CVS Psychic

Hair dye, nail polish, crazy glue, birthday card and gum. I repeat these words over and over in my head like a song. Don’t want to forget anything. Without a list, I know I’ll wind up with a basket full of makeup I don’t need, along with random things like tiny stuffed teddy bears and jellybeans. Stick to the list. Focus.

Standing in the nail polish aisle, comparing two very similar colors, I host an internal debate regarding the difference between them, one too pale, the other too grey and corpse-like. I go back and forth, finally settling on the least expensive tiny bottle in a shade between the two.

It’s at that moment that I feel her stare. Looking up from the nail polish rack, I see a petite woman, with sharp darting eyes standing in front of me. Wearing a black wool coat, purple handbag on arm, she’s a throwback to 1968. Her dyed matte black hair is perfectly coifed into a modest bouffant. She wears a red faded lipstick. Cautiously stepping closer, she let’s me know that she’s a psychic. She tells me that I have a very strong aura. I think, oh no, here we go….the psychic scam. Been there, done that. However, I am curious as to what message she might have for me.

She tells me that there is someone I have unfinished business with, and that I need to let it go. I do a quick scan over the past and, of course, there’s a lot of unfinished business back there, but I can’t think of anything that critical. I nod and tell her I’m good, I think I’ve resolved those things. She continues to stare. Then she pauses to pick up a lipstick. Holding it up, she tells me, in a heavy Brooklyn accent, how these long wearing lipsticks always make her lips dry. I let her know I’m a makeup artist, and I offer some suggestions. She tells me I have a very creative aura.

I thank her, turning to head down the aisle, making my stealthy escape. Around the corner I pause, momentarily distracted by a row of mascaras. I feel it again, she’s in front of me now. She tells me I am going to need to make a decision very soon. In my head, I’m thinking, yeah, we all make decisions every day. Case in point,  I can’t even decide which nail color to buy. But, she emphasizes that I need to make the best decision for myself, and not to let others influence that choice. I thank her for the advice, and I carry on towards the hair dye section.

As I wait in line for the register, I realize it’s saturday night, and I’m in a CVS in Burbank. I feel a wave of self-pity sweep over me. Let it go, I tell myself, let it go. You’re free. You don’t have to answer to anyone. You can stay in this store all night if you want. Self-doubt creeps in. Insecurity takes over. The psychic’s comments float through my mind. “Need to let go of something, creative aura, make a decision.” Maybe I ought to heed her advice. As I make my way across the lonely parking lot, carrying the plastic bag with my hair dye, nail polish, crazy glue, birthday card and gum, I know that I do need to let go of some things from the past, and it is time to make some serious decisions regarding my future. I embrace my creative spirit, and quietly thank the CVS psychic for her advice.

Flat Stanley

When she described him as a “Flat Stanley”, she referred to him as a cardboard cutout kind of a guy. Two dimensional, and quite predictable. Basically an unequivocal bore. Which, actually does fit within the Urban Dictionary definition. Flat StanleyOne who lacks size in the boob/butt region, and therefore appears paper-thin from a side view. (Definition according the Urban Dictionary.)

He had definitely sounded a lot better “on paper”. Kelly had met him through a “selective” online dating site. On his profile, Peter was, of course, more handsome, a bit taller, with more hair on his head. Apparently the photo was outdated by at least 10 years. He was an accomplished Hollywood cinematographer, and was finally ready to develop a serious relationship. It was time, he said. He was 55.

Kelly, a divorced mother of two, still had the romantic desire to find her, as she naively called it, “happily ever after”. She was enamored by the fact that he worked in the film industry, and especially because he was so well established. Her ex-husband had turned out to have severe mental problems, and by the time they divorced, Carl was unable to work and spent most of his time self-medicated with beer, staring at the tv. Her children had long gone off to college. Finally, she was ready to start a new life for herself alongside the ideal mate.

Peter came off as a take action type. The first date was dinner, and yes, he talked a lot about himself, but she didn’t mind, since nerves could sometimes cause a man to yammer on and on. She committed to giving him a chance. He was quite predictable, with the cordial texts, the dates set weekly. Dinner, and, sometimes a movie.

