Two Steps Forward, Three Steps Back

“We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.” – Anais Nin

Found this quote while dancing around the interwebs and it just stuck with me.

Newly 40 and figuring out what that means for me. The actual day and week went off swimmingly. Better than I had imagined. By that point, I had freaked out enough where I was unable to actually have real expectations. Hurrah for freaking out!

But now it’s been a week of settling into this new decade and I wonder how far I’ve actually come. Before the blessed event, I had asked a few pals how they dealt with this particular birthday. Some spazzed out for a good year. Some were too busy dealing with things like babies to notice. Figures I would not have reacted like either. Guess we all move to the beat of our own drum.

Still, we all notice the new aches and literal pains of aging. Things don’t work the way they used to and yet my mind is still as spark-filled as it was when I was in my 20s except I have a bit more life experience and wisdom under my belt.

Me and two of my gal pals were discussing the big 4-0 and it felt good. It felt good cuz we had essentially grown up together. Our lives could not be more different but I met these two when I turned 18. We grew up together. We became women together. We reminisced about the horrifying and the sublime and realized that no matter, we came out the better end. Suffice to say, we were entering our 40s with some degree of elegance and intelligence.

Or so I thought.

I’ve always wondered a little if I am a bit of a drama queen. I would say a little bit more than some but less so than others. If anything, I’m a very emotional being and that has its own set of pros and cons.

Over the years I’ve learned to cut out the fat. The things I don’t like or don’t want, I get rid of. It isn’t even so much that those things are toxic…it’s just I don’t want it. And so no more. That hasn’t changed a lot over the years. If anything, it’s just a part of who I am. A friend recently told me that anyone who knows me shouldn’t necessarily be surprised by lack of tolerance for certain things. That’s a very kind way of putting it.

I’m not a cruel person but I can be mean. For a fairly empathetic person, I can be surprisingly unsympathetic depending on the situations. Shockingly, I’ve never thought too in depth about what does or what doesn’t stir the pot. But recently my pot has been stirred and I’ve been politely told to pay attention to why that is.

There are certain elements I have never had much patience for. If I spot it in a person, it’s an automatic turn off. If those same weaknesses are aimed toward me, I become the ultimate disappearing act, leaving only a trail of thinly veiled disdain. I haven’t really had to deal with such goings ons for awhile. But life is cyclical. And shit comes back and you have to figure out how you will deal with it all over again.

Apparently Mercury is in retrograde and beyond the technical difficulties this planetary alignment causes, it also is a lot of revisiting past issues or people and how you react to that. Fuck you Mercury.

This is a part of personality I thought I could be better than. The bit of trying to be less cruel and not fester and not let things snowball. Yet I find the drama queen from my youth has taken over my 40 year old body and I am having a hard time letting things go. Shit felt claustrophobic and bad and rightfully or wrongfully, the focus of my disdain became a huge focus of bizarre stress.

At this point, I know this much. When things feel bad, you have to process and then let it out in as healthy a way you can. Or at least let it out so that you can become healthy again. I did and I’m still wondering when the good part will start to kick in. I was honest and I believe nothing bad can come from that. But being honest doesn’t always feel good, especially when you believe some part of your feels is irrational.

And yet that’s how I do feel. And if I’m going to be ok, then I have to put me above the rest. I still beat myself up for it cuz it feels selfish and unkind. But having gone down this road before, I also know I could be worse and I don’t want that either.

So it brings me back to the quote. I’ve grown up in so many ways and been shocked at my growing emotional intelligence in dealing with so many more stressful things and yet…and yet. As much as things change, what stays the same?

There is a very stubborn part of me that doesn’t really want to change this aspect of myself. To me, it’s how I eliminate unwanted elements in my life. Everyone has a way of placing boundaries of what they want and don’t want. I guess for this moment, I felt like it was out of my hands because it was tied to something I was trying so hard to preserve. I felt I was made a party to something I never wanted any part of. I was too old for this shit and yet here I was…fucking listening to shit I didn’t need. I grew resentful and created a snowball effect. I needed it to stop so I did what I needed to do.

Still, I struggle. I wonder how old I actually am. In the metaphorical sense. Am I being childish and repugnant? Or am I just simply taking care of myself? Feelings rarely have any rhyme or reason to them. It’s all so fluid. And it’s one of the things I have actually eased into. That feelings aren’t always just one thing or the other but all of the colors all at once, whether they match or don’t.

I have stopped trying to control those things. And yet there are still things I seek to control and my happy place was feeling invaded. It all just felt bad.

