Tatiana Talks

All By Myself

So, the one thing that I really missed when I was single (back when I was single but still desperate to be a part of a couple) was going out to bars. I love going to bars. I do. I love having a glass of wine (or beer or vodka) served to me. I love watching TV surrounded by strangers, and eavesdropping on conversations. And since I hate to cook I also, occasionally, like eating at bars.

And when all my friends were single, we went out to bars all the time. Not to get plastered mind you, but most often to have a couple of drinks after work and bitch about our bosses, while scooping out all the cute guys still in suits.

This changed a bit when my friends all became a part of a we. They now had different after work plans – couple plans – dinner plans – plans to go to a bar with other couples.

The obvious solution would be for me to go to a bar by myself. However, this option was so terrifying to me, I instead went on an ill-conceived quest for a new best single girlfriend just so I would have someone to go to a bar with me (don’t you worry there is more to come on those adventures, I assure you).

When that failed, I was left to accept that I might have to give up bars (or at least seriously cut back).

That all changed this week. Yesterday, Midtown Village in Philadelphia celebrated Beaujolais Nouveau Day. As I will never turn down a chance to wear a beret, I was all over this event. Unfortunately, Bridie and Marie had to work, and Salty had dinner plans with other friends.

The day of the event, I decided that despite my close friends not being able to join me, I would still go. I had other friends going and I was sure to run into someone I knew at the event. And if I didn’t, what would be the big deal. I would shop and drink wine and shop some more by myself. Big whoop? (This was the pep talk I was giving myself, by the way).

So I went. And as predicted I met up with friends. And we shopped and drank some free Beaujolais Nouveau and shopped some more. But then they had to leave. And I didn’t want to. I was still having fun and so I checked my phone, but no other friends had sent text messages that they were in the area.

Decision time.

Did I go home too, slightly disappointed.

Or, did I stop by the bar all by myself for an actual glass of wine (we had been drinking from Dixie cups all night).

Emboldened, maybe by the wine, maybe by the French spirit that was all around on 13th Street, I bid my friends adieu (yeah I did) and headed for my favorite wine bar.

Honestly, I don’t know what I was so scared of. After only a couple of minutes of waiting, I ordered my glass of wine, was given a seat by someone leaving, and was eavesdropping on the conversation of the three late-20-somethings sitting next to me.

Late-20-Something, “I just don’t think I should have to settle. (slight louder)
I’m not going to settle. I’m fine being single until the right guy comes along.”
(Friends clink glasses).
It warmed my heart.

Or maybe it was the second glass of wine I ordered.

The Bride: Part Two

Just the other day, at my desk, I was reading an email from Salty. We were going to see a show together that night and she was wondering if we should get a drink and maybe a quick bite before the show, and if so, where.

I shot her an email back saying we will definitely need food and drink and I would come up with a place. Later, when I finally focused on it, I had a list of 15 or so places in a matter of minutes. I shot the list to Salty, she responded, picking a place from my list and just like that we had a plan.

Now, about a month ago, Salty and I were sending similar messages back and forth, trying to figure out where we wanted to go for happy hour. It took us all day to make a plan and even then, I wasn’t thrilled about it, despite Salty picking one of my favorite places for happy hour. Why the ennui? If you had asked me then I would have said I was in a funk. With hindsight I realize it was because it was a Friday night and I thought I should have been going to a bar where there was better potential to talk to a guy.

The past several months, everywhere I was, I was sad. I was also anxious, and angry, and disappointed as well. If someone asked I dismissed it as a funk (or claimed I had no idea what they were talking about).

When friends wanted to get together for drinks, I would get annoyed about the place they picked.

When they wanted to get together at someone’s house, I was frustrated we weren’t going out.

When I didn’t have plans with them, I felt like a loser sitting in my apartment, all alone on a weekend night.

When I got back from Spain and people asked if I made out with any hot guys, I felt like a failure when I said no.

Yes. You read that last part right. I felt disappointed in getting to go to Spain with my three best friends: only mildly, but still. What the hell was wrong with me?

On my way back to civilization, in the jeep with my dad, both of us silent, I really started thinking about all the energy I was expending on the quest for a boyfriend. About how when the hot guy at my office is talking to his secretary, I stop working and listen to what he has to say in case he drops some crucial piece of information that I could possibly use later to strike up a conversation.

