Coffee Crime

When it comes to being an attentive hostess, I’ve never been the most talented of household-goddesses. My idea of being a good host mainly hinges on the presence of a LOT of everything in the house. The service doesn’t really come included.

So if you end up on my couch – you best get comfortable enough to dive into my fridge and cupboards asap, at a risk of otherwise becoming parched or hungry. Mi casa es su casa as soon as you pass the treshold. Everything is there, I’m just not that great at actually getting it to ya. Sawwy.

So this weekend I had guests. Two of them! Actual living breathing human guests!
So. Much. Yay!
(You know lockdown is in full swing when even the introverts start jumping at the chance of meeting up with folk).
And one of these guests always is very confronting for my ‘I have everything!’ persona in hostess-land. Because this fella drinks coffee. Something that I don’t. So I don’t have a coffeemaker. I had seven sorts of drinks. Three different types of beer. ALL of the snacks…but obviously no coffee. Yikes!

This – throughout my life – has always been treated as a humongous crime. Even if you’re not a coffee-drinker…society somehow still EXPECTS you to be able to provide guests with coffee if they so please. It’s a MUST. No negotiations! Which I never understood. Honestly. Sure, if someone offers ya coffee, go for it. If you ask for coffee and they don’t have it in the house, how is it that that always ends up like I told them I don’t actually breathe oxygen either?

‘No coffee? Really? Oh…ehh….then I’ll have….xxx….
I don’t know anyone without a coffeemaker. That’s so….’

But hey. I don’t play soccer. So there’s no soccer-ball in my yard (even though that’s a staple in many households). I don’t like loofahs, so there’s none in my house even though I have a tub that I practically live in. I don’t have a rice-cooker because I barely cook rice, and if I do, it’s no trouble to just boil the water anyway. So WHY would not having the apparatus’ for making beverages I don’t myself consume be a strange thing?

Now – this particular guest is the fucking awesome variety – so he brought his own espresso (can you imagine being this addicted to a drink? :O). Fucking lovely!
But since I have another guest coming over later today (damn, I’m not really doing too well on the isolation thing this week) I am already slightly pondering the ‘what if’ of him wanting coffee. Dammit.

Maybe I SHOULD get one of them cupclickcoffeethings. Just for those ‘rare’ occassions.
Wait. Some of them also make hot cocoa right? This might be a smart move indeed.

In short!

It’s official. I’m turning into one of those porch hag old bitter ladies. You know the type, sitting in their rocker, looking out over their tiny front yard and angrily shaking their fist at the youngsters passing by al raucously, skirting too close to her gardenias.

Now, with my talent for killing flowers I obviously won’t have gardenias, but I’m starting to really get the hang of the excessively angry bitterness for no apparent reason. I should get to work on a quilt to put over my old rickety legs. But I can’t sow either. Dammit.

Him:Hey Z.!

Right there. Right then. Instantly done. Two words. Or well. One word or a letter was all it took for him to instantly get discarded to the bin of ‘nopes!’

I mean, I gettit. I really do. We all stem from the era of Madonna being shortened to Madge. Rihanna turning into Ri-ri. J-Lo. X-tina. And JB really turned us around. We’ve lived in the worlds of Brangelina, Tomkat, Kimye and the likes. Messing with names just for convenience and parlor tricks is a thing. Apparently. And though I’ve definitely been guilty of using shorts every now and then – you don’t know what it’s like to see my name reduced to one single letter.

My entire life has been lived in a world who conveniently slash out most of my name already. Which is fine, seeing as being called ‘Zoë-Amber’ takes me straight back to a childhood where full-name-use instantly indicated ‘I’m in TROUBLE!’. People calling me Zoë is my preferred tag (although I respond equally well to my gamertag Linqy, or Amber, or any other variation of the two).

