Jan
31
2014
0


WhyDid Wisdom: Reserve Yourself
Written by: WhyDid | WhyDid Wisdom

annoying callerWinter is the time of year when many of us yearn to couple up in order to stay warm and potentially lower our ConEd bills. A lot of my friends are what could be considered professional daters. I’ve stopped asking what any of their chaps’ names are because I can’t keep up and would need a very elaborate flow chart in order to stay entirely in the loop. I’m always in utter amazement as to how they meet all of these fellas because most of my male companionship comes from my dog, gentlemen playing for the other team, and re-runs of Frasier. Ironically, I think I’ve just cracked the code as to my singledom with that last sentence.

Anyway, unlike myself, you’ve been hitting the town and getting hit on, you little minx, you. And in the mix of things, you’ve met a couple of cuties who have actually made it beyond asking for your number in between swigs of Jameson and you’ve spent a handful of cozy dinners and Saturday brunches at Extra Virgin and Cafe Cluny with one, maybe two, in particular. You knew it was meant to be when he ordered another round of mimosas and declared that there may be nothing better in this world than a great chocolate chip pancake except for maybe a hammock on Alphonse Island. In your mind, you’ve already started planning your June wedding at the St. Regis and have named your first born child due early next fall (you decided on something gender neutral and inanimate). You’re a perfect match much like Domenico and Stefano, so you can’t quite put your perfectly polished finger on why your affections, and text messages aren’t being returned.

Ready for an awful truth?

(You may need a quaalude and a seat for this). Okay, you know that one guy who continues to text you after countless subtle blow offs, blatant verbal abuse and finally virtual radio silence? You know… the one who tricked you into giving him your number after you said you’d just take his and then called himself from your phone. Yeah, that guy. Well, you may very well be that girl.

I know. It seems highly improbable, even mind blowing, that anyone male, female, or house plant could possibly resist your feminine wiles, biting wit, and Pilates body. But alas, as hard as it is to wrap your pretty little head around, you may have found the one and only human this side of the galaxy not interested in you or the Illuminati conspiracy theories.

Fine, maybe you didn’t bamboozle your way into his Blackberry (who still has one of those, by the way?), so let’s use another example. You know the sort of goofy handsome guy you went out with from Goldman Sachs? While he was perfectly nice and in “theory” should be a totally perfect partner completely capable of rearing healthy children and providing a stable lifestyle for your future family, there was just one problem. You didn’t feel any of that wild, crazy, I must have you more than this season’s Céline. He didn’t do anything wrong, per se. He was a perfect gentleman and has since then been hitting you up to have a second, third, and final date… before that wedding he’s planned in his head complete with future (already named) child.

Yep. It’s all starting to click isn’t it?

beyonceWe’ve all got a few of those guys lying around much like the Federal Reserve has a few spare bricks of gold. They’ll never get used, but it’s nice to know that they’re there for security’s sake and all. At one point, there were so many “code names” in my phone that I hadn’t really any clue who was calling anymore. I just knew I wasn’t going to answer under any circumstance. Not even after two dirty martinis. Okay, I have responded on occasion to these “reserves.” Sometimes because I’m just too nice and felt guilty leaving them hanging (passive aggressive much?). Other times I’ve just been totally bored in between checking Twitter and Instagram. There have been lonely nights in between relationships with people I actually liked. And sometimes my friends and I think it’s downright hilarious. Call me a mean girl if you want, but your nose may be growing at this very moment. You’ve totally done the same thing. We all have. And whether you admit it out loud or not, I want you to realize that it’s entirely possible that’s what is going on with you and Mr. Perfect.

While it can take women a little bit longer to warm up to a potential mate, guys know what they want almost instantly. They are hunters by nature and when they see something they want, they go for it. Full force. It’s science. A guy can sway us to the other side after a couple of dates by revealing a shared love of cheese, a dark sense of humor, or just general kindness and good behavior. Inversely, a guy can be completely smitten with a girl and she can crash and burn merely by being a bitch. Don’t be a bitch.