I thought about the new tattoo I wanted for my birthday, but held off on getting it because I worried that it might make me desirable to a smaller circle of men.

Probably the worst part was that I wasn’t writing. In addition to wondering what to blog about if I wasn’t blogging about guys (a question that should have given me more perspective that it did, sadly) I was also worried that I could possibly meet an awesome guy that wouldn’t want to date me after he learned about my blog. As for my other writing, when did I have time between my various jobs, going out, and obsessively worrying about the fact that I still didn’t have a boyfriend.

Why was I doing this to myself? Was being single really so terrifying?

Actually, it isn’t. I have long known I am really good at being single. I actually like drinking wine and watching movies by myself. I also prefer sleeping in a bed by myself and thanks to my big hands and my father’s instruction, I don’t need a man around to open jars or hang the art I bought in Granada.

I also know that being in a relationship isn’t all walks on the beach and candlelight dinners. It comes with a slew of problems and headaches and heartaches.

So, again, what the hell was wrong with me.

A couple weeks later, on another deck, with another man asking when I was going to find someone that was right for me, it hit me. Probably never.

But it wasn’t a woe’s me probably never. Or I am woman hear me roar probably never. Or even a men suck no one is good enough for me probably never.

Just a probably never because I’m done trying so freakin’ hard.

Instead, I am refocusing that energy. I’m knitting and writing and working on my office at my apartment because I am no longer convinced that I may have to leave Philadelphia to find my mate. I got to spend Halloween weekend not shivering in a slutty version of a costume, but in D.C. cheering for Lana (who finished the Marine Corp Marathon). I have been working, writing, and making plans, all without first wondering how any of it will impact my chances of meeting someone.

Which is how I found myself with Salty at one of our favorite martini bars in the city. As we sat there, chatting with the female bartender, Salty wondered why we don’t come here more often.

I looked around the bar and smiled, “Because there are never any dudes here.” She looked around, smiled, and raised her glass.

Cheers to that.

A Funny Thing Happened On the Way Home

I was on the subway, reading Keith Richards' autobiography – it’s a good subway read because he is so frantic and all over the place when he is telling his life story that I can only take it in small doses before it gives me a headache – not really noticing anyone or anything around me.

As we approached my stop, and I approached a good place in my book to pause, I got up and headed for the door.

Already standing by the door was a guy, taller than me, smiling at me. I smiled back, to be polite, but then looked away.

He said hello.

I looked back up. “Hi.” Thankfully the train came to a stop and I could exit the train.

However my friend from the subway followed me. “Can I ask you a question?”

Further proof that I am not as horrible as some people take me for, I didn’t respond “umm, you just did.” But instead said, “sure.” And tried to twist my face into something that resembled engrossed.

“Are you single?”

I tried to catch myself from rolling my eyes, but I probably didn’t get it in time.

“I’m just wondering, because I’ve seen you. On the train and on broad street and even downtown and I wanted to talk to you …”

His stammering gave me a chance to think about my response. Normally when I’m sober and random strangers come up and ask me if I’m single, I lie and tell them I live with my boyfriend. What? I’m a single girl that lives in the city by herself. It is my first line of defense.

But as Thomas the Train Guy continued to enumerate all the different places he had seen me, I thought about how I can’t justify the waste of money that is online dating, and none of my friends have anyone they can fix me up with, and Salty’s firefighter husband refuses to fix me up with any of his firefighter friends, and I refuse to date anyone from my office, and it is damn near impossible to meet anyone of substance at a bar, so just how do I expect to meet someone if every time a guy approaches me I lie and tell him I am seeing someone.

So, instead I told Thomas the truth.

He walked me to my apartment, nervously chatting the whole way about nothing important. At some point he asked if I would like to grab coffee sometime and I said yes. When we got to my door, he had his phone and his business card out and eventually got around to getting my number and giving me his business card before we said good-bye.

That’s right. I gave Thomas the Train Guy my number. And yes, I realize he could be a deranged stalker and given his list of all the places he has seen me maybe that is something I should have considered earlier. But really, what could he do to me now that he has my number that he couldn’t do once he memorized my entire schedule? Plus, there is always my second line of defense – the Louisville Slugger I keep next to my bed.

