dating, humor, personal writing

sh!t happens

What’s that poem about how the world ends?

“The world ends / Not with a bang, but a whimper.”

Yeah. So too do fledgling relationships, apparently. Not with a bang, but definitely a whimper.

And some poo. Actually, lots and lots of poo.

OK, guys. I hate to say it, but I think we have our final segment of the Professor Cute Butt Chronicles.

Yes, this has to do with The Puppy. And, sure, with loafers, too. And yep, as I said, lots and lots of poo.

Fasten your seatbelts, folks, Imma take you for a ride. This is a story.

So yesterday was another date with The Professor and The Puppy. I suggested we start out at a park near me. When the Professor arrived and got out of his car with not only loafers and no socks but pants and a matching belt that can best be described as mauve, I told my inner voice (which was ROLLING HER EYES and saying, OH COME ON!!!) to just shut it and try not be so judgy.)

We proceed to set up Puppy camp in the grass.

Everyone and Their Mother oooo’d and aaaaa’d over The Puppy, because, of course, he is really dang adorable, doing Cute Puppy things like pouncing on a feather floating past his little puppy snout and doing a somersault and rolling down the hill with his little puppy smile.

Professor Cute Butt’s focus of course was on The Puppy, and on answering the same 4 questions that Everyone and Their Mother wanted to know the answers to:

  1. Oh my god, so cute! Can I pet your puppy!? (Sure! It’s good for his socialization!)
  2. Wow, he is seriously adorable. What breed? (Border collie. Doesn’t have the traditional markings of a border collie.)
  3. Aww, so sweet. How old is he? (About 11 weeks.)
  4. Wow! How long have you had him? (Almost 2 weeks.)

Repeat, 24 times, with this 5th, optional, question thrown in: “Do you guys live around here?”

You guys.

Ah, they think you guys are together, as in together together,‘ my inner voice chimes in helpfully, as I slowly absorb that people think I could be the wife of someone who wears loafers with no socks and coordinated mauve belt and mauve skinny pants. (They were skinny pants, y’all.)

I stuff Ms. Judgypants Inner Voice deep down into my soul, and I play along with this whole picture and proceed to teach The Puppy how to fetch a stick and bring it back. He was SO excited about this new trick, as was The Professor. “Wow, this is great! This means less running around for me! I never thought to throw a stick!” (Insert the Hmm emoji here.) He puts the soccer ball back in his bag.

I toss Professor the stick, which he gamely throws. Puppy, ecstatic, returns the stick to me. I throw the stick back to Professor, motioning for Puppy to go to Professor. Puppy runs to me.

Repeat, 24 times.

During all this, Professor and I do not talk about anything Not-Puppy.

“Well,” I think, helpfully, “it’s understandable. We are at the park. We’ll talk more for real at dinner. I’m sure he too must want to talk about other stuff, and, you know, ponder life, the universe, and everything.”

But dinner is the park on repeat, just on a patio of a dog-friendly restaurant he’d found on a “dog friendly restaurants” list he’d googled and sent to me to choose from.

So we are sitting there, and still nothing Not-Puppy is said, asked, or done. I eat my fries, as Professor follows Puppy into a bush and says loudly in his Puppy-Training voice, “OK, POTTY, Puppy!” The Puppy, however, does not potty, but instead pounces on a stray plastic bag and romps back onto the patio to check out all the other patrons, many of whom are overjoyed to ask us their 4, sometimes 5, questions.

I am patient. It is a gorgeous summer night after all, and these fries are really good.

Check comes. I pay. (Professor is off unwinding Puppy’s leash from around the leg a nearby couple’s table.) We collect everything and return to the car. The Professor observes, “Great! He’s gotten plenty of socializing. He’ll be fast asleep in no time.”

We get to my street. The Professor says, hopefully, “I think the car ride put him to sleep – maybe we could try to have a non-Puppy conversation?” (I shoot Inner Voice a withering look, ‘See! He is aware of the Puppy Vortex this has become! There’s still hope!’)

Inner Voice just smiles knowingly.

So with Puppy asleep in his little mesh carrying case, we all three go inside, two of us knowing that this means Professor’s Puppy and My Kitty will have to meet.

“Let’s just see what happens, shrug emoji” I say (side note: I literally said “shrug emoji” – shrug emoji), as we enter the building that does not allow dogs.

Inner Voice cackles: ‘Yeah, what could possibly go wrong?!’

Upstairs, we enter my apartment, me first so I can find and hold my cat. She does not realize for a while there’s another animal inside – that is, until Puppy pops his little rambunctious head out of his little mesh carrying case.

Kitty freaks.

I run and take kitty up into my arms and try to calm her down again. The Professor is apologizing, “I have no idea how he got his head out like that.” And then, sighing, “He’s definitely Not-Asleep now.”

Cradling kitty, I give Professor careful instructions as to where he can find kitty’s Temptations Treats. “She goes wild for those. I’ll try some ‘shaping’ behavior,” I tell him. He finally finds the bag and passes it to me. I put one treat down on the floor, kitty happily jumps from my arms to gobble it up, momentarily forgetting about The Puppy. I put another one down, and then another, and another, moving her in the general direction of Puppy, with me cooing the whole time, “You’re okay! You’re okay!” any time she looks up and sees him wriggling around in his case.

Puppy barks.

Kitty heads for the hills.

“OK, this isn’t working,” says Professor.

I agree, and try to helpfully suggest we let kitty have her space while the three of us go outside to the patio where there’s an outdoor area for Puppy.

I can see The Professor has been stressed by all this and just wants to make out, as if making out will be like shaking a magic erase board to erase the rest of the evening. I get the vibe Professor wants to prove to himself, to me, to “us” that we can still make this work. Even with… The Puppy.

He puts the carrying case down as soon as we get outside and, sure enough, comes over and kisses me. At which point, kitty pushes patio door open. (The patio door only closes securely when you lock it from the inside, otherwise it remains slightly ajar.)

I hop to, “Nope, nope! You stay in there!”

Kitty meows.

Puppy barks.

A neighbor’s light turns on above my place.

“OK, this isn’t working,” I say.

The Professor agrees.

I try to helpfully suggest he could use my cat’s long pink leash to let The Puppy roam around the common green area.

“Great idea!” he says and attaches Puppy to the long pink leash. Puppy is happy, pounces on a stray leaf. Kitty mews and pushes at the patio door again.

