#WTF: About the last week … can I get a rundown? (Hanging w West Texas Investors Club, meeting the most “searched” dog in social media, & a really awkward moment w guy I just slept with)
This is a two part series of posts spanning three states, and includes having drinks with my business partners in a helicopter hanger. I'm not kidding ...
Cue part one:
Last week, it rained in Los Angeles. Not monumental to the majority of the country, but in LA it is the equivalent of Halley’s comet.
What is this wet substance falling from the sky? Where did it come from?
Life stops. People can’t drive, they cancel meetings, and overall it’s a massive pain in the ass.
After spending so long on an island where it rains just about every day, I’m pretty meh on the whole thing. I put on my raincoat, and big girl pants walking Buster Brown (el dog-o) down the stairs to use the restroom.
As I approached the final landing outside of the lobby, I saw a tiny four legged friend in an equally tiny leather looking jacket. As he approached Buster (who was shockingly awesome considering he isn’t the friendliest to other dogs), I realized I recognized the dog.
HOLY SHIT, I thought almost scooping him up as a gentleman (I couldn’t see because of the corner landing) called his name.
This is the most searched after dog on the internet. IT’S BRONSON!!!!!!!
Bronson is a little chihuahua mix that was stolen in December in West Hollywood. You cannot go ANYWHERE in town without seeing either a poster in the window (or on a telephone pole). Social media? Flooded with images of the one brown eyed, one blue eyed spotted haired dog.
Even George Clooney’s ex got involved:
This is Bronson, I said running down the final flight of stairs with Buster in tow. You got him back, and you live here?
My jaw was literally open at this point. You have no idea how shocking this was. Bronson had been featured on the Today Show, GMA, e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e. Had zero clue he was my neighbor.
Where are my manners I said, I’m Jen.
I’m Jason, he said laughing at my diarrhea of the mouth and genuine shock.
Yesterday was the best day of my life, he continued as he picked up Bronson.
<tangent> Bronson also appeared in a recent commercial for scrubbing bubbles:
He's the Lassie of being so ugly he's cute. Super quirky looking dog - I love it.
The “I can’t believe this dog is actually alive HOLY SHIT” factor aside, I laughed to myself at the aesthetic of the situation. Jason is a big fucking dude. 6’5? and built like a brick house. If Bronson is 6 lbs I’d be shocked.
I’m 5’7 and currently in good shape averaging 120 lbs after a pizza binge. Buster Brown is 70 lbs and a BEAST - straight muscle.
Final analysis: Our dogs do not fit their owners.
He spoke as much as he could on the case (it’s still pending a criminal investigation). Basically, this guy bought Bronson from this woman (not sure where he found her), and when he presented the dog to his granddaughter for Christmas, he suddenly realized he had been scammed, and Bronson was in fact the missing dog seen on the news.
You are so lucky, I said.
You have no idea, he said embracing the tiny pup.
It was really nice to meet you, I said being pulled by Buster.
Let’s do a play date.
DONE! I said. (Buster loves small dogs. Must be some sort of fetish.)
<tangent> If you can’t tell yet, my building is really fucking crazy. In addition to it being super haunted, it attracts a certain “type of person.” It was built in the 1900s with original fixtures and features a positively striking lobby (often where the residents hang out). One such evening was Thanksgiving, and I spent the night next to a filmmaker from Finland, a guy who grew up in Andy Warhol’s fantasy factory, and the insanely hot model from a very popular pop music video (who rents the penthouse that I had no idea existed).
I’ll just leave this right here…
“This building chooses you,” he said to the group.
Agreed, I said. Shortly after I moved in and told my friends the name of the place, the majority of them had not only heard of it but figured that I knew this promoter/ interior designer that was written about in a big magazine years ago.
Nope, don’t know her, I would say. Finally after the third person asked, I said fuck it and found her on Facebook saying she didn’t know me yet, but we were going to be best friends. I explained that I had moved into her (now old) building. We had 100 plus mutual friends, and I asked her opinion of the place.
