#tb: point out the flaws.

The following was written in 2010; nothing has been changed. Like what you’ve read? Enjoy my #tb (throwback) blog series as I count down the days until my second book, How to Make Lemonade, is released on December 2nd!


Sunday, May 16, 2010

This post is about to get ruuulll awkward.

First of all, let me start by telling you a little bit about my fun-filled weekend. Remember back in the early days of this project, when I was supposed to plan to get away? Well that’s what I did this weekend—my single gal pal and I packed our bags and drove away to Texassss.


The little road trip was nice. We did lots of visiting with friends and family, ate lots of mexican food, and spent some time in the sun. A much-needed break for both of us.

Having said that…my assignment today is to masturbate. Yep. And seeing as I’m on a family trip, that’s not really first on my to-do list. However, I get the point. It’s time to get back out there…or not really, er, I don’t know, I guess understand that…

No. I can’t even write about this. My family reads this.

Just leave day 25 to the imagination. Or not.


Monday, May 17, 2010

This is the assignment you all have been wishing for—the one where I point out all the bad things about my old relationship (that’s right, I said old, because it’s over. Done. Dead. Gone).

As much as this assignment is going to be good for me, it’s also one of the more difficult ones. It doesn’t make me sad…it makes me embarrassed. The Frisky instructed me to recall five moments my ex made me mad or upset. I was to recall those moments, relive my anger, and realize that he was not perfect and these are the reasons why. With the help of a friend, we rehashed my entire relationship searching for the bad memories. Well…when it rains, it pours my friends. I easily came up with five bad moments…and then the list grew to eleven.

I’ve shared a few of these things already. But it’s difficult to come out with them, because it makes me look bad that I let someone who did these things to me run with it for so long. This list makes it obvious that he is NOT the one for me, and he didn’t deserve me even for the time he had me.

Here we go. This list is not in any order.

1. Taking her home in front of me

Remember that girl I mentioned last week…the baggage? Yeah, I need to come clean on that one. We were not on a break, it was during a time when we were non-exclusive, a deal he created so I couldn’t get mad when he (literally) effed me over. Pretty neat how that works, isn’t it? You should know, I met my ex working in a bar…we both were bartenders. During the two years we weren’t exclusive, my ex got away with many things…I’m guessing more things than I care to know about. However, around the time of our “1 year” he came into the bar to visit me. He said, “so we’re going out Thursday for our one year, right?” I said yes and gave him a drink. Then came my friend uh, schmanna and her roommate, schmeg. Schmeg had a crush on my guy after he’d taken her out on a date.


But I didn’t think anything of it. Until schmanna came up to tell me the news—he had been texting her all day, told her to meet him at the bar (WHERE I WORKED). So he comes back to the bar and I lash into him asking him why he brought a date to the bar, why would he embarrass me, why would he do that? He lied and said he just knew her, but hadn’t been talking to her. I told him to fuck himself, that she’d better be worth it because we were done. So he leaves the bar alone and texts me, “I hope you’re happy, I’m leaving alone.” Well then comes ole schmeggles to close out her tab. She’s on the phone WITH MY GUY, getting directions to his house. Yeah, they had sex. My guy lied about it for weeks to come. I didn’t talk to him for two months.


To this day, that moment bothers the piss out of me. First of all, don’t effing sleep with other women. Secondly, if you’re going to do so, make an effort to try and hide it. And thirdly, if I find out, the bitch better be hotter than me.

I’m kidding. If anyone cheats on me, I’m going Lorena Bobbit on his ass. Getting cheated on is the worst feeling in the world. And the thought of it still makes me ill.

2. A non-existent Valentine

I’ve never been a fan of Valentine’s Day. However, I’ve also never had a real Valentine; never had a boyfriend on Valentine’s Day. That is, until this year. I didn’t want anything extravagant, no gifts, I really just wanted to spend some QT with him. So I asked him if we could spend the night at his place in New Orleans, have a little wine, and eat a heart-shaped pizza…then proceed to get sloppy drunk while watching the parades (V-Day falls near Mardi Gras). He simply ignored my request and spent Valentine’s night with his guy friends watching the parade. What did I do, you ask? Oh I sat on my ass at my apartment, drank an entire bottle of red, while crying on the phone to my Boobie, and half-watching the opening ceremonies for the Olympics.

