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Orange Crush

Jun 28, 2009

BREAKING NEWS!
MARY EL IS OFFICIALLY OVER HER CRUSH ON CAPTAIN CAN'T FOLLOW THROUGH, AKA HUMANITARIAN

In a stunning turn of events, Mary El has released a public statement concerning her 3-month crush:

"I saw him wearing a chunky silver ring on his left middle finger. I do not condone random jewelry wearing by men, especially jewelry trends that went out of style when I was still in high school. After two seconds of consideration, I have decided to withdraw my giddy feelings and will now simply nod professionally whenever I see him."

Mary El went on to say she regretted that she did not have a crush, because it had made her life so fun for the spring season, but "seasons change."

(EDITOR'S NOTE: So do fashion trends, Captain. Get a clue.)

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Last week suddenly became dull when I ran into Captain Can't Follow Through in the hall. What eloquent soliloquys will he force upon me this time? I wondered, secretly hoping he'd remember that he had suggested lunch the last time we spoke (and I may have e-mailed him inviting him out for drinks...he was on his way to Afghanistan, though. Typical.). He lifted his hand to wave at me, and that's when I saw it -- a chunky, silver ring on his middle finger.

My gut reaction was to ask him if he was trying to bring back the grunge movement, but I decided instead to get over him. It was time, and the hideous jewelry wearing was the perfect excuse for me to move on.

I'm sure I'm going to get flack for being so harsh about a little piece of jewelry, but most ladies understand. There are several categories of jewelry wearing, and very few are acceptable in my eyes:

1) Wedding ring - Duh, if you don't wear it you better have a great excuse.

2) Chunky silver - You're stuck in the 90s when it was briefly cool.

3) Bling - Only if you're black can you truly pull this off, and even then you better be truly ballin'.

4) Gold chain - This immediately indicates you are a greasy womanizer, and you are probably very hairy under your shirt.

5) Bracelet - Only acceptable if you have one of those conditions that requires a bracelet to let people know you have a condition that requires a bracelet.

6) Right hand/Class/Organization ring - Only slightly impressive if you went to an amazing Ivy League college, but it really just comes across as arrogant. If your ring doesn't represent a school then you're just arrogant.

7) Earring(s) - SO not cool anymore.

8) Ear spacers - Since when are white guys with spiky hair African? Scary, weird, and your ears are going to look really stupid when you're 80.

9) Nose/tongue/lip/nipple/"other"- That trend went out in the early 2000s. You're trying too hard and it's working against you. And you're gross.

10) Dog tags - HOT (but only if you're military).

Without a crush I had little to obsess over -- weight (depressing because it's stuck), hair (depressing because summer is its worst season), shoes (depressing because I'm still lamenting my lost black patent leather peep toe), cupcakes (depressing because eating them will perpetuate the depressing weight problem)...what's a girl to do?

Just when I considered watching a romantic comedy and crying into a carton of ice cream, I was saved by someone so gorgeous, so muscly, so scrumptious, he can only be known as Hot Redheaded Neighbor (you may remember him from "Cheese in the Time of Boredom").

It was 8 a.m. and I had overslept. Noli needed to go out, so I grabbed the first bra I saw (purple) and skipped brushing my teeth or even glancing in the mirror. I shuffled down the hallway in my pink pajama pants and wifebeater with hair a mess and breath unspeakable. Noli and I scurried into the elevator, and I pressed the "close doors" button. But then they re-opened, and in came Hot Redheaded Neighbor, all freshly shaven and in his work clothes, smelling amazing and looking yummy yummy.

"Wow, wish I could sleep in!" he beamed.

I naturally wanted to move in closer, gaze into his blue eyes, touch his bicep, kiss him passionately in the elevator...but then I remembered I hadn't brushed my teeth and I looked super scary, so I backed away.

"Oh, I just have a weird work schedule. I was up till 1 a.m. working," I explained. Then I panicked. We had exactly 27 seconds till we would reach the bottom floor, and my mind had gone blank. Say something else, idiot! my inner monologue screamed. "Um, where are you going?" I asked him, noticing a duffel bag on the floor.

