It’s been a rather uneventful week for this Accidental Divorcée.  I think I should have saved the “Stupid Cupid” song for this post, though.

I’m finding the whole online dating thing a little overwhelming, to be honest.  I’m starting to learn the lesson of “You Don’t Have to Respond to Everyone.”  I tend toward being overly polite, I think, because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.  At the same time, I don’t want to lead anyone on or waste anyone’s time.  I’m not sure I’ve quite found the right balance yet.

I did hear back from Centaur Guy, and we exchanged a couple more e-mails before he promptly fell off the face of the earth again. The only feeling I have about the situation is a very, very mild annoyance, but that’s it.  Doesn’t seem worth wasting my energy feeling anything else about it.

I get very tired of receiving messages that start with things like, “your so gorgeous” or “wow, u’re hot,” especially when I have exactly one photo up.  I also inexplicably received an e-mail from someone who claims not to have read a book since high school, despite the fact that my profile states I enjoy reading.  I’ve also had people ask if I want to get together after one or two superficial messages.  Long story short, most of the conversations have fallen far short of the standards that make the effort worthwhile.

I was actually about to give up and cancel my account last weekend, when I received the rare polite & interesting message from a new guy.  He mentioned that he was French, and he included the link to a song that he liked.  I liked it, too.  And he also asked about novels and films I’d seen recently.  I was intrigued enough to check his profile, and it turns out he’s cute, likes literature, and likes films outside just the mainstream.  Did I mention he’s French?  And cute?  I’m pretty sure he’s not actually real.  Oddly enough, he used to be very good friends with my current French instructor.  Small world, eh?  Anyway, we’ve exchanged a few messages, and I’m a little charmed, admittedly.  I did mention he’s French, right?  Right.

Even so, I’m still grappling with whether or not these shenanigans are worth it.  I mean, I’m pretty fulfilled being single.  I have no issue going places on my own.  I’ve gone solo to the symphony, to a wedding full of strangers, and I go to movies by myself on a fairly regular basis.  I like company, but I don’t require it.  So, I guess what I’m saying is I need some sort of spark.  You know.  That “can’t eat, can’t sleep, reach for the stars, over the fence, World Series kind of stuff.”  And it’s hard to feel that through an online dating site.  I don’t know, but without it, it just doesn’t seem worth all the work.

(Yes, I’m taking cues on love from a Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen movie [around 4 minutes, 45 seconds in, by the way]. Don’t judge me!)


First, a birthday shout-out to my dear friend, Nurse J, who is always more than willing to give me level-headed advice about anything and everything.

Second things second, the birthday party (not for Nurse J) where both No. 2 and I were in attendance was last night.  The group ended up being split into two tables next to each other, so we were able to spend another event not interacting with each other in the least.  Considering she never responded to my last e-mail, I’m not surprised.  I toyed with the idea of approaching her, but, in the end, I decided it was probably better to just leave it alone.

I will admit I enjoyed a little schadenfreude when all of our mutual friends sat down at my table instead of hers.  It was likely just the easiest seating arrangement for how people entered the room, but after the whole, empty and saccharine “they were your friends first, and I’ve been telling them they should still be your friends” proclamation, I was a little amused.

In other news, a few nights ago in a moment of sleepy impulsiveness, I joined OKCupid.  I’d read about it a bit already on Sex, Lies & Dating in the City, and then an old friend from high school with whom I’ve been exchanging e-mails lately mentioned that she’d been using and having a good time, too.  It’s free, and it’s pretty low-commitment, so I figured it couldn’t hurt.

What’s nice about OKCupid (and I imagine similar services) is the guys come to you.  I mean, you can seek them out, of course, but I haven’t yet had to.  I’ve been exchanging messages with a handful of guys, some mundane and others more interesting.  One thing I absolutely hate is general questions, such as “What do you do?” or “What do you like?”  The former is mostly just because I never know how to answer it, since I pay my bills in a different way than what I pursue as my real (but not yet paying) career.  The latter is so general it makes me headdesk.  What do I like? Well, that would take me a long time to list out.  Perhaps you’d like to be a little more specific in what you’re asking, eh?