The Grandfather Clause

As anyone who also follows my adventures on Facebook is aware, I was at the shore last week. See, Marie and I both decided that since neither of us had a real vacation this summer, we would borrow our friend Salty’s condo in North Wildwood and spend the days in the sun, baking ourselves until we were golden bubbly (and spend our nights drinking and laughing and eating crackers and hummus).

For those of you who have never been, the nightlight in North Wildwood leaves a lot to be desired (unless you are under the age of 25 or over the age of 65). Still my friends and I could have fun with a paper bag so I wasn’t really too worried about it. We had wine. We had beer. Oh and look, both came in paper bags. Marie did want to go out one night – Monday night to be exact. She had heard the Soul Cruisers were playing at a bar only a couple of blocks away and Marie loves Soul music. So after a long day doing nothing by the pool, Marie and I got gussied up and headed to the monstrosity that is Keenan’s Irish Pub (a monstrosity because this “pub” pretty much takes up an entire city block).

Now, before I go any further, I should explain that when visiting any beach town, my 20lbs of hair expands to at least 45lbs of hair. The Wildwoods are no exception. And since I was tan (from the day sitting by the pool wearing only SPF 4) and already had huge hair, I decided it was the perfect occasion for my bright red lipstick. Marie would later hypothesize that no man can resist my big blonde hair and bright red lips. I am thinking about testing this theory out in Philadelphia tomorrow night.

I won’t bore you with all the details of the night. Instead, I will fast forward to the close of the evening. The Soul Cruisers were rocking and Marie and I were chair dancing in our bar stools. A very old man was standing not too far from us and asked me why I wasn’t up there dancing. This was approximately the 18th old man that had stopped to talk to me and Marie in the two hours we were sitting there. I smiled and said I wasn’t much of a dancer. Marie stepped in and announced, “She’s just shy” (I swear she also gave me a little pushed towards him but she denies this of course). And with that, Pop-pop, took my hand and led me out to the dance floor.

My first thought was how the heck am I suppose to hold on to my cookies while grinding with Pop-pop to “Give Me Just A Little More Time”? Then Pop-pop grabbed my hand, put his other hand on my waist and I thanked the heavens above that Pop-pop was too old to even know what grinding was – that or his fake hip wouldn’t allow it.

Once I was able to relax, I have to admit, it wasn’t the worst three minutes of my life. It wasn’t even the most awkward. We danced and he twirled me and thank goodness he didn’t try to dip me (between his back and my strapless dress it could have been a disaster) and when the song was over so was the Soul Cruisers’ set and so Pop-pop and I walked back to our bar stools. He thanked me for the dance and kissed me on the forehead. The closest I came to upchucking was when Marie leaned over and whispered, “You totally gave him a boner.”

So a couple days later, we are reliving the week for Salty. We get to this point and Salty asks, “Wait, how tall was Pop-pop?” (My height requirement has become a bit of a thorn in everyone’s side as they are all looking for someone for me to date).

I shrugged my shoulder, “I don’t know, I guess he was a little taller than me in flip-flops.”

“And you danced with him?” (The basis of my height requirement really boils down to not wanting to look ridiculous when I am dancing with my boyfriend).

“Yeah, but he was old and has probably shrunk. My guess is that he was once six feet tall, so I grandfathered him in.”

I understand this opens up a loophole for 5’10” 80-year-olds, but it is quickly closed by my father’s rule forbidding me to date anyone twice my age or older.

I Got A Magic Skirt

Some of you may remember that a couple of months ago I was debating moving from my pad on Broad Street to somewhere a little bit quieter. After getting some feedback from you, I decided it was time to fly the coup.

Oh, just a quick side note here: for any of you out there in cyberland that find yourself in a situation similar to the one I was in – don’t be afraid to talk to your landlord when the time comes to renew your lease. I didn’t (because I was afraid and because I had already found a new place) but when I gave my notice, he was very amenable, asking what he could do to keep me. As I later learned from friends of mine that are also landlords, good, paying tenants aren’t always easy to find, so when they have one, they want to keep him or her. Important note for landlords out there: if you have a good tenant that you want to keep because she is quiet and never complains and always pays her rent on time, you may want to rethink raising her rent every year. Just sayin’.

Okay, now back to my skirt.

