We always use resumes to apply for jobs. Well, the other day I was whining to Jon via Twitter about hanging out before he left town for a trip, and I realized I sounded like a nag, so I followed it up with a comment about how "today, the role of Jon's needy girlfriend will be played by Lilly". Which was funny given that I'm not his girlfriend. I'm just a friend of the female persuasion who wanted to get in some hang out time (but seriously - Jon, if you're listening, call me when you get back...)
Since Jon does not have a naggy girlfriend, he suggested that I apply for this position formally, and submit a resume/application.
Which of course led us to consider what such an application would look like. What would a dating application, if it was a pen-and-paper thing, possibly consist of? If we put it into the typical resume format, it might go a little something like this. As a girl I'm gonna come from that side of things, but I'd love to hear how a guy would approach it. (Jon? Jon, are you out there? Call me Jon!)
Objective: Well, here's what, just like in a real resume, you'd load it up with what you know they want to hear. These I'm sure would range from the truthful to the blatantly false.
"Looking to find someone to have fun with and take care of."
"To create a relationship that other people will envy."
"To find the person who will compliment me the most on a daily basis."
I'm not sure how the golddiggers would spin this (can the gold diggers even spell?).
Romantic Education: I would not recommend that ladies tell the truth here. No one wants to hear about how many Lifetime movies you've watched. Romantic Comedies are not the school of education a guy wants you graduating from, and we all went there for undergrad. In general, romantic comedies and television suggest that men are always properly groomed, have witty conversation, and are motivated to date. They essentially set up a domino chain of expectations, and guys know this. US Weekly is bad news too. This is one job where work experience is more important than pedigree -- pull a Bill Gates and move on to the Employment section. Skip education and move to the real world.
Current Employment: If you are currently "employed" as a girlfriend, you probably shouldn't be applying.
Memo to Tiger, who apparently faxed his resume all over town.
Previous Work Experience: Here, your goal is to list each previous relationship, duration, skills learned, and of course the "Reason for Leaving". No one wants to see that you're a job-hopper, you know? If I had my way, you'd be able to take some space to critique the job (wish that was true of the run-of-the-mill resume too).
Sample from the Resume of Jenny A.
"Bradley P. 1998-August 2005
Reason for Leaving: Relationship intercepted by maneater.
Samples from resume of me
"Mr. Y June 2002- Sept 2002
Reason for Leaving: Subtly Fired.
Rebuttal: I learned the valuable lesson of not dating someone who refers to himself in the third person...
and using his nickname."
"Mr. X November 2 2004- November 11 2004
Reason for Leaving: On second date, the other individual confessed previously owning an ear collection
(put together and preserved by himself), ie. I resigned. (true story)"
This section would really give a person perspective on where you're coming from, any habits you seem to have (example: just heard about a woman whose fifth engagement broke off. future daters might want to see the previous work history on that one)
Skills: Get your minds out of the gutter! This ain't that kind of party. Skills could include "ability to entertain myself on football Sundays"; "great interest in cooking for poker night then making myself scarce"; "forgiveness"; "learned talent for grinning and bearing inlaws"
Interests: Just like a job, you're gonna tweak this to impress the audience. No one is writing "surfing porn" on their resumes, now are they? But they're doing it, 20/20 says so! So your interests can be charming things like "learning new meatloaf recipes!" "finding new sports teams to root for!" (note the exclamation points- they exhibit enthusiasm)
References: This is a tough one- while girls wouldn't mind a girl friend or two vouching for a new guy, the idea of a girl having references is just shady. References might be avoided unless you have a friend in common.
Of course, as with any application process, the resume would best be accompanied by a flowery cover letter explaining why the candidate feels they are a good match for the other party. It would also, for those of us who are complete snobs, help us weed out the people who simply can't write.
And resumes leave a written record of the person. Resumes that are passed over by one party might be passed around or saved for future reference. You know, on a lonely weekend, you could just go through your file and ask if they're still interested in the position.
The more I think about it, instituting a resume application procedure could really revolutionalize dating. For one thing, as soon as a fight broke out, one party could pull out the resume and point out any misrepresentations. "You said you were a world traveler. An annual ski trip to Canada does NOT make you a world traveler!"
1. New Moon. I feel like we just need to get it out of the way. I saw it despite the fact that I didn't read the book; Twilight was more than enough for me, thank you. It was a great example of a book I would have rolled my eyes and thrown on the floor and never in a ZILLION years accepted as a submission, and yet it's been published to the accolades of pubescent teens worldwide.
I feel like I need to mention that I didn't pay for the movie, like that somehow makes it
better. I should also add in that it was pouring out, and my credit card had already taken quite a beating. We were at an outdoor mall, so this was the only option. Kinda.
Anyhow, the first 20 minutes were dreadful. I never saw the first movie so I got worried. Like "Is there a book in my car I can go read instead?" kinda worried. Jacob's hair was a major concern, mostly because it looked like mine for the duration of junior high. But then it picked up. Once I got past any bad acting and questionable special effects, I was able to enjoy the movie. And by the movie, I mean Taylor Lautner's abs, which deserved their own credit. When he took his shirt off I might have said "God Bless America!"... out loud.
Bonus round: found this parody online.
2. Black Friday. So I've decided that doing the whole Black Friday shopping thing is a learned behavior. Because my parents never did it, neither did I. So I decided at the ripe old age of 32 to give it a whirl. A friend was driving out to the Cabazon outlets in Palm Springs to do midnight shopping on Thanksgiving, and I invited myself. I liked to think of it as a sociological undertaking. I was the Jane Goodall of Shopaholics. But I wasn't totally, because Jane Goodall would have worn a button down and khakis and I wore jeans and 4" platforms just in case there were dresses I wanted to try on. I might have also worn a camasol for easy trying-on of clothing minus dressing room (my friend: "We have to beat my fellow Koreans! No dressing rooms!") I saw things I had only heard about- whether it was the 5 hour line for Gucci or the fact that there wasn't a parking space to be had at midnight (we parked in someone's lot, which turned out to not really be their lot, as noted by the "tow" sign on our window in the morning).
The sad part is I didn't even score crazy finds, but I did get fingerless gloves and a pair of cheap looking Ugg knockoff cheetah print boots. What else could a girl want?
3. New Rules of Dating. The more I date, the more I have to add to my mental list. For example, new rule: sharing is caring, but it can also be trouble. On a recent date, I told him the story of the ear collector. It was an icebreaker! It was a funny story to tell (re-enact). But then when we got around to the conversation about planning a second date, he brought up a good point: "You gave the ear collector a second date, so if I didn't get one, that would just be sad."
The good news is this guy seems nice and isn't quite the freakfest that "Jason Ears" (as he's saved in my phone) was. Also, to my defense, I didn't know the guy was a reformed "ear collector" until date two. It's not like he told me on date one and I was like "ooh, tell me more! next week! meet me at 7!"
But I think we've all learned a little lesson about sharing.
I don't really know what to do with the fact that people blatantly make up words.
