Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Good Nookie Is Hard To Come By...

...or maybe it's not, but it sure as hell is a lot harder to find than it should be.

I've been dating again for about a year now, and I've noticed a disturbing trend when it comes to bedroom abilities. In general, people aren't that great at such things. And honestly? I'm pretty surprised, because I think it's almost harder not to be good at it than it is to rock your partner's world.

See, I'm a man. And as such, having a stellar sex life is pretty up there on the priority list. Definitely not the most important thing, but it's pretty key to continuing positive interactions with a significant other. I'm not a big one night stand kinda guy, although I will neither confirm nor deny any rumors of friends with bennies or recurring occasional hookup situations in my past. I tend to think that if someone's worth inviting into my bed once, they're worth repeat performances. But sometimes? It can be tough. While I'm a great coach (very important -- we're all different and like different subtleties, right?), I'm not a big fan of trying to teach others things that should already intrinsically be there.

'Cause being a great lover is pretty simple (disclaimer: if I'm exceptionally drunk or equally hungover, I make no guarantees until it's happened enough to be on the same wavelength already. Likewise, I don't usually assume a drunken or hungover experiences are representative of what a woman is like. Some moments we're just not physically up to mind-blowing, passionate monkeylove). It really only takes 4 things. In order of importance, a great naked olympics partner should be:

1) Enthusiastic
2) Observant
3) (somewhat) Experimental, and
4) Talented.

Let's break it down.

Enthusiastic -- Seriously? You gotta want to be there. If you're not into it, your partner won't be either. 'Cause nobody wants to feel like they're only worth making a half-hearted effort for (see above note about drunkenness and hangovers -- the one exception, and even then, only occasionally). If you're into it and it shows, on the other hand, everybody's gonna enjoy themselves, no matter what else happens. You can't have passionate encounters without the "passionate," right? This is by far the most important factor.

Observant -- In the moment, every single one of us gives off subtle and not-so-subtle clues as to what we're enjoying, what we're really digging, and what's not-so-much our thing. 'Cause, well... we're all different, and while there are some things that are generally universal due to similar anatomical equipment, we all like them slightly differently. If you pay attention to this, you can easily give your partner exactly what he or she wants and create one of the most memorable trysts they've ever had. And if you're both tuned in? Man, watch out. Life will be so good you want nothing more than to spend all day every day locked in the bedroom. In fact, just thinking about an observant lover makes me want to get the hell out of here and hunt one down. Wow.

(slightly) Experimental -- Don't misunderstand. I'm not saying "ok, break out the spiked collar, paddle, and nipple clamps, then jump on the anal sex expressway" here. I mean, if that's your thing, go for it -- with the right partner, sometimes we're suprised to find out how much kinkier we are than we ever thought we'd be, but it's definitely not a necessity. I guess a better word for what I'm trying to say here would be "exploratory." Don't just go right for the girl- or boy- parts. Explore your partner's body. Work your way around. Make it your mission to find new erogenous zones your partner never knew existed. Everything from the back of the ankle to the inside of the elbow to the lower back and beyond can be highly erotic. Learn what makes them tick sexually. A light touch or soft kiss here and there can make a world of difference. We're whole people, not just support systems for sex organs, and the brain (cliche alert!) is the most powerful sex organ we've got. If you light up every inch of their skin (while being observant as described above), you can put their brain into overdrive. This obviously works best if you're not rushed for time, but the information you get here can totally be put to use again when you are, cause you know what drives them crazy.

Talented -- One common mistake people make is thinking that their signature moves are all it takes to blow somebody away. In reality? Not so much. This is more like the added bonus. It's absolutely not necessary for retardedly good sex. That said, once you've got the other three points down, it can certainly be the kicker that blows everything through the roof. Those 5 years of Cosmo back issues you've got in the closet? Here's where you test them out. Get a good tip from a friend? See how it works. Crazy positions you've heard/read good things about? Definitely worth a try. Again, no one trick is going to work on everybody, but there's no better feeling than surprising your lover with something that drives them crazy, especially when they had no idea it was coming. Unless it's the feeling of being the one who's surprised with something you've never felt before and loving it. If you want to add some spice to your sex life, a few new tricks is a good way to do it, granted y'all already have the basics down. Being unique will definitely bring people back to you for things they can't get anywhere else.

