Monday, March 15, 2010

I'll Call In Sick Too

Posted By on 03.15.10 at 03:04 PM

Dating co-workers. Some business admin classes actually address this as one of the worst things you can do but what do they know, right? It's pretty common no matter what corporate policy states. You are with these people day in and day out so over time you develop a relationship on some scale. Taking it to a dating level is a huge gamble although it may not seem that way at first. You know the person from an environment where structure is in place, people are fulfilling roles, and there is a common goal to be reached but how much do you actually know or want to know about the person outside of the work schedule? This could lead to a lot of role conflict. You both arrived at the same place and took different paths so there are things to talk about and there is common ground which can either stay stable and become more solid or you can kiss that ground goodbye and watch it all turn to dust. No matter how things work out, hopefully for the better, you are still going to have to see that person on Monday and personal feelings need to be checked at the door for your sake and for the sake of your co-workers, which is not always the easiest thing to do. There may be some talk about it at the water cooler and not only does the person you are seeing know about the details and personal things that happen off the clock, now co-workers may be aware. Do they really care? No, probably not. Everyone has a life but as humans we can't get enough gossip, especially on those slow Wednesdays and Thursdays. Easiest way to avoid that is just let people know. Being open eliminates a lot of theories and speculation and more importantly, and this policy applies to all relationships, you do not want to lie to anyone, co-workers included. It can really put trust (among a host of other things) to the test. Trust is key in any kind of relationship. It is also something that takes time to establish and in a world of zero ping internet connections and fast food, people can unknowingly apply that sense of instant gratification to a relationship. See what I mean by a gamble? You are allowing worlds to collide. When the personal feelings cross over into the work world, you may be a wreck. Both parties need to be very understanding (play it as cool as possible) and adult (yay! maturity and responsibility) about everything because whether you care or not, co-workers are there. From time to time relationships bring out the child in all of us which causes the inevitable freak out. You throw yourself out there, lay all cards on the table, and wait for a response. We have all done it at one point or another and the reasons could be anything from that last desperate attempt to have the person stay with you (childish) to the simple fact that you know and trust that person so they give you or you give something that carries the message that although this is not working out, we should still be something (more mature). It is something brought out by rejection and people tend to not take things like that too lightly. Then after all the kicking and screaming, you will meet again on Monday morning. Friends have told me their experiences with dating co-workers and there are tales of janitor closet make-outs, lunch room bickering, and in my own personal experience, a discovery that a co-worker may have an Oedipus Complex. That discovery was made when I worked in a very small office while I was in college. A co-worker was dating a boss, she (the boss) was older and he (the employee) was younger. Everyone knew about them and yes, speculation and conversation about those two by the vending machine was pretty common. Then one day he called her 'mom' casually and completely on accident. I still get chills thinking about those two starring at each other after his slip and I am thinking that particular story may be better suited for Savage Love. I also have some stories about co-workers who are now happily married and still work together. It's anyone's game. I have had relationships with co-workers but those stories seem a bit dull (even being as open as I am about things) compared to this one...

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Looks Like You Spilled Some of that Company Ink

One day at work a recently employed co-worker was letting people in the office know he had a gig at a bar. Not thinking I would be the only of my co-workers to show up and support his band, I went to the bar alone. Not only was i the only one there but i was alone in a crowded bar on derby girl night. I wanted to leave but he had only been recently employed at our office and was having a hard time making friends, so I felt guilty about leaving...

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Thursday, March 4, 2010

I Used to Pass Him in the Halls

Posted By on 03.04.10 at 11:03 AM

The story posted below is really good. I read it Sunday and have re-read a few more times this week. It really made me think of a lot things which kind of made this part difficult. I was thinking of writing a blog about why you should wait to show your boyfriend or girlfriend your creative side because sometimes art needs explanation. It's a representation of the person or at least an aspect of the person so it's a good idea to wait, but I can't really get my mind off of how nice it is outside. The sun is finally out and I never thought I would be this happy about a forty-five degree day. This winter was pretty rough (aren't they all) but not in the sub-zero, three feet of snow sort of way. It was like the same day for 2 months straight: snow on the ground, upper 20's, gray and dull. It was like the movie Groundhog Day but with less laughs and Tom Skilling was delivering the weather reports, not Bill Murray. Finally a break in the pattern and everything feels a lot better. I think we can apply that to relationships: break in the pattern, things are in perspective and feelings start to settle. Now this part is tricky. I could write something about how when you are in a relationship during winter it's really nice to stay in with someone and then spring finally arrives and everyone in the city wakes up and can't wait to go outside. Then I would go on about how if you are waking up with someone you start to think about if you really want to go outside and hold hands or maybe just not go out at all. Then there is a chance that you wake up and you have this impulse to run outside alone in hopes that there will be a new hand to hold. We could go that direction and you would have to continue reading my honest (and completely cheesy) thoughts on love and relationships. I suppose I could go back and talk about my own shyness when it comes to asking a girl to read something I've written or come see me play drums or even look at a comic strip I drew while I was on the bus, but I really can't seem to get my mind off of how nice the weekend will be and how I took great pleasure in hanging up my winter coat and shoving it to the back of my closet last night. I wanted to be a meteorologist when I was a kid. I always called him 'the weather guy' and then my parents told me meteorologist is the correct term which made me excited because I really liked chemical sets and science. I was under the impression that any word with the suffix logist meant there will be an underground mad laboratory involved. Then when I was 12 I decided that I did not want to be the weather guy. I was in Virginia Beach and the guy on the news was not the type of guy I wanted to be. Long story short, I broke up with weather reports. We are still on good terms but obviously I chose a different profession, although it just hit me that the job title 'whether' guy is pretty awesome. As I think back to my past relationship with the part of the news I dread watching during January and February, I give you a Heartbroker's weather report:

Could be some rain on Sunday but for the most part we are looking at clear skies and sunshine with a chance of heartbreak. Should be a pretty good weekend.

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My unassuming tale of dating disaster can be summed up like this:

The Starving Artist….Normally, I can appreciate the creative type, but I should have known something was up when I stepped into his apartment for the first time, and out of the corner of my eye, I spotted him casually swat at millipede that was crawling along the ceiling with a rolled up copy of Art in America. Hmmmm….he showed me his original, over-the-couch, bigger than life oil painting…a self-portrait! Not bad, but I don’t really care much for portraits of guys wearing astronaut helmets on the streets of Chicago. The astronaut helmet in his self-portrait was round and it had big glassy eyeball coverings that magnified the eyes.

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Reduced to Fractions

Posted By on 02.25.10 at 04:34 PM

Dating under false pretense can be pretty disastrous. You go into a relationship with an open-mind but preconceived notions surface and inch by inch the mind starts to close as you zero in on the person. It can leave you jumping to conclusions, associating the person with a past failure(s), wondering what's in store and how long the trip will last. Then there is that non-existent perfect person that has been created and modified over the years. At some point that imaginary person is just supposed to appear. You know, the one that's made up of all the awesome and great things that you remember from past relationships. The person is pretty wonderful but they are just a dream. I suppose I could play Frankenstein and create my very own 'Adam of Labors' but Chicago zoning restrictions and building permits kind of prevent me from building a laboratory on a hill. Sans the facility, I am left with this person being just another figment of my imagination. She would be perfect though. We would have enough in common to keep it going, enough differences to keep it interesting, stolen kisses to keep it romantic and communication would rely heavily on inside jokes. Last summer one of my best friends was in town for Pitchfork. At the time he was going through a pretty messy break-up but most of what he had told me about it was done by phone or through emails so I was not entirely aware of all the details. After the last of the bands that Friday we left Union Park and bar hopped throughout West Town, finding ourselves back at my apartment drinking a few more and listening to music. Around 2:30 or so he starts giving me full details and the harshness of what happened with his last girlfriend. Even at that hour and after countless High-Life's it was pretty hard to choke down what he was telling me. It was like I was hearing about her for the first time and from what I could remember, this wasn't the girl that I used to skateboard around Brooklyn with. I was in one of those situations where you feel there is no right answer but you need to say something: assure him that there are way better out there and that although it sucks right now you will make it out alive and much better than you were before meeting her? Yeah, I can't really say those things without a hint of doubt but hopefully it will be the case. As the night (or morning) progressed and the beeramid grew larger, we somehow decided to construct ideal girls. It started general enough, hair/ eye color, height, her favorite food, favorite season, etc., but then it started to become very specific. We started weeding out all of the worst parts about relationships and the things that happened with ex's that seem so easily fixable looking back. We did take precaution while building our imaginary relationships so that the things that caused the messy break-ups and all the headaches would not factor in and be an issue our imaginary girls. All said and done we decided that yes, we would both in fact like to date girls that wear sweaters which is when I realized that we managed to, in the course of 2 hours, come full circle and end the discussion just as general as we started. A girl that wears a sweater? How am I supposed to find a girl like that? Oh yeah, it's those other elements and details that we pieced together; those microscopic, minuscule parts that count. All the pop-culture, personal preferences, things she won't like about me, things I won't like about her details. That is what I am supposed to be looking for and if all of those are wrapped and underneath a really cute autumn sweater, well then I guess I am really lucky. Voodoo dolls and far more attractive Frankenstein creations aside, I am left looking beyond the clothing, trying to find that living sweater knitted and stitched together with dreams of bubblegum make-outs and late night Chinese food. Much like the woman in this story, I fall for those things on the surface because there is so much fantasy keeping those generalizations that reduce my speech and blow my mind alive and in plain sight...

