Lawyer Boy

The Big 4-0

I’m 40. The big 4-0.


Some view this milestone as one to be dreaded and feel the need to justify that 40 isn't that old.

“Forty is the new thirty,” they say to reassure themselves.

Others bemoan reaching this year.

"This is middle age! It's all downhill from here!" they exclaim.

When I hear those comments, I always respond the same way:

"Every birthday is one to celebrate!"

Losing my mom at a relatively young age and beating ascending paralysis, a botched neurosurgery and cancer have that effect on a person. I don't take the fact that life is a gift for granted!

Ten years ago, I was practicing immigration for a large law firm. Now, I couldn't imagine stepping away from teaching to return to the law. At 30, I had recently started dating Lawyer Boy and was still spending time with Baseball Boy. Now, I have neither the time nor the inclination for relationship drama or ambiguity. In 2003, I used my AOL email account on occasion. In the current age of social media, my active participation on several sites has surprisingly enriched my life. Ten years ago, I wasn't sure that I wanted to be a mom. Now, with motherhood seven weeks away, I can't wait! I'm thankful for where life has taken me, even the difficult parts, but I'm even more thankful for what lies ahead.

My wishes on this day are few, but significant:

  • I hope that I continue to enjoy my life to the fullest.
  • I hope that I learn from my mistakes more often than not and grow as a person. 
  • And, most importantly, I hope to be here and healthy so I can be the best mom, partner, teacher, advocate and friend that I can be.

Philosopher WB Pitkin claims, “Life begins at forty.” I'm counting on it!

As always, thanks for following my journey. When I think of my many blessings, the people that I have met online and offline through this blog are among them. xoxo

One Foot In Front Of The Other

Four years ago, this blog didn’t exist. I was in a relationship with Lawyer Boy and thinking that I needed to end things for my own well being.

Three years ago, I was blogging regularly and getting the hang of Twitter. I was living with “Buckeyes” Boy, but I began to question his sincerity.

Two years ago, I was recovering from my second round of chemotherapy. The drugs caused me to hemorrhage and soon, I would be thrown into medical menopause. I was in need of companionship during treatment and was spending time with Mr. Agency and Best Boy.

One year ago, I was teaching my first semester at American University. I was dating on occasion, but my priorities had shifted. I had recently finished treatment and was busy with events and fundraisers for five different breast cancer charities.

In four years, my journey has taken a lot of twists and turns. I never imagined just how much undergoing chemotherapy would change my life. My blog isn’t as much of a priority now, and I’m far more selective about which charities I support. I seek stability from my relationships with friends and my significant other and have neither the time nor the inclination for drama. I find more joy out of teaching than I thought possible.

Professionally, it’s been a big month for me, as:

  • I was featured in the October 2012 issue of The Washingtonian about sex and cancer;
  • My Facebook status update, “It’s October 1st. We’re f*%&ing aware. To quote Redman, it’s time for some action,” inspired a post on; and
  • I was quoted in an article about healthy eating during chemotherapy on

I’ve been trying to reconcile how I’ve tried to be public about my journey to help and educate others with the fact that I wish this wasn’t my journey at all. I’m happier than I’ve ever been, and I’m very appreciative of all the blessings that I have in my life. Nonetheless, not a day has passed in two years during which I haven’t been frustrated by some lingering chemotherapy side effect. I often wish that I could click my heels and go back to the way things were before cancer. I know that I’m doing what I am meant to do with my life, but that doesn’t mean the past two years have been easy. Is life ever really that simple?

I don't know where I'll be in a year, although I hope that my career and relationship continue on this same path. I'll just keep putting one foot in front of the other and see where life takes me next.

Has your life taken a twist or turn that was simultaneously very difficult and very positive?

Third Blogiversary Thanks!

Today is the third anniversary of my blog.

In December of 2008, I was getting over Lawyer Boy, working on my thesis, and battling the side effects of repeated concussions. It seemed like the perfect time to finally write down my crazy dating and steamy sex stories. I blogged anonymously since I had planned to return to legal policy work. Back then, the majority of my readers were friends in real life.

In December of 2009, I recognized that I could turn heartbreak into blog gold by writing about the relationship debacle that was my time with "Buckeyes" Boy. Within six months, my readership had increased 10-fold, and I started realizing that my blog had turned into a brand. Could I write about sex and relationships and conduct workshops for a living?

In December of 2010, I had finished my fifth round of chemotherapy. I hadn't slept well in three months. I was on way too many medications, including steroids, and was in chemo-induced menopause. There wasn't much in my life at that time that was joyful, but I (somewhat thankfully) was too sick and out of it to care. I just wanted to get through treatment and wanted my life back. I did find moments of happiness when I used my experience to help educate others and when I received attention from either Mr. Agency or Best Boy.

This December, my blog is so much different than it was because I'm so much different than I was. This blog has changed me for the better. Cancer has changed me, too, and with respect to relationships, those changes are also for the better.

