Total Perspective Vortex
What really happened to Trillian? Theories abound, but you can see what she's really been up to on this blog. If you're looking for white mice, depressed robots, or the occasional Pan Galactic Gargleblaster you might be better served here:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/hitchhikers/guide/.

Otherwise, hello, and welcome.
Mail Trillian here<





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Women, The Internet and You: Tips for Men Who Use Online Dating Sites
Part I, Your Profile and Email

Part II, Selecting a Potential Date

Part III, Your First Date!

Part IV, After the First Date. Now What?


"50 First Dates"






Don't just sit there angry and ranting, do something constructive.
In the words of Patti Smith (all hail Sister Patti): People have the power.
Contact your elected officials.

Don't be passive = get involved = make a difference.
Find Federal Officials
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or Search by State

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or Search by State

Contact The Media
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Words are cool.
The English language is complex, stupid, illogical, confounding, brilliant, beautiful, and fascinating.
Every now and then a word presents itself that typifies all the maddeningly gorgeousness of language. They're the words that give you pause for thought. "Who came up with that word? That's an interesting string of letters." Their beauty doesn't lie in their definition (although that can play a role). It's also not in their onomatopoeia, though that, too, can play a role. Their beauty is in the way their letters combine - the visual poetry of words - and/or the way they sound when spoken. We talk a lot about music we like to hear and art we like to see, so let's all hail the unsung heroes of communication, poetry and life: Words.
Here are some I like. (Not because of their definition.)

Quasar
Hyperbole
Amenable
Taciturn
Ennui
Prophetic
Tawdry
Hubris
Ethereal
Syzygy
Umbrageous
Twerp
Sluice
Omnipotent
Sanctuary
Malevolent
Maelstrom
Luddite
Subterfuge
Akimbo
Hoosegow
Dodecahedron
Visceral
Soupçon
Truculent
Vitriol
Mercurial
Kerfuffle
Sangfroid




























 







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Highlights from the Archives. Some favorite Trillian moments.

Void, Of Course: Eliminating Expectations and Emotions for a Better Way of Life

200i: iPodyssey

Macs Are from Venus, Windows is from Mars Can a relationship survive across platform barriers?
Jerking Off

Get A Job

Office Church Ladies: A Fieldguide

'Cause I'm a Blonde

True? Honestly? I think not.

A Good Day AND Funyuns?

The Easter Boy

Relationship in the Dumpster

Wedding Dress 4 Sale, Never Worn

Got Friends? Are You Sure? Take This Test

What About Class? Take This Test

A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far Far Away, There Was a Really Bad Movie

May Your Alchemical Process be Complete. Rob Roy Recipe

Good Thing She's Not in a Good Mood Very Often (We Knew it Wouldn't Last)

What Do I Have to Do to Put You in this Car Today?

Of Mice and Me (Killer Cat Strikes in Local Woman's Apartment)

Trillian: The Musical (The Holiday Special)

LA Woman (I Love (Hate) LA)

It is my Cultureth
...and it would suit-eth me kindly to speak-eth in such mannered tongue

Slanglish

It's a Little Bit Me, It's a Little Bit You
Blogging a Legacy for Future Generations


Parents Visiting? Use Trillian's Mantra!

Ghosts of Christmas Past: Mod Hair Ken

Caught Blogging by Mom, Boss or Other

2003 Holiday Sho-Lo/Mullet Awards

Crullers, The Beer Store and Other Saintly Places

Come on Out of that Doghouse! It's a Sunshine Day!

"...I had no idea our CEO is actually Paula Abdul in disguise."

Lap Dance of the Cripple

Of Muppets and American Idols
"I said happier place, not crappier place!"

Finally Off Crutches, Trillian is Emancipated

Payless? Trillian? Shoe Confessions

Reality Wednesday: Extremely Local Pub

Reality Wednesday: Backstage Staging Zone (The Sweater Blog)

The Night Secret Agent Man Shot My Dad

To Dream the Impossible Dream: The Office Karaoke Party

Trillian Flies Economy Class (Prisoner, Cell Block H)

Trillian Visits the Village of the Damned, Takes Drugs, Becomes Delusional and Blogs Her Brains Out

Trillian's Parents are Powerless

Striptease for Spiders: A PETA Charity Event (People for the Ethical Treatment of Arachnids)

What's Up with Trillian and the Richard Branson Worship?