"Just out of town for business," he said. My heart sank. This was the best encounter we'd had yet, and, indefinitely, I would not have any more to build upon it. The elevator reached ground level, and the doors opened.

"Well, have a nice time!" I smiled.

"Sure thing, see ya later!" he smiled back.

The next few days, every time I would walk by his door I'd get a little sad. It normally wouldn't have affected me that much, but I had nothing else fun to obsess over. I began to realize, over the course of the last year and multiple run-ins, I didn't know much about him. This is what I did know: he drives a big truck, he has a tattoo on his right arm, he loves my dog (and the feeling is mutual, which works out nicely), he has equally hot friends, he must have a decent job because it's expensive as Hades to live here, oh, and he smokes. The last one isn't that appealing, but for a fantasy, it adds to the "bad boy" aspect, so it's forgivable. But there was one other fact that bothered me -- he lived with his girlfriend, or so I thought. I studied my memories and tried to remember why I thought that. I never saw any female walk in or out of his apartment, but for some reason I thought for sure he lived with a girl. It didn't matter, though, if he was just going to be a faraway crush. I can't help it if I have eyes, can I? Anyone can look, I just would have to restrain myself from touching.

Saturday was errands day, and since it was hot and humid I put on a strapless maxi dress and threw my hair up in a ponytail. It was an effortless yet elegant look that was wasted on the myriad of children and married people at Costco. When I got home, I popped the trunk of my car and sighed as I realized I'd have to make at least two trips to get all the unbagged groceries inside.

"Need some help?" a deep and delicious voice sounded behind me. I spun around, and there he was -- home from business and better looking that I remembered.

"Oh, hi! Um, are you going that way?" DUH of course he is, he lives there! He nodded, flicked his cigarette, and held out his arms for me to load them up. Again, my mind went blank. We had at least 30 seconds to walk from my car to my door, and I couldn't say nothing. Desperate for a conversation starter and also to find out more info, I blurted out, "I have a really embarrassing question for you!"

(I am shaking my head in shame as I write this, btw.)

"Uh-oh," he looked at me, confused.

"Well, I'm really asking for my friend Sabrina. She saw a friend of yours not too long ago and has been bugging me to find out if he's single."

He stopped and grinned at me. "Well I'm single, if that's what you're asking."

OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG! "No no! I'm asking about your friend. For my friend," I clarified.

His face changed to a thoughtful look. "Do you know which friend? Was it when you had that barbecue and we walked by?"

"Oh, yeah maybe, I'm not sure."

"Well find out and I'll let you know," he smiled again. "And by the way, you can't cook meat around a man and not offer him any. Next time you barbecue you have to invite me, all right?"

OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG! "Oh, sorry! Of course I will!" I stammered. We had been standing at my door, so with that I thought the conversation was over. I turned to walk inside.

"You're not going to make me finish my cigarette alone, are you?" he said, putting on his best sad puppy face.

OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG! "No! No! Of course not!" And then my nervous reaction went from Blank Mind disease to Can't Shut Up syndrome. But he humored me, and when he was finished with his cigarette he told me he'd see me later. Yipee! my inner monologue squealed. New crush!

Oh, one more fact: he doesn't wear jewelry.

I heart NY (but only for 24 hours)

Jun 18, 2009

I have three numb toes. You wanna know why? Well I googled it, and here's what came up:

-multiple sclerosis (doubtful)
-frostbite (uh-uh)
-leprosy (uhhh...no)
-nerve damage (bingo!)

And how, Mary El, did you get nerve damage in your toes? you may be wondering. Let me tell you the tale of two Atlanta-born Washingtonian girls who had the brilliant idea of jumping in a car and heading to New York City, only to return the following morning...

It all began a couple of weeks ago (I meant to write this blog last week but actually got quite busy -- imagine that!) when I got a Facebook Birthday Calendar alert which reminded me my high school friend Lara's birthday was coming up. Lara doesn't do Facebook, and therefore we don't keep in touch. ("Why do we need Facebook?" my boss asked me recently. "Can't we just send out messages to our people through e-mail?" Oh, how to explain just how lazy my generation and those that follow have gotten...?) I probably haven't wished her a happy birthday since the last time I saw her in NYC, where she lives, and that was in July 2005, which was a whole month after her birthday. So I got nostalgic, trying to count mentally how many years it had been since I'd seen her, and decided to shoot her an e-mail (how archaic).