Have I made my share of mistakes over the past three years? Sure. But, I'm proud of myself for realizing that life provides enough drama for me all on its own. I don't need my relationships to provide anymore drama. My blog hits aren't as high as they were a year ago, and I'm 100% okay with that. My love life isn't a train wreck, and I don't make questionable choices anymore. A reader who enjoys going online to critcize others will be bored by my site now. A person who just visits this blog for entertainment purposes and doesn't want to hear about cancer or health advocacy will be similarly disillusioned.

I was talking to a group recently about my first book in the sex and relationships arena. I have enough posts to compile a book about my own dating adventures, but I don't know that I see myself going back. Do I really want to go to bookstores or college campuses and speak about my relationship mistakes or give added energy to guys who wronged me years prior? I won't say that will never happen, but it's just not my priority now.

I care about educating others. I care about talking about those topics that people don't often talk about — from anal to cancer to first orgasms to prioritizing our health to spicing up a stale relationship. I care about putting a face to cancer and letting people know that it's okay to date and have sex during a health crisis.

In the next month or two, my site will be redesigned to reflect the new direction. If you're still reading now, there will be more of the same, but the site will be easier to navigate. I'll also be linking my name to my brand more since I'm no longer anonymous. Stef Woods and City Girl Blogs are now one and the same.

For those of you who have read my blog faithfully, I thank you for standing by me after the train wreck has been cleaned up. I'm appreciative that so many of you out in the blogosphere have become my friends. You stuck by me through the highs and lows, and for that, I'll always be grateful. A special shout-out to Abby, Erika, Intrigue Me, Jean, Jo, Kat, Simone and Teacher Girl. I look forward to thanking you all in person some day soon!

With much appreciation from the bottom of my heart, a huge virtual hug, and best wishes for the happiest of holidays,


Playing hooky

It was a cold and rainy Tuesday in late March. I was lounging on the couch in my Old Navy sweats when my phone vibrated. It was a text from Mr. Exec:

Morning. What are your plans for today?

Me: A whole lotta nothing!

Mr. Exec: That sounds nice. Up for some company?

Me: Sure :)!

Mr. Exec: I might need your help with an article for a newsletter for [an organization that had a similar mission to a nonprofit for which I used to work]. Would that be okay?

Me: Of course!

Mr. Exec arrived at my place a couple of hours later. He has his nickname for a reason so I was surprised that he barely looked at his Blackberry all day. He fully committed to playing hooky with me and being a sloth. I hadn't expected him to be able to decompress from his job the way he did, and it was nice to see.

Even though Mr. Exec hadn't even kissed me at the end of our first date or even come upstairs, it felt like he had been over my place many a time. I poured him a glass of Chardonnay. We relaxed on the couch, watching Sportscenter. He put his arm around me and made sure that my blanket covered my feet. I hadn't thought about what this embryonic thing called "us" would turn into, but we interacted like we were a couple.

That afternoon, ESPN kept replaying Tiger Woods' interview.

Mr. Exec: If you were Elin, would you stay?

Me: Hell no.

Mr. Exec: What about for better or worse?

Me: That would go out the window if my husband put his cock inside one other woman — let alone 12.

Mr. Exec: Would you leave a person if he was an alcoholic?

Me: I was in a relationship with an addict and an alcoholic when I was in my early 20s. I became such an co-dependent enabler that I don't think I would knowingly become involved with an addict again unless he was in recovery.

Mr. Exec: Well, what if he didn't have a problem, but a tragic event like a family member's death sent him into a downward spiral? Wouldn't you want to help him?

Me: Of course.

Mr. Exec: Then, how is an alcohol addiction different from a sex addiction?

Me: I don't see what Tiger did as situational or a post-traumatic stress response. Cheating would involve a betrayal of our marriage vows so I see that as different from a substance problem. But, I get your point that if marriage is forever, that includes the worse.

We talked more about our views on cheating and sex addiction. I might not have agreed with all of Mr. Exec's points, but I respected them. I liked his energy and his wisdom. I hadn't dated anyone with whom I felt such physical and intellectual chemistry since Lawyer Boy.

Mr. Exec suggested that we take a nap, but I decided to crack the metaphorical whip and get the article done before we went to sleep. I felt flattered that he trusted me to help him with it, and we worked well together. I had a thought that if we continued dating, there would be a lot more of this. I smiled to myself in front of the laptop (much like I'm doing now). I had definitely missed being able to professionally connect with someone.

When we finished the article, we began talking about upcoming events in town. That made me think of his friend, Jenna, who I had met last year.

Me: How is she? She was so much fun.

He commented that he hadn't talked to her in a while, noting that he received a lot of flack for bringing her to the event in Georgetown.

Me [surprised since I thought that they were just friends]: Was she there as your date?

Mr. Exec: Well…we were hanging out.