Halloween is dumb. I mean, I live in California. As if the girls really need a formally-sanctioned holiday as a reason to dress sluttily? (new word, you heard it here first)
I have never once in my life caved to this trend. Looking back, I can tell you that on my years of Halloweenieness I have paraded as a variety of things, each year slightly more repulsive than the last. This may go back to my childhood in unique Halloween costumes, such as the famed year of Marie Antoinette in junior high. As an adult, I have made delightful costume choices (when/if I chose to dress up):
-a gaudy 80s girl
-an ugly gypsy
-a two-headed (I can't speak for my friend, but I certainly pulled my share of ugly) alien in platform sneakers and a green face mask talking on a rutabaga "telephone" with my hair in curlers
-a white trash wife with mullet, etc.
And this year I believe may have been my crowning achievement in the creativity category- my friend and I went as Jose Cuervo and Jack Daniels.
Now, I know what you're thinking- you are thinking that these costume choices have probably negatively affected my game on these nights. The irony is that I want them to. I really do want to stand in a corner and watch guys hit on the slutty zombie nurse and feel self-righteous and justified.
But the craziest thing happens. The uglier I am, the more attention I am showered with. It's incredible but true.
I first noticed this a few years back, when a friend and I went as a white trash couple. She completed her look with a black eye, an appearance of stubble, and so on. And I did obnoxious bright makeup, horrendous fake tattoos (rose, heart-and-dagger, anyone?), and a two-tone mullet. We went out expecting to just have a fun night of dancing together. We completed our looks with black tooth wax, just to make sure we took it to the hilt.
It was as if a spell was cast upon me. For the FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE I was being hit on left and right. I couldn't understand it. A guy I'd noticed before but who never gave me the time of day was giving me the time of day-- when I was dressed LIKE THIS? Incredible. My friend experienced the same. She looked like a busted *guy* and she was getting love. Eventually I had to ask a male friend what the hell was going on. And he simply explained that "no girls who were actually ugly would ever dare to pull this off, so it's a safe bet." Fascinating!
Well this year I thought we'd be safe. I had wanted to go as Octomom, but a trial run (after a day of wine tasting -- I don't do that stuff unprovoked) demonstrated that if I braid my hair and put gobs of lip gloss and huge sunglasses on, I have an uncanny resemblance to her. So nix that.
Due to my recent unbreakup I made myself look as unattractive as possible by going male, mustachio'd, and toothless. I just wanted time with my girls being silly and entertaining myself with mustache changes on the hour ("always bring a spare!" I'd announce, going from a handlebar mustache to something shorter and spiffier, for example). The outfit took some commitment, as fake facial hair gets really hot and I began to react to the tape that held it on. (insert joke about Middle Eastern girls and mustaches)
It began quite successfully. On Friday night we went into a party where our own friends didn't recognize us and thought we were just two dudes who wandered into their party. Then I was intercepted by a recently-turned-21-year-old Beetlejuice who badgered me to see my ID, not believing my age (which granted, I loved). Once we reached agreement that I was just genetically lucky, he insisted that I was the hottest 31 year old he'd ever seen, "even with that thing on" (referring to my poncho, I suppose). He kindly (and persistently) offered to take me out for my birthday and "buy me some lingerie". Much as I could have used a rebound from the Great Dumping of 2009, we parted ways amicably and I wish him luck dating those born after 1980.
On Saturday night we hit a second party. And lo and behold, before I knew it, Jack Daniels and I were again chatting it up with men at a house party where we knew almost no one. I know, I know, at this point you're wondering if we just attract guys with bad taste, but that's another post for another day. These guys seemed nice, friendly, and were cute. Thus we spent lots of quality time with the likes of Black Jesus (a guy who came as black Jesus, but when you called him "Black Jesus" he called you racist, much to his merriment), Lady Gaga, and some guy in body paint and a loincloth whose costume we never quite figured out, but who pinned my friend against the wall in the most terrifying 20-second wall/lap dance I've ever seen.
I continue to strive to find ways to defy Halloween. Given the failure of the aforementioned heinous costumes, we have decided that next year we are going to take the slutty Halloween cliche to a new level...and go pregnant. Not *really* pregnant, but the kind of pregnant that involves costume padding and the ability to go forth and drink your weight in whatever's being served. In other words, the fun kind of pregnant.
Slutty pregnant french maid, anyone?
Just when I thought I'd seen it all, last week shot me a curveball. So here it is: I was dumped by a guy... who I wasn't dating.
I know, not quite what I expected either. Long story short, as soon as this guy and I were matched online, he gave me the full court press. His initial email was one line, which of course did nothing for this literary girl. But then I decided, hey, not everyone is a big writer, and maybe he'll be interesting on the phone. Judge not, etc etc. (we all know where this has gotten me before.)
So we emailed, then he added me on facebook, which I thought was weird (and did against my own good judgment, a mistake I won't be repeating).
Then he started with the calling/texting. I should mention here that somewhere in there he figured out my last name (which is how he added me on FB) which I found eerie but figured if you google "awesome persian girl san diego" I must come up.
Now, at the time this all felt very sweet. He wished me well with my sister's wedding, asked how it was after, and called when he said he would. He had a great phone voice. He had interesting things to say, and was interested in what *I* had to say. I tried to suppress the "too good to be true" feeling (also known as my "gut instinct").
We started talking on the phone and had things to talk about for hours. We had grown up more similarly than I could imagine, and we had relatively serious talks about growing up bicultural. Not the usual "get to know you" fare, but I was up for it.
Anyhow, this went on for about three weeks I'd guess. Because I was so busy with the wedding meeting up hadn't been set up yet. So one night we had one of our long conversations and then, for a few days- radio silence. And then I got the Dear John letter. It said that he had decided to see someone he met before me "exclusively" and that he thought I seemed like a really fun girl and hoped we could stay friends.
He obviously misread the dating cliche handbook. "Just friends" is for people who KNOW each other.
I want to say this is weird, but it's just another day in the life, people. The funniest part is that I was telling the story to a friend and said "I just got dumped by a guy I wasn't dating... for the second time..."
I know you want to hear about the first time.
So the first time was during law school. I had a friend in class and it evolved into dating. I don't really remember the details, the random details I do remember involve a sloppy law school night out, him using the word "esoteric" on his birthday gift to me (a book! the first guy who got it!!!) and me having to look it up, and him writing me an absurdly inappropriate (and completely uncharacteristic) email way after we broke up... that I unwittingly opened while sitting at the family computer with my sister and brother. Good times all around.
Anyhow, so this guy and I had dated but it just wasn't going anywhere. He was getting attention from a younger girl at school and came to me and said "My stock is going up!" and I said "Cool! I"m selling."
Apparently he didn't realize I was serious. I got over him via flirtations with an old friend and then later a hot LA musician. So I was happily moving forward when (isn't that always how it is) I heard from Mr X again when he asked me to dinner. Interesting move on his part; I was intrigued so I said yes. I mean, after all, we were now "just friends" (cliche is appropriate here, as we had actually, um, met in person). We went to a sleazy local Chinese restaurant and he ate while I drank tea and waited to hear what was going on.
Him (slurping soup): "I don't know how to (SLURP) say this (SLURP). I think you're great but (SHIT-EATING-GRIN)... I think we should see other people."
