Tatiana Talks

Keep Philadelphia Beautiful, Guys

So, now that it is finally warming up on the East Coast, I think it is time to address something that has long bothered me when I am running on Kelly Drive.

No, not the crazies, or the horn honkers, or the high school rowers who walk six across on the path. I’m talking about something I can actually do something about. 

Guys. Running. Without shirts on.

I understand running is a sweaty activity, and when the mercury climbs you want to be wearing as little as possible. So, if the PECO building is flashing a temperature above 90, I will give you guys a pass. I'm even a little jealous.

Eighty-nine degrees and below, fellas, and I'm telling you, cover it up.

And this isn’t just for me. It's for you, too.

I mean, why are we running on Kelly Drive in the first place? To get healthy. Right. Okay, so what’s our second reason? To look good. Maybe even to attract a potential mate?

No? That's not why you are out there (insert eye-roll). Fine. You get a pass, too. 

But, if you happen to think, as you are coordinating your running shorts with your wristbands, how nice it would be to run into a cute girl who can keep your pace, keep reading.

While I recognize I don't represent women everywhere, I did conduct a quick survey and found that unless you look like Ryan Gosling in Crazy Stupid Love, we will not be impressed when your sweaty self comes lumbering towards us. Instead, we may be repulsed.

However, if I see a perfectly normally shaped man headed towards me, even if he is a little round in the belly, I can find him very attractive and start wondering about all the other sweaty things we can do together.

But, when I see a guy naked from the waist up, nine times out of ten I'm thinking only one thing: Where the eff is your shirt?

Take, for example, Peyton Manning.

I have loved Peyton Manning for most of my adult life. However, I had never seen him shirtless. Not until he was on SNL a few years back. He did this sketch (I warn you, it isn’t funny), and if I didn't already love him I wouldn't be capable of getting past his frozen chicken breast like chest (really, he’s a professional athlete?). No amount of pass completions or clever MasterCard commercials could have erased that image from my retinas.

Need something closer to home. You got it.

I was recently out on Kelly Drive (in capri pants and a tank top even though the Runner’s World app suggested I wear the shortest shorts I could find and a sports bra) when I passed an acquaintance running sans shirt. Now, because I’m single for life, I wasn’t attracted to this guy before this run-in. Still, I knew he was single and had considered his potential for any one of my wonderful friends. And, if it came down to describing him, I would’ve said: tall with a pretty decent body. After all, he was always talking about all the races and working out he did; I figured it was fair to assume his body was nice.

Oh, would I have been wrong. His skin was so pale it was practically translucent. It was like that scene in the first X-men movie when the senator is walking out of the ocean all jellyfish-like. I didn’t know if I should avert my eyes or find him sunscreen. Either way, he quickly moved from potential hottie for one of my friends to how do I tell her about his six chest hairs. 

And while you might not think being on my hot list is an honor, being hooked up with one of my friends certainly is. Reason number 7 you should always wear a shirt -- the first six being skin cancer.

Oh, and lest you think I'm being sexist, I don't want to see you Ryan Gosling look-a-likes without your shirts either. But that is mostly because I find it distracting. And when I'm distracted I fall.

Or run into light posts.

The One

A thousand years ago, my mom encouraged (made) me read The Secret. For those of you who have read it, you know will know how this relates, for those who didn't, basically, The Secret is everything you want you just need to think really hard about, and then the universe will deliver it to you.

For the most part, I think this is crap. But in the same way I don't necessarily believe in a god, but still sometimes worry I'm going to hell, at times when I am thinking about something and then it happens, I wonder if I made it happen with my powerful brain.

As I mentioned last week, I have been thinking a lot about my past, including past loves. And it wouldn't be a list of my greatest hits if it didn't include The One, because as the saying goes, you never forget your first.

Now, for clarification sake, The One wasn't my first in that sense (oh, god how I wish I could forget that first). He was the first guy for whom I had those feelings. You know those feelings. The shivers, the butterflies, the weak knees and the panties sliding to the floor. All which I mistook for love.

