Goodbye, my almost


In a moment of pure feminine guilty pleasure I bought the entire first season of “Felicity” at a used DVD store.

“Felicity” was the anthem of my early college years, and I’ve always had a soft spot for the show. I started watching episode after episode, savoring it like a rare find of a favorite ice cream flavor. I didn’t want to watch them all too quickly! I was so amazed to find the sheer innocence that was then considered risquÃ(c) and the amazing advice and life lessons that were intertwined in Keri Russell’s curly hair.

At the end of one episode, we hear the voice-over of Felicity’s best friend, and she mentions something along the lines of how everyone you care about was at one time a complete stranger, even your soulmate was a stranger at some point. The line hit me so hard, not because of its simple truth, but the reverse notion as well. That someone who was at one point in your life so important to you can make the transition back to being a stranger.

In an earlier column I talked about the differences between an “almost” and a “beshert,” and how I will always have a special place in my heart for that “almost” who helped me to find myself and the person that I’m supposed to be with. What I realize now is that as time goes by, my “almost,” just like nearly every memory of old friendships, is starting to fade in importance. When I look back at the things we did, the conversations we had, the arguments and even the laughter, it’s all started to fade into the category of, well, not so important.

Since meeting my beshert I have continuously thought, “Oh, so this is what life is supposed to be like….” No little arguments, no tears, no fighting about everything, no self-doubt about the person that I am and the things that I want in life. At this point, nearly a year after ending things with my “almost,” I’ve stopped thinking about him all the time; I don’t really wonder what he is up to, and when I am in his “neck of the woods,” I don’t look around wondering if I’ll spot him. I’ve stopped thinking about what his friends are up to and if they are getting together for events. All of those cares and concerns have slowly seeped out of my train of conscious thought, and I am now free to experience life anew.

I am constantly telling my beshert, “thank you for happening to me.” Just like Felicity’s best friend said, my beshert, just like every other person, was once a stranger to me and now my “almost” is slowly fading into being a stranger once again.

I just came back from a weekend getaway with my beshert to a spot that my almost and I went to as well. I was amazed that, although we did some of the same things, the entire experience was different. The city seemed like a different place simply because of who I was with there. The memories my almost and I made faded into the background with each moment I was there with my beshert.

Although some people might find the loss of memories sad, or the idea of forgetting a person who was once so close to you a downer, I think it is quite the opposite.

I think it is a true testament to the way life is. People come in and out of your life for a reason, and to know that someone who you thought was “the one,” or who broke your heart, will once again fade into oblivion is a gift that life gives you. I am sure that if I asked any tearful person who has just broken up with his or her significant other if they are comforted by the thought that eventually the one who is causing them so much heartache will fall into the category of “not so important,” I would get a resounding yes.

I salute the people who can remain friends with their “almosts,” though, for me, I found that in the end cutting ties completely was the best thing to do. It seems most people I’ve talked to agree with me. Cutting ties allows you to become a free person once again, a freedom that allows you to reclaim yourself, your memories and the potential for what can be in the future.

My “almost” is now merely a name, a distant memory and a definition of the past. I consider my time with him my “old life,” and I am thankful every day that I am now in a new one. My beshert and I climbed through the maze of the internet, of Craigslist to boot, and have connected in the now. My soul mate is no longer a stranger, and I am in a state of perpetual bliss.

Caroline Cobrin is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. She can be contacted at carolinecolumns@hotmail.com

The Dealbreakers


My blind date, Scott, likes college hoops, ’80s TV and helping others. I like his cute tuchus. I’m thinkin’ we’d make a fine pair of Jews. We stray from the first date playbook and follow a Santa Monica dinner with a Main Street stroll. As we walk past yet a third unique boutique on our way to get dessert (that we don’t want) and more time together (which we do), Scott says those three little words that can rock a girl’s world. “There’s my car.”

It’s a PT Cruiser — washed and waxed today, valid registration, parked less than 12 inches from the curb. No fuzzy dice, high school tassel or pine-scented Playmate air freshener. The car doesn’t scream “show-off” or “shady,” Speed Racer or gas guzzler. What it screams is middle-aged dad. More specifically — my dad.

Yup, Mr. Davis, father of four, head of the Davis tribe, the abba figure, my partner at the Brownie father-daughter square dance, drives a PT Cruiser. My dad and my date sport the same ride. That throws my night in reverse.

Not that there’s anything wrong with a Cruiser. It’s no Barbie Dream Corvette, but it’s a reliable car, fun design, decent gas mileage. An acceptable set of wheels for Scott, the San Francisco transplant who triumphed in the face of parallel parking. An unacceptable drive for Scott, the guy I’m crushing on. ‘Cuz it’s my dad’s car. The one he drives to work. The one he drives to shul. The one he motors to Home Depot in. The one he cruises for bagels in. Not exactly Hot Wheels.

I try to get over it. Think lovely thoughts. Picture a happy place. Separate the two. My dad’s car is eggplant; Scott’s car is black. My dad’s has a no-spill coffee cup; Scott hates coffee. My dad sits in the driver’s seat; Scott and I will make out in the backseat. Gulp. I can’t get down in the back of my father’s car. Someone call a tow, this date just ran out of gas.

I’m serious. We are stalled. I like my date, I love my dad, but this can’t work. I know it’s not nice to judge a man by his stick shift, but I can’t do a second date with Scott. Steering the same wheels as my Dad is a first date dealbreaker.

Don’t shake your head at me. Everyone’s got a catalog of relationship red flags. My dealbreakers include, but are not limited to (suitors read the fine print): men who wear jewelry and man sandals or call our waiter “chief.” Guys who don’t watch sports, walk me to my car or get my writing. Dates who check their cell phone, Blackberry or hair during dinner. Boys who dip or smoke, or aren’t smoking hot.