I’ve also taken issue with the “wink” already, which is a way to let someone know they looked at your profile and liked what they saw but didn’t have the guts or the creativity to actually come up with anything qualifying as a message.  I’m still in the “Sure, I’ll bite and initiate conversation” phase, but I don’t know how much longer that’ll last.

I did receive one message from someone who opened with a failed centaur joke instead of a wink or a “hi, how are you?”  On top of this, when I corrected him on his centaur/minotaur mix-up, he was amused by my nerdiness.  So that’s a plus.  We exchanged a few more interesting messages, and then he asked if I’d be interested in taking the conversation to e-mail.  After some thought, I agreed and sent him my address.  And guess what?  Haven’t heard a single word since.  Figures, huh?  It’s only been a day, so I haven’t given up on hearing from him and it’s not like I’m heartbroken or anything, but it is sort of annoying.

One wonderful piece of advice I read recently over at Sex, Lies and Dating is that, whatever happens in the initial online communication phase is not about you.  An excerpt from the post:

“If you’re going to survive online dating and maintain a sense of sanity and humor then you can’t take any of it personally. Remember, none of it has anything to do with you until you’ve actually met the person/people in question.  Until then, everyone is just making guesses and assumptions about each other based on incomplete information and frequently misleading pictures.”

Pretty good advice.  I don’t know if I’ll end up agreeing to meet anyone or not, but I always enjoy having conversations with new people, and it’s a nice challenge to try and make an interesting conversation out of something that starts with “hey, what’s up.”

Much of the Ex’s stuff is still at my house.  He picked up most of the big ticket items, but the room he used as his office is still a landfill, and about 60 percent of the stuff in the master closet is his.  This despite the fact that 1) he moved out in February 2008, 2) our divorce was final in March, and 3) he’s had a house of his own since shortly after the divorce.  He usually claims lack of time, but he seems to have enough time to woo No. 2, so I’m not really buying that anymore.

break-upMy coworker, KJ, upon finding out today that his stuff remains at my house, through a fit on my behalf and pledged to block off a Saturday in August to come help me sack up everything, drive to the Ex’s house, and promptly dump it on his lawn.  While the spirit of her offer is very much appreciated, I think that’s probably more aggressive than my typical modus operandi would dictate.  But something’s got to give.  I figure these are my options.

  1. Send a polite e-mail kindly requesting that the Ex pick a date to come get his stuff.  (This, in the past, has led to him picking a date, forgetting about date, and me still having his stuff.)
  2. Send a strongly worded e-mail telling him he has until a given date to get his stuff.  (This would probably lead to an argument, or it would be ignored, and I’m unlikely to keep my anger up long enough to actually do anything if he fails to follow through.)
  3. Call and request he come get his stuff.  (This would likely lead to an argument because he would feign busy-ness, and I would call him on it, and then I would say mean things about No. 2, and nothing would get accomplished except us both feeling sort of bad a few hours later.)
  4. Box up his stuff myself, neatly folding it and storing it with appropriate care until he mentions he wants to come get his stuff.  (I’m not sure I have the patience for this, nor the inclination.)
  5. Throw his stuff in some of those gigantic trash sacks, and store it in the garage until he mentions he wants to come and get it.  (I feel sort of bad about the trash sack thing, but it’s probably how he’d transport a lot of it, and it’s how he transported clothes most of the time in college.)
  6. Throw his stuff in some of those gigantic trash sacks, and hand it off to No. 2 at the birthday party we’re both attending Thursday.  (This gives me the most malicious glee, but, again, probably too aggressive to be healthy.)

So, what do you think, dear readers?  I’m not sure what proper etiquette dictates here, but I think pretty much all etiquette has been thrown out the window on his side.  If that’s the case, am I even still held to the code?  In the same way, I don’t really want to be a bitch about the whole thing.  Well, sometimes I do.  Where’s Emily Post when you need her?