Here I sit in my mess of emotions, trying to glean what I am able to change and what I am not. Some things are inherently who I am. I think part of me felt threatened by the fact that I had to adjust. As much as I am willing to be malleable, I don’t think any of us like being made to change against their will. Stubborn. That’s never fucking changing.

Friends will encourage and always uphold the fact that you are who you are. Fundamentally, I can only be myself (even as I slowly mature). And yet I have always wondered if that isn’t something that I should improve upon too. While being accepted for me is great…is this also a call to change something that needs to be less aggressive?

Considering the source of my aggravation, I feel the desire to greet that with an adamant FUCK NO. But I also believe in evolving and shifting with the tides. Whatever this person triggered is part of something else greater than this situation and it’s up to me to figure out what I want to do with that.

Currently the feels are too high and avoidance is my remedy of choice. Eventually that cannot be and I’ll have to face the music. Just right now, I don’t really want to take on more than I am able. And I’d prefer to not have any encounters in the near future.

That is allowed I suppose. A part of me wonders if that’s immature. But I think at this point, letting resentment fester and never voicing the pain would be far more damaging to relationships I don’t actually want to disintegrate. Sigh. Being mature sometimes feels so fucking backwards. It doesn’t feel like I’m being kind. It just makes me feel like I’m a deeply stubborn and horrible person. Or maybe I’m just a person who needs her fucking space but a fucking dipshit of a situation.

I feel like I have such kind friends and they would handle all of this far better than I would. Sit and smile and not let it get under their skin. Alas, my feels have always been so transparent that you’d have better luck trying to change a leopard’s spots. Comparison is, as always, a losing game.

Accepting oneself as oneself is one thing…but when is it a call to change and when is it just time to fully own up this is one of the not so awesome things about you?

Honestly, it’s somewhere in the middle. I don’t think I am able to change in a fundamental way, nor do I think I should. My instincts have guided me well in life thus far and I don’t feel the need to disregard just for one incident. But I have to show greater compassion for the shit at hand since I’m not the only person this affects. If anything, all of this is tangential to me (which also makes me feel more frustrated at my own behavior). Ugh!

Compromise is a bitch. And I’m still working it out. We’ll see how it goes. Do I think it’ll all be happily ever after? Not likely. I’m not that good. But a comfortable medium would suffice. Just not quite now. Maybe later. Much, much later. See? Still stubborn.


On the Edge…

Been going through some emotions and needed some clarity and realized I haven’t visited in awhile. And if anything,writing always seemed to clarify something. And if it didn’t do that, it allowed some sort of release. So here we go.

I’ve been wondering if turning 40 (in a few hours!!!) would affect me in any real way. For the most part this year, I’ve been of the usual looking forward to the birthday celebrations in a possibly borderline unhealthy way. But hey, I love a good party.

Well, since this month has started (just a lil over a week), it has been a bit of a personal hell. For the first time in a very very long time, I just didn’t want to be near people. I needed alone time and I needed it badly.

There is no doubt I have an empathic personality. And considering past experiences, I can see how that can be helpful and harmful to my own personal health. Last week, it might have reached a breaking point without me realizing it…until I was at my breaking point.

Everyone had problems and so I did what I do – I listened and I advised (if I was able). For the most part, I was cool and collected and relatively alcohol free while listening. Maybe that was my mistake…

Honestly, I didn’t feel so deeply affected by all the drama going on around me. But maybe unconsciously, I was slowly unraveling due to exhaustion. I think I just forgot about me for a minute. So I went into hibernation and I’m finally feeling like I’m at the tail end of it.

As for the impending birthday (tick tock), I’m feeling slightly anxious about it. A week ago, I felt good. No matter the number, I’ve never felt this good mentally or physically. And if anything, this year has tried to test some of my mettle. I’ve learned to find better coping mechanisms and pushing my way through a lot of annoying challenges I had managed to avoid for a better part of a decade.

Yet it has all been for the better. I needed to be healthier and face things I didn’t want to. Professionally and personally. And the funny thing, once I decided to approach it head on, it wasn’t as bad as the anticipation of it. Still, it tries my patience. Still, I persevere. What else can I do? Give up? Not in my nature.

Lots of random realizations/confirmations during this weekend.

