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One Night Standoff

One Tuesday night, after a(n) (amazingly heart-piercing) show by the (amazingly heart-piercing) Amy Kuney at the Bootleg, my dear friend, ironysradiocheck and I are feeling a little prowly. We decide to hit up Tenants of the Trees to see if any of nature’s fine-looking (comma tall comma witty comma kind-hearted comma well-read comma well-dressed comma dark/broody) specimens are planted by the bar – or, anywhere within its walls. We’re not picky.

Door Guy: I like your stomach.

Why thank you very much, sir, for that uniquely worded compliment. (I was wearing a very cropped crop top.) (I am sharing this part of the story not only because I am super proud of my baby abs in training, but also because sometimes wearing half a shirt makes you a quick target for casually sexist, racist, disabled-ist a$$holes.)

Enter Attractive But Maybe Slightly Too Macho Dude.

I spot ABMSTMD on ironysradiocheck’s and my quick, catlike stroll around the patio. Eyes lock, gazes linger, etc etc. (The etc etc is the part where I then proceed to stare down everyone around him, just to let him know I’m, like, totally chill and I definitely wasn’t checking him out at all.)

ironysradiocheck doesn’t see anyone of immediate interest/ABMSTMD doesn’t seem to be making any moves from where he’s standing, so we stroll back to the bar area/debate calling it a night.

Me: Yeah, if no one intriguing appears by the end of this drink, I say we call it.

Just as we’re about to leave, I see ABMSTMD has maneuvered his way a few feet down the bar.

Me: That guy might be kind of cute.

I look at him. He looks back. I look away. (Just as chill/casual/nonchalant as before.)

ironysradiocheck: Oh yeah, dude. I think he’s coming over here. Score.

ABMSTMD: Hey.
Me: Hey.

Well, this is starting off well. (ironysradiocheck has found something super interesting/enthralling a few feet away with which to occupy herself.)

ABMSTMD: ABMSTMD.
Me: Stacie.

Please say this single syllable thing continues for the rest of our convo.

ABMSTMD: Did you see me checking you out earlier?

Welp. That hope was fleeting.

Me: Ha. I did.
ABMSTMD: Why didn’t you say anything?
Me: Why did it take you so long to say anything?
ABMSTMD: Look, it’s 2016. I think that women should be equally responsible for initiating the conversation.

I love when guys are adamant about the need for gender equality – but, you know, starting with the ways in which it would make their lives easier as men.

Me: Ha. Let’s maybe start with the wage gap and work our way down from there.
ABMSTMD: You ladies really just want it all don’t you.

I respond with an eyebrow arch.

ABMSTMD: Oh, calm down. I’m just kidding. Where are you from?
Me: I’m originally from Nebraska.
ABMSTMD: Midwestern stock. Nice. Here, what are you drinking?

The conversation continues as he orders my Tito’s soda with mint.

ABMSTMD: So how old are you, Stacie?
Me: 32.
ABMSTMD: Oh wow.
Me: Oh wow?
ABMSTMD: I just thought you were younger than that. Don’t worry about it – I never would have guessed you were that old.

That old. Don’t worry about it.

Me: Ha. I’m not too concerned about it.

I stare his non-baby face straight in the eyes.

Me: How old are you?
ABMSTMD: 38.
Me (smirking): 38. Wow.

He gets the ‘aren't you a little old to be hanging around bars, attempting to pick up 20-something chicks’ inference. Now that we’ve set the combative tone for the night! 

ironysradiocheck pops over to say she’s peacing out. Hugs. Love. Promises of texts.

ABMSTMD: I love how girls always do that.

I love how guys “always” make statements about all girls always doing dumb girl things.

Me: What do you mean?
ABMSTMD: Just leave their friends with a total stranger. I mean, you’ve been talking to me, so you know I’m pretty normal, but she has no idea.
Me: I mean, I guess sometimes we forget that we’re just walking prey.

Are we flirting or do we hate each other? I decide it’s probably both. He starts planning our wedding.

ABMSTMD: You don’t have any crazy in your family or anything, do you? I don’t want to end up with some weird Asperger’s kid or something.
Me: You’re going to feel really bad about saying that when I tell you my brother’s autistic.
ABMSTMD: Oh no, so you’ve got f*cked up genes?

Is he f*cking serious? Hate. It’s definitely hate.

