Tag Archives: mission

Dating In The Modern Age

28 Feb


“You’re going to have to suck it up and do it at some point,” challenged the crackling voice on the other end of my telephone. “Might as well rip off the bandaid and get it over with.”

I’d been debriefing with an old friend, and while I’ve been keeping most of my activities off the radar these days, the loneliness in my voice betrayed me. My cohort suggested it might be time for me to try online dating. Despite my protests that I simply wasn’t ready, her insistence struck a nerve. An International Woman of Mystery would never back down from a challenge.

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Mission: Be Stylish

4 Feb


I’m sprawled out on the floor of the Mystery Abode living room, surrounded by piles of gathered intelligence. I stare at the pages scattered on my floor with a furrowed brow. I know the answer lies in here somewhere. I just have to find it.

In a small black notebook, I scribble notes for myself. Observations to take with me, into the field. A jumbled report on seasonal colors, hemline lengths and silhouettes. Accessories and fabrics. I’m on a hunt. A mission, if you will. Jenny G: International Woman of Mystery is going dress shopping.

A funny thing has happened since moving to Denver. Despite the International Woman of Mystery’s innate desire to exude personal style, it seems a bit of the opposite has happened. I’ve fallen into the attire trap that is Midwestern casual. I’ve assimilated to the ways of jeans and t-shirts and mismatched layers of warmth. It’s an easy mode to default to, by virtue of cold winter days and a local culture that accepts it as the norm. However, if I want to persist in my transformation to worldly ingénue, I’ll need to up my fashion game.

So here I am, armed with old back issues of my favorite fashion magazines and a couple of Pinterest boards. Determined that I will find some new adornment to set the tone. My means are somewhat modest. Most of my extra income these days is being socked away in the travel fund. Exotic adventures on the distant horizon, I thought I might try to find some local inspiration instead. The IWOM’s arsenal is a multifaceted one, but by my estimation, it should include one truly great dress. I’ll choose the outfit and then surely adventure will follow.

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Mission: Be Fearless

1 Feb



The noise shatters the air.

The sound of a gunshot is unmistakable. In real life, it’s much louder than in the movies.

I’m at a shooting range in an unfamiliar part of town. A client of my marketing firm learned I was in Denver and invited me to a “Ladies Shooting Event.” One part networking, one part gun safety and target practice.

I’d only ever been shooting once, with my father and Alek, in a secluded field. Our father showed us how to hold a rifle and shoot at old bottles and cans on a fence. It was fun, I guess, but I hadn’t held a gun since then. And I was afraid, because, well, to me, guns = death.

But. As an International Woman of Mystery, I felt hard-pressed to turn down this invitation to learn a new skill. Shouldn’t every aspiring action hero at least know their way around a weapon?

I thought this would be a great opportunity to see if I was cut out to be an Olivia Benson, G.I. Jane or Sarah Connor, chasing down serial rapists in dark alleys or nabbing the villain with a single, swift shot. Or maybe I’d be like Agent 99, toting a pistol in my stylish trench and looking fabulous in a beret. I listened to rap music. After all, who among us hasn’t ever secretly wished they could advise someone: tell it to my nine.

I thought about Constance Kopp. In Girl Waits With Gun, Constance never actually desires to fire a gun at someone. But by learning to shoot, she acquires a sense of security, which then translates into a new sort of confidence. She doesn’t have to shoot to kill, to feel powerful. She simply knows that she is. I thought maybe my shooting experience would go something like that.

And yet, I still felt afraid.

Sometimes, when something scares you, the only way through your fear is to face it. Sometimes the only way to defeat an enemy is to put yourself in their shoes and try to understand them better. For this reason, I decided I would go shooting.

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Mission: Be Zen

21 Jan


Do you ever have days, dear reader, where city life just grinds you down? As Jenny G.: International Woman of Mystery, I pride myself on stamina, but I confess, there are days when it wears on me. Sometimes it’s the traffic. Or the parking. Or the weather. The constant noise and pace. The unyielding energy of commerce and construction can, at times, feel like it’s closing in on you.

It’s been one of those weeks. My dalliances in Vail proved somewhat of a debacle, but after a few days of contemplation, it was time to exercise some mind over matter and move on. Get back to work on my mission at large. As I looked at my recent list of traits to try to cultivate, one in particular called to me: it was time to find some Zen. And it couldn’t  have come a moment too soon.

The class takes place on a Wednesday night at the meditation center’s headquarters downtown. It’s a mere mile from my home, so I decide to walk, but quickly regret it. Being a pedestrian in this city can be a death-defying feat sometimes, in itself. Throngs of distracted drivers making their evening commutes nearly clip me in the crosswalks. Skateboarders in Civic Center Park yell random obscenities. A brisk wind blows in my face and chaps my ears. At last I stumble, numb and disgruntled, up the steps into the center.

