One time I almost died (A first date story)

I have been on a lot of first dates in my day.

A few tinder dates. A few blind dates. I’ve been on a few met you briefly at a party, give me your number dates. I’ve been on a couple you hit me up for free drinks and I hit you up for your digits dates. I’ve been on grocery store dates and awkward forced double dates and an obligatory let’s get breakfast I guess dates and oh wait is this a date? I thought we were meeting for work drinks dates but through all of them, I can tell you one thing: I’m still pretty single and I’m still pretty ok with that. And I still feel exactly the same about first dates with total strangers.

They don’t work. It’s a scratch-off lottery ticket experience. Tell me I’m wrong guys! You pay a wad of cash, to scatch at the surface for awhile and just to find out you’re dealing with yet another total dud. I’m sorry. I just don’t really actually believe in long-lasting longevity beyond “first-dating” a complete stranger. Maybe I’m a sad cynical person but I can’t remember the last time I went on a first time outing with a guy I hardly knew and I thought WOW! When’s the next one because I’m going to hang up to call you right back Usher style. I like you enough to wait in 45 minutes of traffic. I like you more than my University of Kansas sweatpants. I like you enough to want to do this again. And again. And again.

I  think we can both pretty much tell within the first 10 minutes of talking if this has any kind of legs to go anywhere. But at the same time, I mean out of respect, we both signed up for this night so let’s just enjoy the mutual unspoken agreement that ultimately, we really aren’t meant to see this thing past a bowl of tortilla chips and a couple of strong margaritas. We hug awkwardly goodbye, and never hear from each other again. Hooray. Peace out homie, thanks for the free burrito slash small talk about your obsession with The Real World season 29. REALLY. SEASON 29. Just throw in the towel already, MTV. Jesus Christ. Anyway, goodbye forever.

It’s just not natural. I’m supposed to spend 1.5 hours talking about myself but not really telling you anything. Because if we really told eachother the truth well then we’d have to be real, and real is kind of heavy you know, bro? Leave that personal shit at home in your diary you keep under your bed Bridget Jones. First date table manners demand you have 1 slice of bread when you want 4 and that you eat a salad when you’d really love the chili cheese steak. First date manners demand you do not gush, you do not whine, you do not talk about the fact that you are terrified that the life path you are going down isn’t really right and maybe you know you’re supposed to actually do something entirely different. You are fun and interesting and balanced and ambitious and intelligent but only slightly because don’t want to alienate the person across from you with your own vocabulary LOL, hair twirl.

I’ve been on a lot of first dates.

So it was my first time ever at a Korean BBQ place and I had a little too much too drink and mistook the moist toilettes at the end of the meal for marshmallows. So what? I still find this is hysterical, disgusting but also extremely informative for future Korean BBQ outings. Honestly, I think I did him a favor. He definitely thought they were marshmellows too. I saved us really.

And note to self, do not word vomit for 35 minutes about how sorority recruitment works to a guy who went to a small Catholic private school in like New Jersey or somewhere.

Oh, if you plan on going on a date with someone who’s an athletic boxing celebrity and he never drinks but then of course tonight he does and he has 4 drinks and is literally toasted like a quiznos flatbread and then he insists that he will drive you home in the morning  and you JUST moved to Malibu and have zero friends and so have no choice, and then he can’t find the key to his house so he throws A FREAKING ROCK THROUGH HIS FRONT GLASS DOOR and you’re like omg, this is how I die…. You will not die. But you will probably never speak to him again which will be fine because hello, first dates should only be awkward, not therapy-inducing/life-threatening.

And if you’re at a restaurant and the guy orders everything for you and you tell him you don’t actually like chicken because it grosses you out and then he orders everything on the menu with chicken in it “to be funny” and doesn’t let you pick one thing, you should probably just leave. Because wtf dude!!!! Also, why are you wearing flip-flops? Come on.

And fyi, men just so you know, “Why don’t you come over and I’ll make you dinner and we can watch tv” isn’t a first date. It’s a cop-out booty call, and you know it. So put away your Dave Matthews band playlist, the only song you know on your guitar (Collide, Howie Day.. how original), your signature steak rub, and man up and buy me an actual meal.