The Professor sighs, but then his face brightens. He suggests that he could kiss me while I have my back against the patio door to keep it closed and the kitty inside.

Inner Voice goes to grab some popcorn, sits back in her chair: “This is hysterical, you guys! Keep going, keep going! I can’t wait to see what’s next!

I shoot Inner Voice a withering look.

Professor attempts to kiss me again. (I’m not really into it at this point.) Puppy barks. Phew, I think. We both turn just in time to see the Puppy poop (a long, loose poop) out toward the back of the common area.

Professor sighs heavily. Grabs a poop bag, “I better go get it now, while I know where it is, roughly.” He wanders off in his sockless loafers into the dark, poop bag in hand.

But it’s night now. We only saw Puppy had pooped because of a motion detecting light and the light from the neighbors’ place.

I try to helpfully suggest that The Professor use his phone’s flashlight. He does but is out there a little while, sighing with increasing frequency.

A longtime animal owner, I figure I can help him make this a successful mission and I go out there too, hoping kitty doesn’t push the patio door open while I’m gone. I point out the poo to Professor, who shakes his head and scoops the poo up as best he can. In an almost stage whisper, he says to me, gesturing upward with the swinging poop bag, “Your neighbors are watching!” I try to assure him, helpfully, “it’s okay, it’s okay.”

I look around – I was pretty sure I saw a second poop coming from Puppy while Professor was searching for the first. Maybe I’m wrong? We three return to the patio.

The Professor asks where he can deposit the poop bag and goes in to wash his hands, shooing the curious cat back as he goes.

He returns looking almost victorious. He doesn’t say, “Now where were we?” before he leans in to kiss me, but that was the feeling of it – that is, until Puppy barks and we realize he is digging up plant bulbs in the common area.

“WHAT?! PUPPY!!!” Professor tries to use his loud Puppy-Training voice, before helplessly saying to me, “He never barks! Or digs! I swear!”

I go over to the dog and am working on separating him from the plant bulb he was unearthing just in case it’s one of those poisonous-to-animals plants, when I hear an awfully alarmed, “ARE YOU SERIOUS?!” from the patio.

The Professor is all hunched over, looking at the bottom of one of his (sockless) loafers.

I look, too.

“I did not know little puppies could poop THAT much,” I muse out loud, no longer helpfully. “I’ll go grab the paper towels!” I come back with Lysol wipes too. I mean, there was A LOT of POO, people.

The Professor grabs the paper towel roll, and because it is a new roll struggles with the first paper towel, which is still glued down. I hand him the Lysol wipes while I peel the towel loose from the roll and try to say helpful, soothing things, while the Professor wipes at truly copious amounts of poo, some of which – because it was rather soft to begin with – drops down onto the patio, half on my patio rug, half on the bare concrete beneath it.

“Jesus, JESUS. What a nightmare. What a nightmare. Jesus, what a nightmare.” It’s dark but there’s enough ambient light that I can see a big vein in the Professor’s forehead.

“It’s okay, it’s okay, it’s really okay,” I say, trying to calm him, and then I add, maybe trying to get a laugh out of him to bring this all down a notch: “I mean, after all… sh!it happens!”

I laugh out loud at my own funny. The Professor? Not so much. He’s busy muttering under his breath, “Jesus, it’s EVERYWHERE!” wiping sh!t from the creases of his loafer sole. “I’m gonna need a bag for all this!” I look, too. And yeah, there was quite a little mountain of poopy paper towels and nasty wipes piling up on my patio floor.

Like a surgeon who’s just scrubbed in, The Professor wipes his brow with a clean elbow, leaving his hands out in front of him. He motions to me with the elbow where to find a poop bag. We can’t open it though. It’s one of those thin plastic baggies where you can never tell if you’re attempting to open it on the right end or not.

We’re gonna need a bigger bag,” I say dramatically, trying to impersonate what’s his name from JAWS, if only to amuse myself. I mean, what else is there to do but laugh once we’re in this deep?

But, this guy is clearly suffering, so I dash inside and find the nearest disposable receptacle – a bright white and blue Amazon mailer – which I dispatch in short order to Professor, who still has his hands in the air like a scrubbed-in surgeon.

Then, suddenly ashen, he lifts his head from his Sisyphean task and asks a series of what I guess are rhetorical questions: “OH GOD! Did I track this stuff inside? I don’t remember! I don’t remember! Do you? Do you remember? Did I have my shoes on when I went in earlier? You know, before I – before I knew?”

“It’s okay! It’s okay! It’s really okay! Please, please don’t worry about it! Even if you did, who cares!? This is what having animals is all about sometimes. No big deal!”

I mind The Puppy, while The Professor is scrubbing and stuffing, scrubbing and stuffing, until the Amazon mailer is bulging with All.The.Sh!t. I muse to myself how people sometimes say proudly, about, say, some fancy shampoo really cheap, “I got this sh!t on Amazon…” and how funny it would be if I mailed it back to Amazon like it was a return.

I stifle a laugh. I mean, this is all Really Funny. My date – whose loafers I have always hated and tried to overlook – is heaving heavy sighs over those same loafers, now smeared with sh!t, and my date – whose mauve skinny pants with the matching mauve belt – is all hunched over the mess on my patio, hands and loafers held far away from mauve pants and mauve belt, which now have a matching mauve forehead vein.

Puppy whimpers going back into his little mesh case. Kitty meows and pushes at the door once more. I cough to stifle another laugh. My date, if he is going to be my date, should find this Really Funny, too. The Professor does not. Not.Even.Remotely.

Puppy whimpers again, as I open the patio door wide, while shooing my kitty back, back, back.

What does the death knell of a fledgling relationship sound like, you ask?

Not like a bang, and not like a belly laugh, either, though that would be fun.

But maybe like this: A stifled cough, a kitty’s mew, a professor’s sigh, a puppy’s whimper.

The Professor tries to collect himself once inside. Deposits his poop-strewn, poop-scented loafers outside my apartment door in the common hallway, puts the puppy case down on the ground near his feet, adjusts his collar, and clears his throat. Bred exceedingly well, Professor was surely trained to have Good Manners to the Bitter End and to thank the host or hostess, no matter how atrocious the visit. He juts toward me, puts his arms around me, and before kissing me goodbye, says, with not a hint of irony, “Thank you for another wonderful evening.”

I close the door behind him as he goes.

I am the one sighing now. Ooof, the writing is on the wall, I guess. Or, in this case, the poo is on the patio.