  1. I have wonderful fucking friends. They’re trustworthy solid citizens and without them as my base of support, i have no idea what life would be without them in it. And since some celebrating has started already, the amount of love and care I feel from my loved ones…there is no other way to put it but #blessed.
  2. As much as I care, I gotta be me and that means putting me above the rest to I can keep going. Exhaustion is real. Emotional. Physical. And crying is a good release. Forever and a day.
  3. I act my age (for the most part). I have been hanging with some younger folks lately and I found a group that is delightfully mature. But truth, they still got a learning curve I’ve already gone through. There are always more learning curves in life but I also don’t need to do repeats. I appreciate where they are at. But I appreciate even more how far I’ve come from that. Sometimes it feels like I’m watching a re-run except it’s not my life and yet I still know all the nuances and steps coming up. The thing is…I’m just learning that everyone has to figure out their own way. I guess growing up for me meant some measure of patience. Who knew?
  4. Bluntness. I remember a long time ago my friend said something about how kids like me just are afraid to ask. And now…I know what that means. I still have fears. I still have anxieties. But instead of cowering, I feel more empowered to just face them. Why wonder when you can simply ask for the answer? When I was younger, asking for what I wanted seemed far scarier. But now I look at it and wonder, if I ask for what I want, what’s the worst that can happen? That I can’t get it? That someone leaves? And my answer to that…well at least I know and from there, I can at least begin to move on. To each her own timeline but I just want to keep moving forward.
  5. Allowing myself the room to stand still.
  6. I love being around people but sometimes even if the party isn’t close to over, I need to go home. Me before you so I can be there for you. Pretty much it.

I was walking one day after some mildly irritating incident and I had a revelatory thought. Well, not that relevatory but pretty good. The gist is this. Life is long enough that it allows us enough time to heal through many of our wounds. But life is also short and unexpected enough that we need to figure out what actually matters to us and make the most of it. It’s this contradiction that we are constantly trying to negotiate and balance that we call living.

I want to make the most out of my life. And while that can sometimes result in slight cases of FOMO, I’ve learned to be ok with just sitting at home alone. Yes, maybe that might not result in the most amazing story ever told but it’s also what allows me to remain the best parts of me and to process the parts that aren’t as awesome.

Still, you can’t have one without the other. The yin without the yang. The balance is ever fluctuating and I’m forever trying to not fall off the beam. And yet, at this point in my life, I think sometimes falling off the trail isn’t always such a bad thing…just as long as you can pick yourself back up and try, try again.

To my 30s…the decade in which I have started to become my best self. My most unrepentant self. My most confident self. My most assured self…so far.

I have no idea what this next decade will bring. Some say it’s a shiny new future. Others say it’s another closer to death. Hoping more for the former.😉 What I do hope for though is continued health and happiness and the ability to continue on the trajectory I am already on…cuz I think it’s a pretty good one.

I’m a little bit terrified. Of what? Not sure. Guess that’s what this next chapter will be about, eh?

Oh shit. It’s happening anyways. Fine. Bring it. This is about as ready as I’m ever fucking going to be.


I Was Gone TEN Minutes!!!

So I am officially 39.  Been that way for about 5 days now. Most exciting. And things are looking pretty good.

On actual birthday day, chilled out, left work early and had a nice dinner with some pals. Then I scooted off to see blondie at the bar to ensure that he will actually be working the night of my bday bar bash (spoiler – he will be). We chatted. hugged, drank and hugged again. Off I went into the night, dressed in pink and pretty heels.

But Tuesday evenings cannot properly celebrate a birthday! Hence the bar bash on Saturday!

Tonight I nurse the hangover that I gladly earned from last night’s festivities.

What happened you ask? I, too, would like to remember and I do…slowly. It’s coming back. In bits and pieces. The highlights!

  1. Pals kept arriving all evening long. Started at 5pm and got home around 2am.
  2. Blondie was there! As was Eurotrash and the rest of the gang – who all somehow knew it was my birthday (was there a news bulletin?)
  3. The bar regulars were there and were more determined than my friends to make sure I had a drink in hand at all times. And it was also fun to see them mix with my non-bar buddies.
  4. F27 showed up, albeit briefly. The boy tends to forget things. In the midst of drunken haze, I sent a reminder text – “Come. By.” And well, he did. But only for five minutes. Odd boy. He came from his house during the rainy night to greet me, hug me, then head out. WTF. And yet, sweet of him to drop by. And yes, he did forget. Sigh. He’s entertaining, that one.
  5. Also entertaining – I learned that one of the regulars also has dominatrix tendencies. Heard it from F27. Also she crushed on F27. It’s all very exciting – this development! But even more exciting – dom lady hit on me! Did I mention she is bisexual? And I kept forgetting. But last night, I got a taste of her aggressive flirtation and got a nice little proposition. She was intriguing but I remain doubtful of a trip to lady land. However, if the mood strikes…who’s to say.
  6. During my dominatrix proposition time, which took about ten minutes, I returned to my table to find out I was now a host of a Roseanne viewing party complete with Jello Cake and Frito Pie. I have no idea what either thing is and they’re just lucky I like hosting. Within said 10 min, they even sent me a fucking email invite! WTF
  7. My friend bit my arm and she has tiny teeth. Not sure how that came about.
  8. First drink was a shot. But the way shots work when Blondie pours – they’re not 1 ounce, they’re 3. So when I say I did at least 3-4 shots that evening…in addition to other drinky-poos…well, there’s a reason this is hangover for champions!
  9. Blondie chilled with us and he served me my last drink. And the minute I sipped it, I remember looking at him and we both knew. THIS. This was the drink that finally did me in. I paced myself properly.
  10. I’m fucking 39 and my 40th party is gonna be EPIC.

