Thursday, November 17, 2011

DATE# 24: And then again.. if not now, when?

Our first date was just drinks so there was no way to know what our second date would be. I didn't even expect to go out again for a month but he had texted me

I was having one of those weekends (like every weekend) where I tried to cram too much in too short a time. We tried to schedule some time to meet up but I had to keep pushing it back and I figured we'd just cancel and reschedule. But he said he'd meet me anywhere and have a lousy Sunday I looked forward to a late afternoon drink.

We met up at Grey Dogs in Union Square, he was late because he decided to stop at a nearby store and by some ski caps. He made a point right off the bat to ask my opinion and I scoffed that dont wear clothes with brand names tattooed across them. This started a grand debate about brand names in society, merchandizing and why people buy into commercialism... why I will never own a Louie and why he isn't afraid to shell out for a Gucci belt if he really wants one. After over an hour of friendly debating we waltzed over to Best Buy to look at TVs, I need one, he needs one and what better second date activity than discussing personal expenditures...

Of course we couldn't get a damn sales rep to answer any of our questions so after wandering around trying to compare TVs ourselves and discovering an alarmingly similar taste in movies while visiting the DVD/Blu-ray aisles, we decided to head back to Brooklyn.

He'd actually drove in Manhattan, he's one of the few that owns a car in the city, and so we spent another 45 minutes stuck in NYC traffic trying to drive the 2 miles to my neighborhood. He was supposed to meet some friends at 8 but he parked near me at a quarter to and decided we should do dinner instead. He's a vegetarian and you'd think that would be easy to find in Williamsburg but apparently the Roebling Tea Room doesn't feel they need to cater to the hoods' veggies. We'd already sat down when we discovered the menu had limited/no options but he refused to leave. We did have a great table.

We ordered salad and mac' and cheese. Halfway through dinner I had to step out and receive some packages for work (even on a Sunday I rarely seem to have time off to date). The mac'and cheese was mediocre but we shared some good work horror stories, some personal revelations and the meal took a dark turn when he said he wasn't a traveler. I thought about getting up and leaving right then - how could I date someone who wasn't dying to run away to some exotic locale with me at a moment's notice!? Just kidding - well not about the him not loving travel part - but I think that's a trait to be worked on...

It was almost 11 on a school night when we left the restaurant and he walked me home around the block. I actually really enjoyed myself and kind of didn't want the date to end, so, we walked slow. When he dropped my at my door, we kind of stood there a moment. He mentioned something about seeing a the new Cronenberg next week and I said I couldn't wait! But he didn't start to leave...I thought for sure, before I put my keys in the door, he would lean in and kiss me. He didn't. Instead, with my arms full of office paperwork, I stepped towards him and gave him an awkward hug.

He started to walk away and I hung by my front door which is situated in such a way that I couldn't watch him walk down the street. I suddenly didn't want to end our night this way.
"Wait a second!" I shouted out and turned out my door and headed towards him down the street - he'd just about reached the cross walk when he turned back to me.
"Wha-?" he started to ask. I walked right up to him and grabbed him by the shirt, stood up on my tip-toes, and well, planted one right on his lips. Dammit, I wanted a good night kiss and I just stole one right there out in the wide open streets of Williamsburg.

And then I turned around, without looking up at him or back at him, and I walked to my apartment. I heard him say, "Ok. Goodnight!" just as I was putting the key in my door. I opened it, walked into the hall, and sighed a sigh of relief.

I think I like this boy.

Friday, November 11, 2011

"Nevermind, I'll Find Someone Like You", Or Hopefully I Won't....

Adele is the master of emotive singing, she's got the most perfect voice to listen to when you want to bring yourself down or lift yourself up... but, she's so damn indecisive. She doesn't know if she wants to be loved, be just a lover, quit her man or take him back. She can't walk away, but she can't stay and she doesn't even know if she's happy or sad. As much as I'm obsessed with her music and it's graceful ability to make me feel things... I'm so thankful I don't have her love life!

I've recently had a lot of time to listen to her song "Someone Like You" on repeat in my pimpin' minivan while commuting back and forth to work upstate. And the more I listen to it, the more I love it and yet the more I think I actually DON'T want "Someone Like You", obviously referring to any and all of my exes.