It amazes me sometimes, what we can bring into our lives by simply putting intention out into the universe. I recently experienced such serendipity after making a list of traits I wish to cultivate in my transformation. A few days after noting my need for Zen, I was out in the neighborhood and happened upon a local meditation center. I was in a hurry that day, but I grabbed a flier and told myself it might come in handy. When I looked at the flier later, I noted a promising opportunity: a class simply called “Learn to Meditate.” I signed up immediately.

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Mission: Learning to Cook

12 Jan


Another cold night alone in the Mile High City. I wander from room to room in the Mystery Pad searching for something to occupy my evening. Jenny G is restless. The International Woman of Mystery abhors boredom.

I peruse the usual options: movies, books, television, various Internet rabbit holes. But tonight I find none of these options satisfactory. I need something more stimulating and challenging. A mission perhaps. Something death-defying and harrowing to really get my blood pumping.

I decide to cook something.

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Mission: Be Elusive

9 Jan


The black turtleneck and black leggings hang limply in the back of my closet. To a pair of common eyes, they might look like just that: old black clothes on a wire hanger.

I retrieve them gingerly and admire them with a reverence usually reserved for a superhero’s costume. I don the catsuit – my catsuit – for the first time in a couple of months. But there’s another step this time. I’m headed out on a mission and this one requires full IWOM regalia. The wig comes off the shelf.

After a series of semi-complicated maneuvers, I secure my new blonde locks on my head. Strap on my tall, black boots. Throw on additional layers of black clothing (it’s a cold day in the city). I grab my sunglasses and my trench.

My mission? To be elusive. I check before leaving my apartment and again before leaving the building. Just to ensure that the coast is clear. My neighbors mustn’t know about my secret identity. Today, I’m hitting the streets, incognito. Continue reading


17 Dec


It has been approximately 74 days since I first began my transformation to become the International Woman of Mystery. As the days go by, I find myself settling into this new skin. This new identity. My identity.

However, as a woman of the world, I do not prefer to settle into anything; it’s not my M.O. It was time to step out of the box once more and complete another assignment. Today’s mission: acquiring the perfect disguise.

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External Headquarters

9 Dec


After Boston winters, Colorado often strikes me as being not so bad. Even still, after a particularly blah couple of weeks cooped up indoors, I was itching for a mission. Sporting my newly acquired International Woman of Mystery attire, I set about to find an adventure. Sun shining. Big shades on, I sought to do some exploring and perhaps find myself a new home away from home

Every International Woman of Mystery needs an external headquarters. As someone who works from home, I know all too well that a change of venue does wonders for the soul. A woman of the world, such as myself, needs just such a thing. How else to escape the confines of my many disguises (eventually) and debrief after narrowly escaping perilous situations. I wasn’t sure where my external headquarters should be. I just knew it would speak to me when I found it. There would be no Yelp or Google Maps or Zagat guides to aid my search. An International Woman of Mystery needs intuition, anyway.

A long afternoon’s excursion took me to a bookstore, two coffee joints and a cupcake shoppe (it was worth “researching”), before I stumbled upon a European Bistro and Café and I just knew I had found my new spot.

There was nothing particularly posh about it. The walls were lined with faded old pictures. A haphazardly painted mural. Old wobbly tables and chairs. Old books. Faded rugs. Loud speakers playing eclectic music for a crowd of misfits. Just the kind of place a girl can disappear into for an hour or four. Scribble notes from the field into a little black book and sip an Americano or a cocktail, for that matter.

The new headquarters is open 24 hours and since a woman of mystery keeps odd hours, it’s perfect.

It had been a dismal couple of weeks in my world. Lonely and feeling foolishly nostalgic for my old life. But sitting at a table for one next to a small faux fireplace, just observing the other patrons with a mix of curiosity and amusement, I started to feel better.  I felt at home in this city and in my new persona.

I breathed a deep sigh and raised my coffee mug to no one in particular. I felt ready for anything.

Jenny G.

The Look

9 Nov

A Decision

Today I decided to tackle a critical element: Looking the part.

I’ve been testing my wings, as of late, with various missions and research. Still, something was missing. I’ve started to feel like an International Woman of Mystery, but when I look in the mirror, it occurs to me that this disheveled, too casual look has got to go. Having worked from home for several years, it was easy to get into a style rut (or the lack thereof.) But now I’ve got business to attend to.

An entire wardrobe overhaul might be in the works eventually, but for today I’ve decided I need a signature look.

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The First Mission

27 Oct


Full disclosure: The International Woman of Mystery has failed at her first mission.

It seemed simple enough: My first night on the town. Alone.

Determined that I would not let my being single become an exercise in wallowing, I set a rather ambitious goal for myself: I would dine alone. In public. On a busy Saturday night.

After all, an International Woman of Mystery needs no one. I am an island. I buy my own drinks and now my own dinner. A woman of the world holds no shame in being sans date. Even when we are all told we’re supposed to care so much about romance (or the lack thereof.) I decided I would transcend this nonsense. It seemed the perfect mission. I was a woman with a plan. I would be brave. I would hold my head high. The International Woman of Mystery as her own date.

And yet, despite my bravery, despite however premeditated it was, it proved more difficult than I anticipated.
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