Boss Up with Bevin Your dream life is at the end of your comfort zone

2009-03-20

Metaphor of the Month: Eggs and Baskets

As I said in a previous post, Spunky and I can weave a metaphor like you wouldn’t believe.

Our Metaphor of the Month is an old one. Wikipedia even calls it a cliche. Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. It’s really good dating advice and especially so for girls like me and Spunky who are prone to Big Crushes.

Rewind back about 7 years ago. I was in the second year of my juris doctor and she was a teacher in a small, rural town in the northern Midwest. She got this enormous, all-encompassing crush on this pig farmer. Seriously. When she called me to give me her initial run down on the guy I screamed “I can’t believe he’s a PIG farmer. Didn’t you read Charlotte’s Web?”

Considering she eventually moved back to California, obviously things didn’t work out with the Farmer. The short version is that they dated for about half a minute, every few months she’d get him to go out with her or make out with her on a couch and then he would disappear for a long time and not return any of her phone calls or texts.

Spunky very firmly had all of her eggs in the Farmer’s basket. Every time he would tell her “Don’t keep any of your eggs in this basket. Here have this back. No really, here.” She never actually believed she should get the eggs back. The slightest glimmer of interest inspired a new round of “How can I get him to keep my eggs this time?”

This is a photo of Spunky I took at his farm when I went to visit her over Thanksgiving. It was about six months after they had dated, when she was still chasing after him. About six more months and he would leave her eggs in a parking lot along the side of the interstate when he told her something along the lines of “Why don’t you get it, no really, I don’t want to go out with you.”


We’re the kind of friends who drive past the houses of our crushes. Or, you know, sneak into their tractor garage and take holiday card photos.

Spunky isn’t the only one who has had to learn the eggs in a basket lesson the hard way. At the same time she was scampering after The Farmer through dive bars, I was dating the first in a series of girls named Jen. (They were all from different states, which helped my friends keep them straight.) She lived across the country and we began our lovely tryst the day she turned 30 in the bathroom at Henrietta Hudsons*.

We spent hours on the phone together, had romantic weekend dates once a month (which is a lot for two people in an expensive graduate program). At 23 I didn’t know any better than to give her all of my eggs–even though she was adamant that we weren’t “girlfriends” and I should be dating other people.

Eventually things ended with her saying that the distance or the age difference could have worked, but not both. I also realized eventually that she was already dating her new girlfriend when she broke things off.

The Farmer and Jen from the West Coast could have been far less devastating for 23 year old Spunky and Bevin if we had learned the delicate process of Graduated Egg Distribution.

When, at 29 and pretty fresh from a break-up, I wrote my brass ring personal ad, it was with the intent to make a contract with myself. I was going to give my eggs away slowly, and only upon being shown those qualities I list in a potential partner and experience what I wanted to see in a potential relationship. Until then, I do everything in my power to keep the investment super light.

It is also important to carefully evaluate how sturdy the basket is that you are depositing those eggs into. On my recent visit to California, Spunky was in the bizarre position of needing to break things off with someone in an email. I helped to draft it, laying out specifically where things went wrong and what he had done. They had four dates, and though an email break up is totally a violation of protocol**, he was exhibiting enough creepy/bizarre behavior that not being in his vicinity was a safety concern for her.

The problem with this guy was that he kept insisting that Spunky take all of his eggs, despite her basket having holes in it. She would say “No, we need to take things slower, it is important to me to lay a solid foundation of friendship, I have a lot of trust issues with men who come on too strong” and he would just toss his eggs right in there and keep barreling past her boundaries.

It’s very funny, I think about who she and I used to be and re-read that email we sent him, and it so easily could have been the Farmer or Jen from the West Coast sending it to us. But having been through enough heartbreaks between us (my fiance taking my entire collection of eggs and throwing them against a wall, her ex taking each of her eggs and scrambling them so she doubted her own self-worth and self-reliance) we know better now.

Sure, we still get excited about people. Sometimes I might give away as many as 3 eggs at a time to someone who meets enough criteria because having a good old-fashioned crush is just plain fun. But I know that right now in my Baker’s Dozen*** of eggs, I’m still holding delicately firm to at least 9 of them.

Of course, I don’t think Spunky and I shouldn’t have given our eggs to The Farmer or Jen from the West Coast–they were really important learning experiences for us. The most important lesson was that, in the long run, the person that is going to love me the best and the most is myself. While I know I’ll get engaged at some point again, I won’t be promising all of my eggs to my betrothed. A significant portion, but I’ll still keep a couple to remind me that my commitment to myself makes me strong enough to love and care for everyone else.

*A NYC lesbo bar that is so for tourists I have actually only been to once since I moved to New York 5 years ago.
**I have a future post and a future episode of FemmeCast lined up to talk about how to break up with someone properly.
***I am a fat girl, after all.