As she mentions in the song, I too have heard that my exes have settled down, that they're happy now, married, all their dreams come true... Sure, I wondered once upon a time what it would be like to run into them again years later - would I really be happy for them? Would I wonder if they ever regretted things didn't work out between us - would they still think of me? Would they wonder if I was happy now? Do I even really care if they are happy now? Am I still bitter it didn't work out... was I ever? Nowadays, I can't remember.

All I can think is how THANKFUL I am it didn't work out between us and then I add to that... "I hope I NEVER find someone like you", what would be the point? Obviously if it didn't work out then I need someone who is NOT like you (him). I need someone who is different. I need someone who doesn't remind me of how an Ex ran his hand through his/my hair, or how he cut a steak or laughed at my bad jokes. I need someone with whom I can write new stories and not be reminded of old ones. Sure, Adele is right that it's 'bittersweet' to say goodbye to the past but it is so necessary, so freeing. What I need is to stop comparing every new guy I meet to one of the skeletons still strung up in my closet.

This should not be a new revelation. It's not really. But it feels good to say it out loud. "Nevermind. I won't find someone like you. I won't waste time wishing you the best. Please forget me I wish I'd said, but I hope you still think of me when my memory of you is dead."

DATE #23: Hipster Accountant

After a quiet summer, well one full of work and no dating, I sort of forgot about my mission. I forgot about forcing myself to date and I've just been enjoying being 28 with no strings attached. And during this time, I barely noticed that someone had taken an interest in me and on the last day of work asked me for my number. Which was kind of stupid because my number was listed on the crew list all summer but he wanted it straight from me, and although that seems stupid, it was totally the right thing to say.

That was back in August and I didn't hear from him for a month which is more than enough time to forget someone or just vaguely remember them so their eventual phone call is a surprise. Then there was almost two months of trying to get together but my priorities changed, well, they didn't actually change - the dating thing was never a priority as we previously established - but other elements of my life were taking precedence so how could I possibly make time for this guy?

And what guy keeps trying to court a girl for two months who says she's interested yet can't make time for a coffee on a Sunday afternoon? I think we scheduled outings and canceled 5 times before Halloween and I suddenly wondered where the summer went? How was it Halloween? Why the heck was this guy still trying to see me? I could hardly remember his face.

We finally did go out, that Halloween night, after along day of work I trekked to a far part of Brooklyn and we met for drinks. He picked it, it was a great choice - quiet but not empty, good wine list and NO costumed ghouls. We sat at the bar and I looked at him thinking, really?

He's kind of a "Yo" boy, in stereotype. He wears his pants Justin Beiber low, his shirts are all striped and slightly too big, his hat is slightly to the side. Well, maybe he wasn't wearing a hat this night but if he had been... He says "Yo" alot, and "boy" and "you know" and ends his -ing's with -in'. But he's smart in an unexpected way. He runs his own business on the side of our business and, well, so do I - yet another thing in common that doesn't seem right. He thinks I'm funny, and charming and after two+ hours of talking on a school night, he walked me to the train and immediately asked when he could see me again.

The weirdest thing about this night was how normal it was, I guess it helped we already knew each other a little bit so there was no need for the "so, what do you do?" "where are you from?" questions. There was no pressure, no expectations, just good clean conversation and lots of laughs. Why wouldn't I see this guy again?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

28 is Great, ?

It feels so good to have made it to 28, I can almost see my emo-18-year old self cheering "Wahoo! We're making it!" from the sidelines of some depressing ball game (not that I ever went to any in high school...). It feels like I'm over the hump, out of the seemingly endlessly painful transition period from childhood to adulthood and I couldn't be happier about it. It's not what I pictured of course, I don't live in LA, have loads of money, a husband, a baby, a car, a house, a steady job... so really I don't have anything I imagined I would except maybe, finally, an understanding and an appreciation for not having all the things I thought I would.

Sure, I'm at a constant crossroads... Where am I going to live next? What job will I take? How will I survive as "the single friend" as my friends all get married off? But it all feels like I'm in a good place. Looking back on this year, I realize I've only been on 8 dates and I wonder "what went wrong?" but I should be asking myself, "what went right?"

The fact that another year has passed and I once again have been unable to fulfill my mission of 27 dates (or 28) does not discourage me like I though it might. The truth is, a much as I want to date someone, I really made little effort this past year to make room for someone in my life. It's not like I cleared time in my schedule (even when unemployed) to allow for dating. And if a date offer was inconvenient or uninteresting, I never rushed to reschedule and generally didn't even try. I might have been/said I was mentally prepared to date but physically never put myself out there - it's not like I'm getting dolled up on Friday and Saturday nights hanging out at Bungalow 8 or the Gansevoort Hotel. I'm usually home trying to write witty stuff, producing music videos or catching up on whatever TV shows will still allow you to stream online.