Kelly appreciated this stability, it felt refreshing after her tumultuous marriage. Peter seemed to have it all together. The only problem was that he hadn’t yet kissed her. After 5 dates, not even a goodnight kiss. She was flirtatious, and made it obvious that she was attracted to him. Nothing. A hug good night, and a brief kiss on the cheek. She started to question herself and wonder. But, he kept calling and inviting her on dates. Date number 7 arrived and she thought this might be the lucky number. Nope. Finally, she decided to text him a message to ask him about it. It was too awkward to ask in person. She simply wrote “We’ve been dating for weeks now, and not even a first kiss. I need to know where you want this to go?” He responded a few hours later with a note saying that he just wasn’t ready. He thought he was, but he wasn’t ready for a relationship yet. She reminded him that she was looking for something too serious, but he suggested it best that they part ways.

Kelly was pretty broken up about this. She had really had her hopes up, and she was more in love with the idea of who Peter might be, than who he truly was as an individual. Her ego took a blow and she was down for the count.

The following weekend a friend came by for a glass of wine. She brought another friend, Chantelle. Chantelle was the complete opposite of Kelly. About the same age, but never married. Chantelle was always the life of the party. She was a single dance teacher who really wished to find “the one” and settle down. She too had ventured online dating for some time now, with no luck. She jokingly called herself a “professional dater”. She was definitely well-versed in the world of online relationships. She would go on a date with any Tom, Dick or Harry, just to get a meal. Hey, sometimes it’s the only way a girls gonna eat, as she liked to say.

The three women sat on the back balcony, enjoying the evening air, and some cheap wine. A few glasses in, Kelly shared her story about Peter. As she described him, Chantelle’s smiling eyes and lilting laugh abruptly shifted. Her expression became perplexed. She placed her wine glass on little table, and took a deep breath. She interrupted to ask a few more details about his work and where he lived.

Then Chantelle sighed, and said….“Yup”, she said, “I dated that guy. For 6 months.” Kelly’s jaw dropped. It was pretty awkward.

She paused for a moment, going on to say “But, it was well over 5 years ago. He was pretty boring. All he wanted to do was come over to my place and have sex. It was nothing spectacular either. He was a “one-trick pony”, Chantelle said, rolling her eyes. Apparently, she too had wanted to find something long term, and initially, Peter had told her the same story, that he was finally “ready”. He had just turned 50 at that time. After 6 months of the same thing over and over, she realized that this was as far as it would ever go, and she needed to cut her losses and move on.

Kelly was crushed! How could this be? With her not even a kiss. Again, her ego was taking a beating. She didn’t want to know, but she asked anyway. “How was the sex?” Chantelle laughed throwing her head back, long hair flipping around. Then composed herself, looking straight at Kelly and told her it was exactly the same every time. In fact, she could barely remember it. It was just that dull.

Kelly wondered aloud amongst her friends, why hadn’t he tried to even kiss her? What did he want? They speculated various scenarios and wondered aloud why this man would date her for that long without even a kiss, while with the other girl it was only sex and nothing else. The final conclusion came down to the fact that Peter was simply put a “Flat Stanley”. Not that complicated, just a  two dimensional guy, without much substance. Once Kelly removed her ego from the equation, she was able to laugh at the entire situation and she realized that she had definitely dodged a bullet this time.

 

 

 

From Romania with Love

I’ve often heard it said that you should always go after what you want, rather than accepting whatever falls into your path. This applies to lifelong passions, studies, the perfect job, and of course, above all, the ideal mate. Or should I say the pursuit of the perfect relationship. Relationships ranging from basic companionship, to the simply sexual. Of course, there are the not-so-simply sexual as well. Then, of course, those involving long term love affairs, and of course marriage. Whatever the relationship desired, it is preferable to seek out what you want, instead of accepting what comes your way, or falls in your lap, so to speak.

