Why Every Woman Needs A Ladies Night Out

Sorry for the half-assed post yesterday Wonderlings, but I didn’t want you to all think that I had forgotten you or my vow to post once a week for 2014.  Floating on a sea of happiness from a weekend that included lots of events, I needed to take a day off to make sure I was enjoying life and not simply writing about it.

And enjoying life I have been.  Especially with the lovely ladies of my life.

Me, Rose, and Karen

Me, Rose, and Karen

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This Isn’t Goodbye, But It Kind Of Is

As Mentor Spotlight Week comes to an end, I’m sure some of you are wondering why and how this particular theme came to be on Defining Wonderland.  It’s kind of an unusual choice and one I know I’ve certainly never seen before.  Showcasing the Fonz was an easy decision to make as I knew it would be a nice way to honor my mentor and share with the Wonderlings some of his insights into this crazy thing we call life.

Since the Fonz is the kind of person who has a story for everything (and I do mean everything), it is only right to end the week with the story of why I decided to start the week in the first place.

This Harry Potter quote just seemed right.

For the last five years, the Fonz has been a geographic bachelor, renting a self-proclaimed crappy apartment near work during the week and going home to his wife and sons, who live several hours away, on the weekends.  It’s a tough life of sacrifices, missing back-to-school nights and tucking children into bed, and he is not the only one in the organization who surrenders precious family time in order to support loved ones.  So, when the Fonz told me a few weeks ago that he had accepted a position closer to home where he wouldn’t need a separate place to live, I wasn’t in the least bit surprised.

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Dudes Do And Dudes Don’t

After yesterday’s post, we all know the characteristics that define a Dude.

Dudes cover the ‘do. The Fonz, circa 1990’s.

Now, we get into specific behaviors.  We already understand that “Dudes don’t zumba” and “Dudes dig boobs,” but there is so much more to learn about this strange code of Dudeism.  Day 4 of Mentor Spotlight Week explores some of the rules of Dudeism.

Dudes don’t watch Grey’s Anatomy, The Bachelor(ette), or chick flicks unless they are trying to get laid.

I cannot begin to tell you how many times I’ve referenced a show or movie and the Fonz rolls his eyes at me with that undeniable look that screams, “Oh dear God, why is my Mento a chick?”  He practically kicked me out of his office when I told him that I was attending the midnight showing of the last Twilight film with a few of my gal pals (I swear it was their idea—I would never have offered up a midnight showing of one of those unintentionally hilarious movies).  However, according to the Dude, the only times that a Dude will subject himself to watching an episode of Real Housewives of any given city is because he has one thing on the brain: getting into your pants.  Apparently, Dudes will subject themselves to just about anything if they think they have a shot at getting laid.  Unfortunately, once a Dude is having sex on a regular basis has secured a mate, you can expect to see his willingness to indulge in a Meg Ryan marathon severely diminished.

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Introduction to Dudeism

Never having been a guy, I don’t know the first thing about being a Dude.  I was born a female and I am quite content to remain a female.  Though, I would be lying if I told you all that I didn’t wonder about the male species and why they do the things they do.  After many conversations with the Fonz about that very subject, I have gained some knowledge when it comes to the opposite sex.  However, there is still so much to learn.

Which is why today’s post is a learning opportunity.  The Fonz takes over for Day 3 of Mentor Spotlight Week so that he can educate us all on a specific class of men: Dudes.  So without further delay, I give you the Dude himself.

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For The Love Of Bacon

Mentor Spotlight Week continues with a story of a man’s true love.

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, a pig was born on a farm.  That little porker grew up to be big and strong.  He lived a wonderful life eating from his trough until one day, the farmer came along and decided it was time for the pig to fulfill its purpose.  It was time for the pig to be eaten.

Not long after the pig had been sold to the butcher and packaged into pairs of pork chops and pounds of thin strips, a young boy had a piece of bacon for the very first time.  His life would never be the same and a love affair with the most delicious pork product was born.

That young boy was the Fonz.

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How I Became A Mento

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, welcome to Mentor Spotlight Week!

Inspired by my awesome mentor in all things, this week I will be sharing with you Wonderlings some of the Fonz’s obsessions, his words of wisdom, and maybe even a post from the man himself.  I hope you all enjoy the first themed week of Defining Wonderland.

But before we begin with Mentor Spotlight Week, let me tell you about the beginning of our mentorship.

When I started at my job four years ago, the Fonz was one of the people I had to check in with.  Being escorted from office to office and meeting with dozens of new people, I don’t remember our first encounter.  I guess it’s good that he at least didn’t make a bad first impression.

The Most Interesting Mentor in the World.

My desk was situated outside of the business director’s office and the Fonz, being another manager, would frequently meet with the business director.  Over time, our small pleasantries turned into sarcastic conversations about anything and everything.  This was a man who not only got my sick sense of humor, but had one even more twisted than my own.  Also, he could keep up on the pop culture references with an impressive knowledge of movies, music, and television shows.  He thinks he’s the white Shaft for crying out loud!  After a lengthy conversation about The Rocky Horror Picture Show, I suggested that he show up at the building Halloween party dressed as Dr. Frank-N-Furter.  Luckily, he didn’t take me up on my suggestion.  That would have just been wrong.  So, so wrong.

