Tinderella

Once upon a time, like in any fairy tale, your heroine had had just about enough of trying to date the regular way. Fresh off the latest situation that had started out great and ended horribly (as they all do in these stories), she decided to try something new, because what the hell.

And by new, I mean free.

I’ve tried online dating a time or two before. And got frustrated. Mainly because I was having to PAY to be frustrated. No thank you.

Then I heard about Tinder. Free, and you only got a message (or the ability to message), if you both clicked that you liked the other person. Perfect, especially since in a fit of loneliness and too much rum I signed up for Plenty of Fish and was immediately sent four messages by two guys in their mid-50s (I do have an age limit) as well as one former magistrate, of a city I used to cover who obviously didn’t remember me and hit on me and he looks like a fat Hitler and I’m pretty sure has a felony record/is on the run from the law.

I made a profile, picked my best pictures (because it’s all about looks here, folks, ultimately and unfortunately). I reminded myself to be open-minded and picky but not PICKY. I tried to come up with the best short description of myself as I could and off we went.

For all its craziness I’ve encountered thus far, I will say Tinder can be awfully good for the self-esteem. Within minutes, guys I’d swiped right (that’s 2014/15 speak for liked/approved of) had apparently done the same for me because I had about 5 matches.

“Oh this’ll be good,” I thought to myself, trying to figure out if I wanted to message any of them first or if I’d wait and for once, not be the one doing any chasing.

Lo and behold, I got one.

Here’s how romantic it was…

Him: “Do you like dragons?”
Me: “Sure, I suppose.”
Him: “Good, because I’ll be dragon these balls across your face later.”

And then we got married and lived happily ever after.

PSYCHE.

There were the two separate military guys that each wanted me to drive down to meet them at a hotel outside Ft. Knox. We talked some, but nothing ever came of either one.

(New rule after too many long-distance things… wait for the one that wants to come to YOU.)

There was one that was looking for a dominatrix, basically, that I had to pass on as well.

Oh, and the one that after being normal for an hour and a half got my number and asked if I wanted to hook up, THAT NIGHT no less, and unmatched me immediately after on the site when I said that I was fine with just talking for now.

There’ve been a few high points – I’ve texted with a few, some for several weeks. But nothing so far has become anything more than that. But the stories and potential blog material are enough to keep me going.

Like this exchange with one:

unnamed-1

Yeah, why is his name like that in my phone? Well, because those are the three words that described him. He shares a Tinder account with two of the other guys who (in their mid-30s) dress like Ghostbusters all the time and often just go out to bars like that.

I’m all for cosplay, first of all, but this was a bit much, when he LITERALLY could not talk about anything else. And if I saw GB (Ghostbusters, duh) one more time I was going to scream. So I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt. I gently (which is hard for me, Queen of Bluntness), asked him to tell me some NON-GB stuff about himself.

Outside of the dressing up regularly as a movie character and going to the bars in town I despise, he seemed like a pretty decent guy. I was reaching, I know, but I gave him a chance. EVEN when he said he didn’t wanna have kids, ever, as seen above, which is a huge thing for me (because I want them. Multiple ones).

Obviously, however, as all good love stories do, it ended (for him anyway, it had ended for me a while before) when he randomly texted me two weeks after we hadn’t talked. In the text he told me he was getting back with his ex, because “People keep telling me to.” Well, that’s as good a reason as any, buddy, have a good one. Also please lose my number. And now I can never watch Ghostbusters again.

As I said before, I’ve tried to be open-minded. And I still am..haven’t given up completely. But these guys aren’t making it easy.

I’ve seen FOUR (count ‘em) guys I graduated high school with and three more that I knew in high school but were in grades above or below mine. I’ve seen 2 ex-boyfriends/hookups and four people I am friends with and see regularly or semi-regularly. So there’s that.

And I’ve noticed some trends.

— There are some 13-year-olds posting their age as 27 but then posting their actual pictures and blowing their own cover.
— There are a lot of weird names out there. Or definitely made up. And I don’t think I’ll date a white redneck boy named Trae, sorry. There are names I can’t get past.
— If you have four pics but they’re all the same picture – swipe left (means no for the uninitiated/uninformed).
— If your pic is a close-up of your eye I will think you are a serial killer.
— There are a ridiculous amount of open relationships (alleged, anyway) and couples looking for threesomes. Swipe left.
— I like tattoos, a lot. But if the only one you have is one on your back saying “Powder” and you can’t explain it, that’s a turn off.