All this talk of eggs and I had to include a picture of Macy in a chicken sweater I knitted for her myself.

2009-02-18

Keeping the Crazy Between Us since 1998

Spunky is my best straight friend. We’ve known each other since we were counselors together at Scout camp at the tender age of 19 and have watched one another grow up. I remember when we thought 30 was old. And when we both marched together into 30 still unmarried (contrary to many of our well-laid out plans), we embraced it together.


This is us at my mom’s gay wedding in October. We were celebrating our 10 year friendaversary.

The best way to describe Spunky is that she and I are like sisters. We are so similar in so many ways emotionally, but we’re put together completely differently. She’s a cheerleader looking choir geek, while I’m a flamboyant fat femme life of the party. She’s totally straight and I’m… queer. She had to wrap her head around transmen when I started dating them. I remember once she said “Can’t you just have a gender neutral pronoun so I don’t fuck up when I talk about who you’re dating?” I explained, actually, that the queers already have that stuff, it’s just sorta fumbly sometimes.

She and I are both in the throws of new dating situations right now. I thought I would highlight two good experiences she’s had, which is fairly unusual considering how bad first dates can go. One guy met her on a set-up group date and emailed her right when he got home. He said, “I didn’t want you to be wondering if I liked you; I wanted you to know right away I wanted to date you.”

Dating him reminded her she was a rockstar, but also reminded her how important her space and solitude is to her. Sometimes people don’t get that to an independent woman being alone does not equate to “lonely”.

In some ways that was totally awesome because her last relationship left her with a deep cavern of endless conjecture and he broke up with her in a car on the way home from the airport. It’s nice to not have the guessing games, but at the same time there’s a level of being realistic about how fast things should be moving.

She broke things off after four weeks because it wasn’t going to work. Now there’s a new guy she’s had some correspondence with (introduced by a friend who knew them both to love Jesus and beer) and instead of bringing flowers on their first date he gave her an envelope. On it was a stick figure boy giving flowers to a stick figure girl. Inside was a card that said that instead of buying her flowers, he gave money to her college alumni association in her name. Anyone who pays any attention to Spunky knows this is the perfect thing to do for her. He wins points for years.

In addition to being involved with one anothers’ personal growth (which has been leagues in 10 years because we’re too interesting to be static) we’re also the kind of friends who can pore over the details of every relationship with one another. We emote identically–so when I don’t know how to react to something because I’m all clouded with But I like her so much and I’m so attracted to her she will totally turn the mirror on me and say, “Look, the way she’s acting is not the way you act when you want someone to stick around. You’re worth more than that.”

We’re also the kind of friends who can say “I’m not ready for that advice right now! Right now we’re canoeing up the river DeNile and you’re bringing the Girl Scout Cookies!!”

Spunky and I can spin a metaphor for hours and like to use a lot of great catch phrases, like “Romantic comedies–part of the problem, part of the solution.” This came into sharp relief for me this week when I saw He’s just not that into you.*

I don’t know what it is about who I am attracted to, but I often find myself dating people I don’t understand.

Dating people you don’t understand can involve long, drawn out conversations with your besties along the lines of “What did she mean when she said this?” “What does it mean when he does that?”

When I’m not dating someone, this is easy, I will totally straight up ask someone, What’s the deal? Or, really it doesn’t matter because I’m not trying to get in their pants and it’s not that deep. But when my feelings are involved, it is that deep. I want to know I’m doing what I can to not fuck it up.

He’s just not that into you could have been a really crappy movie. All star cast, romantic comedy, based on a Sex and the City book. Easily could have been shitty and people still would have seen it. I was surprised when I heard it was great. And it was! It was hysterical, moving and made me so glad I didn’t see it with a date. I don’t want them to know the level of analysis my besties play in my romantic dealings. There’s a scene where one girl says to another girl, “OMG he likes you! Let’s go online and plan your destination wedding!!” An extreme example, but seriously.

Spunky and I like to call this “Keeping the crazy between us.” Because we can be crazy, and say all the overanalytical stuff to one another and then go back to our love interests and be completely cool and normal. So the fact that we keep the crazy between us… and now everyone who watches that movie was a little intense.

I called her right after the film let out to tell her to go see it. That night when we caught up not only had she seen it, she intended to get it on DVD for future reference material. And she had harsh advice for me. It wasn’t what I wanted to hear, but at the same time, Spunky has been in my life for over a decade and knows when I’m making excuses for people. I know what I’m worth and sometimes I need a little nudging to stand up for it.

Anyway, it remains to be seen what will happen with my love life. But for now, Spunky and I invite you to share in the crazy and go watch He’s Just Not That Into You, but see it with a friend who understands.

*Tara and I saw it together, and because of the deep personal relevance I was feeling we spent most of the time holding hands and we had to cuddle afterwards.

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