So that's my take on how great sex happens. If you've got all four of these things down, and the other party involved does too, you're practically guaranteed mind-blowing passion every time you use them. And interestingly enough? You do them well, and you'll be surprised how often you get calls from people in your past wondering what you're up to and if you want to "catch up." Nothing says "great in bed" like partners who want to come back for more, right? Whether or not you choose to take them up on it.

If you've got something to add, I'd love to hear it. This is one area where one can never learn too much.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Well, Then.

What to say about the happy hour? Great turnout, for one. Some of us (raises hand) may have had a couple too many and got pretty intimately familiar with this feeling, some of us (hand back down) may have made a new love connection here or there, some traveled far and/or wide to get there, some lost their blogger happy hour virginity, but I think all can agree it was a great time. I saw old friends, made new friends, had all kinds of fun, and had a pretty decent drunken time with the bloggers I caught up with afterwards. Here's who made it out (in the order I ran into them):

INPY (recap)
DCWeddingPhotog (recap with pics!)
A Unique Alias
Sparkles Anon!
Jo (recap)
The Punisher
Boztopia (recap)
Cheerful Cynic
Dagny Taggart (recap)
Virgle Kent
Hey Pretty
Freckled K
GN (kind of a recap?)

If I missed you, let me know and I'll add you to the list, along with more recaps as I come across them.

Friday, May 18, 2007

And So It Begins...

Nice Guys Happy Hour

Ok, who's in?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

When Worlds Collide

Blogging is an interesting thing. Especially when people you know in the real world read your blog. We like to make things interesting, so sometimes when we're writing, we take a little bit of journalistic license. Things can be exaggerated, and sometimes we'll combine multiple people or stories into one, for the sake of getting our point across. We'll even play with timelines or places. It's all about saying what we're trying to say.

And the people we are as bloggers are usually only about 20% of our actual personality, so sometimes that can lead others to have the wrong impression of us. The whole person is usually very different from the person that comes across online. That's why most blog-crushes just don't work out in the real world.

So there's lots of opportunity for real life people to misunderstand or misinterpet the things we write about. On top of that, sometimes one can blog about something that's been on their mind recently (or even hasn't really been on their mind) that coincidentally appears to someone else to be related to them when it's not.

What's my point? Well, in the past couple weeks, I've seen several of my bloggy friends get into some pretty sticky personal situations with friends, dates, or others because said non-blogger misinterpeted something they posted and got upset by it. In fact, I've seen it happen to one person twice in the last week or two with three different friends, and I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that they're misinterpeting. It sucks. We let our friends know about these things and read them because y'all matter to us. We like you. We like you to see what's on our minds. We'd rather you read it. But please don't read to much into things. Cause 97% of the time, it's not about you. And if it is, trust me, you'll know before it hits. 'Cause that's just how we roll. The internet's not nearly as real as the real world, and I'd hate to ever run into a situation like a few of my friends are dealing with.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Moral Education?

The Good News: The Kansas Board of Education, hot on the heels of their recent success re-introducing an evolution-oriented curriculum in science classes, has canned abstinence-only sex education.

The Bad News: They've replaced it with "abstinence plus" education, which stresses abstinence before marriage, while also urging schools to give students information about birth control and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases.

While it's a step in the right direction, and I believe teenagers desperately need to know about birth control and safer sex, I think they're missing a pretty big point here. They're addressing the question of what morality (and facts) they should teach instead of the question of whether or not schools should teach a morality curriculum of any kind.

Here's how I see it. There are a very wide variety of people in this country who believe many different things when it comes to morality. And quite a few of those kids go to public schools. Why does the school have the right to teach all of them the same moral code -- isn't that their parents' choice (and responsibility)?

While I wouldn't necessarily teach my kids to stay abstain from sex until marriage and I don't really think it works, I believe in other peoples' right to raise their children with the moral codes they believe in. And when you really come down do it, the question of abstinence is completely a moral one. Shouldn't the schools teach the facts (including the one where the only totally safe sex is no sex) and leave the morality up to parents, churches, and so on? Is there any other area of school curriculum where public schools with no religious affiliation teach moral codes that children should get from other places?

