Archive | October, 2012

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

23 Oct

In case I haven’t mentioned before, I love holidays. I get all jazzed and spirited and itching to decorate. I don’t reserve my excitement for major holidays. I like to mark every day possible as something special (food/booze related holidays are my favorite), but with Halloween coming up, for some reason, I’m just not in the spirit. I was out for a run last night and as I looked at the houses decorated with orange lights, plastic grave stones and cotton spider webs, I started to wonder if I’m feeling this way because I’m newly single. I’ve wondered this before when I’m uncharacteristically unenthusiastic about Arbor Day or if I miss National Margarita Day, so I decided to make an easy reference guide of every major holiday and the ideal relationship status to maximize enjoyment.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This is meant to be a discussion of the ideal way to spend each holiday. I know it’s absurd to expect most of these to work out and it is downright impossible to have them all. I’m not saying you should, or even that I would, do any of the things listed below. In other words, I’m not ACTUALLY going to ditch my date for a better party or beach house. Probably.

New Year’s Day- DATE
No one wants to wake up alone on New Year’s Day. No one wants to wake up on New Year’s Day period. It’s ideal to have a significant other in your life that might be willing to make you pancakes, or at least drag your hungover butt to IHOP.

Inauguration Day- DATE
This is Washington’s Oscars, Marathon Day, and Pride Day all rolled into one less fun, more pretentious holiday. It’s our chance to pretend we’re as glamorous  and important as we pretend to be, so having a date for one of the many balls around town is a necessity. Then again, being able to ditch said date to go with a girlfriend who has tickets to a better ball would really be best. Seriously, that happens.

MLK Day- NO DATE
If you have off for MLK day, it’s better to spend it with a group of friends than a significant other. With a boyfriend it can become just another lazy Saturday, or worse, a chance to catch up on chores. If you want to make the most of a random day off, gather a group of friends and you’ll be forced to find something to make it special, even if it’s nothing more original than another Sex and the City marathon with donuts.

Groundhog Day- DATE
Do you ever remember to check for Phil on your own? No. Your odds of remembering to check on the little furry forecaster double if there are two of you.

Chinese New Year- NO DATE
Unless you are actually Chinese and know what is going on, odds are you celebrate this holiday by ordering $100 of takeout and watching some Jackie Chan movies. If you’re motivated you’ll go to a parade and then eat $100 of takeout at the Chinese restaurant. Either way, MSG makes no one sexy.

Mardi Gras- TOSS UP
It’s not really so important WHO you’re with… as long as you’re with someone who can get you home (and convince you that those beads are absolutely not worth flashing that news camera for). Drink responsibly people.

Valentine’s Day- NO DATE
When you have a date, there’s so much pressure that it’s never as much fun as you’d hope. But when you don’t have a date, the options are endless. You can eat a pint of ice cream, drink a bottle of wine and watch chick flicks in pajamas by yourself (or with other single friends), and no one will judge you. You get to buy only the chocolates you actually like and you can get them for half price on Feb 15th. And you get to be self-righteously dismissive of the entire holiday, carefully showing everyone just how much you don’t care. Oh, today’s what? I totally forgot. (Side note: I suddenly understand hipsters)

President’s Day- DATE
Unlike MLK Day, President’s Day is a great weekend to get away. If you have a date, you probably just had a secretly disappointing Valentine’s Day, so a romantic weekend away from the stresses of daily life, cuddled together by a fire, sipping cocoa, is the best possible way to spend this holiday. Just try to ignore the outrageous price of rentals, scores of terrible drivers, and cabin-feverish screaming children overrunning their exhausted and defeated parents. That’s part of the ‘spirit’ of the holiday.

Start of Daylight Savings Time- NO DATE
You lose an hour of sleep. On a Sunday. So unless you have somewhere to be, it’s probably best not to interact with anyone that morning. And if you think, ‘No, you’re wrong. I’m a ray of sunshine in the morning,’ then you’re probably the worst of all and just don’t realize it because everyone is too afraid to tell you how terrifying you are in the morning. Spend the day on your couch complaining about outdated farming rituals via Facebook like everyone else.

St. Patrick’s Day- NO DATE
St. Paddy’s Day is about drinking with friends, not about having a date, and you want to be free and comfortable to sing loudly, bloat from drinking Guinness, and spill your green-dyed-Miller Lite all over your blessedly green outfit. If you’re trying to be sexy on St. Patrick’s Day, you’re not doing it right.

Good Friday- DATE
I personally feel a little guilty going out or to a party on Good Friday, so it’s nice to have a date with whom you can still have a nice Friday that doesn’t lead to an additional helping of guilt.

Easter- NO DATE
As nice as it would be to have someone to whisper with during the same long sermon, I have to say no date on this one. Unlike the Christmas holidays, family dysfunction is slightly less cute at Easter, so bringing a date is unnecessary drama.

Tax Day- NO DATE
Not only do you need some solo time to organize your finances, files your taxes, and revel quietly (or loudly, depending on your style) in just how much money you pay the government, having a date will only remind you of that other unexpectedly large hole in your wallet: your boyfriend. Being in a relationship is inevitably expensive and tax day is the one day of the year that you are focused on just the expenses rather than the benefits, so it’s better to fly solo. Unless you’re dating an accountant, but they’re probably busy on April 15th then anyway.

