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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Empty Bottles, Broken Hearts

Posted By on 03.27.10 at 05:47 PM

Drinking to ease nerves on a first date. It's a good idea in theory and yes, if a stiff drink or two will take the edge off and make you less of a spaz then by all means. Just remember you are on a first date and not spring break. As far as boozing and relationships, I generally save my boatless booze cruise until the break-up. Break-ups suck. I don't know how else to really state it. They just plain suck. You were with someone yesterday and now they are gone and all you can do is try to remember how you were before you let the other person effect your life. You will be alright and 30 days from now you may not even remember their name. Of course 3 days from the break-up that person is still hanging around. Everywhere you turn there are constant reminders. In time your home, record collection, clothes, television schedule, and brain will be cleansed and the spirit of the last relationship will have vanished. How to cleanse, though... A long time ago I came up with a 3 point system that seems to work well. It takes 3 nights and when those nights occur are up to the person given time is a big part of the recovery and people move at their own pace with these kinds of things. I like to stretch my 3 nights out over three weeks. Alright, here is my system for exercising the demons of girlfriends past.

Night 1.
This night usually happens on the first Friday after the news has sunken in, all the disbelief is gone and explanations have been given to friends.
Step 1. Make a new playlist containing a lot of songs from the Lookout! Records catalog, years 90-2002. Add in a Muffs album or two, some New Order, a lot of Jawbreaker, some Zombies songs and two Elvis Costello albums.
Step 2. Get a 30 pack of High Life, clear my schedule and sacrifice a Friday night. Also, have a bottle of Jameson around for a pull or two when a song comes on that hits a nerve.
Step 3. Press play and get comfortable on the couch. Turn the tv on and keep it on mute. The nice thing is no matter what season the break-up occurs, there is always a Blackhawks, Cubs, Sox, or Bulls game on so if getting lost in the music takes a few songs, I can keep my mind on the game.
Step 4. Get to work on that 30 pack.
Step 5. This is the last and perhaps most crucial step. So the playlist is about at the end and although I told everyone I was going to drink a 30 pack, really I can only get through maybe 6 or so but in an effort to wake up with a smile on my face, get a slice of pizza and call it a night.

So the first night is basically just drinking and thinking. I do this time warp with music. At the beginning of each song there are thoughts of her but by the end I have pushed her out of the song and reclaimed it for myself. My brain is now chalk full of power chords and lessons learned from the masters of broken hearts. Saturday starts to feel pretty good once again.

Night 2.
This is the following weekend and again, giving up a Friday night and explaining to friends and my roommate that I cannot hang out but assure them in about a week or two I will be right back up to par.
Step 1. Shower and get dressed.
Step 2. Grab the Ashland bus and take a ride to Lakeview.
Step 3. Figure out which of my regular hole in the wall bars is the least crowded. Settle on one and claim a spot at the bar.
Step 4. Bully the jukebox. Load it full of anything and everything. Every album should get at least one song played.
Step 5. The final step. Return to my seat and start setting'em up and knocking'em down. Add some simple chit chat with those around me and the bartender.

This night is like my reintroduction to society. I am hanging out, talking to some people, maybe grabbing some advice from the bartender and if all goes well, make a new friend or two and wind up singing karaoke at Hidden Cove or playing arcade bowling at Carol's until well into Saturday morning.

Night 3.
The last of the boatless booze cruise nights. This night is more about rebirth than anything else. It has been three weeks and it is time to state that I am fine and at the end of the road with my recovery.
Step 1. Stock the bar, stock the fridge, and make a new playlist but this time just make it rock. No songs about how relationships suck and how I wish I could've or maybe I should've. The night for those songs was 2 weeks ago and I am not living in the past although and old stuff I haven't listened to in a while will undoubtedly be on heavy rotation.
Step 2. Grab my phone and call up friends.
Step 3. Tell them to come over and bring friends
Step 4. Hit play the play button and turn the music up.
Step 5. Again, the final step. Open the door, let them in and proceed to party.

Keep in mind this is not a pity party or any kind of victory party. I am now again celebrating my re-introduction to the single world and the mingling and the catching up reminds me that while I was set adrift momentarily by my last girlfriend, I am now back on land and getting ideas on how to move forward on my terms. Now, I am not recommending anyone go on a 3 day bender or drink themselves stupid. Don't use booze as a crutch and trade the person you became dependent on with alcohol because that my friend will get you no where. In the days between the Fridays I find myself working, cleaning, reading, writing, etc. to clear my mind so that by the time the weekend rolls around I am ready to relax and give all aspects of the person and relationship a good think. The key with all of it is find something that works for you like music and High Life seem to work for me. There is one final step: 30 days later take a look back and see the changes. The result is pleasantly surprising and perspective almost becomes intoxicating. I just wish I could have gotten to the guy in this story before his first date and told him to maybe save the passing out in the bathroom until after she breaks your heart...

More dating stories posted weekly. Click here to submit yours!

I find you intoxicating. Wait, I mean intoxicated

I made the initial contact. Of course he said he was just above six feet tall and worked out 3 or 4 times a week, loved Mexican food and Jazz music, had salt and pepper hair and wanted someone that was real risk taker. I suggested that we meet at a popular Mexican restaurant for a late lunch. I was nervous and excited because he sounded so perfect in the ad and over the phone. Well, this was a real lesson for me.

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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.

More dating stories posted weekly. Click here to submit yours!

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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Performing Arts
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June 08
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April 19

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