Me: Wait a minute… you were flirting with me and asking me out right in front of her? And, she was there as your date?

Mr. Exec: Yes.

Me: What kind of guy is on a date with one girl and asks another girl out right in front of her?

Mr. Exec: Well, Jenna and I weren't serious. We didn't have that much in common. She's nice, but I didn't see it progressing so I didn't view it as a big deal.

Me [laughing out loud]: Seriously? I actually wondered why I had never heard from her since we had gotten along so well. Now I know why. I would have walked out of the restaurant if you had done that with me.

I rolled my eyes and thought to myself:

What was I getting myself into?

Why didn’t I blog in real time?

A friend, Lisa, approached me and said the following:

A lot of people don't get your blog.

Misty: What's not to get? [I nod my head.]

Lisa: You don't blog in real time.

Me [with a confused expression on my face]: So?

Misty: She's a storyteller.

Lisa: Well, I get it, which is why I read it so you don't have to convince me….But, 8 people — in PR and Marketing — have come up to me recently and talked about how you don't blog in real time. They don't understand it.

Me: What is there really to understand? It's not that cryptic.

Lisa: You have to have noticed that some of your commenters have been frustrated with the same thing and how you write about things that happened a few months ago.

Me: Yes, I've noticed. But, I just kept telling the story, and it seems by the numbers of hits that I've received that people keep reading.

Lisa: But, I bet that you could quadruple your hits if you blogged in real time.

Me: Really? With the amount of hits I've gotten recently? I doubt that.

Lisa: But, you need to blog in real time if you want to be a successful blogger.

Misty: But, she doesn't want to be a successful blogger.

[I nod my head in agreement. And, yes, folks, Misty is right. If I can turn my blog into something more professionally in the next year, I will. If not, I'll go back to representing my clients since I miss my clients.]

Lisa: You are a blogger now, though. And, you've used social media to promote your blog. You've said that. [I nod.] Social media and Twitter are about getting information in real-time, and you're not blogging in that manner.

A longer discussion ensued, but it got me thinking about what I do and how I do it.

Why don't I blog in real-time?

1. I didn't start blogging in real-time.

My friends have been telling me for years to write down my guy stories. When I broke up with Lawyer Boy at the end of 2008, I had the time and the inclination to finally do that. I wasn't in a relationship at the time so I started writing about past events. Word-of-mouth about my blog grew, and I just kept on writing;

2. I'm a storyteller.

I see myself as a storyteller, rather than one who blogs about her day. Some events warrant several posts, while other quieter weeks don't warrant a mention. Misty commented that some days I would just be writing, "Didn't go out on a date. Didn't have sex." I love my life, but the rest of my life doesn't always make for a good read;

3. Would I be able to date in a small city like DC if I did blog in real time?

I don't think so, and Lisa and Misty both agreed with me on this point. Why is that? DC is small. Lilliputian small. If guys knew that whatever happened that night would appear in a post the following day, I doubt that many guys would want to date me. By not blogging in real time, I also can see if a relationship evolves.

For instance, last Thursday night, I met four guys. I'm currently exchanging e-mails with three of them. I don't know if I'll end up dating any of them, though, so is it really worth describing our first encounters or e-mails on my blog? There might not be a story there since I don't know if any of them will amount to more than just a guy I met at a event. Who knows if a casual encounter is blog-worthy?

That also raises another issue. I just admitted that I'm in contact with four guys from last week. All of them have access to my blog. What if by the sheer fact that I met other guys that night, I lose the chance to go out with the guy with whom I'm the most compatible?

In a similar vein, in the past week, I've been in contact with Philly Matt, The Baron, JAG Man (yes, he's back, too), and Mr. Executive. Out of that group, I could see seriously dating two of them. (No, I'm not saying which two right now.) If I put every detail in real time about my interactions with them and feelings about them, then I might miss out on the opportunity to spend time with each of them individually and see what happens next.

If you know me, you realize that I don't engage in casual sex. (I've had a single one-night stand in a decade.) But, I do believe that a double standard exists in the dating arena. I'm trying to explore my options respectfully. Real-time blogging wouldn't allow me to do that without feeling like all the guys on deck were watching over my shoulders. Writing my stories down the next day might also spark jealousy and resentment or cause a guy to act uncharacteristically.

4. Do you really want real-time?

I have this vision of my man behind me and my laptop in front of me. In that scenario, I'd be blogging as my man is having sex with me. The title of that post would be: Is This Enough Real-Time For You?

Sex and love don't always follow a story arc, and my stories are detailed and explore things from every angle. As "real" as I am in my blog, I think that "real time" would detract from my posts.

Mr. Executive also made a good point that if I was to blog in real-time, then I would need to have an itinerary before every post. He joked:

So…are we going to have sex, watch a movie or get in a fight tonight? I need to figure out what I'm going to write about next.

