to whom it may concern

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so when an individual applies for membership at the club, each of their sponsors is asked to compose a letter of recommendation. basic information, really, how long he/she has known the potential member, if they have entertained in each others’ homes, if they’ve played a golf game or two with them before. and oftentimes, the returned letters are just as basic in nature, covering the items requested and not much more.

but every once in a while, a composition graces my inbox that catches me off guard. for within its text are some of the most heart felt lauds i’ve ever read; details so genuine in nature that i all but feel like i know the nominee personally by letter’s end.

so i got to thinking.

about these recommendations; these notes of highest praise.

and what a letter of recommendation about yours truly might look like. what words would be utilized to describe me, what attributes might be highlighted or specific memories shared. and then i really got to thinking (i know, my brain kind of hurts, it hasn’t done this much thinking in a long time).

what if we were all allowed to write our own letters of recommendation? and not to just to join country clubs, but for life. to be handed out before the blossoming of a newly budding friendship, most certainly for a new job (i mean, isn’t that what the cover letter is for?), and well, YOU GUESSED IT (come on, you knew it was coming), to be delivered to the future gent before (or perhaps soon after) he laid eyes on you for the first time.

except this letter of recommendation wouldn’t be filled with exaggerated accolades or inflated attributes (okay maybe just a little). it would be honest. it would be the most real representation of you in textual form. i mean, sure, there would be moments of restraint, you don’t want to scare the guy with your admittance of eating half a pint of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream in the middle of your kitchen at eleven o’clock at night or that you pin wedding dresses on a “future wedding ideas” pinterest board on a pretty consistent basis (newsflash, every girl does this, so stop getting all weird about it, male population), but it would be ridden with enough truths to make him realize that he may or may not have just won the lottery the day he decided to court you. sure, you’re not perfect. but your flaws make you human. and they make you uniquely you. and chances are, the right one will love you despite those and because of them, too. plus, i mean, just because i’m not the most spontaneous person in the world and i hate vacuuming doesn’t mean that i’m not a kick-booty card-writer and really good at remembering that your favorite food is cheesecake.

so if i were to write myself a letter of recommendation to be distributed to the next gent who so strikes my fancy, i think this is what it would say.

to whom it may concern:

hi, how are you? also, you look really handsome today. i know, this is supposed to be about me isn’t it? well, one thing you’ll learn pretty quickly is that while i’m no stranger to tooting my own horn (more on that in a moment), i’m a pretty darn good encourager, too. that means doling out compliments whenever I see fit. so you’re welcome in advance.

okay. so here’s the 411. i’m a gemini vegetarian, *cough* pescatarian with the occasional chicken-induced slip-up, who surprisingly doesn’t love long walks on the beach (i’m more partial to the mountains, more on that in a moment, too) but who realizes that there is something romantic about beach-side strolls so who will humor you should you request her company on one such occasion. preferably at sunset.

i’m a morning person. like obnoxiously so. but despite my affinity for the sunrise, i understand that most of the population isn’t as cheery at an hour that even roosters don’t rise for. so i promise to keep my chipperness at a reasonable level (but nothing below a 5 on the chipper meter, i’m no grump), respect your need for a few extra zzz’s and bring you a starbuck’s [insert your favorite drink here] when you do decide to come out of temporary hibernation.

speaking of starbuck’s. i may or may not have a slight addiction. i blame the gold card. the power has gone straight to my head and now i’m earning “sweet 15” reward cards like it’s my jay-oh-bee. but like i mentioned before, i’m more than happy to share the wealth of said addiction. if i’m going to get caffeinated, chances are, you will be, too. because i’m never one to deprive my guy of the frothy goodness of a soy-topped americano. plus, you might need the extra adrenaline rush to keep up with me.

because despite the fact that i was painfully shy as a child, i’ve kind of come into my own. as like, i really like to talk. actually, sometimes i have a hard time not talking. like silence kind of bugs. but if it is silence that you need, i’m happy to oblige, just know that you’ll have to return the favor with some good old-fashioned heart to hearts later. we can talk about most anything because (here comes the horn-tooting) i kind of know a little bit about a lot of things. sports? you got it. i can hold my own in a conversation about football, tennis, golf, and baseball. basketball gets a little hazy and well, let’s hope you’re not a soccer enthusiast. history? well, if you want to talk about history, i’m not sure who you are (because who really sits around and contemplates george washington’s crossing of the delaware?), but maybe you’re a big history buff and in that case, AWESOME (did i mention i’m super nerdy and love learning? yeah, i kind of rocked my high school GPA and didn’t do too shabby on those SAT’s either). i prefer american history (civil war era is my favorite), but am more than happy to discuss the histories of places other than the good ol-US of A. trouble figuring out who that guy in that one movie starring that other chick is dating? or at least what other movie or tv show you know him from? i’ve got you covered. and if i don’t, i’ll discretely use my imdb ap under the table, find my answer, and then pretend like i knew it all along. are you a foodie? i am. well, let me clarify, i’m a foodie trapped in a really picky eater’s body. i’ve watched enough seasons of top chef and most anything on the food network to tell you that beef carpaccio is basically really finely minced raw meat and that bacon makes most things better. and though i may be content on sustaining on oatmeal, roasted vegetables and almond butter, i recognize that you are not (content, that is). so i want to be the first to tell you that i can follow a recipe like a champ and that i make the best darn roasted brussels sprouts, zucchini and yellow squash medley that will ever grace those lips. sure, i may not jump at the chance to cook red meat (mostly because i’d be fearful of turning it into jerky), but if it’s steak and potatoes that makes that heart flutter, then, by george, i’ll google it and figure it out along the way. it’s just kind of what i do. i learned long ago that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, so don’t fret, baby cakes (can i call you baby cakes?), i may not eat it with you, but that doesn’t mean it won’t ever see the light of day in our kitchen. anything else you want to discuss? random facts? i have an arsenal of those, too. i mean, i should just tell you that it has been my dream since forever to be a contestant on jeopardy someday, so don’t think i haven’t tried to collect any and all information for said occasion. just so i can say, “let’s make it a true daily double, alex.”