I've been heard saying "I'm trying to date, I'm trying!" but, I probably wasn't, not really anyway. And I'm the kind of person who, if I put my mind to do something - if I really want to do something, I do it 200% and more than likely I can't be stopped. So I guess I should apologize to all of you for not putting my all into dating - maybe it's just not my time, I'm just not ready or maybe I'm just sick of being the one putting myself out there at 50%. Maybe, just maybe, Prince Charming can make an effort to find me, cause right now, I'm busy trying to conquer the world and I just don't want to have to hunt him down in the middle of it.

This doesn't mean I'm going to turn down a date with a half-decent guy if he asks me tomorrow, who knows, my door is open and maybe if I stop pretending like I'm trying so hard, it will happen all on it's own.

(dated August 2011)

Monday, June 27, 2011

unDATE#22: Lumbering Jack

I met this guy a few years ago and everything rational inside of me said "run the other way," maybe that's why I was so drawn to him because it felt so wrong to know and want to be with him. But some magnetic force destined us to be friends. It wasn't just any kind of friendship that developed, it was a tumultuous, stormy friendship with no known direction and no destination but unexpected and exciting and the kind of friendship you don't want to let go you just want to hang on and see where it takes you.

Of course, a girl like me isn't good at holding on and hoping. At a certain point, I need know where my road is going to take me or I need to lead the way. Sometimes even good friendships dissipate if someone won't hold on to it, if one party doesn't make the effort to reach the other, it can all fall apart. And often, it's because we just get older and we get tired of being the only one on the road. I got tired of not knowing what this friendship was or wasn't ever going to be and so I went on hiatus. It took more force than it should have but some friendships run deeper than others and trying to pull the roots out hurt more. This sounds silly, but it's true of any friendship - I've done the same with girlfriends when sometimes you need to sever the bond just to see where it might grow back, if it's even supposed to.

But what do you do when it's a guy, a friend, and you suddenly want it to be more?

You wait, you let them come to you. And maybe, 5 months later, they do.

He harassed me for a week to hang out, like old times, like friends who haven't seen each other in a long while. The tension I felt left in the air couldn't be cut by a thousand knives if they tried.

We were supposed to do lunch, but he was late and I was sick. So we met for a movie. And the moment I saw him, it all came rushing back. That feeling that if he asked me to run away to the Amazon with him tomorrow, to learn a dead language, live in the trees and watch him take pictures of unknown birds, if he asked - I would go. And a feeling like that makes me feel foolish and not like the strong-willed woman that I am, but it also... feels really good. Like he and I, we could do anything.

He bought two tickets to "Tree of Life" and made some stupid jokes with the ticket seller that made me blush. He offered popcorn, which I bought and he thoughtfully asked for a second empty bag so we wouldn't have to share my sick germs, which was kind of sweet. We sat in the theatre, he let me pick the seats, and caught up on 5 months in the 20 minutes before the movie started. We even talked through all the previews. Halfway through the film I was cold, he gave me a shirt and I wondered, while some mundane voice-over was being said in the film, what about him has changed that I can't place?

I used to tell myself, if I'd met this guy three years from now, instead of two years ago, we'd have a different story.

At the end of the movie, which lasted a lifetime, we both walked out with a feeling of "What the F-?" I guess that's Terrence Malick for you... but looking back the film is a perfect surrealist metaphor for relationships with the unknown, just like our friendship. The whole feeling of "this is nice, this feels good, this is beautiful, this is terrible, why are we like this, but I can't stop being" sums up the three hours (so save yourself).

After the movie we went for a quick dinner. I had a soup and he graciously offered to share his pad thai, he even made a plate for me in a sweet, compassionate way. I never would have described him as compassionate - selfish yes, egotistical yes, slyly charming absolutely. But this time I believed his kindness was genuine not sarcastic like mine, and all I could think to say was "damn this bizarre friendship we have..." and he shrugged like he already knew everything I was thinking and feeling as any true friend would, no doubt. He paid before I had time to reach for my wallet.

We walked to the corner for trains in different directions. He offered a cup of coffee so he could charge his phone somewhere but I needed to get out of there before splitting in two. We said our goodbyes 3 feet apart in the center of a busy Manhattan street corner as people walked between us and around.