Hey lady! I was just sitting here thinking how crazy it is that I've been living in DC for almost 2 years and haven't been up to NYC once! Are there any weekends in the next couple of months that I could come see you? I'm trying to wrangle in K for a weekend too. Let me know how your schedule is, we need to catch up!

Lovies,
Mary El


NOTE: K is our other high school friend. I met them both on newspaper, which might lead you to believe we were geeks, but let me tell you, we were hot mamas and really, really cool. And that's the story I will stick to at my 10-year reunion later this year.

After hitting "send," I received new e-mails, one of which was an invitation to Lara's birthday party that Friday. A few minutes later her name popped up in my inbox.

omg! this is so weird. i was just thinking of you and k this week and that i was going to email you and harrass you to come visit me!

did you get my invite - my b-day party is next friday and should be fun! i am only out of town july 9-12 and maybe last weekend in july. otherwise i am good for a visit from you guys.

i'd love to see you, miss you sooo much!

i danced my ass off to come on eileen a few weeks ago and it came on again on my ipod this week. every time i heard it i get a glowing smile on my face.

ps. my hair was cut yesterday and looks amazing!


NOTE: When Lara and I worked at Einstein Bros. Bagels together we would play "Come on Eileen" and dance for customers. Again, we were really, really cool.

It didn't take much coercing to get K on board to skip out of work on Friday and drive up to NY, but she had to be back in DC by Saturday night for a date. So that morning we took off, full of energy and excitement for our reunion.

We arrived before Lara got off work, so we parked (Lower East Side -- plenty of free parking and no tourists) and walked toward Chinatown in search of a knock-off charcoal leather Balenciaga bag for me. First we had to make our way through LoHo (that's Lower Houston), and let me just tell you how scary that was. Not ghetto-scary in the way any "lower" part of DC is -- this was grunge-chic scary. K was wearing a fuchsia floral summer dress, and I was in white cargo capris with a teal ruffled tank. If we had been walking around Times Square we might have had a fighting chance of blending in, but here everyone was dressed in bland neutrals and looked stoned and anorexic. K and I linked arms and giggled nervously, "What are we doing here? We are so tourists! This is so weird!" We have both been to NY multiple times, but I'm telling you, I have never felt so I'm-not-a-New-Yorker-and-I-never-will-be as I did during our walk along Houston.

Once we found Chinatown I felt slightly more comfortable. Women in pink Crocs and men in khaki shorts with belts and polos were more prominent there, and they looked just as awestruck as we did. "Dingbingdingbing bag?" a shriveled Asian man said to me, thrusting a laminated piece of paper in our faces. I jumped back, frightened. "Noooo thankkkkk yooou," K enunciated. I grabbed her arm again. Three more similar incidents and I realized they were just trying to lure us into the "secret" backs of the shops where the good knock-offs were. Terrified the FBI would suddenly raid the store I chose, I mustered up the nerve to tell one of the women, "Ba-len-ci-A-ga." "No, just Coach and Chanel," she said, pointing at her laminated card. "Okay, no thank you," I cowered.

The next time someone approached us K chimed in, "Balenciaga!" "No, Versace and Louis." After a few attempts we just started calling out "Balenciaga! Balenciaga!" to every small Asian person we saw on the street. But my bag was nowhere to be found. We did, however, find a shop selling gen-u-ine leather, no-brand bags that were the perfect size to hold flip flops (a necessity for the end of a long party night). At $25 each, it was steal (I still think we could have talked them down to two for $40 though). Around that time I received a text from Lara saying she was on her way home, so we made our way back to Houston.

"Let's take a cab," K suggested. I was more than willing since the beating sun and my late-20s compulsive-sweating-disorder were not mixing well. We hailed a cab, and K asked, "Houston and Clinton, please." The cabbie looked confused. K repeated, more slowly, "Heeeeew-ston and Cliiiiiiiin-ton." The cabbie shook his head and drove off, not seeming concerned that we were A) somewhat stranded and B) had toes that were near his tires (no, this is not how I got nerve damage). I hailed the next cab and peeked my head in. "Houston and Clinton," I said more firmly. "There is no Houston and Clinton," the cabbie said. He looked ethnic, as did the last one, so we pronounced it slower and louder for him a few times. Finally he laughed, "HOW-ston?" Oh. We were mispronouncing it. Well what are two Southern girls supposed to think? Houston was a city in Texas before it was some grungy street in NY (I think)!