My friend Viva is always driving around town in a rush. She’s a beautiful, creative and athletic woman, who runs her own very successful business as a jewelry designer. Most weekdays, you will find her up early to get the kids off to school, followed by a hike or surfing, then back at home working away in her studio, between various errands and business meetings. She never sits still. Of course with this lifestyle, in Los Angeles, she is constantly in and out of her car. LA, being what it is, involves cars. Lots of cars. Cars full of all sorts of people. My friend, being very vivacious and gorgeous, attracts a lot of attention. Men are constantly trying to pull her over to get her their digits. Oh, and did I mention, Viva is super friendly. Too friendly I think. Anyhow, one day, she was in the bank. She was doing a transaction with the private teller. She felt his stare. You know the type of stare. Heavy and intense. The kind of stare that wills you to look their way.

Sensing the pressure of his gaze, she glanced over, and saw a striking blonde, tall athletic looking young man. Well-dressed, and definitely European. He flashed his pearly whites, and she was intrigued. But, being that she was in her gym clothes and a rush, she left the bank without looking back. When she turned the corner to the parking lot, there he was, with his confident smile. He said hello with an accent, and she was hooked. Conveniently, he was parked right next to her Range Rover, in a brand new, immaculate white Mercedes. Red flag #1. If it seems to perfect to be true, it probably is.

Of course he got her number.

The first text arrived within the hour. He asked her to meet him for breakfast the next day, followed by a rose emoji. She said she could meet after her morning run, but just for a quick coffee. But of course, that was no problem, since he had soccer practice that morning as well. How convenient.

She showed up in her “lady of the valley” attire, gym shorts and flip-flops. But, Viva’s one of those women who can make anything look sexy, and with her bronze complexion, she always looks extra radiant after a workout, never red and blotchy. As she entered the café, there he was seated in the corner at a table with a coffee. He flashed that Cheshire cat smile in her direction and she was hypnotized as she headed towards the table. On her placemat was placed a single red rose. It was almost too perfect. She smiled and thanked him, as she sat down.

They chatted, and he told her he was from Roumania, a former pro soccer player, now coaching soccer here in LA. He looked young to have retired, but soccer is a young sport anyway, so she bought it. The bill came, and of course he pulled out a Louis Vuitton wallet, cracking it open just enough to give her a peak at a stack of bills. He swiftly flipped out a 50 to throw on the check tray. She glanced away, not wanting to reveal that she had noticed. She was no gold digger. In fact, she was quite secure financially.

He continued to be the perfect gentleman, opening the door, walking her to her car, offering her a hand and a hug. She got into her car and rolled down the window. He told her he would see her soon , staring into her eyes, while touching her cheek gently with the back of his fingers. Such a charmer.

She was walking on air. It was very flattering to be wooed by such a gorgeous young athlete. He seemed to have it all, looks, intelligence, charm, and money. What harm could come of spending some time with him.

He texted within the hour. Like clockwork. Would she be free this week because he really enjoyed her company, and he couldn’t wait to see her again. She said yes. She would be working at her studio all week, and he was welcome to stop by. He would be there tomorrow morning, he said. She texted the address. Oh, did I mention that her studio is in her home? Yeah.

The doorbell rang. She checked her hair in the mirror before she ran down the stairs to get the door. She felt her heart beat a little bit faster than it should. There he stood. Dressed casually, but obviously wearing expensive clothing. He smiled and his blue eyes sparkled with promise as he offered her a bottle of wine as a gift. She invited him in, and he sauntered into the house as though he had been there before. He flopped down on her sofa. Red flag #2. If a guy (or girl) seems too comfortable on the first visit to your place, it probably means he or she does this kind of thing frequently. Just saying.

He suggested she open the wine since they both had the day free. She went into the kitchen and when she came out with two glasses, he had his perfect bare feet up on the ottoman, and was leaning deep into her sofa. He asked her to come sit next to him. She couldn’t resist. He gave her a sip of wine from his glass. She was all in now. They laughed and talked about Europe, since she had spent time there as a girl. Conversation was light and easy. He kept refilling her glass. He stroked her arm gently and pulled on her hand….asked her to show him the rest of the house. They went upstairs.

