Studies in Royal Herpetology: The Tale of Bobbio


Herpetologist – noun\ˌhər-pə-ˈtä-lə-jist\: One Who Specializes in Study of Reptiles and Amphibians 

Royal Herpetology 101: Introduction to the Myth of the Frog Prince

Pucker up.
Pucker up.

It’s a saying that single girls hear over and over: “You’ve got to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince.”  Well, I’ve met a lot of frogs.  I’ve met some snakes and toads, too.  If I ever decide that I want another career, I’ve already got plenty of experience in herpetology.  I could probably win the Nobel Prize for Herpetology.  I’d be the freaking Herpetologist of the Year.  But unfortunately, I’m getting pretty darn tired of frogs.  I am sick of douchey, psychotic, losery frogs.

Losers, and Douchebags, and Freaks, Oh My!
Losers, and Douchebags, and Freaks, Oh My!

I am a magnet for weirdos.  All of my friends and family have been forced to admit that I seem to attract a higher percentage of creepers than the average girl.  Some of these guys have been total jerks.  Some have been perfectly nice, but unfortunate freaks of nature.  Some have been certifiably crazy.  And some have been a mutant combination of all of the above.

romantic comedy

I’ve been on so many bad dates that I’ve all but given up.  The upside?  I’ve collected a ton of bad date stories.  This column shall be called “Studies in Royal Herpetology,” because I’ve yet to find that elusive frog who’s actually a prince.  I know that my Prince Charming is out there.  I’ve seen the proof.  Many of my friends are dating or married to their princes.  I’ve met A LOT of honest-to-goodness princes!  Unfortunately, they never seem to be my prince.

Tom Hiddleston, if you're reading this - CALL ME!
Tom Hiddleston, if you’re reading this – CALL ME!

In the meantime, I guess I’ll keep wading through the pond scum.

“The Tale of Bobbio”

“I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening.  But this wasn’t it.” – Groucho Marx

where have you been

“Bobbio” was the very first online date I ever had.  I was naïvely optimistic.  His profile seemed perfect.  He was a fellow teacher and a hopeless romantic.  He was a quirky spirit with little bit of a nerdy side.  He was a dedicated Christian and an all-around nice guy.  He seemed mature and ready for commitment – two qualities that my previous boyfriend had definitely been lacking.  Soulful brown eyes gazed up at me from his profile picture; Bobbio was a handsome man around my age with a shy smile.  His emails were witty, funny, and heartfelt.  Jackpot!  (I’d soon learn that a better term for the situation might be Crackpot!) Our emails turned into phone calls.  Bobbio did most of the talking.  He asked me if I minded chubby guys.  Of course not!  More to love!  I was a little confused, though – in his profile, he had described himself as having an “athletic build,” and his pictures backed that up.  Bobbio also talked about Star Wars, Doctor Who, and Star Trek for a really long time.  Not my thing, but no big deal.  Harry Potter and Walking Dead are more my style of Geek Chic, but hey, whatever floats your boat.  Nerdiness can be endearing.  Finally, we made plans to meet up for dinner at Olive Garden.


I was so nervous that night!  The butterflies in my stomach were krumping with chainsaws to gangster rap.  I walked right past the man standing near the door until I heard him call out my name.  It was Bobbio!  Oh…  It was Bobbio.


Either the dude was a time traveler, or he’d used some pretty outdated photos on the website.  The guy standing before me was about ten years older and fifty pounds heavier than his profile pictures.  Needless to say, I was caught off guard.  Nevertheless, I just adjusted my expectations and decided to head into the restaurant with an open mind.

Me thinking about my life choices.
Me thinking about my life choices.

Let’s be real – I always thought I’d just love being showered with flattery.  As it turns out, one or two sincere compliments are perfectly lovely.  Continuous, over-the-top compliments are perfectly creepy.  Bobbio started with the adoration from the moment I shook his hand and continued until the moment I finally shut my car door at the end of the night.  For two awkward hours, I was treated to a steady stream of comments like these:

– You’re so beautiful, I can’t concentrate on my spaghetti.
– Your eyes are hypnotic.  They’re magnetic.  I’m going to drown in them. *accompanied by prolonged intense eye contact*

target gif

– My last girlfriend was embarrassed of me.  She made me drop her off down the street from her work because she didn’t want her coworkers to know about me.
– Please don’t put me in the friend zone.  I don’t need any more friends.  I need true love.
– I fall in love too easily, I admit it.  But you’re worth the risk.