I’ve been given a hard time for having fairly high expectations, and while I may be asking a lot for wanting a 6’0+ gentleman with great style, a sense of humor, brains, charisma, love of small white dogs named Smitty and a handle on his personal finances, I don’t think common courtesy is too much to ask. I certainly do expect my potential love interest to have the capacity to craft up a cohesive text message using the proper your/you’re and two/to/too, let alone actually grasp the concept of dialing my telephone number for voice on voice conversation. As a matter of fact, I don’t think any of that is too much to ask- and you shouldn’t either. I have been pursued hard, like verging on restraining order, so, I know the difference between being the “reserve” and the “jackpot.” If someone can’t even take a moment from his or her grueling life (barring he/she is doing volunteer work in a country without telephone wiring or toilets), that person is probably not particularly interested in you. At very least, you just aren’t ranking high on the priority list and well, that’s a problem.

Listen, it may be disappointing to realize you aren’t someone’s ideal match but, there’s no need to beat yourself up about it or shamelessly and repeatedly throw yourself at someone who just thinks you’re “ok for now.” (Remember DBDG?) Essentially he’s doing you a favor by self eliminating. It’s like Darwinian dating. Instead of wasting any more time on someone who doesn’t see how absolutely spectacular you are, you can keep on stepping… right on towards your true “Mr. Right.” (And you should probably throw in a hair toss or two). You wouldn’t jam your feet into shoes that don’t fit (I mean, maybe), so why would you try to force a connection that just isn’t there? All that comes from that is uncomfortableness and corns. Just repeat to yourself, “No answer is your answer.”

So, next time you are staring at your gold iPhone imploringly, just remember that poor ol’ chap you’ve renamed “Never Gonna Happen” and reserve yourself.

xx,

WhyDid

 

Coincidentally saw this video this afternoon post-posting.  All too fitting.

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Dec
03
2013
5


WhyDid Wisdom: Five Alive
Written by: WhyDid | WhyDid Wisdom

why did kirsten smithSo, a girl and her computer walk into a bar… five years later and here I sit.  Different computer, same girl.  Kind of.  I nearly forgot that the day may have come and gone because the actual WhyDid launch date is a bit blurry as there was a time when I started on Tumblr and made the switch to my very own URL (what a tedious three days of transferring that was).  What I do know is that it was after a triple date at Pastis either at the end of November or the beginning of December when I sat at my grey desk in my grey cube at Henri Bendel crafting my very first blog post.  I had no idea at the time what the hell I was doing, but I pressed on and before you knew it, it was December again.  The first year I threw a party, but every year following instead of the celebration getting bigger along with my traffic and following, it seemed to get a little bit quieter.  And perhaps that’s my own fault.  Five years?  That’s kind of a big deal and without boring you with stats, facts, and figures, I’ve come a long way from a girl in her cube picking out a Tumblr template in between entering PO numbers.  It’s no longer just my parents and dog reading my posts anymore.  WhyDid’s gone global and that’s certainly something to smile about.  So, why am I the one who has the hardest time being proud of that?

Every year, I toy with the notion of putting down my proverbial pen and this past year was certainly a year when I, again, reevaluated everything and considered shuttering WhyDid’s storefront.  I felt beaten down and emotionally exhausted because it is hard to give a piece of yourself on an almost daily basis that may be judged, criticized, or flat out ignored.  It makes you wonder why you are putting forth so much effort at times, but during each moment of  coming incredibly close to giving up, I’d receive a message or a comment from someone thanking me for what I’d written, for being so honest, or for just being me.  These messages more often than not were from people I’d never met before from places I’ve never been.  Realizing that I’d reached someone and made some form of connection, whether large or small has been WhyDid’s salvation.  That’s why I’m even typing this post from sunny California right this minute.   And perhaps, just maybe (okay, definitely) I should have printed out this post from last year and re-read it from time to time during those “walk away from the ledge” moments.

why did blog kirsten smithMy mom recently told me she found a childhood diary of mine.  She swore she hadn’t read through the whole thing, but she did read a few especially endearing adolescent excerpts from my pre-teen thought catalog aloud that made me half laugh, half cringe.  And while I may blush with embarrassment over such silly juvenile musings of my own creation, it’s pretty special to be able to look back at who I was before the world tainted my precious little soul.

