Tuesday, April 29, 2014


The first sketchy thing about Dale was that he listed his ethnicity on his online dating profile as “Asian,” but when my friend Monica met him in real life, he was clearly Indian.

Monica was pissed about the switcheroo, not because she has anything against Indians, but because he was already starting off on the wrong foot as a liar.


When Monica asked him about it, he said he was “half-Asian.”



He had an Asian last name, and Monica figured maybe he was one of those American melting pot babies.

They were in Washington, D.C. after all. International town. Diplomacy.

Over dinner, they talked about their respective lives and experiences – she was a financial planner at a huge firm and about to get her MBA; he was a commercial loan officer at a huge bank you’ve definitely heard of. 

He had just relocated from Florida to D.C. for a promotion and bigger office.

“That’s why I’m online dating,” Dale said. “I don’t know anyone here yet. My phone is a temporary corporate phone; my apartment is a corporate lease.”

Monica was intrigued. It’s not very often you meet guys on an online dating site in their 30s who have their shit together.

(Uhhh no offense to EVERYONE I’ve met online in real life.)

Dale seemed great and interesting and he paid the dinner bill.  

Monica let him drive her home instead of take a cab. They totally made out and even though Dale pouted about it, she went inside by herself.

The next TEN dates were just as swoon-worthy as the first. 

Dale was really excited about his job and even more excited because he got an offer on his house he was selling in Florida and was going to make a profit.

He liked to jet around up the East Coast on the weekend.

He wasn’t on Facebook, Twitter OR Linkeden.

He was the most interesting man in the world!

Dale told Monica all these sweet things about how he’s always wanted to meet someone who looks just like her, always wanted to meet someone who was smart like her and that she was super special.

But then he got sketchy.

“Hey sorry I haven’t been around,” he wrote her IN AN EMAIL after almost a week of suddenly no contact. “My brother was skiing in Massachusetts and broke his neck and I’ve been here with him at the hospital.”

He never mentioned a brother before.

She emailed him back to say she was sorry and they kept emailing back and forth without him mentioning why they weren't using phones.

It was Monica’s birthday the following week, and Dale said he was going to plan something really great.

But then he didn’t text her OR email her for three days leading up to the big day.

So two hours before dinner, she texted, “I’m so excited for my birthday dinner!”

“Oh, yea, happy birthday!” he wrote back. “I’ve got this GREAT evening planned!”


He showed up at her house with cheap flowers and a card.
She noted that the NOTE he wrote had the tell-tale sign of being written against a steering wheel.

He totally forgot her birthday!

But it kept getting worse.

“I’m taking us to this really great comedy club!” he said, even though she had told him in their email exchanges that she had just seen comedy and was tired of it.

Then he took her to NOT a fancy dinner or comedy club in the good part of D.C., but a place completely isolated 30 minutes away that happened to have open mic that night.

“Sorry, it’s just been crazy with my brother - I’ve been flying up to Canada to see him,” Dale said.



“He lives in Canada?” Monica asked.

“No, that’s where he was skiing.”



Um, busted.

He honestly forgot that he told her his brother was skiing in Massachusetts???

Monica blinked twice and then saw nothing but red warning signs. 

She was dating a sketchball! 

1.) Him saying he’s Asian but really being Indian. 
2.) Emailing and not calling for no real reason. 
3.) Screwing up Massachusetts and Canada.

Not helping: The stupid, cheap card.

“You know...I don’t think we should see each other anymore,” Monica said, after he paid the bill. (haha)

“I don’t think you’re being honest with me about some things and I can’t really put my finger on it exactly, but it’s just not going to work.”

She braced for having to explain all of her concerns.

“Ok,” he said, not at all devastated. “Whatever.”


Without asking, Dale simply drove off in his rich, fancy car.

Rich and fancy car…


Something was definitely fishy.

At work the next day, she walked into her co-worker’s office.

“Hey, can you do a background check for me?” Monica asked.

Their firm did this all the time, vetting people who were interested in loans or buying stock or whatever else people do at “firms.”