– My best friend told me not to come on too strong, or I’d scare you away.  But I have to say what I feel! *Note – His best friend was a 60 year old woman that he taught school with.
– Are you sure you don’t like Doctor Who?  I have the box sets of every Doctor Who show and movie ever made.  We can cuddle on my couch and have a marathon!


– No, I’m sure I don’t like Harry Potter.  Sorry, that’s not my jam.  It’s for children.  But let’s talk about Star Wars!
– Please don’t lose any weight.  You have curves in all the right places.  Your body is perfect. * Note – This one is extra super creepy, amiright?!?!?

Welcome to Online Dating!
Welcome to Online Dating!

Aaaaand so on.  And on.  And on and on and on.  By the end of dinner, my head was spinning.  As he paid the bill, I excused myself to the restroom and proceeded to have a mini nervous breakdown.  I was such an idealist, such a daydreamer, such an optimist!  Before Bobbio and I had actually met, I was convinced that he was going to be Mr. Wonderful!

What an idiot.
What an idiot.

Remember, it was my very first online date.  I had not yet become the wise and jaded old crone that I am now.  These days I am a bundle of contradictions.  I am a dreamy realist and a realistic dreamer.  I am an optimistic pessimist and a pessimistic optimist.  I am all these things and more.  Ask me again tomorrow, I may give you a totally different answer.  I’m a woman, dammit – I’m expected to be complicated!


Anyway, I pulled myself together, made a firm decision not to kiss Bobbio, and headed out into the lobby.  It turned out that Bobbio had a different plan.  As we walked me to my car, I fretted about how to end the date.  Handshake?  Hug?  High five?  Fist bump?  Tap dance solo?  Suddenly Bobbio grabbed my hands, leaned in close and whispered, “I’ve been waiting for the moment since the day I was born.  Can I kiss you?”

shock gif

I was the proverbial deer in the headlights.  A voice inside me cried “NOOOOOOOOO!” Yet another voice said, “Meh, whatever.  Why not?” My actual voice said “Umm…. okay.”

Dramatic Reenactment of the Goodnight Kiss
Dramatic Reenactment of the Goodnight Kiss

Dear Reader, I cannot quite explain to you exactly what happened next.  Imagine a massive, amorous lizard.  Imagine a colossal snake unhinging its jaws to swallow its prey whole.  Actually, imagine a ginormous, overly affectionate anteater.  Have you ever seen a dog trying to slurp up every smear of peanut butter out of an almost empty jar?  Imagine that, but in human kiss form.


It was horrible.  It was traumatic.  It was revolting.  But worst of all?  It was never-ending.  The dude WOULD.  NOT.  STOP.  And I just stood there, taking it, too awkward to end it.  Finally I mustered the courage to gently push him away and take a clumsy step closer to my car.  Aaaand he leaned in again.


“Wow.  That was addictive.  Can I kiss you again?” Do you know what I said? Do you KNOW what I SAID? DO YOU KNOW WHAT I SAID? “Umm… okay.” (Sigh.)

ew gif

Dear Reader, try not to judge me too harshly.  The important thing is that I learned from this disaster.  These days no one is going to TOUCH me unless I want them to, much less repeatedly poke me with their gross tongue.  But back then, I was much too concerned with being nice.  I didn’t want to hurt his feelings.  So the kiss continued.

Actual photograph from the night of the incident.
Actual photograph from the night of the incident.

Then he told me he’d call me.  And that he couldn’t wait to see me again.  And that I was the best kisser he’d ever met.  (I guess there’s no denying my smooching prowess, even in less-than-ideal circumstances.)


FINALLY I got into my car and bucked my seatbelt…  but the horror wasn’t over yet.  “Just one more,” he begged – and then he was leaning down inside my actual gosh darn car to kiss me one last time.  With an audible slurp, I broke free, said goodbye, and peeled out of the Olive Garden parking lot.


That was a royal mess.
That was a royal mess.

