The famous Jennifer Lopez line from the movie The Wedding Planner has been ingrained in my head since college. I will be cliché and admit that that movie did indeed spawn the dream for me to be a wedding planner. As a hopeless romantic who gushes over every single love story ever made, who loves her job more than she thought was ever possible, I wonder, if love is my favorite thing, why has it been such a roller coaster ride in the relationship department? Do I have too high of standards? Am I too picky? Do I expect too much?


And now I’m wondering: is that movie line true? Certainly not… right? I’ve pondered these exact sentiments and therefore opened myself up to the internet dating world a few years back. I kept an open mind. Got to know people before meeting them in person to check the chemistry. Even went out with folks I didn’t necessarily find attractive- which I think is HUGE if you want to have a family with someone… I mean… we all know where babies come from… it’s not always a bottle of Jack Daniels and a snow storm. I also have a history of re-dating. Yes, re-dating. This is where I give second chances to already failed relationships. Partially because I thought maybe we have grown up, maybe things will be differently. Maybe he is done cheating. Maybe I was not letting love in. You name it, I accepted it. And then I dated it. AGAIN. And for some, AGAIN and AGAIN.


Here’s the thing though, at 31, I look back and I am super duper grateful for my experiences, my past relationships because they not only taught me a thing or 200, but the stories I bring back serve as entertainment to my friends and family. Just ask my BFF and roommate for 4 years, you can’t make this stuff up… well you could but I’m a horrible liar. So if you are wondering why I am sharing this it’s merely because I have convinced myself that these little learning curves not only serve as lessons for who I am and what I am looking for, but seriously, to make other people laugh. So here goes.  A few of my favorite dating/relationship sagas. The one who had a very vulgar, very loud custody battle on the phone with his ex in front of me- a custody battle over a bunny for that matter. A bunny named Snickers. On our first date. The one who fell asleep at the movies after insisting that we sit in the very last row and on insisting on holding my hand the whole time. Which made it impossible to escape… The one who is 70 pounds heavier and a full 12 inches shorter than his on-line profile stated. The one who meets you at the hole-in-the-wall bars, not because they are quaint and full of character, but because he doesn’t want to risk running into anyone that knows him or HIS live-in girlfriend.  Since when do you need to ask if someone is single during the dating process? The one who played the perfect gentleman for the first 4 dates and then shows up fully loaded as a groomsman in a wedding you are coordinating.  A groomsman fully loaded is not what is surprising about this story…  What was surprising is that he did NOT acknowledge my presence… like he didn’t know who I was. I spent the evening making sure he didn’t break anything ELSE and kept his shirt ON… You know that song, “Don’t call me no mo, Don’t text me no mo?” The one who meets your 5 month pregnant friend and has an unusually strong and long hold on her tummy (you know folks just LOVE to touch a pregger belly)… only to find out later WHEN HE ADMITS IT- out loud – that he has in the past, dated (more like preyed on) single pregnant women because they have “low self-esteem, they are horny and they can’t get pregnant.” Who the frick says that? OMG you need counseling dude. OMG now I need counseling…. The guy who you have been talking to on and off for months (you assume at this point that you are on), leaves you for a Hooters waitress. Not once. But twice. And while we are on the subject of scantily clad ladies… How about the real fabulous date that ended at a strip club… really? Yes really. And we are talking it started at a museum, dinner, drinks, dancing, a first kiss on the dance floor … and then pole dancing…  And better yet, the pole dancer was a past girlfriend. And he acted surprised that she worked there… “I thought she was a waitress”… yea that’s a similar story to the best-selling nail polish from OPI bro. The one who you are convinced loves you (because he tells you) and wants to be with you although he can’t be public about it right now because the next step is marriage and he’s not ready for that… though you suspect his flirtacious personality might get the best of him one day, he couldn’t possibly do the unthinkable… but oh yes he did, I found her Tiffany’s jewelry on the nightstand. And no, I didn’t keep it. Fool me once, fool me twice… This same one who shows up with a HUGE gift “just because” when “just because” really means: just because I cheated on you… again. FAIL. I will say for the record that I LOVE that gift and still have it hanging proudly in my man cave. Oh and we can’t forget the “perfect guy” who your friend (love you Tasha, but seriously) sets you up with that gets belligerently drunk over cocktails on a Sunday night only to ask me to fly to ONE of his SEVERAL vacation homes on the beach (paying my own way he added), so that we can “get naked together.”  