“People have tremendous luck there," she messaged back. "Whether for you that’s a successful next step in your career, or a guy - you’ll find it there. It’s a thing … I know this sounds weird."
I like weird, I messaged, and do believe in the fact that we create our luck. If “luck" means living in a haunted building, I’m game!!
A few drenched hours later, the rain finally lifted and I got a text from the guy I spent New Years with. He wanted to grab a drink at Molly Malones to shoot the shit.
I’m in, I texted back.
We met up later that night, and he arrived at the bar first.
Hi stranger, I said tapping his shoulder (which wasn’t entirely false since we had only known each other a handful of days at that point).
We embraced as I sat down and ordered a glass of red wine. Yes, red wine. Generic, red wine. I fucking love this bar.
Was it honest? I asked (my go to question).
Yeah, he said laughing. It was almost so hard to believe we did that. I sent it to the host (who is our mutual friend) and she couldn’t stop laughing either. You missed certain details, but it was great, strange read.
Why strange? I asked.
I’ve never been written about before on a blog. If anyone could tie any of us there, it would be pretty easy to give away what we were doing.
I can respect that, I said. I change certain details around to protect my friends, but never anything that will change the story.
How do you pick what you write about, he asked?
I follow my heart, I said. I find things that interest me and then run towards them. It ends up being pretty random, but works for me. I can’t write about something I am not passionate about.
We chatted for a few more hours as I kept staring over at how insanely hot he is.
Hot, went to MIT, AND HE IS IN LOS ANGELES?!?! Where did this magical unicorn come from, I thought?
The combo of being smart and hot in Los Angeles is like the rain ...
... we're in a drought for a reason. IT JUST DOESN'T HAPPEN!!
(& should you find yourself in either condition you DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH YOURSELF!!)
The guy next to us drunkenly stood up asking if we had any requests for the jukebox.
Nope, we said in unison.
Two songs later, we heard a familiar song.
I immediately start laughing spitting out my wine. I HAD NO IDEA THIS WAS EVEN AVAILABLE ON A JUKEBOX OR RADIO!!! This song lives somewhere outside of the internet? WHO KNEW!!!
Knowing that he had read the previous post meant that I knew he knew that when he left I proceeded to dance around my apartment to said song THAT IS NOW PLAYING ON THE FUCKING JUKEBOX!!!!!!!
Totally not awkward. I SWEAR I didn’t want to die.
I have only been embarrassed a handful of times from something that I had previously written. This one took the cake - so so so embarrassing.
Mortification aside, I grabbed a LYFT home sometime past my bedtime and the next morning woke up to a text from my buddy Eric saying that he wanted to get a group together to go Pour Vous (loungey burlesque-ish club on Melrose).
I’m in, I texted back realizing I had no plans.
I arrived a few hours later, and Eric and another friend were already sitting down with drinks.
I grabbed a french kiss (made with black liqueur not Chambord) at the bar and joined the group.
What have you been up to, asked Eric?
Loaded question, I said laughing.
Fair. What did you end up doing for your birthday?
Of course you did, he replied.
Well, now we have to see, said his friend.
Sure, I said pulling them up on my phone. I did it just for myself, so I have something when I’m older to be pervy with in my nursing home.
They laughed looking at the photos commenting on how artistic and beautiful they were.
Obvi, I wasn’t about to have straight T and A shots.
Eric cracks me up, btw. He’s genuinely such a good person. I don’t know if it is a midwest thing, but he can go from knowing no one to having the whole room in the palm of his hand in 10 minutes. You not only immediately feel at ease, but he is a perfect gentleman. AND we played smack the wine bag together while wearing lederhosen - because obviously …
<tangent> That took forever getting off my legs for my dinner meeting that I had hours later after the game.. It was supposed to be a “quick” lemme meet this guy and say hi. We had so much fun we stayed for six hours. </tangent>
A few minutes later, another friend of Eric’s joined the group.