“Sure,” her co-worker said. “What’s his name?

“Dale (something Asian).”

She typed it in.


There was no record of Dale Something Asian having credit, owning property, or even existing in this country.

“That’s weird…do you have a social security number I can try?” her co-worker asked.

“No...” Monica said. “But he HAS to be there, he just sold a house in Florida; he must be in the system.”

(Awwww. She still believed that.)

“No. That name is not coming up,” her co-worker said.


Monica was almost frightened.

Who exactly had she been going out with for the past few months??
It made her skin crawl.

Did he really MAKE UP A NAME?? Was he a fugitive??

Was he an illegal…Indian???

Monica Googled everything Dale told her about himself, but found nothing.

No record of  “Dale (Something Asian)” at the bank he supposedly worked at.

She even googled his phone number, and got nothing. 

Then, almost on a whim, she googled his phone number WITH the dashes in between.


It came up on a Facebook post from TWO YEARS prior on an old event page – that phone number with a comment from a man WITH AN INDIAN NAME for people to get more information about the fundraiser.

“Maybe the corporate phone was given to someone else before Dale,” Monica thought.

(Awwww. She still believed him.)

But DUH.

She clicked on the guy’s page and there he was: “Dale.” 


She screamed.

He made everything up. Everything! He made it ALL up.

She googled his real name and saw his LINKEDIN PAGE.

Oh look! He was a part-time real estate agent at an unknown company. 

And look! He worked as an INTERN, TEN YEARS AGO for the big bank he was pretending to be a big shot at!!!!!!!!!!!



Oh and all this “Just moved here" business?





Wait, I know - someone who doesn’t want his Indian wife and his wife’s Indian friends to stumble upon his dating page!!

That’s why he took her to dinner way the hell out of downtown!

It was sad, really. In his fantasy life, he's a rich Asian man with a brother with a broken neck in Canadassachusetts. 

Monica still didn’t believe it 100 percent. She was too smart to get so royally duped!

Maybe that’s his brother or something, she thought.

(…with the, uh, broken neck haha)

Maybe it’s his cousin!

She had to get confirmation, but was too petrified to call the psycho. 

He knew where she lived, after all.

So she drove back to the sketchy ass restaurant with the open mic comedy and talked to the manager, who let her look through the previous night’s credit card receipts.

There it was: Their bill, paid for by the same INDIAN NAME that matched the guy on Facebook.


It was horrifying.

Monica had never felt so foolish in her life.

Waiter!!! There seems to be a mistake!!!

No one ordered the catfish!




Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Anytime I get bummed out about being single/not married, I think about all the annoying things married people are required to do for their spouses, like put up with their family, make them food or even make her cancel her US Weekly subscription because he thinks it’s “toxic crap” (true story.)

I always thought you just had to grin and bear it. I had no idea that you could just NOT do things your spouse asks simply because you find it annoying/not important.

Thanks, Phil, for opening my eyes to this new dynamic!

Phil, in his small defense, was being bombarded with annoying things. His wife Rachel, my friend, had asked to let her, uh, unbalanced sister, live with them for a while.

It was a big production getting her sister to move from Louisiana to Tennessee to stay with them, and it was done in a conniving way where a little road trip turned into a longer one and suddenly they were in Tennessee and why not just stay, sis??

As such, all of her sister’s things were still in her house in Louisiana. 

Phil was instructed to go fetch them.

Fetch her clothes, fetch her toiletries, fetch her medication.

Oh, and fetch her dog.

Now would be a good time to mention that Phil hates dogs.

Too bad Phil!!! You’re married into these obligations!

You'd think if a guy is absolutely opposed to something (like an US Weekly subscription) he could at least speak up. 

Perhaps say, “Hey babe, I don’t want to drive a large, unruly dog eight hours in my car. Or let it live in my house."

He could have reached out to his sister-in-law’s friends for help, or find a suitable foster home.


What did Phil do??

He drove the dog to the ASPCA.

A kill shelter.


And then he drove back to Tennessee hoping everyone would forget that he was supposed to bring back a dog.