Even now when I look back at the things I’ve written here, the images that caught my eye, the way I styled something, or interpreted a trend, I get a little red in the face but I can quite literally see the ways in which I’ve grown and evolved as a human, writer, and editor.  On more than one occasion I’ve looked back and shaken my head about how foolish I’d been, while other times I’m proud of how far I’ve come.  Sometimes I look back only to realize that I already knew all the answers to lessons I’m still learning… over and over again.

One day I received a really nasty comment on one of my posts, ironically about a year ago, wherein an anonymous commenter (because they’re always anonymous) told me my blog was just a dumb personal diary and that no one really cared what I thought.  At the time, I was really hurt by this verbal drive by, but as I pondered longer, yeah, WhyDid is like my diary.  It’s a collection from my own journey and while it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it’s my kitchen and my kettle and if you don’t like it, that’s okay, find something else to drink.  I’ll still sit with ya.  I also now realize that whoever this person was, didn’t particularly grasp the concept of blogs or social media for that matter.  We’re all documenting something.  Especially in this digital age.  It may no longer be as romantic as a pen and paper or a reel of paper on a typewriter, but it’s just the same.

top knot stylelistAlthough I have yet to be plucked from obscurity and presented with a Pullitzer , it’s those little comments, emails, and messages that keep me going.  At least I know someone out there be it Beijing or Berlin is really reading what I write, truly understanding me, and not just skimming along.  Besides, over the years I’ve learned that sometimes your most loyal supporters aren’t always your closest friends, but perfect strangers who you may never meet, but have kindred spirits and that’s really beautiful.  I have friends, ahem, who don’t even bother reading my blog at all… but I won’t get in trouble for saying so because, well…

Nonetheless, even if no one ever reads what you write, maybe if you never even read what you write, even if it will make no sense to someone who might one day stumble upon it in a pile of antiquities, writing down your thoughts is a gift to your current self as well as future self and potentially someone who needs your words.  A mere sentence or partial phrase with a date can be like a ticket back to memories and emotions past.  We all have old photographs that document the way we’ve changed on the outside, but I now have a vault, a time capsule, of the way my brain and heart and head looked over the past five years and you just so happen to have the key.

Thank you for being a part of my journey.

xx,

WhyDid

 

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Nov
07
2013
6


WhyDid Wisdom: Crazy is Contagious
Written by: WhyDid | WhyDid Wisdom

kirsten smithFirst things first, we’re all insane.  Some of us hide it better than others.  Some of us are in complete and utter denial.  And some of us have just not had the last little screw knocked loose before going completely and totally mad.  I, for one, have never claimed to be sane.  My self-awareness is both one of my best and worst qualities.

I mean, I’m the girl who went all kinds of Carrie Underwood on an ex after finding him at the strip club across the street from our apartment with a woman wearing a cabbie hat.  That was the first time I realized just how crazy I could be.  Having woken up with bruised hands after beating on the window of the cab they had hopped into upon exiting New York Dolls and pouring my red Solo cup full of beer (thanks to the bar next door for providing me with a to-go cup) on them both, I knew the looney in me had been unleashed.  Thank heavens I must have looked like a raccoon with rabies, because had that lady gotten out of the cab, I ‘m not sure what I would have done.  I’m not the type to take part in a girl fight.  Sorry, Jerry Springer, but I do know karate.

That wasn’t the last time I lost my shit.  Remember my little lost bird?  My human wrecking ball(Oh, hey, Miley).  Well, wouldn’t you know, I wasn’t quite through with him.  It’s hard to kick an addiction and I sure do love a challenge.  I’m no quitter.  After having gone north with him and nursing him through a full blown panic attack, I thought I’d seen enough.  But that’s the thing about love, New York, and Pandora’s box, once you’ve been bitten by the bug, there’s no turning back.  If I looked at the situation as a logical human being, which most of the time I am, I knew that it was time to abort mission.  Had one of my girlfriends been sharing her horrifying experience with me, I would have grasped her firmly by the shoulders and shaken her.  However, my cognitive thinking was way out of whack and to be completely honest (another one of my best/worst qualities), I didn’t want to kick the habit.