But in the end -> my name is Zoë-Amber. And even though I spent a large part of my childhood cursing the ‘specialness’, these days I appreciate it all the more. It’s much easier to be remembered if you’re not one of the three (or four) letterclub. Suck it Anna. Max. Kim. Tara. Suck it!

So when you have the audacity to swipe me right on Tinder and then butcher my name to a single Z. without even knowing anything about me? You’re out. I’ll mourn the loss with a glass of extra bitter lemonade on my porch, an old and very single young lady, shaking my fist at the single-letter-couples out there.

Rant over.

Whole

I just want to feel something again
Done with broken
Numb
And sad.
 
I just want to be myself again
Done with mourning,
What
I had.
 
I just want to love someone again
Done with lonely,
Going
Mad.
 
I just want to know myself again
Done with excuses,
Feeling
Bad.
 
I just want to
Want to
Need to
Be just whole again.
 
But I don’t know if I can.

‘Real’.

Sometimes I have these days where I feel a bit disconnected from the world around me. I don’t know if disconnected is the right word to use, because it’s not really what I mean exactly.

They’re days where I feel a little fuzzy. Not the fluffy kind – but the grey-snow-on-the-tv kind of way. Scrambled. Unsteady. Not entirely solid, in a way. Incomplete.

They’re autopilot days, where you feel yourself moving through the dreg of the day as if you were an NPC in a fantasy game, just wandering about aimlessly because that’s all you’re programmed to do. Not really in the capacity of focusing your thoughts and efforts on a single action or being productive in any meaningful way. All you do for a while is just exist. Because that’s all there is to do.

These days feel a little bit ghostlike – like I’m not entirely present in the ‘real’ world – standing on the outside looking in. A mere entity existing on the borders – passing over to a different realm but not yet completely understanding of the implications. Separate from the world, even though I’m still in it.

And while all of these descriptions don’t really reflect how it actually feels, and though they somehow read as being a ‘negative’ feeling – that’s not what I mean to say at all. Days like these don’t really have a value on the good or bad scale for me either. They’re just ‘there’. Like I am.

However – lately I’ve been trying to figure out the how and why behind the days like these. Trying to discover what causes them, what effect they have on me as a person and, most importantly, how to ‘step back’ into a ‘normal’ day. I’ve not yet found the secret, and I can’t say I really have a grip on the causes – but as for fixing it? That I did.

Turns out that the solution is very simple.

Pressing two fingertips to the inside of my wrist, placing them over the artery dutifully pumping blood through my veins – brings me right back to myself. There’s something very grounding to the steady throb and the heat emitted from that particular spot on the skin for me. It pulls me back into myself, makes me more aware of the body I’m in and helps in focusing myself back into ‘the real world’. It helps me feel ‘solid’ again.

I’ve never been a fan of meditation, or awareness or all of the other floaty concepts designed to make our inner beings connect to our outward persona’s. But this? This somehow works for me. When I feel like I’m losing touch with the world – getting in touch with the driving force of mine…helps. All I need is the confirmation that my heart is still going strong, and I suddenly feel myself rush back to normal. Weird. But true.

Tinder Tales – A case of the Roy

So.
It turns out I’m a total name-ist when it comes to dating, hahaha. Or at least, when it comes to my current Tinder-swiping behaviors. When asked to describe my (physical) taste in men I usually fall back on the silly description ‘a boyish, slender, boy-next-door type, you know, Shawn Mendes-ish-y with great hair’. Too specific? Probably. Too unrealistic? Definitely. Still my taste? Yup.

Which, as it turns out, makes me a picky-as-fuck swiper. Because in my head, apparently, a ‘boy-next-door’ is also a dark-haired and pretty-as-fuck dude. And I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed or not, but we Dutch folk are often perceived as a fair-haired and blue-eyed populace (my black hair, dark eyes and soul being the exception to the rule). With a surprising amount of ginger men finding their way on the app as well (although, I suppose, that might have something to do with the recessive attractiveness of red hair, muahaha). But that kind of implies that my ‘usual’ selection is in scarce supply. What’s with all the damn blondes, yo. I can’t pull off that color 😉.