Lara met us at her apartment in a mustard mini dress and this season's scary S&M high heels. "Ladies! Welcome to the Lower East Side!" she said, running toward us with arms open for a group hug. The last time we'd visited her she was living in Hell's Kitchen, a vastly different neighborhood.

"Uh, yeah, can we talk to you about that?" I said quietly. "Why does everyone dress in neutrals? We are going to stick out so bad tonight!"

"What?" she said, surprised. "No no, it's just all the cool people are at work! Look at me, I'm not in a neutral!" No, she wasn't, and really only Lara could pull off that look.

We made our way upstairs to her posh apartment -- also vastly different than her last one -- and we immediately began getting ready. Once we were all showered, we made some Brazilian cocktails and started doing our hair and makeup. Lara warned us to not get anything on the dining table because it was her live-in boyfriend Matt's and he would break up with her if anything happened to it. So of course I took the opportunity to spill my drink all over the table.

"Don't tell Matt!" Lara laughed. "When did you become so klutzy?"

"I'm not klutzy," I defended myself.

"Mary El, you've fallen like three times since you've been here, you spilled your drink, you keep dropping things...I want you to do my hair but I'm afraid there will be a catastrophe with the curling iron!" Lara said.

I shrugged but then began to worry that Bella's character in "Twilight" was rubbing off on me. I gotta get through those books faster.

We made it to the outdoor bar with no more major incidents, and Lara was right -- the people there were dressed much more colorfully. "First round's on me!" K yelled. I followed her to the bar to put in orders. "Ooh, let's do cosmos since we're in New York and with our girls!" she suggested. "Three cosmos!" she told the bartender, handing him her credit card. He made the drinks, and I took two toward our table. When K came back over she looked annoyed.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

"There's a $50 minimum with a credit card," she winced. "Guess I'm buying all the drinks tonight."

Three drinks later, I had no hope of not being clumsy. I staggered around on my 4-inch heels and talked way too loud to anyone who would listen. And I may have hit on a few of the ladies around me. I'd really rather not talk about it.

After 10 the bar closed (???) so we went somewhere we could dance. I haven't gone out and really danced probably since the last time I saw Lara, and even then I'm not sure if we went dancing. Regardless, I was in my early 20s then, and a lot changes after that 25 mark. But I forgot all of that and let the cosmos guide me around the dance floor. At some point a Latin beat came on, and I started stomping around like I knew how to salsa. But then my heel hit something soft, something that wasn't the floor.

"AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!" a girl, crumpled on the floor, screamed.

"Oh my gosh, can I get you some ice?" I asked, terrified.

"Noooooooooooo........" she whimpered, her friends crouching down to help her.

I figured that was a good time for me to take a breather, so I sat down on a nearby stool. Almost immediately I got payback, on both feet. I grabbed my feet and writhed around in pain, and K landed next to me to make sure I was okay. She had seen the whole thing, and when she realized my feet weren't broken we fell back laughing. Matt came over to pull us up, and we found Lara and danced like old times. Not long afterwards I felt an arm slide around my waist. I glanced back and the guy was pretty good looking, so I went with it. It was fun at first, dancing with a stranger, but then I got a little uncomfortable -- not because he was a stranger, but because he was making my body do impossible things. During one extremely painful dip, I thought, This is why I stopped going to nightclubs -- these guys want you to be a limber sex goddess, and I can't even touch my toes! When he asked if I wanted to go outside with him I yelled to K, "He wants me to go outside with him!" and she yelled back, "You're not allowed!" Ahh, I love my girls!

Around 2 or 3 or who knows when a.m., we all hobbled back to the apartment and crashed. My internal alarm clock is set at 7:30, so I was the first one up in the morning. K was next, and then around 10:30 we got Lara out of bed. Freshly showered and in flat shoes again, we found a little place for brunch, the perfect way to round out our girls' reunion. At noon K and I had to jet, so we hugged and promised to do this more often, and then we were off. Exhausted, we spoke about six words for the next four and half hours.