Inner Voice cackles: Yep! You said it, girl! Sh!t happens.

I am too tired to shoot Inner Voice a withering look.

And, as they used to say on Bugs Bunny, “That’s all, Folks!”

dating, humor, personal writing

puppy haters anonymous

Hi, I’m Pollyanna and I hate puppies.

All the other puppy haters, in unison: Hi, Pollyanna.

Ok, so I don’t actually hate puppies. In general. In general, I don’t hate puppies. In reality, I’m really just hating on this one puppy. It’s okay, I am not a monster. I still like rainbows.

Well, I have never met the puppy in question, but I do kinda hate him. So I have come here to confess my sins and hope you will absolve me of my puppy hating ways.

You see, Professor Cute Butt got The Puppy. You know – the one he was so apprehensive about, he called me a couple weeks into our dating to break the news to me not by text that he and his boys had just been told they were off the waitlist? Yep. That puppy.

The Puppy arrived ten days ago, and I have not seen Professor Cute Butt since. (To his credit he has texted regularly, several times a day in fact, and even called, but with the new puppy – and Mom visiting for a week after bringing special puppy – no dates.)

The Puppy has made me and the Professor pen pals. Who wants that?!

So professors are supposed to be smart, right? Kool kool. OK, so let’s see, a hypothetical for you: let’s say you work a ton, have a significant commute (by train), are a single parent half the time with 2 kids under 10, and have finally started to date again. I know you, dear reader, and your first thought wouldn’t be, “Oh, I know! I’ll get a dog! No, not just a dog, but a brand new to planet earth puppy! That I will have to train! From scratch! Even though I’ve never trained a puppy before! This will bring peace and joy to my life! This will give me back all the free time I don’t have now! This will be so stress-free and fun!”

No, you would not think this.

Well, Professor Cute Butt went and not only thought all these thoughts, he went and made them real.

Oh wait, it gets better. Let’s guess what breed Prof. CB got! Now this will be fun.

Before you guess, let’s just review the professor’s situation. He works a ton, isn’t a runner, doesn’t have much free time, is a condo dweller, commutes by train, has two small children, and has no previous experience training a puppy.

Have a guess?

Ok, since I can’t see your hands raised in the air, I’ll just tell you. No, not a chihuahua. He got a border collie. A super intelligent, high maintenance sort of breed that needs tons of exercise and whose instinct is to herd anything and everything, even small children. Described alternately as “intense,” “fanatical,” “willful,” and “potentially destructive when bored.” Kool kool.

So, tomorrow I get to meet in person this match made in heaven. Till then I am a proud card-carrying member of Puppy Haters Anonymous.

* * * * *

Ok y’all. Guess who I met last night?

I didn’t finish the above post yesterday because Professor Cute Butt suggested a spontaneous date, at which I met The Puppy.

He’s cute. Like, super cute, you guys. Like, looks like a baby panda level of cute. Everyone and their mother stopped to ooo and aaah over his adorable cuteness.

And – you guys – I like The Puppy.

Scratch that.

I’m a little in love with The Puppy.

That was a very short-lived 12 step program. I’ll put my coffee down and see myself to the door. 🙄

Later:

Hi, I’m Pollyanna and I love The Puppy.

In unison: Hi, Pollyanna.

dating, humor, personal writing

a peaceful, easy feeling

For some reason, “a peaceful, easy feeling” came to mind when I was thinking about how I’m feeling right now. Does that line come from something? It must. Help me out here – a song for a laundry detergent commercial? A car? Oh Christ, I bet it’s the Eagles. Now, I don’t know about you, but I happen to be in agreement with the Dude, aka Mr. Lebowski, with regard to the Eagles. Namely, “I hate the f*&^ing Eagles, man!” Well, maybe it’s not the Eagles, but I’m too damned lazy to google it.

Nonetheless a peaceful easy feeling sorta describes where I’m at right now, and I’m like, “Huh, what is this strange, strange feeling I’m experiencing? What? I’m sorry – you said you’re called Calm? Oh, hello, Calm, I’m Pollyanna, I don’t think we’ve met – pleased to make your acquaintance!”

Anywho…. Remember how I mentioned the profound relief I felt because I was virtually certain I’d gotten a rejection from that job that would have involved uprooting my entire life and moving to a different state?

Guess what. Yep. I got the offer.

Guess what else? Yep. Much to the chagrin of the hiring manager, I turned it down.

I know, I know. After all my expressions to him of how perfect a match this job and I were… once I learned the nitty gritty details, I realized the costs far outweighed the benefits.

And yup, I hid under a proverbial rock for hours and hours after that call, and every time the conversation crosses my mind now I shudder like an arctic blast just blew through.

I told the guy – and this is true! – my setback with my medical condition (which happened just prior to the final interview) indicated I wasn’t as far along in the post op recovery process as I should be to take on a big new job in another state.

The hiring manager first tried to push back and extol the virtues of their health benefits, until he heard me say my sorry a$$ one sentence spiel again and realized this wasn’t me trying to negotiate, this was me being like, Uh yeahhhh, NO.

So he’s all, “well, maybe next time you’ll have learned your limitations and only apply to jobs you can actually do.”

And I’m all, 😳😳😳😳😳😳.

You can now see the sudden appeal of the proverbial rock, amirite?

So I’m now finally crawling out from under that rock, and I gotta say that the peaceful easy feeling is all about the removal of that stressor from my life. It’s like that sh!t was weighing on me, without me even realizing how much. But now that I don’t have to move away from my bff, friends, and family here, I’m doing virtual cartwheels and happy backflip somersaults – only virtual though, cuz DAMN I wasn’t kidding about the setback – the.pain.is.real.

And no, I know what you’re thinking – y’all have no poker face! Nope, this was NOT about Professor Cute Butt. I may be a one marshmallow girl, but I was super disciplined in my deliberations and did NOT let A Man (shudder) enter into the equation or affect my decision one way or the other on this job.

But he made it SO HARD, you guys.

I mean, in addition to the whole ‘I’m getting a puppy’ phone call that I described in the last post, Prof. CB endeared himself to me further when he said, as I was weighing the job offer, “I’ll visit you there if you take it!” And then pointing a finger back and forth between me and him, “I mean, if this is going to work, it’s going to work.” (!!) Add to that he brought over champagne – champagne! – to celebrate that I’d gotten the offer, and I got all gooey like a damned sap hound. (Where on earth do I come up with these weird non-saying sayings?) ((Don’t answer that. It could be the amyloid plaques most certainly starting to make their tendrily way through my brain.))