Not that I have anything to complain about in regards to matches to be fair. I’m doing well enough in my Tinder-collecting, I think. And I haven’t even been drunk-swiping, which makes this a total achievement! Since installing it on the 3rd – about 75 matches have made their way into my current app-record (not counting the douchebags who messaged and got deleted already).

The totals are now showing a very interesting conclusion: Outside of the obvious physical type – I also seem to go for a certain type of names. Aka. ‘Typical’ Dutch names. My body-count reflects this notion as well. The names on my list are pretty much similar to the below collection as well. Haha. At least I’m consistent!

So now my feed is full of Tim’s. Erik’s. Mark’s. And Rob’s. There’s a couple of Kevin’s, Niels’s and Wouter’s. Three Max’s and Michael’s. Plus (the instigator for this post) – I’m currently actively engaged in actual chats with 4 (!!!) Roy’s. Can you even imagine?

My Tinder bleeps – ‘new message from Roy’. And my brain instantly goes ‘OMG WHICH ONE?!?!?!’. Because of the four, I’m more or less enthusiastic about only 2, haha!
Not to mention: it’s fucking complex to keep track of which Roy I told what, when and how. I hate being one of those people who repeats questions or seems uninterested. Tough as balls!

The thing is – since I’ve noticed this, I’ve been paying more attention to my swiping and yup: I’m a name-ist. My attention-span when it comes to scanning a Tinder profile goes like this:
– Pictures
– Bio
– Name (when in doubt on picturesque-attractiveness, this one apparently decides)
– Interests
 
Names. Say. A. Lot. In my brain, anyway. Semi-attractive dude with an uninteresting bio named D’shawn? Swipe left. I can’t see myself dating a D’shawn. Doesn’t fit the ‘boy-next-door’ criteria. Floor? That’s a girls name, what the hell. No can do. And apparently I’m such a spelling-nazi that I literally get turned off at all those (purposely) ‘wrong’-spelled names. Gorg? Fuck you. Your name is George. Your parents need to learn how to spell. Glen? Where’s your second N mister? Maikel? Seriously? What’s wrong with Michael. Uniqueness is not always the ultimate goal, although parents obviously did not get that memo (to be fair – my own name is horrendous as well in that regard). But still. Names can be really important in the decisionmaking process, not to mention the people who can’t even bother to put down their actual name. No ‘Realman’, I’m definitely not interested.

On the whole though, this attitude to weighing matches on something as petty as a name in for determining a love-connection? Well – what does that make me? A bit a lot very much extremely totally shallow, I feel. Fitting for Tinder, I’d say. Not that I’m planning on changing that attitude anyway.

I think it’s a side-effect of my not really being in a rush, selecting on full-package-deal-possibilities instead of quick potential. Were I to actually be looking to score an instant date, names would weigh in less heavily, I’m thinking. But as it stands? I’m saying statistics are pointing to my next conquest being a Roy. Cause I’m a total name-ist.

Dancing in the rain

Yesterday I decided I could totally be one of those girls who can take her ass outside while dancing in the rain – being overjoyed with life regardless of torrential downpours.
You know the ones, they’re main characters in the romcoms and always manage to keep their hair and make-up intact regardless of the buckets of water cascading over their faces.

Probably a side-effect for absolutely binging the entire ‘Romance’ section on Netflix this past weekend. Plus – I HAVE been feeling pretty much blatantly good about life in general lately. Things are totally looking up, happiness wise (even with a sting of AUTSCH every now and then). So you know….Can’t blame a girl for trying right? I mean… every time they do it in the movies a crush shows up and completes their life (like that’s the only goal in life, right?). But I did it anyway cause I’m a maniac.