I prefer to let whatever happens happen organically and then write about it after I've had time to digest it. And, yes, I realize that I was blogging about the end of my relationship with "Buckeyes" Boy three months after we had split up. But, I have to believe that my readers (and not just my friends) care about me as a person. I don't know emotionally if I would have been able to handle writing about everything as I was going through it with "Buckeyes" Boy. I also wouldn't have done well with all the criticism in the moment. Isn't it better that my relationship with "Buckeyes" Boy ended as it was meant to, rather than by a huge fight over the comments that he read or something I put in a post?

5. What else should I do?

I initially started to write down my stories just for me. But, now, I'm writing for a larger audience. I feel guilty when I don't blog for a few days in a row. My readers are invested in my stories, and I don't want to disappoint. Many of you have shown me by your comments, Tweets and e-mails that you care about me. I feel that, and I want to give the same back at you!

Isn't the purpose of social media to exchange information to a broader audience through the Internet? And, isn't that what I'm doing? Yes, social media provides news and information in real time, but whether or not I have sex with a guy isn't news; it's entertainment for my friends and readers.

Social media has grown in every sense of the word because it isn't formulaic, and it's constantly being used in new and visionary ways. It's ironic to me that I've received criticism (albeit through a third-party) that I have used social media in a way that it wasn't intended to be used. Who defines the norm in an ever-changing market to infinite consumers? More accurately, does there need to be a norm? Isn't the beauty of social media that we all have the power to create and exchange personal and professional information over the Internet in whatever manner we choose?

I'm not cooking one recipe a day to blog about it. Likewise, I'm not sleeping with or dating one guy a day to prove a point. That's not my love life as an adult, and it's not my writing style.

I've always done it my way (that was the title of my autobiography back in 6th grade), and I blog like I fuck (out of the box). I'm a storyteller and an advice-giver, and I'm just going to keep on writing. xoxo

So…what are your thoughts? How do you define "successful blogger?"


The patterns of late in my relationship with Buckeyes Boy were unhealthy. Somehow we went from dominant and submissive in the bedroom to dominant and submissive outside of the bedroom. I was getting tired of being so deferential to him all the time…of catering to his every need when my basic needs were barely being met…of paying for everything when he had been at work for over a month now.

Then, just when I felt like I was going to lose it around him and go off on all that had been weighing on me, he would say something that would make me feel like maybe we could get past this.

Buckeyes Boy [after finding all these things I had gotten him]: I’ve never met anyone as thoughtful as you. I make some comments in passing about how my razor bumps are irritating and that I use hand sanitizer at work, and the next thing I know, you get me a whole facial cleansing system and a packet of hand sanitizers.

Me: You’re welcome, baby. That’s what I do for the people I love.

Buckeyes Boy: But, I don’t think you realize how few people do that. Thank you for being so patient with me with all the changes from the new job. I know this hasn’t been easy on you, but I really appreciate everything. [We kiss.]

Our relationship was (thankfully) not abusive, but I started to recognize the honeymoon stage that followed our fights. One night, he was saying that I was jealous and controlling, and the next night he would tell me how wonderful I was. A part of me wondered if the pendulum would stop swinging back and forth and if we could just…be.

In late November 2009, I was talking to my friend, AP, about the latest round of ups and downs with Buckeyes Boy.

Me: I give us a 50/50 chance of making it through New Year’s.

AP: Really? He adores you. I think you guys will work it out. He just needs to get into a routine at work first. But, at least you know you are ready!

Me: For what? [Pause.] Marriage?

AP: Yeah.

Me [laughing out loud]: I don’t know. I’m willing to stick it out with Buckeyes Boy because I love him and because of how good we were in the beginning. But, if you tell me I’m single again, I don’t think I’m going to be in a rush to get into another relationship. You know me…when did I ever talk about getting married before Buckeyes Boy?

AP [laughing]: Umm…never! When you told us that you guys were planning your wedding, I almost got whiplash! I thought the aliens had gotten you. [We both crack up.]

Me: Exactly. I know I want to be a mom. I don’t know that I want to be a wife. I’ll ride things out with Buckeyes Boy, but if we break up, I’m not sure if I see just looking for one guy to be with forever. I don’t know if that’s my thing.

Buckeyes Boy came home that evening and was up sick most of the night. I tried to do what I could to make him feel more comfortable, but some things just need to run their course. He had off the following day and gave me the heads up that two friends were having parties. As was the norm, he didn’t invite me to join him so I decided to make my own plans.

I figured that he would sleep in since he was sick most of the night, but he headed out in the morning to meet his sister for coffee. When he returned, the Ohio State-Michigan game was on, but he went back to bed since he wasn’t feeling well. (The fact that he wasn’t interested in the game as a former Buckeyes football player confused me, though.) I got him some ginger ale and some over-the-counter stuff and tucked him in.