So bottom line – it was a GOOD FUCKING BDAY. And I looked fab!😉 Win! Win!


So A Girl Walks Into a Bar…

Summer is nearly over and the only thing that is perhaps a little worse for the wear is my liver. In other words – it’s been a great summer!

I’ve never been one for the heat or these particular months. If I had to choose between winter and summer, I would be one of the rare ones – give me winter. Maybe not a Canadian or midwestern winter but I’ll usually pick winter.

I digress..

This summer has been odd mostly because I haven’t spent most or much of it at all with my actual friends. Instead, I’ve been busily frequenting my bar and making random friends every weekend. The cast seems to change every day and the stalwarts are the staff and me (and some other regulars).

Thing is while I think I am a good friend, I can also be a moody lady. Most don’t really notice cuz I’ve learned one thing – when I’m in that mode, I simply avoid.

Most of my pals this summer have been scattered and traveling about – not really around or they’re stuck in their neck of the woods and cannot bear the heat. Also, since finding my new perch, I’ve felt less of a need to seek out my friends in order to have a good time. If anything ,I’ve learned that maybe I’m better on my own (for now).

I don’t want to sound ungrateful regarding my pals but lately, I just feel a bit anti-social. Everyone has so many “things” in their lives and I’m feeling increasingly sensitive to their particular stresses. And I just need a break.

I’ve always had a tendency to emotionally identify and take on other people’s woes. It’s never really them, it’s just my nature. As I get older, it gets harder to live with. And I’ve had to learn to deal with it. In part it’s through avoidance but mostly, it’s knowing that I have limits and I need to respect them before anyone else can.

With this summer reprieve, it’s been gloriously swell to basically first date the shit out of the local bar patrons. Every night I hit the bar, I’ve ended up in a conversation with someone somewhat interesting. Even if it’s just absolute bullshit, it’s been great. Why? Cuz it makes me feel like I’m still engaging in the world while I’m not completely invested in the person. But hey, if I see them again, I’ll have a ready smile.

But no scenario is perfect. Being such a big time regular at the bar, I’m bound to be privy to the goings on at the joint. The mini dramas amongst the staff and such. And here is where I am learning to practice my liberation. I see but I do not involve myself AT ALL. It’s absolutely perfect.

Also perfect – Blondie! He’s the best type of bartender. Loves comping me booze. Nothing too deep. Always has a smile and is happy to see me. While all this sounds so perfectly surface, perhaps it is but I know there is also a genuine affection there too. In fact, I feel a bit of affection for all the people who work there. They’ve made me feel less self conscious and welcome when I was unsure of actually being the lone girl at the bar. Being there, on my own, I think I’ve tapped into my social confidence again (and I didn’t realize it was missing).

I’ve gone with a few friends but on those days, it’s just a little bit different. There is something about being on my own that I can be the version of me that isn’t tied to expectation of anyone who KNOWS me. Surely, I’m still the same girl but I’m also allowing myself to roam and allowing others to approach me, which honestly never happens when I’m with a friend.

It’s such an oddity. I’ve always felt so much more comforted if I went to bars, etc with a friend – a wingman and all that. But nowadays as the lone chick, I do not lack for companionship. Truthfully, mostly I end up chatting with couples and women but that’s more than ok. I’m not on a mission to find my true love. For me, right now, it’s about creating and sending out positive energy and getting it back.

I’m not discounting my friends either. I love them. I do. And need them. But their schedules move differently than mine. This summer, he bar has enabled me to find my own rhythm and to beat my own drum at my own pace. I still love meeting up, etc but when I cannot depend on them, I know I can depend on that lovely establishment. For a bar girl like myself, I never really had a local watering hole but maybe I was just waiting for the right one.