Turns out:
* When I do it – it gets REALLY cold REALLY fast. Might be because it’s January
* When 1 of the three mascaras you use is NOT waterproof….it just means that all three of them run when you get wet. You WILL look like a panda.
* When you stand out in the rain, arms spread and grinning like a maniac… people in the house behind yours with (apparently) their home office on the second floor WILL stare into your yard and laugh at you. Unapologetically so.
* When you have curly hair and make the mistake of taunting the rain: Everything. Frizzes. Extremely.
* When you try to peel off skinny jeans when you’re extremely cold – that does NOT work.
* When you lift your face to sleety icy rain – the corners of your mouth WILL split. Painfully so.

The more you know.
I should move to a tropical island. I’m assuming this works better in a monsoon.
Plus, there’s something to be said for hammocks and cocktails right now.



Missing the McNoms!

Do you know what I miss most since we’ve been in various degrees of lockdown ‘round here in the Netherlands?
It’s not human interaction. It’s not physical contact. It’s not being able to go wherever, whenever and not worry about witnessing people stir up trouble over something so simple as wearing a mask.

Nope.
I’m a simple soul. I crave simple things. And what I miss most is not something intangible or spiritual or emotional at all.
Nope.

It’s McDonalds.

I miss the taste of salty French fries and crunchy McNuggets drenched in copious amounts of sweet-and-sour sauce. Miss the wilted lettuce and buns that melt on your tongue. Miss the brainfreeze that inevitably comes with binging McFlurries and I miss the feeling of ‘OMFG I’M SO FULL’ followed by the ‘I could totally eat’ sentiment only an hour later. I have always been a fast-food addict – with MickeyD being firmly put at the top of my worship list. So yeah.

I miss McDonalds.

And that’s kind of stupid since they’re not actually closed or anything, but the closest one to my house in a 25 minute drive away and I’ve never been one of those American types that is chilling at home and then leaves the house ONLY to go get McDonalds.

Nope some more.
McDonalds is a guilty passerby pleasure for me. Something to grab on the way home from work, knowing full well there’s food in the house to make a decent dinner with. Something to binge after a softball match ‘since you burned all these calories anyway’. Somewhere to stop after a night out, or on the way back from a friends house when they numerous drinks just deserve a fatty chaser.

You don’t ‘go out’ just to get McDonalds. You just squint your eyes while on the driveway hoping for a sign that you should pull-off and put something bad in your body. An actual sign, yaknow. A huge, big, flashy M. And lucky for me – I always manage to find one before I turn towards home, when needed.

But my wallet-app now tells me that the last time I ordered at McDonalds was in September!
SEP-TEM-BER. That’s four months ago. FOUR months. The 16th of September. To be exact. Which – coincidentally is two days before my final..yaknow…winkwinknudgenudge.

Maybe someone should start some research to the effects of not-having-McDonalds on sexual appetite. The two might totally be connected. Who knows – maybe there’s humpy hormones in the excessive salt they ditch on those fries. I wouldn’t even be surprised.

No McDonalds and no sex – for almost 4 months. COVID what are you doing to me. It’s like this madness stole my two favorite things in the world away and replaced them with responsible work-behavior-since-I’m-near-the-computer-anyway and couch-potato-ing. Believe me. That’s bad. That’s just. Bad. The only potato-ness that IS acceptable is the fried variety. Not this me-being-in-stasis on my pillows.

So in order to remedy this fact – it would make sense that I’d just take the car and get this dreadful black void in my life filled with EVERYTHING on the McMenu. But I find myself unwilling to do even that – since I made the mistake of printing out my resolutions and hanging them next to my work-screen so I can ponder them as I sit here thinking of making bad decisions. Damn it.

But I’m just getting it out there. I miss McDonalds. A good reason to drive by one might appear if the universe is eavesdropping (as I already suspect it is!). And if you’re on the road – the calories don’t count. Right?

Quitting to win.

