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10 reasons why I don't have a boyfriend

Apr 28, 2009

My mother has been reading my blogs, and she thinks I'm conceited.

Let's get the record straight, mother. I'm not conceited, I'm honest. (Don't you love how we can say that, Romy?) You birthed a beautiful babe, what can I say? I owe it all to you.

As long as we're setting the record straight, I'd also like to declare that I'm not a husband hunter. Boy crazy? Yes. Husband hunter? No.

If you haven't figured it out yet, I'm extremely heterosexual, and I act like a 15-year-old when I get around a cute guy. When I was 15 my behavior made sense, but now that I'm almost 30, I have no explanation and have simply learned to accept my social disorder.

That being said, I would like to point out that if I were a husband hunter I would be married right now. I've seen "Bridezillas," so I know it can't be that difficult to trick some dumb guy into marrying me. Or I could be like Heidi and completely abandon my friends, family, career, and sense of self to get married multiple times to a really weird looking guy. Even a quadriplegic lady found a husband on a dating Web site. Yes, if I were a husband hunter, I would have already caught my prey.

But since I've been asked "Why don't you have a boyfriend?" by family members, coworkers, and my hairdresser for 10 years, I decided to do some soul searching to find out why I'm always single. I whittled the list down to 10 reasons:

1. They're all just not that into me. Thanks for opening my eyes, Greg!



2. I'm intimidating. Haven't we all heard this one before? But Greg says that intimidation doesn't matter. It's more of a challenge for the guy, maybe. But if he's really into you, he'll gladly take the challenge. I went out with a guy once who told me he'd seen me around campus for a year and always knew it was me because of my mass of fiery hair, and he was afraid to ask me out. But after a year he mustered up the courage and went for it.



3. There aren't enough guys in DC and way too many girls. A really nice excuse that all of my DC girlfriends use when they are single. Except all the sudden they're all dating and I'm the only single one...hmm...moving on...



4. I'm coming off as desperate. Maybe so, but everyone's laughing, and that's the most important thing. Oh, but you're not laughing at me, right? You're laughing with me. Right?



5. I get in the friend zone too often. So I have this weird desire to be every guy's big sister/pseudo wife. I like to give helpful advice and cook for people. Is that a crime?


6. My standards are too high/I'm too picky. Probably.



7. I just haven't found "the one". I don't believe in "the one" anymore. How many billions of people are on the earth? I only need one, but there are plenty to choose from. I just haven't found anyone that meets my standards, that's all.



8. I give too much information about myself right off the batLauren told me this recently after I made a joke about getting some plastic surgery done (I said I had fat injected into my arm flab area). Again, I like to be honest, and oftentimes I enjoy turning my honesty into humor. Everyone laughed when I said it, so what's the problem?


9. I'm too good lookingA variation of the intimidation. Except in DC being too good looking is truly a handicap. Pretty is the new ugly in this town. (Hmm, maybe I am conceited...nah.)



10. Boys are stupid. I've known this for at least 25 years, but RaghavAshmi's boyfriend, confirmed it the other night. "Boys are stupid and therefore do not ask out the fantastic women around them," he said. Yaaaaaaaaay Raghav! BTW, Raghav, you may meet my standards. If the whole finding-your-soulmate-in-Ashmi thing doesn't work out, gimme a call.


I wasn't drunk!

Apr 23, 2009

Once a year my cousin and friend, Lauren, comes to visit for a few days. When she is in town I am required to show her a good time and introduce her to boys, because, although a severe man shortage epidemic plagues DC, it's even worse where she lives.

I'd been told a wine-tasting event held at the National Zoo was THE thing to do in the springtime. The event -- Grapes with the Apes -- was going on the night she got in. The problem was, it was starting an hour before her plane landed. The only way we were going to make it in decent time was for me to drive to the airport to pick her up and then drive to the zoo, which is near Adams Morgan, party central in DC.

The wine tasting was quite crowded, and plenty of tents were scattered across the zoo to satiate us winos. After a certain rose, I was done. I shouldn't have tried it. I hate rose. I looked over at Lauren, who was grimacing.

"Are you okay?" I asked her.

