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GUYS! Today I have a guest post up at sandyb’s blog! Sandy is, like me, a woman on a self-improvement mission: she has a list of goals to accomplish before she turns 30 this August (and she’s a fantastic writer to boot!). She asked me to make my own list and — look, guys, it isn’t pretty — I may or may not have stripped down my defenses and admitted a few goals that I had been afraid even to voice to myself. So. You can read it, but you can’t make fun of me afterwards, okay?

NTKOG #98: The kind of ethically ambiguous social butterfly who doesn’t let a bouncer, cover charge or guest list get in the way of her attending a private event.

I am: completely happy curled up in bed watching House; if I have to go somewhere, fine, but I’m not going to go out of my way to bust in.

I am not: subtle enough to pull off insinuating myself into upscale private fetes.

The Scene: BU Alumni Winterfest, late afternoon, a wine and chocolate tasting that has been sold out for weeks. WINE, guys. And CHOCOLATE. Finances, ethics and doorcheck mortification be damned. After a long afternoon in the biting Massachusetts weather, I imagined myself creeping in like a saintly orphan from a Victorian children’s novel, begging an elegiac old chocolatier named Jacque to spare me a single truffle, hand-dipped in finest chocolate and dusted with desiccated fairy wings. Later, he would adopt me and, after a few endearing mishaps, I would teach him to once again let love into his heart.

Uh, the point is, I was craving some chocolate. Apparently to the point of delusion.

Sister, Hot Hands and I, along with a few other people, headed down to the event room, the door of which was — curses! — flanked with event organizers toting color-coded guest lists. Our group split into small factions to test the waters, but when a girl asked if there was any chance of coming in or buying a ticket at the door, she was immediately rebuffed.

“These tickets have been sold out all week,” a gentleman who was, honestly, too old to be wearing a lanyard grimaced down at his clipboard. “Try again next year.”

While Sister discussed our options with her group of friends, I boosted her wallet from her purse and stole two dollars. I was halfway to the clipboard crew when Sister grabbed my elbow.

“No! No! Whatever you’re doing, you need to stop it. You’re going to get us kicked out!” she blurted, restraining me with one hand.

“Dude, I’m not trying to bribe my way in. I’m not an idiot. I had a really good plan.” She furrowed her eyebrows in disbelief. “See, if I can’t get in, I thought I could get chocolate out. Hey, clipboard lady, George Washington and his twin here want to know if you can liberate a few truffles. See?! Not embarrassing at all!”

Fortunately for me, Sister was too busy fussing over her ransacked wallet to punch me; unfortunately, she wasn’t so busy that she loosened her deathgrip on my sleeve.

“I guess we could try the back door,” shrugged one of the girls we came downstairs with. “Maybe someone will open it when they leave.” An apathetic grumble went up from the group, ’cause surely an event with such rigorous chocolate policing would think to post a sentry at all exits — surely the door would be locked — surely … shit, we were in. That was easy.

Anti-climactically easy, in fact. Sister refused to enter, citing some sort of alleged principles, but Hot Hands and I barged back in and bee-lined for the chocolate tables. Which were, honestly, disappointing. Not one single sea-salt truffle, hand-dipped by my fantasy Jacque du Chocolat; no edible gold or decorative piping; there wasn’t even that much chocolate. To wit: small vats of irregular chunks of broken Lindt bars in various cacao denominations. Hot Hands and I gamely conducted a blind taste-test to see which of the four percentages of dark chocolate we liked the best (50% dark was the mutual selection), knocked back two Dixie cups of wine (“The bouquet is so — uh — fruity? Look, do you know anything about wine?” “Nope. It just tastes like wine to me.” “Me too!”), and sneaked out as inauspiciously as we had entered.

The Verdict: Huh, turns out that the Little Rascals trick of loitering by the exit is more than just a vaudeville trope. I kind of want to try this in other venues now, like concert halls or — more likely, considering the level of intrigue in my daily life — to sneak into Trader Joe’s after they’ve stopped letting in new customers for the evening. On the whole, though, the event wasn’t worth all the excitement and subterfuge of our entrance; I wouldn’t have been psyched if I’d had to pay the $10 cover charge. So, moral of the story? Next time I’m on the fence about an event with a cover charge, I might try this again, if only because it adds a flavor of adventure to even the most routine proceedings.