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Be A Less Crappy Friend

I am the first to admit that I can be a crappy friend.  However, I think that part of my problem is that I cannot accept when friends behave in ways that I deem crappy.  Behold, three tips to be less crappy.

Don’t keep people waiting.

My wonderful mentor once told me that “people who keep others waiting make it clear that their time is much more important than anyone else’s.”  I agree with this statement to a certain degree.  I don’t believe that people run on perfect inner clocks and are never tardy to appointments.  However, I find it increasingly rude when the same people are consistently running late.

I have a friend who cannot arrive at a place on time if her life depended on it.  Every time we hang out, I am guaranteed to wait, often in the cold, for at least twenty minutes before she shows up.  She almost always pushes back plans to a later time and will still show up late.  One time, I took her out for dinner to celebrate her birthday. Not only did she keep me waiting for over two hours after she insisted she was on her way, but then she dashed off to meet her boyfriend before I could even buy her dessert.  It’s so completely frustrating because she is fully aware of the problem so I feel like it would be pointless to say anything.  I have read in magazines that it is useful to turn the tables and keep this particular type of friend waiting so she will understand how annoying it is.  I have tried this tactic, leaving my place at the time when I should be arriving at the agreed upon location, but it’s no use; I will still be kept waiting.

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Friendship: The Art Of Failure

Seems like I'm always the one keeping a distance.

I am a horrible friend.

Yes, it’s true.  When it comes to friendships, I suck.  I am stubborn, temperamental, and have an excruciating time accepting people for who they are if who they are differs from who I expect them to be.  I walk away from people when I no longer feel that they are a part of my life’s story.  It’s not easy to be my friend and I must admit, it is my own damn fault.

When it comes to ending friendships, I am a complete chicken.  I hate confrontation and I just end up disappearing from people’s lives, like a phantom.  I’m sure there are a ton of people out there who wonder where I went or what they did or didn’t do to make me go poof in the night, but I just don’t have the balls to tell them.  When a switch flips in my head that makes me see a person a certain way, it’s impossible for me to flip it back.  Believe me, I’ve tried. Continue reading

The Spouse Factor

I am a single gal and I have male friends who are married.  It has only recently occurred to me that this may make me the anti-Christ in the eyes of their beloveds.

A co-worker (who is strictly someone I work with and is no way a person I hang out with socially—we don’t even go to lunch together) had mentioned that he had gotten into a fight with his wife after she had seen an instant message conversation between the two of us.  She demanded to know who I was, how close we sit at work, and the extent of our “work friendship.”  He insisted that he had nothing to hide and I can back him up on that.  I told him that I was willing to speak with his wife if that would make her more comfortable.  He didn’t go for it saying he would get into more hot water for telling me what happened.

I opened up said chat and tried to put myself in the wife’s shoes.  Having never met me, I can possibly see why she is upset.  Though there was no flirting in our exchange, I did give him a handful of crap—as I usually do—and answered all of his questions in a very flippant and sarcastic manner.  Since I have never met her, she could have taken my “you’re dumb” as “I want you.”

The fact is, while said co-worker is mildly attractive, he has a wife, a kid, and works with me.  All of which are on my list of non-negotiables.  On top of which, he’s immature and a little on the arrogant side.  In other words, I have no interest in him whatsoever.  He’s not someone I would want to hang out with socially and he reminds me a lot of my brother, Zack.  Neither of which are attractive to me.

Last week, I went hiking with another male friend.  We usually don’t hang out together without one of our other friends being with us, but since everyone else was either working or couldn’t be depended on, he wanted a buddy to accompany him on a hike.  I had no reason to say no and since the location of the trail was five minutes away from me, I told him I’d go.

We spent most of the time talking about our friends, work, or sharing the horror stories of my dating life.  He gave me some great advice and I tried to give him some to keep the peace at home and maintain his friendships.  For the most part, I think the only reason I was invited is because he misses his best male buddy.  Ever since this guy began dating his girlfriend, his friends have essentially been dropped and I’m sure my hiking partner is feeling the brunt of the exodus.  He’s trying to fill the position of a hiking/lunch/chat buddy that has been left by his friend’s absence.

I asked if he had mentioned to his wife that he was hiking with me and he said that she knew he was hiking, but couldn’t remember if he had mentioned whether or not I was coming.

I found this odd.

While my friend’s wife and are aren’t the best of friends, I have made a point to try to get to know her and she has come over to my place for movie night.  Hell, I’ve house-sat for them before.  There would be no reason for him not to tell her that we were hanging out.

