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Archive for August, 2010

Sitting here in the sports bar of the Philadelphia airport awaiting my continuing flight to Kansas City, I have two things on my mind. One, I am thirsty for a locally brewed amber lager. It’s the first thing that I crave when coming back to the States. And two, I turn thirty in exactly one week.

Apparently, thirst for alcohol and thirty are now more related than I thought. I just ordered a beer and started fiddling through my wallet full of USA cards and miscellaneous objects, looking for my American drivers license since the bartender was inevitably going to ask for my ID. But, to my surprise and utter disappointment he didn’t ask for my ID. He poured me a beautifully golden pint and walked away.

This is the first time I have NOT been carded in the States. And it’s kind of a big deal. Bars are really strict about carding “young-looking” people here, especially in the airport. I asked the bartender if he wanted to see my ID, and he responded, “No hon’, it’s cool. I know you are old enough.” He laughed. I laughed along with him, all the while trying to keep the wrinkles around my eyes from crinkling too much and adjusting my bra straps for extra leverage and push.

Apparently I no longer look like I’m in my 20s.
Maybe that’s because I’m no longer in my 20s.

I have not given too much thought about turning thirty, mainly because I am not afraid of getting older. And in general, the 30s are supposedly awesome years for women. It’s when women seem to be at their peak and I look forward to reaching my peak as well! That said, I think it is affecting me on a more subconscious level. These past few months have been full of new life aspirations, many of which have to do with “settling down” and finding a career path and some stability. These are sure tell signs of getting older. I had been warned by many that turning thirty marks a big turning point in the lives of women, but I honestly believed it would just happen and things would remain the same. But truthfully, I do feel different. These past nine months have been full of radical changes and journals full of new thoughts and desires. Not to mention a biological clock that ticks like crazy. Perhaps this 30s business is getting under my skin after all.

So here I raise my cold, sweating lager glass to make a toast to my thirst and my upcoming thirties! I will embrace this new decade of my life with open arms and perhaps some anti-aging creams.

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Sitting in front of the computer screen at work today, with just a slight trace of a hangover from last night’s festivities, I dreamed of a turkish durum with goat cheese. In the US, ‘greasy spoon’ is more like Mexican food takeout or Burger King. But here in Barcelona it’s kebabs and family all the way.

I have been forced to watch my few pennies these past couple of months, which means I’ve been eating at home without indulging too much in restaurants or take away food. But today, with 1,60 EUR in my bank account and just 4,78 EUR of spare change in my wallet, I decided to splurge and give in to my durum needs.

Paying in exact change, with not enough left over for even a drink, I took my warm durum to the plaza to sit on a bench in the breeze beneath the trees to enjoy this special gift I was allowing myself today. A reward of sorts.

There were two Spanish punkis also sitting there enjoying the breezes of the plaza, them and their 2 grungy looking dogs. The large black dog lifted its nose as I unwrapped my seasoned chicken wrap, and instantly came to my side. She stared at my food, snout just about a foot away. I spoke to her softly, in Spanish, saying sorry sweetie but you can’t have any. She didn’t budge. I spoke to her again, now using words like “no” and “go away” and looked over to her owners, the punki couple, hoping they would call back their mutt. Finally the guy comes walking over and I think, great. He’ll come get his dog and let me eat in peace.

Much to my surprise, rather than pulling the dog away he instead approached me, also stood about one foot away from my food, and asked if he could have a bite of my durum. He was hungry, he told me. Now, on occasion and when I actually feel that someone’s situation is less fortunate than mine I sometimes do give my food to people. But this guy did not appear to be struggling in any way, shape or form. He was a young Spanish guy wearing a theatrical cap and striped tights. And I really really really wanted my food today. I kindly, with an uncertain smile, said that I did not feel comfortable allowing him, or his dog, to bite into my food. Sorry. Now please go away. He did. And finally took the dog with him.

His girlfriend had been drinking from the fountain in the plaza, and three bites after her boyfriend left me, she then came over to me and asked for a euro.

And then the shit hit the fan.

Smile-less and now speaking in a fairly loud voice, I put the durum in my lap so as to have my hands free to wave around to make my point more clear. I spoke loud enough for not only her boyfriend and dogs to hear, but I’m pretty sure the attic apartment dwellers in the plaza could also hear me. And this is what I said:

“I have 1,60 EUR in my bank account right now. I used the last 4,78 EUR that I scrounged up in small change at the bottom of my purse in order to buy this durum. I am working part-time, don’t have unemployment benefits from the government, or rich family members that give me allowances so that I can dress like a clown and steal from people in nice plazas who are actually trying to get off their lazy asses and make some hard-earned cash. Don’t you dare ask me for anything else. Now, please, all of you leave me alone and let me finish off this juicy, delicious durum in peace!”

Needless to say, the punkis left me in peace. A couple people walking by stopped and stared for a few brief moments. But I didn’t care. The juice from the sauces was running down my arm, and I had still have a few enjoyable bites left, dammit. I stared at them while I took my last bite. I licked my fingers and smiled and rinsed my hands off in the fountain before walking away from them.