After introductions and pleasantries, he asked what we did for a living and I replied with “I’m not sure.” (Now my standard go to since I sincerely do not know what the hell I do for a living anymore - am just living it.)
Eric briefly told him about Talk Nerdy as I went into my elevator pitch to summarize what the experience was about. He stopped me at the part about 103 dates.
What was your take away?
One, I said, it was accidental. You can’t do something like this going in with the idea that you are going to go on X amount of dates. You won’t have an honest experience. I genuinely wanted to date, but needed to learn to pull my head out of my own ass first.
Two, there were 103 dates, 11 second dates, six guys I slept with, and four that I wanted more from.
And then … he asked?
All four were emotionally unavailable, so then after I posted my findings I was contacted by a Modern Day Shaman who I worked with before I fell in love and moved to an island (choosing to go entirely off the grid for a handful of years).
Wow, he said. You’re so open and genuine, it’s fascinating.
Meh, I like what I like and I do what I do. I just keep following my heart.
What do you do, I asked?
I’m an author, he said.
Of course you are, I replied. (I have a very specific goal I am working on currently. More on that in a minute.)
I then asked about his book, and the financial structuring for his book tour.
It’s called, Big Game Hunting: Networking with billionaires, executives, and celebrities.
Eric interrupted, Jen does that without even trying. You two need to talk.
I continue, I’ve heard that unless you’re a NYT best seller you pretty much only go around on a speaking engagement circuit to generate sales. There isn’t a lot of money. Is that the case?
Yeah, he said. It depends on how you do it. For my book, I self published and now speak at places like the White House, and with various influencers on their circuits.
Impressive, I said.
We swapped social handles (er, I grabbed his twitter handle and phone and tweeted myself) …
… and with a few french kisses later, (the drink) I ghosted grabbing a LYFT home.
The next morning, I was invited to hang out with my girlfriend M who is a single mother and lives out in Pasadena. (The LA equivalent of the North Pole.)
For the drive out, I put on Rumors by Fleetwood Mac (all time favorite album) and jammed out to the burbs.
I respect the hell out of M. Not only is she an eloquent, passionate writer (and as I found out one of the very first dating bloggers), but she's also a brilliant marketer and new mom. At 31, I can barely take care of myself let alone be responsible for another human being. The fact that she not only does it, but so well COMPLETELY blows my mind.
I don’t know how you do it, I said watching her dote over her now one year old.
You just do, she said. You’re never ready, you never know what is going to happen - but you figure it out.
How’s dating going for you?
HA! I said laughing. I have no idea what I am doing.
You need to find a guy who will push you as your career goes up like this; she motioned her hand in an upward direction.
Her hand gesture reminded me of the Cliffhanger game on The Price is Right. She continued talking while I heard that little doll yodel wondering if he was going to fall off the cliff …
(God this song freaks me out. I love it.)
Find someone who supports you but also has enough of their own shit going on.
I want to be a true partner, I said. In my last relationship I didn’t ever feel like we were on the same wavelength, and two relationships ago changed my life completely. I moved to a fucking island and (by my own course of actions) became a Stepford wife. That is SOO NOT ME!! I am super happy for both, and super grateful but I’m ready to find a balance between who I know I am and what I aspire to be. I truly want to be a partner, and support a partner.
Yup, she said, and that’s why you’re back. You’ve experienced what you didn’t want. If you wanted to be a trophy wife you would have stayed. Yet, here you are back in Los Angeles.
Yeah I laughed, to work my ass off. 5-7 years then I’m going to do something completely different (again).
You will, she said. You know now more of what you want and will filter out what you don’t want.
I hope so, I said bouncing her daughter on my lap singing “heads shoulders knees and toes - knees and toes.”
Congratulations, this song will be stuck in your head for the rest of the evening.
We chatted for a few more hours before I headed back to my car. En route, I got a message from my filmmaker from Finland neighbor asking if I had a specific type of camera for his shoot the next day.