3. Always coming in last 

During our entire relationship, I was always the last on his list. When it came to making plans, he would check with work first, then family, then friends, then maaaaaybe me. We very rarely made plans, because something could come up with someone else. This made me feel like shit. I felt like I wasn’t cool enough, wasn’t southern enough, wasn’t pretty enough, because he was always searching for the bigger, better deal.

Guess what, jerk? I am the BIGGER, BETTER DEAL.

4. Meeting the family 

It took me two years to meet his family. They live 10 minutes from me. And I had to make it an ultimatum—I said I would leave him if I didn’t meet his family.

I’m sure I’ve said this before, but I love meeting people’s families. I want to be in a relationship where we do things together; I want to be a part of things. That definitely was not the case here.

5. Getting his flirt on 

Since I worked at a bar with him, I learned early on that he is a huge flirt. Earlier this year, he wanted to tell me a funny story about a girl at the bar who asked for his number.

I wasn’t laughing.

Obviously he had lead her on to make her think she could get his number. After denying it for a few minutes, he then admitted that he was flirting with her, but didn’t give her the number. Well, he probably did, but I wasn’t thinking that then. So that conversation got us into the question of rules…I asked him if it was okay that I go to bars and flirt with guys and get their numbers. He said I was allowed to flirt with other guys, I just couldn’t go home with them.

Uh, wow. Look whose boyfriend doesn’t care about her? That’s right, MINE. I’ve been on dates with guys and haven’t taken them home…does that mean we’re allowed to have straight up sex-less relationships with other people? Efff that noise. I want a boyfriend who is going to say, no you’re my girl, you cannot flirt with other guys. End of story.

6. I’m uninvited 

His sister got married last year and I wasn’t invited. He didn’t even ask me to be his date. Sure, he was in the wedding, but he still could have acknowledged the fact that I wasn’t going. I hadn’t met his family at this point and I felt like he was embarrassed by me.

7. Not getting serious 

I’ve already said we were non-exclusive for two years. That’s bull shit. End of story.

8. Hurricane Gustav 

During Hurricane Gustav, I was alone. Since I work for a website, I had to work through the storm. His house was about two blocks from my work, so naturally I wanted to stay there…so I would be closer, could be with him, and wouldn’t be alone. But he didn’t let me. Why? I still don’t know.

9. He’s got me mistaken 

A while back…probably a year or so, my ex called me a hippie. I don’t know how it was used or what the conversation was, but he called me a hippie and it bugged the shit out of me. I have no problem with hippies, I am just not one of them.

I didn’t say anything right when he said it, but I asked him about it later. He said something like…the decor in my apartment was somewhat hippie. Excuse me, but my apartment is tres chic! I have a modern couch and chair, a tufted cocktail ottoman, a chocolate dining set, and down comforters on my bed. What about that screams hippie?

I wrote it off as me being liberal, but it’s not like I have Obama campaign swag in my apartment. I’m not painting the healthcare bill on my walls or putting a gay pride wreath on my door. And dammit, I use soap. I’m not a damn hippie, so suck it.

10. Giving in to the 5-star vagina

At the top of the list, I mentioned that my ex slept with schmeggles. Well, before that, he slept with someone else. When we were working at the bar together, we got a new coworker. She was 17, typical, rebellious, annoying. She talked like a man. She also told stories about all the sex she had and said she lost her virginity when she was 11. Then she said she had a tattoo of five stars on her tootie, because she had a “5-star Vagina.” Umm, by the number of guys you brag about, I guessed her nether regions weren’t top notch. But nevertheless, my ex banged her. I found out from someone else, asked him about it, and he lied for a few months, before eventually coming clean.