That’s what you’re thinking, right?  THE END! Because there is no possible way I’d give Bobbio a second date, right? RIGHT?

Umm… wrong.

urkel gif

Bobbio was so perfect in theory.  He was almost everything I thought I was looking for.  He was a Christian!  He was a fellow teacher!  He liked kids!  He was mature!  He was ready for a relationship!  He thought I was amazing!  Heck, he didn’t even want me to lose any weight!  I was upset and confused and disappointed… so I talked myself into giving Bobbio one more chance.  Let’s call it a case of temporary insanity.


A few days later, we met up at P.F. Chang’s.  I soon as I got out of my car and saw him standing there, I immediately made my decision – NOPE!  I finally trusted my intuition enough to listen to my gut.  But I couldn’t just scream “PEACE OUT” and burn rubber. I mean, I suppose I could have, but I’m not evil. And I also really wanted some Chinese food.

Give me the Crispy Honey Chicken, and no one will get hurt...
Give me the Crispy Honey Chicken, and no one will get hurt…

The nerves were gone.  I was relaxed, confident, and delightful.  So OF COURSE that made me even more darn irresistible to Bobbio.  He began to talk about our future together.  I smiled, nodded, and gave vague, polite answers to his increasingly personal questions.  Then our waiter brought us a plate of complimentary garlic noodles, on the house!  Bobbio grimaced and complained that the garlic smell was too strong.  To his evident dismay, I smiled brightly and stuffed my face.  When it was time to leave, I asked for a to-go box and bagged up the leftovers!  What did I care?  I was no longer concerned about making a good impression.

friends flip off gif

When the meal was over, Bobbio sprang from the table and made a grand announcement: “I have a surprise for you!  It’s a present!  Don’t worry, it’s not a ring.  I’m not ready to propose – YET!”  I followed him to his car, thanking the Good Lord that it was parked in a crowded, well-lit area.  I didn’t think Bobbio was dangerous, but you never know.  (NO, SERIOUSLY.  YOU REALLY NEVER KNOW.  One time I unknowingly went out with an ex-con… but that’s a story for another post.  I wasn’t kidding when I said that I was a magnet for weirdos.)

What the heck is wrong with me?
What the heck is wrong with me?

As soon as Bobbio opened his car door, my eyes began to water and my nose began to run.  Keep in mind that I was standing several feet away.  It was like the vehicle was packed with tiny invisible ninjas who jumped out and began squirting AXE Body Spray directly into my nostrils.  Bobbio reached in and presented me with a colorful gift bag.

Inside was a stuffed rabbit – not an actual taxidermy specimen (once again, thank the Good Lord!) but a cute brown toy bunny.  This was the source of that masculine stench.  The rabbit was saturated in eau de desperate, wearing a pink ribbon, and holding a letter. “Meet Bunnio!  Get it?  My name is Bobbio – and this is Bunnio!”

“It’s quite pungent.  It’s a formidable scent… It stings the nostrils.  In a good way.  I’m going to be honest with you, that smells like pure gasoline.”
“It’s quite pungent. It’s a formidable scent… It stings the nostrils. In a good way. I’m going to be honest with you, that smells like pure gasoline.”

From another man, with better taste in cologne, this would have struck me as a really sweet and thoughtful gesture.  But then I read the letter.  It was basically a typed list of directions in Comic Sans on how to take care of Bobbio, complete with cheesy clip art.  Here are some actual, unedited excerpts (although it killed me not to correct the grammar mistakes):

– Please apply lots of hugs and kisses on the Bunnio daily, at least 10 times!
– Make sure Bunnio is always entertained!  Shows to avoid include American Idol as it makes Bunnio break into dry heaves!…  Bunnio does enjoy The Real Housewives of Atlanta and New Jersey though, but don’t judge… only real rabbits wear pink!
– Bunnio is phone friendly, so you can insert your phone into Bunnio’s back and it will sound like your friends are talking from the Bunnio rabbit itself!  Don’t try with creepy sounding people, or nightmares may be a side effect (please note, not all models of Bunnios have this function.  Upgrades are available after a year of ownership)
– Bunnio is prone to loud snoring!
– Do make sure that Bunnio eats right as he sometimes tends to overdue snack foods and finds it difficult to get into his rather fetching pink ribbon!
– Bunnios love cold so make sure that AC is at least on 70 degrees or slightly lower at all times!