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I’m a sucker for English accents. I blame Jane Austen and Alan Rickman. So when an Englishman came up to me at an art gallery and asked me out, I accepted. He was Oxford educated, a blue jean designer, and had moved to the city only a week ago. We agreed to meet at a tapas bar in his neighborhood. He was well versed in wines, literature, and had traveled the world. The conversation was charming, the dinner was delicious and the wine was quickly disappearing. He suggested we go back to his place. I was curious and needed some time to sober up before my long drive home so I accepted his invitation.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Don't Baby, Baby

Posted By on 02.17.10 at 04:32 PM

Answering for someone has always struck me as a little strange. Even when I am certain I know exactly what my date wants, I still think it is better to wait for her before making a choice. We're at dinner, she leaves to use her phone, the waiter asks what we would like to drink, and I am now at the table just looking at him like this drink thing he is talking about is some kind of radical new concept so we wind up in a staring contest which ends when one of us says 'a few more minutes...' Rushing and making choices for the other person seems pretty risky and can be extremely risky early on. It's a first date and only one of the two people on the date is making all decisions. On the one hand, yes, you can put your brain in a jar and just kind of flow along with things and it may work out. One the other, you are now at a restaurant you hate, eating food you are allergic to, and after dinner you get to go bar hopping with your date's friends in the Viagra Triangle. The other downside is the person you are with never really gets to know you and even worse, the person is given the wrong impression you: they think you like everything they like. I would never want to date myself. That relationship would last maybe a month (generous) before I dumped myself. People are allowed to make their own decisions and these choices are what make them who they are. Whether you like them or not is a decision that you have to make which is always pretty fun. What isn't fun is making someone feel like they are in a corner or being in a corner yourself. You're enjoying company not seeing what kind of interesting and bad reactions you can pull from someone. Those are things you really want to avoid. Good rule is although dating is an experiment, you are not in a lab trying to make something explode. (A date in a science lab might be fun now that I think about it.) You probably don't want to rearrange your life for someone or ask them to do the same. Compromise and space in a relationship are good and can go a long way. You can actually step back and see the person and then you get to do the decision making part that I mentioned earlier. The two in this story didn't even get to the main course let alone get to know too much about each other but what she did learn was all she really needed...

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A Story About Bad Moves:

When I was younger, every time I would whine for something or huffed and puffed until I thought my mother would give in, she would always look at me and say, “Use your words.” So, from that day forward, I think it’s safe to say, that whenever I wanted something I would just ask for it, but I always made sure to say 'please' and 'thank you' as well because my mom also said, “You catch more bees with honey." Let’s be honest, if you know me, I like to get my way so that lesson has definitely stuck with me.

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

I Think About You During Commercials

Posted By on 02.14.10 at 02:49 PM

Everyone has a story about the one that got away. It could be anyone from that person who sat in front of you in study hall to a person that came into your life unexpectedly and gave you that buzzy feeling, like when you mix Pop Rocks and soda but this time the candy bomb was detonated a little closer to the heart. They came into your life at a time when you needed them and as quickly as they appeared they left, but only in the physical sense because you can't really help wondering every so often what they are up to and how they are now. In some cases you hope for the best and in others you can't imagine a more worse case scenario. You do everything you can to keep your mind off of the person but they just will not leave your head. It does get easier as time allows distance to interfere and push the person further and further to the back of your brain. Maybe they had to move on, maybe they just had to move, or maybe it was just what was best for them at that particular moment. The emotional and mental part of it eventually catches up with the physical distance and those weeks where life seems like a collection of Del Shannon songs start to become less and less. Still, it's really hard not to think about what could have been without all the variables. Sometimes you get that second chance and despite the awkwardness of the moment, the game of catch-up begins. Assumptions are transformed into surprises and facts, the memories that kept that person on the brain for so long either become instantly disposed of or they find a place to settle somewhere in your internal hard drive. And sometimes it happens like this...

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A Story About that Second Encounter:

Prom, 1996, at the elegant Palmer House turned out to be a combination of foolishness and clownification. You know it's a bad date when he humps everyone on the dance floor, brags about how awesome and successful he is, doesn't foot the bill for anything and then lunges at you with delusional ecstasy at the end of the night. I spent most of the date staring at him in disbelief as he flirted with every girl, which surprisingly was doable...

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Get Into The Groove!