"So, this was nice"
"We'll get together again soon"
"Yeah, we won't wait so long next time"

Actually, I don't remember what we really said or who said what, I remember a hug and half pat on the back and having to reach over his backpack with my arm trying to pull him towards me. We both walked backwards in opposite directions crossing separate streets. And I hated him again as soon as I turned away. It's a self-preservation thing.

As I walked back to the L, I thought, if this had been a real date, it would have been great. It would have ended in a kiss, I would have gone for that coffee and I wouldn't have walked away so confused. I told myself all the same excuses as to why I couldn't make a move. The only one with any value is that if I lose this friend, no matter how stormy the friendship is, I'd be devastated. There are some friends for whom it's worth fighting, even yourself, to keep, and I can count them with 3 fingers.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

DATE# 21: Beer Bellies and Muffin Tops

***This post is from mid-March 2011. It was never posted previously (after reading you might understand why).

It was a long winter, one of the longest since I can remember maybe because the snow was piled mountains high, I was unemployed for a bunch of it, winter when you're too poor to buy booze is sad, or because March continues to be rainy and gloomy. I don't know, it was long. I spent a lot of it baking, then eating what I baked and not going to the gym since I wasn't working and couldn't afford it... needless to say, I earned some winter weight and deserved to suffer the inability to slip into my skinny jeans, or hardly any jeans for that matter.

Winter also doesn't help motivate one to date, I mean who can stand the thought of sharing chocolate brownies on a date when in a month Spring might come and then a tank top season you can't bare to show your arms? I'm afraid to look across at a guy while I'm wearing my winter layer and imagining how terrified he'd be to see me removed my coat next month when the sun comes out, maybe he's thinking about it already and thus must avert his eyes.... But I've started a crazy job on a ridiculous pilot and know once we start filming next week I may not be able to go on a date again until Summer - that is if I manage to see an treadmill between now and then and shed the winter mashed potatoes...

This particular guy and I were set to see the Edward Hopper exhibit at the Whitney, I've been waiting all winter to see it. Hopper is one of my favorite painters because he's so cinematic... of course I think it's best if I can share the experience with someone and argue about what Hopper was trying to convey in is triangles of yellow street lamp light. I always think museums are a good way to test the waters with someone you don't know because there is no lacking in subject matter - its a good judge a character too, if the Renoir portrait frowns you know it's going to go south or if the date wants to skip the Egyptian exhibit at the Met, or the Planetarium at the Natural History - all important notes to take. But I have made the mistake of waiting around for someone to share an exhibition experience with me and then be disappointed because I realize later I've gone and missed it in all my waiting.

Case in point. I waited. We were supposed to go on a Sunday afternoon pretty much the last weekend of the Hopper exhibit but an hour before our meeting time he texts me and says he's running late - working (on a Sunday?) - and can we just grab coffee. It's almost 2 and we were set to meet at 3, I'd never make it to the exhibition and back in time to meet him at some coffee shop in the East Village by 4. Exhibit blown.

I settle for meeting him for coffee, actually I have a tea, and he orders a muffin. He looks like an ex-high school football player who drank to much in college and now works for a big banking firm but still doesn't know how to tuck in his shirt so the buttons lay straight. I think he lied about the working, he looked hung over. But he wasn't horrible looking and he had shown a common interest in Hopper, of course we didn't get a chance to discuss him. It was apparent in a matter of minutes that we didn't actually have anything else in common to discuss. So we sat and stared into space asking the scripted questions of first dates.

As he explained to me about his worked, my mind wandered to his midsection - it was a long winter for him too I think. And I got a little grossed out at the thought of his huge beer belly rubbing up against my muffin top if we ever got close enough to kiss(no matter how I tried to suck it in, that winter bulge couldn't help spill over the top of my jeans. I think it's important to admit when you have a problem... ). Two beautiful, skinny women walked into the coffee shop while I was talking about the TV pilot I'm working on with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, he didn't care and I watched his eyes follow them across the room. It crossed my mind how the social expectation of body image has polluted me and I suddenly didn't care if this guy thought I was cute or not, it's still winter in my book and at least I'm warm. Then I thought, you know, those girls could use a muffin!