Him: I feel REALLY bad about this! I mean, really bad. Look at you, you look so upset...
Me: (LAUGHING) Um. No, that's not it. I, um.... were we still dating?
I really like to think that some sort of phoenix might emerge from the ashes of these little episodes in my life. And I came up with it today.
I'm going to invent Microsoft Love-point-O.
When we send an email, you get a warning if what you're sending has no subject line, or if you've misspelled something. I think we need the emotional equivalent.
"Are you sure you want to send this message? It grossly misinterprets the relationship you have with this person. YES/NO"
"Are you sure you want to send this message? It is generally not socially appropriate to dump someone you aren't dating. YES/NO"
Bill Gates, you know what to Google if you want to find me.
1. I know that people come out of the woodwork to ask for favors. I also know the longer it's been since you've heard from them, the bigger the favor.
2. I know that I will never not shudder at the Seinfeld theme song.
3. I know that when people show you their true colors, you best believe them.
4. I know that coffee fixes everything.
5. I know that if we spent half the time with other people that we spend on the internet, we'd be a lot happier.
6. I know that nothing feels better than the feeling of takeoff.
7. I know that when I'm singing in my car I feel invisible.
8. I know that I'm a snob for laughing when someone else said they ate "edanami"
9. I know that even though I consider myself too cool for proverbs, "It's always darkest before the dawn" gives me chills because it's so, so right.
10. I know that I would give up chocolate for peanut butter any day of the week, so take that stereotypes about women!
11. I know that "Don't take this personally, but..." is the #1 worst way to start a sentence.
12. I know that when I call Customer Service and they say "Sorry to keep you waiting", they're not really sorry.
13. I know that 13 is and always will be my lucky number.
At this point I kinda wonder if I blog in my sleep. Because when I check in I realize just how long it's been. I constantly have notes/reminders to myself to write about this or that, but I guess I'm working on intention at this point. The past month has been a whirlwind. The sicko post was rapidly followed by my sister's two (!) weddings, and then right after that one of my bestest friends had a baby.
Both of those events were pretty tremendous and powerful little notches in my little life. It's those sorts of things that make you think "am I growing UP?", but I am able to temper these thoughts with large doses of Khloe and Kourtney Take Miami and Stacey Q road trip songfests. So worry not.
But given that I don't appear to be settling down or having kids any time soon, I thought it was high time to focus on things I can do just for the hell of it until I am saddled with further obligation.
So recently I started working on my Bucket List. I can't remember if I started that before, but in any case 2.0 is now available.
1. learn to sail (which I did, or at least on a basic level, with a few weekend lessons. I got pretty good!)
2. go to Senegal. no idea why, but this has been on my to-do list forever. i'd love to see all of Africa, but if I had to pick one place to start, this is it.
3. learn italian. look, i know it makes sense to get better at speaking Spanish first (like, um, going beyond the present tense, although i work around my conjugation handicap well enough that no one seems to notice) but italian is so romantic and beautiful. find me one other language that sounds so heart-stoppingly gorgeous when people are FIGHTING. i need to be able to respond to Marco when he finds me in the piazza and wants to hit on me, you know?!
4. record something. i'm not sure what. this was on my list and Gene and I did a recording when he had extra studio time that was a total joke and quite entertaining at the time. but i'd love to genuinely record something someday. what? i don't know. and do i promise you it's not going to be a cover of madonna? no. but it might not be, either.
5. go drink wine in a vineyard in europe. i'm hoping to do that this summer. i want to sit around and drink wine from the grapes i'm looking at. now that i can stomach (ok, barely) more than one glass of wine at a time, it's game on
6. be able to do a handstand without leaning on a wall and stay there for more than a second. and no, i don't mean an underwater handstand.
7. have a 6 pack. i mean abs, not beer (although that's fine too). at some point in my life i'd like to say "when i was doing YYY i had a crazy 6 pack. here! let me show you the pictures". it would also be useful to have it for photos when i go on a senior citizens dating site in 2050. i would really prefer if i did not have to do work and/or deprive myself of the goodies in life in order to get it. this may be missing from future versions of my List for that exact reason.
I'm working on more. I need easier things on my list- most of mine are pretty time-intensive. Ooh or maybe I need a to-do list for my bucket list. Or maybe my bucket list should include "reduce dependency on making lists".
I've been sick for a few days, which has been a lovely haze of steamy hot tea, pseudophedrine (Sudafed, I love you! You make me feel like a superhero!), and randomly timed naps.
When I'm sick I think I live life like most people do; meaning, I live a life completely different from my own daily existence. I allow myself some leeway.
On a regular day I'm up by 6, usually on my way to the gym. When I'm sick, I roll out of bed whenever feels right, usually closer to 10:30.
On a regular day I answer all work emails as they come in. When I'm sick, I answer what I have the energy for.
On a regular day, I watch zero tv. Zero. When I'm sick, tv is my nanny. I save up all year to watch Oprah when I'm sick. And this week was really a jackpot- I had the double-whammy of the "tell-all" Whitney Houston interview (everyone loves a comeback story) and yesterday the Mackenzie Phillips' "consensual incest with my father" drama. I was too tired and worn down to get up and change the channel (and by "get up" I mean "lift my arm and press a button"); but I wasn't too tired to raise eyebrows, ping-ponging back and forth on whether I thought Oprah was being too judgmental. (I mean, she introduced her guest, then made her tell the room what she'd done, like a mean, dispassionate teacher. I expect more from you, Oprah!)
On a regular day, I work out. When I'm sick, I email my friends and tell them I feel crappy and wait for a reasonable number of responses to come in excusing me from physical activity. Yes, I really do wait for validation from people before releasing myself from my workout duties.
On a regular day, I nag about needing to work out. When I'm sick I daydream about major physical feats I will accomplish when I get better- perhaps another half marathon or, just not eating crap. I make very cute, very forgettable promises to myself.
On a regular day, I pick up the phone. When I'm sick, I'm so knocked out on my Nyquil-Sudafed binges that I don't hear the phone next to my ear ring. It's like being a junkie for two days!
On a regular day, I read piles of contracts, emails, marketing plans. When I'm sick, I read the Carrie Fisher biography Wishful Drinking. And I laugh, because her jokes are funnier when I know I waited the extra 5 minutes in line to get the Sudafed "With the real stuff" in it!
On a regular day, I worry about my budget. When I'm sick, I order myself a rush copy of Kathy Griffin's trashy biography, because "it's what I need in my time of illness".
On a regular day, I check Facebook pretty constantly. When I'm sick I realize that's a really dumb way to spend my time on earth.
I wish I had more to say, but you see, I've been busy.
What Every Woman Should Have and Know
By Maya Angelou
With Unsolicited Commentary by Moi
A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE …
enough money within her control to move out (yeah, not so much)
and rent a place of her own (ok, I'm 1 for 2- place of my own! hoorah!)
even if she never wants to or needs to…
A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ….
something perfect to wear
if the employer or date of her dreams
wants to see her in an hour… (my closet is full, so i'd like to think i've got some of this. the problem is not the date outfit, people!!)