I attended another house party Friday with the same group of people who have been kind enough to take me under their social wing these days thanks to my old best friend from elementary school, junior high and high school.  Most of my socializing these days happens with other writer types, either via the intertubes or through writing-focused get-togethers.  And if you’ve ever spent any amount of time with a writer-type, you might have gathered that the majority of us are sort of weird.  So, socializing as both a single woman and with non-writer types has been an interesting learning experience to say the least.

My first social outing with this core group was highlighted by an unsuccessful joke about hobbits.  My second featured me attempting to open a bottle of red wine and somehow, inexplicably and impressively, shooting said wine up the sleeve of my black cardigan and all over the floor and counter.  So, for my third attempt, I had three goals: 1) No hobbit jokes, 2) No attempting to open bottles of wine, and 3) Mingle.

Amazingly, I succeeded in all three goals.  I made conversation with friends, old acquaintances and strangers alike.  Even (*gasp*) guys.  A recap:

Guy No. 1
Introduction: He saw me coming out of an off-limits area of the house (the master bedroom/bathroom, which the hostess had told me to use) and looked curious.  I stopped, explained, and then he introduced himself.
Conversation: He dropped the “My girlfriend” statement within about a minute, which was good, but also left me wondering, “Why did you stop me then?”  But he was a nice enough guy, friendly and all that.  We exchanged the typical “what’s your job” chitchat, and that was about it.

Guy No. 2
Introduction: I’d escaped from the heat of the kitchen onto the patio where there were a few guys talking.  One of them had already been made known to me as the boyfriend of a girl I’d known of from high school who, as it turns out, is sort of nuts.  (Case in point: She was convinced another girl there, who seemed perfectly nice to me, had some sort of bone to pick with her, and, because of this, she asked me if I thought it would be a good idea to bite her.  I told her that was generally looked down upon in normal society.  She also grabbed my old best friend’s butt on arrival and pinched mine on the way out.)  I was leaning against a pillar, and this guy turned to me, put his hand on my back, and held out his hand for me to shake, along with the standard, “I didn’t catch your name.”  I told him, and he muttered something under his breath, which I could have sworn included the word “cute,” which promptly freaked me out.
Conversation: There wasn’t much after that because I felt it would be unwise to do anything to get on his girlfriend’s bad side, given her penchant for biting people.  But at one point, he brushed up against me, as he was playfully hiding from his girlfriend and grinned at me, which was weird, and uncomfortable, and a little bit scary.  Luckily, they left soon after.

Guy No. 3 and Guy No. 4
Introduction: A couple of guys were hanging out on the patio, and I had yet to be introduced to them.  So, I simply said, “So, who are you guys?”  This worked well.
Conversation: Guy No. 3 was much more talkative than Guy No. 4, and I managed to hear quite a few details about his life.  He seemed passionate about what he wanted to do with his life, which seems to be a rare commodity these days.  However, it also seemed like he was reciting lines (subjects covered: the connection between inner and outer beauty and his desire to start a children’s charity).  He talked a lot more than he asked questions, but that’s OK.  Like I said, at least he seemed passionate, if a bit rehearsed.  Guy No. 4 turned out to be his roommate and was one of those rare folks who actually like their jobs.  He was cute, but seemed rather vapid.  He seemed to be coasting, void of any real passion about anything, which, perhaps, is a symptom of being comfortable.

Fast forward to today.  I checked my e-mail and saw I had a facebook friend request from Guy No. 3.  This intrigued me, seeing as how I hadn’t given him my last name and that I have a super-common first name.  Granted, it wouldn’t have taken much effort to find out, but we’re talking maybe two or three steps rather than one.  I accepted and proceeded to do what any normal person in this day and age would do: I mildly internet-stalked him.  His facebook profile included both strikes for and against, just as talking to him in person had.  But I did discover via his blog that we’ve had strikingly similar life experiences: he’s a divorcé as well, and his former spouse became involved with someone else while they were still married.  So, long story short, I’m intrigued.  Which is different than interested, mind you, but still.  It’s the most interesting social thing that’s happened in a while.

