Relationships, Single Life

The Tale of the Hissy Fit and the First Kiss

I never imagined a hissy fit might turn into a first kiss. 

It’s Friday at 4:59 p.m. and I’m fit to be tied. I love the guys I work with 97.3% of the time. They are charming, helpful, and a little overprotective of little ole me. We tell jokes. I bring them baked good. Seriously, it’s usually all good. 

But here lately they’ve fallen in what I’ll assume is an unconscious bad habit. They’ve started asking me to do things they are perfectly capable of doing themselves. And it’s driving me nuts. 

I get it. It happens a lot. My mind works quick. I hold a lot of tiny details in my head. I usually know the answer and I’m not great about teaching others to fish. I’m more of a “here, just give it to me and I’ll do it” type. 

Teachable moments annoy me. I’ve got no patience for them and sometimes I pay the price. 

Back to Friday. As I sat training the new girl, the crew piled in. Each of them stopped by my desk, vomiting details and to do items. Then the phone rang. Then a customer came in. Incoming, incoming. I felt like I was in a fox hole being pecked to death by a thousand ducks. 

“Enough,” I finally screamed as I threw down my headset and left the room. 

They weren’t really fazed. I do this. I’m a big fan of the southern hissy fit. I get mad. I explode. I let off steam. Ten minutes later I’m over it. I’m like a pop up thunderstorm … amusing, intense, and mostly harmless. 

Anyways, I left mad … steaming actually. I gave them a stern talking to on my way home I’ll tell ya. Somewhere across the Coffee County line, I decided to go have one cocktail and unwind before I headed home. 

I headed to my favorite watering hole, ordered a single dirty martini, and opened a book. I do this a lot … sit at bars alone and read. It’s my thing. 

Five minutes in, I noticed some friends from Lynchburg. I said hello, chatted for a moment, then returned to the bar to finish my drink. 

More friends piled in and I felt genuinely happy to see them. Maybe it was the booze (wink). As I got ready to leave, they asked me to stay and so I did. We ordered more drinks. I kicked ass at the pool tables. I played an inappropriate song on the jukebox. I used to just call this Thursday but these days, nights out are rare. 

I’d noticed him all night. He was part of the group but I’d never met him before that night. He possessed a boyish face cleverly hidden behind a nicely trimmed beard. There were dimples. The next thing I knew, I was stealing his fries. Then our legs touched under the table. Then he offered to walk me to my car. I’m sure there was more to it than that but that’s what I remember.

It was cold … like single digits cold, so when we got to my car, I asked him to get inside. That’s when he kissed me. Wow! Like one of those really nice, slow, beard scratching my face, knocked-it-out-of-the-park first kisses. Meow! 

Then I left. He left. I haven’t talked to him since and that’s not the point. 

I once read that Life’s always working in our favor … that even the bad things get used towards our highest good … even if we can’t connect all the dots at the time. 

The guys a work being a jerk led me to need a drink, which led me to running into my friends, which led to me meeting someone new, which led me to a first kiss that gave me back my swagger and helped me finally close the book on that asshole ex-boyfriend of mine. 

Maybe a Benevolent Universe is actually a thing.

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Relationships

Gunpowder, lead, baseball bats, and words: a break up story

Miranda had her gunpowder and lead. Carrie preferred a baseball bat. I have my words.

As a man, if you need the attention of not one but two women (usually unsuspecting women) to erect your self-esteem, I’m the last woman you want to choose. When I find out, and I always find out, I won’t cry over you. I won’t ever lift a finger to “get you back.” But I will write about what happened because that’s how I process my world. And if you make me mad enough, I’ll let other people read it.

He stepped over that line. This is our break up story. 

It all started a little over six months ago when an ex boyfriend supposedly “butt dialed” me at six in the morning. He hadn’t called my number in over two years. There was nothing accidental about it but I played along. We chatted via text for the next 24 hours. The conversation consisted mostly of him apologizing profusely for the way he’d treated me before.

We’d broken up because we wanted different things. It was no one’s fault. I didn’t understand why he felt so bad about it. I do now.

Two month after that, I had a question about something happening at his work … something I knew he’d know the answer to, so thinking that we’d re-established a friendship, I called him. He immediately called back, answered my question, and then continued to text me a couple times a day for the next couple of weeks.

When I got a “good morning” text, I began to suspect he wanted something more. Then he suggested we go to dinner.

