Tag Archives: relationships

An object of gossip

17 Jul

She did not.

Cast of Characters

Penny – Narrator

Super-Extrovert – Penny’s friend who cannot understand that Penny doesn’t like to be around other people all the time and forces her into social situations.

Civilian – That guy who was really good at dates last year and whom Penny met at another such dinner.

Girlfriend – Super-Extrovert’s friend from college who is dating Civilian’s best friend and roommate.

Disapproving Mother – Civilian’s roommate’s mother and Girlfriend’s supposed future MIL.


In which Penny finds herself the object of gossip…

I glanced down the table and immediately wished I hadn’t.

Now, I probably spend more time convinced that people are talking about me than people actually spend engaged in discussions of my utterly fascinating person, but Monday evening my observations of the pair at the opposite end of the table could not have been more affirming of my regular self-absorption.

Still, I’d looked and I couldn’t very well un-look, so I might as well keep looking at the girlfriend of the best friend of the guy I’d gone on a few dates with over a year ago as she whispered in her boyfriend’s mother’s ear all the sordid details of my callous and cold treatment of their beloved young man, currently deployed as a civilian in Afghanistan.

Oof. Continue reading

Don’t I know you?

25 Apr

As previously established, I am the most awkward ever. Prior confirmation of this fact does not, unfortunately, stop me from accruing further oh-so-damning evidence. Take, for example, last evening and the case of the Wicked-hot Army Capitán.

While getting changed after work into my fitness “gear”, I had a premonition that yesterday would be a good day to not wear my standard gym uniform of ratty old t-shirt and shorts from high school, so I was feeling fairly cute – my hair was back in a decently attractive ponytail, my pasty-pale legs glowed nicely against the grey of my running shorts, and my shoulders well-displayed by a racer-back top.

Cute, that is, until I walked into the fitness center and stared straight into the eyes of Wicked-hot Army Capitán. Or, straight into his eyes in the mirror, which is essentially the same thing.


Shit shit shit.

You have to understand, WhAC isn’t just a new Gym God for a new gym. WhAC and I met waaaaaaaay back in February in a bar when I was sober and he was not and my friends were making out with his friends while I waited for them to be ready for me to drive them home. (Yes, this was the night of the arm-crossing.)

Another hot one I’d never see again. Better luck next time, Penny!

Then sometime last month I made the connection between the attractive guy from the fitness center who kept looking at me oddly and the mixed-race (Mexican and Native American. DEAR ZEUS, THE CHEEKBONES.) Wicked-hot Army Capitán who courteously got me water so I’d have something to hold and would stop crossing my arms. We’ve since been doing a pretty stellar job of limiting encounters and just all-around pretending to notice everyone but each other.

Then last night he was at the adjustable pulley machine thing… which happens to be right next to the leg lift machine with which I begin my weight routine.


So what did I do? I turned up my iPhone, ignored his existence per previously established routine, and went about awkwardly lifting and lifting and wishing I’d shaved above my knee or not decided to wear shorts.

Awkward enough for you? Just wait – it gets better. Continue reading

The irrational Self-Hate Monster always wins.

3 Apr

The Self-Hate Monster is unbeatable because the Self-Hate Monster is self-sustaining.

Situation: Over the past few weeks I’ve taken on the role of relationship initiator. I text first, I call, I plan, etc. I’m not the person who refuses to reach out if things are feeling unbalanced. If I want to talk to my boyfriend I talk to him. But it still hurts to feel like the only one taking it on.

Self-Hate Monster: Then doesn’t it stand to reason if he wanted to talk to you, he would? If he wanted to see you he’d make plans. It wasn’t always like this. Obviously you’ve done something to make yourself less desirable.

Logical Action: I’ll raise my concerns to Oxford Comma, who is a person of intellect and reason. How can I expect him to understand a problem he doesn’t know I’m having? I know he loves me. Let’s not forget the wonderful birthday party he threw a few scant weeks ago.

Self-Hate Monster Self-Sustenance: This isn’t the first time you’ve had this conversation with a boyfriend. Let’s look for common denominators. OH IT’S YOU. You need to nag someone into caring about you? You want him to text you cute things out of obligation? Well if that kind of relationship makes you happy…

So what do I do? I start logical.

-Can I be awkward for a moment? This has just been on my mind lately.
-I know you care about me but it makes me a bit self-conscious when I’m the one always initiating.
-I’d rather you asked if I wanted to come over than expect me to act upon an open invitation.

So far so good. Until…

-I don’t want you to act differently just because I’m whining!
-No, no, it’s totally fine, I’m the crazy one. I’m sorry.
-I just don’t want to feel like I’m nagging when I call you or I’m intruding when I come over.

Mayday! Mayday! Self-Hate Monster Self-Fulfilling Prophecy! I AM NAGGING ABOUT NAGGING.

The problem is there is no way to win. If everything remains the same, the Self-Hate Monster circles back to the beginning and repeats. If Oxford does hear me and reaches out more often, the Self-Hate Monster will convince me it isn’t genuine. Every text will be accompanied with a tiny pang of guilt for asking to be cared about.