Fortunately (or unfortunately, as the case may be), his friends arrive at this moment, halting the diatribe of death that had just begun its expletive-ridden exit from my mouth. They happen to be wonderful. We bond. We hug. We dance. I realize the two drinks I've had are going straight to my head.

Me: Is anyone hungry? I didn’t have time for dinner and I am starving.
Amazing Friend #1: Omg yes. I could totally go for some food.
AF #2: Yeah, same. Let’s do it.
ABMSTMD: We could go to the diner by my place.

We pile into an Uber. But wait!, they say. First let’s just make a quick stop-off at a house party – there’s supposed to be a cool band playing! Sure, I say, pretending I’m not about to pass out from drunken starvation.

An hour later, it becomes clear this is no quick stop-off. I announce my planned departure via Uber.

ABMSTMD: Hey, I’ll go with you. Let’s go get you the food I promised. Sorry about these guys.

Somehow, the promise of food and the surprise of an (unnecessary) apology makes me forget my general abhorrence of him as a human.  (Vodka, powers.)

At the diner:

ABMSTMD: Sorry, you can’t come over after – my dad’s staying with me for the week.

Oh good Lord. Abhorrence suddenly v v remembered.

Me: I think I’ll find a way to get over it.

He follows this with some other horrendous thing regarding our possible sexual future that I have blacked out due to an inherent distaste for vomiting.  I order my omelette.

I eat well over half of the very large diner omelette.

ABMSTMD (broadcasting shock/dismay): Wow, you’re really going at that thing, aren’t you.

Straight face. Single blink.

Later, when the waitress comes to clear our plates/ask if I’m all done with mine, ABMSTMD goes ahead and throws his answer in on top of my affirmative.

ABMSTMDI think we can all agree she did a pretty good number on that one. 

At what point do I have legal grounds to stab him.

The contempt-laden conversation stubbornly continues its journey back to the good ol’ days, eventually landing on the topic of interracial marriage.

ABMSTMD: I just don’t think it’s fair to the kids.

HI, 1952. So nice of you to drop by/add your antiquated views to the ever-growing pile of backwards bullsh*t. 

Me: You mean, fair to the rest of us because they’re so beautiful? My nephew’s half black and is seriously the most perfect child you’ve ever seen in your life.
ABMSTMD: So your sister f*cked a black guy, huh?
Me: My sister dated, married, and started a family with an amazing guy/father who, yes, is a black man.

Where oh where is that knife when you need it. He pays the check before I’m able to summon the waitress.

Outside, waiting for Ubers:

ABMSTMD: Text me when you get home, okay?

I stare at him, taken aback by the sound of this gentlemanly statement coming from his very ungentlemanly face. He misinterprets the stare.

ABMSTMD: What? You didn’t expect me to drive you home when I live right around the corner, did you?

Thank God this battle is almost over. I am exhausted. 

Me (V. slow. V. measured.): I don’t expect anything from you at all.

Two weeks later…Sunday night, 1:28a text message:

ABMSTMD: How you been?

Okay, that I did kind of expect. Sorry to leave you in suspense, ABMSTMD, but I’m gonna go ahead and tap out of this dear little donnybrook. It's been...really, really, tragically real.   

I just took my shirt off for the first time ever in Pilates class - I don't know exactly what happens next, but I feel like I've crossed over into something cool, wonderful, and really, really annoying.

The other night, I was thinking (while lying face down on a sheet-covered table) that one of the healthiest relationships I've ever had is with the woman who gives me my deep tissue Thai massages - mutual respect, open communication without judgment, she massages out my trouble spots, but can read when I need her to push a little more or a little less...

And then today I looked in the mirror and saw that I have two large bruises forming on my lower back.

... ... ...

It's okay, guys - I was asking for it.

Some guy tried to hit on me yesterday, and I was like, sorry I’m gna need a list of mutual friends, 4-6 pics & 2 days-5 wks to decide if I want to say "hey" back.

“Our perp has a penchant for puzzles.”
“Puzzles give him a smug sense of victory. Possibly to bolster a low self-esteem."

SVU getting real judgy tonight.

It's so cute when short people think they stand a chance of winning the sidewalk race. Give it up, man. You're sweating. This is just embarrassing.

Pretty sure I inadvertently signed up for Waze's collaboration w Fitbit: Maximum unprotected lefts to keep your heart rate in the fat-burning zone for your entire commute.