One of my last nights at my old place, I had the girls over to sit on my stoop, drink wine, reminisce and make some last minute decisions about what to do with things I wasn’t sure about taking to the new place – including some clothes. So, a la Carrie and the girls in the first Sex in the City Movie, Salty, Marie and Bridie laid across my bed as I pulled the unloved items from my closet.

Somewhere in the middle of this mayhem, after we determined I only need two (not six) strappy, black mini-dresses and that I would never be preppy enough to wear argyle, I pulled from my closet my lucky skirt.

My lucky skirt, soon to be referred to as my magic skirt. I bought her when I was still in college and needed something fun, but dressy, but also sexy without being slutty to wear to a banquet where both my parents and CK would be. You would think something I bought more than 10 years ago would be hopelessly out of style, but she is just a simple greenish-blue, wrap skirt that still looks pretty good – mostly because I rarely wear her. She is much to powerful to wield regularly.

The first night I wore the skirt I swear to god CK flirted with me. Of course, it is only in hindsight that I realize he was flirting, at the time, I was so nervous that he was talking to me, I smiled, nodded and walked away. I still shake my head in disgust about what a dolt I was.
The second time I wore her, when crossing Walnut Street, Bridie and I overheard some guy exclaim to his car full of friends, did you see that girl’s skirt. Bridie stopped me, “Did you hear that guy?”

I smiled.

She looked down at my skirt, “That thing is magical.”

The third time I wore the skirt – I met Hung. I don’t think I need to go into any more detail about why that night was awesome.

The fourth (and final) time I wore it was to Wharton’s going away party. Except I never made it to the party. Wharton was being a bit of a jackass (at least in my mojito-clouded opinion) and I decided he didn’t deserve to see me in the skirt.

I’m not sure why I never wore it again. Maybe I was afraid it’s magic had worn off or maybe I just didn’t have the occasion to wear it. But when it came time to clean out the closet, I decided it was time to pass the magic skirt on to someone else.

When Bridie saw that I was giving it away she was shocked and asked me what the heck I was thinking. And maybe it was because I had too much wine. Or maybe it was because I was surrounded by the women that love me the most. Whatever it was, I decided to be honest. Because the truth was it had nothing to do with passing the magic on to someone else (have I ever been that magnanimous?). I just didn’t feel like the same girl that wore that skirt.

Worse, I wasn’t sure I could ever be her again. So why have that reminder hanging in my closet.
A couple of days later, Salty was coming over to help me take my oversized, industrial trash bags to the Goodwill. I was pulling the third bag from the back room when I noticed my lucky skirt had escaped and was half hiding underneath a bookshelf. I inspected the bag for tears but found none. It seems, while I was ready to be done with the magic skirt, she wasn’t done with me.
I scooped her off the floor and stuffed her into my pocketbook.

Maybe there was some space for her in my future after all.

I’m Too Smart for My Own Good or Maybe Now I’ll Listen to My Own Advice

How many times have I said you should never develop a crush on a bartender? Six? 12? 37? 198? Why not just ask how many numerals are in Pi?

So I was back in NoLibs, hanging out with Salty, Bridie and Bridie’s beau (who I think may not be named so why don’t we just call him Beau). We were not at Hottie Bartender’s bar, but at a Mexican joint, enjoying margaritas (and quite possibly the worst service in the city, though I suppose we weren’t really enjoying that part). Salty commented that she wanted to head over to Hottie’s bar because she has yet to see him, when Bridie softly responded, “Umm, yeah, Tati, Hottie has a girlfriend.”

Of course he does. Big sigh.

There really is no need to go into detail as to how she knows this, we’ll just say she knows for sure and leave it at that. I looked at Salty and said, “See. This is why you don’t fall for bartenders.”

She laughed and said it was okay to have a crush on one, you just can’t expect to make out with him.

The thing is, I kinda wanted to make out with this one.

Are Guys Pigs Or Are Some Girls Asking For It?

Before I begin, let me just state for the record that by, “asking for it,” I’m not talking about rape. I am a very firm believer that no matter what a woman is wearing, she is never asking for a man to force himself on her.

That being said, I am beginning to wonder that maybe, sometimes, women are asking to be ogled, even treated like pieces of meat.