And in my brain I know I should smack the Self-Hate Monster and just be all

But because of whatever that place is that always overrules my brain, I just end up looking in the mirror and thinking

Speak, SMS Muse. I’m begging.

26 Mar

Everyone except Subway Boy knew it was over as soon as he sent that picture of his salad, but Penny was determined to be a less-bitchy version of her normal self and attempt one more date. (Just not on Friday because one can only take so much stupid in one 24-hr period.)

Then life (and Facebook) happened, and Penny determined that one can only take so much stupid. Period.

The only question remaining was how to rid herself of Subway Boy without too many ramifications given their mutual residency in a not too terribly large apartment community. Sunday and Monday both passed blissfully with nary a text from Subway Boy, and Penny let herself feel hope.

This was where she made her fatal error.

Never feel hope.

Subway Boy (SMS): Howdy neighborino. Hope ur feelin better :) [sic]

DEAR ZEUS. Continue reading

Death (to love) by salad

22 Mar

Monday, Penny met a boy walking home from the subway stop.

Tuesday, Penny and Subway Boy went out for drinks, played pub trivia, and were mutually mediocre at pool.

Wednesday, Subway Boy asked Penny if she had plans for the weekend; they set a date for Friday night.

Thursday, Penny received the following picture message:


Greek salad. Soooooo much Greek salad.

Friday, Penny had a “family emergency”. (Because it is always too soon for pictures of your food.)

When he won’t stop texting

20 Mar

(Or, apparently Drunk Penny makes quite the impression.)

Strapping Marine (SMS): What’s up Penny? This is Strapping Marine, we met in [CITY] about a month ago. You were awesome, I’m back in town, we should hang out.

Penny: Circeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee <<huge breath> eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

Circe: Yes, Penny?

Penny: Apparently the ignored texts and unreturned voicemail weren’t enough of a hint. Strapping Marine is back in town. I don’t have to respond, right? This is ridiculous. Wait. Can we go somewhere for the weekend?


Missed Kisses

22 Feb

There are two possible answers to the WHY DIDN’T HE KISS ME? question:

  • It could be me.
  • He could be dumb.

After a quick survey of the P&P crew, we think the answer is pretty universal and definitely obvious.

In Which Polly was Not Meg Ryan and Blonde Beau was Not Tom Hanks

My first kiss was perfect. I was in Disney World for a high school marching band trip (cool kid right here) and a slightly older, british, tenor sax-playing, tennis god (with terrible acne but let’s focus on the positives) seized exactly the right moment and smooched me under the fireworks in EPCOT. It was better than a Mary-Kate and Ashley tween movie.

Well it had to go downhill from there, right?

This is exactly what we didn't look like.A year later I was a senior and courting a very blonde fellow from the nearby all-boys private school. We made adorable plans to skip half a day of school and take a train into the city. Our time was spent exploring an art museum, enjoying a park picnic, feeding the ducks, attending a musical, and eventually finding ourselves at the top of the city’s tallest building looking out at the sparkling lights during the observation deck’s closing hour. There was oodles of hand holding and longing stares and hinting words but not. a. peck.

Of course longing stares take time and we missed all the trains back home. Blonde Beau’s dad had to pick us up from a seedier part of town. So instead of the observation deck (OR the museum, OR the park, OR the theater) he kissed me in the school parking lot where his dad had to drop me off at my car. Slick.

Circe’s Country Song Gone Wrong

This kiss wasn’t missed in the end, but it probably should have been.

So it wasn’t exactly our first kiss…just the first one we both fully remembered (flashback to 3 days earlier, drunkenly making out at a bar). It was a warm spring evening and we had gone to dinner at one of my favorite restaurants in Aeaea. Croquet Playing Hipster paid: +5 points. Then he suggested taking a walk around the harbor and getting ice cream +100 points (ok, so I really like ice cream…). We walked down by the docks hand This but scarier. With ice cream.in hand for a while, until we decided to sit on a bench overlooking the water. That’s when things started getting awkward.

Conversation became strained as we both tried to determine how close/far we should be sitting from each other, should he put his arm around me, should I lean into him to let him know that would be just fine with me, does my breath smell? (In retrospect, garlic fries may have been a bad first date choice, but if we both ate them, that makes it ok, right?). I felt like I was giving all of the proper signals, and the setting could not have been more perfect.
After sitting there in awkward semi-silence for what felt like an eternity and a half, I couldn’t take it anymore, so I blurted out: “So are you gonna kiss me or what?” Now in my head, this sounded like that cute, playful country song by Thompson Square. In reality, it came off as way too aggressive and accusatory, and I think he was so taken aback/frightened that he finally kissed me so I wouldn’t hurt him.

Penny’s Cuddleless Night

(To be fair: THANK ZEUS NO CUDDLES. I like my space.)

Wayyyy back before MMF and I started actually admitting that we maybe sorta wanted to try seeing each other I accompanied him to a cocktail attire work holiday party and… spent the night.

MMF: Ok, well, here’s the bed and the bathroom is there; I’ll take the couch, obviously.
Penny: You do not have to sleep on the couch. Continue reading

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