Posted By on 02.09.10 at 03:22 PM

How much and what did I give? After a break-up people start having realizations about what they took from or got out of a relationship. Did I give too little? Too much? And, more importantly, why is this keeping me up at night? Either way, thinking starts and moments are relived. It's a weird struggle for balance. It's over, it's time to move on and figure out how far back to go and where to start rebuilding. Music sets my mind in motion and conjures up the ghosts of relationships past. One song will have me remembering a time when a girl said one thing, or maybe I said something, and another song will remind me about the night she decided to give me her checklist of ways I could improve myself. All and all, good and bad, I have to put those songs in the back of my mind and get them off my iPod as soon as possible. Deleting the songs from the iPod is the easy part. If we could delete everything from the relationship just as easy then the moving on part would be a lot simpler. I don't think Apple has made an application for this kind of thing (yet) so all there is to do is pick up the pieces and decide which records and cds are going to be traded in next weekend at Reckless. Unfortunately, I can't bring myself to part with a lot of music so the albums just wind up being put at the end of the shelf. The only I can hope is that enough time has passed before the day comes when I wake up, reach for something to listen to and bam! There it is! Staring right at me is the relationship in a plastic case with catchy artwork and even catchier hooks. It always catches me off guard. The trick is figuring out how the song makes me feel now. I heard a guy at a bar once say "time wounds all heals." I can't say I agree with that, the order is all out of whack. I can agree with the author of this story who contracted a love for Madonna and a lifelong obsession which is much better that contracting a case of chlamydia....

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A Story About Gaining Something That Lasts a Lifetime (not herpes):

All I've gained from relationships are broken hearts, a Sesame Street Learning About Numbers video, and an obsession with Madonna. That last one is really tough, I never wanted that to happen. I never wanted to be one of those gay men, one of those flamboyant guys that obsess over Streisand and Cher. Blame Brian. Like a case of oozing herpes my love for Madonna was contracted from an awry three month relationship and will never be cured.

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Friday, February 5, 2010

If The Government Could Read My Mind

Posted By on 02.05.10 at 03:25 PM

Breaking the ice and avoiding awkward pauses is not always the easiest when it comes to dating. Both people feel nervous and anxious with minds going in any number of directions. Everyone has been told to play it cool but that phrase becomes so relevant when the moment is there and it's time to say something. Slurry speech and words just fall. Should I say something I am interested in? (Wait, I think the other person will talk. I will listen to what they say and then just go with it.) There is a lot riding on first contact and the longer a person waits, the more build up. Given the circumstances, I will jump right in and start a conversation that is pretty open-ended about something that is slightly of interest to me but not a real make or break point. If the person doesn't like it then they can tell me and possibly debate, or maybe they will like it and we can take it from there. Point being, something is established and nerves and tension are forgotten. Thinking once again becomes clear. One way to make sure the other person's mind is definitely not going to be clear and nerves will be amped up a few notches is to bring up your conspiracy theories...

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A Story About What You May Not Want to Bring Up on the First Date:

I was doing the online dating thing and wound up chatting with this guy. He seemed the usual: nice, funny, smart. We agreed to meet at Heaven on Seven on Clark. XRT was there and this guy had a man-crush on Lin Brehmer. I had recently moved to Chicago and didn't know who Lin Brehmer was yet, but I am game for things. Well, the place was packed and we had to wait for an hour for a table. The conversation was stilted because of the atmosphere and because we didn't know each other. When we were finally seated it was at one of those long tables with strangers seated intimately on either side of us. He orders the spiciest thing on the menu. I lamely ask, "So you like spicy food?" He smiles at me in a way I now recognize as teetering on the brink of insanity.

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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Rules!? Move-in On The Second Date!

Posted By on 02.04.10 at 10:48 AM

Sometimes I feel that maybe I move a little too fast when it comes to relationships. I can't be entirely certain about which is the first, second and third date because most of the time they all just kind of blend together. The only thing I can hope for is that my date and I are staying on the same page. If that can be accomplished, I can forget about the number of dates and we can move forward even though I will undoubtedly think to myself on occasion that maybe I should not have mentioned one thing and certainly should have said another. Then again, what fun is a relationship without throwing caution to the wind, even if only for a minute. Regardless of the second guessing, the should-have-done-wish-I-would-have-done thinking countered by moments where all thinking stops and bold moves are made, the guy in this particular story definitely has me beat when it comes to bold moves and moving a bit too fast...

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A Story About Being Too Fast and Too Bold:

Women’s magazines and advice columns are constantly telling us that when it comes to dating, it is best to stay aloof and make sure that you don’t come across too strong to the opposite sex. I briefly worked for a matchmaking company and we would advise the women that they shouldn’t commit these top three, cardinal first-date sins: 1) Let the conversation be double-sided and do not dominate; 2) never bring up your past relationships because men are afraid of baggage; and 3) under no circumstances do you ever bring up future talk. Simple enough, right?

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