I think we should stick with the facts and let parents do their job by instilling the moral values they find important in their children, just like mine did. I didn't take any classes that encouraged me to be abstinent until marriage, and I think I turned out just fine in the morality department.

On a loosely related note:

The Nice Guys Happy Hour is on Friday and there are bribes involved. Be there or be square.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

No Rules, Just Right

As you may have noticed, I haven't written anything deep and emotional for a while here, mostly because I haven't been feeling very deep or emotional myself lately. I'm still not in that mode, but I read something so great that I'm throwing it out here anyway. Those of you that read the blog for your sappy romantic guy fix? Today's your day.

If you don't already know him, Gene Weingarten is a humor writer for the Washington Post. I don't read him regularly, but I have several friends who do, and one of them pointed me to his regular Tuesday online chat today. Why? Because it's on a topic I'm fairly familiar with: age differences in dating.

I've always believed that age is just a number and maturity is what really matters. While age and maturity tend to follow similar trends, there are lots of people out there that don't fit the norm in such departments. I've dated women who ranged from seven years my junior to fifteen years older than me, and I count myself lucky to have interacted with every single one of them (ok, not every one, but we've all had a few unpleasant dates/relationships/whatever, right?). This topic ties in pretty well with my "no rules" approach to dating, which has opened me up to wonderful opportunities I would otherwise have missed.

So anyway, Mr Weingarten took a poll on what people think of couples with significant age differences, and the results were overwhelmingly cynical. As someone who's been there, I'm not so much so. One commenter had a great response:

Rebuttal to the Poll Results: I am a woman in my mid-20s. I am dating a man in his late-40s.

With very few exceptions, I never had much luck dating guys my own age. There aren't many with whom I share a lot of interests; how close you live to the bar is not the kind of detail that's likely to make me swoon and drop my pants. I don't want to stereotype all young guys here, but this has largely been my own experience.

My boyfriend isn't wealthy; you couldn't call me an opportunist. I'm intelligent and independent; you couldn't call him a chauvinist. So why am I in this situation when I could date someone who makes so much more "sense?" Well; how can you ask anyone why they're in love? He's intelligent and kind and funny. I admire and respect how he lives his life and treats the lives around him. I connect deeply to the way he experiences places and moments and music; the world. And beyond all the characteristics that someone could argue I might find in someone else, there is that quality, elusive to words, that transcends the "why." It just is.

One thing it's not is easy. Just look at the poll results. Others will always assume they know your story before they've heard a word. They'll willingly identify the limits of your relationship for you: clearly, you can't get married! And even if you did... well, surely you don't intend to have children, right? Look at that couple -- clearly they're deluded. Clearly they're using each other. Cynicism is always the quickest and easiest response.

I have known plenty of people -- friends and family -- who have made practical, logical choices against their true feelings and visceral instincts, and deeply regretted it. I have seen people I love live in relationships that made them somewhat satisfied at best and considerably unhappy at worst.

I've watched people live vibrant, beautiful, healthy lives well into their eighties and nineties. I've seen others die of illnesses in their thirties and forties, when their paths should just be starting to unfold.

If you told me right now that I had five years left to live, and asked me who I wanted to spend them with, there would be no doubt in my mind how to answer. Shouldn't that be the truth you live by? Anything can happen to anyone, at any time. I'd rather have five, ten, fifteen wonderful years than a long lifetime of vague discontent, or -- worse -- regret. It's true, I would never have pictured myself here before I met this person. I have no idea what will happen. It's not ideal, not by any stretch of the imagination. It's not perfect. But I do not apologize for it. Love happens. It happens randomly, in ways both remarkable and remarkably inconvenient. Love happens in shades of gray, and only those in it can truly understand its depth and navigate its complexities.

The fine poet Mary Oliver wrote: "you only have to let the soft animal of your body/love what it loves." These are not simple words to live by, but I think they are the key to living well.

Even if this relationship ended tomorrow, I would at least walk away knowing better than to ever cast a cold glance at anyone who dares to be happy living the life they choose, whatever that means, however far it may be outside the realm of what is commonly accepted and condoned. Some people might call it a mistake to continue an inherently complicated relationship across a distance of so many years. I think the mistake would be to let anyone else's willingness to judge me -- or him, or us -- impact the life I choose to live, who I live it with, or how happy I might be, for who knows how long.