Anyway, so I got, but did not take, the crazy job. And also, I think you could say Professor Cute Butt and I are kinda sorta dating. (Sure, it helps that I’m now not moving two states away. Obvi.) Get this, there was a FOREHEAD KISS, people. Like we had a lunch date at the park, and were looking arm in arm out at the view, and before I knew what was happening, he planted a kiss on my forehead. My forehead. And you all know what a forehead kiss means (well, with someone you have good real kisses with too – forehead kiss in place of good real kisses is just BadNews). I think he might actually like me like me? Huh. 🤔

But of course, one of my very first thoughts after the forehead kiss and subsequent inner cartwheel somersaults, was, “Uh oh, will this kill my blog?” But no, I’m being serious: what if I get happy? Happiness kills all forms of art, you know. (And yeah, I know it’s a bit of a stretch to call this sh!t you’re reading “art” but humor me this once.)

My point is: This peaceful, easy feeling does not bode well for my (imaginary) book deal, y’all. I mean, other than Michael Franti, who the F writes when they’re happy?!

Oh sh!t, you know who, don’t you.

I remember now.

The Eagles.

God damn it, I hate the f*%^ing Eagles, man.

dating, humor, personal writing

the puppy and the squirrel

I hate to disappoint you but ‘the puppy and the squirrel’ is not going to be a heart-warming tale of interspecies love – nah, I just like the title. And I will be talking about both a squirrel and a puppy here. So things could be worse. (Things, in fact, ARE worse. Far far worse. Out There, in the Real World. But here in Pollyanna Savage la-la land, puppies and squirrels is where we’re at, people).

First, I am 98.9% sure I did not get that out of state job. And you know what? Today, I am relieved. While it was sort of a dream job for me, I am too old and infirm (for reals, but I’ll get to that) to uproot my life and move across not one but two state lines for a job. So, yeah, I feel some relief.

But yesterday. Yesterday was another story. Here’s where the squirrel comes in.

Well, before we get to the squirrel even, you must know that one reason I feel I did not get a job offer is because of my leg. I’ll explain. I’m several months post-op (of my umpteenth major surgery, some congenital issue, blah blah blah) and still struggling with a lot of chronic pain and functional limitations. I was just starting to be able to do things like go grocery shopping (and go to TARGET, y’all!), and after not having been able to do stuff like that for almost a year and a half, I was THRILLED. Consumerism, FTW!

Enter Esmerelda. (Not her real name, but I’m liking it already.)

Esmerelda is – no, not the squirrel, we’re not there in our tale quite yet – a very young (why do all people under 30 look pre-pubescent to me now?!) physical therapist who stood in for my regular (older, more experienced) physical therapist a couple days prior to The Big Interview. She was well-meaning, but my god, she pushed my leg too far – literally. I feel like I heard it. It is not Esmerelda’s fault, really – she was just trying to do her job, pushing down on a knee that hasn’t been able to straighten for a year and a half (you know how it is).

But two days after seeing her, I was at the job interview and the Esmerelda Effect hit its peak. My pain skyrocketed up several notches on the old (ridonculous) pain scale (have you seen that thing – those faces just scream “SCIENCE!”). So much pain I actually had to cut my full-day interview short. I mean, what holy grail of interview faux pas is that!? The experts tell us all the tips – make eye contact with the interviewer, remember their name, say yes to their glass of water offer, be yourself – but not, oh I don’t know, CUT THE INTERVIEW SHORT AND GO HOME.

So on my long drive back across two state lines, I just ruminated – there is no way I will ever get the dream job now. My damn leg gets in the way of my life, again. And Esmerelda.

OK. Here’s where we get to the squirrel.

So I’m all feeling sorry for myself because no word on the job days after the committee met to make their decision. I’m in the midst of a little pity party on my patio when all of a sudden a squirrel drops from the sky (okay, a tree). My cat runs for it, and is stopped short by her leash (I already mentioned to you guys that I walk my cat on a leash?). But the squirrel only looks at my cat lunging at him and squiggles a bit but does not run away.

I go to investigate.

The squirrel does not run away when I approach him either. He tries, but he’s hurt. His back legs. Was he hit by a car or mangled by an animal and managed to just get up that one tree? I don’t know, but he’s not about to get back up that or any tree.

A Real Woman might have been like, OK, we know what we have to do! Get him to a vet – OR – we will put on our Big Girl Pants and somehow put this poor little guy out of his – ACK – I cannot even finish that sentence, let alone contemplate the act, however merciful it might be. A Real Woman might have done the merciful thing. Me? I burst into tears. Like full bore tears. Outside, in public, in the common area of my apartment building. I tell myself I am going to give the poor squirrel space. But I’m the one who needs a little space.

I related to the squirrel. He couldn’t get very far. He was struggling. His poor legs! The flies were already starting to perch on his back, the goddamn vultures. And given I’m too squeamish to do anything useful in this situation, we – the squirrel, the cat, the flies, and I – all of us knew: the squirrel was going to die.

OK, I hear it too. Melodramatic.

Are you ready for the puppy part of the story yet?

Yeah, me too.

Enter Professor Cute Butt. (He’s not the puppy – wait for it!) We had our fourth date the other night, and, you know, I think it’s going pretty well.

But then he texts me saying he had some news he wanted to share but he’d rather do so on the phone, are you around? I could hear my heart in my ears.

He is calling to dump your sorry a$$!, Inner Voice adds, helpfully.

I text back right away. (OMG you guys – I just checked my text history: Prof. CB texted yesterday at 12:17pm. My response? Also 12:17pm.) Okay, maybe I am a bit jumpy, yeah? In any case, I say I’m around now, and he calls.

I answer on the first ring, “What’s up!?”

Prof. CB says, “Oh, so we’re not going to do the small talk thing first?”

I laugh (hehe) and indulge him, heart bracing, mind racing. HE IS GONNA SAY SAYONARA.

“I just wanted to call to tell you by phone rather than text. The boys and I have been on the waitlist for a puppy for a very long time. I feel like it’ll help them to have a puppy. They’ve wanted one since, you know, the divorce. Anyway, we just got off the waitlist. So, um, we are getting a puppy…. next week.”

We both wait to hear what I am going to say.

Still certain this is segue to sayonara, I attempt a gracious, “Oh, okay, congratulations! That’s great! A puppy, wow!”