Um sir, I don’t care how rich you are, my momma taught me better than that. The one who was on hour and a half late picking me up because he “fell asleep” which really meant I have an addiction to muscle relaxers and couldn’t physically walk let alone drive. The one who kept ordering food that was NOT on the menu and then getting upset with the waitress because “all he wanted was a nice steak and calamari dinner”…  from TGI Friday’s. I might add for your enhanced entertainment that this clown proceeded to spill his “nice dinner” all over his shirt. I felt like I was on candid camera. The one who warned me to “not break his wallet” as he held the door for me… I thought he was kidding. He wasn’t. He kept track of how much my “expensive” glass of Yellow Tail wine and cup of soup cost. The one who pretends to like beer and baseball then throws a HUGE embarrassing fit in public over how much tickets and beer cost at the stadium. Um, you said you LIKED beer and baseball. Why are you surprised? Oh oh here’s a good one: so we are talking 4 months into being with someone. You know when you are in the inseparable stage. Where you only part ways to go to work. Yes indeed. Well one night his car is parked at the bar across the street. Your usual Cheers hangout, so you walk in only to be greeted by him and the bartender … in a compromising situation…  This one actually convinced me that “she forced herself” on him. The one who insists on buying dinner and then his card declines. The one who can’t figure out why the money he “transferred” isn’t in his account yet. And then we won’t stop talking about it…. Buddy, I already offered to get it. Let’s not make this any more awkward. …This one also proceeded to tell our mutual friends that I totally “wanted it.” Wanted what exactly?  You to pay the bill? Damn straight. Or how about the guy from your past who shows back up… again. Don’t act surprised, I already admitted to re-dating… Here’s where the excuse: “maybe he grew up” or “changed his mind” or “he’s ready for a relationship now” comes in. So he asks you out because well, “it’s just ironic that we keep running into each other.” And you go. Three different dates mind you.  Good times had by all. Or so you thought. Chemistry there. Or so you thought. And then the grand finale: Ashlee, if you can’t handle being friends, then let me know… Um jerk face, and a really cute jerk face at that, I don’t need any more friends. How about we take a trip to Mexico. All inclusive. With your BFF’s and their significant others. Fabulous idea. What was not a fabulous idea however was watching him spend a good 2 hours the first night you are out at the salsa club trying to get phone numbers. Great. So not only am I the clown, but now I’m a clown in Mexico with 5 more days left with this guy. One of my faves, so you have been talking to a guy for a few weeks, things are going good, until he gets drunk one night and admits that no less than a month ago his wedding was called off…  at this point he is crying because he didn’t want it to be over… and why I am here again? Oh yes, to pass the tissues. Hold up, they all haven’t been bad. I actually recall 3 very specific dates, whom I met on eharmony a few years back that were great. Or so I thought. There was the nervous chatter in the beginning. The spilled beer (again nerves), the comfort zone where you begin sarcastic banter and some light flirting. The end of the night wrap up where you hug, say you had a great time and we should do this again. I always followed up with a text thanking them and included something witty and clever to remind them of my charm… And then NOTHING. No call. No text. No email. No morse code. No letter. Maybe they sent the: “I’m sorry but I just wasn’t feeling it” post-it via carrier pigeon and it was delivered to the wrong broad. Maybe. But three times. How rude. Seriously. Now don’t worry. I am not jaded by any of this. I know I will find someone. I’m bound for a fairy tale romance. Disney style. I mean, what wedding planner isn’t? I still accept dates now and then.  And I do plan on getting married, just after I do an extensive background check.  I guess the point of the story is that anything worth doing or having is going to be a lot of work, to take time and patience.  And good things come to those who wait. Patiently for Mr. Right, Mr. Wonderful, Mr. Forever, etc.   I will probably get bonus points for having a sense of humor and good attitude about it. And he will eventually show up when it’s time. Until then, I will keep an open mind, and continue dating and entertaining folks with my stories. After all… what else can possibly happen?