As Buckeyes Boy and I were talking in bed, the topic of porn came up. He knew the actresses that I enjoyed, but I didn’t know whom he liked.

Me: When you are by yourself, who do you fantasize about?

Buckeyes Boy: Well, no one really.

Me: There’s not a porn star or an actress that you think about or like to watch when you are getting off?

Buckeyes Boy: I just don’t really do that.

Me: You don’t masturbate? [He nods.] I’m calling bull shit on that one.

Buckeyes Boy: Why would I do that when I can just go to a club and leave with a girl?

Me [biting my tongue from asking him why he was an almost 32-year-old man acting like he was still in college]: Really? Well, I thought you had said that you were a relationship guy.

Buckeyes Boy: I am. But when I’m not in a relationship, I’m gonna go out to take care of that. What guy wouldn’t do it that way?

Me: So…after you left Toronto [and the girl he was dating up there] and before we met, that’s what you did?

Buckeyes Boy: Yeah.

Me [as my eyes get really wide]: You sooo didn’t tell me that! You made it sound like you were all about relationships! Dare I ask if you used condoms with these women?

Buckeyes Boy: Of course.

Me: All the time? [He nods.] You definitely spun the whole, “I’m a relationship guy,” to your advantage. You made it sound like you hadn’t been with anyone since you left Toronto.

Buckeyes Boy: What if I go on your blog and read about the guys that you were with before we started dating?

Me: Go on it! You were the only person I slept with since I broke up with Lawyer Boy last Thanksgiving! I’ve had one one-night stand in a decade! I just wish you had told me this back in September.

Buckeyes Boy: What did you expect? Any guy who is good-looking enough to go into a bar and get a girl is going to do exactly the same thing!

As we rolled over to take a nap, I felt unsettled. I didn’t even bring up how he told me he had been tested for HIV when he arrived in DC and whether or not that was a lie. I just knew I needed to get tested again.

I woke up before Buckeyes Boy did, and there ended up being a change in my plans for the evening. I wasn’t going to Virginia, but rather, having dinner with my friend, Tina, in Adams Morgan. As it turned out, Buckeyes Boy’s parties that night were in Adams Morgan and U Street. Even though he had been sick a lot over the past 24 hours, he was still going to try to go out.

Me: Well, your stuff should be starting around the time that my stuff ends. If you want to grab a drink or meet up since we’ll both be in the same area, let me know. I could just come by for the first hour or so and then I’d leave you all so I can work on my thesis. Or, if you decide not to go out and you need anything, just call me. I should be home by 10 at the latest, but I can leave early if you need me to.

Buckeyes Boy: Okay. I’ll let you know.

I hadn’t heard from Buckeyes Boy when I was out with Tina so I headed home just before 10. I assumed that he had decided not to go out or else I would’ve heard from him. My assumptions were proven wrong, though, when I got off the elevator on my floor. The air was filled with the aroma of Buckeyes Boy’s cologne.

“I just missed him!” I thought to myself. “That fucker didn’t even call me!”

Sure enough, I went inside, and he was gone. I called Tina with tears streaming down my eyes.

“This is ridiculous! I take care of his ass all night and now he’s out with friends who don’t know that I even exist and he doesn’t even let me come along for a drink?!?”

“You need to sit down and talk to him,” Tina said.

I agreed with her, but I also wondered if talking to him would even register. He always belittled my attempts to talk about our relationship problems, or he would deflect the conversation to make me feel like I was in the wrong, jealous and insecure.

As the clock went from 10pm to 2am, I got progressively more upset. I thought about telling him to pack his stuff up, call his sister, and get out of my place. I thought about leaving his stuff outside my apartment door. But, I realized that he would be coming home after a night of drinking and that wasn’t the right time to get into a relationship discussion or end things so abruptly.

When Buckeyes Boy got back, he was buzzed and clearly had no idea that I might be mad at him. I just kissed him hello and went back to bed. In the morning, he was Mr. Friendly as he got ready for work, thanking me for taking care of him and telling me how much fun he had the previous evening.

Buckeyes Boy: I don’t think I can go out tonight since the event will be a late one, but maybe Monday night? [I nod my head.] I know that you wanted to go out before I leave for Georgia, and I definitely want to do that.

Me: Okay.

We walked out of the apartment building, and after I kissed him and went on my way with Nutter, I found myself rolling my eyes. In contrast with the past month, I wasn’t sad anymore. As I continued around Rock Creek Parkway, I tried to figure out why. My call with AP had me thinking:

I’ve been putting my goal on hold for Buckeyes Boy. And, I had to ask myself if he was worth doing that for.

“What goal?” you might be asking.

Being a Mom. I had told myself in 2008 that if two things happened in 2009 (I moved into a 2-bedroom apartment, and my health was stable), I would start the process to adopt an older child in 2010. Both of those important pieces were in place, but now, with Buckeyes Boy on the scene, I was putting his needs and goals before mine.