"Screw the French and their politics, give me their cheese!"


















 
Mail Trillian here





Trillian's Guide to the Galaxy gives 5 stars to these places in the Universe:
So much more than fun with fonts, this is a daily dose of visual poetry set against a backdrop of historical trivia. (C'mon, how can you not love a site that notes Wolfman Jack's birthday?!)

CellStories

Alliance for the Great Lakes


Hot, so cool, so cool we're hot.

Ig Nobel Awards

And you think YOU have the worst bridesmaid dress?

Coolest Jewelry in the Universe here (trust Trillian, she knows)

Red Tango

If your boss is an idiot, click here.

Evil Cat Full of Loathing.

Wildlife Works

Detroit Cobras


The Beachwood Reporter is better than not all, but most sex.



Hey! Why not check out some great art and illustration while you're here? Please? It won't hurt and it's free.

Shag

Kii Arens

Tim Biskup

Jeff Soto

Jotto




Get Fuzzy Now!
If you're not getting fuzzy, you should be. All hail Darby Conley. Yes, he's part of the Syndicate. But he's cool.





Who or what is HWNMNBS: (He Whose Name Must Not Be Spoken) Trillian's ex-fiancé. "Issues? What issues?"







Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.


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Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!

Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Smart Girls
(A Trillian de-composition, to the tune of Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys)

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

Smart girls ain’t easy to love and they’re above playing games
And they’d rather read a book than subvert themselves
Kafka, Beethoven and foreign movies
And each night alone with her cat
And they won’t understand her and she won’t die young
She’ll probably just wither away

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

A smart girl loves creaky old libraries and lively debates
Exploring the world and art and witty reparteé
Men who don’t know her won’t like her and those who do
Sometimes won’t know how to take her
She’s rarely wrong but in desperation will play dumb
Because men hate that she’s always right

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains





























Life(?) of Trillian
Single/Zero

 
Wednesday, July 15, 2009  
Well, here's a new chapter in the life(?).

I'm advertising for friends.



You heard me.

Friends. I'm advertising for friends.

Apparently I am inept at making friends the usual ways so I've resorted to advertising for them.


Oh whatever. Like you've never been lonely.

I'm at that awkward age. People in my age range are married and busy doing married things. There aren't a lot of single people my age - and the ones who are single devote much (all) of their social time to finding a spouse/partner/hook-up.


This is a year of weddings for me. Nails in the coffin of my social life. Three weddings down, three to go.

The most recent wedding wasn't just a wedding. As a result of the marriage, my friend, the groom, is also moving three hours away. And I don't mean three hours in bad traffic to the 'burbs. I mean three hours in good traffic to a place you have to be Native American to pronounce correctly.

He's happy so I'm happy for him. No matter what inflection or tone you think you hear when you squint your ears, you're wrong. I am honestly very happy that he is so happy. It warms the cockles of my heart to see him so jubilant.



But what about me?

No, no, no. Not what about me in the "when do I get to be jubilant?" sense. What about me in the, "Oh crap. He was my go-to guy" sense. The in-case-of-emergency phone number, the keeper of the keys, the "I've got tickets to Judas Priest, wanna go see what's up with that scene?", the after-a-bad-day-at-work bar stool consoler, the Costco jumbo economy sized package sharer, the phone number programed as the ex's on the speed dial so you don't actually call the ex, the mail picker-upper, the couch when the power's out at my place.

Yes. That friend. The person with whom a single person imposes upon trades favors in dealing with the emergencies and practicalities of life. The big nuisance favors. Like keeping the spare set of keys or acting as the local emergency contact. Or talking you down off the roof of calling an ex. Or Costco economy size sharing, for that matter. (You're sharing an enormous package of toilet paper. You have to agree or compromise on brand and ply. That's a big favor.) The person who will not only see you in your worst moments, but also agree to see you in your worst moments and agrees to bail you out of them.

Oddly, this person is often not the BFF. I thought this was unique to my situation but when I broached this topic in the past I discovered that they had That Friend but That Friend wasn't necessarily their BFF.