A couple hours later, while walking home from work, I saw two guys trying to rob a girl on my street. She was sitting down on a ledge with a traveler’s backpack and her purse. One guy was trying to distract her with a map and his buddy came around the back and gently pulled away her purse and started to walk away slowly. I shouted at them, the girl jumped up and went after the buddy with the bag. He ended up dropping the bag and the two guys walked off, not without first giving me some major dirty and threatening looks. With her bag in hand, she screamed after them, “Rob the rich you assholes!” Turns out she was not a tourist after all. She lives on this street and was just back from holiday. Having lost her keys, she was locked out and sitting there worrying about what to do.

Dear punkis and thieves of Barcelona: Don’t fuck with me on a bad day. Punk me and I’ll punk you back!

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Many friends have suggested that I try online dating. The new online social networking strategies seem to be the way of the future for city dating, so I am told. But I am not totally convinced. There are some creepy people out there and I do not really feel like offering up the bait to attract them. Besides, I much prefer seeing a person in front of me and learning about him from his spoken word, rather than checking out his profile and perhaps extremely photo-shopped portrait shot, which may not even be him! I no longer accept Facebook invitations from guys I like, because I hate the whole “spying” quality of this online connection. I much prefer to get to know a guy in person.

That said, I know of many couples that have met via the online dating route and who have continued on with successful relationships. Props to them. I have given some thought to the idea, but rather than jump on the online dating bandwagon I have instead decided to steal the concept of online dating and apply it to offline dating. What is it that makes Match.com work? There are two main components: one, you “put out there” what you are looking for so as to attract what you want, and two, you filter through options and focus in one ones that seem to have what you are looking for.

So I am now taking the first step of “putting it out there”. Technically, this is still online, being my blog and all, but I fully intend to make my wishes more clear early on when meeting a man in person. I guess I should be more upfront about what I want from the start, just so there are no surprises. Apparently I give off the impression that I just like to have fun and in no way am interested in being in a relationship. That’s what they tell me at least. Well, they are wrong. And perhaps it is my fault for not having made things more clear.

Men – let me tell you what it is that I do want. In simple and direct language so that I make myself clear from the get go. I want to be in mutually respectful, beneficial, loving and honest relationship. If you are not looking for the same, then no need to read my personals ad below!

Here goes my ad:

Single white female looks for a 30-something year old man who is open to the idea of a committed relationship. He will ideally be my opposite: rational, somewhat grounded, good with power tools, and even-keeled. He will love children and hope to have one or two or three of his own one day. It is fine with me if he already has one or two kids, but in that case he should be a loving, dedicated father and he should absolutely want some more (with me). A man who lives in the same city as me could be a good start. A man who is not married, or dating another woman (I don’t care if things are going poorly with her – that’s your problem, do not make it mine). A man who has not just terminated a long relationship. Call me only once you have gotten over her and are ready to commit again. Intelligence is very sexy. A man who can stimulate my brain as much as my nether regions will reap the benefits. A man who finds leisure in outdoor activities, theatre, concerts, reading, etc are generally preferred to men that play video games and watch endless hours of television. A man who loves and values food (if he likes to cook, extra points!). Physically, I like when a man is taller than me and who smiles a lot. I find laughing wrinkles around the eyes adorable. I’m flexible with nationality and language preference, although some basic knowledge of English would not be a bad thing. No matter how we communicate, we should be able to understand one another. A sense of humor, a positive outlook on life, and an all around honest, genuine and friendly nature is a must.

More or less, this is what I am looking for in a man. I’m pretty sure if I mention any part of this to a guy within the first three dates he will run away as fast as possible. But hey – “running fast” did not make the list.

Now on to the second step taken from the online dating technique, and probably the more important step: filter through the options and only respond to ones that fit the profile. One thing is to want the above mentioned qualities in a man, and another is to choose a man with none of those qualities and then get upset that he did not live up to (my) expectations. Come on, we all do it! But this is where I generally error, so I am making a conscious effort to not seduce or amuse emotionally or otherwise unavailable men.

Now I’ve started the process online, in this blog. The hard part is to now make it apply to my offline life [gulp]. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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Now that I am a woman I am done with boys. By “boys” I am not referring to braces-wearing, acne-bearing, teenage males. I am referring to the typical male species, mainly 30-40 years of age, who happen to fade in and out of my life as quickly as my tan.

There have been many. And in general, minus a couple really incredible exceptions, they remain nameless. My friends and family know of them only by the nicknames I create for them. They are known simply as boys. For example, “the singing boy” or “the photographer boy” or “the cute boy” or, my favorite, “the [insert nationality of the month] boy.”

But I am done with boys. I am done with the Peter Pan and Lost Boys types that make motherly Wendys or emotionally unstable Tinkerbells out of me. Like Wendy, I’ve finally reached the realization that Neverland is not for me. And this is not because Neverland is unattractive. On the contrary, it’s a great destination for an extended holiday. But if you take a look at the couple of females permanently residing there (Tinkerbell and Tiger Lily mainly) they suffer from something that not even the forces of Neverland’s power can break through: a woman’s instinct and need to love and be loved, exclusively and long-term. The lack of commitment and proper attention from Peter turn these two female characters into vindictive, jealous and ill-behaved female energies. And I really don’t want to become one of them.

So I am done with boys, these uncertain guys whose own fears and confusions unintentionally, yet rudely, awaken the insecure little girl inside of me. This woman (me) is getting stronger and much more confident about what she wants. I want a secure, available and fearless man whose confidence and decisiveness will only reinforce my own. I no longer care if he can fly or fight pirates. I now find a man who knows what he wants much more attractive than a boy in tights.

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