I have nothing to add to this -- she said it all.

Preview of Next Season:

I've got a ton of topics to talk about in the queue, so stay tuned -- good things are coming. Special thanks to SW in NC for the article... I promise you'll see it discussed here soon.

Other News:

Jerry Falwell died today. I'm reminded of a Bette Davis quote: "My mother always said to speak good of the dead. Joan Crawford is dead. Good."

Monday, May 14, 2007

A Reminder and Then Some...

Nice Guys Happy Hour

It's coming...

And? Well, INPY and I have been talking, and we'd like to try an experiment here. You see, as host, I-66 gave out points and bought the first drink for the point leader. That was fun. Free drinks rock.

If you've never been to one of these happy hours, they're a pretty good time. Although I'm sure you'd expect a blogger happy hour to be kind of a nerd convention, filled with a horde of the socially awkward, it's really quite the opposite. I've met a ton of amazing people, made some really good friends, and generally had a great time at every one of them. These guys (and gals) are down to earth, interesting, hilarious, outgoing, and exceptionally friendly.

If you have been to a few, you've probably noticed it's usually pretty much the same crowd, with a new person or three who will probably come back and become part of that same crowd. And we love you guys (see above). We also love meeting the new person or three, and it would be cool to see our little group get bigger and bigger. So here's what we're gonna do (consider it our little version of I-66 points):

If you bring a blogger that neither INPY or I have ever met before, your first drink is on us. Similarly, if you are a blogger we've never met before and you show up without anyone to claim responsibility, we've got yours covered, too. Consider it a newbie incentive. :-)

When I came to my first one, I was a little nervous and I had no idea what to expect. I said to myself "I'll stop in for one beer and if it blows, I'll meet up with my friends over at the other bar." I ended up closing the place down that night with some very awesome people. I have no doubt that others have and will have similar experiences.

If you've never been and would like to, check out I-66's post on what to expect from your first blogger happy hour. I'll see you there!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Sorry, guys...

...running out the door to try to make it down to tech for the little sis's graduation. Want to read something interesting? Check out one of the links on the right, and I'll be back on Monday.


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Don't Look Now, But...

Ok, I think that came out a little more extreme than I meant it to. I'm not super-depressed, I'm not out on the prowl for a wife, I'm not in a negative place right now, and I'm not, by any stretch of the imagination, desperate. On the other hand, one of my major goals in life at the moment is to find a good, solid, happy relationship. One that has the potential down the road to evolve into something serious. And at certain landmarks in time, so to speak, it's pretty normal (and important) to examine your goals and your progress towards them. Yesterday, being my one year break-up-iversary, was a good time for that.

To be honest, I don't have many regrets about my dating life this year. There's been a couple I think could have evolved into something truly amazing if we'd let them, but when things like that don't pan out, it's usually for good reason. I've had some great times and enjoyed life, been a lot more social than I was before, and I'm much happier than I was a year ago. I just don't feel a whole lot closer to where I want to be from a romantic standpoint.

Now onto the meat of what I want to talk about today. SWF41 and Rie mentioned the old cliche that love comes when you're not looking for it. I agree and disagree with that sentiment all at the same time. Let me explain.

See, first of all, it depends what you mean by looking. If you're chasing an idealistic concept, more concerned with the status than the actual person involved, and not ready to deal with reality, you're doomed to failure. This leads to things like pressuring people to move faster than they're ready for, embarking on insta-relationships, and getting too involved or invested before you really know the person you're dealing with. In other words, desperate never works. And if that's how you define "looking for it," I'm right with you 110%.

That said, I believe in being open and creating opportunities. Getting to know new people whenever you have the opportunity, no matter what context you're doing it under -- friends, dates, somewhere in between, whatever. Women, for the most part, can do that by living their normal social lives, because women are usually more receptive in dating than they are pursuit-oriented. A relatively attractive woman will meet a decent number of new men pretty regularly, provided they put themselves in environments where there are men they don't know around. Guys who find them attractive will initiate conversations and so on and so forth.

