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.




image via

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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.



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WhyDid Wisdom: Standards, Get Some.
Written by: WhyDid | WhyDid Wisdom

must be this tall to rideNo matter how old I’ve gotten, where I’ve lived, or what friends have come and gone, there’s one thing that’s never changed: women are always complaining about men.  In some cases for good reasons, but after hearing one too many sob stories about our canine counterparts over Saturday brunch, I started to realize that maybe the ones to blame for the malecentric masochism are us.  I hear the feminists out there getting antsy already, but hear me out.  I’m smarter than I look.  Plus, I’ve made enough terrible dating mistakes to provide sufficient data.

Remember that article in the NY Times regarding the end of courtship?  Guess whose fault that is?  Yours.  You see, technology glorious as it may be,  has certainly made us all a lot lazier.  Like you can’t even spell out the word “you” now?  Yeah, I’ll C U never.  Using technology and social networking as a scapegoat for shortcut dating is also lazy because truth be told, you didn’t have to answer that text.  You didn’t need to geo-tag yourself on Instagram.  And you sure as heck didn’t need to Tweet your exact whereabouts.  So, the common thread here is still you.  I love a happy coincidence of showing up at the same place as someone I’m seeing so long as it doesn’t involve him making out with another girl he’s seeing, but making “the chase” more like a an afternoon nap on the couch may make his life easier, but certainly not yours.

To act as if I, too, am not guilty of these crimes of courtship would be beyond ridiculous, so, please, consider this an open letter to myself.

So you’re wondering why he doesn’t step up to the plate and pull out all the stops for you?  Because you didn’t make him.  I know, mind blowing.  Whether you’d like to believe it or not,  men like you to set standards.  If you don’t ask them to, they sure as the sunrise aren’t going to do it themselves.  And don’t be afraid that asking him to be a gentleman is going to scare him off because if you do ask him to value you (as much as you should value yourself) and he doesn’t want to?  Get to stepping cause it’s only going downhill from here.  Trust.  Some of you think I’m being Prissy Patty here, but wouldn’t you know, I’ve got a few dating anecdotes to drive the point right on home.

I went out with a nice, cute, fun bankery type a few times.  We would meet over drinks or make a general plan to meet up on a Sunday afternoon and while I always enjoyed my time with him and his Polo shirts, I was looking for him to make a real date, not just a “casual hang.”  So one rainy Sunday evening as he walked me home under an umbrella, I decided to speak up.  When I told him to make an actual date, not just another hangout, you better believe I had a detailed email in my inbox first thing the next morning with three different (very creative) date options for me to choose from as well as the weather forecast.  All it took was letting him know.  He’s also been made well aware that should he ever want to get any closer to my pants than perusing Spring’s latest washes at 7 for All Mankind, he must make a proper dinner plan.  He explained that most girls he’s gone out with hadn’t really cared much about courtship nor could they spell it.

Another guy I granted the pleasure of my company was nervous to open my door for me on our first date because the girl he dated before me was apparently offended by the gesture.  Well, yes, it’s true I’m physically capable of opening my own door, but I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t do it for me.  I made it crystal clear that I had no qualms with him being a gentleman and opening my door and so he did open my door every single time until I was no longer getting into his car for a multitude of other reasons. But to the chick who hated having her door opened, come on, sister, stop ruining it for the rest of us.

But for every positive example, there’s always its more entertaining negative complement.

elevator capacityI met a strapping young fellow who seemed to be a bit of a loose cannon (read: probably not a qualified candidate to father my future children), but despite his wild ways, he asked me out to dinner one night over text… at 2:56am.  I waited until the next day to answer although I’d been wide awake at the time and played coy with my response.  The invitation didn’t come again, but instead he did invite himself over late one night to “hang.”  My mistake for obliging him.  Because while the hickey on my shoulder endured (sorry, Dad), long gone are the days of  him inviting me out to dinner.  I don’t count on a dinner at Nobu in my future.  I can, however count on past midnight messages and phone calls.

One gentleman (ha!) who’s a true thorn in my side, has turned into a tragic Telemundo soap opera, bad acting and all.  When he calls, I run.  Not so long ago, his radar alerted him that I’d forgotten all about him and so he dialed my number, and like clockwork I hurried my little behind right on down to the Soho Grand.  To be clear, it wasn’t always this way.  As a matter of fact, for the first half our our “relationship” it was all fun and games (and dinners and dancing) when I made him chase me all the way over to Avenue B, but the moment I stopped playing precious princess, the tables turned… like Teresa Giudice turned.  I made it too easy for him because I was scared that he’d stop calling.  Which is totally ridiculous because he clearly enjoys the chase more than the kill and if he didn’t call?  Good riddance.  I’m seeing him next Thursday.

You see, I’m just as guilty as the gals in the NY Times article though I was appalled when I’d read it the first time.  I no longer know how to spell courtship, let alone dinner and the only person I have to blame is myself… well, and the rest of you.  Did we not learn anything in Psychology 101?  Pavlov’s dogs ring a bell?  (I didn’t even mean to do that).  We’re just as trainable as dogs and we can very easily train people how to treat us.  If I let my dog just pee wherever her wanted he, would.  Well, I don’t let him, but he does anyway– but you get the gist.  Just be careful you’re not being the one being trained to drool when the bell rings.

The bottom line is quite simple: you get what you settle for.  And isn’t being a lady the original form of feminism?



