A name is an important thing. I often think about how much different my life might be if my parents had only tried to be a little more creative. Sometimes when I’m bored I think about the glamorous life I could be leading, if only they had settled on “Oprah,” or “Ivanka,” or “Snookie.” But instead, I’m a monosyllabic bore. And not only that, when it came time to choose my own name I baptized myself the “Disaster on Heels.” It’s like I took one look at fate, tucked my skirt into my underwear, and gave it the middle finger.
Tonight, while celebrating my inner Disaster for National Singles Week, I met up for a blogging date with Jess Downey–a Chicago freelance writer who has made a name for herself dishing the inside scoop on the single life. I had so many questions, like: are you afraid that since you’ve labeled yourself “The Single Girl,” you’ll have to stay single forever? (Her answer there, by the way, was no.) And, more importantly, if paparazzi shows up, do I pretend I see them? Or do I pretend I’m too cool? I ordered chicken tenders, sipped Stella, and took copious mental notes.
Finally, when the bar had filled up with enough button-down shirts to warrant a swoop, we decided to pay the bill and embark on the hunt. When the check arrived, I reached into my bag and started digging. I found a hair tie, a pair of flip flops (emergency use only), lip gloss, my iPhone, a dry cleaning receipt…but no wallet. I tried to act cool:
“Must be buried under here,” I said, laying the items on the table while starting to panic.
“No problem,” she said, but her eyes told a different story — it was the “no way this is happening” look that I’ve worn too many times on too many dates. Was I that guy? The one who orders the New York Strip and three cocktails while you order hummus dip and a Diet Coke, and then conveniently forgets his wallet?
No. My wallet was most definitely not in my bag. Which meant only one thing: it was stolen on the way over when I walked the six blocks to the bar with an unzipped purse.
I breathed a sigh of relief. I’m not cheap, I’m just delivering on a promise: I am, as destiny would have it, a Disaster on Heels.
I spent four hours last Saturday doing the dreaded wardrobe rotation: replacing sundresses and sandals with wool pants and sweaters. In the process I managed to get rid of a lot of stuff, but some items were too hard to let go. While unworn button-down blouses and cardigans found themselves en route to Goodwill faster than you can say “J Crew,” my emerald green silk bolero jacket and red kimono were packed in tissue and placed in a cedar chest with loving care.
But some of my flair is past its prime–it’s from years I’d rather not revisit, or I’ve worn it to the point of being ordinary. And some of it must go simply because I’ve resigned myself to the idea of taking my flair to a new level of maturity (which I think involves rhinestones? I can’t be certain). But still, even though I know all this to be true, it’s hard to let go. Which is how I got an idea: why not give it away to a deserving disaster?
So, in honor of National Singles Week I’m hosting a flair drive: I’m giving away old accessories in the spirit of new beginnings. I’ll kick it off with these bad-decision machines that have shown me so much love. They are in good shape, perfect for tripping in, or carrying in one hand while stumbling home (you’ll need to drink heavily in these, they hurt—but as any disaster knows,” the shoe that gives the blister is the one that lands the mister”–no one has ever done a walk of shame in sensible shoes):
Helpful if you wear a size 7 but an 8 feels so good, you buy a size 9. (Because that’s what I do.) Email your address to disasteronheels @ gmail.com so I can ship them to you, and restore you to royalty.
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I recently went on a blissfully romantic date with a stalker that reminded me once again just how lucky I am. I mean, people always say, “Maybe you’ve already met Mr. Right and you don’t even know it.” Turns out, they were right! Sometimes the truth is hiding in plain sight– other times it’s curled up in the fetal position underneath your cubicle. Whatever the case, just because I’ve found love doesn’t mean I’m not looking out for my fellow Disasters. I hope each and every one of you finds someone whose love for you knows no legal bounds. And when you do, remember these 5 tips for a successful first date:
1. Don’t give him your last name. A good stalker enjoys the challenge. Let him figure it out the old fashion way by following you home, hiding in the bushes, and stealing your mail.
2. Don’t bother telling him where you work. He already knows! Any stalker worth his weight in binoculars will be lurking around your office when you leave for the date. Smile in his direction, but don’t outwardly acknowledge him. Stalkers are shy.
3. Over dinner, try telling a few jokes to break the ice–something playful and fun like, “Hey! Is that my mother’s maiden name in your pocket? Or are you just glad to see me?”
4. After the date, give him something to remember you by. A goodnight kiss only lasts a minute, but a lock of hair is something he can keep forever.
5. Always remember that the 3-day rule is for people who don’t love you. Expect to hear from your date as soon as it ends. In fact, he may even call you from across the table because he can’t wait that long. Definitely answer!
Since this date went so well you’ll probably want to see him again. In order to keep him interested you must be a good listener. This is essential because heavy breathers can sound the same on the phone, and if “stalker” is your type and you plan to see more than one, it is imperative that you can tell them apart. Trust me, it is very upsetting to a stalker if you mistakenly call him by another stalker’s name.
I’ve been off-radar these days. I’ve been working so hard that there’s barely time to be a Disaster. My highlight last week was a trip to a rheumatologist, and he wasn’t even hot. So I figured I should sit the blogging bench until I was inspired.
Fortunately “inspiration” hit on Sunday night. It came in the form of my mother, highly excited, in downeast Maine. Of course, I didn’t know all that when I answered her call:
“Mom? Are you ok?”
“I’m fine, just keep your voice down.”
“Why did you call me if you’re going to shush me?”
“Because. Your father and I are moose hunting.”
Now, to be clear, we may be from Maine, but my parents do not hunt. They don’t wear camouflage or John Deere hats, and they don’t spit tobacco into empty Coke bottles. They ride electric bikes. They grow basil. And they take their dog Wilson to puppy kindergarten. And while they’re not vegetarians per say, my mom has made it very clear that the only venison she feels good about eating is from a deer that died naturally: on 1-95 and collected by a state trooper or our family friend, Malcom.