“Are you asking me out on a date?” I asked.

“Would you go if I were?” he responded.

“I’d love to meet you for dinner … to catch up. I can’t make any promises.”

We went to Dave’s Modern Tavern in Monteagle the Sunday of Labor Day weekend and he was everything I’d always wanted him to be before: chivalrous, affectionate, and attentive.

When we got back to his house, we talked for a long time.

“There are girls you can sleep with … and that’s fine. And then are women who can help make your life better. You were always the later. I just wasn’t ready. I am now. I’m ready for something more, something healthy.”

He said the words I’d always wanted to hear from him. I felt vindicated.

And for a few months, he backed up those words with actions. I started to believe that the really good guy I always thought existed underneath the sarcasm, anger, and bravado was real. That version of M just needed unconditional love to float to the surface. I felt over the moon but remembering what had happened before, I pumped the brakes.

I started staying at his place a couple days a week. Then when he suggested I bring my dog, we started spending weekends together too.

I always tried to go home on Monday. He’d act pouty and sulk if I wanted to leave. He often joked about me “renting a room,” which seemed like his way of introducing the idea of me moving in. The day I discovered his betrayal, I’d been basically living there for a month. I had a key. My tampons were in his bathroom closet. My shampoo sat in his shower.

M can tell himself whatever he likes now to make himself feel better but it’s like my friend Ernie says, “If a woman’s toiletries are here, we’re in a relationship and it’s serious.”

I’d been completely honest with M about what I wanted from the get go.

“I’m not interested in some non-committal hook up thing,” I’d explained. “I’m a loyal chick. If I’m seeing you, then I’m only seeing you. I expect the same.”

He’d assured me we were on the same page.

If I’m being honest, I only ever dipped my toe back into the relationship. By the time it ended, again, I’d managed to wade knee deep. But the more I kept basically living there by default, the more uneasy I became.

Trust but verify. That’s my motto. So when I saw his new iPhone sitting on the charger in the bedroom while he snoozed downstairs, I decided to take a peek.

Sure enough, there were texts from one of his female co-workers on there. He’d been texting her “good morning sexy” at 5 a.m. while I was still asleep in his bed. He’d suggested they take a “trip to the mountains together … just the two of us.” I looked at the time stamp. He’d sent this on Tuesday night. He’d been sitting on the couch asking me to rub his feet while texting her about a romantic get away.

My heart raced in my chest. I was furious. Part of me wanted to rush downstairs, throw the phone at his head, and demand an explanation.

The other, smarter part of me won. I didn’t need to hear anything he had to say. I had the truth. So, I sat there and developed a plan.

Miranda preferred gun powder. Carrie used a bat. Truth and words were my weapons and I planned to use them. 

First, I wrote him a two page letter explaining what I’d discovered. I told him he was a “disloyal piece of shit” and to “never make the mistake of contacting me again.”

I laid the letter on his coffee table. Then I snuck upstairs and grabbed his phone. I texted her from it.

“Hi. This is Tabitha Moore. I’ve been dating M since August. We’ve been basically living together for the past month. While he was sending you a ‘good morning sexy’ text, I was still asleep in his bed. M’s gonna try and make me the bad guy here. He’ll tell you I’m psycho, or crazy, or clingy. Ask around. I’m none of those things. But what I am, is a strong, independent woman not willing to waste another second on a disloyal man. You have to listen to your heart and make your own decision. I just thought you deserved all the information.”

I hit send, deleted my contact from his phone, placed his phone on top of my letter, placed his key on top of his phone, and left. When I got home, I blocked his number on my phone. He can send me 100 texts. I’ll never receive them.

I don’t know what M’s problem is. Really, it’s not any of my business. He’s a train wreck. I wasn’t trying to save him. I was trying to love him enough that he’d feel inspired to save himself … my mistake.

Not everyone’s worth saving. Some people are just terrible human beings. They do terrible things. I used to believe there was a good man under all that anger and self destructive tendencies. Now I know better. There’s no there there.

So am I writing this to embarrass him? No, if that were the case I’d use his name. There are a few people who will read this and connect the dots. But that’s not my problem. As Anne Lamontt says, “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” This is my truth. I own it. I can do with it as I please.

I’m writing this because there may be another woman out there struggling with a disloyal man, and I might inspire her.

First, do not waste your time with a disloyal man. It’s not in your best interest. Loyalty has no gray area. Men are either 100% loyal or they aren’t loyal at all. Loyalty is not situational.