Cinco de Mayo- DATE
Unlike the other two drinking holidays, this holiday worships the god of bad decisions: tequila. If you have a date, you’re less likely (I hope) to do something epically stupid and instead settle for drunk dialing your cousin, crying because your margarita is empty and heading to Taco Bell but settling for IHOP.

Mother’s Day- NO DATE
My favorite part of mother’s day, other than celebrating the wonderful mothers in my life, is celebrating the fact that I’m not yet a mother. Yes, it’s a bit of a ‘Dear Lord Baby Jesus’ kind of holiday celebration, but I nonetheless say a little prayer every year thanking God that my lovely mother is not becoming a grandmother. I’m fairly certain she says the same prayer too.

Memorial Day- NO DATE
This one is slightly close, only because having a date increases the likelihood of getting invited to a beach house for the weekend. Of course, my skin in May is like a polar bear: blindingly white, angry that you poked it with your hot sun, and suddenly aware that the air is warmer than it should be. Having a weekend with friends to prime myself for full fledged beach season is clutch.

Flag Day- DATE
Ok, bear with me on this one. Flag Day is one of my best friend’s birthdays, so my celebration of Flag Day usually revolves around her. You’re probably thinking, “Uh, Heather? Why do you need a date to celebrate with someone you’ve known for 24 years?” Well, this dear friend of mine is the kind of girl that guys cross rooms for… do stupid stuff for… ditch girlfriends for. I’ve actually seen a guy trip over himself trying to get to her. I love hanging out with her, but it’s better if I at least have someone waiting for me at home so I remember Flag Day is really about her, not my lack of game.

Father’s Day- NO DATE
The same reasoning as Mother’s Day does certainly apply in this case, but I’m also a daddy’s girl. I’m fairly certain the best gift I can give him is NOT bringing around some could-someday-be-baby-daddy to lurk by the grill and awkwardly talk about golf. My dad’s still the #1 guy in my life.

4th of July- DATE
The best way to spend 4th of July is having a beach barbeque straight out of a Levi’s commercial, with great American beer, burgers and hot dogs, and a ton of tan, good looking friends in bathing suits, all laughing around a huge bonfire in the 80 degree heat. Having a date is (according to modern advertising) not only the best way to enjoy this time with other happy, beautiful couples, but also increases your odds of actually getting invited to one of these mythical gatherings. In reality, you’ll crane your neck while sitting awkwardly on a blanket spread over a million tiny sharp rocks to ooh and ahh at the fireworks… but even then, it’s impossible not to be awed and it’s always nice to share those kind of moments with someone special.

Labor Day- DATE
See 4th of July. The town where I grew up actually doesn’t do fireworks for 4th of July and instead has one of the only Labor Day fireworks shows. It’s actually genius.

Columbus Day- TOSS UP
Columbus Day is hard to call, because I’m really not sure the ideal way to celebrate this day, beyond remembering that it happened. It’s always a surprise holiday, where it’s 2pm on Friday and you’re seriously struggling, until someone asks what you’re doing with your three day weekend. Suddenly, there’s light in your eyes again and your excitedly spend the entire weekend trying to figure out how to maximize your three day weekend. Regardless, you probably won’t actually do anything special for it, so whether you have someone else to do nothing in particular with or not is irrelevant.

Halloween- DATE
All of the things that are great about Halloween are better when shared. Scary movies. Orange-dyed food. Great costumes. Weird-looking punch served out of a cauldron. Scaring children. Plus, finding a date on Halloween is a literal nightmare: every girl is dressed more slut-ily than she’d normally dare and guys have the chance to cover up any of their own issues with makeup and masks. It’s a gender-role Freaky Friday.

End of Daylight Savings Time- DATE
Who doesn’t love that moment when you wake up on your own that Sunday morning and glance at the clock to see that you have so much more time to sleep. You get to snuggle back under the covers and lazily snooze for a bit and life has never seemed better. The only thing to make that moment better is being able to share it.

Veteran’s Day- NO DATE
See MLK Day. Same rules here, except the weather is usually better and you should be hiking or pumpkin picking or at least drinking the last of the fall beers/hot apple cider.

Thanksgiving- NO DATE
Is this even a question?

Black Friday- NO DATE
You really think that your boyfriend is going to stick around after seeing you wrestle an old lady for a set of plush pink towels that are 75% off? No one should see such things. Black Friday should only be spent with someone you are completely confident will not testify against you should someone press charges.

Pearl Harbor Day- DATE
Unless you are a truly good person and spend 12/7 visiting WWII veterans in nursing homes, there is only one thing that comes to mind to honor Pearl Harbor Day: watching Pearl Harbor. A date will convince you that you’d better serve your country watching Team America, which as a helpful song about Pearl Harbor (the movie; the actual event is one of the only things that movie didn’t desecrate) than watching that terrible movie.