After an especially volatile text exchange a couple of months ago, I found myself in a puddle of tears on my hardwood floor with Smitty looking on in despair.  I indulged in far too much wine and the lunacy was rolling in like dark storm clouds. Receiving a message that really set me off and having already prepared his grilled cheese, I chucked my phone across the room.  Let’s be clear, I’ve dropped my phone down the stairs on more than one occasion and had a couple of near death experiences with it on the treadmill, I had yet to crack my iPhone screen in all the time I’d had it.  The straw that broke my iPhone’s glass, was me, not an average accident.  I couldn’t even answer my phone, let alone respond to texts without risking shards of glass in my fingers.  Thanks to the cute guys (seriously, they’re so cute) at Gotham iPhone, my cracked glass was repaired, but the same couldn’t be said for my heart– or my sanity.

I knew I’d gone nuts as I stared at my shattered screen.  This was completely out of the norm for me.  After my last breakup, the most tragic of many, I’d behaved like a real lady.  Sure I could have kidnapped his fluffy white cat and left rotting fish in the vents of the Bahl house we shared to haunt him, but I hadn’t.  I took my belongings and my dignity and never looked back.  I thought I’d moved past those emotions when I moved back across the country.  I wasn’t mad or even sad.  Perhaps I just hadn’t cared as much as I’d thought.  To inflict pain on myself, was something I’d never done- though close friends might argue I’m a bit of a masochist.

kirsten smithBut alas, the story doesn’t stop there.  Even after the broken glass, typhoon of tears, and bruised heart and ego, I continued on with the crazy.  A glutton for punishment, I kept trying to put the pieces back together and hold onto whatever it was that had me so hooked.  There’s a very fine line between being loyal and being a lunatic.  I was straddling that line.  So, how on Earth did a seemingly sound woman find herself clinging by bloody fingernails to the last ounce of her sanity?

It took me a while to really grasp what was going on and I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a sliver of my heart that belongs to him today.  I’m still in recovery.  The thing is, a seemingly rational person can be swayed to the other side when exposed to too much mania for too long.  The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. When a person is capable of looking you in the eyes and telling a boldface lie somehow convincing you that you’re the one to blame, more than likely, they believe their own story.  And more than likely if you stick around long enough, you’ll start to believe it too.  No one wants to be rejected and everyone would rather not believe a painful truth.  We all just want to be loved and sometimes it’s just easier to swallow the crazy pill than to be honest with yourself and walk away from something you’ve grown attached to.  But you can’t fix crazy and you definitely can’t fight crazy with crazy.  It’s like when they say never engage in a battle of wits with an unarmed man. In this instance, you’re the unarmed man.  You will not win.  Show me one guy who doesn’t have a “crazy” ex-girlfriend and I’ll show you a liar.  That girl didn’t become psycho on her own.  They never do.  It’s like when someone knocks down the first domino and the rest just follow suit.

kirsten smithSo, I held on until it was no longer possible.  My fingers had to let go in the end and I was forced to begin picking up my own dominos.  Perhaps the only really crazy part was trying to salvage a situation and person who was completely hopeless.  I was not only staying on the Titanic while it sank, I’d gone ahead and sat down with a cocktail to watch.  I can tell you one thing for sure, no one ever won a prize for staying in the midst of a storm.  So, as I sat and tried to figure it all out in the aftermath, my dad reminded me, yet again, that if I understood why some people act the way they do then he’d need to start worrying about me.  And so, the first moment you detect the slightest bit of batty, you need to cut your losses and look for the nearest exit- unless you, too, want to come unhinged.

 

As it turns out, crazy is contagious and there is no known cure.