Once in her bedroom, they fell onto her giant bed and she knew there was no turning back now. He was so confident, and sensual. His athletic prowess was a perfect match for hers. It was intense and physical, so much so that they both passed out after.

A while later, as they laid in bed, he was sprawled out like he owned the place and she was cuddled up on his athletic chest. His phone was vibrating, but he ignored it. Suddenly, he checked the time and jumped up like there was a fire. He told her he was late for an appointment, and he went to her bathroom where she heard the shower running. He came out looking perfect again and kissed her on the forehead as he was on his way out. He told her he would text later on.

He didn’t text that evening. She waited, but really that had just met, so she didn’t feel any concern. He had a life, and he would call. Obviously, he was into her.

The next morning she got another text. He wanted to come by again. She told him she needed to check her schedule, but she definitely wanted to spend time with him again.

25 minutes later, there was a knock on her front door. Yes, he just showed up. Unannounced. Need I say, red flag #3?! Normally, she would be upset, but she really wanted to see him again, and she was still reeling from the hot sex. One could say her judgment was somewhat clouded. So, she welcomed him in. Again, he walked in like he owned the place, this time heading straight to the kitchen where he opened the fridge. She followed him and offered to make him some brunch. After eating French toast and having some champagne, he was ready for desert and they headed up to her room. She was dizzy with infatuation. His scent lingered on her sheets, in her hair and on her skin. He lounged around in her bed for a bit afterward, his tousled locks and sculpted glistening body gleaming like an adonis. Again the phone continued to vibrate intermittently. This time it was texts he was ignoring. At a certain point he grabbed the phone, went into the bathroom and she heard the shower turn on. She also heard him speaking in his native tongue, in an angry hushed tone. He emerged looking fresh and clean, and again kissed her softly, this time on the lips, and told her he would see her soon. But probably not until the next week, since some important work had come up. His soccer coaching was about to start up for the season.

The days passed and no text, no calls from him. She continued with her life and business. Halloween arrived, and after a few drinks that night, while giving out candy to neighborhood kids, she picked up her phone and texted him. She simply sent a message saying “Happy Halloween. Miss you xoxo”.

Ten minutes later, her phone rang. A female voice with a heavy accent asked her why she was texting this number?  Viva was so shocked, she didn’t respond at first. Again, the woman asked her, “why are you texting my boyfriend?”. Uh-Oh. Didn’t I tell you, when it seems to good to be true…go back and take note…red flag #1, red flag #2, and red flag #3?…

Yup. This woman wanted an explanation. My friend, being a very honest and direct type of person, told her the truth. Oh, I think she left out the sex part. I mean, she told her they got intimate, but I don’t think any details were given.

Turns out he was living with the woman for years. And, yes, that immaculate white Mercedes? Of course it was hers, not his. Those nice clothes he wore, she bought them. Now the picture is getting clearer, isn’t it?

The woman was livid, of course. She called back again, this time she told my friend, she wasn’t mad at her, in fact she was glad she found out the truth. She told her in a controlled, robotic voice that if she wanted the guy, he would now be available, since she was throwing him out the next morning. But, he would be homeless, and carless. Not sure about his wardrobe.

In any case, the point of this story is sort of a cautionary tale to all the single ladies out there. When you see a red flag, take note. Never let a pretty face mesmerize you into overlooking the obvious. Be careful of those seductive foreign accents. Watch out for guys who seem to comfortable too quick. Like they’ve been in your place before. This is because they have. Well, not your place, but you know what I mean.

My friend, well, she let it go, and actually laughed a lot about it with her friends. It could have turned out far worse. I mean, this is the perfect set up for a crime of passion, but fortunately, the player’s girl was onto his tricks and she just needed the last piece of evidence to kick him to the curb. Good riddance.

The funniest part is that this guy still texts my friend. Even though she has moved into a serious long-term relationship with a real man, and she has told him this. He’s just one of those guys. There are plenty. Consider yourself informed and warned.