So. We’ll see how it goes and what happens next. Will I find love? Stay tuned. For now, I have to go respond to the message I just got saying “What’s the square footage of Amazon?” Because that’s what happens if your bio says you know a lot of mindless trivia.

Wish me luck.

Advertisements

Straight (paint)ballin’

When I started thinking about what I wanted to do for my 30th birthday this month, I had so many different ideas. I tossed around doing something for others – doing 30 things for others or something nice for 30 people or maybe just a chill dinner with family.

It never once crossed my mind to use this big-deal birthday to cross something off my list.

That’s where the BFF comes in – it crossed her mind, so she and my sister and my cousins made it happen.

The list item of choice? Paintball.

Now when it was mentioned at the paintball place that this was a bucket list item, the toddler who worked there (I picked that saying up from my traffic school teacher this past weekend. My name’s Laura and I drive fast.) acted like having that on a bucket list was stupid. And to that I say “Worry ’bout yoself, Paintball Boy.”

Lemme back up.

So I get all ready on my birthday thinking I’m gonna go get a bit of a pre-dinner buzz from some mini-margaritas at Jennifer’s house.

Then I get blindfolded and after many death threats from Jennifer, to my surprise I end up at the paintball place – this is what we’re crossing off my list and it’s gonna be awesome!!

Once I’m changed out of my dress and into my paintballin’ clothes, the nerves start to hit a little.

There are SERIOUS paintballers there. As in – significant amounts of camouflage and oh look over there, there’s a whole TEAM of guys who have had shirts made and have their shooter code names on the back. COOL.

Meanwhile, the only ones in our group who have played before are Sami and a couple of the boys. And they tell us newbies that, SPOILER ALERT: Paintballs hurt like a motherfucker.

SWEET. Happy birthday, I still might die today.

So anyway, after signing a waiver that probably says “If you die out there it’s not our fault, you just suck at paintball” and me getting a free shirt – because birthday – it’s time to suit up.

This is where I should have known it was gonna be..interesting. You don’t get a helmet – just a mask that covers your forehead, eyes, nose and mouth and a vest that probably is helpful for most people but I have some serious boobage and, well, it was kind of a joke.

Oh and then you go load your gun with marbles, basically. For newbies to paintball, it’s when you see how hard those damn things are, and that’s before they’re being shot at you from a gun that puts a shit-ton of air behind it.

Then a couple of us got a little bit scared. And that was before we even walked over to the scary-looking zombie town kind of place where we’d be “playing.”

I put that word in quotations on account of when we got over there the people that play every other day and think they’re hot stuff were like, “OH, FRESH MEAT.” And I almost peed.

Tavon, our “supervisor” or whatever they’re called gave us a quick rundown of what we’d be doing and what we weren’t allowed to do (take our masks off, basically, everything else was a free-for-all). And then we were set free to attack at each other.

He said “go” and all we could hear was “pop pop pop pop pop pop pop.” And I almost peed again.

It took approximately 20 seconds for me to get shot. First one went right into the side boob. AND OH MY GOD PAINTBALLS HURT. ESPECIALLY IN THE BOOB.

So – once you get over the initial pain/shock of being hit the first time, then you’re ready. The adrenaline’s going, you’re ready to play again and you know that that stupid little hut thing is not good shelter. Oh, and the paintball “regulars” are crazy AF.

We ended up having to pick teams at one point and in addition to the eight in our group, we needed two more. So we ended up with two more toddlers (Trevor and Jase) on our team to keep things even. We had no idea of their shooting ability (or lack of it), but they were standing closest to us, so it made sense.

Other notable moments from the rest of the three or so hours we were there?
– I had two of the professionals cornered at one point and they were pissed that they couldn’t get out or shoot me, so, GO ME.
– Two seconds after I moved out of the position of having them cornered I got shot in the ear.

LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT GETTING SHOT IN THE EAR WITH A PAINTBALL.

Rang my bell pretty good. Couldn’t hear for a second. Also thought I was bleeding. And that it took a piece of my ear off. I don’t overreact at all.