Winter Solstice- DATE
It’s the shortest day of the year…therefore the most depressing. When you wake up, it’s dark and cold. When you get off work, it’s dark and cold. What little sunlight you did see was in passing someone else’s office before returning to your artificially-lit desk. The only way to make this better is to make a fire (or in my case, light a big candle), grab a ton of blankets and cuddle with someone special… until spring.

Christmas- TOSS UP
Christmas time is my favorite time of year. I love the warm-fuzzies I get just thinking about it! For me, whether I have a date or not, I’ll be thrilled that it’s Christmas so I could go either way. While it will probably be awkward to introduce a date to the quirky traditions that are distinct to every family, dysfunctionality is actually more acceptable at Christmas time than any other time of the year. For evidence, see every Christmas movie ever.

New Year’s Eve- NO DATE
Same theory as Valentine’s Day. NYE has so much build up that it’s hard to ever live up to expectations unless you’re forced to think outside the box. Enjoying a party with friends or family reduces the need for a magical moment at the stroke of midnight and I personally can’t think of a better tone to set for the coming year than being surrounded by the people I truly love.

So, do you agree with my analysis?

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Your Father Isn’t…Ethan

12 Oct

For Valentine’s Day, I decide I’m going to wow Ethan. I’m always good at the cutesy romantic stuff; I once left conversation hearts in every place my then-boyfriend would touch getting ready in the morning until he came upon a big I ❤ U on his kitchen counter. I know, I’m adorbs.

Ethan just got rid of a huge pile of old nerdy tshirts and oh, it pained him to give them up. It pained him so much that he went through the box one by one, telling me how he got each shirt, some memory attached to it, and often what the heck it meant/why it was “funny.”

So I’m beyond excited to order him a new nerdy Game of Thrones themed tshirt, since we’ve bonded over the books and the show. I even throw in a Stark direwolf mug for good measure. I wrap it up in the cheesiest Valentine’s Day paper possible (to lower his expectations) and head to his house for dinner feeling quite proud of myself.

Ethan opens the door and immediately scoops me up into a huge hug and kiss. I nearly drop his gift but thankfully I regain my senses in time. Of course, as I do, I’m overwhelmed by the most delicious smell, which turns out to be homemade chicken marsala, bowtie pasta, and a salad (which doesn’t really smell but must be included). The kitchen is dim though… it turns out he has spread candles over every surface of his kitchen, giving the entire room a soft, flickering glow. Combined with the aromas and the food, well, it’s heavenly.

It’s so magical I can almost ignore his roommate making himself pancakes while we eat dinner.

It is far and away my second best Valentine’s Day ever (the first was with girlfriends in high school, eating nothing but sweets and watching the Notebook in pjs, which of course cannot be beat). Best for a boy though.

Definitely best for a boy.

~~~~

Kids, Valentine’s Day gets so over-hyped. Try to remember what matters and it will always be special.

As for Ethan, he’s a wonderful guy but he’s not your father. Seven months and a day after Valentine’s Day, we broke up for good and I wish I had a better explanation than “it didn’t work out.”  As usual, How I Met Your Mother summed it up best, although they did so in most-likely-fictional-but-maybe-not-because-it’s-German terms I cannot spell: Lebenslangerschicksalsschatz* and Beinaheleidenschaftsgegenstand*. The first  roughly translates to “life long treasure of destiny,” while the second refers to “the thing that is almost what you desire, but not quite.” Ethan is, I’m sorry to say, the latter.

*Translation and spelling from How I Met Your Mother episode “Farhampton” and a sketchy fan website respectively. Please don’t judge my German. In unrelated news, I bought myself a yellow umbrella.

Your Father Could Still Be… Ethan

9 Oct

At this point in a new relationship, it’s time to meet each other’s people. First up is dinner with Ethan’s roommate, which takes place at a nearby Chinese restaurant. I’ve briefly met Frederick before, but I’m still a little bit nervous. Frederick’s sharp wit and daunting intellect have me on edge but he remains indifferent as he blatantly sizes me up. (Like that, Frederick?)

The guys are actively debating some technical topic that is outside my realm of understanding, and further outside my realm of caring, so I stay fairly quiet through dinner. That is, except for one key moment, that changes everything.

Our food arrives and Ethan’s plate is significantly larger than Frederick’s. Ethan waves a chopstick at Frederick and exclaims,

“See? Size DOES matter.”

Without even looking up from my food, I gently rub Ethan’s back and say,

“No, it doesn’t sweetie.”

Frederick nearly chokes. After a few minutes of laughter (and a quick check that Ethan’s not upset), I wipe tears from my eyes while Frederick slides from his side of the booth. He’s suddenly serious, although I still can’t stifle my giggles, and he motions for Ethan to stand up next to him. I expect something to happen between them, so I’m surprised when Frederick slides into the booth next to me and gives me a hug, saying, “I rarely do this.”

Frederick then returns to his seat and resumes conversation as normal, but I at least know I have won him over.

~~~~

Kids, a person’s close friends will tell you more about them than anything they can tell you about themselves. I found an ally and friend in Frederick, which was good because we’d end up spending a lot of time together over the coming months.