Falling Prey to Pilates (Plus)

Recently, ironyfreemodellawyer convinced me to try out a class at Carrie’s Pilates Plus. It didn’t take a whole lot of convincing – I love Pilates. I go to Pilates 3-4 times a week.

I didn’t realize the “Plus” would be so…plussy.

My favorite studios, Eden and Fitmix, are bright, clean, airy, refreshing, etc etc. Basically, everything you’d expect from the #1 workout of the fro-yo/$12 juice set. (Myself included. Hi, Yogurtland. Hi, Juice Served Here’s #15.)

The traditional reformer might look a little like a medieval torture device with its straps, bands, and springs, but the soft grays and light woods of Eden’s and Fitmix’s machines soften the sadistic aesthetic.

There is nothing soft about CPP. (Including this woman’s boobs.)

That infomercial-ready signage covers the entire left wall of the studio. This has to be some sort of parody on LA workout trends, right? Right??

TBD.

CPP’s roided-up take on the reformer is called a megaformer. What’s the difference? As far as I can tell, the only real difference is that the megaformer makes you feel like you might not be cool/strong enough to use it. I have friends – friends who never talk about their workout fetishes – who have recently come out of the closet as megaformer evangelists, speaking of it with a Crossfitter-type reverence. Online article after online article waxes poetic on its superpowers. Amazingly, none of these endorsements include any actual specifics on actual/miraculous physical differences between this machine and the OG. What they do focus on is the aggravated intensity of the megaformer workout.

Welp. I guess we’re about to find out.

I spend the first three minutes of class staring at the megaformer in confusion. Most of the standard mechanisms are hidden, making it much less intuitive to set-up and use. This delay does not go over well with my very muscular instructor, whom we shall call Mr. Boot Camp, if only to relay the fervor of his demeanor.  

MBC: ARE YOU READY ARE YOU IN IT ARE YOU SET UP HAVE YOU EVER DONE THIS BEFORE?

(This barking takes place approximately three inches from my face, but I still have trouble making out some of the words over the bass-heavy jams blaring from the speakers.)

Me: Yeah, well I mean, I do, like old-school Pil –.

I stammer as I stumble on the shifting carriage.

MBC: THIS ISN’T OLD-SCHOOL PILATES. ARE YOU READY TO SWEAT? BECAUSE IF YOU’RE NOT READY TO SWEAT –.

He leans down to make adjustments on my megaformer, leaving that ultimatum unfinished.

If I’m not, I should what? Leave? Don’t tempt me. Also what makes you think I’m not ready to get schweddy, Sir?? I was an athlete. Once upon a time. Two decades ago.

I am offended and annoyed, but also feel a deep desire to prove myself. Hello, high school insecurities, so nice to see you again. He shows me how to adjust the knobs on the machine. One of these knobs immediately strips off half my thumbnail. This is not starting off well.

It gets slightly better a few songs in. Most of the exercises are the same as my “old-school” classes, but I dig the newly athletic vibe. And MBC stops accosting me for a while, letting me do my own thing in the back row.

Mid-class, MBC switches tactics and slips into that I-Know-What-Your-Body-Needs thing trainers love so much.

MBC: Do you have pain right here in your lower back?

Me: What?

It’s still so hard to hear over the unce unce unce.

MBC: You have pain right here in your lower back, don’t you?

I rack my brain. Do I? I don’t think I do, but somehow it seems like the right answer is yes. I nod my head.

MBC: I knew it. I could tell from the way you walk.

From the way I walk? How the f*ck am I walking? Cool, something else to weirdly obsess over. This is just fantastic.

He pushes me down into the deepest front lunge I’ve ever done, maxing out my hip flexor’s [lack of] flexibility.

MBC: This will help. Hate me now and love me later.

Step one down. I'll keep you posted on step two.

When it comes time to switch to the other leg, I’m feeling pretty decent about things. I’ve got the machine figured out, I know what’s coming next, my muscles are nice and warm…

MBC: It’s easier on this side isn’t it?

I nod, feeling quite self-satisfied.

MBC: That’s because what one side of your body lacks, the other side makes up for. Remember how weak this leg was right here?

He looks up at me, waiting for a response. All signs of satisfaction, self and otherwise, have left my face. I nod. Yes, I remember the pathetic feebleness of my right inner thigh, thank you so much for asking.