It was Friday at 5:00 p.m. on the corner of 18th and Market Streets. For those of you that don’t live in Philadelphia, it was cloudy, rainy, windy and approximately 40 degrees. I was hiding in a corner of a building, doing my best to protect myself from the wind, sipping a cup of hot tea I just picked up at the Fourbucks, when a woman turned the corner and brushed by me.

In her heels she was about an inch or so taller than me, so 5’10” (I was slouching). She was wearing a tank dress that was so short, it barely covered her ass. It was so short (and tight) that as she walked up 18th Street she was holding down the hem so it wouldn’t inch up. If it did inch up, she would have been committing a crime. But that wasn’t even the worst part. She was a triple-D or a double-E (when they get that big it is hard for me to tell) and the scoop in the front was doing nothing to hold those girls in place. In fact, really the only thing the dress was doing was covering her nipples. I wish I could tell you what her face looked like, but as I explained to Salty later, I couldn’t see past her boobs.

As I stood there, aghast, I noticed I wasn’t the only one. Women were fighting their umbrellas against the wind to stop and stare. Men were hitting each other in the arms to make sure they saw what they were seeing. I turned away, shaking my head and smiling, only to see one guy stopped, almost paralyzed, staring, hoping that she would lose her grip on her hem and he would catch a glimpse of more of her. Another man stopped and asked, “Did you catch that?” He nodded, “I’m still catching it.” Then they both watched her walk into the wind tunnel.

But not before the second guy said, “You know that girl over there totally knows what you are doing.” That girl over there, was me.

The first guy shook his head and said, “I don’t care.”

And thus, the internal struggle begins. The feminist side of me wanted to scream -- she’s not a piece of meat you pig and defend this stranger's right to wear whatever she felt like without be objectified. But then the pragmatist in me stepped in and said, “Tati, let’s be real here.” After all, she wasn’t wearing that outfit for comfort. It was freezing and the skirt was so short and tight she had to hold it in place -- from experience I know that that isn’t comfortable.

So she was looking for attention. And there is nothing wrong with that. But then one can’t get upset when men stop and gawk as you walk down the street. See, it’s a lot like planting flowers in your backyard. Yes, they are pretty and smell nice and make it so much lovelier out there when you are enjoying your morning coffee. Sadly, though they also bring bees. You have to take the good with the bad.

Of course, in this instance, she could have avoided all the onlookers had she simply put on a coat. She would have also prevented that cold I am sure she caught walking around like that in the cold, wet weather. But I’m not her mother.

Dance, Dance, Dance, Dance, Dancing Machine

I accidentally found myself out dancing this weekend. And while at first I was disturbed, I soon realized dancing is exactly what has been missing from my life.

See, I was in Allentown again this weekend. And before you start asking why I have been spending so much time at my parent’s place understand two things. 1) I get my hair done in Allentown and don’t trust anyone but Hairdresser to show these locks love; 2) ever since Lana left and I started applying to grad schools Mom and Dad have been wigging out. So I have tried to spend a bit more time there, helping out and letting them know they are still loved.

Okay, so Saturday, Hairdresser was doing my hair and asked what I was up to this weekend. I told her that my best friend from high school, Colleen, and I were going to get together to catch up. She asked where and I told her I wasn’t sure. She suggested we go to this new sports bar, which was by far the newest, hippest place to hang out. I shrugged and said cool. Later, when Colleen sent me a text message asking what I was in the mood for, I recommended the sports bar.

I should have known by the delay in getting back to me that I made a poor choice.

But, Colleen was gracious, agreeing to meet me there. Only after getting lost (briefly -- why aren’t Union Street and Union Blvd. the same road?) did I learned why Colleen was hesitant about the coolest, hippest place in Allentown. Because it wasn’t a sports bar. It was an adult arcade.

No, not like “adult” arcade with nearly naked women walking around (at least not before 10 p.m.). No, adult arcade like a place with bowling alleys and ski ball and Dance Dance Revolution. Not the best place to catch up, still Colleen and I managed. Fortunately, thanks to Facebook, most of the catching up had been done and so we entertained ourselves making fun of the band and the other bar patrons.