11. Being accused 

By now, I’m sure you’re wondering why the hell I stuck around. Frankly, so am I. My only explanation is that I thought things would get better, I thought he would come around, and he did, it just took a very long time and was very short-lived. Then I got dumped.

During the whole non-exclusive thing, I figured I should go on dates if he was off having sex with every 5-star crotch in town. So I went on probably about three dates, BFD, right? Well, those dates turned into me getting accused of sleeping with someone that I didn’t sleep with.

After I knew about all the women of his past, I had absolutely no reason to lie about the situation. But when I told the truth, that I did not sleep with someone, he said I was a liar. After hours of screaming, crying and fighting, he still didn’t believe me. To this day, I’m sure he doesn’t believe me. But it doesn’t matter. The rules were never fair—he obviously could sleep with girls left and right, but the second a rumor surfaced about me, he took it as gospel and never believed me.


Now that I’m incredibly embarrassed and pissed, I think I’ve completed today’s assignment with flying colors. However, I wanted to leave you with something else. Although I have been vocal about my attempts to submit writing to The Frisky, another venture of mine is submitting work to The New York Times for their weekly Modern Love column. I have submitted two pieces so far and haven’t been successful, but I am still trying. Below is a column I wrote for submission shortly after incident #6 occurred (being uninvited to his sister’s wedding). Although he and I got back together after I wrote the column, it was written with honest emotion and it’s a good snapshot of the grit of the relationship. Enjoy!

Holly A. Phillips

Modern Love


I arrived at his house wearing ruffled lingerie and a pair of black stilettos. It was 3 am, in the middle of November. I walked up the brick path to his door, balancing a homemade white cake in my hands; it was his 25th birthday.

He answered the door, surprised, but blew out the candles. He motioned me inside, but then stated the obvious.

“Holly, you have no clothes on.”

“I know,” I said. “It’s part of your present.”

Although we’d only known each other a few months, I felt comfortable enough to pull such a sexy stunt. I saw Matt for the first time, almost a year before, on Valentine’s Day. He was serving tequila shots at a local bar, while I was drowning my single sorrows in a dirty martini. He didn’t notice me that night, but we met six months later at the same bar. 

I wasn’t attracted to him at first. He was a little too flirtatious for my taste. I always saw him leaning over the bar writing down his phone number for different women. However, with each time we saw each other, he grew on me. He was tall, with light brown hair, and eyes that became my weakness. More importantly, he made me laugh.

One evening, he invited me to his house to watch a football game. He said he wanted me to meet his friends, because he thought I could date one of them. The high from his invitation became an extreme low; I was crushed. I declined the invite simply because I wanted him, not his friends.

Soon enough, he got the hint and invited me over for a movie, just the two of us. It was there, my crush grew, we kissed, and he told me about himself. He claimed he was busy, in graduate school, working two jobs, and completing an internship. His packed schedule was his main reason for being single. He also said a previous girlfriend had cheated on him, making him hesitant to date.

His openness comforted me. My past was a mess of failed relationships; I had been cheated on, too. I saw his previous relationship as a challenge, since I knew I would never cheat on him, or anyone. I had always thought of myself as a good partner in a relationship. But two years later, I found myself lost in a sea of tears as I told him to forget my name.

Matt told me he loved me for the first time on a Sunday morning. Since we usually spent Saturday nights together, Sundays were often special for me. I loved waking up to the sound of Matt’s neighbors mowing the lawn. Matt would get the paper from the end of his walk way, we might fix eggs or cinnamon toast, and then sit on the couch together and read the local news. His ‘I love yous’ often came in these quiet moments, which I cherished.

Matt and I celebrated our anniversary on Boss’ Day; an inside joke we shared because I often let him think he was the boss in our affair. Looking back, it seems he really was the iron fist in our relationship. I call it a relationship, because to me, that’s what it was. The feelings were there, the motions were there, but I was never Matt’s girlfriend.

For this reason, it took me a long time return the favor and tell Matt I loved him, too. In my heart, I knew I loved Matt, but my past experiences kept my lips zipped. I had only loved one other person, my first love, and I didn’t want Matt and I to end up as that relationship had.

