Tuesday, January 28, 2014

So Who Do I Bring on the First Date?

Just a Few to Mention

There is a huge lump on the front of my forehead from banging it against the wall... the dresser... the door... the counter (that was by accident) and whatever other hard surface I can find now that I've entered the world of dating again. Has it always been this difficult? Has it always been something that makes my eyes cross, my head spin, and my hand reach for a stiff drink? The moral of the past few dates I've been on: "I'm too much to handle." 

It seems every time I open my mouth and start talking about myself the guy starts looking for all the available exits as if he is on a plane experiencing severe turbulence (you should have paid attention at the beginning of the flight by the way). The first question always seems to be: "So tell me about yourself?" If I could just avoid that question I may make it to dessert but alas the second I start to give a rundown on who I am I start to see panic appear in his eyes. The date has just hit an iceberg in true Titanic fashion. The question I have about this inquiry is simple: How do I answer that?

I took a very scientific study of a random selection of people (i.e.- unbiased family and friends) by asking them the simple question: Define me in just ONE word. Some hesitated. Some threw it right out there. So, if we could put the ten most popular answers up on the board please, SURVEY SAYS: 

1) Brave
2) Enthusiastic
3) Quirky
4) Confident
5) Eccentric
6) Vivacious
7) Energetic (with added note: not on Saturday/Sunday mornings)
8) Intelligent
9) Remarkable
10) Independent
Honorable Mention: "Sparkly" submitted by my 3.5-year old niece. 

So I take all of these characteristics and put them together to make one Kristen. A Kristen who can be confident yet quirky. Intelligent yet eccentric. Brave and remarkable yet petrified of clowns and skin suits. Independent yet unable to kill spiders. Vivacious and energetic yet sleeps until noon on the weekends. I did not receive a single duplicate answer when asked to describe me in one word. Does that make me unique or does that just make me a handful?

I know who I am and what I want. I want to see a Yankees game... I will make that happen. I want to eat a vat of frosting... I'll hold up a bakery without question. I want to live on my own for 12 years in tiny apartments... I will survive on Easy Mac to do so. I want to save the world... I will start by volunteering in water with sand fleas. I want to find the right guy for me.... *crickets* *crickets*

I'm worried that perhaps I bring too much to the table. I'm the tomboy who will talk sports with you and definitely drink you under the table. I'm the kickboxing wannabe who winds up in the ER after her 3rd class. I'm the girl who dreams in Tiffany Blue and looks at Holly Golightly as a heroine (make point to check out call girl rates for better income status). I'm the girl who laughs out loud at herself. I'm also the girl who can watch a baseball game swearing like a sailor and then turn on Steel Magnolias and bawl my eyes out (Shelby can't run to Texas damn it but her mother can!!). Every guy I have ever been on a date with or had a relationship with was unable to find a happy balance between all of these different Kristen's. Again, too much to handle.

There is just one physical "me." You can't miss her. But the thousands of pieces that comprise me and the countless hats I wear (graduation cap, a baseball hat, a tiara) are what haven't completely fused together yet. I'm all over the spectrum. I'm an energetic crazed woman dancing in her apartment and a narcoleptic insomniac (true story) at the same time.

Is it my job to reign all of these different Kristen's in? Is it my job to choose which ones to reveal slowly but surely to a potential suitor (welcome to the 1950s)? It seems like I just throw them all out there at once and duck when the "well, you're rather intimating" or "check please!!!" is uttered in the middle of the date. I don't know who the man I'm looking for is... But perhaps he's the one who can take the tomboy, the princess, the klutz and the nerd, and tie them together. Perhaps that's what I need in life. A Breakfast Club-esque approach to dating. Basically I come to the table, lay it out there and you take it or you leave it. The person who takes it will be the one who can look me in the eye and say: I accept you for who you are no matter how many of you there may be (or how many detentions you've had- see what I did there?).