Back then all I knew about love came from romantic comedies, pop songs and novels.

And if life were more like a romantic comedy, college would have ended with The One running to me, apologizing for all the hurt he caused. I would have shook my tear-stained cheeks and responded that no, I was sorry for being so silly and stupid and fill-in-this-blank-with-your-favorite-cliché-for-a-twenty-year-old.

Then we would have embraced and you would have watched our happily ever after flash by in a montage of photos taken during our wedding and on vacations and at the birth of our two children as the credits rolled.

Fortunately life isn't a romantic comedy – it isn't that terribly predictable, nor is there just one person destined to make you happy for all eternity.

I learned that after I met someone who made me feel just as good (even better) as The One. Yes, you can have chemistry with lots of people, but that isn’t love. It’s biology.

So he is The One. Not because I still harbor any thoughts that he is the knight in shining armor I mistook him for in my late-teens, but because I was so convinced he was the elusive one and now that I know there will never be “one,” he is the only one.

Does that make sense?

And maybe because he was the first, or because I spent so much time loving him, I still recognize him by his walk. His voice. His scent.

Even 12 years later.

What does any of this have to do with The Secret?

I saw him this weekend. Actually I didn't see him at first, I heard him. But that is all I needed.

Same tightening of the spine that happened all those years ago and every time I have run into him since.

And for just a moment, as I passed him, I had to remind myself that it wasn't love, it’s chemistry. It isn’t destiny. It is two people living in the same city with common friends and interests. It isn’t magical thinking. It’s coincidence.

And to prove it, I spent the rest of the weekend thinking of CK (and occasionally Ryan Lochte) and I didn’t run into either of them.

Table for One

Sometimes it’s lonely being single. Of course it is. But sometimes the loneliness hits you when you least expect it.

Friends and I signed up for a party run. For the uninitiated -- a party run is a race followed by a party. But by the time the race came around, everyone had backed out for one reason or another.

Everyone except me.

Now, typically I run by myself, so it wasn’t the race that worried me. It was before the run that had me freaking out. Before a run you are just standing around, talking with friends, trying to keep warm, thinking about bailing, and wondering why you keep signing up for these things.  You hop around, you laugh, judge other runners and wait for the starting gun. But when you are alone, well, you just stand there. Alone. Surrounded by hundreds of people.

Of course I thought about bailing, too, as I walked down to the start. I kept thinking I can just go home. No one will know.

But I had made a promise to myself earlier. If I went to run, I didn’t have to face the party. After all, this was my choice -- to be single. And being single means sometimes I will be all by myself. Sometimes there will be things I want to do that no one is contractually obligated to do with me. But all that pep talk aside, I still wasn’t ready to go to a party alone.

When I finally made it to the starting line, it wasn’t nearly as bad or as lonesome as I feared. I saw people I knew, talked to them for a bit. Checked my bag, lined up at the start. Saw CK. He wasn’t running but was waiting dutifully with his new girlfriend. I waved. He waved back. Then the gun went off, I took off, and before I knew it, the race was over and I had finished the four miles in a time that even shocked me.

I was feeling so good post-race, I almost wanted to brave the party.

Maybe next year.

Number Five

I have been having a lot of conversations about choosing to be single for life. Mostly friends that either don’t believe me or want in. At some point, rather incredulously, people will say, “So, you are never going to get married.”

I’m not a super big fan of the word never. I find it almost always comes back to bite me. I am still ruing the day I told Bridie I would never tuck my jeans into boots.

So I came up with a list, the five guys I would be willing to leave the single life for. As follows, ranked in case two of them ask me to marry them at the exact same time:
1. Peyton Manning
2. Ryan Gosling
3. CK
4. Daniel Craig
5. TBD
I left spot number five open because during this journey I swallowed a lot of red pills of truth. One of these pills was that truth changes. Right now everything in my life is perfectly wonderful. I am happy and content (not the same thing) and looking forward to my next adventure and the one after that, and the one after that.