Also, must use the George Washington’s twin brother bribery line somewhere, if only to spark a debate over GW’s family tree.

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NTKOG #97: The kind of stridently intrepid sportnik who scrambles up the face of a wall with no harnesses or hesitations.

I am: terrified of heights.

I am not: embarrassed to admit that walking on the second floor of a shopping mall is enough to jack up my heart rate. Those glass barriers do me in, guys.

The Scene: The rock-climbing wall at the Orwellianly-named FitRec at BU, where I sneaked in under the auspices of a WinterFest alumni event. All afternoon, Sister, Hot Hands and I watched dismayingly adorable toddlers in their Dora the Explorer underoos scurrying up the wall like cockroaches, shrieking with sticky-faced glee. I turned to Sister: “Hey, if little kids can do this, I certainly can, right?”

“You?! Climbing a wall?!” she cackled, oozing schadenfruede from every pore. “Oh, I’ll pay for the shoe rental. I have the feeling I’ll get my money’s worth.”

Sister has a point. Things I am good at navigating: word processing software, tricky menus, tables of contents; things I am bad at navigating: MY PHYSICAL REALITY. I’m bad enough just operating on the X-axis, let alone throwing some Y action into the mix.

All of the action shots of me climbing are obscured by the ZOOM MARKS of friggin' five-year-olds scampering along the wall. Bastards.

The rock wall in question. We're -- we're not exactly talking Everest here, people. My head was, at the highest, about a foot below the black line.

First few attempts upward were total non-starters. Grabbed handholds, swung one leg up, then stopped to think too long. In the background, a Disney-villain chuckle ground steadily out of Sister’s throat. Finally steeled myself to scramble up a few footholds and — my god, I didn’t die! I spun my head to smile winningly at Sis and Hot Hands, then turned back to the wall.

Just then, one of my feet started to slip. As I frantically adlibbed a few feet to the left, it occurred to me: my sasquatch feet are eighteen times larger than a good three-quarters of the foot rests. My head is more than a story over the ground. Why are my hands so goddamn slippery?! No big deal, though — I came, I climbed, I will blog — no shame in heading down now. Except–

Except.

When I looked back at the wall, all the handholds seemed to scramble like a CGI rendering of dyslexia. I was a single trembling sun in a vast, empty galaxy. Not one potential handhold or footrest existed within my grasp. My heart ratcheted up to a techno beat; I hyper-hyperventilated. I knew it was really bad when Sister stopped laughing at me.

Fun fact: there have been three times in my life when I knew I was going to die. Once, lying in a hospital bed with a fully collapsed lung; another time, stunt-driving 80mph backwards through a closed train-crossing arm with the locomotive three car-lengths away; and now, six fucking feet off the ground with five-year-olds scampering up the walls on either side of me. Panic attack is, I think, the mot juste? “This will be my inauspicious end,” was certainly the mantra.

If I didn’t cry, it is only because every ounce of fluid in my body was gushing out of my palms. “I’m going to fall!” I cried. “Is that okay? Will I die if I fall?”

Hot Hands looked down at the tiny protective spring mat, then back up at me. “Just … just don’t fall.” Fuck. There went Plan A.

Plan B involved me clinging to the wall and cursing, loudly, as though my life depended on it, while Sister and Hot Hands called out a demented vertical game of Twister. “Put your left hand on the green one!” (the green one is in fucking Rhode Island) — “Get your right foot on the purple!” (it’s the size of my pinky toe!). I have literally no recollection of how I managed to clamber down, but it must have taken ten full minutes.

Once I was back on solid ground, Sister let loose the laugh that had been brewing the whole time. “You’re so red you’re blushing through your shirt!” she laughed. “I’ve never seen you like this!”

I tried to flick her off, but I was still shaking so hard it looked like I was waving hello.

The Verdict: Well, now you know where NEVER to throw me a surprise party. My chest literally broke out in hives again writing this post. As for rock-climbing walls, you can leave them for the six-year-olds, with their tiny feet and cheerful disregard for mortality.

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GUYS! Sarah Von from the UNIMPEACHABLY DELIGHTFUL yes and yes was kind enough to run a little interview with me today! Check it out if you’re interested in my inner workings, such as they are. And apologize for length of today’s post but I’m going to go ahead and file it under: worth it.