Forty-five minutes went by and it was time for a polite goodbye, no hard feelings about the fact neither one of us was interested in dating, or even looking at, the other. As I stood and shook his hand, lying about going to meet my sister for dinner, I noticed he had only eaten the top of his muffin. He'd left the bottom half still wrapped in its parchment. Normally I hate when people do that, in the office it drives me crazy, but here I couldn't help but see the irony. Some people do like muffin tops and I'm sure there is someone out there who will like mine just fine.

As I walked down the street towards the train, I put my headphones on and music started in the middle of a song, it said "Baby, you're a Firework!"

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Valentines Day.

When I was a kid, I loved Valentines Day. My parents would spoil my siblings and I with little gifts - heart chocolates for breakfast, wind-up heart toys that would race across the kitchen table, hugging teddy bears... Then we'd head off to school and exchange hand made valentines with the kids in our class, alright sometimes they weren't totally hand made, but we'd have to hand write all the names of our classmates and that took time! At school, everyone would always get a valentine, no one left out, no one lonely and often you'd get one from a "secret admirer", in 4th grade mine was from a boy named Jeffrey... but the "holiday" was always so much fun as a kid.

As we get older however, we change and Valentines day expectations change. By the 9th grade it's about who's sending you a secret rose from the student council fundraiser? That is, if you're lucky enough to get one. Maybe you do and you go on a date to see the new Star Wars movie and have your parents drive you to the theater. You hold hands and share a popcorn.

In college, if you're in a couple, it's a fancy dinner and chocolates and lots of grown up smooching. But college is also when being single starts to have... meaning? Significance? Weight? Yeah, the freshman 15 don't necessarily help the single ladies change their status... But if you're lucky, you've still got a few single girlfriends to weep at a Rom Com with, share a bottle of wine to drown your sorrows and load up on cupcakes and chocolates.

As one gets older - as I get older - friends start to couple off in a more permanent way, parents stop sending heart-shaped gifts and Valentines day becomes the Hallmark holiday from hell that I've dreaded as a single lady. There aren't classes to go to where I can be surrounded by people, at work friends have roses from loved ones or talk of their romantic evening plans and Facebook too is full of sharing love for one another. It's gross.

But now, it's been a year since I started this whole mission to, in a sense, truly find a man through relentless dating. To find one with whom I can share this vapid holiday. One who will surprise me with roses, pour me a glass of wine, cook me dinner, rub my hair and tell me everything will be fine... In the twenty dates I've been on though, I realize the thing I like best, the thing I cherish most when on a date with some guy, is me and not any of them. Selfish as that may be, it makes celebrating this Valentines day alone rather refreshing and not so depressing. Sure, I'm still going to watch a sappy flick and stuff my face full of chocolate, but I'll like myself more for it because I've spent a year seeing all the things I don't want and redefining maybe what I do.

So I'll continue, because moving forward and facing challenges is what I do best. We'll see if I can make 8 more dates happen and re-title this blog 28 Dates, before 28. That leaves me a good chunk of 5 months forward and who knows what can happen.... At least hope doesn't die with Valentines day, if nothing else the amount of chocolate I'll be eating alone will raise the serotonin in my brain today and make me feel happy. So to all you out there still hoping - Happy Valentines Day!

Friday, January 7, 2011

DATE#20: The Parisian Financier.

A Financier is a small sweet spongy French pastry that usually has a light and a dark layer. This Parisian Financier was just as spongy and dry as a banker should be.

I fell in love in Paris once, it was the real romantic French movie kind of love; the kind you read about in books. And when I left it, I knew it would never happen again and over time I feel ok about that. However, that doesn’t mean that my French family will ever stop trying to hook me up with a French man (though that love was an Italian…) just so they can finally call me one of their own (that and the plus of an EU passport).

I go to Paris once a year to visit my grandparents and the first question out of every relative’s mouth is: “When are you going to get married?” My answer is always “Why rush?” Which they find ironic since the American sentimentality is rush, rush, rush… And of course now that the last of my generation of cousins is getting married, it leaves me as the next youngest left in line for the Huppa.

So the last week of 2010, my Aunt arranged a little dinner to introduce me to some nice young French people and more specifically the son of one of her friends. No matter that he is younger (sure not by much though you’d be surprised at the difference 2 years makes sometimes), he works in Finance and is not ugly (fine by French standards) and drives a motorcycle – oh! and wants to live in America – what’s not to like? I figure it can’t hurt to see a Frenchman, just for the fun of it, for one night in Paris. Plus, Paris is uber expensive right now that the dollar is so low in comparison with the euro, I’ve got no problem letting him pay! Thus, when he called just after the New Year, I said, “Mais! Bien Sure!”