A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE …
a youth she’s content to leave behind…. (Zimas in the park? yeah, i'm ok with moving on)
A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ….
a past juicy enough
that she’s looking forward to retelling it in her old age…. (i have a few good stories in the ole artillery. am trying to add to the collection)
A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE …..
a set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, (a drill? seriously? i can't staple without major injury)
and a black lace bra… (agreed. and check)
A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ….
one friend who always makes her laugh… (got a few of those)
and one who lets her cry…(a few of those too. i even have some who make me cry! kidding)
A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ….
a good piece of furniture (the comfy couches!)
not previously owned by anyone else in her family…
A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ….
eight matching plates, wine glasses with stems, (thanks mom!)
and a recipe for a meal that will make her guests feel honored… (honored? hm. how about "full"?)
A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ….
a feeling of control over her destiny… (yeah, not so much)
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW…
how to fall in love without losing herself.. (how to what???)
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW…
HOW TO QUIT A JOB, (done)
BREAK UP WITH A LOVER, (done)
AND CONFRONT A FRIEND WITHOUT RUINING THE FRIENDSHIP… (done)
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW…
when to try harder… (set the bar low, perform higher. and try harder only when someone else points it out ;)
and WHEN TO WALK AWAY… (i know a variation on this: i know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em)
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW…
that she can’t change the length of her calves, (WHAT?! news to me)
the width of her hips, (WHAT????)
or the nature of her parents.. (i think i realized this maybe a year ago. took me long enough!)
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW…
that her childhood may not have been perfect… (but my bangs were!)
but it’s over… (except when i throw tantrums)
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW…
what she would and wouldn’t do for love or more… (i will do anything for love, but i won't do that)
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW…
how to live alone… (i get to play my music as loud as i want. what's to learn?)
even if she doesn’t like it…
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW…
whom she can trust, whom she can’t, (i'd love to tell you whom i can trust and whom i can't, but i'm just so excited about the use of "whom" here!)
and why she shouldn’t take it personally… (um hello, i'm a girl. free space!)
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW…
where to go…
be it to her best friend’s kitchen table…
or a charming inn in the woods…
when her soul needs soothing… (does the refrigerator count?)
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW…
what she can and can’t accomplish in a day… (lately: not accomplishing much beyond checking my facebook account)
a month… (apparently more than one blog post)
and a year… (will let you know)
Sometimes you connect with a classic, sometimes you don't.
I am proud to announce that I've finally finished LITTLE WOMEN, something I never thought would happen. I genuinely worried that the year would close and I wouldn't know if Laurie won Jo over, or if Beth got better, or if they ever stopped calling their mom Marmee.
I mean, this book is a monster. Everyone said it was soooo good, so I wanted to give it the benefit of the doubt. I realize now that the many people who told me it was "soooo good" read it when they were 14 or under, i.e. had nothing better to do with their time. "Make a lanyard or... Little Women?"
So yeah, this is a long book, and I"m sensitive to that. Only certain books should get to be long. Was she paid by the word like Dickens? I'll have to look that up. Anyhow, I kept joking that Little Women needed a Little Editor.
The fact that I got to check this off my reading list makes me proud enough to post about it.
It's always interesting to read a classic and see what you can still relate to and what you can't. At first, this was a hard sell for me. Look, I love my sister too, but the family March was a bit MUCH. I suppose that's the charm of the book- a completely functional family, free of discord, a domestic mutual admiration society. Back when the book came out it made it a page-turner. But in 2009 I found it hard to read because I was rolling my eyes so much. I know that's sad, trust me.
After I put the book down, I thought maybe I should rewrite this book more realistically, say, using my own family.
(Scene Opens: Family is sitting by fireplace which is not on because dad thinks it's a waste)
Sister: Lilly dearest, would you give me a hand with this knitting?
Lilly: I already told you where you can put that knitting.
Sister: Well then, will you tell me a story, kind sister?
Lilly: Sure, I'll tell you a story. It's about someone annoying the $#!? out of another person who is trying to read her book.
Sister: Well, shall we go pick flowers in the field and sketch by the river bank?
Lilly: Um, no.
Sister: Why don't we cozy around the fireplace and sing songs!
Brother: Why that sounds truly delightful! I do wish to hear your sweet voices sisters. If only I might hear them every moment of every day in song. Perhaps for now we can sing songs about the castle in the sky? Gather 'round the piano.
Lilly: Whatever are you smoking, dear siblings?
Sister: Marmee has prepared a 5 course feast for us! What joy!
Dad: I don't want to eat. I had a hot dog. Susie, you want a hot dog?
Sister: I have been a vegetarian for 16 years dad, no thanks.
I spent much of my reading being amazed at the lifestyle. I mean, the BIGGEST thing they had to do on a given day was go in search of lavender ribbon or set a table -- oh wait, they had a servant to do that. Makes you think we might have the big gyp living in the modern day. At one point, little sister Amy goes to live abroad. And it's for THREE years. She just galavants around with wealthy relatives. I mean, where can a girl sign up for that? Because sign.me.up.
I'm happy to report that some social factors stayed consistent through time. People gossip. Parents worry about their kids. Girls play hard to get but the secretly kiss when their chaperones aren't looking. Ok, and I laughed at the chapter about neglecting one's husband after having kids.
That said, the last 150 pages of the book picked up the pace and helped me understand why this is a classic. I found myself completely enraptured in the blossoming love of Jo and Fritz. I don't remember the last time I found literary romances the slight bit engrossing, but all of those in this book ultimately felt real and natural (possibly because they developed in real-time, as it took me months to read...)
Through huge life changes the family sticks together and love is found in the most unlikely of places. The final couplings aren't who you'd think they'd be, but they work. And Jo is an incredibly modern character; one that readers a zillion years later can still relate to (read: me) I will confess that I openly wondered, ever a victim of the TV generation, if she was the basis for Jo on the Facts of Life, but that's neither here nor there.
What can I say? It left a good taste in my mouth. Maybe saccharine isn't always a bad thing.
Somehow it has entirely escaped me, the most obvious rule of single living. That is: she who takes dating advice from her single girlfriends is exemplifying "blind leading the blind". Lately I'm realizing that I need to rustle up the advice I take from my MARRIED girlfriends. Or at least those who have boyfriends or, in many cases, the 3+ date sequence. My terminal daters, while lovely human beings, may *not* be optimal for doling out advice. I mean, you ask Paula Deen for her recipes, not Kate Bosworth, right?
Married friends feel they become irrelevant after they nuptualize-themselves away from Saturday nights spent getting all dressed up for nothing. They listen to our dating stories and feel like they don't have a full grasp of what we're going through (we=single people, because yes, I speak for them ALL). But you do remember. We just forget to ask you!
We usually just ask each other. Part of it is that sometimes it feels like if you talk with a single friend, you both learn from it. It's one of those rare conversations where it's about you but the other person feels like they get something out of it, more than just waiting for their turn to talk. Everyone can learn!