The Professor: “Well, I told my therapist this puppy was going to ruin my social life, and…. uh, since you’re kind of my social life these days, I wanted to let you know. Cuz it sort of, um, complicates things?”

We discuss. A puppy is not like a cat, you see. The cat poops and pees in a box inside the house. It’s very convenient not being on bathroom duty all the time. Like, I can leave my cat in my apartment overnight. I can go out for long stretches. I can (and do) take her out on a leash, but I DO NOT HAVE TO. That’s what I’m saying. Puppies? Yeah, not so much.

What does this really mean? All I hear in Professor Cute Butt’s call was: words words words BUH-BYE! words words words. So I tell him, ever-accommodating, “We’ll figure it out!”, then added, as an insecurely-attached girl is wont to do, “That is, if you want to figure it out…?”

“I wouldn’t be calling you otherwise, silly!” He doesn’t actually say “silly” but that’s the tone. Like, DUH!

Then he adds, “My therapist was trying to be helpful and said that a puppy doesn’t mean you can’t meet up with people and go for walks. But he doesn’t realize that the person I’m thinking of, well……” He trails off, but he doesn’t need to complete that sentence. We both know: I am not someone who can just “go for walks.” Not with this leg.

We hang up. I am bummed out. The puppy. The squirrel. I’m the squirrel. Enter the puppy. Exit the squirrel, on a quiet little squirrel stretcher. No, not really, but yeah, you can tell I was a little existentially flummoxed.

Waiting for the other shoe* – or squirrel, as the case may be – to drop straight out of the sky. That’s just what I do. (Well, that and delivering on my promise to you of mixed metaphors, jeez.)

Anyway, enter my ever-wise bff. While we’re deconstructing, you know, Everything, she points out – well, he values you enough to consider the impact of a puppy on you guys? And he CALLED you to tell you? After only 4 dates? Um, yeah, I wouldn’t worry about it.

And when I think about it this way, it even starts to make me a little happy. Maybe I’m not the squirrel. Maybe I get the job, maybe I don’t. Maybe the sky isn’t falling, is what I’m getting at.

So here we are, dear Reader: we started with a sad squirrel story. We ended with a happy puppy story.

How do they go together, pray tell?

Uhhh….. LOOK OVER THERE! SQUIRREL!!

See? Done. These two things are totes related.

Now, moving on. Hopefully not to a little squirrel funeral though. Wait, what? You wouldn’t want to accompany me to a little squirrel funeral?

Uhhh…. LOOK OVER THERE! PUPPY!!

*No actual shoes were harmed in the making of this post. (Only your brain as you tried to follow my, um, logic.)

dating, humor, personal writing

sponge animal

So in a land far far away there once lived a girl who had big dreams. She drew rainbows. She looked for unicorns. She sang on top of coffee tables and did questionable cartwheel dismounts. She loved the smell of crayons, and the look of all the colors lined up in the crayon box. She got chocolate on her nose every time she ate chocolate and it was Glorious. She knew life was just bursting with joy.

Later on, life got hard. Life – her life, to be precise – MY life to be very precise – was hit hard and fast, shattering into a million jaggedy little shards. Like Humpty Dumpty, you can’t just put that sh!t back together again. No, in fact, you gotta make peace with the mess your life has become. Well, no even before that, you must just sit amongst the shards and cry. Sob, really. Oh, you know the kind, where you’ve got more fluids and mucus and sounds coming out of you than you thought possible for a little lady such as yourself.

They call it ugly crying. But ugly crying implies a witness – doesn’t it? It implies it’s ugly cuz someone else is there to see it. Sometimes it’s ugly crying but you’re all by your lonesome. (Then again, if no one is there to see – ALSO, DO NOT LOOK IN THE MIRROR – can it still be ugly crying?…)

In any case, all this crying by yourself on the kitchen floor can just make matters worse, when you think about it – funny. Absurdly, hysterically funny.

I think one night after I’d done a bunch of that kitchen floor sobbing business (some day I’ll get into all the crap that went down that made life go off the rails – no, off the rails makes it sound like it had been on, no more like off the rails of the already-off-the-rails-rails), I was suddenly struck by how ridiculous this situation was.

A grown a$$ woman on the floor, clutching the newly-arrived ashes of her just cremated, first ill suddenly dead three year old cat (baby) and she’s sobbing like it’s her job. Then I remember having the thought, I wonder whether the upstairs neighbors jokingly call me “The Weeper” cuz I’m sure that’s all they ever hear from me (and in my head, I totes register on the neighbors’ radar so prominently that they nickname me, DUH).

And just like that, I’m like – this is actually a wee bit funny.

And I legit started to chuckle, through the sniffling and snorting mucusy mess that I was.

And then I wondered if the neighbors could now hear me laughing and how crazy I must sound – which, you guessed it folks, just made me laugh more, which, yes, then made it all funnier still.

And pretty soon, I wasn’t sure if I was Resilient or flippin’ nuts.

Don’t think I can’t hear you, dear Reader, and I know – maybe you’re right: it is a both / and: resiliency and a touch of insanity (Insanity Lite?). Maybe one needs a bit of nutso to be sanely insane or insanely sane in this nutsotastic world.

Anyway, a couple years ago, when I was starting to date again after being in a long relationship, I remember talking to my bff about what I wanted and didn’t want going forward. And I had the weirdest analogy for it (#shocker): namely, you know those toys for kids that come in those tiny little capsules, but when you put them in water they expand into big sponge animals – dinosaurs or elephants or octopuses (octopi?)? I felt like a sponge animal who kept trying to put herself back into that tiny little capsule, or more to the point, I’d find relationships that made me feel I had to capsule myself up, rein myself in, be something small and tidy just to be loved. (I know, cue the tiny violins.) Cuz really, I was the one doing all this re-capsuling of myself.

You know what, people? I don’t wanna do that BS self censoring, self smallering anymore. (#makingupwordsisfun) I want to be my sponge animal self, soaking up life till I get all big and drippy with it – maybe even unruly and untameable!

Dating again, after a long spell of being all squished back up inside the capsule, I felt suddenly free and sort of massive, spreading my spongey octopi arms out, being all like:

OMG I HAVE ANOTHER ARM!? DID YOU GUYS KNOW I HAD THIS ARM?

OMG AND THERE’S ANOTHER ONE! AND WAIT THEY ALL JUST KEEP GETTING BIGGER!

and

OMG GUYS, DOES MY OCTOPUS BUTT LOOK GOOD IN THESE JEANS?