I decided to ride it out with Buckeyes Boy for six more weeks to see if he stepped up. If things didn’t markedly change by the time 2010 rolled around (and yes, I knew that I needed to play a role in standing up for myself), then the Ball in Times Square wasn’t the only thing that would be dropped.

The light bulb

My game of Chutes and Ladders with Buckeyes Boy continued. There seemed to be a direct correlation between his work schedule, his mood and his health. When he didn’t have a day off all week, he was exhausted, sick and not the nicest guy to be around. We would still talk and have sex, but the overwhelming stress of his job sucked the life and the light out of him. He got his dream job, but at what price? Could he continue at this pace? Could we?

Around election time in November 2009, Buckeyes Boy asked me a question about local politics. I was in the zone, working on my thesis, so I just answered his question briefly.

Buckeyes Boy: Don’t you even know what’s going on in your own city? I need to get you more involved in politics.

I just looked at him and shrugged. A few days later, I relayed the story to my friend, Nicole, and her big, beautiful brown eyes got so wide that she looked like a deer in headlights.

Nicole [laughing hysterically]: Is he kidding? You must have really kept quiet the past few months.

I thought about her comment, and realized that she was right. I had kept quiet about a lot. Buckeyes Boy is a smart guy, and he respects my intellect, but I had been downplaying my accomplishments and intelligence around him. It was odd for me to realize how I had made myself so deferential to him that he didn’t even know that I had come to DC for a Political Science Internship, let alone how many protests and marches in which I had participated.

All that changed, however, when he brought up a topic relating to my specific field of practice. I launched into a 30-minute diatribe about the flaws with our legal system and current policies. He listened and asked follow-up questions, but I sensed that he was surprised. I also realized that I had been “dumbing myself down” around Buckeyes Boy. I needed to stop doing that and find a way to be supportive of him without dismissing my own strengths and accomplishments.

The week before Thanksgiving, Buckeyes Boy had to work 80 hours without a day off, which took a toll on him and us. I tried to focus on how the glass was half-full. But, I became rather salty when I saw on Twitter that: 1) he had given Susan a tour of his office; and 2) he went out with friends for drinks after work without letting me know in advance. For me, that was a Double Whammy!

He could tell I was upset at him when he came home, but he didn’t know why.

Me: Really? There’s nothing you did today that might upset me. (And, yes, that was totally the passive-aggressive way to approach the matter.)

Buckeyes Boy: [Pause.] Oh, that Susan came to the Convention Center?

Me: Ya think?!?

Buckeyes Boy: Well, she was down there. What was I supposed to do?

Me: I don’t mind you having lunch with your friends or showing them around. But, I had told you before that it’s important to me that your friends know I exist and that I see your office before other girls do.

Buckeyes Boy [raising his voice]: She was down there for work! What does it matter who I show around my office?

Me: I could see if we hadn’t talked about this before, but we did. This matters to me. And, how do you think it makes me feel to find this all out on Twitter?

Buckeyes Boy: You are so jealous!

Me: No. I’m not jealous of you being friends with other girls. It just makes me feel like you don’t care about me when I tell you something and you don’t appreciate where I’m coming from. I get that people are down near your office. I just don’t get why you wouldn’t show me around before other girls when we talked about this.

Buckeyes Boy: This doesn’t sit well with me. I don’t like this at all! And, Susan’s the person you should least be worried about! What about the other girls who I’ve shown around the office who didn’t Tweet about it?

(I could tell that he was just trying to get under my skin with that one so I didn’t directly respond to that. I know the girls to whom he was referring, but the girls weren’t the problem here.)

Me: I don’t care that you have friends who are girls and that you spend time with them. I care about the fact that I’m trying to be a part of your world like you are a part of mine, and you won’t let me in. You make me feel like I’m asking you for these outlandish things, when I’m asking for very little! [I’m crying enough by this point that I need to get a tissue.] Remember how you told me about your girl in Charlotte and how you had a relationship of convenience? [Pause.] Is that how you see me?

Buckeyes Boy
[raising his voice]: That’s ridiculous! I can’t believe that you would use my past against me! What if I went on your blog and asked you about whether you were cheating on me because you cheated on other guys in the past?

(Technically, I was the other woman, not the cheater, but I decided not to argue about semantics.)

Me: Go on my blog if you want! I haven’t been with anyone since Lawyer Boy other than you, and I’ve already written posts about how I feel things for you that I’ve never felt for anyone before. I just need to know that you feel the same about me.

Buckeyes Boy: I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t. If I didn’t want to be with you, I would tell you.

Our tones and words softened, and we kissed and made up. He told me that he wanted to have me come to the Convention Center after the holiday. That made me smile, but I still wasn’t comfortable with our exchange. When we fought, I always ended up apologizing for being insecure or for upsetting him. I was the submissive one in all aspects of our relationships, even when he was in the wrong or when I was asking him for things that are normal in an adult relationship.

