Monthly Archives: April 2012

Hot French Waiter Part Deux

Andrea and I landed at Charles de Gaulle in the early morning.  We fumbled around the airport, found a way to purchase train tickets into the city, and, although exhausted, we happily planted ourselves on the commuter train.

I glanced around at the passengers and noticed a young woman reading the bestseller, Eat, Pray, Love.

“That’s what we’re going to do, “Andrea joked.  “Except we’re going to Eat, Pray, Love in a week!”

We burst into excited laughter.  Our adventures were just about to begin!

Once we made it into the city, we navigated ourselves  — and our ridiculously heavy luggage — through the underground Metro.  We had rented an apartment in the Marais for the week, and were desperate to settle in.

Thankfully, Andrea speaks fluent French (I told you I have amazing friends), so we were able to make our way to Rue de Quincampoix looking far less touristy than we actually were. We met up with the apartment owner – a lovely young artist – but quickly realized that neither of us had Euros to pay the rent.  (Note to self: change money before getting on the plane!)  Delirious, we scrambled around the neighborhood to find a bank.

Money and keys finally changed hands, and we were officially Parisian residents.  The two-story, 290-square foot apartment was much smaller than either of us had expected, but it had everything we needed.  As soon as we climbed upstairs, we didn’t care.  The view of the Parisian rooftops, not to mention the steeple of St. Paul- St. Louis Church (and the sound of its glorious bells), was worth the price alone.  Sharing a bed was funny, but we were used to it.

We headed out, still dressed in almost two-day-old clothing.  I was convinced that I smelled like re-circulated air from the plane, but it just didn’t matter. 

We were in Paris. 

We lunched at an outdoor café, just blocks from our apartment and the Pompidou Center.  I turned my face towards the warm, glowing sunlight and inhaled the sweet afternoon breeze.  It smelled of cigarette smoke, baked bread, history, B.O., champagne, romance and hope.

I suddenly realized that I had fallen in love.  Paris had my heart.  I was transfixed, and hungry for more.

We finished our light lunch and were off to the grocery store to stock our tiny kitchen with the most delicious French cheese, bread, jam, yogurt, tea, lettuce, fruit, vegetables and, of course, wine.

We returned to the apartment, took turns hovering in the Barbie-sized shower, and headed out again.

Over tired/excited, I dressed in the most ridiculous outfit I had packed – a green mini dress, a gold scarf my sisters had bought for me in Italy, a black leather jacket, and brown, almost-knee-high boots.

What not to wear in Paris…

There was no set plan, but to explore.

We strolled towards the Seine.  Our first stop was at a little café on the corner, overlooking one of the many famous, picturesque bridges.  We had easily been lured in by a Hot French Waiter (Part Deux!), who eagerly served us.  We nibbled on cheese and sipped little glasses of Kir as we watched the afternoon sunlight start to fade into a glorious, bustling city glow.  Somewhere beyond my view stood the Eiffel Tower, in all of its glory.

I can’t believe I’m here! 

Inevitably, I had to make my bladder gladder, so I excused myself inside the restaurant.  Not looking where I was going, I ran into Hot French Waiter Part Deux and almost knocked over his tray of wine glasses.

“Oh!!  Je suis désolé! Pardonnez-moi!!”  I blushed, and tried to fake a good French accent. Maybe he wouldn’t notice that I couldn’t speak a lick of his native tongue.

He smiled, and grabbed my hand.

Êtes-vous marié?

I stared at him. My hand started to tingle.

“What?  No…no, my name is not Marie,”  I replied, and then I realized I had blown my cover.  Actress fail.

He threw his head back and laughed.

“I ask yooooou? Eeeeef yoooou? Are married,” he repeated, slowly, as if I didn’t understand English, either.  His thick French accent was palpable.  I took in a deep breath.  Paris felt so good.   And, there I was, standing in the middle of a romantic café, holding hands with a man.  Just like that.

That familiar, wide grin spread across my face.

“No, I am not married.  I am very single!”  I laughed.


Still holding my hand, Hot French Waiter Part Deux got down on one knee.

I gasped.

“Veux-tu m’épouser?  Will yooooou?  Marry me? Beaauuuutiful, smiling woman!”

He stared deeply into my eyes as his lips lightly brushed the top of my hand.

Oh.  My.  Lorn.  

My heart fluttered, my knees grew weak, and my bladder screamed at me.

“Uhhh, can I get back to you on that?  I have to find ‘les toilettes’!”

Good one, Les.  

He laughed, jumped up and gently guided me towards the restrooms.