(I worked on three seasons of a TV show for Comcast and had to get a fancy pants camera. Luckily, a buddy of mine was looking to sell his so I got a great price.)
Initially, I read his text wrong, assuming he had wanted me to be an extra in his project. (I read things too quickly sometimes.) He corrected me.
I got back to my house, and texted my neighbor. He had gone out at that point, and indicated that he would swing by later in the evening (around 10).
I can see if I’ll be up, I said knowing that I was having another dear friend over to watch some movies and chill (no, not Netflix and chill - like actual verbal communication). I wasn’t going to interrupt our time together (out of respect) so if he was late, I’d have to catch him later.
My buddy was supposed to come by at 8, but because he was moving he was held up. (Also why we were taking a chill night. He had a lot going on but still wanted to catch up.) 9pm came around, and he still wasn’t here.
Oh fuck, I thought. They are both going to get here at the same time. I’ve never had this problem before. Not one but TWO guys at my house on a Saturday night. Contrary to how crazy my life may seem sometimes, I genuinely don’t plan it let alone let it happen at my house!!
At 10, I get a knock on my door - it is my neighbor.
FUCKKKK, I thought. Not how I wanted this to go down.
He walked around my apartment saying “wow, this is SO beautiful.” (Each unit is unique.)
Thanks, I said. I’m happy.
He then looked at the camera as he sat down on my love seat taking off his shoes.
Wow, this is comfortable.
Yeahhhh, I said nervously (and still standing) receiving a text (feeling the vibration but not reading it just yet):
I grabbed the camera and showed it to him. It still takes tapes. I honestly think what you should do is go to Best Buy in the morning and get an Allo clip for your iPhone. WAY better quality. Am a huge fan.
Good point, this was a great camera back in the day, he said pulling apart the pieces placing them on the love seat.
I keep it more for nostalgic purposes, and you never know what I could maybe get for it someday.
I reach down to grab my phone to text my friend letting him know that my neighbor is here, and as I texted I also told my neighbor that I was expecting company.
Two seconds later, I get a knock.
Well, that was perfect timing, I said laughing.
My friend then came in with a big backpack (excess from his move) and my poor neighbor looked so heartbroken. Both guys are hot, but I would never in a million years date a neighbor.
Life mantra/ cardinal rule: Don’t shit where you eat.
My uncomfortable fear for well ... the last two hours was now coming true - this is going to turn into a pissing contest. (ppft, men)
Filmmaker from Finland then made a comment about my friend's shirt, and my buddy said it was one of his favorites, and had been a part of this film his company did.
Then, the filmmaker made a comment re: a friend of his that directed the movie for a film I referenced not because I like cinema, but because he had mentioned my dog and when Buster doesn't know you he acts like Kujo.
My head bounced back and forth like a ping pong as I thought dear GOD please leave. I want a quiet night chilling with my friend, was not planning on throwing a party.
WHEN DOES THIS HAPPEN?!?! SERIOUSLY!?! I can’t get ONE cute dude in my apartment on a Saturday night, now I have two? THIS HAS NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE, FRIEL!!! EMERGENCY EXIT!!! PULL THE SLIDE!!!
My neighbor finally got the clue (which if I was smarter would have been more proactive in shutting down any “potential” interest), and as he left he closed the door and my friend looked over laughing saying, that guy has a BIG crush on you. He didn’t come over here to “look at your camera, Jen.”
I know, I said. I figured that part out once he actually got in here and made himself at home. I used to laugh saying I never knew a guy was into me unless you “hit me over the head.” Then, I did get hit in the head, so I stopped saying that. I’m truly oblivious.
I can tell, he said. We shot the shit for a handful of hours and then he left as I went to bed. The next morning, I woke up to an email from my agents (talk about working hard, they work on Sundays!!).