Also, it strikes me as weird to be able to know such, well, personal things about someone without hearing it from him or her.  But I guess whatever a person puts out there is fair game.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go scrub my facebook profile of all damning information.

Early yesterday afternoon, I was wrapping up work for the day when I saw I had an e-mail in my inbox.  Lo and behold, it was from No. 2.

It seems No. 2 had felt awkward at the wedding and, knowing that we’ll both be at future events, wanted to, more or less, be friends.  My initial reaction went something like this:

NOW you want to be friends? Now that you’ve gotten everything you wanted: my husband, my in-laws, my friends, my old life. Now that you’ve had to experience a little bit of the awkwardness I’ve dealt with for the past two years. Now that I’m no longer out of sight and out of mind.  Well, I’ve got two words for you. FUCK. OFF. Oh, and you’re a coward for avoiding me at the wedding and then sending me an e-mail, too, you slimy, conniving bitch.

Now, seeing as how that’s not really even remotely close to fair, I obviously didn’t reply with that sort of message.  Despite that being sort of went through my mind, it’s actually not an accurate representation of what’s happened.  Or at least that’s what I’m choosing to believe.  So, instead, I rallied the troops, asked their advice, and then used the drive home to mull over an appropriate response.  I settled on asking her a simple question.

“How might you expect someone in my situation to feel?”

I got a response back in approximately 30 seconds, which was significantly less time than I was hoping.  She mused that I probably felt uncomfortable and maybe “a little pissed” that she and The Ex were together.  Well, I’d been hoping for a little more thought to be put into that question, so I rephrased it a little more pointedly.  I requested that she give the matter some true analysis, that she imagine herself in my shoes for the past two years, and that, if she could do that, then I’d be willing to tell her how I was actually feeling and what I could offer going forward.

She responded that she’d thought about it nearly every day for the last several months.  These were her thoughts:

  • I probably thought there was “something going on” between her and the Ex long before there actually was (and that that wasn’t true and that she’d really wanted our marriage to work out).
  • The divorce has been really hard on everyone.  People have felt like they have to choose between me and the Ex and her and the Ex, and she’s told them that they were my friends first and they should continue to be.  But she believes if everyone just tries a little harder that we can all coexist peacefully.
  • Trying to assume my feelings makes her feel “arrogant” and “stupid.”

Which wasn’t what I was asking, of course.  I wasn’t asking for any assumptions to be made.  I was asking her to engage in a little exercise in EMPATHY.  And then, the biggest cop out of all, the pseudo-apology:

“I’m sure you’ve been hurt, and, for whatever I’ve had to do with that, I’m really sorry.”

In other words, “I’m not going to actually own up to anything here, but I hope you’ll accept my blanket sort-of-apology and let me off the hook.”  Well, not exactly an A for effort there, folks.  Maybe a C-, a C if I’m feeling benevolent.

I took some time before I responded again to try and burn off some aggression.  P90X KenPo is pretty fabulous for that, by the way.  When that wasn’t quite enough, I (having once played competitive softball and having dubious skill as a pitcher) then went and through about 30 full-speed pitches.

Then, after dinner, I sat down and tapped out a reply.  My points were as follows:

  • If something had been weighing on her conscience as long as she claimed, then it likely would have been beneficial to get in touch with me a long time ago.  Or to never have dropped off the face of the earth in the first place.  The irony of having apparently (or at least pretending) to understand what I was going through in regards to my other FotP friendships during the divorce and then engaging in the exact same behavior except with the goal of actually wanting to be in a romantic relationship with my not-yet-divorced husband is astounding.  And by astounding, I mean, it’s really not ironic at all in that it’s either a very cunning move or a very oblivious one.  Either way, it’s no good.
  • I have zero patience left for people who tell me my divorce was hard on them.  The only person who has any right to say that with a straight face is the Ex himself.  The only effort required of a friend is to, simply, be a friend.  Offer support, a shoulder to cry on, a person with whom to laugh when things get rough. No advice, no taking sides, nothing except simply being there.  This should not be difficult.  Any drama or hardship that a “friend” feels watching someone go through a divorce is his or her problem, as far as I’m concerned.  Unless the divorcing party is asking more of you than to simply be a friend, then you’re being ridiculous.  I can’t speak for the Ex and what he asked of people, but I certainly asked no more of people than that.  I tried to make everything as easy for everyone else as possible, often at my own expense.  And it was very expensive indeed.  So, guess what? I’m not putting everyone else’s comfort above my own anymore.
  • I don’t need anyone to be encouraging others to be my friend.  If people value me and/or enjoy my company, then we’ll be friends.  It’s not an obligation.  Friendship shouldn’t be that difficult.  This “extra effort” required by everyone seems very sad to me.  We can coexist peacefully without being buddy-buddy, and that’s what’s been happening.  There have been no fist fights or shouting matches, so I’m not sure what more there is to do on that front.
  • I don’t believe there was a physical relationship between the Ex and No. 2 until after it was clear I was moving forward with the divorce.  However, an intense emotional relationship started long before the word “divorce” was ever uttered.  I told her I hope she never has to watch her husband fall in love with someone else because, no matter what’s going on between a husband and a wife, that experience is an extremely painful one.  Watching her take my place in nearly every facet of former life while I was still making an attempt to salvage it, put plainly, sucked.
  • I told her that I saw the connection she and the Ex had, I watched it develop, and I knew that she was closer to what he wanted and needed than I ever could be again.  I told her that I wished their relationship had proceeded differently, that they would have had the consideration to wait until the divorce was final, that I wouldn’t have to hear they’d gone official third hand, etc., etc., but that none of it really mattered at this point.  I told her, if they make each other happy, then I’m happy for them and wish them the best.
  • And then, I told her that, as she should know, I’m always civil in public.  I said I wasn’t going to bow out of things anymore to spare other people’s feelings.  If people want to see me, and if I want to see them, then that’s going to happen.  She didn’t need to be afraid to approach me, that I wouldn’t be mean, or attempt to wallop her or anything of the sort.  I told her I couldn’t promise a warm reception, but that I’d be just as polite as I always am to everyone.  I told her I thought that would be enough for any events we’d both be attending and that I hoped she could understand where I was coming from.

And that was that.  I haven’t heard back yet, and I don’t know if I will, which is fine.  We’re both supposed to be attending the birthday party of a mutual friend next week, so, we’ll see how that goes.  Honestly, it feels really great to get this stuff off my chest.  I think I managed to stand up for myself in the e-mail without crossing the line into über-bitch territory.

I’ll leave you with a few bits of advice I’ve gleaned over the past few days.

  1. If you ever have the unfortunate experience of watching a friend go through a divorce, NEVER EVER NO MATTER WHAT complain about how difficult it is for you.  Because I can guarantee whatever hardship your feeling is nothing compared to what the actual divorcé(e) is going through, and you will come across sounding like a selfish, arrogant jerkface who has no concept of empathy.
  2. If you’ve wronged someone, just own up to it.  Don’t play around with half-apologies.  Don’t wait months and months and months so things can fester and turn nasty.  Man up and do the right thing.
  3. Always be wary of approaching a writer on their own territory.  It tempts them to rip you apart with the written word, and then they have to do things like an hour of super-intense KenPo whilst personifying the air they’re punching; and engaging in deep, meditative breaths; and singing aloud at the top of their lungs to Epiphany from the Sweeney Todd soundtrack, in order to keep from taking out all of their aggression on you.
  4. If you haven’t thrown a fast pitch in, say, two years or so, your shoulder will not appreciate you throwing 30 of them at full power out of nowhere.

