In Defense of the Nice Guy


Three weeks ago I posted about being torn on whether or not to keep exploring a relationship with the “nice guy”. At that time, I recognized that I don’t really trust my own instincts, and wasn’t sure if I was really feeling it or forcing it. Continue reading

An Open Letter to the Man Who Broke My Heart

IMG_9745 (1)The ghost of you haunts every inch of my house. There’s no escaping it. Every time I walk through the entryway it cuts right through me. I think about how you’d come over and we’d meet at the front door Continue reading

Dinner Date Disaster (aka Super Bowl 2014)



It’s okay Peyton, while you were having one of the worst games of your life, I was hosting one of the worst dinners of my life… A couple of weeks ago I boldly asked Crush if he wanted to do something for Super Bowl. It went something like this:

Awkward Jean: “So, I was thinking maybe we could do something for Super Bowl…”

Crush: “What’d you have in mind?”

(Oh. Right. A plan. Yeah… hadn’t EXACTLY gotten that far…)

Awkward Jean: “Um. We could go to a bar to watch it, or you could come to my house, or I could go to your house, or maybe my friend Kim will invite us over or maybe my friends Todd & Trever will have a Super Bowl thing… I don’t know, if they do it’s always last minute, but typically fun, but um” (STOP RAMBLING JEAN) “I guess there are a lot of options” (Brave Jean) “I just want to do something with you.”

Crush: “Well… I think we can plan on that. The issue is this – If I don’t really care about who’s in the Super Bowl I enjoy the food and mingling and whatnot of a Super Bowl party, but if I do care then I just want to focus on the game and not be surrounded by strangers or a bunch of people not paying attention… Soo…”

Awkward Jean: “So, you love Peyton and want to pay attention. Got it. Well, you can come over to my house and I can make dinner and you can pay attention, it will be nice.”

Low and behold that is what we actually ended up following through on. It’s also the beginning of the mistakes that Awkward Jean made…

Mistake #1 – “I can make dinner.”

Why is this a mistake? A) Everyone knows that Super Bowl food should be snack-based, not sit down meal type of food. Duh. B) I love snacks. LOVE them. In fact, in college I even choreographed a dance in honor of my favorite snack, Hot Pockets. So why, with a strong history of snack loving, would I decide to make a full dinner DURING the Super Bowl? Madness. Awkward madness.  C) How am I supposed to watch the game and be all seductively adorable if I’m cursing in the kitchen the whole time? Oh Jean.

Mistake #2 – “I’m going to make Chicken Milanese.”

Why is this a mistake? A) I’ve never made this meal before. B) This meal requires frying… as in a vat of hot oil and Jean. NEVER is this a good idea. C) I’ve never fried chicken before… do not be fooled, it is an art.

So, I blindly dove into this scheme of cooking a full meal in order to impress my Crush (Hindsight: HA!). My menu: Chicken Milanese, Homemade Mashed Potatoes with Gravy and Balsamic Brussel Sprouts. Oh, and I bought some crescent rolls to make as well, just in case he wanted those – he did. (Hindsight: Thank God.)

Fast forward to Super Bowl Sunday. Crush arrived about an hour before kick-off. I had a little platter of snacks out and we nibbled on those while we watched the pre-game show and set up some bets to keep the game interesting. (Hindsight: SO necessary, seriously – what happened Peyton??)

As the kick-off approached I started to think that I had MAYBE over-extended myself on this cooking gig. Suddenly I realized that I’d never ACTUALLY made mashed potatoes before, and while I watched my sister make the Chicken Milanese I wasn’t very confident in my own chicken frying. I mean, she told me to cut the breasts in half so they weren’t “too thick” but… how thick is too thick? I mean, one end was really thin and then it seemed to get fatter… did I need to cut them in half still? Maybe cut the thick half off and then cut that in half again? Hmm… And the potatoes, how long do they have to boil? How much butter and milk do I put in? At least I knew I had the Brussel Sprouts down to a science – I’ve made them plenty of times. And Crush did want the rolls, so that’s one more thing that needed to go in the oven. So now I had to time out the oven usage. UGH. I REALLY should have thought of some of these things before he was sitting on my couch. And I offered him a drink, but do I need to keep refreshing his drink or do I tell him to make himself at home and help himself? Would he rather feel comfortable in my home, getting his own drink or am I supposed to still be a proper hostess and keep checking on him? 

These are the thoughts that were rambling through my head as I peeled potatoes (is four too many? Not enough?), pounded the fat end of the chicken with a meat cleaver, freaked out over what I was sure was salmonella juice sprayed everywhere and had to wipe down the entire kitchen with my trusty antibacterial wipes… By the end of the first quarter my cooking was already resembling Peyton’s playing.

A disaster was developing, but I naively thought I had plenty of time to salvage it… And, like Peyton, I was wrong. 

