Sunday, July 15, 2012

And the Search Begins

I think I’m over being single. Not that I would want to be married again. No thank you. Not that I mind having the choice to do whatever I want whenever I want.  The only person who has to agree with me is me. And not that I mind never worrying about upsetting someone and getting into an argument. I’m not confrontational so it’s nice not to have to confront; especially when it’s over the most insignificant, ridiculous topics and half the time you are arguing just because you somehow ended up there and can’t find your way out. I don’t mind not being accountable to anyone as to where I am going or what I am doing. Being single can be quite liberating.
With that said…what I do mind…is being frickin’ bored.  Living in the middle of suburbia where the median age is 38 and 95% of the males even close to my age are married, and the other 5% are not married for very obvious reasons, makes for a difficult social life. The few single friends I have live in other states; some on the other coast, but those that live in California, may as well live in other states since they are too far to commute to anyway.
I’m not the type to go exploring by myself, for various reasons. One…I get lost in my own house. Two…it’s more fun with someone else. Three…I get lost. And four…I get lost. I tend to have slight panic attacks when I get lost. Yes…even with my talking GPS. I will go to the movies by myself, as long as I know how to get to the theater. Luckily there are a few close by so at least I can be current on my films. I’m not one to join clubs and organizations by myself. I’m basically pretty shy. I know…hard to believe…but I am. So when I have to go to a function where I don’t know anyone, those panic attacks tend to rear up again.  So where does one go when one is shy and living in some god forsaken-out of the city lights-Stepford wives community?
MATCH.COM baby! Here I come. [Again.] I was on Match about 3 or 4 years ago and unfortunately, so were many of the men I am seeing on there now. There is a small, new crop, but the ripe ones are few and far between. Needless to say, I happened upon many who made me stop and say… “Are you f**king kidding me?” Who would write this shit? And some of the pictures…’YOU think that this is your BEST picture you could post?’ If that’s their best, I can only imagine what they look like in person. And why would someone post as his profile picture, one of himself with his head in a fake shark’s mouth with the stupidest looking expression he could make? That’s the first impression he wants to make?
I would love to put their pictures on here so you could see exactly what I’m talking about…but you never know who knows who and I wouldn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. At least not to their face. I would rather just talk about them anonymously and write about them hoping it’s no one who reads this. And if it is…maybe this will be a helpful guide to a good profile.
I love when they post one not-so-great pic of themselves and 8 different shots of their pet. Wow…that’s one good looking dog…I think I’ll send him a ‘Wink’. I sure hope he brings his owner with him on our date.

Then there are those who post landscapes. Why? I don’t need to see where you’ve been on vacation and where I probably won’t go if we start dating since you’ve already been there. How is that going to impress me?  Now…10 pictures of your cars and motorcycles? THAT impresses me. I need to know just what options I will have for transportation once we start dating. And if there’s a bike amongst them that I don’t like…well…that’s a deal breaker. I mean…a Honda, not a Harley? Forget you. And there better be tattoos to go along with that bike.

One of my favorites is always the one who poses with his shirt off in the majority of his pictures. A little impressed with yourself, are ya? Well...that is the one thing that does NOT impress me. I will move right along because most likely they look in the mirror way too much for my liking. I don’t care how great a body you have…keep it dressed for the Match site, wouldya? There is a guy I know at my gym who has gained quite a bit of weight but his profile pic is from when he was buff. I would hate to be the date who finds out exactly what he now looks like. Keep the pics current. I wouldn’t want some guy to think he was meeting me the way I looked ten years ago. I may not have gained any weight, but I sure had gravity make its mark. I think the look of disappointment would be worse than him passing me by on the website. I don’t get why guys do that. We are going to notice that there’s a 60 pound surplus once we see you in person guys!  
There was a man who was posing in a Speedo. A 60 something guy, and he wasn’t European. Granted, for his age…he looked good. But who would go out with someone who wears a Speedo if he isn’t swimming for an Olympic Gold Medal.  