<tangent> I am repped at CAA (one of the most respected entertainment agencies in the world) and I got that through a handshake during a “general” I had years and years ago. During Talk Nerdy’s days (before I left for the island) I literally met with every studio, production company any anything that my manager (at the time) could set me up with. It was hit or miss on who liked you and who didn’t - but one of the guys said for lit I should be at CAA. Done, I said as he put me in contact with the agency. Through that specific agent, I started to work on a book (a very dear passion), but was frustrated living on the island fighting with my (then) boyfriend about what I did for a living. Being the girl that talks so candidly about sex, and relationships is not always a plus to the guy you’re actually sharing your bed with. I threw in the towel with the book, and got SUPER FUCKING LUCKY that not only did Jerry Bruckheimer (who is also repped at CAA) want to purchase it, but my agents facilitated the deal and subsequent sale. I had nothing to do with it, and had I not been at CAA, I’m not sure it would have happened.
Lucky, lucky, lucky
My next goal is to write a book. In my deal with Bruckheimer, I no longer have the option under Talk Nerdy (I can create a graphic novel) so I said fuck it, and started this site. I still need to write (to not get grumpy), and if it sold once, maybe I could do it again!! </tangent>
I sent my two lit agents last week a pitch with my overall thoughts on how a book would be structured, in addition to some example posts.
This is what I got in response:
When I read that, I started to cry. As is I’ve been super emotional with everything with the CBS show as they are now finalizing the pilot script and we will know about a production commitment for the put pilot sometime in the next 1-3 weeks. To have an idea you started on your bed after a break up be turned into a fucking television show is super overwhelming. It’s their baby now, but my bottom line is I have to figure out what is next. My next step is this book.
I then went through and created the outline (having previous proposals from Talk Nerdy days), structuring, and general theme. My brain was on fire finally feeling like I was not only ready, but that the timing was perfect. (I get the credit “Based on the blog by: Jen Friel” on the show.)
I spent the rest of the day writing, and then remembered that I promised my girlfriend Chaya I would come to her house for a moon circle.
Yes, you read that right - a moon circle.
I told you, if being “lucky” means standing on one foot for the rest of my damn life - I will do it!! If sitting in a circle with a group of women chanting under the moon will bring me luck, well why the heck not.
I had been to one previously in Venice, but this one was at her house in Topanga. That is the LA equivalent of going to Guam.
I cannot believe I drove to Pasadena and now Topanga in one weekend, I thought as I again put on Fleetwood Mac.
Clearly, I have a pattern.
<tangent> Their music is like poetry. It gives me the best ideas zoning out while driving listening to the same songs over and over on repeat. </tangent>
45 minutes or so later, I found myself in the mountains sans any street lights, and sans any cell phone service.
Totally not creepy, I thought.
I got freakishly lost for about 20 minutes, but before deciding to throw in the towel, I saw some women walk in front of my car like they knew where they were going. I parked the car and followed, fortunately arriving to Chaya’s house.
There were about 15 women there, all “successful” by their own terms. Actors to writers and producers, music industry executives, and tech entrepreneurs. I find it inspiring to be around women like that; it motivates me to want to be and do better.
I stayed pretty quiet having been overwhelmed with the news I received earlier in the day. As I’m getting older, I don’t find myself wanting to FREAK OUT AND POST SOMETHING IN SOCIAL WITH LOTS OF EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!! I instead opt to keep things quietly near my heart and maybe tell certain people, but for the most part keep my head down and keep working.
I sat down on the ground in the circle as we began lighting candles and passing around sage (a cleansing scent when burned). Sitting directly on the floor made me feel literally “grounded” and as we took a series of deep breaths, I felt extremely relaxed and completely “in my body” (sans any scatter brained energy).
The leader then shared some passages from the book we read out of each circle:
… and the overall topic of conversation for the group shifted to intention.
"Just because Mercury is in retrograde (which LA people love to blame everything on) doesn’t mean that things are going to go poorly. You are in charge of your destiny, and you can change your intention and focus to use this time as a transitional period,” said one of the organizers. Now is an opportunity for hyper growth, she explained.