He said he was going to show me the “Petit coins inconnue de Paris” (the little unknown corners of Paris), but then he set a rendezvous at the Arch d’Triomphe at the top of the Champs Elysees– the most tourist spot in Paris besides the Eiffel Tower. It was a little after 6pm on Sunday, January 2nd 2011.

We met on the corner, he carried two motorcycle helmets and was severely under-dressed for the freezing temperatures. I thought right off the bat we were going to take a ride but he hadn't really made a plan. We walked along the Champs Elysees while he contemplated our evening, I did my best to make polite small talk, he mostly wanted to know about how awesome it is to live in New York. After about 45 minutes of wandering in the cold he decided we should take ourselves inside but where, oh where could we go?
He didn't really know but the next best thing to a decision would be a motorcycle tour of Paris.

I'll be honest, wearing a helmet is not hot - you head gets smushed into this giant plastic can, thank goodness the visor goes up so you can breath. It was a fun ride though, speeding through the city, streets lite up for the holidays, whole buildings covered in lights. We stopped briefly in front of the Opera house and I just wondered how it was every built to be so beautiful. We looped around and continued north, jumping the curb to park right outside of the Moulin Rouge.

Of all the places in Paris we could have gone, of all the places I haven't been, we ended up in Pigalle, next to the Moulin Rouge in the district of cabaret dancers and sex shops. We had drinks in an Irish pub, an Irish pub that couldn't have been more American and full of tourists too. I threw my date a curveball when I ordered a Guinness and he ordered a girlie blond beer with peach falvored syrup. In a room beyond the bar, we discovered a night club hosting salsa lessons and dancing and apparently this motorcycle-driving French banker was also a salsa dancer.

We finished up our beers and he picked up the check, I started to collect my stuff to move to the club for a dance lesson when he turned to me and said:

"Do you have 4 euros?"

I looked at him and thought, "Really?" but I said sure in a very nice American accented French. But Seriously? He couldn't pay for a 4 euro beer? I know I shouldn't have expectations, but a certain amount of politeness should be standard - he invited me, he's a French banker, he has euros in his pocket which are worth a heck more than a dollar these days...and it's 4 euros? At the worst his mom, whom I'm sure pushed him to go out with the adorable Jewish American French girl, could have given him the extra 4 euros if it was a problem? Golly.

After we each paid our shares of the beer, I dipped into the ladies room and said I'd meet him in the club for dancing. On my way to meet him, I was stopped at the door and asked for the 10 euro cover charge. I said I was sure my friend paid already but when my French date came to meet me at the door he said he'd only paid for himself. I just smiled and nodded "ok" then pulled a 10 euro bill from my wallet reluctantly.

I'll say he was a good salsa dancer though much to serious, I couldn't stop laughing at how ridiculous we both looked. I used to like salsa dancing, I used to be good at it, back when I danced with the Italian.... But my date this night was insanely rigid in every dance move trying to be perfect and I was like a bouncy ball being pushed around, trying to be relaxed. We both realized how unaccustomed I am to following someone else's lead. It could have also been that he wasn't a very good leader, so worried about his own movements that he couldn't guide mine, he laughed at me once and blamed my ineptitude on my American mentality and a need to be in charge - he wasn't entirely wrong there.

I tired of dancing and I think he tired of my hysterical laughter. We went back to the bar and he ordered two glasses of wine - included in the 10 euros entrance fee we paid for dancing. Keep in mind we were in an Irish pub that had salsa dancing, the only wine they had to offer was a house red that tasted as if it'd been shipped from the US (no disrespect to American wines, but we were in France after all).

At 10:30 I had to call it a night to make it back for curfew - staying with grandparents has it's ups and downs - I figured my date could give me a ride so I wouldn't have to spend an hour on the train. But no, alas, after a short walk past some sex shops, we hopped back on his motorcycle and he dropped me at Opera, a good 45 minute metro ride back to my place. We said goodbye the French way, with a kiss on each cheek, but in such a way that it seemed colder than a handshake.

In the end, I gained the experience of riding a motorcycle through Paris, a reminder of how good I had it with the Italian and an unbelievable sense of pride in myself for who I am now, despite being American and all. Not all together a bad way to start 2011.