"The fashion here is awful, Mary El. How is it that Super Frump Frizzy Hair over there is with a decently cute guy?" she wondered as she sipped her red table wine from Potomac Point Winery.

"Welcome to my world," I sighed. "And these are the successful ones. Me? The most put together one here and with by far the best hair? I will never make it in this town. I'm simply too good looking."

"Yes, you are. This is the most bizarre thing I've ever seen..." she trailed off as she finished her glass and looked around in bewilderment.

When I moved to DC I noticed right off the bat that there was a lot of bad fashion, but not until I started working with government types did I realize just how dire the situation was. Sitting in a meeting one day with a woman whom I was assisting on a project, my thoughts became lost in her untamed, undyed hair, her tapered pantsuit with cropped jacket, her wrinkled button down with the collar sticking halfway out of the jacket, and -- by far her worst feature -- the unkempt caterpillars above her eyes. While she explained to me her report findings, all I could think was, This is my competition, and I'm losing. I've been told it's because I work on the defense side of government, and the Hill is much better. So far Dana Perino is the only Hill person I've seen that has saved face in fashion.

"This is no fun," Lauren pouted. "I want to meet guys! And all the guys here obviously like ugly girls! Let's go somewhere else."

It may sound like Lauren is a brat, but she's not. I went through all these feelings last year. Much like grief, I started with denial (There's a guy in this city for me! I just know it!) then moved onto anger (I'm moving back to Atlanta!), and my match.com days could be interpreted as negotiation (I know, if I lower my standards then maybe I'll get a date!), and now I'm teetering between negotiation and acceptance. It really is shocking to come from the South where the girls dress up and do their hair and makeup to go to the gym, and the toned, freshly-cut haired (haired? Is that a word?) boys hit on them and ask them out on a proper date, not "Wanna meet up for a drink sometime?"

Unfortunately, we were in Adams Morgan, and we weren't going to meet any upstanding gentlemen there. But I didn't want to burst Lauren's bubble, so we went to a place my friend Jamie suggested. It's not even worth talking about. It was empty, for one. But worse, the bartenders were awful. The guys that were there were hitting on the trashy girls, and Lauren and I were, once again, ignored. Let me just say this, as a word of advice for any bartenders reading:

1) If a girl flirts with you and she's not with a guy, flirt back! You'll probably get a good tip!
2) If a girl obviously in her 20s asks you how old she looks, say 24. 24 is always safe. Do not say 33. No one thinks you're funny.
3) Rum and soda is a terrible, TERRIBLE signature drink. You can do better.

Around 11 I was ready to go since I had to work that night. Lauren wanted to purge herself of the ugly, so we hopped in the car and headed home. As we crossed into Virginia, I realized I'd missed my exit, so I got off at the next exit to turn around. When I got to the end of the ramp a sign read "NO LEFT TURN." But since no one was around and the highway was right there, I broke the law and made the turn. Almost immediately blue lights came on behind me.

"Oh. My. Lord. You're going to get a DUI," Lauren whispered.

"No I'm not! I'm not drunk!" I laughed back.

"Here," Lauren shoved Binaca toward me. "Spray this in your mouth to cover up the alcohol smell."

"That's pure alcohol!" I grinned.

The officer appeared at my window. "I'm so sorry," I said to the officer. "I know I shouldn't have turned there, I'm just...disoriented." Yes, I said disoriented. I was not aware that "disoriented" means "drunk," as I have since been told.

"Have you been drinking tonight?" he accused me while shining a flashlight into my car.

"Yes," I said. "I had a rum and soda about two hours ago."

"Where are you coming from?" he asked, moving his flashlight to shine around in my car.

"Adams Morgan." Then I started laughing, because I always laugh in stressful situations. I did it when I was four and my father disciplined me for the first time. I did it at 18 when I got my first speeding ticket and I was sure to lose my license. I did it during my security clearance interview and the FBI agent asked me if I'd ever done drugs before. (In case you're wondering, my answer was, "If you count sniffing rubber cement! Hahahaha!")

"I'm gonna need you to step out of the car," the officer huffed.

Lauren was about to pass out. "Don't sweat it!" I assured her. "I'm not drunk!"

