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Before I write anything else for this blog, I want to acknowledge the victims of the Newtown, CT senseless tragedy. As an educator, I know my high school students try to harm themselves day in and day out, but I would not allow someone else to harm them. So, as I mentioned on the day of the tragedy, I don’t know which thing I would’ve been doing last Friday if I worked there: praying to Jesus or meeting Him firsthand.

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ep51_carrie_bigNormally, when men and women talk, the topic eventually moves to relationships. I was watching a few episodes of Sex and the City (just random ones, like when Carrie went on her coffee “simu-date” to calm down for her date with Berger [Season 6]) I was interested in simply watching the types of dates on which the ladies went. And while I have already talked about gifting in relationships, there is a close cousin thereof and that is the “date” itself.

I don’t think I’ve ever been on an original date. Well, let me rephrase…I don’t think I’ve been on an original date with someone I was actually dating. Most of the dates I’ve been on have been the typical dinner and/or movie variety. Especially not one that I didn’t pre-beg ask to go on or pay for myself. And even then, there are some things I still haven’t done even after specifically asking.

I’m going to share things I’ve never done, considering I live in Atlanta, which has no shortage of attractions:

1. Starbucks. You know how the learn-ed always talk about going to Starbucks to hang out, drink coffee/tea/lattes so that they can get to know someone? Never happened. I’ll lump the Barnes and Noble experience in here too…it’s pretty much the same thing.

2. Sporting Event. Now, I have gone to a football game with my ex, but it doesn’t count. We only went because one of my close friends plays for the Cowboys, and they were playing the Falcons so I had tickets. But just going? Nope. And there are 4 professional sports teams in this city. I mentioned to a friend of mine that the only time I had been in Philips Arena was for a Jay-Z concert. He found that unacceptable, lol

3. Picnic. You know, where someone plans a specific time to go out eating in a park or something. Nope. Never. And I’ve imagined it several times.

4. *Play or Theatre. I went to see the Lion King, but I paid for it. And it was my idea. Does that count? I’m thinking no.

5. Jazz Club/Poetry Bar. I sing. I teach English. I write. But nope…never.

And I hear these are typical date spots. *kanye shrug* I wouldn’t know. I’ve been to the Aquarium, but anyone who has known me for awhile (or been in my house) knows that I love dolphins. I haven’t been since they’ve had the dolphin show. I’m not talking the infamous twitter $200 date debacle… I’m just saying, the next person I date, I want them to be thoughtful enough to pay enough attention to be original. I guess until then, I’m taking myself to Dialogue in the Dark or Cirque du Soleil.

What were your best dates? What about dates you feel you should’ve been on by now (or is that just me)? You know I want to know 😛

Love,

–V

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I was having a random conversation with my roommate which led to a conversation about gift giving and dating. A piece of advice her father gave her was (and I’m altering the more colorful language here, lol):

“Don’t trust any [man] who doesn’t do right on your birthday, Valentine’s Day, and Christmas.”

I found that really interesting. We then got into the semantics of gift giving and how much attention is necessary, and is a gift only a gift? Or is it some type of compatibility test. My roommate loves perfume. She’ll spend big money on it because it’s her thing. An ex of hers once got her a perfume set from Mary Kay. She decided that he didn’t really know her, nor did he pay attention, and might’ve been a sign that they weren’t going to last. A certain someone told me once that he’d advise anyone dating me not to ever buy me shoes. I know and love them too much, so there’s too much room to mess it up. I think that applies to her perfume addiction.

Now, I’m not really saying that a bad gift equals a bad relationship. But I wonder, how does gift-giving tie into compatibility? I can probably count on one hand the gifts that I’ve received from the testicled-ones that made me know that they were thoughtful and that they paid attention to me (And yes, it couldn’t be something that I specifically asked for…that’s cheating).

Wait, let me make the criteria for invalidation of said gifts:

1. I couldn’t have specifically asked for it. See previous statement about this. This does not, however, include gifts that come up in conversation, but weren’t explicitly requested.

2. It couldn’t have a self-serving purpose. My ex bought me an additional TV, but I think it was more so there could be one in the bedroom also. Doesn’t count.