Well, the good news is I’m feeling much better this morning.  The bad news is the wedding still sort of sucked.  Here’s why.

1) Got to watch The Ex walk up to No. 2 and kiss her. Fun. Later, once she knew I was there, I’m pretty sure she tried to mark her territory, so to speak, as The Ex (having been a groomsman) was dismissing rows. I averted my eyes, though. Having forced myself to watch their public displays of affection once was plenty.

2) The Ex dismissed my row and didn’t say a word to me. Granted, I didn’t say anything to him either, but I sort of paused to try and give him the opportunity and got nothing. I just sort of felt like it was his place to say something if anything was going to be said, especially after the PDAs with No. 2. And he didn’t. So, I guess that’s that.

3) No. 2 didn’t seek me out or say anything to me either. No surprise there. I’m really trying to keep my bitterness in check there, but, man, is it difficult.

4) Seeing people you used to hang out with as Part of a Couple is weird. No one really knows what to say, and it’s all very awkward and no one wants to admit it but everyone knows it.

5) Before I left, I of course went up to congratulate the groom and his new wife. I always got on really well with the groom; he’s an incredibly sweet and funny guy, and I’m thrilled that he’s finally found someone who makes him happy. Whatever friendly connection we used to have was still there within seconds. And it sucks that we’re rarely ever going to see each other now because I’m not part of that crowd anymore. And I think that’s what really got to me most at the wedding. The sincere “I’m really glad you came;” how he seemed to know it had been difficult, and how he knew I didn’t know anyone there, and how he understood why I was leaving early without my having to spell any of this out. It was really nice, but also really sad. It felt like a farewell in a lot of ways, and I’ve never been particularly good at those.

Now, despite the badness, there was also some good. I hadn’t expected the FotP to show due to some rather serious health issues she’s been dealing with lately. But, her being her, she did in fact show up, and she and her husband sat next to me during the ceremony, which was great. They left shortly afterwards due to said health issues, but it was nice to have someone with whom to sit for a little while.

It’s worth noting that I actually reconnected with FotP, who will probably need a new nickname going forward since FotP is rather general, on IM last week.  Having been forced to slow down, she’s making an effort to take time to do more things she enjoys, like hanging out with old friends and, well, more or less stopping to smell the roses, I guess. I talked with her a bit last night and was surprisingly candid regarding how I was feeling (though not as candid as I was here), and she was properly sympathetic. She’s wanting to see some more movies together once she’s a bit more back on her feet, and I told her I’d definitely be up for that. We did the movie and coffee thing during the winter a few times, and it was always really lovely. So hopefully something will come of that.

I’m feeling sort of weird, looking at the week ahead. I’ve got dinner again with another FotP, whom I’ll call Tiny (because she’s probably the tiniest person I’ve ever met). I’m going to a writers’ meet-up that I went to a couple of weeks ago with another writing friend, or, as I like to call it, There Will Be Boys. The guy:girl ratio there is about 10:1, which creates an amusing dynamic, sort of like, “OMG! Girls! And the talk! And have opinions! And they’re girls!” So, that’ll be fun.  (It’s also worth noting that, last time, I was approached by a guy who wanted me to read his script entitled, “Tapeworms.” Not kidding. I politely declined. Do things like this happen to other people?)

I’ll leave you today with Coin-Operated Boy by the Dresden Dolls, because it’s sort of how I’ve been feeling as of late, and because Amanda Palmer is awesome, and because she’s dating Neil Gaiman, which only adds to the awesome.

The wedding was this afternoon. I didn’t last long. I’ll do a full recap tomorrow.

But tonight, I am a huge fucking mess. And I don’t even really know why. I don’t know that I want to talk about it, and I don’t know what I’d say even if I did.

I cried a bit on the way home, and then I was in a weirdly good mood for most of the afternoon and evening.  And now, I’m a bucket of tears again. For no discernible reason. Emotions suck. But, as troubled-but-talented Amy Winehouse pointed out, tears dry on their own.