Hot French Waiter Part Deux was busy when I returned to Andrea and our table.  I gave her the quick replay.  Why, yes, I had just received a marriage proposal within hours of landing in Paris.  My life really wasn’t all that bad.

“You have to kiss him!”  She urged.

“What?!  No!  No, I can’t do that!”  I shook my head, and felt the hot flush of embarrassment rise to my cheeks.

“You said you were coming here to kiss somebody,” Andrea pointed out.  “He just asked you to marry him.  You can certainly give him a kiss!”

She was right.  I was just so overprotective of myself, not to mention inexperienced.  I had been on a handful of dates and only kissed three men since filing for divorce from X.

I took another sip of my Kir and reflected on my “love life”.

In August of 2010 — on X’s birthday, to be exact — I had a wild, unexpected makeout session with an old college crush.    It was our second date – the first having been three months earlier.   It was new, exciting and dangerous, and everything felt so…wrong.

He never called me again.

In December of that year, my friend basically dared me to kiss him, so I did.  It was actually very sweet, but I insisted that we remain friends.

And, I had met a guy just a couple of weeks earlier, while in Minneapolis.  I was out to dinner with my lovely friend and fellow Vixen, Julie (she is married to Brian Setzer).  The restaurant was packed, so we sat at the bar.  I thought nothing of it as I struck up a conversation with the friendly, cute bartender.  He happened to be extremely smart, and a talented filmmaker, as well.

He asked me out on the spot.

I was shocked.  That never happens in Los Angeles.  At least not to me.

Why not?  I thought.  I was leaving town the next day, so nothing was going to happen.

Much to my own surprise, I found myself agreeing to kiss him, as well.  He was old-fashioned, chivalrous and sweet.  He treated me well and respected me.  He also begged me to keep kissing him.  He told me that he had never met anyone like me before.  He was crazy about me, all in a matter of a few hours.

What was happening?

My self-protective, Don’t-come-near-me-and-hurt-me-you-douchehound signal had begun to flicker off.  Apparently a stronger, Come-ask-me-to-marry-you signal had switched on.  I needed to find a balance.

Andrea and I finished our “happy hour”, planted a few Euros atop the bill, and got up to leave.  Hot French Waiter Part Deux swiftly re-appeared.

He held out his hands, as if I had mortally wounded him with my sudden departure. After all, I had never responded to his marriage proposal.

I walked towards him, put my arms around him, and hugged him hard.  I then planted a bold, firm kiss on his cheek.  He seemed rather surprised at my expression of affection.

“Merci,” I whispered, and then turned and sauntered down the cobblestone street, feeling happy, confident and – I daresay – sexy.

My French kissing warm up was complete.

Paris, Part 1

Saturday, May 14, 2011                                                                                    Dallas, TX           

Finally left Minnesota.  It was not at all what I had expected.  I didn’t think I’d meet some guy and have a pleasant “date”.  I didn’t think Bemidji would be what it was.  I didn’t think I’d have more grief to process.  I just don’t have it all figured out, and that’s OK.  Part of me is scared to go home; scared not for Paris, but the aftermath.  I am scared that I’m unworthy; that I have to figure it out before anything can happen.

It’s just not true.

I’m growing.  Learning.  Changing. 

Am I running?  A little bit.  Los Angeles has been difficult these past eleven months (when I last got out).

I am realizing that I can’t push anything.  I can’t force anything to happen.  I have to allow life to be natural.

And then I wonder, where is he – this magical, mythical man that everyone thinks I’m going to meet?  I’m sitting in an international airport in Dallas, Texas, soon to be heading to FRANCE.  And I just can’t help but wonder what he is doing right now. 

Where is he?  Who is he?

I have to let him go even before I know him.  I have to be open.  I AM open, but I have no idea how much further You want me to go.  How much deeper?  How much more self-reflection and introspection does one have to go through to heal?

Healing.  Heal, heal, heal.

I think I’m getting there.

Four days later, Andrea and I excitedly boarded a plane to Paris, France.  We skipped down the aisle to our respective seats (I danced and sang), flopped down and kicked off our shoes, ready for the ten-plus hour flight to the most romantic city in the world.

The male flight attendant sensed our excitement (who isn’t excited about boarding a plane to PARIS?!), and asked us what the purpose of our trip was.  Andrea giggled and exclaimed, “We’re celebrating Leslie’s divorce!”

Someone on the plane clapped.

Suddenly, we had somewhat of an audience, so Andrea and I tag-teamed sharing my story.  The flight attendant’s eyes grew wide, as he listened.