That night I noticed one of my toes was numb. The next morning two more toes were numb. I'm guessing it will be another four years before I go dancing again.

Sick Day

Jun 9, 2009

I've been feeling a little run down lately (possibly picked up a dog disease from kissing Noli on the lips...I'm looking into it), so I decided to take a sick day. Unlike some people (MEGAN!), I do not feel bad about taking a day away from work to recuperate and recharge. I usually do feel like I'm getting away with something, though, like I'm back in high school and I convince my mother to let me stay home because my eyes are puffy (true story!). But when my supervisor e-mailed: "Load up on soaps and 'Jon and Kate: Twisted Fate'!" I knew I was in the clear.

I began my day watching "Web Soup." This is a variation of "The Soup," but it's with the guy from "Singled Out" (oh how I wish that show were still around) and it's all Web videos. I didn't think I'd enjoy it, but it was entertaining enough to keep me awake. Here's a sampling of my faves from today's show:

Japanese Dog Exercises
Vending Machine Flipping Idiot (beware, this will make you cringe)
Elephant Eats Poo (beware, this is ten times worse than the flipping idiot)

I considered closing my eyes, but then the "E! True Hollywood Story: Cults, Religion, and Mind Control" came on and that was a no-brainer -- I was staying awake. My air conditioning had been making a gurgling noise for a couple of days, and around this time it died. I had put in a work order for it the day before, but no one had come yet. I fought to watch the entire THS because it was sooooooo freaky, but in the middle of one girl's account of being forced to marry her first cousin when she was 14, I passed out from heat exhaustion.

When I awoke the temperature in my apartment had surpassed 80 degrees, so I called the front office and they promised to send someone within the next two hours. I poured myself a glass of iced tea and flipped channels. "Jon and Kate" was on, but after this season's premiere I decided to boycott TLC altogether and write them a letter telling them why I was doing so. The letter, which I have yet to actually write but have composed in my head, goes something like this:

Dear TLC,

I am appalled that you are perpetuating the demise of the Gosselins. I will not be a part of it and have henceforth decided to discontinue my viewership of your programming. Your ratings may be good now, but once this season is over there will be no more Jon and Kate, and then where will you be? Shame on you. Do the right thing and pull the show.

You may be thinking, 'She will buckle and watch the show, or at least 'What Not to Wear,' because who can resist 'What Not to Wear'?' Sadly, I can get all the updates I need from US Weekly and People, and the Style network has "How Do I Look?", which I admit is not as good as "What Not To Wear," but it will fulfill my need to watch a makeover.

Hoping you'll make the right choice because I really love the Duggars as well (but can get updates on their Web site),

Mary El

(Funny...I now have put my thoughts in writing but have still not sent it to TLC. Obviously I won't be leading a revolution anytime soon.)

TV was boring me, so I logged onto stepheniemeyer.com to read "Midnight Sun," the unfinished Edward Cullen version of "Twilight." The series really is addicting, and I'm sad I jumped on the bandwagon so late because I missed out on all the obsessing over Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart and their secret non-love affair. I'm also bummed that I saw the movie first, because I have a feeling my imagination would have thought up the most gorgeous guy ever, but now I have Robert Pattinson stuck in my head. Oh well, he is hot enough I suppose. BTW, Kristen Stewart is SO AWKWARD. Get a grip, Kristen!!! Since I'm going off on a "Twilight" tangent, I should direct you to two videos that I can't stop watching:

Andy Samberg movie compilation
Andy Samberg's "New Moon" trailer

So anyway, I was deep in the woods of In-Love-With-A-Vampire Land when I heard a knock on the door. Vampire or Maintenance Man? Either one was way exciting. Except when I opened the door they had sent the creepiest maintenance guy possible. He always tries to pet my dog, who is an idiot and runs to him, and then he looks at me, grins, and sticks his tongue out. *shudder* And since it was a sick day I was still in my PJs and had no bra on. I didn't want him to think any of that was any sort of invitation, so I huddled on my sofa and checked my work e-mail, hoping he would see I was working and would leave me alone.