Onto the outer thighs we go! I can do this movement all day – or at least I thought I could. Apparently I’ve been doing it wrong my entire Pilates career.

MBC comes sprinting over in horror.

MBC: No, squeeze it. Squeeze it out. SQUEEZE IT OUT. Look at me, look at me.

I look at him, caught somewhere between an urge to punch him and running to hide in the corner.

MBC: Think about a snake.

Me: A what?

MBC: A snake. Think about a snake.

I think about a snake. Said thought doesn’t go very far. MBC can tell.

MBC: Think about it – if a snake couldn’t squeeze its prey, it would starve, right?

I think about it. Sure, I guess? I’m not really up on the snake’s wilderness meal plan. I guess I sort of assumed they could get something with their fangs, too – or that each breed of snake might be different. Like garter snakes – those sweet little guys couldn’t possibl –

He interrupts this significantly longer thought process to bring me back to the crisis at hand.

MBC: The snake needs to squeeze its prey, right?

I nod, because I’m pretty sure yes is the only option here. MBC pats the cushy area on the outside of my thigh.

MBC: This is the prey. Squeeze that prey. If you want to get rid of it, you have to squeeze it.

He just referred to my, erm, wobbly bits as prey. Ok, fair. But who’s the snake in this scenario? Clearly, I haven’t been starving – I mean, I think that “prey” makes that pretty clear.

While I mull this over in my head, the booming beat comes to a stop. Class is over.

Holy f*ck I survived. I won’t say I thrived, but I will say I’m a big fan of the 45-minute situation. I thought for sure we had another 15 coming our way.  I can feel the Stockholm Syndrome already beginning to set in.

ironyfreemodellawyer and I wipe our machines and leave class, unsure if that was the absolute best or absolute worst experience of our lives.

The next day, back in my beloved Fitmix class, I find myself squatting lower, sweating more, and yes, even squeezing the f*ck out of that prey.

Ok, MBC, I get it.

See you next week.

WARNING: TALL GIRL AHEAD

Apparently, a vintage truck does not provide clear enough perspective - next time I'm standing in front of a measuring tape. 

Existing as a private, membership-based dating app populated by the kings and queens of Instagram, Raya is cool, hip, and always chill AF. (The kind of chill that shows just how DGAF it is about everything by doing things like abbreviating six letter metaphor vehicles.)

In keeping with this VSCO lens on life, user profiles are clean, filtered, and devoid of any extra information. Standard personal stat bubbles that clutter the pages of more mainstream (read: lame) dating sites have been replaced by a single blank box – a canvas for Raya’s artsy souls to paint whatever picture of themselves they think might intrigue/attract potential suitors. For many such souls, this does not seem to include much. A guesstimated (because I can’t be bothered with things like numbers) (what, I’m a dreamer, not a mathematician, GD) 90% of the profiles I’ve come across have absolutely nothing written/or emoji-ed in that space.

Fine, whatever – I don’t need to hear about your vinyl collection or the fact that you’re just looking for someone you can laugh your way through life with, but can a girl get some basic facts?? Like, possibly…your height?

For some reason, a fair number of dudes seem to view this as an inane request. The few times I’ve seen it listed, said lister has qualified the number with some version of an eye-roll. “Since it seems to be such a big deal to some of you…”

Is height a big deal? I mean, it’s not the biggest deal. No one’s dying over it, at least not as far as I know*. But are we all really supposed to pretend it doesn’t factor into our realm of attraction in any way, shape, or form? I, personally, think I have a right to know ahead of time if a date’s going to end with a man standing en pointe to hug my waist. (Mostly because I have a certain proclivity toward crop tops and that’s a little too much skin on skin action for a first date. I’m not that kind of girl.**)

Fortunately, just when I thought I was secretly popping crazy pills (and wondering what they were/how I could get some more of them), two vertically-challenged Raya clients stepped forward to show me that there are at least a couple short dudes out there who don’t want to be surprised by my lanky a$$ either.

VCRC1:

VCRC1 and I had been talking for weeks. We covered all of our hopes, fears, darkest secrets, etc (aka spent the entire time trying to one-up each others’ jokes) when he decided to dig in on the personal Q’s:

VCRC1: Hey, how tall are you?