“Wait – hold that thought,” he interrupted, and raced to the back of the plane.  He returned with two mini bottles of vodka, and the female flight attendant, who wanted to hear my tale, as well.

I have to admit: “Sister Wife” hooks ‘em, every time.

“Girl, you are going to get laid,” the flight attendant squealed, and then proceeded to tell me how she would be living vicariously, yadda, yadda, yadda.

I laughed, nervously.  I was not — and am still not — interested in casual sex.  I believe that sex is sacred; special.  And since my self-esteem had been in the toilet for so long, I couldn’t flush it further, no matter how much I long(ed) for a romantic, passionate, hormonally charged encounter (in Paris!)

I had, however, made up my mind that I was going to kiss somebody.

I explained that my divorce had been official for a couple of months, and an 8-day jaunt to Paris with my “wife” was the perfect ending to the madness of the past two years.  It was exciting to think that the world was finally starting to become my oyster.

As Los Angeles rapidly disappeared underneath the wings of our 747, I started to think about the last time I had been to Paris.

It was September, 1997.

X and I were both studying in England for the semester: I in London and he in Oxford.  We decided to take the Chunnel one beautiful September day, and, a little over two hours later, found ourselves wandering the streets of Paris.  I remember it being beautiful, and so much more exciting than London.  I remember the Louvre; I remember the croissants and coffee.  I can still sing the song we made up to remember the Metro station closest to where we stayed.  I remember snapping pictures of the Eiffel Tower, and “stalking” the tunnel where Princess Diana had been killed, just weeks earlier.

It was completely adorned with flowers.

I remember my short, choppy blond hair, my chunky belly and my horrifically bad choice of shoes.

I also remember being blissfully in love, and engaged to be married to my favorite person in the world.

We were in PARIS!

X and I only stayed for the weekend.  One night was spent in a small, dark hotel (in separate beds, of course!), and the other was spent on twin bunk beds in a youth hostel.

It was a rare thing to have a room to ourselves in a cheap hostel, so we were excited.  We were determined to be good; behave ourselves.  After all, we were saving sex for marriage.

Of course, we inevitably ended up messing around.  Clothes came off, and we passionately pushed the boundaries of our pledge to stay pure until our wedding night.

The next thing I remember is a lot of blood.  Blood everywhere.  On the sheets, on X’s hands, on the pillowcase.

When I finally realized what had happened, I was mortified.  Guilt, shame and embarrassment flooded over me.  I cried.  X held his head in his hands. We prayed, and asked forgiveness for our naughty behavior.

Although we hadn’t had sex, we clearly had broken…well…you know.

We cleaned up the mess and made up some story to get fresh sheets.  I slept alone, on the top bunk that night, feeling like a terrible, dirty slut.  I actually wasn’t naïve enough to believe that my virginity had been taken from me, but something in me changed from that moment on.

I remember telling X that Paris wouldn’t ever seem as romantic again.

And, because of my guilt, I didn’t want to return.  I wasn’t interested in Paris anymore.  It held our shame, and we left it there.

X and I maintained “good” behavior until our wedding night, which ended up being a long, drawn-out, two years later.  It was a terrible struggle, but we managed to stay virgins, however you look at it.  It is something of which I will always be proud.

At the same time, it made the betrayal of X’s infidelities slice even deeper into my soul.

Cut to: Fourteen years later.  Divorced; unsexed; unaware of my actual attractiveness; free.

It was time to re-claim Paris for me.

It would only be a matter of hours before I would kiss my first Frenchman.


Loneliness is the most terrible poverty.  ~Mother Teresa

Loneliness is the first thing which God’s eye named, not good.  ~ John Milton

The next chapter in The Christian Girl’s Guide to Divorce is all about Paris.  Don’t worry.  We’ll get there.  For the moment, I am choosing to reflect upon the present.

Hey, this is a blog.  It’s my story, and I can do what I want, including time travel.


The past two weeks have been harrowing.  Mind-numbingly difficult.  I have struggled with wicked emotions, fear, grief, and, mostly, loneliness.

At first, I was quick to blame my emotions on a new birth control pill.  After four days of nonstop crying for no (and every) reason, I decided that it was pointless to ingest birth control when I have not even the prospect of accidentally getting pregnant in the first place.

I felt a little better.

But the crying kept on.

Monday morning, I showed up at my therapist’s office with my eyes practically swollen shut from sobbing myself to sleep the night before.  I was frustrated.  Hadn’t I moved past this phase?  It was embarrassing.