I had about 200 news alerts (since my job is to monitor news), and as I sorted through them I realized I was really hungry. "Thai woman dies in blast"...mmm, Thai food. "Turkey, Iraq sign military deal"...mmm, turkey. "2 Koreas hold rare talks amid nuclear tension"...mmm, Korean food. Wait, what? I must be starving to want Korean food, yuck! "Crashed Indian military plane found near China border"...mmm Indian food...oh yum I actually have Indian food! I waited impatiently for Creepy Maintenance Man to finish up so I could leave the couch and head to the refrigerator which held lots of catered Indian food care of Ashmi who had brought home leftovers from a graduation party last weekend. After taking a smoking break and saturating my apartment with cigarette toxins, he finally got the AC working and left.

After a very satisfying lunch, I noticed the sun had come out (we've had thunderstorms every day for a straight month), so I got really really brave and put on a bikini. I bought a one-piece this year to cover the excess flab, but my white stomach has been freaking me out. I figured no one would be at the pool in the middle of a workday, so I was safe. Once at the pool, I put a pink float in the water, hopped on, and un-did my bikini top so as not to get a weird tan line. Before I pushed off the side I grabbed the book I'm reading between "Twilight" and "New Moon" (which still hasn't gotten here! Amazon has some 'splaining to do!) and set off into the sun. About five minutes into it I heard a loud PLOP! and looked over. Low and behold, I was not the only one who thought it would be safe to venture out today -- 8 Months Pregnant Lady in a String Bikini had just walloped into the water, her husband staring adoringly at her nearby. I glanced at my less than perfect stomach and suddenly felt very thin.

Soon another thunderstorm rolled in, so I gathered my things and ran inside, just missing the rain. I stopped by my mailbox -- no "New Moon," but I had ordered "Twilight" the movie on Netflix, and there it was! Back up at the apartment, my roomie for the summer, Mary, was making some yummy pasta. She made me a plate and we popped in "Twilight." All in all, I'd say my sick day was pretty successful.

On another note, many of you have expressed concern that I'm running off Humanitarian. I have a feeling it's because his name is "Humanitarian" and therefore you are all sympathizing with him. So, I hereby change his name to "Captain Can't Follow Through." If anyone can find positive connotation in that then I will surrender and ask him out.

On the prowl

Jun 3, 2009

Summertime brings interns, which means fresh meat...err, eye candy. (I'm not old enough to be a cougar quite yet.) Megan and I were walking to CVS together yesterday, and she was able to point out each one to me.

"Look at those sweet little faces!" she would giggle.

But really, I am always more interested in the new set of young officers. Not only do we get new civilian cuties, we also get military ones who are just precious (and also in really good shape). Nothing is quite as fun as looking at a youngin who's finally out of the awkward adolescent years but hasn't formed a beer belly yet from the first half of his 20s. You put a uniform on top of that and...well...yum.

With all the newbies walking around, it made sense that I should get a haircut. My ends were a little dry and I couldn't deny that my hair was not swinging or blowing in the breeze to its optimum potential. I still haven't found a new hairdresser since moving here almost two years ago, so I tried out Bubbles in Pentagon City and was pleasantly surprised. $45 for a cut and blow dry and out of there in an hour? Not bad.

I walked out of the mall with my head held high and flipping my hair more than usual. I like getting on the Metro at Pentagon City because there's lots of types of people down there, which increases my chances of meeting Prince Charming (aka wealthy yuppie with a downtown condo and a power suit). I found a bench to sit on in the station and ran my fingers through my hair, letting my long bangs fall over my right eye just a bit. I noticed a handsome stranger reading a paper nearby glance over at me. I smiled coyly and threw my hair over my shoulder. Oh yes, the haircut was worth every penny.

Once I got on my train, I opted to stand rather than sit -- you get more visibility that way. A couple of potential princes were also standing, and I attempted to make eye contact with each of them. But, as the train made its stops, they all left, and once again my daily routine of making my Metro fantasy come true was squashed. (Someone suggested recently I just walk up to a cute guy and hand him my business card. Great idea but way too scary!)