By the second quarter I had smoke billowing from my burnt-raw chicken, a seemingly impossible paradox, but trust me Awkward Chef Jean had managed it, but everything else was going well. The brussel sprouts were nicely sautéed and awaiting the oven, the potatoes were perfectly boiled and drained… Now what to do with the chicken… Hmm… I decided I could maybe bake it some to hopefully get it cooked through without getting too burnt… So, I threw it in with the brussel sprouts and sat down to enjoy half time. 


Crush: “Is that bell for something?”

Awkward Jean: “No.”

Crush: “It’s not?”

Awkward Jean: “Um. Well, yes, but it will be fine.”

Crush: “Are you sure?”

Awkward Jean: “Totally.”  (Note: It was NOT fine)

Sooo, that’s how the ONE thing I knew how to make got burnt to a crisp… Balsamic Brussel Sprouts – were now Blackened Balsamic Brussel Sprouts… Still salvageable, I still could make this happen. I just needed to heat up the gravy and mash the potatoes and check on the chicken… that just kept getting more and more burned on the outside while the inside was BARELY getting cooked… Hmm…

So, I put the crescent rolls in the oven, and started mashing the potatoes… which it turns out were now cold… and the butter was not mixing, but rather turning into big chunks… UGH!! Okay, focus. I’ve got this – I simply put the, now mashed, potatoes back on the stove while I worked on the gravy. Surely the gravy will be a success – it’s a packet. You just add water. BAM! I’m back in the game… except of course the gravy wouldn’t thicken, the bottom of the potatoes started burning and I was so busy stirring both of  those, opening the wine, assuring Crush I had it all under control and we’d be eating soon… that I didn’t realize the rolls were almost burning – Mad dash to the oven, grab an oven mitt and WHEW!! The rolls are just right – I got to them just in time, but… Um, I didn’t exactly have any place to put the hot tray. My little townhouse kitchen is not spacious and the counters and stove were already covered with things… so now I’m just holding this hot tray, trying to scrap burnt potato off the bottom of a pan and the gravy begins to boil over because, why wouldn’t turning  the heat up make it get thick??

Oh, and let us not forget the chicken. At this point the burnt bread crumb coating was basically peeled off and the poor breasts had all these knife hacks for all the times I prematurely checked its doneness. It reminded me of my favorite Jack Handy quote – “If you ever drop your keys in a vat of molten lava, just let it go man, they’re gone.” Same thing with the chicken. At some point I was going to have to let it go, it was gone. (Hint: I did NOT let it go…)

By the beginning of the fourth quarter I had our meals plated and ready to serve—may master plan was to cover the mess with the gravy to hide it, but sadly Crush didn’t want gravy. Damn. This is about when I realized my guest had just spent the majority of this awful game, watching his hero Peyton Manning getting crushed as he drowned his sorrows in whiskey and tried to avoid the smoky burn of my cooking that wafted through the house. So basically he was already drunk and disappointed – sweet!! He was perfectly primed for the meal I was about to serve.

I have to say I was impressed, Crush ate everything on his plate, even went back for seconds, and his comment on the meal?

Crush: “Mmmm, these rolls are delicious!”

They damn well better be – I carried that tray around for a good ten minutes while I finished destroying everything else!

And, just when you think the evening couldn’t be more of a failure… let me go ahead and share one final tidbit. I’ve been having back issues and Crush thoughtfully brought this electrical stimulation device over that you hook up to your sore muscles and it gives some charge/massage type thing to help them relax. Well, after the game was over and that delicious massacre of a meal finished, we went upstairs so I could lie down and he could hook the machine up to my lower back. FINALLY, time to relax…

As I lay there with the little charges surging through my muscles helping me relax I suddenly realized I was a little too relaxed. And sadly I realized this too late. You guessed it. Suddenly, without warning or provocation, abruptly aggressive and loud flatulence was released. In front of Crush. Oh. Dear. God.

Awkward Jean: “Oh! Um, excuse me.” (Said in highest, most awkward voice imaginable.)

Crush: (Questioningly turning the device over in his hands while looking at it…) “Oh. Wait. Was that YOU?”

Awkward Jean: “Um. Yeah…”

Crush: “Oh. Wow. I thought something was wrong with the machine…”

Awkward Jean: “Everybody farts.”

And… that’s more or less how my Super Bowl went. Peyton, when I say I feel your pain, trust me… I feel your pain. 

XOXO – Awkward Chef Jean

Nothing, Something… Kismet?

It all started with a very bad day, backed up traffic, and a bar (as most good stories do). Those of you who frequent my Facebook page may recall seeing this post: Image

Yep, that’s the night the groundwork was laid for CRUSH to have competition. I work on the 9th floor of a nine-story building and my window has a rather glamorous view of the traffic on the highway headed toward my house. I know exactly what I’m getting into when I leave the office. Well, after a less-than stellar day all I wanted to do was go home, put on my lounging attire, pour a glass of wine (or rip out the bladder from a boxed wine and stab a straw in it Capri Sun style… whatevs) and RELAX. Alas, traffic was seriously backed up and I knew that if I went downstairs to the bar (yes, there’s a bar in my office building, freakin’ awesome) and had a drink then traffic would die down and I could avoid the frustration of sitting in it and still get home at about the same time (hashtag the justifications we tell ourselves)… So I did.