But I know that as I go on these adventures, and continue on with my life, things will change. I will change. And there may come a day that I can’t fathom right now, when I will meet someone that changes my truth. That makes risking all my happiness worthwhile.

Of course, it is just as possible that the five spot will never be filled and that is okay too. The thing is, I just don’t know and – as my mother would say – my crystal ball is at the shop getting fixed.

What A Way To End the Year

I would like to pretend that it was the universe preparing me for my chance (albeit brief) meeting with CK, but the truth is, I overslept. And being too late and too lazy to iron anything, I threw on a cute dress.

And because my extra dorky glasses didn’t go with my cute dress, I put in my contacts. Because it was Thursday, I grabbed my make-up bag as I knew the odds were good that someone would want to do happy hour.

It came as no shock that that someone was Marie.

So there we were, sitting at a local wine bar, enjoying a very generous happy hour special when CK walked in.

Literally my breath caught.

Marie (who was getting up to use the lady's room) asked me what was wrong.

"Nothing. I think I know that guy." Now of course I knew it was him. But I thought maybe my eyesight or the three glasses of wine I drank were playing tricks on me.

She turned and looked where CK was standing. "Ding dong. I hope so." (Marie is part of the "you're not really going to be single for the rest of your life tribe.")

Then she walked away.

I watched as he scanned the bar for someone, tried (without looking too desperate) to catch his eye so I could wave, all the while secretly holding out hope that it was me he was looking for (despite not having checked-in to the bar on Facebook). He eventually stopped looking, never made eye contact and took a seat facing the door (and away from me).

When she returned she asked, “Well?”

“I do know him. It’s CK.” And I took a deep breath, ready to explain what that meant.

Marie turned in her chair, “that’s the one?”

I was racking my brain for how she would know him, then I wondered if she was thinking of this blog and confusing CK with The One. I started to respond, but she turned back in her chair.

“The CK? The reason it takes you 45 minutes to get ready to meet for a cup of coffee on Saturday morning because, as you put it, 'what if C-K- is there?'?”

I guess I had mentioned him before. “That’s the one.”

“I guess it is a good thing you didn’t wear your glasses today, huh?”

I nodded.

“Are you going to say ‘hi’ to him?”

“Of course.” I knew even as I said it, it was a lie.

CK’s date finally showed up and Marie and I finally called it a night. As we walked by him, I didn’t say hello (it felt weird interrupting his date) but Marie did trip over his foot and I apologized for her while pretending not to know who he was.

I mean, it wouldn’t be a CK story if I didn’t make a little bit of an ass out of myself. At least this time I was a well-dressed, mostly sober ass.


So, while on vacation with my parents two months ago (though it feels so much longer) my mother was reading Jennifer Love Hewitt’s new book, The Day I Shot Cupid. When I saw her pack it, I eyed her suspiciously.

“What?” She defended herself. “I heard it was funny.”

I thought self-help books on dating are targeted towards single women (though, sometimes men, too). So either my mom is planning on getting back out there soon or she purchased this book for me. Her daughter. Who is so hopeless when it comes to dating, she would take advice from Jennifer Love Hewitt, whose only qualification for writing this book is that she has dated a lot. Oh, and she’s famous.

I didn’t argue any of this with my mother. I just silently resolved to finish Norman Mailer’s Executioner’s Song and check my luggage before we come back; less the ol’ girl tried to slip it into my bag “by mistake.”

So fast-forward to a few days later when my mom and I are sitting by the pool. She is appropriately covered with a hat and a light cover-up and sunscreen on all the spots those other two items leave exposed. I am lying next to her in a bikini and SPF 4. She was reading JLove's book. I wanted to read Norman Mailer’s but it was just so heavy, and the sun was so bright, and my iPod kept playing really good songs.

Out of nowhere my mom starts laughing. I open my eyes, expecting to see my father. See, on the first day of vacation my father used a spray-on sunscreen but didn’t rub it in so it looked like someone spray painted his sunburn with white. You couldn’t help but laugh.