Seriously, WHAT??!?!

Newsflash: No one forgets about their pet. 

Phil actually went out of his way to eliminate all evidence of the dog, including THROWING ALL OF THE DOG’S THINGS INTO THE CITY TRASH CAN OUTSIDE.


A heart as black as the Labrador’s fur coat!

When Phil returned to Tennessee without the dog, he admitted fairly quickly that he brought it to the KILL SHELTER pound. 

But his reason didn’t make sense.

“I couldn’t get the dog into my car. I was there for like an HOUR trying to get her in there but she just…wouldn’t get in!”

Which would have been an OK argument if he hadn’t DRIVEN THE DOG IN HIS CAR TO THE SHELTER.

“Yea, well, she whined the WHOLE time.”




Please. He had NO intention of bringing that dog anywhere.

Rachel, panicked and furious, called one of her sister’s friends who thankfully sprang the poor, scared, traumatized dog from the pound.



(Hope he gets bit by a pitbull)

The friend then went to the sister’s house and dug out the dog’s bed and toys from the trash.

Why couldn’t Phil have brought the toys and bed TO the shelter???

And what kind of stupid argument is “I couldn’t get the dog in the car,” but then GOT THE DOG IN THE CAR???

The whole thing was uncomfortable.

Rachel didn’t know how to treat the situation, since technically it was a favor and it’s always weird when someone falls through on a favor, because they didn’t have to do it in the first place.



If I was Rachel, I’d put him on the shortest leash ever. 

(Ha get it)

And send him a year of US Weekly subscriptions.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The big New Orleans question

Someone from Massachusetts asked me the other day  as we sat at a bar in South Carolina  what a poboy was.

“A long, sub-like sandwich,” I said, a good steward for my hometown.

“So why don’t you call it a sub sandwich?” he asked.

“Well, because it’s a little different,” I said. Then I thought for a minute. 

“The meat is usually hot.”

Really. Hot meat was the only differentiator I could think of.

Massachusetts raised an eyebrow.

“You know, like hot roast beef, or hot fried oysters, hot shrimp, hot catfish..." I trailed off, worried he wouldn't get the distinction.

“And the bread isn’t like the foot-long bread from Subway. It’s fresh and flaky.”

“So it’s like a grinder?” he said.

I blinked.

“Grinder? Like the app for gay guys??”

(Hot meat...)

He laughed and then looked uncomfortable (hahaha) and said NO, where he’s from, they call a poboy a grinder.

“I don’t think it’s going to work out between us,” I said.


Just kidding.

It was for way more reasons than that one.


Now that I live back in South Carolina after living in New Orleans for three years, I forgot about these New Orleans questions people ask.

It’s like getting dumb twin questions over and over again.

“Do you have the same dad?” “Have you ever been to Mardi Gras??”

 “If I pinch you, does she feel it?” “Is it still all flooded down there?”

Like my twin sister Joy and I, when asked twin questions, I have learned how to expertly handle these inquires.

“Yes, I’ve been to almost 30 Mardi Gras celebrations. It’s my favorite time of the year.”

“No, it’s not flooded anymore…unless you live in an area called  ‘Plack-a-minz’ Parish and it’s been raining.”

(They wear shrimp boots.)

Of course, the biggest dumb New Orleans question I get is whether or not I miss it.

Of COURSE I miss it!


It’s the music mostly.

You don’t realize how much you love music until you leave and suddenly there’s no more music.

Well, no more music that’s not a cover band.

It’s an odd feeling – this yearning for New Orleans music. 

I know it's really a yearning for New Orleans, missing it vicariously through the music.

But it hits you out of nowhere.  You could be minding your own business browsing iTunes when a preview of the song “At the Foot of Canal Street” comes on and you tear up.

Not just tears, but choking tears. 

Like unexpectedly stumbling across a picture of you and a friend you don’t speak with anymore, both of you standing together, arms around each other. 

It hits you like a ton of bricks. 

That’s how I've been missing New Orleans. 