When I was younger I played a lot of tennis. A lot a lot of tennis. And I loved it, until I didn’t. But that’s not really the point of that first line.

Because I was looking back at my shiny tennis career (just kidding, I wasn’t really that great) today. Mostly because I was binging a load of extremely ‘foute’ Dutch-made romcoms (Tuintje in mijn hart, Hartenstrijd, Verliefd op Cuba – and Weg van Jou after I finish typing this) – and there was a tenniscourt in one of them. But also because tennis and life turned out to have some wisdom that could be applied to both – in my weirdly connected brain.

One of the reasons I sucked at tennis was my stubborn nature and total lack of strategic insight. Tennis is a very tactical sport in a lot of regards, and a lot more than just passing a ball back and forth on a gravel court (although granted, that is kinda key). But tennis tournaments and the competition season bring with them a lot more than just matches. Thing is: It’s not enough to tackle each match as a stand-alone entity. And I always did. That cost me important wins. And to this day – that attitude still costs me – although it’s no longer tennis matches.

Every match I played was always a clean slate. A new chance to show an opponent what I had in me. A battle in itself. And (I suppose this was a good quality, too): I was thoroughly incapable of letting any match go until it was completely over. No matter how much I was getting slaughtered – I always fought until the bitter end, trying to win my way back point by point, rally over rally.

That’s not smart.

At least. Not always.

Yes, there were matches where I managed to work my way back from a 1-5 to a tiebreaker in a set. And from being behind 0-2 in sets battle back for a victory. Those. Were. Killer.

And that’s what made me stupid.

Pouring everything of myself into every match I played was exhausting. And when you’re playing tournaments – it’s often not a tactical choice. Because not every win is necessary to make it to the finals- but saving enough strength to actual win when it’s needed is.

Oftentimes I fought so hard for matches that held little to no value, only to be too wiped to stand a chance in the ones that did. You can’t win them all. It’s so true. But I never managed to get that through my thick skull in the moments where it mattered. So I toughed it out. Gritted my teeth. Kept going even when all seemed lost and played every match to its fullest – only to be bested in the matches that followed because I had nothing left in me to give.

It’s so easy to lose sight of future battles when all you’re doing is focusing your efforts on the one your currently in. But if life is a war we’re living – it can be rewarding to yield a battle every now and then.
Not every fight is worth the trouble. Not every person is worth a fight. Not every decision has to be followed entirely through and not every loss means the end of the world. You can quit and still win. Truly.

Taking (temporary) peace at the cost of losing some terrain – just so you can regain your strength and pull in the crucial victories CAN be wise. Making some shortterm sacrifices so you can win out in the end CAN be the right way to fight. Abandoning an effort before every option has been exhausted CAN get you to your goals faster.

I’m hoping to impart that wisdom on myself, even though I no longer play tennis. And even though I know I’m probably still too stubborn to take my advice. Maybe I should get my Sun Tzu on and start reading the Art of War.

Puzzled

It’s when I stopped looking 
For you….
All the time,
Every time,
That I found the time.
 
No more staring at the driveway,
Or just glancing at the door,
Waiting,
Knowing you won’t come around no more.
No more staring at my phone,
Or looking for your name, on the list of who read what where,
Waiting,
Knowing you’re no longer there.
 
It’s when I stopped looking for my missing pieces
That I found the peace I needed
To put the pieces back together.
 
And now with all this time...
And all of these peaceful pieces?
I make puzzles.
Actual ones.
 
Because those pieces are supposed to fit,
And they’re meant to be complete.
 
Turns out I’m not that great at laying puzzles.
Guess that just leaves me puzzled.

Tinder Tales – Ixnay on the Indertay

Back into the fray, my dear!

With a sentence like this? I can actually imagine myself sitting atop a huge black horse, on a mountaintop, looking down on the battlefield of love. Armor fully intact but battleworn and with a heavy heart (with one too many patches, maybe). But ready for battle none the less.