That friend is someone who is reliable, someone trustworthy, someone similarly situated in life, and most importantly: Someone who lives conveniently located within a close proximity. Because if you lock yourself out of your apartment, need someone to pick up your mail for a few days or have a power failure, you want easy and fast access to that friend. You do not want to have to schlepp an hour across town to get your spare keys or sack out on a couch. Nor do you want that friend too inconvenienced when you need them to pick up your mail or take you home from the emergency room. They’re a life guard. They’re there, you know they’re there, but you don’t really think about their role until you get yourself in trouble and need help. Fast. They spring to action, don’t ask questions and get you out of trouble.

The beauty of this relationship lies in its reciprocity. I’ll guard your life, you guard mine. The reciprocation is assumed the second there's an agreement regarding the keeping of the keys. Seinfeld covered the keeper of the keys topic thoroughly.

There's a lot of actual and implied responsibility with the keeping of keys. You choose that friend, the Life Guard, wisely. And you go into the relationship fully aware and compliant with the unspoken rules of reciprocation. "You agree to keep my keys. I agree to answer the phone at 2 AM and talk you out of calling your ex. I agree to keep your keys. You agree to give me a ride home from the emergency room." “I’m giving you my keys, access to my home. I trust you to respect me and my home. There are boundaries. You are welcome in my home but giving you my keys does not mean that you can just waltz in any time you want without buzzing the buzzer or knocking on the door. And I will do the same for you.”

Funny thing, the whole keeping of keys. (Hence a penultimate Seinfeld episode.) You give someone your keys with the explicit understanding that they will never actually use them – except in case of an emergency. Most of us have a natural understanding of that boundary. Most of us treat someone else’s keys as sacred, yet oft forgotten, objects. Unless we get that panicked call for help, “I’m locked out,” we don’t think about the fact that we have the keys to someone’s home. We don’t even consider the possibility of using those keys and just making ourself at home in someone else’s home when they’re not there. We could, we have the keys, and, presumably we know this person well enough to justify that behavior with, “Hey, we’re friends. He won’t mind. I wouldn’t mind if he hung out at my place.” But as I type that it’s the first time I’ve actually thought about it. In all the years I’ve been a key keeper it’s never entered my mind to use the keys for any purpose other than the intended emergencies or favors. And I may be too trusting and very naïve, but I’m willing to wager a large sum of money that the keepers of my keys are similarly minded. I’m quite certain my homes were never the scene of any friendly trespessings by the keepers of my keys. And hey, if I am wrong and my key keepers hung out at my place when I wasn’t there I don’t care. I certainly never saw any evidence of it, they tidied up after themselves and didn’t drink or eat anything, so, if they trespassed over the boundaries of our trust, at least they were respectful about it. It skivs me out to think about the keepers of my keys using my place for libidinous goings on, but, uh, I do know these people. I know them well enough to know if they had opportunities for libidinous goings on and needed a den of iniquity ASAP they wouldn’t consider my home as a good place for a covert base of operations. I mean, I keep a decent home but it’s not exactly a suite at the Peninsula.

And sure, now that I actually give this thought, I suppose one should consider the possibility of the key keeper being the sort of person who likes the element of danger, the fear of being caught. The stress and pressure of that fear and the urgency it creates titillates some people. You probably don’t want someone with that proclivity as your key keeper. I’m not judging, I’m just saying, you don’t give your dieting friend a box of Entemann’s so why give your friend who gets off on the fear of being caught the keys to your home?

Funny that I’ve never given any of this dark side, ulterior motive possibilities any thought until now. Maybe I am naïve or too trusting. Or maybe I’m just very lucky to have people come into my life, good, trustworthy people.

The key keeping friendship is a very business-like arrangement except nothing's in writing. It's all implied. With one request the implications of responsibility are assumed. "Will you keep my spare keys?" means a lot more than keeping a spare set of keys in the kitchen junk drawer. It means there are very few boundaries. This is the go-to person for emergencies and bail-outs. It means assuming risk and responsibility for emergency calls at all hours of the day and night. It means assuming the responsibility and risk of bailing someone out of a situation.

It seems like That Friend should be your BFF but very often it's not. Practicality prohibits a lot of BFFs from being a Life Guard. My BFF, for instance, lives thousands of miles away from me. Lotta good that's going to do me when I lock myself out or go to Costco.

My Life Guard was a friend of a coworker. He coincidentally lived in my building when I moved to Chicago. I didn't know him. At all. But. It turned out we had a mutual friend and the same landlord so, yadda yadda yadda we kept each others' keys. As fate would have it, we both traveled a lot back then so we also picked up each others' mail. And fed each others' cats. And shared a Costco membership.