Another turn off for me is when I see guys my age who are ‘seeking’ women 25-40. Twenty-five? Are you f**king kidding me? What could you possibly have in common with a 25 year old besides the fact that she may be friends with your daughter? What will you talk about…what she has planned now that she graduated college? And do you think she will be into your sagging you know what, or do you think it may be your inflated bank account? I don’t know…what do you think? I’m sure it will be the hanging skin that turns her on.

One guy wrote in his profile ‘You must have great legs and wear short dresses. That is a requirement.’ WHAT? Do you think he may be a little shallow and a tad hypercritical if your body isn’t perfect? And if someone in her 50’s is wearing a mini-skirt…I don’t care how great her body is…she should have a ‘Glamour NO’ tattooed on her back. There are just some things certain people shouldn’t do. But hey…there is someone for everyone. It’s what makes us all individuals…good taste or not. And what woman would actually read that and say…”That guy is for me”?
I got an email from a not-so-great-looking guy yesterday. The subject line said “Would love to start a conversation with you.” I thought…good opening line. Then I saw his picture. That blew it for me because he was just not my type. The Larry Fine hairdo (of Moe, Larry, and Curly fame) and Andy Rooney eyebrows just didn’t cut it for me. But if that wasn’t enough on its own (not to sound shallow myself, but there does have to be some chemistry)…the body of the email said, “You MUST call me. I don’t do email” and he gave me his number. Really? I MUST call you? Oh, sure I will, Master. You just sit by that phone and wait for my call. I’ll be right on that.  

I don’t mind when they say that if you do or don’t believe in something, or want something they don’t have, move on to the next person. When you say it in a nice way…it’s letting someone know not to waste either person’s time. I happen to appreciate that. What I don’t appreciate is when it’s someone that I would love to meet, but there’s that one stipulation that prohibits it. Ya know…like being a good Catholic girl. Well…I can’t fake that. Or being 5’9” or taller. Can’t fake that either.  Or having no children. Nope…can't fake that. Or being sexual. Now THAT I can fake.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Wheelin' and Dealin'

In December of this year it will be my 10 year anniversary that I’m with my company. I can’t believe how fast 10 years has passed. It’s been a great decade working with all the people who have come and gone over the years. It was a company I had always wanted to work with because of their great reputation, honesty and integrity, and my dream came true.

In December of this year it will also be my 10 year anniversary that I have been making car payments for my 2003 GMC Envoy. WHAT???? Yes…that’s right…I believe I am now going to be inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest pay off on a car. Or maybe I am going to make a world record for the stupidest loan documents ever signed by one of the stupidest customers who ever bought a car. Those sales people must have been laughing their asses off when I walked out of that showroom. Maybe that’s why I had 5 salesmen helping me by the time I left. One by one they kept coming over…I’m sure because they couldn’t believe someone would actually pay the price I paid, and wanted to share it with each salesman. They wanted to witness the dumbest deal ever made by a car buyer.

I believe as I drove off the lot, my car depreciated over 50% because I’m quite confident I paid double what I really needed to pay. I probably paid the equivalent 10 years ago for a mid range SUV that someone today would pay for a small Learjet. Yup…35 years I’ve been in the negotiating business and a fine job I’ve been doing.

Why is it I can negotiate the rate down to where I need it to be for my job (albeit fair), but when it comes to negotiating for my own personal needs…rarely do I hold out. In fact…I don’t even wait to hear the starting price…I just offer up a rate and go from there. And I’m pretty sure the sellers absolutely adore me because I start way higher than they even were expecting to get. Yup…35 years as a negotiator. I would fire me if I wasn’t me.