(Wait, does an octopus have a butt?)

All my dates – those poor unconsenting souls – were like little mirrors that showed me all these arms and tentacles and reach that I didn’t even know I had. (Like when a truck is so big it needs those little mirrors to know how big it is and just where it is in space.) I got kinda addicted to all the little mirrors because it was exhilarating learning how big I really was.

My friends called that my Summer of Love. I just kept on unfurling and unfurling, not wanting to get smaller all over again. I was so happy I felt downright sparkly!

But right at the tail end of the Summer of Love, me and my sparkles fell in love goddamnit – head over octopi arms in love. And slurrrrrrpppp – in I rolled my unfurled limbs and in I rolled my unfurled self, and bit by bit, the re-furling and re-capsuling began. (See, I promised in my first post that I’d give you lots of mixed metaphors, and I DELIVER, People.)

Which is why it was a cruel irony that one reason the guy I call Tornado left me is because he felt I’d made my life and self too much about him.

Okay. So you were right, Tornado. Still a Jerk, but correct on that one thing.

Point is, to circle my octopi arms all the way back around to my point (wait, did I have a real point or just a bag o’ mixed metaphors?)… I feel a new Summer of Love coming on. Maybe this time though, I will remember I am kinda claustrophobic and don’t like tiny capsules. Maybe this time y’all can help me remember. And maybe when the “tragedy” of my life became just a little bit funny to me – when the mucusy snorts turned from cry-snorts to laugh-snorts – is when I remembered my mojo. Like, Ohhhhh yeah! I AM A BAD A$$ SPONGE ANIMAL. Stand back, all you tiny capsules and capsulators, and HEAR ME ROAR.

(Wait, do octopi roar? Do sponge animals? #mixedmetaphorsarefun)

No matter, this is me, roaring.

dating, humor, personal writing

retiring that jersey

So before I even get into any updates on Professor Cute Butt, I just gotta resolve this one thing.

Ok, I’m not a sports person, at all, so bear with me. But I’m pretty sure in sports – you know, like whackball and footbasket, the old standards – the players have jerseys with numbers on them and stuff to tell them all apart. Right? And furthermore, I’m pretty sure sometimes a player is so remarkable that they “retire” his jersey and number when he retires. Yeah?

So yeah. That’s gonna happen with my ex’s text-tone.

Not so fast. “Remarkable” doesn’t mean what you think it means. Remarkable does not here mean Awesome. Just remarkable. You know, like natural disasters or other catastrophes are remarkable.

So anyway it’s been a while – we broke up last summer – okay, okay, you guessed it, I say we broke up like it was all perfectly fine by me. Yeah, no – he dumped my a$$. And you know how it went down, don’t you – maybe you’ve been there too: In that “mutual” this-is-best-for-both-of-us-and-if-we-don’t-want-to-destroy-the-love-we-had-this-is-our-only-option pussyfoot bullsh!t kind of way? Yeah.

Anyway, this guy, I’ll call him Tornado, cuz – lets be real – the post breakup nicknames are far more spot on than the cutesy courtship nicknames they get – Tornado fell hard and fast for me (he always said it was love at first sight) and I fell hard and fast for him. But he ran his life like a tornado blowing through town. Sometimes he’d include me. (Wheeeee, did I feel special!) Other times he just ripped right on past, toppling me and blowing my silly hopes to dust as if I didn’t even register.

In any case, I’d given Tornado his very own text-tone early on so I’d know who the text was from without seeing it. Yeah, yeah, okay, I did get super excited every.damned.time I heard it. I’d hear the little chime and it said, See! he does remember you! You’re not completely forgotten! He’s thinking of you Right Now!

Heartflip!

Then, naturally, the little chimes went silent. As they do when someone suddenly breaks your heart and leaves your life.

Fast forward to a month ago, I was watching a movie, and I heard the little chimes – and my body did one of those adrenaline fire drills. My heart raced, my head and hand went immediately for my phone, and I did – I got excited, just for that nano second before I realized. Spoiler Alert: The chime was *not* him texting me telling me he had finally realized he had made The Biggest Mistake of his life leaving me. Nope. The chiming was coming from inside the TV.

Hearing myself sigh so pathetically, I snapped to – I have to Do Something about this! I have to desensitize myself so I no longer do a stupid heartflip whenever I hear that damn sound.

So I re-assigned the little chimes to my sister – she texts everyday and we have a great relationship! Only positive feelings when she texts! It’ll be no time before I’m totally desensitized! Maybe this is the key to finally getting over Tornado!

It’s been two weeks people, and my heart still does that little flip in the nanosecond before I remember – it’s not him. The little chime now says, Yep, the erasure is complete, you are forgotten, Tornado’s really gone.

So, folks, I think it’s come to this: Imma need to retire this jerkoff jersey. Not cuz that player was so great. No, in fact, it’s more cuz he blew. Hard.

Little Chimes, you are not getting re-assigned to anyone else. You and Tornado can ride off into the sunset together. Hope you have a happy &@/;ing life. Buh-bye!

My sister is reclaiming her old text-tone, the typewriter, and we will all just be on our merry god damn way.

Cha-ching!!

dating, humor, personal writing

heart mouthguards

Third date with Professor Cute Butt was really nice. He did NOT wear loafers. He DID come straight from work… wearing a BOW TIE. Come on, dude! Not helping. SMH.

No, in all seriousness, he seems like a real prospect. IN SPITE of the LOAFERS and, you’re killing me, Prof. CB, BOW TIES, he seems like a decent guy. I don’t mean “decent” like “meh” – I mean decent, like a Good Person with a Strong Moral Compass.

He also knows all about the job out of state. (Update on job: they can’t decide between me and the other guy, so they’re calling every reference so as to hopefully come to a decision soon. Hmm. Pins & Needles, meet Waiting.) He said, “I looked it up – it’s not actually THAT far.”

Third date saw more talking talking talking, and more laughter. More holding of hands (and not unintentional or non-mutual hand-holding) and – are you ready for this – massaging of my head. He did that, I think mindlessly, while we hung out on a bench in a random lobby (it’s f’n COLD out) before his train came. Did he know that the key to my heart is through my scalp? How did he know this? *I* did not even know this. Till he did it. Then I was like, Whaaa? I’m putty now. Can’t talk. Can’t – nope, not now. Putty. Putty doesn’t talk. Or think. Putty just kinda laps up head massages.