Keep in mind that when you get hit, the paint ball explodes. But there are pieces left behind sometimes.

This is NOT what’s going through my head after getting shot in the ear. Instead I am thinking part of it’s missing, a la Evander Holyfield when Tyson bit it off, because when I reach back to feel it, I feel ragged edges of something so obviously it’s my ear. Oh and that wetness? Definitely can’t be paint, must be blood.

WRONG ON ALL ACCOUNTS.

Did win me some cool points with some of the pros. And it made for a good conversation piece the rest of the night, especially when I couldn’t get it all out/off before changing into my dress for dinner.

photo 3

photo 1

How hot is that?? (And gosh dang if my eye makeup doesn’t still look great…)

Others got it worse – Jenn, Hope and Ethan, from what I remember, all had paint on their faces – especially around the chin and mouth, where it had hit their mask.

photo 5

And I didn’t have nearly the amount or intensity of bruises as some of the rest of them did. Also, Hope almost had to smack a girl wearing an Elmo shirt and Sami shot a guy in the nipple and it ripped a hole in his shirt because she’s a badass.

Let’s see, what else…

OH. We basically adopted Trevor and Jase for the rest of the time there except for a few minutes when we were mad at Trevor for siding against us in one of the games and I called him Judas. Then they told us we didn’t seem as old as we were and we were fun and like their friends so we let them back in.

And Jennifer may or may not have been on her way to starting a small army of children that she was captain of but at that point we were all out of bullets and had to go.

Like I said before, it was the most fun birthday of my adult life and I cannot wait to go again. Especially now that all the green paint is pretty much gone from my ear.

Best one yet? I’m thinking yes.

Besides the first one, obviously, but I don’t remember that one.

Oh, what am I talking about? Birthdays.

‘Member how I turned 30?

Well. It was kind of a big deal.

So.. I think I’ve been surprised maybe twice in my life. And usually it’s just been a matter of someone showing up somewhere that I didn’t expect to see them. I’m more of a startled person – like don’t jump out at me or you’ll get hit.

I bet I am making no kind of sense, am I?

OK. So last weekend was my 30th birthday. I had made a few plans and thought everyone was going along with it, but boy was I wrong.

A few weeks before the day, I told a few people I wanted to go out to dinner – we’d dress up fancy and just go somewhere and have a small, chill thing. I pitched it in the group text with the Game Night Bitchezzz and they were down, and suggested a pre-party before, because that’s what we do.

My sister, Rachel, convinced me to let Dad make reservations for the dinner so I’m not planning my own birthday stuff and that’s that.

Oh, and I went and bought a dress. It wasn’t only for my birthday, but the birthday seemed a good enough excuse as any.

And I didn’t think anything else about any of it.

Birthday Day came and started awesomely. Lots of birthday love from the second I woke up from friends and family, and of course, all over Facebook because that’s how it counts.

My friend, Stephanie, and I had plans to go get pedicures, so we did that and followed it up with lunch at Havana Rumba, pretty much the best restaurant ever.

Then it was time to go home and get ready.

You guys, I spent soooo much time getting ready. If I wear eye makeup, it must be important, and I worked on that shit for a while. Then put on my dress and headed over to Jenn’s where she said she’d “do my hair before dinner.”

And that, my friends, is when I lost any control I had on the day.

You see, I got to Jennifer’s and before I could get in the door, I was blindfolded, turned around, and told there had been other plans made for the day.

Jenn and Matt kidnapped me, basically, and put me in their car, and were playing some version of good cop, bad cop – meaning Matt was being nice to me and Jennifer was verbally abusing me. Anyone who doesn’t know her would think that’s bad, but as her best friend and after 14 years, I know it’s just the way she shows she loves you.

So here I am, my eye makeup now ruined (I’m thinking) and my hair not gonna get done and I hope wherever they’re taking me isn’t expecting me to look as amazing as I thought I was going to.

Oprah taught me never to be taken to a second location, but that didn’t work in this case and we discussed my impending death, because that had to be what was happening, they were taking me somewhere to kill me.

20140412_164237

I had even brought tiny margaritas for the pre-party. Who would drink them when my best friends murdered me?

20140412_161629

I was allowed to ask questions, but it got me pretty much nowhere.. because I had NO clue where we were going, who would be there, or what I was in for, as you can see.