Two, when people treat you like shit, remember that there is something wrong with them … not you. Normal people don’t go around destroying other people. I got that bit of wisdom from Pinterest but it’s oh so true.

Three, love yourself enough to leave what isn’t in your best interest. You’re better off alone than with a lying, disloyal man. I reward loyalty with loyalty and disloyalty with distance.

Four, listen to your gut. Do whatever you need to do to honor your intuition and get the truth. If you feel uneasy, there’s a reason.

And to anyone wagging a finger at me because I went through his phone, yeah … fuck you. M was not giving me all the information I needed to make the best decision for myself. I would have never stayed if I’d known. If I had to go through his phone to discover that truth, then so be it. I don’t feel even a little remorse. I’d do it again tomorrow.

And to the woman M moves on with … yeah, good luck with that. If he’ll do it with you, he’ll do it to you. It’s just a matter of time. You can’t say you haven’t been warned.

I suspect, based on their text conversation, that she’s an ex too … the one who came just before me … the one he’d described as crazy and too possessive. But maybe I’m wrong.

He’d be mortified to know that I wrote this. He’s a private person. Most bad people with bad intentions are. That’s why most serial killers are described as “loners.”

But I’m about as concerned with M’s privacy as he was with my heart, which is to say not at all.

Trust me, he got off easy. I know his secrets … the embarrassing, humiliating truth. I could be singing it from the rooftop. I’m not.

I could have taken a page from Carrie’s playbook and taken a baseball bat to his precious BMW M3.  I didn’t.

Yeah, I let him off easy.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton once said the truth is the only safe ground to stand on. This is my truth. I’ll never apologize for sharing it.

Now I’m off to see Sunday matinee. It’s the perfect day for it.

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Relationships, Single Life

The Tale of 8 Ex-boyfriends and Good Luck Tab

If you’re of a certain age, and you’ve enjoyed a healthy dating life, you can’t sling a dead cat in a small town without hitting an ex. I’ve learned that lesson the hard way just the other day at Dairy Queen.

I rarely eat processed sugar. It wreaks havoc with my system … mood swings, headaches, and lethargy. One cupcake leads to a slice of key lime pie, which leads to ice cream … soon I’m stealing Almond Joys from my nephews Halloween candy. It ain’t pretty.

But every now and then – usually around the same time of the month (wink, wink) – I allow myself to indulge on the conditions that a) it’s something small, and b) it’s something I eat out in one sitting and don’t bring home. This is how I ended up in the DQ drive thru on a random Thursday evening. I was in search of my beloved Salted Caramel Mini Blizzard.

While waiting to order, I missed the window. I’ve developed this horrible habit of filling every second of “waiting” time with an activity. I listen to audiobooks on my morning commute. I brainstorm freelance articles while sitting at the doctor’s office, and return emails at the drive thru. It’s a problem.

As I hit send on an email to one of my PR clients, I absentmindedly drove past the ordering panel. The car behind me immediately filled in the space. So, much to my chagrin and the confusion of the DQ employee, I drove past the pick up window, parked, and went inside to order.

He caught my eye entering from the side door.

“Hey, he’s kinda cute,” I thought as he crossed the threshold. As he looked up and made eye contact, smiling broadly, I realized it was R. – a guy I’d dated very briefly about three years ago.

Yeah, I already dated you, I grumbled inside my head as I notice the two kids dangling about him.

“Hey,” he replied seeming generally okay with the run in. I’d barely gotten to know him but R. always seemed like a go-with-the-flow kinda guy. I couldn’t imagine him indulging in unnecessary drama over a couple of dates. We exchanged pleasantries and he introduced me to his minions.

“This is my step son and this is my daughter,” he explained as the four-year-old cutie draped around his neck gave me the stink eye. The stepson chatted away curious about every little thing happening around him. The daughter … maybe hungry … maybe sleepy … maybe just not liking the sight of me … threw me some serious shade. That’s when I noticed the same pretty blue eyes I’d first noticed the one time I’d meet her mom – the one he’d married over a year after he stopped calling.

I didn’t see her anywhere around and imagined her waiting outside in the their air conditioned minivan – scribbling out a grocery list or posting a photo from the Little League game they’d just left.

My sugar fix in hand, I said goodbye to R. and offered a kid-sized wave to the little ones.