So I may not have "Don't You Forget About Me" playing as I walk away from my date... But maybe there is a Jake Ryan out there ready to mouth "yeah you" when I look at him, confused and in dismay, asking "ME?" Because he is going to want every one of the "me's" that come with this brown haired, brown eyed, fun-sized package. And I guess that's the Kristen I need to bring on the first date.


Monday, January 20, 2014

If I Don't Text You at Ten, I'm Dead...

We all know what time it is when this compilation is sitting on my counter. It's first date time. We've got the letter to the police giving a full description of myself, my whereabouts, my "date's" information, my toothbrush and hairbrush for DNA, the impression of my teeth (just in case) and a camera with photos of me right before I walked out the door. On the back of the paper is my last will and testament outlining who gets what from my amazing collection of books, electronics, baseball card collection, shoes, handbags, mismatched dishes, unused pots/pans and ownership of my two cats. Also the statement that should I be murdered, please play "New York, New York" at the funeral and bury me in my "42" jersey. Hey, we all have last requests, right?

You're looking at this picture and you're convinced that I'm a crazy person. That all my sanity has somehow escaped my mind and I'm walking this earth absolutely senile. But, my good friend, you'd be wrong. You must be proactive in your defense against being turned into a skin suit. We all have our biggest fears and mine is that the guy will bring lotion, a basket and have a little dog named Precious. There are various traits that I don't trust about a man and they lead me to believe they have skin suit potential. We all remember "no toppings guy." I got out of that situation but for the grace of God.

I met this gentleman at a restaurant to which of course I was early (never leave home without at least one book). So I sat in my car and waited. And while I waited and tried to read some book about a man who found a missing baby in 1962 I just kept thinking to myself: "I know nothing about this guy. What am I getting myself into? This could be a complete disaster! He could be boring. He could hate baseball. He could think Obamacare is a gift from above. He could order seafood. He could murder me. And the big one: he could not like frosting." These questions filled my Ford Escape and unfortunately made me keep re-reading each sentence because ADD is a horrible thing. Trying to balance my uncontrollable train of thought was more of a chore than one could imagine.

And this date comes on the heels of receiving a message from a horrendous ex-boyfriend from years ago finding me on social media and sending me a heart-felt, violin inducing message of sorrow, guilt and pain. He confirmed everything I already knew: Yes, I look fabulous. Yes, I am extremely happy. Yes, I have found true love in baseball and frosting (monogamy has never been my strong point). And yes, my life is how I want it to be right now. No, I don't believe you have changed. No, I don't think you're sorry (sorry excuse for a man but not actually sorry). But yes, I would be willing to go back in time and take you back... once I have exhausted all the air in my lungs and rigor has set in. I don't have a "save the date" card for that but I'll make sure you'll get one in the mail from the coroner.

My luck with men has been anything but positive. Pay no attention to the Irish last name because I never inherited that luck when it comes to the male species. I have horror stories that Stephen King would pay a lot of money to get the rights to. But it's been almost 8 months since the break-up and I promised friends that I would date again in 2014. So here I was, sitting in my car holding a Kindle I wasn't really reading, and thinking of two things: 1) what am I doing here again because I'm really tired of doing this and 2) Did I remember to fully charge my stun gun?

Starting over. That's what I was doing in that car. Starting over at 29 with someone that could lead to a second date and something special. Something that could possibly go somewhere and be something amazing. Something that I would look back on and say, "Remember that night I met you and all the stars aligned and everything was perfect and little bunnies starting hopping by with rainbows above us?" Or I could be saying, "I got a good look at him officer. He was standing there with various bottles of Bath & Body Works in a basket leading me to a hole in the ground!" Nevertheless, as I sat in the car one thing came to my mind: if all else fails and nothing comes of this attempt I'm not eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich tonight for dinner again. And that my friends, was worth the insane risk I was about to take when the text came on my phone that said "I'm here."

Monday, January 6, 2014

Sign on the Dotted Line...