A quick gander at my profile page would have answered this question for him…

But hey, who am I to judge a lazy right swipe? (I totally judged. But then convinced myself he was too mesmerized by my obvious beauty to do any reading and felt better about the entire situation.)

Me: 5’ 11”

Almost instantaneously, our conversation disappeared. I found myself staring at the main page with all my matches. WTF. It took me several minutes, an iPad restart, and some deep soul searching to realize I had been brutally rebuffed. He had “unmatched” me. Not a word – not even a waving hand emoji. Just gone. My ego wanted to be offended, but I had to admit I admired his cutthroat approach. We’re all busy people here; why mince words – or even use them at all?

VCRC2:

VCRC2 and I matched one glorious day last fall. Initial pleasantries faded into a silent winter. At the start of the New Year, VCRC2 picked up right where we left off:

VCRC2: How are you?

Me: Slightly older, just as tall, and hopefully skinnier than the last time we talked?

We spent the next three weeks trading sporadic responses. Finally, he asked if I would like to get a drink. Five days later, I said, yes. Ten days later, he said, “Cool”.

By the time we managed to get off the app and into each other’s phones, we had (very) technically been speaking for six months.  It would be six months and one week before we made it here:

VCRC2: Are you around this weekend?

I know – it’s a beautiful thing to see a miracle in action.

Me: I’m around tomorrow. The rest of the wkend is booked up w baby showers, bdays, and the like.

VCRC2: Maybe we could meet up tom night at some point. You gonna be in weho?

Maybe? WTF does “maybe” mean.

Me: Yeah that would be fun. Close…I’m in Beverly Hills.

VCRC2: Great let me know if you’re free.

Let you know if I’m free? Didn’t I just say – you know what, never mind. Let’s just keep this moving.

VCRC2: Odd question. But how tall are u?

Ahhh THERE IT IS. You have got to be mother*cking kidding me. There are three lines on my profile. Three. Wouldn’t these dudes want to do a quick scan of the written portion of my social exam, if only to discern that I’m not a complete idiot/have a basic grasp on words/grammar before inviting me out on the town? Apparently not. Again, I totally judged. But then convinced myself that in addition to looking super pretty in my carefully selected assortment of photos, I also look super smart. And then I felt better about the entire situation. (Except for that 'u'. How lazy do you have to be to chop off the y and the o? They're on the same exact keyboard line. Criminy, the y is right next door. I digress.) 

Me: 5’11”

VCRC2: Oh wow. Really really tall.

Me: Haha are you not really really tall?

VCRC2: I’m def not. I’m shorter than you. Prob 5’10” or ‘11”.

Probably?

Me: Haha you don’t know your own height?

VCRC2: I grow every year.

So 5’7”. Cool.

At this point, I don’t know how to respond. Are we still doing this? It feels weird to be like, ok so we should probably just call this, then, no? Especially after it’s taken us more than six months to get to this juncture. And who knows, maybe we’ll totally bond on a friend vibe and turn out to be BFF homies for life.

I decide to sleep on it. Mostly in hopes that he’d be the one to put the kibosh on the whole situation. (I have a lot of friends already.) 

At 1:37pm the next day, I decide it’s probably a good idea to clarify our (non?) plans for the evening.

Me: Haha well if you still want to meet up at some point, I should be done w things around 8p.

VCRC2: Don’t you want a guy taller than you?

YES, YES I DO.

Me: Haha yes, but that feels so rude to say.

Because, you know, I secretly think that all diminutive men are harboring nothing but shame over their shortcoming(s).

VCRC2: Well then there you go.

There you go indeed. We end on a positive note – he tells me to let him know if I have any shorter friends for him, I tell him to do the same on the tall and broad-shouldered front, he says that’s highly unlikely because he doesn’t hang out with many meatheads, I say eh to each their own.

And then I go over to my (equally tall) best friend’s apartment for a Netflix binge fest, because every story deserves a happy ending. (And at least one collar bone to collar bone hug.)

*If you do know someone who is/has/was, please let me know. I’m always on the lookout for new and different hypothetical events to be unreasonably terrified of.
**To my friends who are like, “Dude, Stace, don’t pretend you don’t love making out on date 1/every date in general.” Fair point, but I always have ‘em keep those hands where I can see ‘em, if you know what I mean. K almost aways. ... (You know who you are.)