For guys, on the other hand, it's a little different. Women don't usually approach strange men, no matter how attractive they find them. That means that a guy who's not willing to do a little bit of work won't meet enough new women to sustain a healthy dating life. The guy who doesn't do any looking at all is the one who ends up sitting at home playing video games and hasn't had a date in 4 years. That's not who I want to be. I believe in the numbers game. The more interesting women I meet, the better the chances that one of them will be someone I could have a pretty good relationship with down the road. That also leads to a larger social circle and more friends, which in turn leads to more new people to meet and a happier, more socially rewarding life in general.

So I create opportunities. For example, if you've been to a blogger happy hour, it's pretty likely that I've come up to you and said "I don't think I know you yet. I'm [insert real first name here]," and started a conversation. I've met a lot of great friends that way, and some of those friends have introduced me to other friends. It's just like professional networking. There are lots of ways to do this.

Once a guy creates opportunities, he has to act on them when they present themselves. If I meet a girl who I find attractive, I will pretty much always set up some one-on-one time with her (if she's amenable to it), just to get to know her a little more. If there's already heavy duty flirting, I'll call it a date. If not, I'll keep it undefined. Either way, I'm open to whatever results from it. I could make a cool new friend, I could have a few great dates, I could end up very involved with that person, or we could just have a few drinks and stay acquaintances. A few of my closest friends now (hi guys! You know who you are) started out that way, and more than a couple of the girls on that list yesterday did, too.

So I'm not necessarily looking, but I'm open to possibility. It's been working well in the quantity department, and I've steadily gotten better in the quality one over time. Is that really considered "looking for it?" If it is, then I'd rather look. If not, I'm happy with the current way of doing things.

What do you think?

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

A Brief Retrospective

One year.

That's how long it's been, to the day, since this ended. And in that year? Well, I've had some interesting dating experiences.

Let's take an inventory:*

6 Stage five clingers...
3 Who misread what I wanted, projected their fears onto me, and used that to justify not dating me anymore...
2 Who made me think they were more into me than they were...
5 Whose personalities could be best summed up with "Whatever you want to do... I just want to make you happy..."
1 With a fuse so short that no one could ever figure out why she was mad...
4 Who would still come over right now if I called them...
1 Who made me feel like second best...
2 Skinny girls who thought they were fat...
3 Chubbier ones who thought they were super-skinny...
4 Hot nerds...
2 I could have seriously fallen in love with hard...
Many who had some growing up to do...
And a couple that made my heart hurt.

And those were just the ones who made it past the first date (please note: I'm not a whore -- there's quite a bit of overlap here). I've also had 2 stalkers (thanks, blogworld!) and a plethora of first dates that didn't go past that.

In other words, it's been a rough year, and I feel like I've been treading water. I don't feel like I'm any closer to the original goal. Strangely enough, as a grown man, I've got several goals in life, but the one I decided to focus on is the one it appears I've made the least progress towards. It seems like the only area in life where you can do all the right things and not make any progress anyway.

And I don't think it's that I'm looking in the wrong places. I've met these people just about everywhere: the internet, bars, through friends, the gym, at parties, normal everyday life... you name it, I've gotten a date or two out of it. I just don't know what to try next.

I'm this close to running off to become a monk. Or maybe moving away to start over in a new place. I'm feeling very unsettled at the moment.

Fuckin' women.

Disclaimer: If you're about to leave an anonymous comment about how arrogant I am, fuck off. Seriously, take it somewhere else. I'm not saying I'm perfect by any stretch of the imagination, just that I'm disillusioned and a little bitter today.

* If I've dated you this year, don't get offended. This is about my frustration with dating in general, not with you. In fact, you're probably not even on that list -- you're special.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Calling All Bloggers

As you've probably heard by now, the Blogger Happy Hour torch has passed on to new ownership. I-66 did a killer job, and we're hoping we can live up to it.

So what's on the menu for May?

Nice Guys Happy Hour

When: Friday, May 18th @ 8:00 pm
Where: Cue Bar -- 1115 U Street NW
Who: Hosted by INPY and yours truly.
Who's Coming: Bloggers, Commenters, Readers, Lurkers, Friends, and anyone else who happened to hear about it. If it sounds like fun to you, be there.
What: Booze, Bloggers, and Badassedly Good Times (also featuring pool, darts, and ping-pong)
How: However you'd like. Just try to keep it legal. Or at least don't get caught.

