Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Doing Too Much

I push send and wait for the confirmation. That's five texts in less than five hours, with no response in sight. Each message is more desperate than the one before it. "Hey! What's up," turns into "Are you there?" which turns into "I need to talk to you," which runs headfirst into "I miss you." Nothing works, and I am starting to wonder what I have to do to get a reply.

It wasn't like this before. I never had to wait to hear from him or have my calls returned. I didn't have to walk on eggshells, avoiding the landmines of desperation and the pitfalls of too much pressure. I had access whenever and wherever I wanted. But it's no longer like that. I'm shut out now, banging my head against a bolted door hoping that it will open. I can wait it out.

Then I start to think. What if I wait and what if he opens up again. Then what? Is he mine? Not necessarily. And what does having him really represent. Will he communicate, tell me how he feels, be there when I need him? Probably not. Five texts, two voicemails, countless calls. What the hell for? Why am I begging him to want me again. So we can be us for a second time? We were issues oriented at our best. I'm putting myself through hell waiting on him to tell me yes. I'm doing way too much for what I might get in return. Fuck it. I'm done.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Persistance Overcomes Resistance

Two months before my 20th birthday, I made a decision. I was going to get married before my 30th birthday. Although ten years is plenty of time to make it happen, I had the feeling that I didn't have any time to spare. My prospects were bleak, and if past performance is a good indicator of the future, they would remain bleak for a while. Not wanting to make my mission any harder than it already seemed, I decided I would not press my luck. Thinking about all of my friends, I realized that if they got married before me I'd probably be a bridesmaid more times than I could stomach. Everyone says, "Always a bridesmaid, never a bride," and I didn't want that to apply to me. Yet, I still wanted to be a part of my friends' wedding days (whenever they would be). Then it hit me, I could still play a major part in any friends' nuptials. They may say, "always a bridesmaid, never a bride," but they don't say anything about being a flower girl.

At first it seemed like a radical idea. Who ever heard of an adult flower girl? Especially an adult flower girl who's taller than many grooms. But one day while discussing weekend plans with a classmate, I learned that adult flower girls were not a mythical species.
"Yeah, so I'm going to my cousin's wedding this weekend," she said.
"Oh, that's cool. Are you in the wedding?" I replied.
"Nope, but my twin is gonna be the flower girl."
And with that sentence hope was born.

I presented the idea to all my close friends, who immediately laughed in my face.
"Umm, isn't the flower girl supposed to be a little girl? Don't you think you're too old? Yeah, you're too tall to be a flower girl."
I had expected some resistance to my plan, but the outright opposition surprised me. I'm absolutely adorable! How could anyone not want me as their flower girl. Obviously, they would need more in order to see the vision.

A campaign was born, complete with flower throwing demonstration and visualization exercises.
"Aren't flower girls supposed to be little girls?"
"Little girls have temper tantrums and can ruin the wedding."
"You're too tall!"
"I'll wear flats."
Whatever the objection, I had an answer. I even considered having head shots made so people could get a better idea of just how cute I can be. Even with my full fledged "Liz For Flower Girl" campaign, my friends still refused to support. Refusing to be thwarted, I offered my services elsewhere. Whenever anyone mentioned an engagement the first thing I said was, "I'm available if you need a flower girl." It didn't matter if it was an acquaintance, coworker, perfect stranger, I put it out there. I figured, I wouldn't know for sure unless I asked. I got five consecutive years of "No!"

In December 2005 when my good friend and sorority sister announced her engagement, I went through the routine.
"Can I be your flower girl?"
"But a little girl can ruin the wedding."
"I don't even think I'm gonna have a flower girl. I don't want kids in the wedding."
I didn't realize it then, but that would be the silver lining in the dark cloud of rejection. Normally when I put in my application to be a flower girl, I'm competing with several four year olds with cherubic cheeks and wide eyes. This time I had no competition, I only had to overcome her hesitations.

Several months later in a bridal shop in Brooklyn, I got the assistance I needed. While my friend was in the fitting room trying on a gown, I flipped through a magazine.
"If only they made these flower girl dresses in my size. I would be so adorable."
"Liz, you're too big to be a flower girl!" she admonished as she stepped out of the fitting room.
"Actually, I've heard of older women being the flower girl," the shop owner chimed in.
Finally a voice reason.
"Yeah," she continued, "Of course they don't wear white like a little girl would, but I've definitely heard of it. They're called flower maids or something like that."
I shot my friend a hopeful glance and I could tell she was mulling over the idea. The seed was planted.

Two months later I got a phone call.
"So, I wanted to ask if you'd like to be in my wedding. I don't really know the exact capacity. But would you like to be the flower maiden or something like that?"
"I'd love to!" I was beaming. After years of trying, I would finally get my chance. We decided I would wear a pink A-line halter dress with ballet flats. I'd also have a basket with flowers to throw down the aisle. There would be no little girls, just me. I was estatic!