My friend told me that perhaps I was on the right track. To end my singledom? I dunno. Most of the people in my hood tend to be married etc. Still, he told me this – online is fine and dandy but for a girl like me, I do better in a setting. I do better face to face cuz that’s when my personality blooms and looms brightest. And if I’m the girl at the bar who has the good energy about her (aka not the sad lonely girl but the happily buzzed fun girl) then I will naturally be the honey to the right type of bees.

While romantically, things have been off kilter and not entirely successful – I will admit that when there have been single men at said bar, I have had…offers. Mostly ones that needed to be turned down but that’s neither here nor there. The odds are more in my favor than they currently are anywhere else. Not only that, I feel a bit more emboldened in my flirt repertoire. I’m finding a new sort of ease in a part of my personality. Constantly speaking to strangers releases a bit of inhibition. I can feel a more relaxed version of myself when I’m there and it’s not entirely due to the consumption of alcohol. It’s simply that I’ve found a second home.

Being around the staff and my beloved bartenders, I feel rejuvenated. Like a part of me I took for granted was coming back out again and seeing it from fresh perspectives (these relative strangers who now see me more than anyone else save my co-workers) gives me a renewed sense of self. Maybe the timing of it is just good. Or maybe this bar is slightly magical for me. Either way, it feels good to sit my ass on that stool every weekend and it feels good to walk the few blocks home w a slightly wonky spring to my step.

Things just feel good. So let’s keep going with that.


Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Things going on this summer – I have officially found a local bar that is MINE. After 15 fucking years of living in this city, I have discovered a bar I can call my second home. A miracle? Maybe. But more like an unbelievable idea considering my affinity for bartenders and booze. Alas, a late bloomer in all aspects of life. (But I retain a willingness to make up for lost time ;))

Lately, I have been under a certain type of madness. Would like to blame it on the monthly woes but really, it’s just impatience and lack of empathy. Actually, it might be more a case of over-empathy and I need a time out.

Whether people know it or not, they can be energy sucks. I don’t think they realize it. I don’t even think most people who know me recognize how very susceptible I am to their emotions and turmoil. In the past few years, I’ve realized a need for boundaries in order to keep my sanity.

These boundaries aren’t necessarily known but something that keeps me in check. I have a tendency to get “involved” and care “more” than I should when it comes to the drama of those around me. Some of it stems from my own tendency toward the grand passions but moreover, I tend to want to help and fix cuz it’s always easier to see things in a clearer light than when you in the midst of the mess.

But my “tendency” created way too many issues for me. The energy drain. The “suck” of it all. These weren’t my problems. And they won’t be.

Learning to care but only within reason is my new goal. When I catch myself going overboard, I check myself out of the situation. And if it’s someone I really care for, I”ll say my piece, if they are open to it, then walk away. It’s better for me and better for them.

However, old habits are hard to break.

I realize where my tendency stems from. It always comes from a place of love. Wanting my loved ones to be better, feel better, do better. Yet the sad truth is, sometimes, they don’t want to. And other times, it’s that they need to figure that out themselves (the hard way) and I can only watch from the sidelines and hope they make it to the other side (they usually do).

I do not seek to be an unfeeling person nor do I think I’ll ever stop doling out advice. But it’s knowing when my frustrations and sensitivity to situations get the best of me.

Currently, I am semi suffering from that but instead of feeling particularly down, I feel increasingly angry. When that happens, it’s best to not be around any sort of energy suck situations/people. It’s all a combo of I do not have time for this shit, grow the fuck up and learn to just make a decision and live with it. Seriously, I am giving zero fucks to people as of late.

Lately, I’m becoming so much more aware that this life is short and we need to make the best of it. Fear dictates so much of what stops us. Now, some things should be stopped (aka murder) but other things should be given a decent shot (fill in the blank). And all I hear is the reasons why not instead of reasons why.

It’s not like I’m saying yes to everything either – I think I’ve made enough of my own mistakes to earn the right to say no. I’m not sure where I am in terms of this carpe diem lifestyle. Excuses? I have a few and I am excellent and justifying them. But I am also at this point where I’m ready to pounce and yet I am still figuring out where to direct this energy. I am brimming with excess and nowhere to concentrate it. Is that the next step? Or is this my normal occurrence. I’m a spark looking for a place to plug in. Always. Looking.

I’ve definitely felt a distinct change in my life this year. Mentally. Some things have been relieved and let go of and I’m trying to let go of the rest. It’s a funny thing though – I do feel incredibly lucky too. Seems that when you do open yourself up the universe, the universe will respond kindly and with the right words to kick my mind/ass into action.

Got a whole lot of info thrown at me a few weeks ago (all good, really) but still trying to decipher what to make of it and how to make the most of it.