So the thought of my mom at eight o’clock on a Sunday night hunting moose in her crocs was simply too much.
“Mom. Do you have a gun?”
“No, no. We’re in the car. In a gravel pit. But I really have to keep my voice down. People say moose have very sensitive hearing.”
“Why are you in a gravel pit?”
“Because this is where you spot them. We’re going to test your father’s new camera. We’re parked next to two women in a Subaru. They have a “This Car Stops For Moose” sticker on their car, so they seem to know what they are doing. They haven’t made a sound and just seem to be laying down in the back seat waiting. They’re much more patient.”
“But I guess I don’t understand why…”
“Whoop! Here we go again! We’re moving gravel pits!”
“Yep. I think your father got another one of his hunches. We’re now in another gravel pit next to the other one.”
“Mom. How many people are in the car?
“Just me, your father, Jerry, Mary Beth, and Wilson, of course! Your father took him hiking all day and he’s exhausted, but he’s the best miniature Australian labradoodle in all of Maine.”
“So you guys are just sitting in the car all night? Waiting?”
“We’re not just sitting in the car. We’re driving, too. We’ve been to four gravel pits.”
“Yes, well wish us luck! I… oh no. Oh no! …Wilson!”
“Wilson just up-chucked. I have to go.”
My match profile launched August 13, 2009—30 days after breakup, 28 days after moving out, 5 days after moving into a studio apartment. It was created in a fervent attempt to “move on!” “get out there!” “have fun!” and all those other things people suggested I start doing. My brother-in-law connected his laptop to a giant flat screen TV, and he, my friend Rachel and I created my dating avatar: my cyber self-portrait. We put pictures up of Wholesome Me roasting marshmallows, Sassy Me hailing a cab in gold high heels, and Quirky Me kissing a lobster. We drank cheap beer called “Simpler Times” and debated my profile quote. Rachel wanted “I won’t make you breakfast.” My brother-in-law wanted “Balls.” I won: “If anyone asks, we met while climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro.”
We set the bait, high-fived, and waited…
It wasn’t long until I started getting hits. On Monday morning my first email came in from a suitor in the suburbs named 2big2blv. By his profile I could tell he took things very seriously because he wasn’t smiling in his picture, and because he took it himself in the bathroom mirror. Clearly he couldn’t trust this photo to just anyone.
His email went like this:
Hey. You have nice eyez. I’m new to match. U like it so far? i’m here because i’m sick of meeting people in bars. Your hot tho. If we did meet in a bar I’d probably say “if you were a tree and I was a squirrel I’d climb into your hole and bust a nut.” lol!! Lol!! lol!!!!! Anyway, I’m from Schaumberg ever been?
My stomach dropped. How could this be? What kind of karmic fuck up had I participated in to make this ok? I have a master’s degree! I floss regularly! Plus, my profile clearly states that I’m looking for someone within 10 miles of 60657!
As depressing as this email was, I kept it. There was part of me that thought, “Someday, you’ll look back on this, and see how funny it all was.” In that daydream this memory would occur while I was on a yacht, getting a backrub from my highly successful-but-not-arrogant fiancé who happened to know how to make delicious pancakes.
Fast-forward one year, and I can tell you not only haven’t I met my pancake-making fiancé, that email is still not funny. The difference is that now when I read it, I only have a fuzzy memory of that unjaded version of myself. If I could sit down with that version of me–that fetus of an online dater — I’d like to give her a hug. I’d also like to tell her to be careful not to lose her mind. It would have been nice if someone would have given me such a warning.
To be honest, I can’t really tell what comes first– being crazy, or online dating. Or maybe it’s the chicken AND the ovary. What I do know is that in my case it was a slow degeneration. Like Alzheimer’s. Things start to get a little foggy and your decision-making becomes questionable: one day you can’t find your pants, and the next day you forget to wear them. That moment happened to me last week when, while trolling for love on OkCupid, I stumbled upon a hot guy. He’s a lawyer, he can punctuate, he had more than one profile picture, and he dislikes cats. In other words, he’s the perfect online package. This man was more than “wink” material, so in my eagerness I fired off a note that I was sure would spark a long and passionate romance:
“Hi!! I see you like Apples to Apples. Me too, I love that game! I also see you also like to go to Italy. I love Italy!
I actually spent Thanksgiving in Milan once. My sister lived there and we had to order a turkey two weeks in advance (because they don’t really eat turkey in Milan). When we picked it up from the butcher it still had feathers in it, so we wound up plucking it with tweezers. Still, it was the best turkey I’ve ever eaten.
Ok, you’re up!”
The sad part about late-stage online dating is the fact that you constantly live between states of cognizance and oblivion. When I “came to” a couple of days later I realized that some guy had received my email and started to question every life decision that led him to OKCupid. He probably opened it and hyperventilated in his corner office.
Yep. Watch out, Chicago. One year into online dating, this crazy train has left the station.
Also published on Chicago Now.
Yep, it’s that time of year. I can’t wait for my yearly exam, mostly because I look so good in blue paper, with an exposed back. When I talked to my mom this week I must have mentioned I would be heading in for my physical, because when I woke up yesterday I had an email from her:
I’m very glad you’re taking care of yourself. When you go, let MD know that you want to do anything you need to do to preserve fertility. Let MD know that this is a MAJOR concern this should be taken seriously. Tell her you want to know all your options, and that you would like a referral to a reproductive specialist if needed. Make sure MD knows that.
To which I reply: Don’t worry, Mom. I’m on it!
In fact, I’ve already frozen my eggs.
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