Please note the “pop pop pop pop pop” sound as soon as the door’s opened. That doesn’t do much to soothe the worries of someone who thinks they are being taken to their death.

But SURPRISE!!!! No dying!!! It was paintball!

When I opened my eyes I saw five of my very favorite people dressed the complete opposite of me, ready to help me cross something off my list.

I found out later, that my best friend, because she’s awesome (despite the verbal abuse from earlier in the day) had decided a couple months ago to do something big for my birthday. She got on this blog and looked at my list for something she could help me cross off. And since my friends wanted to play paintball too, that got chosen!

First of all – the paintball experience in itself is getting its own post. Second of all – I wouldn’t in a million years have thought that’s where they were taking me. So much fun. And I was covered in paint when it was time to change back into my dress to go to dinner.

photo 3

Fancy.

So yes, it was at this point I thought we were going to a nice steak restaurant for dinner that I’d never been to before. You know, the one with the small group.

NOPE.

Blindfolded again. At this point I’m figuring we’re ending up at a party somewhere – someone’s house or something. No clue though, really. But I know it’s not the steak place.

photo 1

Again I’m completely caught off guard because my family and friends have organized a second surprise for the day. Lining the patio outside of our favorite Mexican restaurant up the street were about 30 people I love a lot. I couldn’t believe it.

photo 1

photo 2

And the rest? Is history. I’ll let the pictures explain, especially since it gets a little bit fuzzy after about 30 minutes of being at the restaurant…

I’ve said it many times before but it bears repeating. I am blessed with some amazingly awesome people in my life. I am so grateful for every single one of them, and they made my (potentially scary) 30th birthday the best I’ve ever had. Love you all!

Highlights? Dad and I slow-dancing at a bar to Liz karaoke-ing to Usher’s “Let It Burn.”

photo 4

Oh and my grandma had some tequila.

photo 1

Dirty 30

That headline alone should get some clicks, don’t ya think?

It’s not what you think. Or maybe it is. I don’t know how your brain works.

Today I turn 30.

Holy shit.

I thought that was old, once upon a time. And I still feel like it’s old every once in a while. But I am also at the point where my friends are hitting that age first (I’m the baby of one group of friends). And I haven’t seen any major “OMG” moments happening because the 3 is the first number now.

I don’t know what I expected…but when you’re younger, 30 always seems so far, so significant. Like, “by the time I’m 30 I’ll have this and do this and blah blah blah” and that’s not how it is at all when you get there.

Within the past few years or so I have, I’ll admit, had the momentary freak-outs of “Is this where I’m supposed to be in my life, at this age?” And, well, that’s kind of dumb.

Do you know who decides who you should be and when you should be it? YOU.

What a concept, right? Took me a bit to figure that out, but I got there. Eventually.

And, believe it or not, I think I’m right where I need to be. Recently I’ve been reminded of that, because as I got even closer to that “milestone” of turning 30, things have been getting better and better.

I am closing on a condo in the next month. I might will be getting a puppy. I got a raise at work. The photography thing is picking back up and I have a couple other things in the hopper (HOPPA – friggin’ love that commercial and that accent so much) in the near future that could mean even more big changes. Hopefully. I am where I want to be in my relationships – I am beyond blessed with friends and family that I am grateful for every second of every day.

I am happy. I am happier than I’ve been in a long while. And for someone like me who has struggled with the four flat tires of depression for as long as I can remember and who even got pretty low a couple months ago, that’s HUGE.

The happiness thing has made me want to share that feeling with others..but, how should I do it?

I had a grand plan a few weeks ago to do this big thing for my birthday. Remember the girl I told you about we saw in New York? That got 2,900 flowers donated to give out for her 29th birthday and used them to urge others to be kind and pass along her kindness? I wanted to do something similar. And silly me thought with little planning I could make it happen and get it all done in a day.

Change of plans.

This year, in honor of 30 awesome years behind me (some more awesome than others, of course), I am going to do 30 awesome things. That could be anything – from spending an entire day doing acts of kindness to a trip somewhere to taking part in an experience I’ve never had before. It may include checking some stuff off my list.

The possibilities are endless. I want your input – your suggestions, your help, and, if possible, your company on some of these! Thoughts?

There is absolutely no reason not to make 30 (and every year after it) something great. So. Leggoooooo.