On June 10th, 2006 I woke early to prepare for my big day. I washed and detangled the fro, shaved my legs and got a pedicure. The next few hours I practiced looking as innocent as possible. I kept the makeup and jewelry to a minimum in order to help the effort. Then at 6 p.m. I lined up outside the Grammercy mansion in Baltimore, MD. The processional music started and the wedding planner cued the bridesmaids. One by one they walked down the aisle towards the awaiting pastor.
"Now go!" the wedding planner pointed at me.
Clutching my white basket filled with pink and orange rose petals, I walked to the threshold. I took a step, then threw a handful of flowers in front of me. The guests stared, initially confused. The giggles started when they finally comprehended what I was doing. I looked to my left and saw my sorority sisters shaking their heads at me in disbelief. Step by step I made my way down the aisle, leaving a trail of rose petals in my wake. My basket was empty just as I reached my destination. I had done it! I had proven all of my detractors wrong. Grown women who are nearly six feet tall make exceptional flower girls!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Resume Dating

She was on the verge of tears for the second time in one night. He'd done it again and she couldn't understand why he treated her as though she didn't matter.
"Why do you still want him?" I asked.
"I don't know," she answered between sobs. "He's a really good guy, and I know that I'm not going to find someone that has all his qualities."
"Ummm, what's so great about him?"
"Well, he's college educated, got a good job, his own place, no kids. Plus he's really good looking, goal oriented and all that stuff."
And there it was. Like so many women before her, including me, she had mistaken qualifications for qualities.

Everyone has standards. Whether they write it on stationary and tuck it under their pillow at night, or keep it stored in a corner of their mind, everyone has a list of everything they want in a mate. Honest, kind, loyal, smart, funny, musical, artistic, educated, driven, spiritual, logical, sane, and the list goes on and on. And as much as people are loathe to admit it, the packaging those qualities come in is pretty darn important as well. Personally, I prefer honest, kind, loyal, smart, funny, etc. to come in a very tall, very cute, gainfully employed package.

It seems the older and more accomplished my friends and I become, the more emphasis we put on the packaging rather than the contents. Whenever we brag about the men in our lives (they brag, I listen) it usually sounds like, "He's 2_, an engineer, has his own house, and is working on his masters degree." Then we all agree that our friend really has found a wonderful man. Fast forward two weeks when he's stood her up for the fourth time in five dates and won't return her calls and we're calling him the scum of the Earth. But the worst part of it all, is that no matter who this happens to, we still want to hang on to him, cause we're sure that he really is a great guy. I mean, he's an engineer with his own house whose working on his masters degree. That says it all.

In the last few months, I've learned a valuable lesson from Chesty LaRue. Since the turn of the century, Chesty has had the misfortune of dating several successful men (in addition to the Broke Ass Niggas she also attracts.) She's dated a Wall Street trader, an engineer, and something else that I can't remember right now. All of them were supposedly a good catch, except for the fact that they lied, cheated, and basically treated her like shit. After the last "great guy" acted a damn fool, Chesty decided she was taking a break from men. And the moment she stopped looking, someone found her. She met a man who is attentive, kind, funny, and best of all adores the ground she walks on. And she got all these things in an unemployed, ex-con, multiple babies' daddy who's an aspiring rapper. He's by no means a perfect man, as he does have a tendency to stupid shit on occassion. However, he makes her happy which is more than I can say for the others.

Dating is a lot like job searching. You present your qualifications, go on a few interviews, hope for a call back, go on some more interviews, and hope someone picks you for the job. I think a lot of women wind up falling for a guy's resume before he ever has an interview. But it's important to remember that just because a guy looks good on paper, it doesn't mean he's a good guy.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Join the Club

I spent almost two hours of my evening plastered to You Tube. It's Nick at Nite's fault. Ashley was singing on Fresh Prince of Bel-Aire. She was on a stage, dressed in Cross Colors, a bra top, and Doc Martins. Suddenly I'm back in 1993 sitting cross legged on the living room floor enraptured by different teens on a different screen. I saw Rhona and Ricky and Britney and Justin and Christina. I saw flannel and velvet body suits. I saw the Mickey Mouse Club and in that moment I had to see it again for real.

Seek and ye will find. And find I did. The Season 6 opener, the Season 1 ending credits, Dale/Justin/JC/and Ryan singing "Cry For You," Christina singing "I'm Not Over You," and so much more. I watched it all. And once the laughter dissipated, the longing set in. Thirteen years later, I still want to be a Mousketeer.

I never watched, I studied. Every song, every dance, every skit. I would stand up in front of the television and copy their choreography, just to make sure I could keep up. Thanks to six years of dance lessons I could. And I sang a mean rendition of that song that goes, "Too many walls have been built in between us. Too many dreams have been shattered around us. If I choose to give up, I still never win. Deep in my heart I know that truth is within." All I had to do is wait for the auditions to roll into my town and I could join the Club.

Unfortunately I'm still waiting. The show got cancelled, and even with the renewed interest due to the success of several alums, I doubt they'll bring it back. But if by some miracle The Disney Channel recognized the error of its ways and resurrected the Mickey Mouse Club, then what? According to a friend, I'm too old and too tall to audition. Plus, my voice isn't what it used to be and could possibly be mistaken for a dying hyenna.

Even though I know time has passed me by, I'm still preparing for my shot. I still study, except now BET and MTV are my teachers. Not one video can play without me getting up just to make sure I can do it too. My latest inspiration is Danity Kane (courtesy of Diddy!). Today, I felt an inexplicable compulsion to stay in front of the mirror in only a bra and panties, practicing the dance in their Show Stopper video until I could smell myself. I was gyrating, popping, and winding my heart out. And when I fell on my ass for the fifth time because my knees just can't handle dropping it like it's hot, I had to wonder why the hell I can't just let it go?