But no, no dad. And no one fell climbing into or out of their lounge chair. So I couldn’t understand what my mother was laughing at. And then she did it again. I looked over and saw her smiling down at her book.

I knew this trick. Heck, I invented this trick. During a trip west in college (for crew) CK was sitting behind me on the plane and so I kept cracking up laughing at the book I was reading, knowing that if I did, he would eventually ask me what I was reading and we would fall hopelessly in love, get married and have lots of babies. Eventually CK did lean around my chair and ask me, which is when I saw the flaw in my plan. “Bridget Jones’ Diary: The Edge of Reason.” He raised his eyebrows and returned to his seat. What was I thinking? CK read John Dos Passos for crying-out-loud. He wasn’t going to fall hopelessly in love with a girl that laughed like a hyena to such low-brow literature.

But I digress. Recognizing my mother’s ploy, I smiled, lowered my head back onto my chair and turned up my iPod. I could still hear her laugh a couple more times, but I didn’t react. I guess she grew tired of my ignoring her, because she smacked the back of my arm with her hand. I took out one of my ear buds and lifted my head. She was handing me the book, pointing at a paragraph.

I rolled my eyes, but I was also wearing sunglasses so she didn’t see. I grabbed the book and read what Miss. Hewitt had to say. This passage was on text messaging and how some guys will only text a girl and that these texts can go on (and on) and you can feel like you have a boyfriend, but you actually never see him. Just his name when it pops on your phone alerting you to a text message. Miss. Hewitt goes on that, sure this is cute and exciting and fun at first, but this is not a relationship and that you (you out there!) deserve better and he will realize the error of his ways, but of course by then it will be too late.

I shrugged my shoulders. “So?”

I’m not sure what my mom was expecting but it wasn’t that. “Well, is that true?”

Now I was really starting to get concerned. My mom doesn’t text. She doesn’t even carry her cell phone (it just stays in her car). So why should she care if modern technology (while making us always available) is making it harder to actually connect with anyone?

“Sure.” I nod. “It’s one of the reasons I’m not a fan of online dating. You meet,” you bet your sweet patootie I used air quotes around the word meet, “these guys and you think, huh, there is some potential here. But then all you do is IM or e-mail and then a month goes by and you realize you have a crush on a guy that you've never met.”

“Do you sext?”

Now where in the world did she learn that word? “Umm, yeah, I guess. If you’re like 16.”

“Huh.” She went back to reading her book and I started thinking of all my arguments for why my mom shouldn’t leave my father.

Fortunately, it never came to that. The next day my mom, obviously defeated, handed me the book and said, “you should read this. It’s funny. And it will take you less than a day.”

And so I did.

Well, she was half right; it only took me a day to read. And besides the workout plan (yes, you read correctly, the book comes complete with a JLove approved workout) and the odd aside about the high school girls that were prohibited from wearing thongs to their prom (I have no idea where that came from either) Jennifer Love Hewitt wrote nothing me and my girlfriends hadn’t already said to each other a thousands times.

Okay, there was one thing. But I am almost too embarrassed to even type it. JLove suggests --- oh my god I don’t think I can write it --- she, umm, suggests bedazzling your va-jay-jay.

I’ll give you a moment to let that sit.

In addition to all her other cutesy tips about how to love yourself more (wear a tiara, sleep naked) and prepare for a date (spray tan, buy cute pajamas) she also recommends BEDAZZLING YOUR GIRL BITS! Of course she stressed it is not for “him” but for “you.” That you’ll never feel cuter or sexier than when your bits are blingin’.

I was going to Google search this, to see what all is involved in this process but I couldn’t have that sitting in my Google search history. Not to mention I can only imagine the resulting Google ads I would start getting. Instead, I'm just going to sit here with my un-sparkly private parts and hope like hell this is just some stupid L.A. trend that doesn’t catch on everywhere else.