 

xx,

WhyDid

 

photos by Michael Stielger

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Jul
11
2013
0


WhyDid Wisdom: When Your Fixer Upper Becomes a Human Wrecking Ball
Written by: WhyDid | WhyDid Wisdom

open cage doorHi. My name’s Kirsten and I love to save things. That’s right, I’m the girl who found just about any and all types of stray animals and wanted to keep them. Wild bunnies, frogs, lizards, birds, and even hermit crabs—you name it, it was coming home with me. I’m the girl who brought in her rescued baby squirrels to third grade show and tell. Yes, squirrels. Some might say I have a penchant for rescuing things, taking in the lost and forlorn. My parents were certain I’d become a veterinarian… or zookeeper. I probably would have had it not been for ninth grade biology and that whole dissection of a frog thing. Well, turns out the same little blonde who fed baby bunnies with an eyedropper when she was eight graduated to her own species as she got older.

Without fail, I seem to find those who are wounded, lost, or troubled for friendships as well as romantic relationships. I don’t seek out the wayward and wandering, but without fail, that’s who I find. It concerns me they say, “like attracts like” because if that’s the case, I must be completely insane. Whether it be an alcoholic, narcissist, schizophrenic or sociopath (I specialize in sociopaths), I’ve opened up my home and heart to all sorts of human personality defects. After many tears, broken hearts and promises, I started to realize my pattern. Admission is the first step in the road to recovery, you know. After my last breakup and a “pal” who couldn’t seem to pull it together, I made a mental note to be more wary of those telltale red flags.

So when my dear friend, ironically the same one who introduced me to my ex-fiancé– which should’ve been my first clue– brought me to a SuperBowl party hosted by another one of her friends, I wasn’t expecting to meet anyone of dateable interest. As our gracious host came over to introduce himself, I found myself attracted to his boyish charm mixed with nonchalance. My friend must have seen the glimmer in my eye because she immediately put her hand on my arm and warned me, “He’s not your future husband, but he’s definitely a good time.” What sealed the deal for me was his reaction to a gaggle of bitchy girls foreign to the East Village who pitched a full fledged fit over his inability to switch the sound from the evening’s playlist (bonus points for a shared love of gangster rap) to Beyonce’s halftime performance. Somehow phone numbers were exchanged and so began the dysfunction.

Heeding my friend’s warning, I hadn’t taken things very seriously. It all started off as some kind of joke. A form of entertainment for me and my girlfriends. I shrugged off the 3am dinner invitation. We laughed about the 13 missed calls ranging from 2 until 7am. The nonsensical text messages that poured in well past my self imposed curfew were topic of discussion over frittatas and mimosas. The strange promises that we’d some day be taking our children to Epcot seemed like silly ramblings, but somewhere along the way, I fell for this little lost bird. And I fell hard.

Sure, his clothes never quite matched, but in the most endearing manner. I never knew what he had been doing all night or where he’d spent the evening doing it. I couldn’t be certain where he’d be the next day or when I’d hear from him next. We could barely make it through brunch without a minor to moderate meltdown. But as I looked at him lying in my perfectly pristine white bed, long lashes, perfect teeth, floppy brown curls, and long limbs, I was hooked. The moment he walked out of my door with an inaudible adieu, my heart ached. I wanted more. And the cycle repeated. Over and over again.

After one particular raucous evening out, one might say that I could be labeled as “intoxicated.” Let’s not play Mary Magdalene, we’ve all been there. The problem was when we returned back to my apartment, my little lost bird said to me, “Maybe we should hang out some other time when you’re– less wasted.” The tables had turned. The caretaker had become the responsibility, the charge. I awoke the next day not only feeling hungover, but confused, hurt. How could someone who I’d been not only tolerant but nurturing of, turn his back on me in my time of need? That’s the pattern though. In a functional relationship, partners take turns with the ups and downs. As a zookeeper, you’re always going to be making sure the elephants have clean water and the tigers have fresh meat. They won’t bother worrying about if and when you take your lunch break or how you slept last night. To be a successful zookeeper, you need to make sure you’ve taken care of yourself before you take a step into the lion’s den, otherwise you’ll become their lunch.