Here's Hoping...
...I-66 shows up anyway
...TexPundit gets paid on time
...Dagny Taggart avoids the blue stuff
...Average Jane doesn't hate me for my Heelys (yes, they're making an appearance)
...Ar-Jew-Tino wears a less confusing shirt
...Roosh hasn't used up his three word recaps
...MM brings the boy
...Gen stays away from the pasta
...FreckledK brings the camera
...Someone far away makes an appearance
...INPY doesn't die of alcohol poisoning
...and you show up.

It's gonna be a party, y'all.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Thank You, Jesus!

I have a confession to make.

I might have a little bit of a thing for the southern belle type. Ok, maybe it's a big thing. In fact, it might be bordering on "ginormous" or even "gargantuan."

From a personality perspective, I'm not all about your stereotypical southern gal -- I tend to like women who are fiesty, well-traveled, and have a bit of the tough girl in them. The ones that can banter like a champ, have a competitive streak, and make me feel like I've met my match.

Physically, though? Put the girl next door in a cute little sundress and a big floppy hat, and you will immediately destroy any chance I had of forming a logical coherent thought. I become a little puddle of LMNt on the ground, unable to process anything except the visions of beauty dancing before my eyeballs.

That's why this was my own little version of the happiest place on earth. Screw those Disney people -- it's all about the steeple chase. 'Course, the fact that the alcohol started flowing around 9 am or so probably didn't hurt too much. Come to think of it, this picture, although it was taken two years before and I wasn't there, pretty succinctly sums up everything that made Saturday a little slice of heaven. Take a look at it. Little sundresses everywhere and lots of liquor right up front. To top it off, conversation topics ranged from how many bottles can fit in a purse that already contains 3 pairs of shoes, two hats, and a big pink fleece to how best to properly harness, support, and display a beautifully ample bosom. The par-tay bus there and back was the icing on the cake.

Afterwards, we headed to Adams Morgan for a Kentucky Derby party thrown by a beautiful & gracious host. Good times were had by (almost) all. Excellent Saturday, even if I hadn't had 18 hours of drinking.

To sum up:
- wear a sundress = poke my achilles heel
- Steeple chases rock.
- If you find yourself with an extra invitation to a steeple chase, please for the love of dog send it my way. I'll be eternally in your debt.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Q: How Many Mice Does It Take To Screw In A Lightbulb?

A: Two, but god knows how the little guys got in there.

(This is a beta test of a possible "Silly Joke Friday" feature. Good? Bad? Ugly? Let me know. Special thanks to FoxySavant for the joke.)

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Our Story...

We've all got one. Well, the ninety-something percent of us who 1) aren't sheltered and/or virginal, and 2) didn't marry our high school sweetheart to live happily ever after. You probably have one yourself. I'm talking about the ex. The one you still think about sometimes and wonder what he/she is up to. The one who, in a different time or place, could have been your "happily ever after."

Mine was Carroll. We met online several years ago, and I fell for her the moment I laid eyes on her. She was a little distant at first, but a hell of a kisser, and I was apparently the first internet date she'd ever had. We had a few dates and a lot of fun, but we both had pretty severe cases of ODS at the time, and decided we'd be better off as friends (which, of course, when you've only been on a couple dates with someone, usually means "have a nice life -- you're cool, but not for me"). Somehow, though, I had a gut feeling that we'd meet again.

And I was right. A few months later, we ran into each other at a big new year's bash in DC. We made small talk, said how great it was to see each other again, and went back to our respective friends. At about 12:30, our paths crossed, and since neither of us had celebrated the new year in classic lip-lock style, we shared a slightly drunken, slightly-post midnight kiss or two and flirted for the rest of the night. After that we started talking again. Nothing major, just occasional IM acquaintances. We kept up on the major events in each other's lives.