Lets just say reality really does pale in comparison. Sadly.

After my post last week on the weaknesses that might come with love – I bravely created a new Tinder account. Because everyone knows: Tindering is THE way to dip your toe back into the cesspool. Eh. Datingpool. Right?
And since last year already proved that actual dating sites yield no better candidates than the now-classic swipey apps, I figured: why the hell not. It’s a good pastime regardless of finding the actual mister right.

It obviously didn’t take me long to get weary again. With a boatload of new matches under my belt I can safely say that Tinder…Tinder never changes. I suppose that’s mostly because our very human dating needs don’t really change that much either (even though these days showing a bit of ankle ain’t enough to please a fella and cause a scandal no more). Pleasure and procreation. We’re such simpleminded creatures.

Which means that in order to save yourself some time – it’s important to become aware of the ‘secret code language’ that is used for Tinder biographies. And by secret code language – I mostly just mean the lingo. Because it’s very much not-secret. And not-subtle. So let me translate what some of the words used in the tiny bit of text under the swipe-able pictures (can) mean, for those of you who use Tinder (or who are curious from the safety of your happy relationship):

* ONS -> One night stand
*
NSA -> No strings attached
* FWB -> Friend with benefits (also found as Friends+)
*
Eggplant + waterdrops (+ peaches or cherries) emojis -> Well. You can figure that one out yourself, right? Classy.
*
420 -> Will smell like weed. Or bad hygiene. Or both.

Usually one or a a combi of either is found in a bio to qualify that the user either DOES (just) want dates for these obvious purposes in their Tinder foraging OR is very much against those and ‘wants something serious’ (which loosely translates to: ‘I’m saying I’m looking for something serious so I don’t lose the girls who want to come across as not easy even though they are, but actually I  do totally want ONS/FWBs for sure’).

Nothing wrong with upfront honesty though. Saves us all a bunch of time.
Lets move on!

Guys these days either opt for no text at all, have a passive aggressive list of the suckiness of Tinder and unwanted partner-qualities OR (and this saddens me to no end, because it’s an instant-swipe-to-the-left) will have either of the following terms included on their profile (with my own added translations, of course)

* Open-minded -> I don’t mind either of us sleeping around. Would totally go for a threesome. Like it kinky
* Open -> see above – AND I’m probably already taken
* In an open relationship -> see above – AND I’m definitely taken
*
Poly (or polyamorous)-> More more more! Ps. Probably also already taken.
*
Ethical non-monogamy -> More more more, but with a LOT of talking! And definitely already taken.
* My girlfriend says I’m cute -> Just. Wow.
*
1+1=3 / unicornhunter -> Looking for an extra girl (never a guy, obviously) for a threesome that I instigated and my partner isn’t really down for. Usually accompanied by pics of the happy couple or a scantily clad ladyfriend.
* Non-conventional -> Combination of all of the above. And BDSM. Please.
*
Adventurous -> See above. But hopelessly single.
*
Kinky -> Bring on the 50 shades of grey
*
Dom/non-nilla/sub/likes the color grey/vanilla isn’t my favorite flavor: More BDSM. Please. And the real deal, tyvm.

It really really makes a girl wonder: what happened to all the ‘normal’ (read: mono and conventional) guys out there?
Do you think there’s actual truth in the statement: ‘All the good ones are already taken. Or gay?’
I mean, I suppose there is, seeing as the last 5 times I googled a hot-as-fuck actor in one of the things I was watching they definitely ended up batting for the other team. And judging from the amount of open-minded fellas on this here Tinder – the taken part is also very deeply covered.

And then for something else – guess what the guys that I manage to spot WITHOUT any of these twitch-worthy phrases have: Kids.
Yes. Kids. Fuck.

Guess I’m screwed. And not in the good sense.

Maybe I should actually be looking for the horse to get on that mountaintop with. I hear saddles and riding do…wonders…too. Or something.