NTKOG #96: The kind of bold, forward-moving networker who meets you, takes your contact information and actually calls you to meet up afterwards.

I am: terrified of accidentally imposing my company on unwilling interlocutors.

I am not: crazy enough, therefore, to follow through with any of the disposable friends whose numbers and business cards I accumulate by the dozen on the T.

The Scene: Last month, I met a dude on the T and went absolutely nuts for him — fireworks, fantasy montages, the whole deal — and was heartbroken when he canceled our date. A few days ago, after a month of no contact from him, I forcibly ejected every fiber of “he’s just not that into you” from my mind and texted him, proposing drinks on Thursday. To my utter friggin’ elation, he actually agreed, and suggested 8pm at Harvard Square.

Dressed for the evening in a tizzy; finally settled on: pencil skirt, casual V-neck with push-up bra, granny panties (to protect against first-date sexin’), and condoms in my purse (I’m only human). Ladies, you know what I’m talking about. Dude was, as I remembered, a dreamboat, after all.

As I approached him, he waved and I wondered, huh, were his eyes this beady when I first met him? And was his forehead always so protrudey? But my taste in men is quirky anyway. As we walked to the bar, I launched into a funny story about Kiss-Ducker and I getting drunk in a combination Mexican restaurant slash tranny bar in San Jose.

“When we get together, we’re totally crazy,” I smiled.

“Wanna know a fun fact about me?” he asked. I nodded. “I’m totally crazy too.”

Just then, his cell phone went off; he answered immediately. “Hi Mom. I’m okay, how are you? Yeah, I’m just out right now. With some girl.” I threw up my arms in mock-protest. “No, she’s a real girl, Mom. I swear she’s real.” Um, your red flags getting a workout yet?

After he said goodbye, I joked: “Hey, this is great. I thought I would make this date really awkward, but, dude, you took a call from your mom! Totally surged into the lead! Nothing can be awkward now!”

“Oh, the fun fact about me,” he continued. “I’m crazy. Literally. I was hospitalized for a psychiatric breakdown in late November. I got diagnosed with bipolar and I’m on tons of lithium, so I can’t read people’s minds anymore. Okay, the bar’s around the corner.”

…holy shit. Holy shit. We walked into the bar and were told it had a twenty-minute wait. Was that okay with me, he asked? Uh, no. I needed gin and I needed it about five minutes ago.

We headed down the block to a cute underground bar and I flagged the hostess down and begged for a gin and ginger ale, and keep ’em coming. And for the gentleman?

“I’ll have a pina colada.”

…she broke it to him that they don’t make pina coladas at Irish pubs, so he sighed and ordered a pint of beer. When she brought our drinks, she lay a straw next to my glass. Former Dreamboat unwrapped the straw and stuck it in his beer. HE DRANK BEER WITH A STRAW.

In order to fill the fog of awkward, I babbled through my ice-breakers (what’s the most embarrassing song on your iPod? Miley Cyrus. do you have a rich uncle or a creepy uncle? Uncle Moneybags) while generously lubricating my discomfort with the blessed gin. Former Dreamboat, though, was in no hurry. He sipped his beer drop by drop while staring deep in my eyes. And dudes, I am here to say that he had a case of the Crazy Eye so bad that his irises were practically plaid. If you don’t know what I mean by this, you have never been penetrated by the Crazy Eye.

Every time I dropped my hand to the table, he jerked his arm toward me to try to cover my hand with his own. After a few iterations of hand and mouse, I buried my fists deep in my armpits, shivering with feigned cold in the eighty-degree bar.

The conversation moved to meeting people in the T, and I admitted that though I am naturally shy, I meet tons of people during my commute. “It’s hard to meet people on the T, though,” he mused. “If you try to talk to people, they think you’re crazy. My best opener is when I see people playing with their cell phones, I ask if they get reception in the station. You can kind of trick people into talking to you that way.”

I mentioned that I like to flash people live eyes, which sometimes draws them into conversation. He answered: “Oh, I stare at people too. I stare at people in the T all the time. They always look away really fast, though. It’s probably because I’m a guy.” It could be that, dude. It could. Or it could be the fact that you actively try to trick people into talking to you.