horrified chandler gif

I thanked Bobbio for his lovely gift and let him kiss me goodbye.  This time I was at least assertive enough to firmly push him away after a quick peck.  I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.  I drove straight to my friend Liza’s house to share the tale – and the memento!  I was too cowardly to actually call Bobbio to reject him, so Liza helped me craft an email message.  I tried to be as gentle and caring as possible.  I can’t remember exactly how it was worded, but it was something along the lines of “it’s not you, it’s me.”  Spoiler alert – it definitely was him, not me.  He messaged back within minutes – he thanked me for my time and my honesty and told me that he wasn’t shocked because “his Spidey senses had been tingling.”

THE END (for real this time)


Royal Herpetology Field Guide Notes –
1.  It doesn’t matter how good someone seems on paper if you’re not into him.
2.  Online dating profiles aren’t always 100% accurate.  (GASP!)
3.  Flattery will get you nowhere if it’s disturbing in its content and frequency.
4.  You are in no way obligated to kiss someone, even if they ask politely.
5.  Saying no to a request for a kiss (or anything else!) does not make you a rude person.
6.  Beware of men who give you toys on the second date!

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Makeup Junkie: My Signature Look (with Bonus Bold Lip!)

makeup junkie

“The most beautiful makeup of a woman is passion.
But cosmetics are easier to buy.”
– Yves Saint-Laurent

I have a confession to make: I am addicted to makeup.  To those of you who know me, this won’t exactly come as a shock.  It’s a love affair that began at the tender age of twelve.  My mom first started putting eyeliner on me in the sixth grade.  I still remember crying one day when we overslept and she didn’t have enough time to apply it before I caught the bus.

You WISH you were this cool in the seventh grade.
You WISH you were this cool in the seventh grade.

To some people, putting on makeup every day is a chore.  That’s so not me; to me, makeup is art.  But instead of hanging on the wall in a museum, it’s on my FACE.  Or even better, I’ve created a masterpiece on someone else’s face!  I love doing other people’s makeup just as much as I love doing my own.

I used to be the kind of girl who wouldn’t go to the mailbox with a bare face.  Not anymore!  Over the years, I’ve grown comfortable in my own skin.  Natural is beautiful… But makeup is my war paint.  It makes me feel confident and sassy.

wings 2

When I’m getting dolled up, I want to be comfortable. I relax on the couch, and use a lighted vanity mirror with both regular and magnified sides.  On a normal day, I’m usually finished in about twenty minutes.  Getting up early enough to “put on my face” is worth it to me. It’s fun and relaxing – my morning art project!  The tutorial I’m about to share with you took a bit longer because it includes many of my special tips and tricks.

makeup 21
Sammy thinks he’s my assistant.

Just like clothing, makeup can set a mood.  I have a lot of different looks in my repertoire, but they usually share a few of my signature elements: “cat eye” liner, light to medium shadow, and soft lips.  I use a mix of drugstore and high end products. In this tutorial I’ve included the products that I wear, but feel free to substitute your own favorites!  Today I’m going to teach you how to get my classic signature look.  I was feeling super fierce on the day I did this, so I added a BONUS bold lip.

makeup intro

Begin with a clean, moisturized face.  Smooth a primer over your skin.  Don’t forget to blend it in under your eyes!  Right now I’m using e.l.f. Mineral Infused Face Primer.  If you need foundation, now is the time to apply it.  I often skip this step and simply touch up the red spots on my jaw with Dermablend Cover Crème concealer in Warm Ivory.  If you have any pimples, scoop up a small speck of the concealer with the edge of your fingernail and pat it on.  Don’t rub it, or it will just smear around.  Then set your camouflage work by patting it a small fluffy brush loaded up with loose or pressed powder.  I use Benefit Bluff Dust.  (Don’t worry about blending just yet.)

makeup 1
Ugh, zits are the worst.