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The List Volume LXXXV
Written by: WhyDid | The List

datingSeeing as I’m now back in the dating pool (though I don’t date a lot… reasons following), I have remembered why it is that dating can be both glorious and horrifying at the same time.  While some men are gallant and chivalrous like white knights, others are more like the town idiots riding around town on broke down donkeys.

The good ones are far and few between and the bad ones are so bad, they almost cancel out all the good ones… making me want to just throw in the towel and start the adoption process… and I know I’m not alone in this.  So go ahead and print this out, ladies.  Post it by the watercooler in your office or better yet, the men’s bathroom.  Pass it along anonymously (or not) to the men in your lives in hopes that somehow, some way they’ll get the hint.

berger sex and the city

  1. When you ask for my number and I say I’ll just take yours and then you make me call you so you have mine.  Unfair.
  2. Asking for my Instagram info rather than my phone number.  Are you serious? (By the way, WhyDid is now on Instagram: whydid_dotcom).
  3. Telling me about all the other girls you’re dating.  Well, that clears up what’s going to happen after dinner: Nada.
  4. I appreciate you offering to buy me a drink.  But please, PLEASE, do not berate me for politely declining.  As a matter of fact, you should thank me.  I just saved you fifteen dollars.
  5. If I do not ask you to come upstairs after a date, this is not the time to pout like a child.  Just ’cause you bought me dinner doesn’t mean I owe you anything.

man with flowers

    1. Remembering minor details, ie; I don’t drink anything without a straw.
    2. Finding out what neighborhood I live in and then picking the restaurant based on that.
    3. The ol’ make sure I get in a cab safely tell the driver where I’m going, pass him a $20, and give him a stern warning that I better arrive home in one piece.
    4. Treating my friends as kindly as you treat me (non-romantically, of course).
    5. Not looking at your phone for one second during our date.

Welp, who wants to order in Chinese?

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WhyDid Wisdom: Pick of the Litter

maltipoosNote: Smitty is not in this photo.  He was busy.  Being coddled by his new mom/soul mate.

I remember sprawling out in the grass in Central Park with my girlfriends one sunny afternoon.  We were killing two birds with one blanket:  catching up on the latest gossip and checking out what kind of hunks Manhattan had to offer.  Forget the Meatpacking District, Central Park was a pure meat market on that particular Saturday.  While scanning Sheep’s Meadow for Big Apple’s buffest, one Adonis-like gentleman caught my girlfriends’ eyes.  As they began to “Ooh!” and “Ahh!” I lowered my Oliver Peoples, assessed the situation, and stated very matter of factly, “His nipples are HUGE!” and resumed scanning that month’s issue of Elle.  My friends gave me a lot of grief for my observation and it became a bit of an ongoing joke, but here’s what: I’ve always known exactly what I’ve wanted and never seen any reason why I shouldn’t have it.  And that includes the circumference of my potential mate’s areola.

Whether it’s been a dress, apartment, hairstyle, or shoes, I knew it the moment I saw it.  I have laser sharp focus when it comes to such things and I really can’t be bothered with anything subpar.  I’d rather have nothing at all than second choice.  Now, I get that I may sound cold and some people may call me critical, but I’m not suggesting we go around judging everyone and everything.  That’s not our job.  Plus, I doubt I could stand up to my own scrutiny.  I’m simply suggesting that in matters of the heart, we should have some standards.  If I’m willing to hold out on a pair of shoes, why wouldn’t I do the same for love?

Many times I’ve referenced the sweet, sweet love of my life, Smitty.  He’s the best friend and longest relationship I’ve ever had… and he was the pick of the litter.  I got first dibs on the four maltipoo pups and I don’t think any of this is a coincidence.  I saw him and I knew.  Now, granted, he really had no choice in the matter… he was coming home with me whether he liked it or not, but it’s a prime example of seeing what you want and going for it rather than taking the little one in the corner who looks sad because you feel bad for him.

How exactly does this all relate to love?  Well, having grandiose ideas about what you’re looking for in a partner can be off-putting to many.  They may think you’re being idealistic or just too picky.  A lot of people will try and sell you on the dream of, “Oh it might not come in the packaging you think” or, “You should give him a chance.” AKA, lower your expectations. You know what that’s called? Settling.  And guess what?  I’ve done that… and look how well that turned out!

So many times I’ve gone out with guys who are “meh” out of sheer boredom or just hoping that they would grow on me and turn into some fabulous Prince Charming once I got to know them.  Well, here’s the thing.  They grew on me, alright.  Like barnacles.  Nothing good will come out of dating a guy who you aren’t initially interested in.  If I don’t like your face now, I’m certainly not going to like it ten months in once I’ve found out all of your bad habits like leaving your socks on the floor and never folding your towel.

So, I’ve just stopped doing that.  I no longer spend time on the “so-so.”  I don’t bother wasting my new Alexander Wang on just any ol’ schmoe.  I’ll save it for someone worth impressing.  I turned down multiple gentlemen callers on more than one night this past week because I’d really just rather sit home and hang out with my dog, a glass of wine, and an interesting book than exert the insincere effort.  In the past, I’ve found myself gazing across the table thinking… let’s pretend for a moment that I care…

There is nothing wrong with holding out and being a little bit picky.  Perhaps my “near marriage” experience has changed the way I feel about rushing down the aisle just so I’m not “alone.”  Alone is a whole heck of a lot better than a bad relationship.  So, if the guy is wearing a gold watch at the gym, you don’t need to cut him a break.  Move along and wait for your pick of the litter.  Here’s to being picky.  I will gladly sit here solo with my glass of wine, Smitty, and Anna Karenina until Prince Charming does, in fact, show up.



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