“You’re depressed, Leslie,” she offered, gently, yet matter-of-factly.

What the hell?  No way.  Nope.  Not me.  I am not depressed.  Depression is for sad, lonely, crazy people.  I am happy.  I am hopeful.  I am excited about life. I have first-world problems, like, how do I negotiate the book deal I was recently offered (!!!), which screenwriter’s pitch do I accept to make a movie based on my blog (!!!), and which week in May is better to travel to Paris and the south of France?

As I clutched my coffee cup and talked about the reasons why I had been so sad lately, it all started to make sense.  I think.

My mind drifted to the brief relationship that I recently ended, and the sweet, dynamic, amazing times we shared together.  It baffles me how wonderful relationships can be in the beginning, in that “infatuation” stage.  And when things start to crumble a bit and then it all comes crashing down on you, you can’t even begin to deal with thinking about couples.  Romance is off the table.  Other people’s happiness is, all of a sudden, an encroachment upon your personal space.  It magnifies your pain.

I have spent so much time working through and healing from the pain of my broken marriage.  I did not expect this broken dating relationship to hurt almost as equally.

Perhaps it was because it was my first experience post-divorce?  Perhaps I am ultra-sensitive?  Perhaps it was my first attempt at doing things differently?  Dating the “right” type of person?  Perhaps it’s because I allowed myself to be open and vulnerable again, and freely fall in love with someone?  Perhaps.

Maybe it’s too soon, maybe I can’t be in any relationship.

I still miss him, even despite the things that didn’t feel — or maybe weren’t at all —  right.

And, of course, everyone has an answer.

People Who Offer Free, Bad/Annoying Advice: “You were married a long time, and now you’re divorced.  You have a long road ahead of you. It could be years before you meet the right person.”

Smug Marrieds: “I seriously couldn’t date these days.  I don’t know how you do it. But don’t worry!  You’re going to meet the most amaaaazing guy.”

Tired Marrieds: “I am so living vicariously through you.   Take.  Your.  Time.  There are plenty of good men out there.  Enjoy being single.”

Divorced People with Kids:  “Be glad you don’t have kids.  You’re free!  You can go anywhere; do anything you want.”

Other Divorced People with Kids: “God, if I didn’t have my kids, I don’t know what I’d do.”

Pregnant People:  “You have plenty of time to have a baby.  You can have a baby into your 40’s!”

Recently Met the Love of their Life: “I had totally given up.  I lost faith that it would ever happen, and, wham!  When I wasn’t looking, he just fell into my lap.  I’m sooooo happy.”

Single Person Who is in Denial: “I’m so happy right now. I really am happy being single.”

Single Person Who has Given Up: “I believe in love, just not for myself.  It’s never going to happen for me.”

I seriously want to strangle all of you.

Of course, re-living the experience of my broken marriage in such a public forum does not mask any sort of growing pains that I have experienced.  I am proud of “putting myself out there” after such a long time.  I’m doing a pretty damn good job navigating this new life, as a Single.

What is more, I haven’t lost faith in God, or even men.

I don’t even know the point of this blog post.  I don’t know why I have felt so paralyzed over the past week, not having had any motivation to write, or move forward, past this phase of loneliness.  The crying has subsided for now, but the ache and hollow in my chest still threatens to well up and spill out.

It’s Palm Sunday, and it’s a beautiful, glorious, sunny, clear day.  I’m sitting a block away from the ocean, in a coffee shop.  I have been writing for about two hours.  I daresay it’s just rambling, not writing.  In 41 minutes, my computer battery will die, and I will walk back to my car, alone. I will drive home, alone.  And I will sit for the remainder of the evening, and try to entertain myself, all by myself.

I’m not unhappy.  I’m just lonely.

And in my loneliness, I am most alone.

And, yes, I know that I am not entirely alone.  I have Jesus.  I’m so grateful for Jesus.  But Jesus can’t physically spoon me at night, or hold me the way I so long to be held by a man.

At the same time, I welcome this loneliness.  I am choosing to sit in it.  I have to endure this part of the journey, and I will, because I know that it’s beautiful.   I know, somehow, deep down, that this growing pain of loneliness is going to be so fruitful.

I am a mass of calm and calamity, confusion and strength.  I know to not allow my emotions to guide my future.  I have faith in the God of the Universe that, in addition to many other dreams, He is leading me to that one man who will love me for who I am, exactly as I am.  Broken, imperfect, divorced, potty-mouthed, frighteningly honest.  That’s me.

Until then, I will wait.