Finally you know what? Because I’m already venting just once I’d like to get to the end of a first date, you know the moment where you are both awkwardly sitting in his car and he’s probably thinking should I kiss her or…. and I’m thinking no. Do not do that. Please. Please do not try. Then I’m silently plotting as to how I escape this car without it being uncomfortable or mean or rude but also at the same letting him know I like him and all but not enough to weirdly kiss over the console in his 2008 Toyota Camry, at least not yet.

At that moment? I would like to lean over and gracefully inform him,  “I had a great time. I’ll call you, ok? ” Exit vehicle, sans awkward terrible kiss. Sweatpants. Netflix. String Cheese. Chillin’ wit no makeup on. Drake. Done. If I was any more in command over this situation, I’d be a remote control.

Sadly, this is the dating equivalent of walking away from an explosion without turning around. This situation just doesn’t occur in real life. Because in real life, girls, we sit in the passenger seat, like a lab rat. At the mercy of the scientist to our left.

But yet, we keep trying ya know? God love us. We are a bunch of hopeful little rabbits, all trying to get our claws on something real. First dates are the mannequin version of our love lives. This is how we’re SUPPOSED to look. This is how I’m SUPPOSED to appear. But in reality, I accidentally ate a napkin thinking it was food and I know I look put together right now, but 45 minutes ago I was in my bed sobbing over yet another casualty on the Walking Dead. TBT: NOT LORI!!!!!!!!!!

But that’s the rules of engagement. That is how it is. You just have to keep throwing yourself into a big ‘ol vat of awkward small talk soup and hope, hey! Maybe this time I won’t have to go home and purge the memory of everything weird I said tonight from my brain because I’m pretty sure I referenced zombies at least 10 times. Also, I forgot to put my phone on silent and now he knows that the Harry Potter theme song is my ringtone.

Anyway, that’s all for now. Steve from Tinder just asked me if I wanted to “chill sometime”, and I have a witty pun about an ice cube I’m going to throw his way in hopes it inspires him to find his long lost arsenal of more original pick up lines.

Ba-dum-ch,

Meg

 

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insert status update on life here

Enter scene: There I stand at the inside of Trader Joes entry-way, various grocery products in brown paper bags after ONCE AGAIN DAMMIT forgetting my reusable stock pile of canvas bags in the back of my car. I put on my good samaritan penny pusher armor (sunglasses, check. Fake phone call, check. Mysterious randomly violent hacking cough, check) take a deep breath and proceed to walk through the glass sliding doors.

Once outside, they come at me with all they have:

“Help me save the mutant children!”

“Don’t you care about gay rights?”

“Did you know for a dollar a day for the rest of your life you personally can start a college fund for whales in the Ukraine?”

I hold up my hand freezing the rabid clipboard mongers around me, matrix style.

No, ok? No. I don’t want to help you. I don’t even want to know what is coming out of your mouth. I just want you to let me make it past you so that I can eat my kale chips in my car in peace where no one can judge me or accuse me of being cheap, or poor, or rude, or homophobic. Of which I am none. Minus poor. Which brings me back to my original point, that no, I don’t want to help you. Sorry. Except not really also because you are verbally assaulting me.

It is a peaceful pleasant rare experience that I enter a Trader Joes without being assaulted by various “do-good” philanthropists begging me to save the baby orcas in the Indian ocean and/or helping orphans in Somalia go to Ivy league schools while accusing me of being unhelpful, ungrateful and unAmerican. The worst part is when in a last ditch effort to get you to join their cult ahem, cause, they start going after the fact that you are alone and possibly need their guidance as your upcoming future boyfriend. How original. Please leave me alone with my poverty and singleness before I stab you with my unopened carton of almond milk.

Today has been one of those days.

It is Sunday,  I have finished grocery shopping, I am still single, full of ambition, and apparently a rude asshole who won’t donate to the turban-less tribes of Saudia Arabia. Also, most notably, I have officially finished one week of work at my new job. I consider this  to be a pretty stellar personal accomplishment. People have asked hey Meg, how’s it going? To which I (wittily, thank you) reply, ya know what? It’s going guys.