The group continued to share, as I started to tear up smiling.
It was then my turn to speak, and I raised my hand shocked at my reluctance.
I didn’t want to say anything this circle, but this morning I had something beautiful happen professionally that was in direct alignment with my intention. I have had one goal for months. I’ve worked at it bit by bit (in spare time which is never really “spare time” - you have to make the time). I was shocked not only getting this news, since today is Sunday, but it confirmed what I had felt and by definition executes my goal. I never shared what my goal was, as I explained it belongs just to myself, but I was happy to be there and particularly since the conversation is about alignment.
FYI, I don’t believe in coincidences - that was a confirmation.
Sometime later, I got a call from my friend who I was supposed to grab a quick drink with after the moon circle. I excused myself from the party, as he then backed out saying his night was running later than expected.
Not a problem, I said super happy to go home and work on my proposal.
En route, my phone rang and it was a girlfriend of mine going through a breakup. She had been seeing this guy for a while and it appeared to not be going anywhere. She knew she had to talk to him, but it still doesn’t make actually doing it any easier.
I listened as she cried, my heart hurting knowing I’ve been exactly where she has been many many many times.
<tangent> That is the strange thing about documenting so many of my dates/ relationships. I re-read the posts and am shocked (looking back) at how much power I gave some of these men (who didn’t deserve it).
I SERIOUSLY thought this was the man I was going to spend the rest of my life with?!?!?
31 year old Jen wants to go back in time and smack 25 year old Jen.
What I have learned is to focus on a man’s actions not words, and when a man shows you who he is, believe him. You can’t change people, you can only speak your intentions and follow your truth. If they’re in alignment, great! If not, great, they were a teacher not a partner. Rip the band aid off and let it go. </tangent>
I told her how proud I was of her, and how hard I know everything must have been. It’s never easy, I said, but you ARE going to come out a stronger person from this. (I recently stayed in a relationship for longer than I knew I should have, and while I don’t regret it - I should have pulled the plug sooner. I was too scared of hurting him, so I hurt myself in the process. Not cool.)
The next morning, I checked in on her, and told her she should listen to the song I Lived by OneRepublic.
Look at the video and read the lyrics:
I think of that song anytime I go through something scary or difficult. Life isn’t about anything being “perfect” or “oh woah is me, why didn’t this work out?” It’s like did you love? YES! Great! Did you follow your heart and take a risk making a leap? GREAT! That’s all that really matters in life. “Failure” means to not try. As long as you are trying even if you didn’t execute your goal, you still learned the lesson (or had some sort of take away). That lays the foundation for your next project, and next project, and so on, and so on …
It reminds me of this line from Serendipity that speaks deeply to my heart about what we live for:
At 31, I don’t view things now as having to "keep up with these certain markers in life." I’m pretty damn happy as is. If I get married, great! If I don’t, great! I have my 5-7 year plan. I view experiences like I do scars - each one tells a story, and through each experience you inch by inch become more confident. It’s what life is all about!! Life no matter what is going to throw so many curve balls and variables at us, but what builds TRUE character isn’t how we "kept pace with our peers," but rather, our ability to follow our own heart!!
However “random” my life may appear to be, it’s all the product of that mentality. In writing, in love, in business, even in stupidity (which lets face it, most of what I do is pretty freaking stupid)! I am exactly where I am today because of a series of choices I made that interested me. It’s that simple!! It’s our ego that wants to over-complicate things and say you did this, or you wronged me - I’ll show you!! Let that shit go, bro. It's definitely not easy, but at least allows love to still flow through your heart (almost always when you least expect it).
Up next, I stop by Midland, Texas to visit my business partners & stars of the hit CNBC show The West Texas Investors Club, end up in Oklahoma, and make friends with my skeleton leggings - and by friends I mean people that pointed and laughed at me in the airport. That was awesome.
I fucking can't wait to leave Oklahoma ...