Then smooth a highlighting concealer (such as Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer) under your eyes and up into the inner corners.  Blend it carefully and then set it with powder as well.  I really like e.l.f. Undereye Setting PowerPat it on very gently with your ring or middle finger and blend, blend, blend.  Finally, take a fluffy brush, dip it in your face powder, and swirl it all over your face.  Don’t forget your concealed blemishes and eyelids!

I love my kabuki brush. "IT'S SO FLUFFY I'M GONNA DIE!"
I love my kabuki brush. “IT’S SO FLUFFY I’M GONNA DIE!”

It’s time to add a little color.  Contour your cheekbones very lightly by sweeping Rimmel Natural Bronzer in Sun Light in the hollows of your cheeks, stopping parallel with the outer corners of your eyebrows.  Remember, a bronzer without shimmer is best for contouring. Use a light touch, so you don’t end up looking like a contestant on RuPaul’s Drag Race. Then take your fluffy powder brush and blend again.

YES. Contour lightly...
YES. Contour lightly…
NO. Although RuPaul probably is prettier than me, to be honest...
NO. Although RuPaul probably is prettier than me, to be honest…

Next use Flower Kiss Me Twice Lip & Cheek Chubby in Think Pink on the apples of your cheeks, and blend it in very well with your fingers.  (All this blending will keep you looking more Impressionist Renoir than Cubist Picasso.)  Now you have a lovely rosy complexion!

BAL35990 Portrait of the actress Jeanne Samary, 1877 (study) by Renoir, Pierre Auguste (1841-1919); 56x47 cm; Pushkin Museum, Moscow, Russia; French,  out of copyright
Dot it on...
Dot it on…
That's better!
That’s better!

Eyebrows are next, and they are very important! They frame your entire face. You wouldn’t hang The Mona Lisa in a plastic poster frame from Walmart, so don’t frame your face with bad brows. I LOVE the bold brow trend.  It’s important to find a shade that goes with the tone of your hair.  For me, it can be hard to find a pencil that’s not too reddish.  In these pictures, I’ve used Maybelline Brow Precise Shaping Pencil in Soft Brown, but my current favorite is Flower Raise Some Brows Defining Brow Pencil in Light Brown.

It might be time to fire my assistant.
It might be time to fire my assistant.

Fill in your brows with light strokes.  Shape the edges as you wish, and blend it out with a hard angle brush or a spoolie.  Don’t worry if you feel a little like Anthony Davis and Helga Pataki’s love child at this point.  Once you finish the rest of your makeup, it will all balance out. (Disclaimer – a third grader taught me about Anthony Davis. Do you really think I’d have made a sports reference all on my own?)

makeup 6

Grab Milani Eyeshadow Primer and spread a light layer over your lids. Don’t skip it – the color will be truer, and it will prevent creasing!  Then use a fluffy eyeshadow brush to smooth the lighter shade in Nars All About Eve shadow duo over your entire lid and up into the crease.  This hue is like the natural color of your skin – but better! (The technical term is “shimmering flesh,” but that sounds horror movie creepy.)

makeup 7

Then use a lighter shade to highlight your brow bone and the inner corner of your eye, such as the creamy nude satin tone Virgin from the Urban Decay Naked Palette.

makeup 9

Now use a pointed shadow brush to shade Naked (a light brown, aka buff matte, from the same palette) into the crease.

makeup 8

Finally, use an eyeliner brush to trace that same eyeshadow softly under the lash line.  And of course, use your fluffy shadow brush to blend once more.

makeup 10

Now it’s time for the eyeliner. I am a faithful fan of Revlon Colorstay Eyeliner in Black Brown. I’ve tried many different liners in my life, but I haven’t found anything more amazing in fifteen years. This stuff will not budge. Start near the inner corner of your eye, but not too far down. The closer you get to your tear duct, the more quickly your liner will smudge as the day goes on. If it’s a hot day or if your skin can get oily, you always run the risk of looking like The Winter Soldier.

"Do I need a touch-up?"
“Do I need a touch-up?”

Now make short strokes toward the outer corner of your eyelid, staying close to the lash line. Don’t try to draw one continuous line, and really work the pencil down into the roots of your lashes.  Use your other hand to very gently pull your eyelid taut for a smoother line. But remember, be gentle! You don’t want to give yourself extra wrinkles on down the road.