remember how i encouraged you like right off the bat? you should probably get used to that, because i kind of do it all the time. i’m a “glass-half-full/God has a greater plan for you” kind of gal so if i can point you to that light at the end of the tunnel, i will. i realize that sometimes you may just want to vent, so i won’t try to offer a solution if you don’t ask for one (i know men usually like to fix the problem with their own efforts), but i will be here with  listening ear. i have pretty strong shoulders for you to cry on (stop it, men cry, i’ve seen it, and not just in the movies) and i’ve been told that i’m a good hugger, too. above all else, i will do my best to let you know that you are not alone in your endeavors. i’m the best dang cheerleader there is (i got a lot of practice being an actual cheerleader in high school), so even when you feel like no one is in your corner, think again, mister. also, i think it’s important to know that as long as you’re not bringing hurt directly on yourself or others, i will support you in all of your entrepreneurial aspirations. hate your job? quit it (i mean, let’s talk about it first, but you know, i can be the sugar momma if it means you’re finding a vocation you’re passionate about). truth be told, i don’t have a prescription for what it is i hope you do for a living. as long as our immediate needs are met and you’re a happy camper when the subject of your career comes up in casual conversation, i don’t care if you’re a trash collector (i hope you shower, though) or a neurosurgeon (look at you!), i just want you to be passionate about what it is you do.

i think we’re getting side tracked.

that happens a lot, just to warn you.

well, i suppose now is a good of time as any to let you know about my writing talents. first of all, i have a blog. i HOPE you’ve read it because it’s awesome and it would have given you a heck of a lot of insight before even reading this letter. but if you haven’t just know that it’s important to me that you do take a vested interest in this so-called hobby of mine. because well, it only serves to benefit you in the long run. i like to leave you notes. my mom used to leave them for me in my lunch box in grade school and my dad used to leave them for her in lipstick on the bathroom mirror. i just don’t think you can ever tire from receiving a hand-written message. sure, text messages are fun and emails and phone calls and gchats, too. but holding a piece of card-stock with scribbled “i’m thinking of you’s” or “you’re amazing’s” is just that much better. so get ready, dude, i’m like really good at leaving those around for you to find. and here’s the thing, i mean, i wouldn’t hate it if you returned the favor, but i’m really not expecting anything in return. i do it because i can. i do it because i want to. i do it because, frankly, i have a way with words. and i do it because i care.

so i cry. not like an abnormal amount, but let’s be honest, i’m emotional. i wear my emotions on my sleeves and on my face and anywhere else that is visible to the general public. i would lose at poker every single time. and despite a few rogue award-winning performances of late, i’m a terrible actress, too. when i say everything is “fine.” it’s really not (i mean, i’m a woman, you should have figured that out already). so you’re going to have to get me to talk. to quantify my feelings in verbal form. because if given the choice, i would simply stuff them down deep if it meant not rocking the boat. i’ve come a long way on this, but i think it just may be a life-long struggle. so, sorry in advance. but i will tell you that after we have our heart to heart and you get me to tell you what’s really going on in this crazy little noodle brain of mine, i will be so gosh darn thankful for your patience. i’ll probably bake you a batch of chocolate chip cookies, too. because yes, i am just that awesome. and well, because i feel bad that you had to wipe my snot with your sleeve.

speaking of sleeves…

you haven’t seen me wear the same outfit twice since you met me, have you? i know what you’re thinking, GULP, this girl is a clothes horse and i have my work cut out for me. well, yes and no. first of all, you should know that i love fashion. i love clothes. i love shoes and big necklaces and over-sized flower pins and hats, too. i love being a girl. and chances are you love me being a girl, too. it’s why you’re dating me, right? but while my love affair with my ever-expanding wardrobe could have you concerned, let me be clear, i am a barganista in every since of the word. i’m a “get the look for less but still look darn good” kind of gal. and one more, i’m more than happy to dress you, too. i mean, don’t worry, i won’t insist that we match (the horror), but if i can look like a j.crew model, by george, you can, too. i mean, only if you want to. i’m not into changing the guy i’m dating, moreso, just helping him grow into the more fashionable version of himself. forewarning though, i have been known to create monsters. the satisfaction that comes with dressing well is kind of addictive. once you’ve gone well-tailored, you’ll never go back.