For the rest of his slooooow beer (and my two subsequent gin and ginger ales), he discussed the side effects of his lithium, the pall that it casts over his world until it loosens its grip before bedtime. “Did you know that 60% of bipolar patients stop taking their medicine within a year?” he asked me, a glint of hope in his voice. “I miss being manic. I was really great back then. I was a good conversationalist. You would have liked me. I thought I could read minds too, and even though I guess I couldn’t, it was kind of nice, feeling normal like that.”

Finally I paid for our drinks and walked him back to the T station, before catching my bus. There was a moment before we parted ways — that normal awkward first date moment, but captured in a funhouse mirror. He leaned in to kiss me, but I ducked out of it and gave him a hug. We should do this again, he told me. Yeah, I said, maybe. As I walked away, I could hear him taking out his cell phone to call his mother back.

The Verdict: Shit, guys, I thought that was a funny story, but it’s actually kind of sad, isn’t it? I don’t know. Part of me is happy that he apparently had a good time; the other part of me is shrieking I wore a push-up bra for this?! One thing is for certain: I’m not picking up any more guys in public until I somehow install a better pre-screening process for social dysfunction. Also, if a dude ever comes up to me on the T and asks if I get cell reception, I will turn up my music, smile politely, and say nothing.

Now I’m kind of feeling like a jerkface that I didn’t like this guy, but the thing is, you can’t like people just because the world would be a sweeter place if you did. I think all you can do is be nice and try to be an okay person. He ordered a pina colada in an Irish pub. It wasn’t going to work out anyway. It just wasn’t. I don’t know. I’m doing my best.

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TKOG #93: The kind of relentlessly frugal mistress of the house who can wine and dine the masses on a single blooming potato and spends nary a cent on her daily food budget.

I am: a busy/lazy urban 20something with no great affinity for scrubbing pots and pans.

I am not: even the mistress of a decent-sized apartment.

The Scene: My kitchen, surveying with distress my bare pantry shelves after I idiotically decided to embark upon this challenge. Fun fact: if you want to stretch your creative lady of the house muscles, you might want to consider going shopping first. To wit, my only foodstuffs: a few boxes of dry pasta; jars of peanut butter in every conceivable denomination of crunchitude; two pounds of frozen chicken drumsticks; the rest of a freezer full of flash-frozen spinach and kale; five pounds of onions and a few peppers; an apocalypse bunker’s worth of canned beans; various spices and condiments. And, of course, about sixty cans of Fresca, because I don’t care what my landlord says: the water in Brighton may be potent, but it sure as heck isn’t potable.

Ran this experiment over the course of a week back when I was full-time unemployed, and this much I’ll say for it: once you get tired of all the food you own, snacking to while away the long hours of unemployment becomes infinitely less appealing.

This much I’ll also say: dude, three meals a day is kind of a lot more food than you’d ever imagine. Especially if you aren’t brilliant enough to keep a bar of emergency chocolate around.

Spent an afternoon cooking up barbecue chicken drumsticks and a pot of the best damn vegan barbecue chili ever, and was on the verge of deciding, ‘dude, I am a total friggin’ culinary slash domestic genius!’ when the crazy went in. I don’t know if you’ve ever jolted awake at 2am to rifle through the pockets of seventeen pairs of jeans, praying for a stale old butterscotch candy but … uh, but neither have I? Ahem.

Also, life-saving technique: once you’re down to nothing but pasta and frozen vegetables, might I heartily recommend the world’s easiest peanut sauce (which is to Thai food as Kraft Easy Mac is to Italian): 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter; 1/4 cup hot hot hot water; 2 tbsp soy sauce; 1.5 tbsp rice vinegar; pinch of brown sugar. Whisk ’til it’s creamy and smooth. Dump liberally on everything you eat.

The Verdict: Dude, unfortch, I think it was the peanut sauce that did me in. Contrary to my broke-ass 20something nature, I’ve never been a huge pasta fan, but after I ran out of real food, I reverted to peanut noodles. Despite the fact that I’d cut sugar, pizza and anything fried out of my daily stats — to say nothing of the fact that I was so bored with my limited food options that I really wasn’t eating much — I managed to put on like five pounds over the course of the week that I have yet to shake.

