Every once in a while, I figure it’s good to stretch my wings a little bit. Even if that stretching is in the more lighthearted direction than the serious one. So instead of only writing about the environment and politics, I take on music or ummmm dating. I’ve even written stories on weddings. I’ve covered getting married in the great outdoors and taking romance for a hike, but given that apparently I’m better at NOT getting married than I am at getting married, my favorite piece on weddings was the one I wrote on how to not get married.
It starts out:
A man wearing a dog collar and skintight black latex was dripping hot candle wax on my wrist. I was in a dark, smoky fetish club somewhere in South Florida, surrounded by people who were wearing leather and chains and very little else. Thanks to the whiskeys the sympathetic bartender was pouring into me, I don’t remember much all that clearly from that night. I might have made out with a stranger. Come to think of it, I might have made out with my maid of honor too.
Weddings are stressful. Not getting married, however, takes stress to a whole new level, especially when you back out of the wedding two weeks before the party, as I did. But believe it or not, you can say, “I don’t” instead of “I do” fairly gracefully.
I wasn’t familiar with the saying, “Better a broken engagement today than a broken home tomorrow,” until after my fiancé and I called off our wedding. Afterwards, though, I heard a million different variations on this theme: “Just think if you’d had kids!” “Divorce is so expensive!” “You’ll be happier without him.”
And then there was my personal favorite: “Someday this will be a funny story.”
Right. Just when does breaking up with your fiancé, canceling your wedding, disappointing your family and feeling humiliated and embarrassed for being the runaway bride become a funny story? (I guess in my case it happens right around the time your maid of honor decides to cheer you up by taking you to Club Kink on your no-longer wedding night).
You know what they say about channeling traumatic events in your life into your writing … well at least I think they say that. Which brings me to a more recent dating advice piece I did that sprung partly out of some (loosely based on truth) dating events and an unfortunate incident involving an enraged professor of recreation throwing a drink at me.
The awesome photographers at the Weekly used that as inspiration for a photo to accompany the dating advice story I had to write. Thanks to them, I felt so much better about the world after repeatedly throwing a drink at someone else (in this case a willing volunteer).
My advice included pithy bits like this:
Ah, pickup lines. It’s not what you say; it’s all in the delivery and the follow up.
I was sipping a drink at Jameson’s one night, watching the hipsters shoot pool, and one fellow turned to me, handed me his cue, bowed gallantly and offered to let me take his shot. Great pick up; I was intrigued. Unfortunately, after I sank a couple balls, he said in surprise, “Oh! I didn’t think you could actually play.”
If you can’t come up with a brilliant line (“Fuck me if I’m wrong, but I think I’d like to kiss you” — funny, but not brilliant) then go with a classic. The nice man at the KLCC Brew Fest made major points when he saw me sitting alone, and asked, “Is this seat taken?”
And it also gave me a chance to trot out my own favorite pick up line at the end of the article, which was helpfully headlined: Happy Hunting: Dating advice, or how not to get a drink thrown in your face.
The KLCC Brew Fest guy recognized my description of our interaction and asked me out again, which I thought was brave given I had kind of mocked him in the paper. I didn’t go, but I did give him points for trying.
What actually made me think of this was not a traumatic event at all, but actually that a local music promoter mentioned to a friend that he had noticed some of the stuff I had written on alt country/Americana music and liked it. (And I liked the part where apparently he’d never noticed all the other stuff I’d written on things like drones and dams. This is a man with focus).
He had read the blurb I did on Hayes Carll. Instead of channeling trauma, in this case I shamelessly channeled the Ford-truck driving whiskey drinking aspects of my personality.
Hayes Carll’s honky tonk-alt country sound is just as comfortable coming out of the speakers of my crunchy granola Subaru as it is blaring from the cracked dash of my Ford 4×4 truck.
And now, thinking happy thoughts about dating and dancing, I am going to return to my current battle with the county over public records requests.