My current plan is to just let go, let flow and hope there’s a lot of liquor on the way. I always do a bit better when I’m imbibing.


The Lack

A brief thought.

Had a lot of food for thought this past week but a lovely, small one came ’round my brain’s way.

Lacking usually implies something negative and yet I felt momentarily nostalgic. Was watching something on the telly and it stirred a memory.

One of the sweetest joys of being with someone (assuming some degree of mutual adoration) is the lack of barriers. Whatever that physical and/or emotional thing between two people. Whatever politeness. Whatever timidity. The disappearance of that.

I miss that. I love that.


In the Land of Zero Fucks!

About two weeks ago, I was left to my own devices. End of May and everyone was out of town. Well, by everyone, I mean my usual gal crew (one was in town but had prior engagement and other was out of town) was unavailable.

It was an absolutely gorgeous day AND I just got my hair done. Don’t know about you but the hair is did, it must be paraded out into the world to be admired. My hair girl deserves that recognition!

So, I opted for a day out on my own in my hood. Read a book. Went to a new restaurant and ate alone (rarity!). Then decided to go grab a drink…a cocktail, if you will, at the only bar in the UWS that mixes a decent drink. Oh, and on the way, I saw Tina Fey. What?! you say? Well, it was random sighting and maybe she lives around here. Basically I saw a stroller with a 10 year old large child in it and in my head, I was wondering what sort of spoiled people they were. Sure enough a more age stroller appropriate child was also in tow – the sisters simply switched spots. Anyways…the kids were Tina’s and I passed by her. For a brief moment, I passed by a genius. Swoon!

Anyways, I made it to said bar. First off, noticed there were cute bartenders – we shall call him Blondie (for obvious reasons) and the other we shall name Eurotrash (also for obvious reasons). As sunny and bright as Blondie was, Eurotrash looked like he was on a bender and going for another one soon enough. Both had their own appeal. And both were fantastic bartenders. First drink was by Blondie who was super affable and quite a cheery fellow. Never seen a bartender THIS sunny EVER. Just peppy. It was odd but welcome. Mixed a great drink and he was super good with water service. These things matter. He was superb.

During the first drink, I just people watched and read my book. I’d read then glance up and then read then glance up. Good times. I was debating a second drink when Euro appeared before me and suggested some follow ups. Who am I to say no? Second drink – done! In the meantime, I also notice there is a cute waiter. Maybe it’s obvious but why the hell are there so many attractive people in this bar right now? UGH!

More of the same and at least an hour passes. Third drink – Blondie is up and convinces me that I need another. Also, we start to bond over the fact that we both loved Mad Max. I think “bro out” might be an appropriate term here. Anyways, I haven’t lost my touch cuz drink 3 is officially comped. Cha-ching. And now the floodgates have opened and me and Blondie are on our way to being BFF. Oh let me also mention that he has a girlfriend – they saw Mad Max together.

Was I bummed? Honestly, not so much. Most attractive men at this point in my life are taken. So I just roll with it. And to some extent, it takes any bizarro pressure off cuz now I can just solidify our bartender/customer relationship as now he will be my new BFF who serves me drinks in my hood. Boom! Goal is now in my sights for tonight.

More random maneuverings tonight. One shift is over and there are transitions happening. Euro is on his way out and Blondie is closing out the bar tonight. I’m sitting happily and chumming it up. All smiles. All cheer. Euro sits next to me for a bit and we chat it up a little but he has a lady friend at the bar. Also vaguely eastern European sad and clearly, they are made for one another. Alas, as I said…not a surprise.

But beyond Euro, Waiter sits down. Guess his shift is done too and he’s eating. Euro leaves for the night and I spy Waiter. I ask him if his shift is indeed over. He says yes. Then proceeds to order two shots. I’m a little fuzzy but lucid at this point and wonder, hmmm…is one for me? Or did the guy have a bad night. My game is revving up people cuz the extra shot is indeed for me! Hurrah and high fives to me all around. And all it took was asking if the guy was off? Seriously? WTF?! But complain I shall not.

And now Waiter is suddenly next to me. At this point, I’m 2.5 drinks deep and realizing that a shot is a bad idea. But I’m not always sensible and I hate turning down a free drink so down that brown liquor went. And hellooooo! We chat it up for a little bit. He’s sweet. Young (gah). An actor (kill me). Make that a student actor (seriously…stab me). And he doesn’t own a wallet (best not to ask why). And with all these red flags waving, I trudged on. Mostly cuz I didn’t really give a damn about any of those things and also he was good and thoughtful company.