And so, painful as it was, I had to let my little lost bird go, at least until I could reconfigure my own wellbeing. I can’t lie, however. If a hippopotamus with a sprained ankle and narcotics dependency showed up tomorrow, I’d make room in my queen size bed for him to recover. This time, I’ll just make sure my own deficiencies are handled first.

xx,

WhyDid

 

image via

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Jun
06
2013
1


WhyDid Wisdom: Judgey Wudgey Was a Bear…
Written by: WhyDid | WhyDid Wisdom

It’s very rare I bat even an eyelash at a guy when I’m out on the town.  Partially because I’m a bit shy, but mostly because I rarely come across anyone the slightest bit bat worthy.  But on one particular evening, I was feeling flirtatious, not to mention that I knew my marled grey sweater dress was hugging my curves in precisely the right places and my hair was on a whole new level of Pantene Pro-V commercial bounciness.  I might have also had two glasses of champagne, but that’s neither here nor there.

So, when I saw a guy at the table next to ours who did not resemble a Wall Street douchebag just let loose from his trading desk (unmistakable by their unbuttoned  custom tailored shirts, pressed grey trousers, and shiny black Ferragamos), I gave him the ol’ eye.  Even more so, I gave him the eye, eyebrow and half smile—my signature move.  Message delivered.  This tall, handsome, man of a man took his time, but made his way over to me to say, “hello.”   Names were exchanged, leading to the standard, “Where are you from?” question.  Him: New Jersey, Me: West Virginia.  We took digs at each other’s respective hometowns and a bond was forged.

Bonus points for his ability to not only dish it, but take it.  Double bonus points for texting me the moment he woke up the next morning (which was awfully early for the record) and having saved his number with both first and last name in my phone.  I never go out with someone sans knowing his surname anymore—but that story is for a different day.

After snoozing for another hour or so, I did what every twenty-first century woman in her right mind does… I first searched for him on Facebook to see if we had any overlapping friends, but found no relevant matches.  Up next, Google.  Due to his fairly common name, I had to think of another identifier that would make him more Googleable.  Oh, right, he told me he reverse commuted for work, so I typed in his name along with the city where he worked and, “BAM!” there he was.

Oh no.  How could this delicious dreamboat be a … carpet cleaner?  I’ve never even met a carpet cleaner.  There had to be some mistake.  Except there wasn’t because the same number listed on his website was the number so sweetly saved in my cell phone.  After discounting him for his less than desirable job title, I texted with him casually and one Monday night while having cocktails with a friend, Mr. Dreamboat suggested we come join him at Hudson Bar & Books (the irony is not lost on me) since we were down the street and we were essentially neighbors.

Having exhausted the people watching at our current watering hole, we obliged and found him sitting at the bar enjoying a Manhattan and a stogie.  He was warm and gracious towards my friend, a gay gentleman with a biting sense of snark.  We toyed with him by telling him my friend was the host of  an after hours radio show about sex to which he asked thoughtful questions.  My friend asked Dreamboat what he did and his answer surprised us both.  He ran a janitorial business.  My carpet cleaner was now a janitor?  When I asked what might be considered blatantly rude questions to his face, he didn’t flinch or get defensive, but instead answered them in earnest.

Wow, he’s a genuinely nice human.  Wow, I’m a bitch.

As he walked me home, he told me about how he’d started collecting art and couldn’t figure out where to hang a vintage mirror in his new apartment.  He told me he’d just seen a great movie and I was half expecting him to tell me something embarrassing and low brow like Iron Man, but instead he named a movie I had never heard of playing in a theater I didn’t even know existed.  Perhaps I’d judged Dreamboat a little too quickly.

This earned him a kiss goodnight.  One that must have been impressive because my doorman gave me a high five on my way through the lobby.

Things continued on casually.  Texts here and there, a date planned and then canceled and a run in with him during brunch at The Standard followed by a boozy Saturday afternoon with my friends mixing with his—one of which I had dated five years prior and another who may or may not have been a high end hooker.  Not much transpired past that day, not due to my lack of trying though.  As we’d been judging Dreamboat for being less than desirable on paper, he’d written me off for his own reasons.  Probably for being a sarcastic snob.

During one of my marathon phone calls with my dad, he was quick to remind me that sanitation is recession proof and while I’m sitting here writing this in my robe, he’s on vacation in the Dominican Republic.  Dick Smith, always thinking of things I didn’t.

Point being: careful when making judgments and remember that you, too, are being judged… even by your janitor.

xx,

WhyDid

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