I’m not talking about what shampoo to buy, what thread count to sleep on or whether to go with red or white maror. We’re talking about a date, a possible relationship, a potential life partner, hello — a Saturday night. I don’t have time to waste on a mismatch. Dealbreakers are dating shorthand; they tell us when a potential is a pass.

It’s like last fall — my Brentwood hairdresser set me up with her client. We met at Barney’s Beanery to grab a beer and catch a game. Our date was over before the kickoff was returned. I barely opened the menu when he said “What are you gonna get? My ex and I used to come here and get pizza. Half green pepper, half pineapple. Let’s get that. I’m sure you’re up for it.”

I’m not up for it, down with it or into it. Why would I care what you ate with your ex? Why would you bring it up? Do you still like her? Do you plan to woo her back with our leftovers? It’s bad enough that this joker pays $50 for a haircut. But asking me to order his ex’s favorite dish is a blatant first-date dealbreaker. Go directly to date jail, buddy, do not collect $200. His request was self-centered, thoughtless and rude, just like Scott driving my dad’s car. Huh … actually those two things are nothing alike. One is a character flaw, the other a coincidence. One is inexcusable, the other just not-so-sexy. And by not-so-sexy I mean not sexy at all. But still, my hang-up is not drawn to scale.

So Scott drives my dad’s car, it’s not like I’m perfect. I talk loudly. I talk too much. I interrupt. I ask the waiter what I should order. I have a story for everything. I tell stories twice. I always get cold. I bite my nails. And I’m still talking.

I want someone to take my first date flaws with a grain of kosher salt — Scott seems like the kind of guy who might. Actually, Scott seems like the kind of guy who’s great. Maybe I should give him a second chance. Maybe I should say yes to that second date. Maybe dealbreakers were meant to be broken.

But if he wears white pants has hand hair or uses the phrase “irregardless,” I’m so out of there.

Freelance writer Carin Davis can be reached at sports@jewishjournal.com

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Ex-treme Takeoff


You always see him one more time. It’s inevitable. And it’s always on a bad hair day.

I’m flying home from a Chi-town visit with the Davis fam. Sporting yoga pants, glasses and a tired green hoodie, I grab my backpack, my book, “Midlife Crisis at 30” (required airplane reading), and board the plane.

I spot him immediately. Or at least the back of his head. He’s 25 feet ahead of me, but it’s a whole “back of his head like the back of my hand” thing. I know it’s him. I just don’t know how to react.

Ben and I had an on again, off again, on (me) again five-month stint about four years ago. Haven’t seen him since. There was no heated argument or “we need to talk.” The relationship just ran out of ink, faded away. OK, fine — he stopped calling. After he pulled the Elijah, I kept hoping for one more chance, one more call, one more date, when he’d see me and realize he’d made a huge mistake.

But this was not the moment I imagined. This was not the outfit I saw myself wearing. This was not the book I wanted to be caught reading.

With Ben’s noggin in clear view, I analyze my options and do what any self-sufficient woman would do. I duck behind the tall dude in front of me. Chances are, I’ll be seated rows in front of Ben and he’ll never know I’m here. I’m short. I’m blonde. I can blend.

As I inch down the aisle, I realize blending’s not an option. Because sitting right next to me, assigned to the aisle seat across from mine, is my ex, Ben. The stewardess asks that I return my jaw to the upright position, because we’re ready for takeoff.

I throw my frozen deep dish in the overhead, my JanSport under the seat, and hear, “Carin?”

“Ben, hey…. Wow. How funny is this? How are you?”

This should make for good in-flight entertainment. I frantically sit on my book, pull the scrunchie from my hair, and pray my glasses scream sexy librarian. In the movies, the ex run-in always occurs in a great dress on a fun date with a new guy. In real life, no such thing.

My friend, Angel, ran into her ex while walking home from pottery class covered in clay. My friend Jen saw her former beau at the gym. I bumped into an ex at the Pavilions checkout. I was buying wine, ice cream and a 12 pack — of toilet paper. Not exactly the stuff of a Meg Ryan rom-com. And now I’m trapped on a 4 1/2 hour, 1,749-mile friendly skies reunion with no place to go but aisle. And I thought the worst thing about this flight was going to be my kosher meal.

“This is so great, Carin. What’s going on with you? What are you up to?”

Ladies and gentlemen, the captain has turned on the fasten your seat belt sign, we are about to experience turbulence.

It’s not that I didn’t want to see Ben; I just didn’t want to see him like this. Ben’s supposed to think I’m cute and successful and happy. I’m supposed to wow him with my impossible beauty and enviable career. I want him to think I’m stunning and funny and the one that got away. But with the way I look right now, he’s probably thinking, thank God he got away.

I know, I know — why do I care what a boyfriend from six boyfriends ago thinks? I guess it’s an ego thing. A whole “I Want You to Want Me,” “I Will Survive,” “Ain’t Nothing Gonna Break My Stride” remix. The look on his face when he grasps that he was right — it wasn’t me, it was him — is the ultimate “I told you so, your loss buddy, I still got it” confidence booster.

Two bags of free pretzels later, Ben and I move beyond “what’s a five-letter word for awkward” and talk careers, life, even current dating sitches. I don’t feel a thing. And not just because I pounded two mid-flight mini-vodkas. I no longer have feelings for Ben. Not a yearning, a pulled heartstring or a mile-high urge. Guess my emotional baggage shifted during flight. Ben’s a great guy, a smart guy, but not everything I built him up to be. This run-in made me realize his opinion doesn’t matter. Bad travel clothes aside, I’m doing just fine on my own.

Besides it’s not like he’s doing that well. He is flying coach.

Carin Davis, a freelance writer, can be reached at sports@jewishjournal.com.