So that’s how that went down.

Here’s the thing. Remember how I told you about my heart having bit the dust so many times in the past it’s missing teeth? And how I therefore need to find little heart mouthguards, just to protect myself even a wee little bit, or at least, to give the illusion my heart has some protections in place? Well, that plus that fact that, in this new era of dating, and much to my own dismay, I’ve suddenly started to Date like a Dude. So what we have here is this:

I have a date tonight with a different guy.

I know what you’re thinking.

SLUT!

WHORE!

MEAN GIRL!

Oh, wait, what? You’re probably not quite as vicious as my inner voice? Inner voice is like YOU LITTLE LYING BITCH. Professor Cute Butt could be starting to have Actual Feelings for you, and you go and have yet another First Date? What’s wrong with you?!?!

I will just tell all of you this: heart mouthguards.

Inner voice, don’t look at me like that. Prof. CB and I are not exclusive (yet). Just gonna slip this one date under the wire. I mean, what could possibly go wrong?

dating, humor, personal writing

a perfect date nightmare: loafers

So I had a second date with Professor Cute Butt, and I will have another today.

That said, he wears Loafers, people.

Ok, a bit of background is in order: I went to a private high school we’ll just call Preppy Prep. All Preppy Prep boys wore loafers. Most with no socks and actual pennies stuffed in for proper prepster props. I absolutely – for lack of a better word – ABHORRED both Preppy Prep school and Preppy Prep boys.

So when Professor Cute Butt got out of his car at our second date and I saw Loafers, I could barely hear him over the alarm bells going off in my head.

RUN. THIS IS NOT A DRILL. HEAD FOR THE NEAREST —

Okay okay, I can hear you, dear Reader. You’re saying, “Oh.My.Gawd!, don’t be so shallow! Especially since it sounds like you’ve had about as much luck dating as Oscar the Grouch had with getting out of that trash can! Who cares about his shoes! It’s a man’s heart, his character, how he treats you that matters, you numb-nut! Don’t screw this up!”

Either that or you are driving our proverbial getaway car – I picture a black Escalade – and are racing up alongside me being all like “HERE! JUMP IN, QUICK!”

In my defense, my hardline anti-loafer platform is not about footwear, per se. (Although, have you seen these things?)

No, it’s about Social Justice.

OK hear me out.

Loafers, to me, represent someone who comes from money, someone who has had a life of privilege, someone who went to schools like Preppy Prep. Loafers might, though not necessarily, indicate a person who is … less than woke. Loafers say, I’d rather be at the yacht club polishing our new sailboat. (Oh wait, do people polish a sailboat, or am I just thinking of silver? If people do polish a sailboat and are at a yacht club, they probably are also people who have other people to do the polishing. Well, you know what I’m getting at.) Loafers don’t *necessarily* say, I’m a racist and I think poor people are just lazy and homeless people should get a damn job and sick people must’ve done something to bring illness and pestilence upon themselves. (Wait, what is pestilence again?) Anyway, Loafers don’t mean all that. But they could. They could. That’s all I’m sayin.

Ok, holy stereotyping, Self! Let’s go easy on the guy. This is all about your past history having gone to Preppy Prep where all the boys drove Beemers and had CEO daddies and told maids what to do. They were budding Brett Kavanaughs, complete with good buddies named Squi and games like the Devil’s Triangle. Just cuz my high school made me forever get the heebie jeebies whenever I see loafers or – god forbid- plaid – no, I’m sorry, madras- shorts, doesn’t predict a single thing about Professor Cute Butt.

Still…. you can imagine my concern.

Our third date is in a matter of hours. My mission, should I choose to accept it: Operation Woke-o-Meter. Do his loafers point to a character flaw that would prohibit any further development of a relationship?! Who knows! Maybe he’s Dope AF.

Second date involved mojitos, tapas sharing, and a lot more snorting. This time, I made him really laugh. He said, wiping at his eyes, “I’m literally crying laughing!” and he’d only had a quarter of his drink so I can’t blame the mojito really. I have never made someone cry-laugh (and admit it) on a second date before, so needless to say, I felt pretty damn good about how this was going.

Also, there was a bit more, ahem, testing out of the chemistry factor. We are not all academics here so I’ll skip past the Methods section and get right to the Conclusion: Yes. Yes, we do have chemistry.

So the second date, even though it was > seven hours, did not allow for ample testing in the WHY LOAFERS category of this experiment.

That is what tonight is for.

Well, in addition to keeping my mind off whether or not I got the job….

Will report back. Get that Escalade running, just.in.case.

dating, humor, personal writing

professor cute butt

God help me if we end up in a real relationship because it shall be here-forth known to all of the interwebs that I had a GREAT date with a man whom my BFF and I are calling “Professor Cute Butt.” If you saw his picture on Bumble, you’d understand immediately. (Why am I hearing some crass teenage voice in my head saying, “yeah, don’t look at me like that, you woulda swiped right on his a$$ too.”)

Professor Cute Butt is a professor. Prof. CB does have a cute butt. He is not a professor of buttology or anything, but he could be. That’s what I’m saying, people.

So here’s how it goes down: I have a big interview for a job I am a finalist Friday – the job is OUT OF STATE. Professor Cute Butt is IN STATE, oh yesiree. We met Tuesday, and BOOM. Almost seven hours later, we forced ourselves to part, promising we’d have a second date the day after my interview. It felt like when you try to split a taffy candy with someone. You pull. They pull. The taffy just hangs there, laughing in your face, all “you can’t split taffy, you wanker!” If neighbors were watching us say goodbye, which they very well could have been (DAMN, URBAN LIVING!) they might have had one of two thoughts: 1) Aww, those two! So clearly fond of each other they can’t even say a successful goodbye! 2) GET A F*CKING ROOM.

But what would I do if I got said job AND it actually went somewhere with Professor Cute Butt? You know why I ask this question, don’t you. Yep. That is, just in case you were starting to wonder, how the Universe rolls: “I’ll send you a promising man in one state and a promising job in a different state, all in the same week,” she says, maniacally rubbing her Universe hands together and letting out her Universe cackle.

I see you, Universe, and I am not going to be laughing.

Actually, you probably know me well enough already, dear Reader, to know I actually will be laughing. Because I am quite often finding things very funny. I mean, LOOK AROUND. IT IS ABSURD.