That said, it was a good reminder to actually friggin’ cook every day, if for no other reason than to stop spending $7-12 daily on food of questionable nutritional value. I’m pretty proud of myself for living across the street from the best damn pizzeria in Boston and only violating my strict budget once (to stress-eat a Milky Way after the worst job interview ever).

Okay, though, spill, guys. What do y’all eat when the budget is lean? ’cause I’m saving up for a trip to Barcelona, and sadly see many, many more days of spend-free eating in my future…

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NTKOG #92: The kind of animal-loving hippie who is so at one with the local fauna that she lets them writhe all over her body.

I am: grossed out — understandably, I think — by roaches, rats and vermin of any other description. Including squirrels.

I am not: actually that big on animals, period. If it can’t talk or reason, you can keep it.

The Scene: A snowy stroll through the Boston Common, accompanied by Justice and Kiss-Ducker during their post-New Year’s visit. The paths were frothing with snow, so our stroll was on the brisk slash perfunctory side, when Kiss-Ducker stopped and gazed at a tree.

“The squirrels!” she said. “There are so many of them. And they’re so — fat.”

While I was toying with a pun to refer to the squirrel by, I googled "famous super extra fat dudes" and was reading a top ten list that ranked John Belushi as #5, and could only think to myself: "Dang, he's not fat. He's a good-looking man." I guess this is an overshare but now you have a little insight into my taste in men.

Not one of the actual Common squirrels, but I swear to all that's holy that they were this size. Like a meaner Jabba the Hutt.

Factual, guys. The Common seems to be home to a rare bred of enormo-squirrels. On top of this, their fur was uncommonly glossy and they were docile little bastards. We  puzzled over their enormity for a while (genetics? natural selection?) until Kiss-Ducker knelt down to make smoochy noises and one of the little dudes leaped right into her hands.

Dude. Squirrels. College town. Park right across the street from a 7eleven. Why hadn’t we put it together before? Dudes were feeding the little guys! Obviously we had to get into that action.

Bought some hot roasted almonds and, after skimming a layer off the top, set out to feed the vermin. At first, I was too timid to let one of the knobby-toothed little dudes approach my hands, so I tried to toss them to the squirrels’ gaping mouths. But I missed a few shots and the still-hot glaze managed to seal the nuts onto the squirrels’ pelts. Clearly that was going to get gory after we were gone.

Kiss-Ducker had great luck holding out a nut and letting the squirrel eat from her fingers, so I tried it, and dang if the little guys showed absolutely no fear in the face of being hand-fed by benevolent giants. The only trouble was that they were too into it. Five minutes in, squirrels were scampering over from other trees, staging rear attacks on the three of us, getting tangled up in our boots, all to get their hot nut fix.

After twenty minutes or so, we were about ready to toss the remaining nuts and call it a day, when a college-aged guy walked by. “You feeding the squirrels?” he asked pleasantly. After we copped the truth, he smiled back: “Makin’ ’em do tricks? The really fat ones are the best — they’ll do anything for a nut.”

Dude, squirrels with sufficiently disordered eating to degrade themselves to the point of doing tricks? Friggin’ love it! We begged the guy for a demonstration, so he taunted a squirrel with nuts until it climbed up to his neck, all the while recounting tales of wearing two, three, four squirrels atop his hat only days prior.

I was so terrified of the little beasts that I had to try it. After about fifteen false starts and lots of disinterest from the sated squirrels, I managed to coax one to run up my leg, all the way to the top of my thigh, and submit to ginger petting. I believe he would have made it right the way atop my fedora, but, dude, my hat and I have a good relationship and I just don’t know that it would survive the injustice of squirrel shit.

Contrary to all laws of photography, these dudes were BIGGER in real life. They were the size of friggin' housecats.

Photo, courtesy of Kiss-Ducker, of a squirrel about to begin the incredible journey up my leg. Note also the little fiend scampering in to try to steal the nut.

The Verdict: Soooo, I get my communing with nature badge, right? At the time I thought this was an extremely amusing one-time diversion, but when The Ex came to town a week later, I immediately took him to the Boston Common to attempt squirrel feeding. Unfortunately there weren’t any about, or else my fedora would have had to fear for its life. So even though this didn’t budge my profound ambivalence toward animals, I did feel rather chummy toward the little mongrels, so I venture this one a weak thumbs-up.