After our conversation, I went outside to walk Nutter and called my friend, Julie. She said:

You are one of the most loving and generous people I know. You have the biggest heart, and always try to make everyone else happy. You deserve someone who appreciates how wonderful you are and who will try to make you as happy as you make him. You keep telling me that you love him, but lately, you’re always in tears when you talk about him. When was the last time he did anything nice for you?

Me: Umm. [Pause.] I don’t know. [Pause.] Going to dinner? Of course, I was the one who had to pay and then he got more parking tickets. When he came home early so we could watch Love Actually? [Pause.] Yeah, it’s been a while.

Julie: Now when was the last time you did something nice for him?

Me: [Pause.] A few hours ago. (I had made sure that I had his favorite Shiraz and cupcakes in for when he got home from work.) He shouldn’t get points for being nice 10 days ago, huh?

Julie: You deserve someone who will be good to you.

Me: I know that. I just need to get up the strength to tell him that.

The following day, I talked to several more friends about my relationship with Buckeyes Boy. The general consensus was that he didn’t appreciate me and that he was taking advantage of my generosity. After hearing that from five friends in one day, a light bulb went off in my head.

Buckeyes Boy needed to step up. Things were going to have to change.

Nothing says a first date like The Port Authority

I went on for a few weeks last March. Some of my friends in NYC had been using the site, and I thought it would be a fun diversion from Lawyer Boy. If you’ve read my entries about Brooklyn Boy, you know that one match was a bust. Mr. Port Authority is the other guy I met through the site.

From his profile, Mr. Port Authority was totally my type. He looked so much like my ex-boyfriend, Matt, that it was almost freaky. He also loved sports and was preparing to start his surgical residency. (My hospital stories are almost as entertaining as my dating stories so I tend to hit it off with people in the medical profession.)

We spoke several times over the phone, and I was preparing to see him when I got back to DC. In our last call, he asked me to leave NYC early or go back to DC for just a night, which I viewed as illogical and too eager. I don’t understand guys who get so clingy before we’ve even set eyes on each other.

I tried to look past this yellow flag since I was interested in meeting him. Two days later, I was at the hair salon in NYC, when I got a text from him:

“I’m in NYC for the day! Want to get together?”

We started texting back and forth, and he said that he was in the City to drop some info off at hospitals and to try to see me. Hmm….the Cling-O-Meter is rising and that’s not a good thing.

I knew enough about the residency match process to know that the results were coming out in a week. This guy is clearly not Type A or anything close to that if he waits to speak with hospitals until the 11th hour. His stock is falling since I’m far too motivated to deal with someone who isn’t at least a Type B.

I asked him where he was and he threw out an address that was THREE blocks from my family’s apartment in NYC. I exhaled and tried to convince myself that this was just a coincidence. I don’t remember if I told him where in NYC my family lived, but it was a tad creepy.

“Where were you thinking of meeting up?” I texted.

“What if we meet at The Port Authority for a hug and coffee before my bus leaves?”

The Port Authority? Who wants to meet someone for the first time at The Port Authority? That building is just one notch above a sewage treatment plant. My friend, Amy, summed it up perfectly when she said, “Does he want to kidnap you and take you to New Jersey?”

I decided to pass on this tempting offer [insert sarcastic eye roll here] and suggested that we wait to meet until we were both back in DC. By this point, my friends thought he was a stalker. I thought he was needy and socially-awkward. Regardless, Mr. Port Authority was making Mr. Starbucks look good, and that’s not saying much.

Brooklyn Boy — Part II or What Not to Say on a Date

I was really looking forward to my date with Brooklyn Boy and saw the evening as a chance for us to get to know each other better. We went to a nice lounge in Chelsea and a casual, Asian-fusion restaurant in Union Square. I’m not one who requires a guy to be overly chivalrous or attentive, but I do notice those things. I offered to pay my way at the lounge and at dinner, and he took me up on both of those offers.

That might have made more sense had he not gone on – almost ad-nauseam – about how he’s trying to figure out how this relationship can work if we live in different cities the majority of the time. (Hmm…I didn’t know we were in a relationship yet.) I said that we would see each other over inauguration, which wasn’t too far off. He replied that a month was a very long time to wait. Seriously? We don’t even really know each other. Does he want me to run in the opposite direction? (That tends to happen if someone gets super-clingy with me after only a few dates.)

The night got worse when he tried to kiss me. Much like I did on our first date, I told him that I wanted to take things slowly and didn’t want him to be the rebound guy. He then started negotiating like we were 15, and he was trying to get me to have sex with him for the first time:

“Just a little kiss. It’s not a big deal.” It is to me.

“A kiss isn’t taking things quickly.” At our age, a kiss rarely stays at just a kiss for very long. Plus, isn’t the physical connection the easy part? It’s much tougher to find someone with whom I connect emotionally and intellectually.