But problems exist with the current state of affairs. One such problem that needs to be highlighted (and I may even be guilty of?) is the Membership Obstacle. Which is: you kinda need a quorum in order for being single to still be cool. If everyone is coupled off except you, then you become the creepy aunt-uncle. You become the third (or thirteenth) wheel. So while you want your friends to be happy, you don't want them to be TOO happy, ie. married/dating/disappeared. Or you want *just enough* of them to be happily paired off that you still have a pool of people to choose from when making your plans for this weekend. So while we all do our best to avoid being selfish, the undercurrent of mixed motives is there.
Secondly, when the dating banter begins, we quickly forget that our single friend has his/her own set of criteria. It's probably part of why he or she is still single- they have the laundry list and hasn't found the guy who fits it all. And when she gives you advice, she is probably superimposing HER lengthy list on YOUR lengthy list. So now instead of me looking for just a guy who is "Teva-averse", I need to look for a guy who is "Teva-averse" (for me) AS WELL AS "no prominent forehead veins". Veins might be fine for me but my friend will have a bias upon finding out my beloved sports them. Just like if she brings her Mr. Perfect in front of me and he's rocking socks with Tevas, I'm going to give her advice based on the fact that I'm a mandal (man-sandal)-hater, even though she didn't ask. We operate from the mindset we're in.
Likewise, we might approve of funky behaviors just because we do them too and by ratifying another person doing it, we are therefore more normal than ever. I'd insert an example here, but it would be too self-incriminating.
Those are just a few of the problem points with our current single-conferencing behavior. I'm sure there are many more I'm not even aware of because I'm so freakin entrenched in them.
When you take a step back, you suddenly realize that singles advising each other is a truly weird phenomenon. In no other world would a rookie ask another rookie. It's the same reason athletes are coached by guys with championship rings and not some beer-bellied guy in his armchair with Cheetos breath. Everyone has an opinion, sure, but you gotta be smart about whose you take.
I think this really brings it back to my new Sex and the City Theorem. If the girls didn't brunch and dissect things every single weekend, if they didn't call each other after every hookup, date, or night out, would things have been different? Would Miranda give a guy the time of day if Carrie wasn't there to roll her eyes to? Would they possibly have dated more if they spent a LITTLE less time having a lunch of estrogen with a side salad?
Guys always say that women are hard to approach in groups at the bar. And now I'm wondering if this is part of it. Maybe by talking amongst ourselves we end up focusing on the wrong things. And more to the point, maybe we make ourselves "exponentially single" by hanging out in flocks.
I'm still working out my thoughts on this (and awaiting Jon's), but I have to admit: Lately, when I need some guy advice or just a dating pep talk, I find myself dialing the houses with kids running around in the background a little more often. And if the mom isn't home, the kid probably knows more than me anyhow, so let's chat.
Well I saw the movie I've been waiting for. There was a summer of absolutely nothing interesting in theaters and then suddenly they're coming at me all at once- Julie & Julia, Time Traveler's Wife, 500 Days of Summer, The Cove. So much to see that it makes a girl consider getting a part-time job at a movie theater.
Before I go any further I have to confess that I'm listening to The [London] Royal Symphony Orchestra play the best of George Michael. I don't confess so much to get this off my chest as I do to let people know that such a masterpiece exists. Ha.
So something about seeing this movie tonight inspired creativity in me that just hasn't been there in too long. I rushed first to the grocery store (where, granted, I bought a box of mac and cheese that I've just polished off) and then home to my computer. OH, wait, duh. She's a blogger. So it's not just creativity but also a reminder that I have a barely-watered blog that is withering away out here. So for all four readers, howdy!
What is it about this movie that is so freaking feel-good? I honestly could have done without the Julie half of it. She was irritating and self-centered and the redeeming side wasn't really there for me. If it had been played by anyone but Amy Adams, I think my annoyance would hae peaked, but they picked someone likeable, which was key. But Meryl Streep, man, she's something else. It goes beyond good acting. Susie leaned over and asked me if she ever makes bad, unwatchable movies. And before I could bring up Mamma Mia (which I personally liked but thought Susie would find unwatchable) she said "I even watched her sing Abba and I liked her". So the reasonable conclusion is that she's an acting goddess.
I was trying to think of what makes for a good movie today. Certainly good acting counts, but in general I think the rule is much like a good book- if you can make someone care about something they never normally would, you have been successful in making a good film. I had never thought twice about Julia Child or the art of French cooking in particular, but now I'm fascinated (as is the rest of the country).
I wondered if there was a similar task I could undertake- to do such-and-such within a year and write about it, but I really don't know what that would be. I mean, I basically already do what interests me and avoid what doesn't. Right now I'm on a 60 day nonstop workout challenge, but who wants to hear about that? (not me) I need some new endeavor unlike anything else I've ever done in my life. Maybe I should just aim to try 100 recipes in the next year. That would be something, but I'd just wanna eat it, not write about it. BOOORING. (also, i have no problem with cooking, it's the grocery portion that bugs, or specifically, the lugging it upstairs). Anyhow, it's cool that she had a great idea and did well with it. It all wraps up nicely in the film for both ladies, and life so rarely does. The perfect matinee fare.
In other news, during my grocery trip today I officially avoided someone. When did San Diego become so small that I have to duck for cover? The only other time I've done that was when a guy I'd been emailing with on Match was at the grocery store (apparently grocery stores are not for me). I was pretty sure it was him and GO FIGURE (this stuff only happens to me) that I had just gotten out of my sweatiest-ever Bikram session. I went to the grocery store straight after (which I never do), one in a part of town I rarely shop in, and to the most ghetto one possible. And there I look up and have this moment of recognition with someone I absolutely do NOT want to be recognized by. I mean, seriously, what freakin dating gods have I so pissed off that only after 90 minutes in a room of 105 degrees will they let me run into a cute boy? And especially one I almost have a chance with! (the guy and i went on our date as scheduled, said nothing about it, and were mutual disinterested. I live with the fiction that I look so good when I'm dressed up that I can have zero resemblance to post-gymus-lillyus)
As for tonight's game of Hide and Seek, I have no particular reason to avoid this person but he's given off a bit of an Ahole vibe and I didn't feel like being super friendly when I was in happy Julia Child land. He just moved to town and I haven't technically seen him in some 14 years but I've heard. I was so frozen with indecision about whether to walk forward and say hi/reintroduce myself or to turn that if he is at ALL observant I was probably peeped out. I was perched like a greeter at the entrance. But who knows. I figure that your parents can make you be nice to people when you're a kid, but when you're 31 and there's a whole world out there, you don't have to.
Well, the mac n cheese coma (ok, and 5 of those freaking delicious Paul Newman healthy oreos. someone please take them OUT of my house) is fading. Time to put in my workout for the day... until I think of a better road to fame and fortune.
And in a final note of complete humiliation, I just posted this to my company's website. OOOOPS.
What makes you happy at work?
freedom, creativity, flexibility. writing or seeing a written, physical, finished product. working with cool people. being inspired, feeding off other people's energy. an entrepreneurial, growing environment.
What makes you happy at home?
this one is simple. it might be complicated if i had a big family, then i'd get all into dynamics, but for me it's this formula: good music and order. if the house is clean, i'm pretty happy. it's a weird, but very true correlation. if stuff is piled all over the place it means life has been a bit too hectic for me. i meditate while i put things away. so sue me. the reason i know this answer is true is i have a Dave Brubeck album on the stereo and i'm happy as a clam.