It was all very nice and convenient. And yes, we became good friends, too. (Side note: Neither one of us have heard from my former coworker/his friend in over 6 years. She got married and moved to the suburbs and was never heard from again.) We talked each other out of a lot of potentially disastrous calls to exes. And saw a lot of concerts neither one of us ever would have attended if we hadn't had the other to go with us. (I mean really, who's going to go to Judas Priest? Your BFF is going to talk you out of it. Life Guard? Yeah, Life Guard will be game. Life Guard will understand that you don't actually like Judas Priest but that there's potential for some fun to be had at a Judas Priest concert on a Wednesday night. And besides, you went to his company day at the horse racetrack with him and that turned out to be less awful that you both expected.)

I had a good Life Guard. And I like to think I was a good Life Guard for him. I performed my responsibilities, never shirking them and more importantly, never judging. Never, not once, in all the years of this reciprocal relationship, was there an attitude copped or a judgment scorned from either party. After my surgery, when I was still in the surgery boot and on the scooter, I worked late. On the way home the bus broke down on Lake Shore Drive (what a shock). It was a cold, snowy December night. Us passengers were stranded on a 10” shoulder of the road where dirty snow was piled up to our knees. (what a shock) The reconnaissance bus arrived but was packed (what a shock) and my fellow stranded compatriots crowded ahead of me to cram onto the bus. There was no way I could a) manoeuvre my scooter through the snow bank and b) fit on the bus. No one took pity on the handicapped woman (what a shock) so there I was, stranded on 10” of snow piled shoulder of Lake Shore Drive on my handicapper scooter in a surgery boot. In the middle of the night. The bus driver of the broken down bus was sympathetic (what a shock, no really, what a shock) and let me re-board the broken down bus to wait for a handicapped van or special assistance vehicle to come to retrieve me. He explained this could take hours. So I called Life Guard. He arrived in 15 minutes. Did I feel bad about yanking him away from his cozy night watching television and drinking hot cocoa? Yes, of course. Did I think long and hard about it before calling him? Yes, of course. Did he throw me attitude or flinch when I said, “My bus broke down…?” No, he did not. All I had to say was, “My bus broke down” and he responded with, “Where are you? I’ll pick you up.” Just as in the past I received slurred speech phone calls to which I responded, "You don't have cab fare and you're not even sure what bar you just left? Okay, well, look around you, what do you see? Okay, okay, right, sounds like you're on Belmont. Go inside the Dunkin’ Donuts, I’ll be there in 20 minutes."

A Life Guard is someone whose first reaction is problem solving, not lambasting or complaining. You don't need to be reminded that you locked yourself out just a mere two days ago. You don't need someone questioning your desire for a six month supply of Cheez Its.

You need someone who leaps to action, a team player. A lifeguard. And naturally you have to be willing to be that way when duty calls upon you to reciprocate.

I know I'm lucky. I had a good run. Within a few months of moving to Chicago I established a reciprocal That Friend relationship. I haven't been able to sustain a romantic relationship in that time, but, my Life Guard relationship never wavered. We've been rock steady. Through several emergencies, lock outs, drunk dials, bad concerts and jumbo economy sizes we've endured and even thrived. I think it's because we're not BFFs that we stayed so dedicated and loyal to each other. We knew we could depend on each other but we also knew there would be times, stretches of time, that we'd only hear from each other when something went wrong and/or when we needed something.

You can't get away with that in a BFF situation. The Life Guard, though, the Life Guard is set up from the start to be gloomy weather friend. When you ask someone to keep your keys you're as good as saying, "When I screw up and lock myself out and find myself in a real crappy situation I'm going to call you. I will probably be cranky and there's a good chance I'll have to pee really bad because I'm locked out of my place. It might also be 2 AM and it will probably be raining or snowing. And you will be the person I call upon for help." Do that to a BFF very often without a bunch of good times in between and you'll find yourself BFFless. But the Life Guard is set up from the get-go to be an abusive relationship. But the abuse is reciprocal so it's a win-win.

I already miss my Life Guard. A few days before the wedding he came by to return my spare set of keys. I lamely gave him the spare keys to his apartment. The apartment he moved out of a few months ago when he moved in with his fiancée. Technically I haven’t been keeping his keys for a few months. But I also had a spare set of his car keys. I gave him those, too. I think I might have held onto them a little too long when I handed them to him. I think he had to kind of tug them out of my hand.