Naturally we talked about movies (hello, my ultimate wheelhouse) and theater (my wheelhouse’s mistress). Basically, we were in my zone and I was owning it. I rarely say this but I know when I’m on fire and I know when I’m not. That night, I was at my ultimate best. And I wasn’t wasted and I wasn’t a crazy drunk nutter. I was just awesome and charming and funny and even though the liquor continued to flow, the conversation never found any stop. It was fluid and lovely.

And it nearly stopped after 30 minutes. He then got up and was about to head up. Backpack in tow, he was giving me the goodbye greeting. In my mind, I was like – really? Cuz I thought we had flow here. But in the land of giving no fucks, I didn’t care too much and was happy for the brief company. Except then I mentioned I had watched this set of films (all 300 titles) which made him pause, look at me for a beat then proceed to put his backpack down. Then he said, “Well then, we have a lot more to talk about.” And so we did – for another 5 hours until closing.

Now, during all my chit chat with Waiter, let us not forget about Blondie. Whatever might or might not occur with Waiter, Blondie is my forever ticket. I am a loyal gal and if a man/woman mixes me a swell cocktail, well our bond is a sacred union. I was not going to spoil that. At my peak moments, I was chatting up Waiter furiously, employing the much bandied about touching/flirting crap while also making sure Blondie knew of my affections for his bar tending skills. And yes, I scored another shot off him. And I might have ordered one more. The total count – 6. And I was more than steady on my feet.

So what did me and Waiter boy chat about for 5 hours? A little bit of everything and nothing. It was just good. And fun. And it had been SUCH a long time that I felt so winning in the company of strangers. And regardless of the future, they were NICE strangers.

Bet you’re wondering how old Waiter is…yeah I was too but I didn’t want to ask. I will admit there were moments when we would mention shows or movies that basically came out when I was in college or high school and he would mention he was in grade school. Inside, I cried a little. Outside, I just took another sip.

Blondie actually asked Waiter his age. And from this point on, we are naming him Forever 27 (F27). Yep. A full 11 years younger. Inside, I cry. Outside, a very large sip.

That said, I had been bouncing around in my brain the idea of dating, etc a fella in his 20s and I had somewhat come to terms that it might be a good idea. Ya know…for flings and such. Less attachment. More fun. It’s a new mode I’m in and he was my test drive. I found myself caring a little about his age but not caring enough. As for my age, I never hid it but he also didn’t ask. Although at one point, if he just did math, I’m pretty sure he can figure out I’m closer to 40 than he is to 30. Whatever.

No fucks given. This is the mantra tonight. I was just gonna be. And it felt good.

Anyways, closing time and time to go. F27 asked if I wanted him to walk me home. I accepted. Let me take a mini break here to break down my emotions at this point. Normally, I would have been a bit more nervous or odd. While I wondered what he might do upon delivering me to my abode, for once, I felt very much in the present. That whatever was to happen, I simply wanted to enjoy it. It was that sort of night.

I would also say we didn’t have enormous sexual charge or tension. If anything, it just felt really relaxed and comfortable. I’m not a touchy gal initially but I found playfully touching him or what not was actually really natural. I never had to think too hard about it or about how I was appearing. He was charmed by me and I knew it. And I tried to let him know I felt the same. To me, this is a huge step. I’ve never felt I had much game but something snapped in me that night or maybe it’s been building. I just didn’t give a damn. I was enjoying the connection.

While the age thing wash’t much of a barrier at this point, I was definitely aware of it. And for the first time, I actually felt like I was more in control of the situation because of my elder status and that felt…empowering.

When we arrived at my building, we stood outside and just looked at each other. I don’t even know if I waited a second or not but I just asked him if he wanted my number. I was in no mood for games and after all that time, it seemed like the natural step. Maybe I should have waited for him to ask for it but whatever, he’s 27 and has no wallet and why can’t I instigate? Felt good. Felt right. Done. He said yes and we exchanged numbers. Then I got a hug. A really chaste nothing hug.

Hmmmm…really??!!

So I dawdled. I texted him a reminder to watch a movie I love. As I do this, I notice he moved closer. In my head, I thought…ALRIGHT NOW. This is more like it. Now I get hug #2, which is vastly VASTLY different and for lack of a better word…touchier. And entirely welcome. Kissing then ensued. I think we both went in at the same time. Soon I found myself pressed up against a wall (word to the men folk out there – this is pretty much a can’t fail move. Every gal pal I told this to hummed in total approval – so thumbs up F27 – well done!).