"Why don't I ever get carded anymore?"
“Why don’t I ever get carded anymore?”

Once you have traced your natural lash line, then flick it out at the corners to create a cat eye or wing.  Start with the teeniest little point, and then gradually make it more dramatic to your liking.

This is my favorite part...
This is my favorite part…
One of these things is not like the other...
One of these things is not like the other…
"May the wings of your liner always be even." - Traditional Makeup Blessing
“May the wings of your liner always be even.” – Traditional Makeup Blessing

After you’ve lined both eyes, use my trade secret! Take an eyeliner brush and load it with a dark shadow.  Now carefully use it to trace the liner! The shadow gives it a smoother finish, blends any harsh edges, and provides even more staying power.  Here I used Triple Fudge, an intense dark brown, from the Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette.  Try to keep it right on top of the liner, and don’t smudge it above the line. That would give you a smoky eye, which can be totally sultry and sexy – but not the look we are going for here.

Velvety finish!
Velvety finish!
Liner is on point.
Liner is on point.

Now it’s time to make your lashes luscious. Use an eyelash curler before you apply mascara. I know a lot of girls skip this step, but it really gives your eyes an extra oomph.

Not painful, I promise!
Not painful, I promise!

Different mascaras are going to work best for different people, just like the hair products that work on your best friend might not work so well on you.  Right now, I’m into Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara.  It will go on even more smoothly if you’ve warmed it up first. Stick it in your pocket as you work so that your body heat will do the job for you! Before you begin, dab the point of the wand on the back of your hand to prevent clumps. That way the excess mascara doesn’t end up globbed on your eyelid!

The mark of a true artist.
The mark of a true artist.

Press the base of the wand at the base of your lashes, and slowly wiggle it back and forth as you stroke upwards. Don’t forget to give a quick swipe to the back of your lashes as well. This is especially important if you have naturally light eyelashes.  How many coats you apply is going to depend on the formula of your mascara and the intensity you want to achieve. Here I’ve applied three coats.  Each layer gets a moment of drying time as I do the lashes on the other eye.

makeup 18

For your bottom lashes, I recommend Clinique’s Bottom Lash Mascara. The formula is very smudge resistant, and the tiny little brush is perfect for depositing just the right amount of product on each lash.

Sometimes good things come in small packages.  Many men would probably agree with this statement.
Sometimes good things come in small packages.
Many men would probably agree with this statement.

When I have time, I use a dab of liquid highlighter. Place a small dot of Benefit High Beam at the top of your cheekbone and blend it in a “C” shape to up above the brow bone near your temple. Its ethereal pink shimmer will add dimension and radiance. Finally, give your face a spritz of NYX Dewy Finish Setting Spray!

Sorry I accidentally flipped you the bird in this one.
Sorry I accidentally flipped you the bird in this one.

At this point, I’d normally throw on some soft lip gloss or a natural lip stain.  But on this day, I was feeling fierce! I was ready to take on the world – or at least a roomful of twenty-five rowdy second graders. I decided to go with the bold red lip. When you wear dramatic lipstick, it’s really important that your lips be smooth and flake-free.  You can use a lip mask, such as Mary Kay Satin Lips, or just buff your kisser with some petroleum jelly and a soft toothbrush.

Almost finished...
Almost finished…

Next, line and fill in your lips with lip liner. Colored works fine, but here I’ve used NYX Retractable Lip Liner in Vanilla Sky, a natural nude shade. Some people like to exaggerate the boundaries of their natural lip line, but I can’t.  That technique works great for some people (I’m looking at you, Kylie Jenner), but I just end up looking like a clown.

When Kylie exaggerates her "natural" lip line.
When Kylie exaggerates her “natural” lip line.
When Marjorie exaggerates her natural lip line.
When Marjorie exaggerates her natural lip line.

Use a lip brush to coat your pout with Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick by Kate Moss in Kiss of Life, a fiery matte red. After you have filled in your lips with color, stick your thumb in your mouth, close your lips around it, and slowly pull your thumb out.  HEY – I know what you’re thinking, but get your mind out of the gutter!  Any lipstick that would have ended up on your teeth is now safely on your thumb.