He doesn't need me anymore. He has a spouse. They'll act as each others' emergency contact, keeper of the keys, after-work-bar-stool consoler, and yes, the Costco jumbo size compatriot. They'll get one of their new neighbors to pick up the mail or, they might even do it the right way and fill out the delivery postponement form at the post office ahead of time.



The problem is I still need him. I need a Life Guard. Everyone does. But it would be impractical and kind of weird for him to remain my Life Guard. Not just because he’s moving three hours away from me. If he stayed in town it would still be impractical and weird. It would no longer be a reciprocal relationship. He has a wife, who, by law and by default, is his Life Guard. The favors would be one-sided. I would just be a needy loser who doesn’t have anyone else to impose upon. And I would be imposing on two people, not just Life Guard. He might still be willing to be my life guard, but she didn’t sign up for that when she agreed to marry him. It’s not fair to her.

That realization gave way to a greater realization. “Oh swut. I don’t have anyone who lives in close enough proximity to be my Life Guard.” MAF is willing and able, but, he has a partner, he doesn’t need a reciprocal arrangement. So, I’m just a needy loser who doesn’t have anyone else to impose upon. I think MAF is going to have to be the keeper of the keys until I can find someone trustworthy enough to enter into a reciprocal Life Guard relationship. I hesitate to say this for fear of jinxing it, but, I haven’t locked myself out in years – never in my new place – and I don’t stay out late much (ever) so the risk of me having to impose upon MAF for key retrieval is low. We’re both okay with assuming that slight risk.

But my emergency contact? Costco jumbo economy sized package sharer? I dunno. I’m sure he’d be willing, but…well…I mean…we are friends. Good friends. And I want to keep it that way. Not that I anticipate intruding and imposing on him to the point of nuisance, but, when I envision myself calling him at 2 AM locked out of my building and desperately needing to pee I feel really bad about dialing his number. I’d hesitate. I’d hem and haw. And be wracked with guilt. Sure, he’s a great friend but that makes it all the worse. I don’t want to put him in the position of having to “deal with” me. And he has a partner. So it’s the same situation as my former (now married) Life Guard.


What this made me realize is that I need friends. Single friends. People in my “situation.” I’m active, I volunteer, I get out, I work, I take classes…but…I haven’t made any new, single friends in a long time. I don’t meet a lot of single people. And the single people I meet are a lot younger than me, and that’s cool, but, there’s a limit, a point where the friendship stagnates simply because we don’t share age-skewed interests and outlooks. And I have misgivings about giving some of the younger people I know the responsibility of being Life Guard. The reciprocation issue could get dicey. Their Life Guard needs are different from mine. Sure, they need toilet paper, too, but, the possibility of a 2 AM drunken call from them is a lot more possible than one from me. Likewise, a call from the emergency room is a lot more possible from me than it is from them. And their version of Judas Priest is not my version. Their version of Judas Priest is a band I probably actually like. “Free Pixies tickets?!!! OH BOY!!!! HECK YES I’M IN!!!! OMG, THIS IS SO COOL!!!!” Whereas their response is, “Pixies tickets. Ha! That could be good for a laugh and hey the tickets are free. Nothing else going on Wednesday night.”



So I advertised for friends. Okay?

I’ve seen the “for friends” category on dating sites but never checked the box. Not that I haven’t thought about it. Not that I judge anyone who feels a need to advertise for friends as a pathetic loser. I just didn’t think it was something I needed or wanted to do. And, I was focusing on meeting men, to date, that was my goal.

And yes, yes, there was an element of SWF to my hesitation. There is an element of awkwardness. And fear.

But after Life Guard’s wedding my reality crashed down on me. Hard.

I got home from that wedding and felt more alone than I’ve felt since my first day of summer camp. Except back then even though I didn’t know anyone I felt certain, and excited, about all the new people I was going to meet. And all the friends I would make and the fun we would have at camp (and yes, yes, visions of merit badges were dancing in my head). But you know, on that first day of camp when my parents drove away and left me sitting on a cot in a cabin in the woods in the middle of nowhere where I didn’t know anyone I felt pretty darned lonely. Anticipation of mirth and merit badges aside, those first few hours of camp are some pretty lonely and scary moments. I haven’t thought about that experience, that loneliness, in years. Standing there hanging onto my keys those feelings came flooding back to me.