And I don't even LIKE Canal Street that much!

But rather than explain it this way, I smile and say, “Yes. Yes, I miss it a lot.”

Maybe I’ll make a poboy tonight.

Extra hot meat.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Pickin,’ not drinkin

If you’re wondering if a three-day bluegrass music festival is still fun even if you’ve given up alcohol for Lent, the answer is YES!

In fact, it’s a totally different experience when you remember everything!!  

What a concept!!

Two weekends ago, my friend Meredith and I made our annual trip to Live Oak, Florida, for Suwannee Springfest, the perfect little music festival tucked away in a gorgeous park called Spirit of the Suwannee.

The thing I love most about this music festival is that every year, it’s the same.

Growing up, my family always vacationed at the same cabin in a Mississippi state park and I always found comfort in the fact that no matter how much my life had changed over the year, the place was always the same.

It looked the same, it smelled the same. It was like time had never passed.  

That’s how I feel about Springfest. The same park, the same stages, the same vendors, the same hammocks, the same large oak trees that we camp under - it was all the same, even though Meredith and I both made major life changes since Springfest 2013.

Most notably, we made the drive from South Carolina this year rather than New Orleans, after we each moved back to the east coast in late 2013.

(On our way back home, I even paused for a second at the Interstate 10 junction, debating whether to go east or west.)

NOT the same this year???

THE SUN!!!!!!

If you may remember, (here and here) the last two years have included torrential downpour rain on the bill.

This year, however, I did a double take at the forecast: 81 degrees and sunny???!!



     “whitey” (a portrait.)

The perfect weather for a beer!


I don’t think there’s any other genre of music as “spring” as bluegrass.  For one thing, STRING rhymes with SPRING.

Secondly, it’s a happy, upbeat genre of music that includes instruments far, far, far removed from the songs you hear on the radio.

I actually heard the slap of someone’s palm on a stand-up bass.

I counted the number of octaves a mandolin can span (not really, I just noticed for the first time.)

I fell in love with Sam Bush! (And his T-shirt)

Sam Bush was my favorite performer from the weekend. He’s a long-standing bluegrass legend and I soaked in all his talent while hearing the details of his biography and discography from the guy who was dancing next to me.

“Man, you need a LESSON on THIS MAN!” the guy told me when I admitted I was a new blue-grasser.

I was also new to the bat house.


Apparently, not everyone wants to get rid of bats (just the people at the Mississippi State Park, haha)

No, this park has an actual bat REFUGE!

A bona fide BAT HOUSE 50 feet high where the bats live during the daytime and probably where they make MORE bats.

We were told that every day at dusk all the bats wake up and all fly out of the wooden house and it’s a crazy sight with hundreds and hundreds of bats.

“Watch out, they’ll pee on you,” a nice lady warned.

At dusk, we walked over. A crowd of more than 50 people were already there, some holding umbrellas.

And then, at no particular time, the bats’ internal clock went off and they all decided it was time to leave and swarmed out of the house in perfect synch.

Small children shrieked.


It was hard to wrap my mind around it.

And then, a droplet fell onto my right cheek and I realized that a bat had peed on my face.


It was the perfect time for a beer.


(Now that I think about it, I should have worked my brush with nature into a bluegrass song.)

Because the absolute best thing each year about this music festival, the thing that makes it so special, is that the attendees themselves are musicians, big and small.

After the bands are over and everyone has retreated to their campsites, impromptu “pickin” happens. In some cases, it's even better than the acts on stage.

(Cue yearly reminder to learn how to play the fiddle.)

While in year’s past, I was able to sit around in a circle and hum along, this year, thanks to my new “I’M SOBER I GET TIRED AT 12:30 a.m.” way of life, I was able to fall asleep to the sweet pickin’ sounds just 20 feet away from my tent.

Screw white noise!! THIS is relaxation.

Strumming guitars, melodic voices, the tinkering of a banjo.

The crisp, clear spring night air.
Tucked under the oak trees.

At that moment, I craved nothing more.

Not even a beer.


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