I bellied up to the bar to gossip with the bartender (my girl Shonda) and I ordered a deliciously dirty martini — up. That’s about when I glanced down and noticed him. One of those good ‘ol boys with the sweet eyes and big grin and the kind of arms you just want to curl up into… Especially after a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. 

“Psst! PSSSTTT!! Shonda — who is that guy?” 

“Ooo, I don’t know. I’ll find out.” — And that’s one of the reasons you’ve got to love Shonda.

She then proceeded to make typical bartender small-talk — You in for the livestock show? No? Oh, okay. Meeting people? Yes. Alright. Yeah… closed book, not very talky. Fail. 

Enter 1/2 martini-in Awkward Jean. The guy had just returned from a trip to the restroom, having left his mostly full beer on the bar, and I say, loudly from the opposite end of the bar,

“Hey — you’re pretty brave.” 

“Why’s that?” (Melt a little… so cute… mmm vodka)

“Because you left your beer sitting here in front of strangers. I could have ruffied you you know?”

“Let’s hope so.” (MELT)

So I scooch my way down toward his end of the bar to make small talk — he was meeting some co-workers for a happy hour if any of them ever showed up. No, they don’t typically come here but he’s been before and liked it, soo… here he was… About this time his co-worker (a blonde, bigger girl) walks in and it’s pretty clear we are done talking. UGH. I make my way back down the bar, but occasionally glance down, hoping to maybe make eye contact or get invited into the conversation… No such luck. I order another martini, I can’t leave. I’ve got to talk to this guy more. I try to see if he has a ring — negative. I see she does — sweet, just a co-worker, not a romantic… Wait, they’re leaving… together… Sad. “Water please Shonda.”

But wait! He came back. And we got to talking and we ended up staying for quite a while just joking around, getting to know each other… I tell him I’m normally blonde… about 17 times just in case he was interested in the other girl and liked blondes. I mean, come on… he needs to know. Eventually it was time to go, he asked for my number, walked me to my car, kissed me… Ahhh… suddenly I couldn’t even remember why it’d been such a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. It seemed like a pretty good one to me. He wanted me to text him when I got home, to make sure I made it okay. How sweet. And yet… sour.

What about CRUSH? What was I doing? I’m an idiot. But… this guy was soo… UGH. What about CRUSH? I called CRUSH when I got home, he was sweet and I was remembering why I like him so much… but then the guy from the bar was texting too…

Bar guy and I texted a little that night. And a lot the next day. He told me he Facebook stalked me. I liked that. And, I obviously asked if he liked the blonde hair better than the brown. The answer… 



And that’s the moment when the guy from the bar became NEW CRUSH. I now have ORIGINAL CRUSH (OC) and NEW CRUSH (NC)… What’s a girl to do? 

Well, obviously I had to Facebook/LinkedIn/Google-stalk NC. I already know OC, but this NC is too good to be true… time to get my Magnum PI on! Well, actually… my friends did it for me, but… Well, yeah, that’s actually EXACTLY what Magnum PI would do — I guess I had my very own Rick, TC and Higgins on the case! And, even without his last name and the few tidbits I knew about him they were successful. Well, I guess. The success was bittersweet, because we found his Facebook and on it… We found this:



Kismet Crush Is Married! Kismet Crush Is Married! ABORT! ABORT! ABORT!!

I KNEW it was too good to be true. And here I was rethinking the whole ORIGINAL CRUSH and oh my gosh… Homewrecker! And he seemed so nice and… Wait. How come there are zero pictures on his FB indicating he’s married… or posts for that matter… Maybe, well, maybe it’s complicated? What’s a girl to do?? Crazy cyber-stalk mode. THAT’S what a girl’s to do. 

So we did. My crew and I dug up ALL sorts of things… most of which ended up being the wrong person and some of which were unclear at best… Finally I had to go to Defcon 5 of Detective Mode — I had to just ask him.

Yes, he’s married but separated, divorce is imminent (still not really sure what that means) and he understands if I don’t want to talk anymore. So… he was honest. And thoughtful. And understanding. He tells me I’m beautiful and sexy and fun. He says he’s quite taken with me and can’t stop thinking about me. He says he wants to see me again. And he texts all day, every day since we met. And he knew the word kismet… and used it. Damn.

So, that’s the story of how Awkward Jean ended up with two CRUSHES, both of whom appear to be equally unavailable. Seems to be my lot in life. I guess this is one of those stories that is destined TO BE CONTINUED… I think NC reads the blog, I know OC doesn’t. I don’t know if I’m supposed to pursue either one or neither or tell them anything about the other or what, but then… I’m Awkward Jean. If I knew how best to handle these situations, I suppose there wouldn’t be a blog, now would there? Currently accepting advice. And hoping if either of them are reading… I didn’t just ruin a whole lot of maybe. 

XOXO — Awkward (Oversharing) Jean