My Life Guard left me alone in the woods where I don’t know anyone.

Except this time around there’s no one in charge, no counselors, no nurses, no lifeguard on duty. And no merit badges.

I’ve had a lot of new experiences, new endeavors, new schools, new towns, new jobs, new apartments, new vacation destinations where I didn’t know anyone, where I was on my own and it was up to me to make friends and make the best of it. I always succeeded and even thrived. After I got through that first experience the first time at summer camp I learned that it was fun and I would make friends. After the first time I never gave the pangs of loneliness much thought. I knew they’d pass – experience proved that they’re fleeting and soon forgotten when new friends are made and new experiences are had.

But this time around is different. I’m not in a new town or new home or new job or new school or new anything. It’s all drudgingly the same. There are no prospects for meeting new people tomorrow when I go to canoeing hour or freshman orientation or art history class or new hire training day. No one else I know is going through the same thing at the same time. This time I really am alone.


I didn’t advertise specifically for a Life Guard. That would be weird and risky. “ISO keeper of my keys. Must be willing to reciprocate. Have Costco membership, will share.” Every serial killer in 10 states would respond. It’s got Dateline redramatization written all over it.

So I posted a re-worked version of my dating profile.

What struck me as interesting is that I had to change very little, almost nothing, from my dating profile to convert it to a “looking for friends” profile. I’m choosing to pat myself on the back for that. When I was trying to meet men for dating and relationshipping I obviously didn’t have overblown notions of romance and idealism. I wasn’t looking for long moonlite strolls and candlelit dinners or physical traits. Yay me, right? I was looking for someone realistically compatible. My head was in the right place when it came to my heart, right? (Okay, maybe not. Maybe I should have expected more, had higher romantic notion ideals. But I don’t think so.)

You know what’s really interesting? Within four hours of posting my profile I had 15 responses. 15. I could go weeks, months, on dating sites before I amassed 15 responses. And those responses are not from men hoping for friends with benefits. Or at least they don’t appear that way. Yes, I have received responses from men who have that sort of thing in mind – no commitment attached sex – and so far it’s been pretty easy to pick them out of the crowd. And a couple men who are looking for romance and dating, not friends (but no, not anyone “right” for me – apparently the personality trait that drives men to respond to a completely inappropriate dating profile and assume the woman won’t be able to resist him is the same trait that drives them to assume a woman looking for friends will want to date them. And for the record, I’m sure retired men in Georgia can be very nice and a lot of fun, but they’re not right for me at this point in my life.)

More importantly right off the bat I’ve met some great people. Professional people, fun people, intelligent people, nice people. SINGLE people!!!! Conversations about things other than spouses and children! Conversations with people who go to work and deal with coworkers and bosses and clients! Shared issues and experiences inherent in being single!!!

The difference in befriending single people closer to my age as opppsed to single people much younger or older is that we all know. There’s a palpable and innate sense of understanding. We come together united by this premise: “I’m capable and responsble and can manage on my own. But it can get lonely. And none of my married friends can relate to my life any more than I can relate to theirs.”

So far more men than women have responded, but, not by a wide margin. I didn’t have a pre-set idea about the gender of the friends I was hoping to meet. I really don’t care. I didn’t even think about gender until I told a few of my friends about my new endeavor and without hesitation they all raised gender related questions and concerns. My Life Guard was a guy but that was coincidental. There was never any romantic or sexual tension or interest between us. (Yes, really, and anyone who says that’s impossible is wrong. Point blank. Wrong.) “The guys who respond are just trying to come off looking like nice guys who just want to be friends but really they’re hoping to get in your pants.” Huh. Doesn’t seem that way to me. And let’s be realistic, this is me we’re talking about. Men don’t go around wanting to get into my pants. Hence my single/zero status. And at this point I’m not sure I’d even consider it an affront if one of the friends guys “tried something.” I mean, yes, it would overstep a set parameter spelled out from the start: “Looking for friends,” but if the friendship spurs them to sexual desire, I mean, well, hey, at this point in my life who am I to complain? One of my friends warned me that women who respond might be lesbians looking to convert me. I’m not willing to accept that lesbians are trolling “looking for friends” sites in hopes of converting lonely hetero women into lesbians. Time will tell, but so far I’m lesbian conversion-free.