What makes you happy with your friends and family?
laughter. feeling trusted. being someone they can lean on, especially if i can help them resolve something (as opposed to being just a listening ear). hugs.
What makes you happy when you're by yourself?
music (bonus points if it's out of the tape trunk in my room), dancing with myself, reading a book i don't want to put down, taking a bubble bath, thinking about books i want to read in the future. daydreaming about traveling.
What do you love to do?
i love to drink hot drinks. yes, i'm putting that first. i can become a different person when a cup of tea is put in front of me, and i don't know why. i love to sing. i love love LOVE to sing actually. i don't do it in front of a lot of people, but there you have it. i love to dance. i love to read books and underline them. i love to sit in the sun but only for short spurts of time. i love to do yoga, i love to do things that make me feel strong. i love to listen to people and give them advice. i have no idea why this is. people always say "thanks" after you listen to them, but i feel like i learn something new every time, and it's more than a little flattering to think someone wants your advice. i love to take bubble baths. didn't we cover this?
What would you do with your life today if you weren't afraid of failure?
i'd sing. or i'd have a kid. or i'd take off for a year and just go see what the world had in store for me.
What's not working in your life?
my math skillz. my overloadedness. i feel like i'm supposed to say "my love life" but actually i don't feel like it's malfunctioning, it's just not shining right now. no big deal. oh - you know what's not working in my life? my favorite sweatpants. the string got lost in the waistband. does that count?
What are you currently doing that prevents you from experiencing joy?
What's working in your life?
so many things. my friends, my family, my work ethic, my optimism, my health. ok, i get it, i have it good!
Who's not working in your life?
i'm not gonna name names but people who don't get me. people who don't hear what i'm saying. i hate repeating myself -- it brings out the worst in me, i'm not a patient person i guess. there are some people in my life (incidentally, and not through invitation!) who don't really have my best interests or happiness at heart but i keep them on the fringe. i don't have anyone really toxic, thankfully.
Who in your life is subtracting value from and adding misery to it?
no one! phew!!! i do a purge every few years, so i'm clear on this one.
Can you fix any of these relationships, or should you let them go from your life?
not applicable. but i'm a fan of letting go lately.
What relationships are working in your life?
all of them. i worked really hard to get here, come to think of it.
If we were getting together one year from today, what would have to happen for you to be able to tell me that you now have more joy in your life?
i'd have to be in a more secure place, so i felt like i was fully reaping everything i try to sow, i guess. honestly, i think i'd be pretty joyful if things stayed status quo.
What's the single most important thing you've learned about yourself as a result of answering these questions?
i'm one lucky son of a gun.
Every week Susie and I swap commentary on the episodes "Oh. My. God. you have to see what the Chicago guy does to his date!" and so on. When we're together we imitate the client's accents and generally ridicule everyone on the show. Except Patti. NO one ridicules Patti, not on my watch!
The entertainment includes but is not limited to:
1) being mesmerized by her bangs. I almost cut myself some (I wish I was kidding) but my sister and Michael cautioned me.
2) being mesmerized by the fact that everyone on the show has a spray tan. To the point that one guy tried to come to an event without one, and she CALLED HER PERSONAL SPRAY TAN girl to come with her little wheelie case and make it happen.
3) watching some guy make his butler feed him grapes. of course this guy was the *one* Persian on the show. of course.
4) watching a guy refer to himself in the third person in the most obnoxious Chicago accent ever. "it's JIMMY D time!!!" "Jimmy loves Polish girls" etc.
5) watching her assistant quietly take suggestions and apply them to her own life. Chelsea has gotten way better looking over the season.
6) watching a woman who looked like she had been microwaved (she was an import from Minnesota) tell Patti she needed a makeover. YIKES!
7) watching a guy pick twins as his date as if they counted, together, as ONE date. and having the girls say they're half Indian and half Persian. knowing it was NOT their Persian side that allowed them to go on a tv dating show. Laughing thinking of how their parents will kick their asses when they find out.
and that's just a sampling, folks. It's an hour a week of Patti calling people out on poor manners, bad behavior, and gross appearances.
The good news for the bookworms out there was that Patti wrote a book. My sister emailed me immediately about it, OBVIOUSLY. So I ordered it and 2 nights later it was here. The same night I was 150 pages into her wisdom. She is just as freakin funny in the book as she is on tv. I didn't learn much more than I would have thought before, although there were new tips like "men like long, straight hair" and "text him only 1 for every 4 times he texts you" to ponder. She constantly reiterates that "women are jewels to be adored", which I can appreciate when I'm not rolling my eyes about it.
For like a half-second I was tempted to go to one of her "casting calls", but then my bank account called and said "Um, you aren't hiring a photographer to do Glamour Shots.... Besides, Patti won't accept the mall variety of Glamour Shots. Everyone knows that."
Then my Pride clicked in on the other line and said "Um, I don't think so."
This same self also reminded me that I don't do cattle call meatmarketing (see also: my accidental Bachelor audition).
So now I have a reason to become a Millionairess! I'm very excited about my new plan. I'm going to write Patti stat and let her know to save some room.
Finally, someone to do the dirty work for me.
Dear Eric Weisbard,
If you hate a band, why write about them? This wasn't some forced album review that you *had* to do. Rather than discuss, as the series suggests, the importance of a record, or how it was made, etc., you took apart the UYI albums.
I didn't expect it to be the dribbly fan prose my personal reflections on the book would have been, but I also didn't expect you to be so self-righteous. Why do I know more about your married life (you have a kid, you're married to a girl you used to listen to one track of GNR with repeatedly) than the album or what it meant? Apparently this album (for the author) heralded the end of rock. I get it, you're bitter. Clearly you wanted to write the review of Pearl Jam's "Ten" and didn't get the gig. Suck it up.
He even gets as arrogant as to talk about if *he* had ordered the tracks, what order he would have done, and what he would have kept. You know what *I* would have done, Eric Weisbard? I would have hired an editor for you. :)
But that's not the worst of it. At one point early on he refers to an art critique and decides to bite the style and review the albums WITHOUT LISTENING TO THEM. then, in the final chapter, we're supposed to be grateful that he did so and pour over his pontifications. EXAMPLE GIVEN - this is one gem I dog-eared in my book to share with you all:
"Also, if you hit the same note at the end as you had in the beginning, just more torn and frayed, then nothing has moved forward. Gothic imperatives that have long counterposed Puritan skepticism to the smiley faced motto of American revivalism: "all may be saved"".
If any of you understand what the hell he's on about (this was in reference to the song "Don't Cry", which the author has particular disdain for, lemme know. Great use of your SAT words, Eric my boy.
This book McSucked. Goodreads, can you add zero stars to the options? Thanks.
In closing, I'd like to quote the great William Bailey and tell Eric Weisbard to GET IN THE RING M***********!
I spent the next 2 hours watching a G'nR dvd to wash the taste of this book out of my mouth. Ptooey.