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NTKOG #88: The kind of spontaneity-embracing girl who assaults public decency and public transportation mores by taking place in a group display of public pantslessness.

I am: modest; not prone to getting naked around strangers without at least a drink or two in my system. (This upcoming Thursday’s post notwithstanding).

I am not: actually wearing pants now either, since you mention it.

The Scene: Alewife T Station, around 12:40pm. No Pants Day is a national event spanning some 40 American cities, all of which featured pantsless Metro rides today; Boston’s chapter was organization by the Boston Society for Spontaneity who, it turns out, are Boston Sticklers For Punctuality. The Ex (he’s in town) and I, despite taking a cab to the Harvard Square Station in an effort to save time, missed the sign-up and registration tables.

“Damnit, we missed it,” we heard a girl hiss on the bus. “I’m wearing cute underwear for nothing! Are we just going to go home?!”

SUCCESS! Another group of girls wandered the platform dejectedly, wearing sweatpants and apparently not psyched about it; not far from them, a group of MIT boys wearing silly shirts and kneesocks, with not much in between. The Ex and I introduced ourselves and asked whether they’d like to join us and become a renegade group of no-pants. And, I mean, who could say no to an offer like that?

The first rule of No Pants Day, per its creators, is that you don’t talk about No Pants Day. You also don’t giggle, exchange significant glances, or pose for risque photos in the T you’re supposed to be pantskrieging. But apparently giggly girls didn’t get the memo, so we were less than subtle for the first few outbound stops on the Red Line train, and older folks looked at us with only wry amusement.

On the way to Park Street, though, the train filled up, and the new riders commented with some discomfort on the pantsless trend. As far as I could tell (though I was distracted, listening to music and playing Text Twist, a game so riveting that for twenty minutes I forgot I wasn’t wearing pants), reactions fell into three categories: 1) younger people who just didn’t even care about the massive pantslessness; 2) middle-aged men trying very, very hard not to look; 3) older people (especially women) who literally clutched their hearts and muttered about rapscallions.

Oh glory friggin’ be, guys, I am NOT EVEN EXAGGERATING about the last one! The Ex had the fortune of sitting next to a sixty-something woman on one train and according to all reports, she spent the entire ride glaring at his thigh, making sure not so much as a hair touched her stockings. Amazing. When I walked up and stood in front of The Ex, the lady stared at me and started muttering under her breath. Which might have something to do with the fact that, unlike the other girls on the train, it didn’t occur to me to wear boxers, so I looked like I was wearing a hot pink silk blouse, snow boots and a fedora. Period. Kind of yikes, right?

Other great pantsless occurrences: one of the giggly girls decided she was hungry, so we pantslessly stormed the Dunkin Donuts at Boylston, where a car ran a red light in the street while looking at us; I sat in a train next to a very old man who whapped my calf repeatedly with his cane to edge me away; we ended up meeting the whole group at the end, where a bunch of MIT boys took grave interest in The Ex’s London tube map boxers (how appropriate!) and Nexus One; afterwards, pantsless pub assault, where the hostess took a look at forty pantsless dudes flooding the bar, and asked only: “Shit, did you have a reservation that we lost?”

Amazing day — hard really to capture all of the magic. And so, let us put to the test that thing they say about words and pictures. you know, the one where math is involved.

Also, check out my kickass spraytan. Doesn't it look ridiculously good? Details on Thursday.

I've never had a T rider voluntarily leave so much room between us. This lady was NOT AMUSED by my pantslessness.

The pantsless look kind of seems less impressive on guys. Or on anyone with boxer shorts. Bathing suit bottoms for the win!

Stormin' Dunkin Donuts like it was Versailles or something.

Asking random people to pose for pantsless pics: not that weird on No Pants Day.

Pantslessness and cowboy boots! Now why didn't I think of that?! A slammin' combination.

Taken during the pantsless bar crawl. The Christmas-themed boxers in the middle belong to Giggly Girls.

We all felt very close to each other by the end of No Pants Day.