What’s interesting to me is that the people who are raising concerns about gender and motivation are all married. It shows how out of touch with life beyond the confines of married life. So far all conversations have been about work and careers, music, art, books (books not in Oprah’s book club, that is), and…ideas. Concepts. Yes, I realize we don’t have the responsibility and stress of children to weigh down our brains and occupy our every thought so we have more gray matter to spend on ideas. I realize some parents view that as a luxury, even a selfish luxury. I’m not saying we’re superior because we don’t talk for three hours about kindergarten teachers or potty training or the best cell phone plan for 9 year olds. I’m just saying it’s nice for me, and hopefully for them, to meet people who aren’t married with children. When I confided to one of my married friends that another of our friends (also married) was a little defensive about the new people I’m meeting my friend said, “She feels excluded.”

She said it without hesitation, without any thought or conjecture, an absolute verdict. As if she just got of the phone with our friend who told her, “Trillian’s excluding me.”

And maybe that’s what happened.

But I got the sense it was more her reaction, her feeling, perhaps speaking for the group, than a summary of our friend’s feelings.

If you’re sitting there thinking, “What? You’re supposed to feel sorry for her? What about all the times, all the years Trillian has felt excluded because you’re all married and having children and buying homes in far flung suburbs and spending your husband’s salary on vacations and spa treatments and clothes? And what’s Trillian supposed to do, just sit around alone waiting for one of her married friends to find time in their busy schedules to talk to her? That’s her own insecurity and that’s not Trillian’s fault. Get over yourself and be happy and proud of your friend for getting out there and meeting new people,” then you know how difficult it was for me to suppress my reaction.

I just said, “Huh.”

A few days later the alleged excludee called me. She told me all about her son’s pee wee team and their vacation plans. Then she invited me to their house for a barbecue. Which happened to be the same day I have plans to go to Pitchfork. With one of my acquaintences from my “looking for friends” profile.

“Awww, gee, sorry, I can’t make it.”

“Jeff (the spouse) will pick you up! He has to go into the city for work, he can pick you up on his way home! I have those Boca burgers for you and everything!” (I have no idea what “and everything” implies, but, nice of her for thinkig of me.)

“No, it’s not the train schedule and commute time. I have plans that day. I’m going to Pitchfork.” (trying to be blasé, matter of fact, trying to conceal the squeal of delight reververberating in my head at the mere thought of The Flaming Lips, The Walkmen and Mew)

“Oh. With who?”

I felt like I was being confronted by a jealous boyfriend, and worse, I felt like I’d been found cheating on a boyfriend.

“Just this guy.”

“A date?!”

“No.”

“Oh.”

Silence

“One of your new friends from online?”

“Yeah. ‘From online.’”

It bugs me when she says, “from online.” She buys things “from online.” She finds information “from online.” She reads email “from online.” She gets the school lunch menus “from online.” It just bugs me. Chalk and cheese. I know it’s petty of me, but it’s just one of those pet peeves. It bugs me when other people say it, too. But she’s the one person I know who says it a lot. Since she quit working and moved to the suburbs her grammar has taken an odd turn for the weird. I shouldn’t mock her, I know, I know. But I thought it was ridiculous that she was upset that I dared to have plans on the very day she’s having another one of her treacherous barbecues. A Boca burger (and everything!) is not going to persuade me to ditch The Flaming Lips in the company of music fans and single people in favor of an hour schlepp out to a McSuburb for a barbecue with a bunch of married people sitting around talking about the pee wee league and new kindergarten teachers. Call me crazy.

If you get the feeling that I’m enjoying this a little too much you’re right. I shouldn’t feel bad about making new friends and declining invites from my old friends. But I shouldn’t feel sarcastic about it, either. The novelty of my single acquaintances will wear off soon enough and it’ll all be fine.

So far I haven’t found a Life Guard. I have to get to know these people better. But I will say this: If you’ve ever wondered about what sort of people advertise for friends, or look for friends in “looking for friends” profiles, so far I give resounding thumbs up. You have to be as selective as you would in meeting a date online. The same screening and safety rules apply. But after you screen out the “uh uh”s and the “he seems creepy”s, the people I’ve met have so far been sincere, intelligent, funny, interesting and fun.


Oh, and there may, in fact, be a God.

10:15 PM

 
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