Finally I reached my stop. The train had cleared of cute passengers, so I took out my book and found the marked page where I had left off. It was getting dark outside, so I would only be able to read while crossing the lit parking lot outside of the station. Once I got to the open field that was between my apartment and the Metro, I wouldn't be able to see the pages. When my foot hit the grass, I closed the book and looked at the sky. It was getting dark fast.

I am not usually afraid to walk alone at night in my neighborhood because there are lots of cops around and mostly people like me live in the area. We have no crime to speak of and the streets are always clean. However, along my walk across this field is a stream lined with tall bushes, and I can't help but be a little wary of what could be lurking in there, be it a mosquito, a cat, a homeless person, or even a...

I heard a rustle in the trees to my left. My eyes darted. My heart raced. The adrenaline rush caused me to break a sweat. Could this be the moment I'd been dreaming about since I began reading my current book?

I walked past slowly, expectantly, but the rustling stopped. I guess a vampire won't get me tonight, I wistfully sighed.

Oh, I'm sorry, did you think this post was about me prowling for potential boyfriends? No no, it's all about vampires prowling for me. (Yeeeeeah...I finally jumped on the I'm-in-love-with-Edward-Cullen bandwagon. A little late, I know. Humor me, please.)

When my mother caught wind of my new obsession, she had to warn me immediately, "Do not become obsessed with vampires! God had to annihilate an entire race of people because they mated with embodied demons!"

Okay, here's the thing: I don't think I am necessarily in love with the idea of a vampire falling in love with me. I know "vampires" exist, and they're not pretty and extremely freakish. In college I co-hosted a talk show on our radio station, and on Halloween we had a "vampire" come in. He was pale with black hair -- typical goth type -- and had a little blond girl with him. Oh, come on. How unoriginal! I wanted to tell him that Brad Pitt was much more convincing -- and better looking -- than he with his creepy minion. (NOTE: No children were harmed in our Interview with a Vampire -- the girl swore she was not a minor.)

So, no, not really all that interested in dating a vampire. I've considered what's so enticing about Edward Cullen, I mean, besides all the forbidden love, which could make anyone seem attractive just out of your natural desire to rebel.

First, there's his stare. Something about a guy staring you down like he might want to bite you is really, really hot. You can read about or view said stare in the book, "Twilight," or the movie. Robert Pattison does an excellent job of mixing super-creepy with super-hot. But on this topic, I defer to another cinematic stare, that of Count Fersen in "Marie Antoinette," played by the delish Jamie Dornan. He made himself irresistible by first staring at Marie across the room at the ball and never breaking the stare as he walked toward her and talked to her for only a moment. Then later, at the dining table, he couldn't keep his eyes off of her. Boys, if you want to make a girl weak in the knees, you should probably take note of this. But beware of the creep factor. If you get a weird vibe from the girl, you should probably abort the plan.

Second, there's his need to protect her. I don't care how modern a woman you are -- every girl wants to be protected. Even "Sex and the City's" Samantha once admitted that she was unhappy with being alone, and she wished she had some man in her life to come take care of her. Edward's sole reason for existing becomes protecting Bella. I love reading about how he holds her close to his chest, his "iron grip" not letting her go. Boys, if you want to make a girl feel protected, you better work out those biceps and then hold her close.

Third, Edward loves Bella despite all her quirks. He laughs at her endearingly but never arrogantly. I may be one of the few women who will admit all her weird little things to the world, but trust me, we all feel self conscious. My current bane is my weight gain -- when I look in a floor length mirror (or worse, a photo) I see FAT AND UGLY. But I have several girlfriends who have put on a comparable amount of weight since college, and I think they look better now than they did in their skinny days. Beside the weight, I am loud, talk too much, have a voice that is too low, have too much skin on my eyelids, am too sarcastic, say everything that goes through my head, and treat dogs like children. I'll stop the list there. The point is, if a guy came along who said something to the effect of what Mark Darcy said in Bridget Jones's Diary -- "I like you, just as you are." -- he would catch my attention and melt my heart a little. Boys, if you want to break down a girl's walls, let her know you like the whole package.

All that being said, "New Moon" is on its way to my door from Amazon. I hear it's about werewolves. Don't worry, Mama, I have no interest in any kind of canine other than Noli.