3. It couldn’t be a gift that would work for just anyone. Flowers, candy, and the like…unless they were specifically tailored to said person. My favorite flower isn’t common…but either it was a) never inquired or b)  never given … got plenty of roses though. And carnations. And we know how the girls feel about that (Season 6).

4. It couldn’t have put them far outside of their means. If I know cash is tight, and you buy an extravagant gift for me, I’m going to worry about for what you probably could’ve used that money. It will take me awhile to appreciate the gift. I’d probably want to give it back, but would be concerned that the guy would be offended.

5. Wasn’t a continuation of a gift I gave them. Still cheating. I wrote my ex a story about a fictitious great day with him. He wrote me back the same story from his point of view. It was awesome…but not original.

Hmmm….. I’m tempted to include that it could not be for some outrageously significant occasion. I mean, obviously…the expectation comes with the day/event. But, I don’t want to count something out just because it happened to be someone’s birthday. So I’ll strike it from the record (but in the weird way that they do it in court, when the jury heard it, but are supposed to act like they didn’t). And it should go without saying that I had to have liked the gift… It doesn’t matter if other people thought it was awesome. If I didn’t like it, it doesn’t count.

Here are the top three gifts I’ve ever received:

1. A stuffed Cocker Spaniel. I told my friend the story of how my sister’s dog, Major, became my dog and I loved him like my own. When my sister and her college boyfriend broke up, he took the dog back. I was heartbroken. He gave us visitation, and then moved to St. Louis. He started complaining that he couldn’t take care of him like he needed, and my sister asked for him back. He said he’d think about it…and then sold my dog to some couple moving to Seattle. I mentioned that to him in some weird random conversation around the time we met. He also knew I wanted a dog, but was concerned that I wouldn’t have the time to truly care for it. And for Christmas, there was my stuffed Cocker Spaniel puppy. I still have it.

2. Plane ticket home for my first Christmas away from my family. My five year ex got that for me. I had just moved to Atlanta, and was trying to be adult and mature. I had gone home for Thanksgiving, and decided that I couldn’t fiscally go back for Christmas. His family, who I knew and loved, were going to be in Atlanta, so I figured it made sense. April Fools. I was miserable. I loved his family, but I wanted my mom. When I opened that, it was a one way home for the day after Christmas because he said he knew that the first Christmas would be hard. He then drove and picked me up and brought me back to Atlanta.

3. ……um…. I’ve literally been sitting here for about 7 minutes trying to come up with a number three. I got nothing that doesn’t break one of those rules up there. So yeah…2.

Now, this doesn’t mean that I haven’t gotten sweet gifts, or thoughtful ones, but I’m talking about that “WOW…I can’t believe you did that.” I mean, if I’ve been complaining about my back hurting, and you get a massage certificate… it’s still sweet, thoughtful, and I’m really happy about it. All I’m saying is that was a “Duh” gift. It wasn’t rocket science. This isn’t being unappreciative  – it’s just what I mean for this conversation.

Do you think gift-giving counts for something? Does it tell you something special? I also want to implore the Love Haze clause. If you’re in love, you probably like gifts a lot more than you would if you were looking at them sans emotion. Unless…it really really sucked.

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And, do you have a great gift you’d want to share? I’m interested. I’ll live vicariously, 😉

Love,

-V

P.S. Cards are always awesome. I always look for cards. Stealth cards are the best. I am the Queen of giving stealth cards 😉

Happy Holidays!

(I decided to go with Happy Holidays because I missed Thanksgiving but it’s not Christmas. Happy Holidays is a happy medium 🙂 )

So today, I have been thinking all day about putting up my Christmas tree, but it made me a little sad to think about putting it up alone. Let me give you a little background. Christmas is my favorite holiday. Besides the fact that it acknowledges the birth of my Lord and Saviour, the general time around Christmas makes me happy. There is a built-in “make me smile” factor that surrounds the Christmas season…twinkling lights, cinnamon-y smells, hot chocolate, beautiful decorations. I have happy memories related to Christmas though. Besides the fact that it was a time that I got to see most of my extended family (until we were all too old to stay in one house, so everyone would have to get hotels, lol), I remember a memory that always makes me happy.