“Do you not believe in PDA?” Yes, if I’m comfortable with someone.

“Relationships are about compromise.” But we aren’t in a relationship yet…

“Are you a prude?” I tried not to laugh out loud at this. The boy has no idea what I freak I can be…with the right person.

The prude comment really made me feel like I was 15 again. It got worse when he cornered me outside of the bathroom on our way out of the restaurant and kissed me. He didn’t ask if that was okay. He just did it. I went along somewhat reluctantly.

The seven-second kiss was one of the worst kisses of my life. Brooklyn Boy kisses with the FLAT part of his tongue. He doesn’t use the tip of his tongue. He doesn’t maneuver the flat part of his tongue gently. He just came at me like a hyperactive dog. Ugh!

To make the evening even more bizarre, Brooklyn Boy relayed a Woody Allen joke to me… about rape. If you care, read the section about Harlene Rosen here. Rape is never funny. After he saw my reaction and I emphatically stated, “That’s not funny,” he apologized. I accepted his apology, but it just didn’t seem sincere. I felt like he really didn’t get how inappropriate it was to relay that story. Period.

I ended the night, thinking that I might see Brooklyn Boy again. (I know. I need to make better guy choices.) But, after sleeping on the prude question and rape joke, I realized that I don’t care to see him again. I don’t know if he doesn’t respect women or just doesn’t get them, but either is a deal breaker for me.

He contacted me this week, and I wrote back an e-mail that I just didn’t feel comfortable with some of the comments that were made and wished him the best in 2009. He then asked me to tell him what he said. I kept my response brief (asking me if I was a prude because I didn’t want to kiss you and telling the Woody Allen rape joke made me feel uncomfortable), and he wrote the following:

“Boy was I misunderstood. The Woody Allen joke was something I had heard and wasn’t my invention. I thought I had put forth the disclaimer and apology once you stated that you worked with abused women. I know it’s a serious matter…Please contact me again. Go with what you felt when you talked to me not what you added to the event which took place in your memory. I really do like you and would like to see you again.”

Wow! So, if you didn’t come up with the joke and apologize afterwards, that makes it OK? And, I had to try not to laugh that he’s making it sound like he’s misunderstood and that my memory is faulty.

I actually don’t disagree with his take on what was said, but I don’t care to engage him further. He clearly doesn’t get that it was wrong to relay the joke at all. I sent him a one-liner asking him to respect that I don’t care to communicate further to which he wrote me back another long paragraph. I’m not replying anymore. How much do I have to say to a guy who made me buy my own dinner, thought it was acceptable to tell a joke about rape, and kissed me with a flat tongue when I didn’t even want to be kissed :p?

Brooklyn Boy — Part I

I recently ended a relationship with a man I loved…a lot. I know that it was the right decision to break it off with him, but it still hurts.

I'm not a serial monogamist and know that I'm not ready to be in another relationship anytime soon. But, I still enjoy dating and going out for drinks with guys. So, I gave this Brooklyn Boy a chance.

He and I met earlier this year for coffee when I was wondering if I was ready to start dating other people. (I wasn't, as I was far too in love with Lawyer Boy, but I tried.) If I close my eyes and imagine the perfect guy for me physically, Brooklyn Boy fits the bill. Think 6'2" tall, dark and handsome with an athletic build. Brooklyn Boy's inside is as appealing as his outside. He's motivated professionally and well rounded with a love of traveling, foreign languages and sports. I like being able to talk politics with someone one minute and NCAA basketball the next. The fact that he spoke quite a bit about his family and how close they all are increased the value of his portfolio for me. Meeting someone for a quick coffee usually doesn't leave me wanting more. With Brooklyn Boy, it did.

So, now that I am officially single, I decided to e-mail Brooklyn Boy. He was game for getting together for drinks at a bar in Gramercy. The bar was modern, yet romantic, with dimmed lighting, lots of candles and velvet couches. On a Monday night, it wasn't too crowded for us to hear each other. The more we talked, the more I wanted to talk more.

He asked me when I was last in a relationship. I was honest with him and said that I recently ended something serious. I commented that I hoped he and I could keep getting to know each other and see what happens. Brooklyn Boy seemed fine with that…or so I thought. We were just sitting there on the couch, and out of nowhere, he tries to kiss me. Not a little peck, but a full-on open-mouth kiss. We haven't even spent more than three hours together cumulatively, and he's acting like we're at a frat party! (20-something City Girl would have been open to that, but 30-something City Girl is not.) I was totally caught off guard, but managed to steer the kiss to just a peck on the mouth. Thankfully, he didn't push it. We ended the night with another peck and agreed to see each other next week.

Was it naive of me to think that he wouldn't push it on our next date? Maybe. But, I was looking forward to spending more time with Brooklyn Boy and could not have foreseen just how bizarre that date would be.