I already feel sassy.
I already feel sassy.
Well THIS is awkward.
Well THIS is awkward.
Lipstick-on-Teeth Crisis averted!
Lipstick-on-Teeth Crisis averted!

And there you have it!  Your makeup is flawless. You are stunning, confident, and fabulous.  Remember, inner beauty is key…  But a little mascara never hurt anyone. 🙂

XOXO! Marjorie

The Secret Life of Marjorie Whitlock: The Artist

secret life of marjorie whitlock

Much like the 90s pop diva Mariah Carey, I am often lost in a sweet, sweet fantasy, baby.

In a word, my daydreams are cinematic.  I’m talking epic, $100,000,000 budget, Baz Luhrmann directed blockbuster extravaganza kinds of shenanigans.  Have you ever seen the movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty?  Ben Stiller’s character is so caught up in his imagination that he often misses out on real life.  They could do a reboot starring me: The Secret Life of Marjorie Whitlock.  All of the books and movies I’ve inhaled over the years have rotted my brain, y’all.

Honestly, this happens to me every single day.  Take Sunday, for example.  After church, I stopped by Starbucks to catch up on some paperwork whilst people-watching with an iced chai tea latte.  (Besides, in my bold red lipstick and new dress, I looked way too cute to go home.)  As I grabbed my drink from the counter, I noticed him.

The guy was adorable.  Tom?  Jim?  I didn’t have my glasses on.  I couldn’t read his cup!  I know there were three letters, so let’s call him – JOM.  Anyway, Jom was this cute, hipstery artist dude.  Intelligent blue eyes framed by sexy nerd glasses, dark hair perfectly disheveled, ideal amount of stubble, and the BIGGEST NOSE I HAVE EVER SEEN ON A HUMAN MAN.  The boy was the flesh and blood hero of a modern Disney Pixar animated short.

disney starbucks artist dude

Guys, it gets better.  Scattered across the table were some kind of fancy colored pencils and a sketchbook.  He had taken a break from drawing his amazing artwork (because of course he was talented, duh) and was deep in conversation with a precious little girl.  She was maybe five years old, and she was clearly in love.  I don’t know if she was more taken with the cartoony amazingness of Jom himself, or of his actual cartoons.  I took a seat at the table across from him and began shamelessly eavesdropping.  (Let’s be real, you’d totally do the same thing.)

At first I thought they must know each other, but the girl’s parents soon emerged from the line.  For over fifteen minutes, Jom indulgently answered the kid’s questions about his “crayons” and even let her draw in his sketchbook.  Finally her parents managed to pull her away.  Before the family left, she asked Jom for a drawing.  Her mother replied, “Sweetie, the nice man already drew you a picture!”  Finally they were out the door, the draft rustling the pages of his work magically.

Aaaaand that’s when my imagination kicked into hyper-drive.

(Is “hyper-drive” a real word?  Whatever, it seems fitting.)

secret life walter

Jom and I lock eyes across the room.  I blush and fumble with my papers.  I try to focus on my work, but I can’t help but notice that he seems to be noticing me, too.  Intently he works in his sketchbook, glancing in my direction every few moments, his long fingers scribbling furiously over the paper.  After a time, he stands and packs up his supplies.  I watch disappointedly as he zips up his beaten leather messenger bag and heads toward the door.  But wait – what’s happening?!?  He’s coming to my table… HE’S COMING TO MY TABLE.  This is not a drill.  I repeat, THIS IS NOT A DRILL.

“Hey.  Um, I hope you don’t mind, but I just had to draw you.  You’re so stunning – I had to try to capture it on paper,” he mumbles awkwardly adorably.  Then he hands me his sketch.  There I am, captured in reds and blues and yellows, smiling demurely from the page.  At the bottom is Jom’s name and phone number.  Iron and Wine begin singing “Such Great Heights,” and so begins the start of a great adventure…

paperman spoof

Except, no.  Because what REALLY happened is that I watched Jom say goodbye to the precocious little girl, put on his ginormous headphones, and get lost in his art.  After a time, he stood and packed up his supplies.  And I watched disappointedly as he zipped up his beaten leather messenger bag and headed toward the door.  And he kept right on walking until he was gone.  At that point I finally snapped out of it.  With a sad little smile I got back to work.

Roll credits.