My friend loved Christmas. I always liked the lights, but my mom was the kind of procrastinator that we’d be lucky if the tree was up by the 23rd. And since we normally went to another part of Louisiana for Christmas, so at best, we put cards up around the house and got a poinsettia. I didn’t have decorating memories. So during my sophomore year of college, he started sharing with me around Thanksgiving how excited he was about being able to decorate his (then, brand new) home for Christmas. He asked me to come with him to buy a tree and ornaments. I went, and he was like a big kid. He asked my opinion on which ornaments were nice, but not girly; If the tree was large enough (considering he was 6’4″…he didn’t want to be taller than the tree); if he needed two or three boxes of lights. He told me to go get cocoa while he grabbed Christmas mugs. We went back to his home and he found the 6 Christmas songs on his computer and put them on repeat. I remember that I sat on the couch to watch him “do his thing”. He said, “What are you doing??” I said, “Um…nothing.” He said, “Nooooo, you have to help. I’ll do the lights, and you decide which pretty ornaments go where, and then I’ll do all the fill-in ornaments.” He wanted me involved. And after it was done, he baked cookies (let me choose which ones I wanted first before he got his), made us hot chocolate in the new Christmas mugs, and then turned out the lights so he could light up the tree. He was so happy, lol. It was a good, dorky kind of happy that was infectious. He then thanked me for obliging him and sharing in his first home tree-trimming. And, I loved it just as much as he did. The event itself was nice, but I liked that he wanted me involved. And I ended up making him a cd with more than 6 songs, lol.

That next year, after doing the same thing, we went to the downtown display of Christmas lights. The streets were roped off, and you could walk block after block, stop at little shops, buy apple cider, etc… He wanted to do a little of everything. He was sad because he had just had shoulder surgery (he was a pitcher for my university’s baseball team) so he could only operate one arm, but he still enjoyed himself. He bought cider for us, and we walked all night until it closed, laughing at things (and people), and again, he thanked me for sharing the memories with him. It was that Christmas that we exchanged gifts. He got me a stuffed cocker spaniel puppy (I still love that thing, lol) and I got him a print of Muhammad Ali knocking out Frazier (which he loved).

Things between us changed after that, but we were always friends. I had relationships after that, and with each one I always wanted to cultivate something special. Something distinctly ours. Except…they were never interested. My five-year-relationship guy always seemed mildly annoyed when I wanted him to help me put up my tree, so I tried other things. None of them worked, and he never offered any suggestions. The only thing we did on a regular was visit his mom on Sundays, but nothing explicitly ours. He would say things like, “I thought about taking you to the jazz club.” “I thought about us driving to little cities around here to try whatever they were known for.” I literally begged for almost two years to go to Stone Mountain to see the laser show. I was so excited when I finally went, but he still had a mild indifference. I wanted to hold hands and share a blanket, but he brought a (single) folding chair, saying he thought the ground would be too hard (He said, “I know you have one…I thought you would’ve brought yours too. My bad”). I’m pretty sure that this constant (what I saw as) rejection created a layer that I started to stop asking or expecting moments that were “special”.

charlotte - harry - breakupSo when I say Un-tradition-al…I mean that the most meaningful experiences that set standards for things I’ve wanted were/are with people whom I could only call friends. It is with these people that I have the happiest memories. But the relationships I’ve had, they were all missing that something special. Even now, …well…nevermind. Just know that I have had more special moments recently that I have had in a long time … and it’s a friend. So I can imagine Charlotte’s dismay with Harry when he wanted to watch the baseball game after she had converted to Judaism and cooked a Shabbat meal. To him, he appreciated what she did, but it was another dinner during a game. To her, she was starting to create traditions with someone she cared about. Now, I can’t condone the statements she made to him afterwards, but I can understand (Season 6, “Pick a Little, Talk a Little”).

So, whether it was figuring out how to staple Christmas lights around your window without electrocuting anyone, or inadvertently creating a special language that only two people understand, traditions are nice. I hope that one day, I’ll have them with someone who’ll actually be with me.

Do you have any traditions you’d like to share? It’s the holidays, after all 😉

Love,

–V

P.S. No, my Christmas tree isn’t up. Not yet.

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