My daughter’s lease was up on her car a couple of weeks ago. Over the last few months she’s been talking about what car she wanted to get, but the problem was she was way over her miles; there was a ding in the bumper; and the interior had some blemishes. I told her as long as you turn it in and lease another…it shouldn’t matter. They can roll the excess cost into the new lease. We weren’t sure if we could turn in her Mazda to a Honda dealer, since she wanted a new Honda, or if we had to turn it into Mazda. But we decided to go to Mazda first to see if there was a car she may want there, assuming we would get a better deal. Can I please tell you who my most hated negotiations are with? I was angry at the salesman for trying to rip me off before I even got on the lot. I had already conjured up in my head what he was going to do and say, while I was on the ride over there. By the time we drove up and the vultures were upon us, froth was coming out of my mouth. I was seething, ready to pounce......and up strolls the nicest car salesman I would ever have the pleasure of dealing with. At least that’s how he appeared. Not too pushy, not too scuzzy, almost normal. And almost normal for a car salesman, in my book, is like dealing with Mother Teresa.

I had warned my daughter not to act excited if she saw a car she really wanted. If they think they have you hooked, they’ll never negotiate. I also told her not to question anything I say, even if she knew it to be untrue. It was all part of the negotiation. Just let me do most of the talking and it should work out great. I know what I’m doing. I had 10 years to rectify my mistake. You can tell him what you’re looking for but nothing about price. Leave that up to me. And if we have to walk away, we will. They’re desperate. We would get a call later from them offering a better price.

"Hello ladies…how can I help you?" After I got done being creeped out, I contained my hiss, pulled in my claws and went through the whole spiel about the terms of the lease and if we had to, we would simply convert it into a loan so there won’t be any penalties, unless we could get a good deal on a new car and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Great way to start off our venture into sleaze-dom because he then knew he wasn’t dealing with a couple of ditzy ‘broads’ who didn’t know anything.

‘What size engine are you looking for?’ Huh? ‘Do you want a 4 cylinder or 6 cylinder?’ Huh? ‘Do you need 4-wheel drive?’ Huh? ‘Do you want automatic or manual?’ Automatic please (whew…knew that answer.) ‘What size wheels do you want?’ Huh? [Aren’t they pretty much all the same?] ‘What color would you like?’ NOW we’re talkin’. White, preferably.

After approximately an hour or so spent with the Mazda guy, we asked him, sheepishly, if we were able to go to Honda to turn in our car. He amazingly was honest and told us we could go anywhere we wanted to and turn it in. He didn’t act upset after spending the last 60+ minutes showing us the new models, going for a test drive, then losing the business. I was quite impressed. I have to admit…our local Mazda dealers have been nothing but gracious and very uncarsalesmanlike. Good for them! Unfortunately for them, they still didn’t get our business.

Thank God it was too late to head over to Honda. Even though it wasn’t a totally unpleasant experience at Mazda, it was still draining. Any time you have to deal with salespeople, it’s ad nauseam. But I had the next evening to look forward to with our Honda dealer. If they’re anything like the latest commercials…I probably will puke. They need a new ad agency.

The anticipation of doing that all over again pretty much ruined my next day. But hey…what are moms for? And since I AM a negotiator by trade…who better than good ol’ mom to work the deal? After a day of hard negotiating with my TV ad salespeople, why wouldn’t I look forward to a whole evening of it with the car sleaze-people, too?

"Hello ladies…what can I sell you today that you can’t afford?" Once again…the whole explanation of the lease, and turning it into a loan, etc. But this time we knew what we wanted. It was the car she had wanted so badly for the last couple of years, and there it was...exactly the one she was looking for; right model, right color, right everything. Now it was a matter of whether they could meet the monthly payment my daughter could afford. I was ready to haggle. I was ready to spar. I couldn't have been more prepared to break this guy down and get everything we wanted and then some. I gave my daughter the look of ‘remember what I told you. Don't say a word.’

"What kind of payment are you looking for?" And without hesitation, I opened my big mouth and said "We’ll take it!" And that was the last time I will EVER be allowed to go with anyone to buy a car again.