Hmmmm. If we’d continued to date, she wouldn’t exist. That’s weird and kind of mean, I thought … instantly admonishing myself.

But that’s a road neither R. nor I would have been interested in taking. I’m way too non-traditional for his tastes. Too many feminist views … too independent … too strong willed … in general, just way too much. Hey, it happens.

He’d found exactly what he’d been looking for: the wifey, two kids, the mini van, baseball practice, and Saturday afternoon trips to the park. It fit him like a glove and I felt genuinely happy for him.

But the whole gloriously serendipitous run in did get me thinking about the paths not taken and unanswered romantic prayers.

I’d never prayed for R. exactly. It never went than far. But I have spent a large portion of my life praying for my other half, my partner in crime, the person who gets me without me having to explain, the heart that matches my own.

Sure, I’m feminist AF but I also crave someone with whom to enjoy my life … so sue me.

I’m never getting married … I don’t need a man … single for life. These mantras are fine if they’re actually authentic but I suspect these “ladies doth protest too much.” Pushing away love because you don’t think you can have it is just a clever form of cowardice. There’s nothing empowering about pretending not want something you actually crave.

But I understand the urge. When love burns you too many times, it’s sometimes easier to just dismiss it all as an unattainable fairytale and move on. It nearly happened to me.

The Birth of Good Luck Tab

Do you remember the movie Good Luck Chuck? It’s a story of a guy – cursed since childhood – who stands by helplessly as the women he dates marry the very next guy. He’s the guy you date right before you meet the one. I’m the female version of that story. I’m Good Luck Tab. Eight ex-boyfriends married the very next girl … eight! It’s a fact that used to torture me.

Why not me? I’d whine, eyes lifted upward. What’s wrong with me? I nibbled around the edges of developing a complex.

And then one day, if by divine intervention, I wandered across an article describing the bones of a true soulmate connection: 1) chemistry, 2) sexual pleasure, 3) loyalty, and finally, 4) deep commitment. It resonated.

Chemistry felt like a no brainer. I could never be interested in someone without that spark. I need butterflies. I don’t believe in love at first sight but I do believe in the click … the click is huge.

Sexual pleasure … we’ll here’s where I’m gonna probably be a little too honest. I’m not interested in a one-sided sexual relationship … one where he gets his happy ending and I’m left frustrated. Nope, that’s not for me. All sex is good sex (within reason) but I need a man with some serious game.

Loyalty … I see nothing wrong with dating multiple people if everyone involved is on the same page but once one half of a dating couple falls in love, all bets are off. In my opinion, true love naturally leads to loyalty. You shouldn’t have to ask for it and if it’s not offered (without nagging), he doesn’t love you.

Deep commitment … this is where it usually fell apart for one or both of us. I’d be lying if I said the fault wasn’t often mine. I’ve been engaged once and discussed it with two other men yet I’m still single. You do the math.

Regardless, that Aha! Moment reframed the whole thing for me. As I strolled down my romantic Memory Lane, I realized that no guy I’d ever dated managed all four. If I needed those four things to be happy, and no ex-boyfriend ever met the criteria, then wasn’t I exactly where I was supposed to be?

Could it be that what I’d viewed as a personal failure was just God’s way of saving me from a not-quite-right relationship – one that could have lived off infatuation and the inertia of an engagement, a wedding, and then kids but would have ultimately not been the right choice.

That awareness lifted my chin and resuscitated my swagger.

Since then, I’ve come to believe that God answers our romantic prayers in three ways: 1) yes, 2) yes, but not yet, or 3) no, but only because I’ve got something better for you in mind. My answer usually comes in the form of number three. Or at least it use to before I got laser focused on what I wanted from a relationship.

Now, I don’t attach my romantic hopes onto any one person. When someone shows up that I spark with, I flirt. I go out on dates. I remain open to the possibilities. But the minute one of my four deal breakers rears it’s head, I press pause until I figure it out. I discuss it openly and honestly. I give him time to get on the same page. But if that doesn’t happen, I can let it go without all the drama. I know my “something better” is right down the road.

Approaching it like that … allowing the Universe to show me instead of trying to force a round peg into a square hole … it makes the whole thing less messy and more, well … fun.

Your job is not to change any man. Instead, you’re job is to listen to your authentic, best self and discover your own deal breakers. Put your order out there and then relax and let the Universe do the heavy lifting. It works. I promise.

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