Now, earlier when we were sending text messages back and forth, Colleen had said that 12 Pack was going to be at the bar. I stupidly assumed 12 Pack was a band and so when we got there I thought it was 12 Pack that was wreaking havoc on our ears. Colleen soon cleared up the confusion. She explained 12 Pack was a reality star. Memories of a Sunday spent hungover in the Duchess’s living room, drinking vegan shakes and watching Daisy Chain of Love came flooding back to me. When I asked Colleen if he was called 12 Pack because he had more than a six-pack she laughed. This would explain why the sports bar was starting to fill with women in short satin dresses, teased hair and heels that were not appropriate for a bar smack in the middle of a city that was hit with 8 to 12 inches of snow just the day before.

So, how did I find myself accidentally out dancing? Well, between the really bad band and the appearance of 12 Pack, a dance party broke out next to the VIP lounge (which much to 12 Pack’s chagrin, I’m sure, was nothing more than a couple of chairs pushed around a coffee table) and in front of the stage where a hula-hoop girl enthralled us all. And since we had nothing better to do, and Colleen’s dancing fool fiance had shown up, we decided to join the fun.

As Colleen’s fiance made a bit of an ass of himself, but in a good, goofy way, Colleen and I stood on the sidelines and did what we do best -- made fun of everyone else (including her fiance). But as I stood there, laughing, judging and occasionally busting a move, I realized the only thing missing was my get-up. Sure I was making fun of those girls out there, but secretly I was jealous. Even as much fun as I was having listening to old school hip-hop and drinking cheap beer from plastic cups, it felt somewhat incomplete in my GAP trouser jeans and cute flats. Not that I had packed scut gear for my trip home, but suddenly I wished I too was wearing a really short dress and inappropriate heels.

See, somewhere in between all those storms we recently had, I complained to Salty, Bridie and the Duchess that I was sick of neighborhood bars and desperately wanted a big girls’ night out complete with fancy drinks and heels. Now, the Duchess has promised to take me out to celebrate finishing my novel and I think I'm going to insist on a night of dancing. I can’t remember the last time we went dancing (and no, I don’t count the shore). I think a night out, all gussied up and rubbing my badunkadunk against some stranger’s junk is just what the doctor order.

Oh, and before you ask -- yes, we did wait around to meet 12 Pack and all I have to say about him is he’s a lot shorter than I expected.

A Rule for Picking-Up Bartenders - Don't

So you know that I was out on Valentine’s Eve. What I didn’t tell you is that Bridie and Salty did make an attempt to pimp me.

I don’t think I'm being vain when I say that the knowledge that I haven’t kissed anyone since by 30th birthday (unless you count the Republican, which I don’t) is weighing heavy on my friends’ minds. Okay, maybe not heavy. I don’t think it is keeping them up at night. However, whenever we have been out recently, a lot of attention is paid to the other guys in the bar on my behalf.

And Valentine’s Eve was no exception. We were at the bar for less than one drink when Salty came over to me and announced that she and Bridie like the bartender for me.

I looked up at the gentleman behind the bar; tall, thick, bearded and good looking. If he had been on this side of the bar I would have been impressed. However, he wasn’t and so I turned to Salty and said, “He’s the bartender.”

See, ladies it is never a good idea to set your sights on the bartender. Please note, I said THE bartender not A bartender. The article here is very important. Why you ask is it never a good idea to set your sights on the bartender? Because, kittens, it is the bartender’s job to be nice and flirt with you. It doesn’t mean he is actually interested in you.

It is sort of the female equivalent of falling for a stripper.

Guys go into strip clubs, sit down, maybe take their coats off. Then they see a hot chick. And she is looking back at him. Oh my god, is she smiling at him? Crap, she’s coming this way. And she’s taking her top off. I am the luckiest man alive. So she just took a twenty from my hand, but still I think she likes me. I mean really likes me.

It’s pretty much the same thing for bartenders. Yes, there is a very good chance that the bartender will be the best looking guy in the room and he should be the most sober. But you will be wasting your time flirting with him when you could be meeting other eligible, albeit maybe not nearly as charming, men.

Believe me. Some of my longest standing crushes are on bartenders. I know what I’m talking about here. In fact the next time someone asks me why I'm still single, I may say, I’m a sucker for bartenders.