Now, I know what you're thinking -- I had been drinking all night. But sometime after college I obtained this superhuman tolerance. And putting on 20 pounds didn't hurt. (Fat soaks up alcohol like nobody's business.) Beyond all that, I know my limits and would not have gotten behind the wheel if I felt tipsy, because I'm a responsible citizen! So there!

Of course this explanation was not sufficient for the FOUR COPS (is that really necessary?) who really really really ridiculously wanted me to be drunk. So I was given four tests. On the side of the highway. Like a piece of trash. Because I had to take off my 3-inch heels to do it. And that's my embarrassing moment for the year.

First, one officer shone a flashlight in my eye, yes, blinding me, and told me to follow his finger with my eyes.
"No no, don't move your head," he kept saying. I failed. Onto the next one -- walking the line.

I took nine paces, pivoted, then took nine the other way. Barefoot. On the highway. Like a piece of trash. I passed that one because I WASN'T DRUNK. But that wasn't enough.

I then had to hold one foot in the air 6 inches and count "one one thousand, two one thousand" until the officer told me to stop. He let me get to 20. My thighs were shaking at this point, but I did it! And barefoot! On the highway! Like a piece of trash! With thighs of steel!

Still wasn't convincing -- I had to pass a breathalyzer. Another cop came over and told me to breathe into the tube, just to see if any trace of alcohol was in my system. For the first time since I got pulled over, I stopped laughing. The BAC would tell it all, and maybe I didn't know my limits as well as I thought I did.

The little machine beeped, and the cop shook his head in disgust, ripped off the tube, and threw it into the grass. My first thought was, Oh no, he just littered! But then the doom set in. I'm going to have a DUI on my record. I'm going to jail. I'll have to call my boss from jail and tell him I can't finish the report on time because I got a DUI and I'm in jail.

But no, he was shaking his head BECAUSE I PASSED.

As the first officer handed me a warning for making an illegal turn, I slipped my shoes back on my cut up feet and looked over at Lauren. Her leg was bouncing around like a Mexican jumping bean.

"So, how did you like your first night here?" I chuckled.

"Mary El...Mary El..." she whimpered.

I drove home very slowly, because that's how you drive after getting pulled over.

"Thank You, Lord, for my fat," I exhaled.

All the good ones are either married, gay, or spit on you

Apr 11, 2009

My month-long crush was exhilarating, but it was short-lived, as most crushes are. When you are ultimately "crushed," the best thing to do is pick yourself up and move on...in other words, put on a hot top and lots of eye shadow, and grab a friend for a night out on the town. And if Charlotte York's theory of how long it takes to get over a guy is correct, half the time we dated (technically about 6 hours) would be 3 hours. Perfect.

My friend of choice was Sabrina, the recent break-up-ee of a super long relationship with a pretty cute guy who ended up having a severe personality defect. Sabrina was willing to overlook it, as we girls usually are when we're dealing with colossal jerks. But he chose to ignore her, as colossal jerks usually do when they're dealing with beautiful, intelligent women who have their act together and could really do much better. Since then the only male attention she had received was from an older, married man and a gay one (I use the term "attention" loosely -- she is in an accelerated nursing program and has minor contact with them). She was due some instant gratification from a night of flirting.

So we gussied ourselves up and got on the Metro toward Chinatown, our sole purpose being to get hit on as much as possible. When we got on the train there weren't many prospects, but once we hit King Street a crowd of college students and a couple of others bounded in. I figured the chubby frat boys would be good to boost our confidence, but before I could make eye contact a chubby way-past-his-prime guy landed himself in front of us.

"Green is really your color," he said to me with a gross smirk on his face. Not remembering putting on anything green (rather, I was wearing a black top, a gray beaded shrug, and blue jeans), I scanned my body, trying to figure out what he was talking about.

"I think he's talking about your shoes," Sabrina whispered, pointing to my black, opalescent stilettos that look kind of greenish in certain light.

"Oh, thanks," I said dryly to Weird Colorblind Guy.

His smirk had turned into a full on smile by then, and he was slightly swinging around on the pole. (For the record, I look so much better doing that.) He used the momentum to swing himself close to us.