People have also asked Hey Meg, what exactly are you doing at this new gig? To which I reply, I am a spy. Then I walk away. I like to leave an air of mystery everywhere I go, so I’ve chosen this line as people rarely know how to respond to it and also, it gives me a chance to run away before we have to regurgitate the mundane activities of our days. Which I if possible, I usually choose not to do. And if I do, it’s much more interesting, like making my co-workers into characters in the storyline that is my life and me just the fly on the wall observing and quietly taking notes on the environment around me. See? Spy isn’t all that far off.

My first day of work, I ate my lunch in my car. I don’t share this to sound pathetic or socially inept or to liken myself to the work version of the new kid at school eating her school lunch in the 2nd floor ladies restroom, but rather because SENSORY OVERLOAD. And I honestly just wanted 45 minutes of peace and quiet in an environment that wasn’t completely new and unfamiliar surrounded by people I had known for less than 5 hours. Also, I was starving and I wanted to inhale my salad in the quiet comfort of the 3rd floor parking garage without having judgement passed on me by various co-workers who were unfamiliar with my eating patterns. I didn’t for one second feel bad for myself and you guys shouldn’t either. Being alone is occasionally nice. Furthermore, I want to let everyone know that friendship is probably right around the corner as well. I’m thinking week 2 were going to break through some serious social bubbles and really start connecting. I can feel it.

Beyond that? I’m trying to keep my head down and my nose clean. First impressions are everything and it’s been a little difficult to leave my sporadic-singing, wise-cracking, casual Friday self at the door. It’s funny how quickly I’ve forgotten that just 2 years ago, I’m sure I had to do the same thing. I didn’t start off at Conde Nast the way I ended, and I have to remind myself that relationships take time to develop and feeling a little uncomfortable in a new environment makes you learn how to adapt. But for now, I shove my feet into some uncomfortable heels, plaster a can-do attitude complete with a crest worthy smile on my face, and gosh darnit, I do my best. Which at the end of the day, is about all you can do.

I don’t know at what point this became an introspective diary-like entry, and for that I apologize. But I guess I just wanted to give everyone who cares a small status update and let you know that I’m still in it. I’m still on board with my decisions. I’m still a smiling, yes girl who wants nothing more than to do my job right, follow my arrow and go grocery shopping afterward while avoid the humanitarian charity paparazzi vermin so I can eat my kale chips in my safe place, which apparently through the writing of this blog, has been established as my car.  Shoutout to orange Honda Elements errywhere. Shawties you da best.  

Bring on week 2.

m

Live from LA, It’s Saturday Night!

I quit my job yesterday.

I’ve been at Conde Nast for almost 2 years. I feel like I grew up there in a strange way. I cried in the hallway bathroom, took some naps on my bosses couch, miscalculated on some excel grids, hung up on some important people, sang loudly to some Carly Rae on Friday afternoons, and generally all around learned some massive life lessons as well as some important administrative duties, that come with just finishing your first job.

And at one point, I thought I wanted to write for magazines. I was like you know what? That sounds prettttty good. I think I’ll do that. Yep. So I started really reading each our different publications (You know, Vogue, Vanity Fair, GQ, Allure, Traveler.. casual name-droppings) and reading the editor’s in our building’s work and researching their job timeline and all around doing some pretty stellar career creeping if I do say so myself. (Which I do). I asked some editors for advice. I laughably received very little. It’s hard to promote yourself when you come off  like hey BUSY AND IMPORTANT west coast editor of (insert-magazine-title-here), I’m a lowly unimportant assistant in ad sales which is nothing like anything you do, but like I want to write for magazines, so like here’s my blog, can ya help a sista out??

The answer is no, I found out. It’s ok guys. I have thick skin.

Another important life/career lesson from this though. Write this down. If you want to do something, don’t rely on others to help pave the way. YOU have to take the initiative to figure it out yourself. YOU have to personally make the effort to research, learn, network, beg, whatever. Sorry Charlie/Dorothy, there’s no golden ticket on the yellow brick road of following your dreams.