Now, this doesn’t mean that the next time you are out and you happen to meet a good looking, charming, tall man on this side of the bar that happens to be a bartender you should walk away. Quite the opposite. Revel and delight in the rare occasion to flirt with him away from his work. But be warned. If you take things to the next level with a cute bartender, your bartender/patron relationship will be changed forever. And most times not for the good.

Oh, and before you comment that all this advice is nice and all, but didn’t I come away that very night having only met the bartender. Yes, but exceptions are to be made. A) it wasn’t the same bartender Salty pointed out, he was married. B) It was Valentine’s Eve and thus there were no eligible bachelors in the bar for me to ogle.

The Dénouement

I finished my novel.

First, I should tell you, I didn’t have the Valentine’s Day weekend I expected. Friday went off as planned. Drank some wine. Ordered Chinese. Had a vegan carrot cake cupcake for dessert. I didn’t watch any action films, though. Instead, I opted for the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics. And, before you ask, yes, I cried. Like a baby.

Saturday, I got some writing done. Then the text messages started. Everyone wanted to go out. And by everyone I mean Salty, the Duchess and Bridie. At first I stuck by my guns. No. I will not go out and feel bad about myself as cute couples all around me enjoy pink drinks and suck face.

I delighted in my rebellion. I decided the perfect way to celebrate a Saturday with myself is by doing some laundry. I was moving my wash to the dryer when I saw Brandi had brought her laundry down -- she was holding a spot. What was she washing you ask? Black satin sheets.

No. I’m not making this up.

I went back to my apartment, promptly sent a text to the girls asking where I should meet them and then started putting my hair in curlers.

Out, everyone was asking how the novel was going and I lamented that if I wasn’t out drinking, I would be home finishing it. Yes, I was that close.

The next day I was sure I would finish. But I couldn’t open my laptop. I mean, maybe I could, I just couldn't bring myself to try. I walked by it. Looked at it longingly. I even brought it into the living room and plugged it in and thought about it during commercial breaks. But I never opened it. Something in me wasn't ready for it to be over. Instead I just lied on my couch, eating more garbage and watching really bad television.

Then Monday came and with it another deadline I didn’t want to meet. And since my laundry was already done, and I didn't have any dishes to do since everything I ate that weekend came in take-out containers, I had nothing left to do but finish my novel.

When it first happened, I hardly realized it. I was sitting in front of my computer, typing and retyping the last couple of lines -- after all they were going to be the last couple of lines of my first novel. They had to be good. No, they had to be great. Not necessarily epic. I wasn’t looking for anything quite so amazing as “This is not an exit.” But something that would leave my readers feeling something and so I battled and finally I put down words that were somewhere between good and great and I hit the enter key to continue the story when it hit me. The story’s finished.

The story is finished.

I turned off my computer. Still not feeling quite as I imagined the narrator of Stand by Me felt when he finally finished typing his saga and ran out to play with his son and his son’s friend. But maybe that is because I don’t have a son. So I called my mom. I had to share it with someone.

When I told her I was hit with a wave a nausea. Oh my god. I’m finished. I had to sit down.

I started shaking and told my mom I had to go.

And I don’t know why, but I did need to go. To Staples. To print a copy of my novel. Printing it made it more real. Sitting on the subway home, the big box containing two copies of my novel resting safely in my lap, it started to to sink in. I have finished the first draft of my novel.

I started sending text messages to friends and family and relaxed a little more with each message of congratulations and suggestion of libations to celebrate. Of course I couldn’t go just then. One, I looked terrible. Two, I had the only two printed copies of my novel with me. What if something happened to them? I needed to get them home where it was safe.

Once we were all safely home and my novel was securely placed on my desk, I poured myself a glass of wine. It was finished. I couldn’t stop smiling. I also couldn’t stop shaking. Though it wasn’t really shaking so much as I felt like I was shaking on the inside. Like I had Restless Leg Syndrome, but everywhere.

I tried to relax, but I couldn’t. So I poured myself a second glass of wine. Then a third. If it helps, I didn't finish the third.

The strangest part is on Monday morning, when I woke up, I read my horoscope and it told me I was going to finish a project that I had been working on for a very long time. I laughed. Good one, horoscope. When I thought about it later, a chill ran up my spine.

Now, on Saturday my horoscope said I was going to meet my next romantic interest. And since the only guy that caught my eye was the bartender, I guess my next boyfriend will be a beer slinger.