I had told my mom what had happened with both of my guy friends and she was concerned.  She told me I shouldn’t play with fire or get involved.  Part of me was shocked.  How could she possibly think I was playing with fire?  I didn’t initiate the instant messages nor do I go out of my way to talk to this guy at work.  I didn’t encourage him not to tell his wife that we went hiking.  Why is this my problem?

And then she got to talking.

She explained to me that once upon a time before my conception, she was friends with a married man.  After one particular evening at a party where absolutely nothing inappropriate happened, his wife stopped talking to her and eventually, her friendship fell apart as a result of his wife’s disapproval.  She told me that regardless of how innocent my relationships with any of these men were, I wouldn’t want to be the case of someone’s marriage collapsing.

I do think she has some valid points, but part of me wants to just continue to be myself and have my friendships.  To me, that’s all these guys are and they’re not even high up on my list of friends.  I wouldn’t call either one of them if I was stranded somewhere and I’m fairly certain that if we didn’t work together, I would never hear from these guys ever again.

I wonder if I was dating someone any of this would matter.  Maybe it’s the fact that I’m a single, independent woman in my 20’s that is potentially so frightening that wives get upset at the mere mention of my being in a 100-foot radius of their husbands.

I guess until I find myself a man I’m just a woman of questionable morals.

Pondering The Penis Pals

Today I was watching Friends with Benefits and it reminded me of how much I miss having a close male friend.  Sure, the movie is about what happens when two friends end up becoming casual sex partners and inevitably fall for each other, but beneath all the romantic comedy bullshit, it is a film about friendship.

And the age-old question: can men and women really be friends?

I have always found myself with guy friends for a few simple reasons: they are less catty than women, they almost always want to do things that I wouldn’t have thought of and usually end up enjoying, and I don’t worry about them judging me as much as I would women.  I can be myself and have a great time.  Friendships with guys are easy and fun.  Who wouldn’t want to have one as a pal?

When I was a kid, my best friend was a guy named Rickie.  We were both the new kids in school and outcasts to the core.  I had crooked teeth and thick glasses, he had one continuous eyebrow and gangly limbs.  I rocked out to Bon Jovi, he discoed to Cher (yes, he is gay and I’m pretty sure I knew before he did).  The teacher loved both of us and we grew to love each other.  I don’t remember how our friendship began, but it has been one that has lasted through the years despite our cosmological differences.  We were an astrological pair doomed for hostility; he is a Gemini, while I am a Taurus.  Rickie and I had countless fights and more than one period where we didn’t speak to one another—we jokingly refer to them as our divorces—but we always came back together as if nothing ever happened.  I defended him to our bigoted peers and he comforted me when my grandma died.  Our bond has resulted in the longest friendship I have ever had.  After nearly two decades, we can pick up right where we left off even if we haven’t seen each other for years.  Rickie is the definition of a true friend.

After college, I reunited with another guy friend.  George and I had gone to the same middle school, but we didn’t become friends until high school when I was dating one of his friends.  We remained pals after he went off to the Air Force and I went to college.  After I graduated, we both found ourselves back in our home county and began to hang out.  Unlike my pairing with Rickie, George and I were a great match (he was a Cancer and shared the same birthday with my mom—coincidentally one month to the day after Rickie’s birthday).  We had an easy friendship except for his complete lack of confidence and extreme sensitivity.  We had a nice few years together until he confessed his love for me, the second time over the course of our friendship.  He had been placed in the friend zone long ago and I was never attracted to him.  Unfortunately after that, things got weird between us.  He became super clingy and depressed and I longed for space and grew drained from always having to boost his mood.  I eventually had to walk away from the friendship because I just couldn’t deal with the co-dependency anymore.

Then there’s Hawkeye.  We met in grad school and have remained buddies.  I would best describe our friendship as uncomplicated, distant, and convenient.  He’s a nice guy, but not one that I particularly feel very close to.  It probably has something to do with the fact that I rarely see the guy sober and when I do, he seems completely consumed with himself.  Wow, that makes him sound like such a douche.  He’s really not, but for a guy who’s pushing 40, still doesn’t exactly have his shit together, and is on a first name basis with every bartender in a 30-mile radius, it’s not a wonder why he’s single.

A few months ago, I thought I had found a new male close friend (the term “best friend” seems a little juvenile to me).  Fez and I hung out a lot and enjoyed fun activities together.  I was so excited to have another guy in my life to go out with: try new restaurants, check out the latest film, attend parties.  Then he had to go and ruin it when he kissed me.  One kiss turned to many and many turned to rejection.  Sure, we tried—and I guess are still trying—to be friends even though I find it hard to look at him as the goofy, naïve guy I once did.  Now, I can’t believe anything he says and how can a friendship survive when one doesn’t trust the other?

So, I find myself without a close male friend these days and I’m starting to wonder if men and women can really ever be friends.

The older I get, the more difficult I think it is especially when someone is involved in a relationship.  How do you explain to your significant other the reason you’re friends with someone of the opposite sex without them feeling like you are leaving them out?  Can men and women really be friends without someone falling for the other?

I guess male-female friendships really aren’t as easy as I thought.