But all of this is whatever, because you know what? The more people I talked to and sat down for (what felt like trivial at times) coffee dates and participated in hour-long phone calls and redundant networking emails and etc, etc. (So. Much. Money. Spent. On. Caffeine), I realized something. I don’t want to write for magazines anymore, dammit! I don’t want to report a story. I don’t want to write about celebrities in their cute vintage Versace sweaters as they eat a butter lettuce salad with no dressing in a chic LA cafe. Nope. I want to write up quirky characters, and funny plot-lines, and interesting lessons. I want to write stories. I want to write for television. And boom. A star was born.

Or sort of. At least a goal. A pursuit. An ambition. A dream. Oh what the hell guys, forget Oz, let’s go to Hollywood.

There’s a convenience store on the main floor of the Conde Nast offices, where a little Indian man continuously tries to convince me to buy a lottery ticket every time I come in to buy gum and a giant bottle of water.

And every time we have the same conversation:

Him: “Lottery ticket? You win!”

Me: “No, man. Thank you though. I prefer to make my own luck.”

I’m pretty sure he doesn’t understand me when I say this. Definite lack of communication because this conversation keeps occurring, but anyway my point is,  I don’t want to be the person who waits around hoping that sometime someday someone will read this blog and be like Wow, that Meg sure is a swell writer. I should give her a supa cool writing gig on this new hot tv show, because you know what? Gosh darnit, that gal deserves it!

Because that just doesn’t happen, my friends. You want your dream job? Well, what are you waiting for? Let’s get started.

I know a lot of us don’t know what our dream job is. What the hell do I want to do with MY WHOLE LIFE? There’s so much time, yet there is also somehow so little. How can this be??

I was at a bar the other night (shocking I know) and instead of listening to the idle gossip chit-chat like a normal girl, I was watching the bar TV of a commercial of some lady who was promoting her veterinarian office. Or at least I think she was, I was a little drunk, so it might have actually been a commercial for cat food. Whatever, go with me here. Anyway, I had this crazy revelation that that girl somewhere along the line realized her calling was to help people aid their domestic pets for a full healthy life of pet-related happiness. And how great is that!? Realizing what you are supposed to do and then going after it. Everyone should do this! Everyone should be a vet if they want to be a vet. Everyone should at least try to do what they are good at and what they enjoy. This is what success looks like! I was moved.

It’s so simple, yet it’s one of the hardest thing in this world. People spend their entire lives doing what is expected of them. Pursuing a career that isn’t necessarily one they would choose for themselves, but seems responsible and stable. Pursuing a paycheck instead of a passion. And sure, I’m not dense enough to not know that often there are outside factors that deter people from pursuing their “dream job”. Or the fact that “job” may have nothing to do with your “dream”. Maybe it’s a place, or an experience or whatever. The medium in which your passions exist isn’t the point. It’s the fact you are too scared, or too stubborn, or too lazy to at least try. You listen to that voice in the back of your head that says you’ll fail. You listen to your friends when they question your motives. You listen to the doubters, the reserved, the rationale, the reasonable, the people who “know better”.

Well….I’m telling you to quit your job. I’m telling you to move. I’m telling you that despite the fact you spent 7 years studying in med school, despite the fact you’ve been in advertising sales for 20 years, despite the fact everyone will judge you and scrutinize you and call you crazy, if it doesn’t make you happy? Just.. start doing what does! If there is anything we learned from Miley Cyrus this year, it’s that you can start off being Hannah Montana whom parents buy merchandise and apparel for their budding pre-teens like adderall in a college library right before finals and completely turn around the year as a bad ass bitch that the general public shuns like Cady Heron after she pushed Regina George in front of the bus. Miley, you’ve given us a pretty concrete example that  you can really be any one you want. Much love.

2 years ago, all I knew was that I needed to move to California. That’s all the dream fairies gave me. But through failure on failure and lesson on lesson, here I am folks. And this is what I’ve learned:

You gotta stop waiting for the winning lottery ticket, and just make your own luck. And if that turns out to not be what you want to do (which it might), do something else. It’s that simple, and it’s that hard. But personally? I don’t think there’s anything more exciting or invigorating or rewarding than holding the reins of your own pursuit of happiness.

And on that note, I think I will now start a new job on Monday and continue to do what I want to do with my life. I hope you all do the same.

Your favorite californian (or at least one of them. Let’s be real, there are a lot of hotties here),

M