The Verdict: Goddamnit, guys, it’s going to be impossible to get me to keep my pants on after this. (Which if, if you’re counting, the third time I’ve disrobed on public transport for an NTKOG.) As The Ex and I were leaving the bar, I turned to him: “Wanna take our pants off again?” He thought about it for a few seconds and said, “It’s cold. Let’s do it on the way home.” Dudes. Dudes. I cannot take any responsibility for my further pantsless actions.

Also, A+++ for seeking out events with like-minded strangers (er, emphasis on strange) in this sometimes tight-laced city. I’ll definitely be checking out more Boston SOS activities. Even the ones that, lamely, do not require public nudity.

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NTKOG #85:The kind of girl who, when she spots you in a room, acts on the mandate of destiny and, dude, honestly, kind of stalks you until you give her your number.

I am,: say it with me now, not dating.

I am not: like totally immune to the murmurs of fate.

The Scene: Brookline Booksmith, showing Kiss-Ducker around on the last night before she ends her visit and jets back to Barcelona. We head to the used books section downstairs and thumb through all the fiction novels; they’re light in Wodehouse, but Kiss-Ducker pauses to ask my opinion on an Evelyn Waugh novel. I’m telling her that Handful of Dust is a must-read (and now I’m telling you guys that too), when a man pushes between us, to hover in the W’s.

He is tall and broad-shouldered, wearing a motorcycle jacket with an asymmetrical collar and holding a Trader Joe’s wine bag; his hair and skin I can only describe as sun-kissed; he has just strode purposefully through the W’s. Wodehouse, Waugh, Wilde — who the fuck strides purposefully through the W’s? My goddamn soulmate, is who.

He seals the deal by saying a few words in praise of Handful of Dust, then lamenting that he has been prowling the city for a copy of “Scoop.” I may or may not stutter that I just got one, and we banter — we banter — back and forth about Evelyn friggin’ Waugh. Whose name the dude pronounces correctly, to boot!

To my credit, I refrain from proposing to him on the spot.

Sadly, he bounds upstairs before I can attempt to expand the conversation, and I give it up as a lost cause (dude with wine obviously is running somewhere), with Kiss-Ducker whispering for me to go for it. I tell her to grab her books and we race upstairs to stand behind him in line.

“This is a great bookstore,” I tell Kiss-Ducker, loudly enough for him to hear. “They bring all kinds of fantastic authors here. There was a two-block line for Lorrie Moore a few months ago.” HA! He turns around and looks curiously. Kiss-Ducker asks didn’t I tweet about that?, and I say, yeah, I was bummed not to get in, but I’d already heard her read that chapter back at PWCU.

Direct hit. On the second mention, Motorcycle Jacket of Destiny fully spins around, obviously eavesdropping on our conversation. Right about then he ends his transaction, and I bound to the door to intercept him:

TKOG: Look, I’m sorry, this is sort of out of the blue, but save me the trouble of posting a Craigslist missed connection later. You have completely awesome taste in books. Do you come here often?
Motorcycle Jacket of Destiny: Only when I’m walking by.
TKOG: I mean, yeah, that’s how people get places — you have to walk by. But I — look, I’m not coming on to you or anything, but I just moved here and I don’t know too many people. Do you want to grab a coffee sometime and talk Waugh?
MJOD: Uhhh, I have nothing to write my number with.
TKOG: No problem, she said, pulling out her iPhone a little too promptly.
MJOD: My hands are kind of full.
TKOG: I take dictation. [takes his number] Yeah, I’m not — don’t worry, I’m not actually doing to call you.
MJOD: Good luck. Happy New Year anyway.

The Verdict: Ouch, guys, was I covered with snow? ’cause, dude, he completely brushed me off. I’m going to assume it’s because he was taking the wine over to his girlfriend’s house, but man, usually people find me at least a little engaging in a hurricane-of-raw-intensity sort of way. Dude was just like not even having it.

Still, after sighing and cringing for a few minutes on the walk to Sister’s, I let Kiss-Ducker convince me that it was a good thing to try, and by now I whole-heartedly agree. Dude was wearing a fur-lined hat and buying Evelyn Waugh novels in bulk at my favorite bookstore — if I hadn’t said anything, chances are I’d end up on my death-bed, grandchildren on every limb, my rheumatic old eyes watering: ‘What if, what if, what if I had only spoken to that boy in the Brookline Booksmith and my life had been completely different?!

At least now I know for sure.

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