A week before our one year anniversary, I caught Matt with another woman at a bar. My insecurities heightened. I was embarrassed, hurt, and confused when he took her to his house that night. Since I wasn’t technically his girlfriend, I had no right to get upset at Matt for sleeping with someone else. I got mad anyway and pushed him out of my life for months.

Like a mathematician, Matt calculated each move with me. Sometimes he was sweet and would tell me he loved me, but if I got too attached he would pull away. He never called me his girlfriend, but he didn’t approve of me dating anyone else. When I said it was time to meet his family, he agreed, but never made the plans.

I fell in love with Matt for many reasons. He made me laugh, but we could still have serious talks. He put up with my girlish requests—calling before bed, behaving at bachelor parties, tasting my recipes, etc. Matt was perfect on paper with a master’s degree, a great job, a nice car, and a beautiful home. I saw stability in that; something I rarely had in life, let alone in a relationship.

The best part about Matt was the way he made me feel when we were together. He was never short on compliments, interested in my work, and confident in me as a person. He often told me how great I was, how lucky he was to have me. On those days, I had the world in my hand. But the good times were laced with the bad, times when he would ignore my calls or stand me up for a date. It was in these moments I learned actions really do speak louder than words.

Matt always apologized if he messed up and was quick to tell me he would take any punishment I had for him. I didn’t want to punish him; I wanted him to treat me right in the first place.

But one batch of apologies and two months after I caught him with the other woman, I gave him a second chance. I remember our first Saturday night back together. We were sitting on his couch again, watching a movie, while sharing a bottle of red wine.

“You know, sometimes I think about what it would be like if we were together forever,” he said.

I had thought about it, too. I pictured us moving in together and having our usual Saturday nights. I thought about cooking him dinner when he arrived home from work, fixing him a stiff drink, and talking about our day. I liked the idea of it, but I had a feeling that’s all it would be—an idea.

I had fallen in love with a man who put his life first and my heart was breaking because of it. I was last on Matt’s to-do list, after work, family, and even friends. The bad times were starting to push out the good and I was growing impatient as our two-year anniversary was approaching.

One week before Boss’ Day, Matt’s sister was getting married. I had been with Matt eight months prior, the night she was engaged. I made a mental note about the October wedding and waited for Matt to ask me to be his date; it would be my chance to meet the family, finally. When the invitation never came, I had reached the end of my rope. And there were no more chances left to give. 

I have always fantasized about that perfect relationship—the one that’s a balance of me and my boyfriend, our friends, and our families. I pictured that with Matt, but I never got it. I wanted to be close to his family, like they were my own. I wanted to bake cookies with his mom and go shopping with his sister. I wanted to be a part of his life.

My mind was confusing fantasy with reality. My fantasy was that he would eventually leave work at 5pm, spend time with me when he said he would, and answer my phone calls. My reality was I had a man in my life that simply was not into me as much as he was into working overtime, going sailing, or doing his parents’ yard work.

After two years of living in the clouds, I had to face the cold and end the relationship. Maybe he thought I was overreacting, but I couldn’t get caught up in his mind. My feelings had been tangled for months, waiting for something better and I finally saw it wasn’t going to happen in this relationship.

When I told Matt I was done, he said nothing. Of course, there was a small part of me that wanted him to fight back. I wanted to hear that he cared about our future and would try to make things right, but it didn’t happen, which made the wound worse. For all I know, Matt could be waiting in the wings for the day my will breaks and I give him another chance. But that day will never come.

I take part of the blame for our relationship failing. Instead of taking many of the signs seriously in the beginning, I did the typical girl thing and just hoped things would change. I’ll admit that my optimistic heart often gets me in trouble in situations like these. However, I can’t punish myself for fantasizing that someday there will be someone willing to include me in his life, even if it is a busy one. 

As a woman, I am constantly training the people around me how I need to be treated. Matt figured out early that it was okay not to be exclusive with me or bring me around his family. In return, he taught me what I shouldn’t put up with if I expect to have a real relationship that lives up to my dreams. 


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