Anyways, for someone so initially shy, he took my green light and ran with it. Boldly so. Suffice it to say he scored an invite up the pad and it was…lovely. Awkward, humorous and odd but I kinda enjoyed it for its sheer comedy of errors. To clear it up – we did not round all the bases (no home runs here) but we rounded enough of them. Also of note, the holding back was more his idea than mine. Now I didn’t really think much of this at the time but in subsequent retellings, my gay friend and some other pals considered this slightly odd. I do a little but in the moment, I just complied – questioning seemed…not in my headspace. Also I think I assumed this millennial was just more of the chaste variety? This was somewhat immediately disproven. Perhaps there is a girlfriend I do not know of? Or a lady he’s been seeing? Personally, I”m ruling out the girlfriend. Maybe he is a dirtbag but the vibe wasn’t there and our chat…well, let’s say it felt very unlikely. But is he dating someone else? Maybe. In this modern age, who knows.

Or as my friend said, maybe he just figured he should be safe and not possibly contract a STD from a stranger he met that night. Truth and for the record, I am very much CLEAN!

We left on nice terms and went our separate ways that night. The next morning was a bit more sobering and the hangover certainly didn’t help. Ugh. I had no real idea how we left it. Truthfully, a lot of stuff happened in one night and it was a bit hard to remember everything. Left it casual and the next day, despite the hangover, I felt good. As for F27 and me? Well, I was sort of hoping for a fling type situation. Seemed easy enough and it would be fun. Why not? But even if it didn’t go that way, it was a rejuvenation I didn’t even really realize I needed.

Beyond the physical, it felt so nice to be appreciated. Not even for my body exactly but for my brain. For who I am. For the things I value and like best in me. Even if he didn’t confirm my suspicions, I had been around enough to know that was what drew him to me and kept him by my side for that long.

Sigh and so goes the followup. I decided to give him 3 days to text me and we’ll take it from there. Truthfully, I thought I would get some response but after a day or so, I started to realize maybe not. I also did a lot of thinking at that time as to what I wanted from this, if I wanted anything at all. Our connection was nice but not as strong as past dalliances. I could go either way but since it had been awhile and it seemed so convenient – why not? I’m in the mood for fun.

While I have pined repeatedly for a soul mate on this blog, recently I’ve become less certain of that path or goal. Yes, I want a life mate but I am not positive I will ever get one. And I refuse to remain celibate for all times waiting for that bullshit. There is a lot of possibility out there and Mr. Right Now(s) seems like the most appealing thing period. And it’s crazy to me to even cross this threshold of thinking. To some extent, this might have served me better a few years ago but things happen the way they do to teach you the lessons you need.

With F27, I was treating it as if it was a courtship dance and it was not. If he wanted to date, sure but I didn’t care either way. So after 3 days, I decided to just contact him and go from there. No answer until hours later and I was done. Deleted. I don’t think badly of the guy. It just is what it is. Am I disappointed? Yah but for a little bit, I also felt a resurgence of confidence that I wasn’t quite done with this entire enterprise of modern lovelorn bullshit. I was able bodied and ready for more, come what may.

Further updates – I also decided that despite the F27 impasse, I still had Blondie and the desire to cultivate that relationship because a bartender I like in my hood – unheard of. Me and Blondie – we’re the real deal. And this past weekend, I got confirmation with my gals in tow. Blondie and me are like peas in the proverbial drunken pod. It’s solid. I felt a little like Norm from Cheers…I have a friendly neighborhood bar!

And yes, F27 was also there. I didn’t actually see him but he poked me when he spotted me and we smiled. He would attempt to catch my eyes a few times and when I would return the gaze we would smile. But it was still awkward. For a bit there my friend thought he was giving me the cold shoulder to which I replied that I think I was the one who started that. He was also working during a busy time so…not exactly easy to go flirty flirt.

Still, he wasn’t a dick. Sweet as I remembered and I felt reassured of my actions. When we did speak, I found out he had a horrid week and while not a major contributor to why he didn’t contact me…some things sort of got some focus. While age is just a number, we are also clearly in two different times of our lives. He’s a broke student and I’m…not. Whatever mess his life is going through right now, that’s his. And I’m over here. And that’s OK.

I don’t expect answers and as I get older, I’m learning to live more in the gray. Puzzles are fun but after awhile, the outcome is all that matters. What was good here – I went back to my bar, owned it and I can go back with minimal awkwardness. Is the door still open to him? Sure, why not? But I’m not waiting. He’s an option. And I like that. I like that I’m allowing myself to create and have options.

All I know right now is that younger men have a definite appeal and the summer hasn’t yet fully begun. And here we go…