Speaking of laughter, part of the reason I liked Prof. CB so much was because he made me SNORT with laughter. And I made him almost SNARF his beer. I felt more accomplished than I have in a long time. I mean, it wasn’t a successful snarf… yet… but very promising, indeed.

On the other hand: Have I just jinxed both job and man?

I will report back. Maybe I’ll bring the Universe some taffy from the gift shop.

P.S. I do have a nickname, and preferably an emoji too (e.g., glasses + peach), for all the guys. It’s what I do. It’s not something I am super proud of. But guess what, the world is rough and if a man’s gonna make it he’s gotta be tough, and I knew I wouldn’t be there to help you along, so I gave you this name and I said — Oh WAIT, that’s Johnny Cash. Never mind. In any case, you’ll know it’s serious if I drop the nickname. It’s just a handy way to give your poor heart a little buffer and way to laugh and dust itself off if and when it bites the dust hard, again. My heart has bit the dust so many times it’s missing teeth. Nicknames are just little mouthguards for the heart.

Yeah. Uh-huh. Mouthguards for the heart. You heard it here first.

dating, humor, personal writing

the green dot blues

OK. I get it. I’m online dating, you’re online dating, he’s definitely online dating, everybody is online dating. On every possible app. Yep. Got the memo.

But here’s the thing. Dating in this era, especially for an insecurely attached introvert such as myself, is – let’s see, there’s a word for it – oh yes: HELL. It is unmitigated torture. Like a slow drip from a faucet while you’re trying to sleep and wanting to think thoughts of anything other than the slow drip of the damned faucet.

Or like those monks who believe self-flagellation is an integral part of their spiritual practice, flogging the fragile skin of their naked backs with those heavy, prickly ropes, over and over and over and over in a ritual shaming of the flesh, that will leave its mark only UNTIL the END of TIME .

Or like getting all settled into your seat on the plane on an overseas 12 hour flight, only to find the guy next to you wants to spend the entire time alternately snoring into your ear and creeping into your shoulder space, or chewing on some dry pretzels, little bits of which spew this way and that, as he explains to you his ten year plan, while exuding what must be some kind of protest against capitalism via his utter disregard for the hygiene products it peddles.

Or like ordering this amazing dress you’ve been eyeing for a while on Amazon (on sale! great reviews! pics so cute!) only to have it arrive at your door looking nothing like the dress you imagined flitting prettily about in, not even looking – in pure point of fact – like a dress at all, but rather more like the shriveled aftermath of a party of polyester and cardboard left out in the rain, for a few years, then put in the dryer with a hamster. (Not to put too fine a point on it.)

Or like going to the mechanic with your car that’s been making this noise for a while, and then suddenly, now that you’re telling him about it, it’s not making a noise at all, it actually goes ghostly quiet, even though you KNOW something real happened and you’re NOT imagining it – but the mechanic just looks at you, like, Whatever, lady! NEXT!

Or that awful dream you wake up sweating from where you’re at a party where you just can’t quite figure out what the hell people are talking about – is it another language they are speaking? Why can’t I understand what is going on? Wait, I was supposed to bring a gift? Is that why they are looking at me that way? Cue looking down: OH MY GOD I FORGOT MY PANTS.

You get the drift? Yes, I think you do. This, my friends, is online dating in 2019. As a 40 something straight lady. In a city. With lots of dudes. And lots and lots and lots of beautiful young women.

So here’s what I find to be the most excruciating facet of this whole maddening enterprise, for me anyway: that f*cking green dot. ONLINE NOW! Or the green dot equivalent. On Bumble, it’s the mysteriously rapid-changing locations of the person you just had some you-thought-fabulous-dates-and-hot-chemistry with. But there he is 3.6 miles away, now 4.7 miles away, now 8.2 – which means he is SWIPING NOW!, wherever he is, he is MESSAGING SOMEONE NOW…. or so you have heard (or, let’s be real, so you have *read,* after some obsession-fueled googling with a glass of wine to calm your nerves).

But it is OKCupid that is the origin story of my Green Dot Blues. Somehow this is made all the more devastating by the fact that OKC has, no offense, evolved into what feels a graveyard of gray faces, mine included (so I can say it, y’all!). In other words, OKC is like Facebook. Once upon a time it was KOOL. Now it’s where daters go to die. But even there, he’s ONLINE NOW, checking out all the other, better gray faces than yours.

Well, carry on, shall we?

Nah, I’m being harsh. There are nice guys out there. For sure. Really nice. It’s just hard not to feel like we are all the picked-over garments after a massive end-of-summer sale at TJ Maxx. This sweater is good, but bummer, it only comes in xxxl or xxss. This blazer has a stain that’s been there since the 70s. Wait, are these pants wearing a wedding ring? There’ve got to be other clothes stored somewhere in the back? No? So… this is it? Then you look down and realize there’s a hole where there’s not supposed to be a hole in your own damned t-shirt.

Yeah. Here we all are, god help us, we have *that* in common. And that, I guess, is a start.

Also, an update: recall Mr. Cutiepants from the horrific mistaken hand-holding incident post? I remembered just now that that was not the first time my subconscious pulled that stunt with this guy. On our second date, after he kissed me for the first time, and it was raining and we were looking for a little shelter where we could make out on the sidewalk in the rain LIKE TEENAGERS, PEOPLE… And I might have just grabbed his hand and held it, grinning madly. In my mind, I was skipping with him hand in hand down the sidewalk, onlookers turning their wet heads to watch these two new lovebirds go by, love story blooming as they watched. In reality, my reverie evaporated soon as I found myself holding hands with this guy I’d just met, who, for all I know is a PLAYAH. I had said, “Oh My Gosh! I’m holding your hand – is that weird? I think that’s weird! I mean, it’s weird for a second date! Sorry if this is weird! IS it weird?” He said, as gamely as he could, “Only if you make it weird!”

So, that about sums up online dating for me thus far: Only If You Make It Weird (i.e., Yes, You’ve Now Made It Weird, You Weirdo) and, perhaps not unrelatedly, the post-date Green Dot Blues.

I do have one final thing to say on the matter, on this lovely Friday evening, where I am – you may note – NOT out on the town. And that is:

F-U WHEN HARRY MET SALLY.

F-U JOHN CUSACK and YOUR GIANT BOOMBOX.

F-U JUDD NELSON and THE STUD EARRING YOU GIVE MOLLY RINGWALD AT THE END OF MOVIE.

That is all.