I have no clue. I really don't. I've just never had a big plan. When I was younger I just relied on my parents to tell me. Sadly for them, they got an F on that paper! We planned that I'd get married early on, have 3 kids before 30, and so on. I was going to be a judge! No one thought (least of all myself) that I'd go to a top-20 law school but then graduate hating law and everything I'd studied for 3 years (to my defense, as soon as I'd mastered Constitutional Law, the government saw fit to detonate it with the Patriot Act).
And it's not just my professional life- it's my personal life too. I don't know where I want to live or what sort of person I want to be with. I know what I don't want, but I don't know what I necessarily *want*. Which will horrify THE SECRET fans out there. That's like rule #1- not to focus on what you don't want. But what can I say? I know I don't want a guy in ugly sandals. I don't want a guy who has never left the country or read a book. I don't want a guy who isn't physically active. But whether he's x or y ethnicity, I don't know!! Apparently I'm flexible on the big things and inflexible about the small things. Man-dals really are a deal breaker!
So I have no big plan, and I don't know how to get one. My friends have always daydreamed their weddings. Last week I went to my best friend's wedding and watched her fairytale unfold- she married the *exact* type of guy she's wanted since we were 18 years old. She had the storybook wedding and dress she's always wanted. She never debated an elopement or a destination wedding or a flowy white dress on a beach. She knew, and she got.
I think things get tougher when I realize that people are watching and wondering what the hell I'm doing. If I was a rebel with a cause, that might be one thing, but instead I've gone off the beaten path and I find myself looking around and going "hey guys? where is everyone?!"
I know pieces of what I want- I want to travel abroad, I want to raise a brood of worldly kids with long tangled hair and dirt on their clothes from playing outside, I want to read libraries full of books, I want to dance until I'm 90. I want to have good conversations and close friendships. But the bigger stuff? The structure? I'm really lost on all of that. I've never once in my life been able to answer the question "where do you see yourself 5 years from now?". Not once. When I was in elementary school and they asked us to write about it, I went to my parents about it, and now I don't even trust myself. I'm 31 and I still can't answer a grade school question?? Holy smokes.
Maybe I should make a Suggestions box and wear it around my neck.
The goal is to come up with templates for people who have to write notes to get out of socially awkward, or just annoying situations. Clearly I am faced with them regularly (for what else do I blog about?) I've posted a few already.
Please visit tactpapers.blogspot.com
And let me know if there's a situation we can help you with. Let us be Dear and Abby to your "Annoyed in Texas".
This is, sadly, my dream job. To write people out of situations they don't want to be with. I think it's part of what drew me to law. Of course, that whole skirt suit and nuuuude nyyyylons requirement drove me away. Blech.
Anyhow, my first few (the most recent 4) aren't full of finesse, but they're something!
Sadly, they are each and every one inspired by true or recent events in my life. Act surprised.
I have big news people!! My readership DOUBLED overnight. Apparently my pleas caught someone's attention. I now have *two* official followers, and my family members aren't even among them. Thank you readers! Address labels you'll never use are on their way :)
So today I was hit by one of the great mysteries of life. I know little kids want to know where babies come from. What I want to know is -- why are there always random paint splashes in the middle of the highway? You know what I"m talking about- sometimes you'll think it's blood but it's just red paint. Or, as in tonight's case, blue paint and white paint. It's a weird little mystery that plagues me. It's fine (sigh) if you want to solve global warming or cure diseases or whatever, but if someone could put a few minutes into sorting this one out, my inner Nancy Drew would appreciate it, because she is stumped.
On another note, I know tonight President Obama addressed the financial crisis, and it's not like I haven't been feeling the pinch. In fact, I've been trying to think of things I can do to lower my daily living costs, and the ones I keep coming up with are "stop buying coffee" and "cook at home". But, like an addict, I look both ways and sneak into line at the coffee cart. It's compulsive at this point. I almost choked when my mid-class latte cost me $4 at the indie spot. And to add salt to my wound, it tasted like butt (butt with sugarfree hazelnut syrup) and i had to throw half of it out. The problem gets worse because, if I'm going to be honest, I have to admit that it wasn't my first cup of coffee of the day. I had already had a cup of tea and a sandwich at *another* cafe.
Economic times are tough. I realize this. I read the Wall Street Journal every day (for a few seconds before I recycle it so I won't be late to Starbucks before class). I know could easily pad my bank account if I'd just stop, but I don't know how to. I mean, when they shut off my electricity, I'll need *something* to keep me warm, don't you think?
Part of it is that drinking coffee or going out to dinner is social for me. It's my chance to go out and watch people I don't normally see. I get to go out and then I don't sit at home like a depressing cliche 30something woman who can't even be a proper cat lady because i'm freaking allergic to them. I go out and get coffee or get dinner and I feel like I'm a part of things. Plus when I buy groceries I never use them all, and I probably, as a single person, spend just as much feeding myself out of the coffers of Ralph's.
Here's the thing: I *can* cook dinner at home, but is that really going to help me meet my new friends? (please refer to previous post regarding vacancies left by previously single associates) As any fellow coffee drinker can attest, a good book actually reads better with a perfectly brewed cup of tea or coffee... ok, and a cute indie boy across the cafe. I can't help it!! I realize that the key is moderation, but that's just never been something I've been good at. This is my vice, now I'm sure of it.
I googled "how do know if i'm addicted". I found this on abovetheinfluence.com:
"Addiction is when you crave drugs and get to a point when you often find yourself using, thinking about or seeking out drugs." um, check.
Chemical dependency, or addiction, as defined by the American Psychological Association, is seen as a pattern of drug use, where the user experiences three (or more) of the following:
(1) tolerance, which means needing to use more of the same substance to get the same high hm. given that at some points i'm up to triple lattes and yet sleep like a baby, we're a go here.
(2) withdrawal symptoms from detoxing from alcohol or drugs (such as nausea, insomnia, anxiety, sweating, trembling) a caffeine headache... nothing a few advil won't fix. but lately i've been good and doing more decaf, in which case my withdrawal symptoms are merely wimpering, rocking myself to sleep, etc.
(3) using more than what you intended ok, so *sometimes* i order regular instead of decaf. honest mistake!
(4) persistent desire to use, or unsuccessful attempts to quit check. i find myself using it as a lure to do things i'm not really up for. "If i go to boot camp at 6am, i can get coffee after!" or "C'mon Lilly, if you go to this incredibly boring lecture, you can have a coooooffee (read that in a singsong voice)"
(5) increasing time spent using or getting drugs "drug" is such a strong word!
(6) giving up important life activities due to using (like not going to school or quitting a job) there is no way that ditching something to have a peaceful cup of coffee could be a bad thing... could it?
(7) continuing to use despite knowledge of the problem’s impact. Define "problem"...
Is there a support group for this?
1: (unrelated) I have one (1) follower on this blog. I try to sing and dance and keep you people entertained, but alas, just that one person remains. I wanted to send out a heartfelt thanks to all one of you... but I fear that the system may count me as my own follower, which would just be depressing.
