a comic book.

We’ve all seen or heard of odd proposals. And usually the girls says, “Yes.” But what you don’t see is that later, she’s a bit bummed about the story. Remember, it’s a story you both will be asked to tell many times — even decades later. “How did he pop the question?”

And don’t forget, some women have been dreaming of this moment their entire lives. So guys, here is a how-to list to make sure your engagement story lives up to fairy tale expectations :

1. Avoid the scoreboard. First of all, guys, those can go horribly wrong. Just look at these videos on Huffington Post. (Though some appear to be commercials for a jeweler.)

A guy proposed on Valentine’s Day Sunday at a Rangers’ game and the woman just walked away. Turns out it was a hoax. But would you want the public humiliation if she says, “No”? Plus, I’m just one woman, but sharing one of the biggest moments of my life with 70,000 of my closest friendly strangers does not make good romance.

2. Set the mood. Speaking of romance, think like a chick flick for a moment. Sure, it’s not fair that producers in Hollywood have come up with all these fake movie moments against which you will be judged. But now that they’re out there, at least try for something special. Flowers, candles or twinkle lights,  music — figure out how to create a special scene and feeling. Watch a few movies and jewelry commercials if it helps.

3. As any real estate agent will tell you, Location Location Location. This will vary depending on your fiancee-to-be of course. But you can’t go wrong with a place that has some meaning to the two of you. The place you met, or where you went on your first date, had your first kiss, said, “I love you” for the first time.” You get the idea. It can even be at home, if you set the mood right (see No. 2). (more…)

Note from Suzanne: Now that my blog has been going strong for year, I’m going to occasionally pull an old post just for fun. This appeared Feb. 3, 2009.

Sunday I had nothing to do. I originally had plans to watch the Super Bowl with some ladies. But after burning the candle at both ends for three nights in a row, my small bank account and big eye bags convinced me to stay in and lounge.

So I lay around bored, restless.

As I observed earlier this week, I had a busy weekend. Since becoming single, I’ve been scheduling more events than Live Nation. I keep telling myself this busy little bee act is part of re-discovering who I am and what I want out of life. It’s all about having fun and enjoying my freedom.

But Sunday I was thinking: I’m no bee; I’m an ostrich in a sandbox. When you’re with someone, life seems validated somehow. Even watching TV seems like a grand activity when you’re cuddling with your cutie instead of lying on the couch with nothing but a martini to keep you warm.

I don’t read fashion magazines, but I recently soaked myself in celebrity trash talk while soaking my pedis at the spa. I read an article in Vogue about Jennifer Aniston, who will turn 40 soon. Of course, the media makes a huge deal about her single status at that age – insert big eye roll here. She remarked that she doesn’t like “Sex in the City” because the characters are always man-obsessed, as if their whole lives are about finding the man, keeping the man, pleasing the man.

Those comments made a lot of sense to me. I’m Suzanne Woodstock and my happiness should not hinge on any “him”s.

While bored Sunday, I stumbled across a blog that my ex, Darren, has recently started. Ironic that we both decided to embark on such projects at about the same time, especially considering we both agree how much crap there is on the Internet.

I only read a little before I forced myself to stop. And I realized I miss him a little bit. Strong, single women are not supposed to admit such things, but there it was in front of me.

Of course my blog is a way for me to lessen the pain by finding some life lessons in love. And hell, I’m having fun with it. (Stayed tuned for some dating experiments.)

But I can’t alliterate to alleviate. Finding fun in singledom doesn’t mean happiness is a finger tippity-tap away.

Be I a bee or an ostrich, I’m learning all I can about me. That way, when the right guy does come along, I won’t need him to validate my lazy Sunday of TV watching.

I just heard a radio commercial for a cell phone.

Girl: “You don’t have to get me anything, sweetie, really.”

Announcer: “Don’t listen to her when she tells you she doesn’t want anything for Valentine’s Day. It’s a lie.”

by Dan Taylor

Um, yeah. She really wants a phone to show her you love her.

I have never celebrated Valentine’s Day. I’m always single. Usually I go out with a bunch of singles to Hooter’s so we can chow down on wings and beer and enjoy our freedom.

The one time I was in a couple on V-day, in 2008, I was with a man who did not believe in it. I won’t lie; I was a little disappointed. But at the same time, I was mad at myself for expecting something. Am I really no better than a fictional girl in a cell phone radio ad, who pretends she doesn’t want something but then gets mad when he doesn’t get her a gift?

Eek. Who wants THAT girl?

Of course, if Kevin did something special, I’d be pleased. But I’d be more excited if he bought me daisies in July, not overpriced roses on Feb. 14 because he is “supposed” to do that.

True romance contains the element of surprise.

I’ll be surprised if I can come up with a good gift, because so far he and I don’t have any specific plans this weekend. We’ll skip the cozy dinner for two shared with a zillion other couples. So what does that leave? I’d vote for a hot air balloon ride, but I don’t think the weather or my budget is going to allow that.

I also recently saw an ad for getting your pet a Valentine’s Day gift. Seriously? Clearly marketers really don’t care if it even makes any sense.

I think the most romantic evening Kevin and I spent together was on a deck swing, just talking. Maybe true romance also contains the element of simplicity. Cooking dinner together and taking a walk to Cook Out for a milkshake might just do the trick.

No matter what we do, I can tell you that a new cell phone doesn’t say, “I love you.”  Hmm… unless it’s a Nexus One, because I kind of want one of those.

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