In today's world with all the blogs, the tweets, the Facebook updates, the Instagram photos and every other outlet associated with social media there is a steady stream of what can only be classified as "OPINION." If someone has the opportunity to scroll past the politically themed opinion posts they will move straight onto the sports themed opinions. And some times, throwing legislation and lobbyists out the water, the opinions held about sports are the most divisive and cutthroat.

I won't pretend to know anything about football because that's just not who I am and therefore not what I will make any reference to. I know baseball. I live baseball. I love baseball. I breathe baseball. So I follow every social media outlet there is and watch countless hours of the MLB Network to hear all of these opinions. What player has the best chances at be traded to [insert team name here]? Salary caps and a luxury tax won't stop [insert team name here] from throwing it's hand into the mix! How much is too much for a player? How old is "too old" for baseball? The divisive and cutthroat nature of baseball debates and simple conversations rises far above the Yankee-Red Sox rivalry and definitely raises similar overly dramatic reactions like those in the infamous "Pine Tar Game" of '83.

Surrounding the myriad of rumors and backroom deals, concessions and compromises, hardball and desperation is a question that I can't seem to move past when it comes to playing the sport of baseball: Loyalty. And the term "loyalty" has many facets. One, being a fan's affiliation with a team. Two, a player's affiliation with a team. And three, management's affiliation with a team. What is the common factor among these three parties in terms of loyalty?

As a little girl I thought if you were a Yankee player then you stayed a Yankee player. I born in 1984 and came into loving baseball with the birth of the Core Four. Of course I had that thought ingrained in my mind. Bernie Williams was always going to be a Yankee. Derek Jeter was always going to be a Yankee. Mariano Rivera was always going to be a Yankee. And except for a short lapse of judgement (and possible head injury, I'm not sure) Andy Pettitte was always going to be a Yankee. This was how my mind worked. This is what I believed to be the beauty of baseball. This is when I was innocent and didn't understand the complications of "loyalty."

Loyalty is comprised of winning... money... and legacy. The fans, the players and management want to win games. The players want to make money, management wants to spend just as much as they have to, and fans want the ability to afford a stadium seat and perhaps a bobblehead. And legacy: a fan wants a player that will carry that number and that uniform for his entire career. A player wants to be remembered for all they did for a team, the records they broke and the stadium they helped build. And management wants to have the ability to use the player's legacy to promote their team.

So when winning, money and legacy are added together in a probable equation of trying to understand baseball one can only understand the heated tempers that flair, the chairs that fly, the jerseys that burn and the heads that bang the wall as a result of a player choosing one of the three over all the others. If Cano had accepted the Yankees offer and stayed in the Bronx he would have been adored by his fans, fostered his blatant pinstripe legacy, and the Yankee franchise would have Robbie once again at 2nd base making plays and generating money. His name and number one day to hang, retired, in Monument Park.

Legacy was abandoned in the deal with Robinson Cano and the Yankees. When he chose to go to Seattle was it for the money? Was it because he was displeased with New York's management? Was he weary of the fans in the Bronx and their intolerance for big names not really stepping up to the plate? Did he put aside the Yankees "Dynasty" for World Series in hopes that a deal with the Mariners would give him more exposure and ample records to break? What dissection of loyalty occurred to remove such a beloved Yankee from the Bronx to Seattle?

Unless we are the player himself, we will never truly know. And I think that's what frustrates not only the fans and management, but also fellow teammates. Tempers rage and emotions run high because with the swipe of a pen and the swap of a jersey at a press conference that staple at second base or centerfield or on the mound that you watch for 162 or more games is no longer "your guy." He belongs to another team. Loyalty feels like betrayal. It becomes personal. This intensity is not the case obviously with every trade as some players have a dozen jerseys spanning their career with various teams. But when a player is a team hero... a staple on Opening Day... and he leaves your beloved team for another the question of loyalty is all that can be raised.

As long as there are players to be traded and deals to be made, baseball will be inundated with opinions and reactionary emotions. But at the root of it all is again, "loyalty." This time for the simple love, passion and loyalty for the sport of Baseball.