Flash forward about 6 months. I'd just had a tumultuous breakup and lost the majority of my social circle in the process. So the next time I saw her online, I explained the situation and said that we should hang out, cause I could use some new friends (guy translation: "you're the one that got away and I'd like to fix that, but friends would be nice, too"). We started hanging out and getting closer. While we were a bit flirty, it was a platonic flirty, and I assumed (after feeling the vibe out a bit) it would stay that way, but she could definitely make a very good friend. I discovered karaoke, she started coming with me, and we soon formed a huge group for our weekly song-fests at the local bar. That was pretty much the only time we saw each other, but we talked a lot, and developed a strong bond. In fact, she became my best friend.

The next year, a little before Halloween, something interesting happened. We realized that we were the only two people in our respective social circles who really got into doing scary Halloween stuff. We went to see a scary movie together one night and ended up at my house, drinking, making out, and watching more scary movies on DVD. The next morning, things were awkward. We decided (again) that we should just be friends, but this time, it seemed a lot more like lip service. We hung out three or four times that week, and again the week after, getting more physical and date-y the whole time, and by the end of November, she called from vacation to tell me how much she missed me, I admitted the same, and we decided to do the exclusive bf/gf thing.

I'm not going to say everything was always perfect, because that's not realistic. We had our ups and downs, as everyone does, but what really amazed me was the complete and total lack of negative drama in the relationship. In the almost two years we dated, I can count the number of fights we had on one hand and still have fingers left over. And the majority of those were alcohol fueled, as opposed to being real issues needing resolution. It was by far the healthiest, happiest, and easiest relationship I'd ever been a part of. People always say that you have to work at it, but we really didn't seem to need to. It just happened.

Over time, things got pretty serious. We not only met the parents, but started visiting and hanging out with them. We became known as "LMNt and Carroll," instead of "LMNt" and "Carroll". We spent a few holidays together at her parents' house, and even slept in the same bed when we were there (something she and they had sworn would never happen until she was married to the guy). Conversations changed from "if we get married someday" to "when we get married." We spent almost every night in the same bed, and started seriously discussing moving in together and/or getting engaged. This was the first relationship she'd ever had (and is still the only one) that had lasted more than three months. Ever.

Then one day I realized things were different somehow. She seemed a bit distant. We didn't talk the way we used to. She was spending less time with me and more at happy hours with coworkers or friends. She stopped inviting me along. Somehow, this wonderful thing we'd built seemed to be slipping away. I mentioned it, and she said she wasn't sure, she hadn't noticed anything different, but she'd think about it and get back to me. We set a date to come back to the subject and talk.

(I'm sure y'all can see what's coming here.)

When the day rolled around, I said that I thought we were losing the passion. That we needed to have more fun together and take a few steps back from the serious stuff. She said she didn't want to be with me anymore. That she'd been trying to understand why she wasn't ready to move in together yet, and while she hadn't figured it out, the fact that she wasn't (after how long we'd been together) and that it weighed on her so much were signs that I wasn't the one. Being an intuitive guy, I'd kind of assumed this was where things were going and came prepared. We did the obligatory stuff exchange on the spot. She cried. I didn't. That wouldn't happen until the next day.

She said that I'd been her best friend for years and she still wanted to be friends. I told her I'd need some time to process things, but that I agreed, and I'd get in touch with her after I'd sorted myself out. And after a month or two, I did. We hung out once and talked on the phone or over email a few times, but things were never quite the same. Eventually, she stopped even responding to phone calls or emails. I wasn't trying to get back together, and I didn't pressure her to even do the friends thing, but I was (and still am) extremely disappointed to lose the friendship. There may have been a drunk dial or three since.

So today I'm feeling a bit nostalgic. I'm way beyond considering her date-worthy -- that'll never happen again. From what I've heard, she's changed quite a bit, and is not at all the same woman I fell for. I still miss what we had at times, though, even though my romantic life is going absolutely swimmingly at the moment.

Why is this in my mind today? Well, I've got plans this weekend where there's a pretty decent chance I'll run into her and a group of her friends (who used to be our friends, but she knew them first, so she got custody). I'm not quite sure how I'll handle it if that happens. I mean, on the outside, I'm sure I'll respond properly. Make small talk, have a lot of fun with my friends (and my date) and not seem phased. Internally though? I don't know. I'm kinda keeping my fingers crossed that she's not there. But at the same time, a little piece of me sort of hopes she is.