do not under ANY circumstances take me whale watching. i will promptly throw a tantrum in the fervor of a toddler going through his/her terrible twos, because if i haven’t made it clear before, i am terrified by whales. specifically breaching ones. no there is no logical explanation for this. i’d like to think that in the words of gaga herself, i was born this way. so if it’s alright with you, let’s forgo the all-day trip to sea to get a peek at the grey whale migration down the california coast. if it’s any consolation, i’ll gladly kill that spider?

a note about that mountain thing i alluded to before. my “outdoorsyness” has been questioned before. and i get it, take one good look at me and “that girl totally camps” isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. it’s probably not even the 32nd thing that comes to mind, either. but despite my ruffle-wearing ways, i really do love nature (it doesn’t always love me back, but that’s another story). i grew up going to yosemite and sequoia and though i have yet to visit it, i think lake tahoe might be heaven on earth. so when you want to round up the troops and head east to the sierra nevada (or if you want to take me to colorado or montana or anywhere that makes wearing flannel and chopping firewood a necessity), i’m totally game. it would give me an excuse to wear my sweet puffer vest and refrain from wearing makeup for a few days. and duh, it would give us a reason to make s’mores. not that we even need a reason for those. p.s. i’m a really good s’more-maker, too.

i’m just going to put this out there now – your friends are going to love me. it happens all the time. i’m sorry i’m not sorry.

sometimes I wait too long to eat and then I get hangry. It’s so not you, it’s me. i’ll work on carrying snacks. but if i’ve eaten through my entire stash of emergency lara bars, can you be a peach and get me to a grocery store stat? i promise i’ll be much better once i’m fed. kind of like those snicker’s commercials when that guy turns into joe pesci and then back to himself once he’s eaten the candy bar? just like that. except i don’t turn into joe pesci (thank goodness), just a less pleasant version of myself.

i like to sing along with the radio. and that pandora station. and with your iPod. and to the music in my head. i’m no christina aguilera, but I’m no ke$ha either. somewhere in between. so hopefully you have a good voice and can sing louder to drown me out. or hopefully you just don’t mind.

on that note, i know all of the words to baby got back by sir mix-a-lot. didn’t see that one coming, did you?

yes I’m going to wake up for that pure barre class on saturday morning even if I stayed up way too late watching a movie with you the night before. don’t get between me and my workout, you will lose every time.

i have this weird thing about dirty feet. if we go on a barefoot stroll, the first thing i’ll have to do when we get home is clean off my piggies. i know i’m neurotic, but i just appreciate good foot hygiene. i won’t say a word when you insist that your breakfast cereals have to be alphabetized.

i have a photographic memory. not like rain man caliber, but close(ish). like i can still remember my best friend from first through fifth grade’s home phone number (back when we used land lines). and i remember most people’s birthdays, yes, even aside from facebook reminders. and by “most people” i mean, in addition to family and actual friends, i also mean celebrities, too (britney spears’ is december 2nd, her ex justin? january 31st, jennifer aniston? february 11th. i know. equal parts impressed and disgusted). it also makes me pretty darn good at remembering important events, like the fact that you have your very important job meeting on friday and that you were wearing green on the first day we met. i realize this memory borders on creepy (or doesn’t just border, it crosses the line into actual creepyville), but trust me, it actually does more good than harm. like when i remember that your laundry is still in the dryer at the laundromat and it’s ten minutes ’til closing time. again, you’re welcome in advance.

i will not be in a relationship with you on facebook but I will brag about you to everyone with a pulse. so i think that’s a fair trade-off.

i’ll probably try to open doors for myself and insist on carrying heavy packages in from the car. i’m an independent woman (throw your hands up at me) and sometimes i forget that all you want to do is shower me with a little chivalry. don’t give up on this. in fact, be consistent. i’ll realize your efforts and come around. maybe i’ve dated a lot of frogs or i’ve just become accustomed to doing things for myself, because i’m still caught off guard when someone wants to show me a little prince charming-ness (and thank you for that).

i’ll probably stick my foot in my mouth a time or twelve, and accidentally use a pet name far too early on in our relationship. i’ll probably make you watch an episode of real housewives and keep you waiting in the j.crew dressing rooms for far too long, too.

and i will fail you as a partner. i’m most certain i will. because i’m no mary poppins (in case you didn’t know, she was “practically perfect in every way”), though i do make a mean batch of magic bars and can organize a closet like nobody’s business.

but despite my faults, i can promise you this:

i will love you with all of me. unabashedly, so.

i’ll be your very best friend, your safe place, and your perpetual laugh track (as long as you promise to be mine as well).

so with all of that said…

buckle up, dude, i’m a good one. tell momma and pops to get ready, i’m the kind you take home to meet them. and if you’re not quite ready for that, either get ready or politely bow out now because your loss is someone else’s major gain.

thank you for your time and consideration.

sincerely,
shawna

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