"So, where are you girls going?"

"Chinatown, to meet some people," I said quickly.

"Oh yeah? Where in Chinatown?" he pressed, drooling a little.

"Rocket Bar." I had no idea what I was talking about. It was the first thing that popped into my head. I wasn't even sure if that was what it was called, since I always get Rocket Bar and Rocket Grill confused (one is cool and in D.C., the other is lame and in smoky Virginia).

"Oh, that's a great place. Oh yeah. I love that place." He was going on and on and getting closer with every sentence. Luckily we weren't far from our stop. When we got to Chinatown we said bye and sprinted off the train.

"Haha, look!" Sabrina pointed, glancing back as the train pulled away. Weird Colorblind Guy had already found someone else to hit on.

"That's one," I told Sabrina, starting a tally with my thumb.

Although I despise Irish pubs, Fado's was the only place I knew to go. We tried to make our way through the crowd, but four steps in we were stopped by an okay looking short guy.

"I think you ladies are breaking a serious regulation," he said, holding a giant beer mug.

"Oh?" we replied.

"You aren't allowed to make it this far in without a beer in your hand!" he laughed, so proud of his original come on. We promised to get a beer and pushed our way past him.

"That's two!" Sabrina said cheerfully. "Now let's get out of here!"

When we stepped out into the light of the street lamps and digital signs, I remembered Clyde's was nearby. A group of about five cops were loitering in front of a CVS, and let's be real, bored cops are the most fun to flirt with...am I right ladies? We approached them with our prettiest smiles and asked where Clyde's was, 'cause we were a little lost. They all stood up off their motorcycles, smiling back at us, and gave us detailed instructions on how to get there. We were also invited to come back later when there was sure to be some arresting action from the first wave of public drunkenness of the night. We were up to seven, and we'd only been at it for an hour!

Clyde's has two bars, so when you walk in you have to linger for a moment in the foyer and scan the main one for prospects, and then you walk up the stairs expertly in your high heels to check the second bar, just in case. From my limited experience, the upstairs bar is usually not that great (I recently had a guy show my his tattoo -- his birth year on his unattractive rear end...and he couldn't figure out why I walked off). This night was no different. The only person not paired up with someone already was a middle-aged man with longish hair and a bowtie.

"Well hello, ladies," snarled Creepy Bowtie Man.

"EIGHT!" I squeaked as I pulled Sabrina quickly back downstairs.

The downstairs bar had seats, and we were grateful to at least rest our aching feet. Almost immediately two guys sitting nearby struck up conversation with us. Apparently they had already staked us out and knew who got which girl. Barry the Awkward Toucher liked Sabrina, and Guy Whose Name I Don't Remember, aka The Spitter, liked me. Do I need to explain what happened next? Barry kept touching Sabrina on her arm or lower back, and then he would get nervous and not know what to say. The Spitter had neither conversationalism nor saliva deficiencies. Eventually I got so embarrassed for him I stopped wiping my face and just endured the spray.

At exactly 1:30 a.m. we announced we were leaving. Barry and Spitter offered to walk us to the Metro. Sabrina and I were not interested in prolonging the conversation, but since they were following us we didn't have much choice. We were on different lines, and the guys tried to convince us to take the long way home and ride with them, to which we replied, "Why don't you take the long way home?" Then we all just stood on the platfrom looking at each other and smiling weirdly.

The silence was getting really uncomfortable, and finally Spitter broke it with, "Okay, what are we doing?"
"We're getting on the yellow train," I said, grabbing Sabrina's hand and moving toward the esacalator.
"Oh, okay then. Bye!" Spitter spat. Awkward Barry, with no one to touch, was thrown off his game and just shifted his weight from foot to foot, unsure of what to do with his hands.

Once we were out of their earshot, Sabrina, looked at me and laughed. "That's ten!"

"Wow," I marveled. "Ten guys hit on us tonight. How does the instant gratification feel?"

The Metro doors opened and a group of loud guys pushed their way on, eyeing us as we took our seats.

"I think I'm good on the flirting for a long time," she nodded.

I smiled, my skin tight with spit residue. "Yeah, me too."