lasting impressions

People go on and on about the importance of first impressions. No doubt it’s all true. But what of latest, last or final impressions? Doesn’t their discussion merit a moment of attention, as well?

Some of you may recall that, while in bed with the boyfriend I was seeing just over a year ago, he asked me what my first impression of him had been. He insisted I be honest, so I can hardly be blamed for blurting out, “Man boobs.”

Luckily, we were both consumed with laughter and able to get past this awkward incident. So much so that the ending of our relationship was tender, sweet and respectful.

My point? The “final” impression in our relationship was so overwhelmingly positive that I look back on our relationship fondly and, in fact, I can admit to probably romanticizing it. And because we were loving and caring to one another until the end — and at the very end — we have become friends.

Contrast this experience with my more recent dalliance with more-like-it:  I found him interesting – intriguing – from the start. I enjoyed talking with him, flirting with him and spending time with him. Physically, I found him sexy! In the end, though, I felt hurt and disrespected and, as lovely as I imagine it might be to cherish the memories, I find it’s difficult to look back at the experience fondly. At present, I am more likely to roll my eyes and think, “I can’t believe I fell for that!”

Admittedly, I am a pragmatic optimist. I’m sure, one day, I’ll see things differently. My hindsight tends to wear rose-colored glasses, after all.

In fact, I’ve already come to see the silver lining in this… If things had ended sweetly, I might have allowed myself to ponder possibilities. As it happened, closure was — shall we say — “firm.” Ultimately, he did me a favor by making it easy for me to move on.

so much, yet so little

I keep coming up with many ideas about which to write — I have so much to say.

Still, today is a solemn day of remembrance, a day in which there are more important things to contemplate than my sorry-ass lack of a dating life. I’ve read through Facebook posts from friends who were traveling or living in New York eleven years ago. I can still feel the bewilderment and fear I felt that day…and to honor those feelings and to honor loved ones whose minds are closer to NYC than to my little realm of self-absorption, I’m going to call it a night.

I’ll drop back with more later this week.

the big deal about proposals

I recently came across an article about the trend toward over-the-top marriage proposals, events that require significant planning on the part of the would-be groom. The stories were lavish, creative and required extensive planning. And some of them were ridiculous.

But I don’t want to criticize, because I think proposals should be planned — they should be thoughtful. Or spontaneous. In other words, they should be individual and personal. And a proposal is a great way for a man to shine, whereas the wedding is all about the bride.

As for my proposal:  When I was finally ready for marriage, it took several months for the love of my life to catch up…even though we already had a home and two children together. I feel a deep sense of shame as I confess that my ex was so cheap that he was surprised to learn that I wanted a ring.

He actually first proposed one night when we were out with another couple. His demeanor toward me had been so hostile that the couple we were with thought it was a joke. He ignored me or was rude toward me for much of the evening, and then he pulled out a gauche “drag queen” ring — the kind with an adjustable band that became popular about a year later. Needless to say, I requested a do-over (with a ring I might actually be inclined to wear). Lest I sound like a complete asshole (and maybe I am), we had gone out and looked at rings together. He knew exactly the style I was hoping for, as well as my ring size (and the budget we had discussed). He knew I was hoping for a little romance.

So let’s get back to the proposal, part deux, months later:  My mother was watching the children and my guy was going to take me out to dinner “somewhere special, somewhere we’d had drinks but not dinner.” We pulled up…and the restaurant was closed. So then we decided to go to a Thai place that we’d frequented before children. His proposal was interrupted by a server bringing out some egg rolls. In other words, there was little forethought and absolutely no planning put into what I had hoped would be a special and romantic memory for us to reminisce about for years to come. He hadn’t bothered to call and make a reservation, nor ordered champagne. I tried to be thrilled and delighted at this dream-come-true but, in my heart, I felt hurt that he hadn’t put thought or effort into creating something special. And, in the end, it was another in a long chain of disappointments.

Maybe some of you, maybe especially the guys, will read this and think that it’s my own foolish expectations that got me into this mess. But who among us doesn’t hope for a little romance? My desires were not unrealistic; my demands not too great…I left a great deal of my heart open to possibility, open to allowing myself to be surprised. Alas, it was not to be.

So cheers to those guys with the elaborate schemes. I’m sure the women in their lives will appreciate the thoughtfulness and planning, and they will have a story to share and remember for many years to come.

ah, memories

Occasionally I look back on the time in my late 20s when I dated a millionaire and wonder what the hell I was thinking letting him go!

We enjoyed taking his private plane (he had a pilot’s license and a small twin-engine) to his Caribbean home, being treated to meals and gifts, never having to worry about a thing. Let me paint a picture of one of my most fond remembrances for you:

I was on the phone with this wealthy older man, a friend who had not yet told me he was interested in more. He was planning a trip to New York and I asked if I might join him — I could use an escape and New York is beautiful in the autumn.

“Yeah, for sure!” he said. And then, to my surprise, he paid my airfare and gave me the address of where we’d be staying:  a tony address on the east side of the Park where some friends of his had an apartment.

I took a cab from JFK. When I told the cabbie the address, he did a double-take in the mirror and asked, “You goin’ home?” I told him I was visiting with a friend, and the apartment was owned by friends of my friend. He said, “You got the look. Someday you gonna be rich enough to buy a place like that, too.”

“From your lips to God’s ears,” I replied.

The cabbie dropped me off across from the park and I gave the doorman my name. I was the first to arrive. The doorman carried my luggage up to the 7th floor and let me in. I put some Nina Simone on the stereo, pulled out a New Yorker and relaxed on a chaise near the windows overlooking the park. I was completely relaxed and in my element. After my friend arrived, we took a walk, stopping at Bulgari so I could buy some perfume and asked that it be delivered to the doorman in “our” building, then we bought some nice bottles of wine, also having them delivered. We went out to nice restaurants, watched the US Open of Tennis and window shopped. New York in the autumn is so lovely!

I look back at this time in my life and recall how much I enjoyed the intellectual connection and conversation with this fellow, as well as the lifestyle. Early on, his friends would ask how long we’d known each other — time that could be counted in months — and remark that we seemed so comfortable and friendly as to have known each other for a decade. It was a lovely compliment. Perhaps I was just so relaxed about it all because I never took the relationship seriously.

After all, he’d had children who were then in their teens and had been “fixed.” And I was certain I wanted children of my own. His lifestyle of excess caused some discomfort with me, an eco-conscious “awakening consumer.” He drove a sports car and frequented “gentlemen’s clubs,” so I thought him a bit of a pig and teased him about it. And some control issues began to appear in the last days of our togetherness. Yet sometimes I wonder if any of those differences or issues would have been any more difficult to handle than the things I dealt with in a relationship with the man who I truly loved and with whom I ultimately shared a decade of my life.

In hindsight, what was excess to me then may now be abundance. And all those other things, if we’d really loved each other, we may have been able to communicate through. Or am I just wearing rose-colored glasses?

Actually, probably the main reason I recall this time in my life and this relationship with fondness is that I never lost myself in it. I didn’t take it too seriously, I wasn’t working (over-functioning) to get my man; he was working to woo me. And I could take him or leave him. He adored me for me being myself. And when it seemed he didn’t, I let him go…and that’s a great lesson for me to carry forward into future relationships.