If You Give a Girl A Flower…

In my mother’s day, the flowers a boy would send you would become keepsakes…

A pile of flaky dust fell from the pages of my mother’s 1961 college student handbook and course listing as she pulled it from the shelf.

“What the hell is that!?” she cried. “I just vacuumed. Goddammit.”

“It looks like flower petals.”

She examined the bits more closely before brushing them into the dust pan and determined that they were, in fact, the fragments of a carnation.

“One day, when we were first dating, your father pulled off the side of the road on his way to pick me up and bought me a bouquet of carnations. I hate carnations. But they were such happy little things and I was thrilled. So I tried pressing them. We did things like that in those days. Pressed the flowers a boy gave us so we could have it as a keepsake if we ever got married. Of course, most of them turned out to be bastards. The boys, not the flowers. But I always did a shit job, totally mangled them, and usually forgot what book I used.”

“Case in point.”

When it comes to women, a well-picked bouquet from a fella goes a long way.

Which is why on Wednesday, along with my sneakers, a cluster of sunset-hued roses wrapped in damp paper towels and the cellophane from my 3AM room service order passed through the x-ray scanner at LAX.

An elegant birthday bouquet from a class act kind of guy.

My birthday had been only a few days earlier and these roses had been the feature of a bouquet that greeted me on that July 1st morning. Despite the resort’s legendary service, the elegant arrangement, I would soon learn, was not courtesy of my 5-diamond resort, which had also sent a cake. Even better – the flowers were from my new flame.

5-diamond concierge fail.

New flame home run.

The SoCal sunshine may have mellowed the east coast gallerist, but the roses from the boy who set my heart a flutter with just a glance put an indelible smile on my face for the duration of my “birthday week.”

“Did you go to a wedding while you were out here?” my flight attendant asked when she saw me wedging the roses gingerly into the seat pocket in front of me.

“No. They were a birthday gift.”

“From a beau?”

I nodded with a blush.

“Looks like he’s a keeper to me. Those are stunning.”

Thousands of miles and several changes in cabin pressure later, the roses looked a little worse for wear. Despite the suggestion, I elected not to press them. Much like my mother, home crafts and remembering where I put things are not my forte. I think for now, I’ll leave the act of preserving memories to my Canon… and a moleskin notebook.

… too elegant to leave to the cleaning staff, I valiantly tried to carry the roses cross county, neatly tucked into the seat pocket in front of me. Call it sentimental, call it futile, I call it a noble “thank you.”

They Warned Me I’d Find Love, the Summer 2011 Edition

The mating rituals of Banana Slugs give new meaning to the term "cock-blocking"

The Ariolimax columbianus, more commonly known as the Banana Slug, is ubiquitous in the rainforests of the Pacific Northwest. The Banana Slug is a hermaphrodite. When mating time rolls around, Banana Slugs engage in an act called “penis jousting.” Somehow, the slugs fight until one slug’s penis gets knocked off. The winner gets to be “the man.” The loser has to carry the eggs.

“Banana Slug mating rituals sound a lot like a Friday night in a Manhattan bar,” I told my guide as we sloshed through the green squishy stuff that covers the floor of the rainforest on Meares Island, a small island off the coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

Cock-blocking had suddenly taken on a new, more serious meaning.

My guide chuckled and, lost in the mental comparison I was drawing between slug life on Vancouver Island and the NYC dating scene, I slipped on a cedar plank.

Whoosh, slap, squish, thud <– Those are the sounds an eco-tourist makes as she falls in the forest.

There's a lot of green squooshy stuff in the rainforest. Where's my mountain man to help me up when I fall?

Down the trail, a fiance hoisted his fallen fiancee back to her feet —  another victim of the squooshy green stuff — while I flopped around, clumsily trying to make it onto all fours without eating anymore lichen in the process.

Where was my mountain man in shining plaid when I needed him?

A few days earlier, I arrived in the great Canadian City of Vancouver ready for 10 days in the woods, away from work, domestic duties, and dating in the city. Or so I thought.

As soon as my rental car drove across Vancouver’s city limits, my phone started beeping relentlessly. The little blue light that illuminates whenever I have an OkCupid message was flashing like a lighthouse beacon in a hurricane. When they warned me I’d find love on this Canadian adventure, they weren’t kidding.

Hello, Mr. Vancouver. I knew I had a lot to look forward to on this vacation...

Warning! New matches ahead! Warning! New messages!

I opened the alerts icon in disbelief. I had been in Vancouver not more than 30 minutes, and already my inbox was overflowing.  There were notable similarities between the Vancouver men and the Brooklyn men OKCupid frequently found for me (why are they always in Brooklyn?!) — beards and plaid, in all their incarnations, were the standard uniform and a commitment to “sustainable living” was high on lists of interest. That’s where the similarities ended.

Good-bye hipster. Hello mountain man.

Good-bye bike-riding, semi-unemployed, struggling artist. Hello banker-turned-kayak-instructor who plays in two hockey leagues, sails on weekend and skis in the winter.

I knew I had a lot to look forward to on this vacation. And apparently, it wasn’t just the sea-kayaking.

If My Blog Had Theme Song…

If They Told Me to Find a Rich Husband had a theme song it would be Sara Bereilles’ “Fairytale.”

Skeptical Princesses passing over not-so-enchanted Prince Charmings is not the only commonality between my blog (my life?) and the tune. Bereilles has written a song that is frisky and subversive as well as catchy and marketable — qualities I’m hoping to cultivate  here in blogland.

But it’s a disenchanted Sleeping Beauty that interests me at present…

When that psychic told me I was going to meet my soulmate within the next 6 weeks, she also told me not to worry, I wouldn’t have to do anything, Mr. Soulmate would come to me. If I just went about my day-to-day, he’d find me. If I just sat very still in my life, he’d come rescue me. If I pulled a Snow White or a Sleeping Beauty, he’d swagger up on his white horse, tear away the glass ceiling, and wake me from my romanticized slumber. This forecast appealed to my inner-12-year-old-Disney-fan.

The “sit still, don’t move, play dead” advice seemed vaguely familiar. Where had I heard it before? Was is from my friend who told me that the moment he stopped looking for love was the moment he found it? No… no, that wasn’t the conversation that came to mind. Was it the “don’t chase after him, he’ll chase after you” conclusion that punctuated each chapter of “He’s Just Not That into You?” No, it wasn’t that either.

Ah, yes! I remember! As my psychic prescribed a more passive approach to the future of my love life (“You don’t need eHarmony!”), I recalled a discussion I had with a strapping National Park Ranger… “sit still and play dead,” he said…he was instructing me on how to survive a Grizzly Bear attack.

Apparently, playing dead attracts Prince Charming and can save you from the jowls of an angry grizzly bear. It’s a surprisingly versatile tactic.

I’ll remember that when I go out tonight… and the next time I find myself lost in an enchanted forest.

Playing Dead attracts Prince Charmings but wards off hungry grizzly bears.