2: I realized tonight that I have never taken a date to a wedding. I have been taken to a wedding, but I have never taken someone with me. And that time I went was with my mom's best friend's son, as a favor. It was a play on the cliche "going with your cousin to the prom" sort of thing. Blech.
My single appearances used to be because so many people were single that you had tons of people to sit with, and why cost someone another $150? (Yes, I think this way). But now it's just because I can't figure out the right date to take. The guys I would take either have girlfriends or wives or they MOVE on me (HI JON!) Today a friend asked why I hadn't taken him this weekend and I wanted to hit him- where were you 6 weeks ago, BUCKO? I didn't want to drag guys I wasn't in a very serious relationship with (or, in most cases, *any* relationship) to Pittsburgh or, you know, Jacksonville. I don't even know the protocol, so fearing the headache, I go "+0" over and again. I should just get a freakin stamp at this point.
I notice that I rsvp "+0" without even thinking or pausing. I don't lie on the couch and meditate, flip through my phone, debate who I can take. I just kinda assume. I might be bolder with friends I don't talk to frequently, but with my girlfriends, it feels pathetic to say "I'm responding +1 out of sheer hope, friend. It's a forced gesture to say I haven't given up on myself". Is it self-fulfilling prophecy? Example: My own sister (Pronounced "seeeester") asked me if I was bringing a date to her wedding, and again I did the calculation for all of a half-second and said "nope!" I mean, you think I'd take the chance with my own sister's wedding!
And here's the rub: the older we get, the fewer singles who travel to weddings. The Single Table buffer is no longer really a guarantee. I've already been seated at a wedding with a 9 year old at the singles table, so those lines are bluuuurry.
And worse yet, I find myself completely unsure of what to do when I'll be the only person I know at a particular wedding. That's when you *really* need a date. Do you even go? It's a modern girl's dilemma.
3: I believe there should be a governmental subsidy for people who get married later. To my calculations, my wedding will need to host 2x the number of people my other friends' weddings have because they are -- or will be -- all married by the time I am. (at this rate, the wedding hall will also need to be redesigned to accommodate my friends' wheelchairs and walkers) These days I can literally count my single friends -- men and women -- on two hands. So I think there should be some sort of government compensation so we can host everyone we need to without being financially penalized for being late bloomers.
Come to think of it, I should have suggested the "Late Bloomer Wedding" proposal to the government's Stimulus Package. I could have put it in line right after the "Middle Eastern Hair Removal Subsidy", which I've been suggesting for years. Lilly for Congress!
I've spent the last two days with a stomach flu that rendered me incapable of doing anything except, and only at times, watching television. This is my idea of hell. To be laid up in bed with a stack of "to-reads" and yet not have the energy to read- this is literally my idea of a bad place that bad people go to after doing very bad things. Somehow, in my head, I had believed that if I ever got sick I'd finally get around to reading War and Peace or to watching all those random foreign films in my Netflix queue. I'd clean out my inbox. I'd lose 5 pounds inadvertently. I'd get all my reading done for school and work, just from my bed!
But it didn't work out like that. I lay prostrate on the couch, surrounded by an army of Gatorade and Ginger Ale bottles. The sole people to pierce my veil of solitude were my brother and sister, who each broke my quarantine of the last 48 hours to bring the prisoner something to survive on (Susie, perhaps offering the best house call of all time, tucked an US Weekly between the Pepto and the soup. (*Applause*)
By the way, I think being sick in the internet age is a curse. I grew up with parents who didn't take you to the hospital unless you were missing an appendage- everything could be cured with tylenol and a nap -- they'd seen it all. Well, the other night I got a backache and of course I immediately assumed that I was departing this cruel world with meningitis. And then this morning I woke up with incredibly sore arms - and just knew that a blood clot was working its way to my heart to finish me off. I wish I could tell you I didn't entertain these thoughts -- rather seriously-- for 2-3 minutes each. Then I remembered I had worked out my arms the other morning before this flu sucked my body under, so it made sense that my arms would be, you know, sore.
I shake a fist at you, WebMD!
Anyhow, seeing as I guess I'm gonna LIVE and all, I've been working on my speech for Jessica's wedding. For the first time I'm stumped with what to say. Not in a cheesy way, just can't seem to find a story that's appropriate to tell in front of parents. Not a one! Go figure.
The fact is, I am blessed. I have more guy friends than I can count. I have guy friends who are handsome, funny, caring, thoughtful, brilliant, artsy, sporty, you name it. I have a rainbow of wonderful friends. And because of this, for a long time I didn't notice that I, well, wasn't dating. It began back in high school and has followed me until now. A friend pointed out a few months ago that it's really not typical for a girl to have so many guy friends (unless she's one of those "I don't have girlfriends" girls, who we don't trust farther than we can throw her).
As it turned out, I got so caught up in always having a guy around for company that I didn't realize I didn't have exclusive rights to any of them. In the time I was accumulating charming guy friends, everyone else on the planet my age was pairing off (Source: Facebook.com). I can't be the first one this is happening to in history. I wonder if at the end of the ark's line there was a lone animal (perhaps a Lillymonster) galloping forward as they lifted the bridge and saying "Wait, Noah, I didn't get the memo! Wait for meeeeeee!"
Then more recently my girlfriends, in an impromptu session of self-analysis (perfectly timed with the looming of V-day), constructively pointed out that I have a habit of immediately boxing men into the "friend" category. I plead guilty as charged on this one. It just seems to easy to do- nice guy, not sure how I feel or if it has longer-term potential --> friend! And then we can have fun without any of the strings or drama or whatever. It's very rare actually that I *don't* put a guy in this category. My friends have also pointed out that these completely platonic guy friends can sometimes hover protectively, thereby affecting the potential advances of other guys when we're out.
The inspiration: I have lived much of my life (say, oh, 30 years) thinking that you could make the jump (I accidentally typed "hump". yikes) from friendship to relationship later on down the line. You know, get to know him while everyone's defenses were down, and then he'd wake up and realize he loved me and I wouldn't have to go through the awkward "what to wear on the date" thing that I detest.
Perhaps Miranda says it best for us (she's not a tv character, in my sad little mind, she's a friend), "I'm not sexy. Smart, yes, cute, sometimes. But sexy is what i try to get them to see me as after i win them over with my personality!"
But the clock is a-ticking. Not even the biological clock, just the "if I respond "Lilly+0" to another wedding invitation, I will scream" clock. I had to do something.
Please understand, I've had to take preventative measures in part because the species guyus friendus has evolved. Back in the day (example: high school), you had guy friends who you bummed around with after school. You had some beers on the weekend, you went to see a show, you hung out at home and listened to music. A guy was a guy was a guy. You knew what to expect.
Now the lines are blurrier. Just like a cracker jack box, when I open a friendship file with a new guy friend, I don't know what to expect. In multiple cases I'm finding that my guy friends have mutated from the kind where you knew what to expect. Certainly they offer more in some ways, but they also require more TLC than the most sensitive of ferns. They bruise when their calls go unreturned (as in, within the hour), they want to hang out all the time, they text obsessively while they know you're doing something important, and want an explanation when you can't hang out. I have actually had to have a "status of the friendship" talk with a guy friend. I don't initiate those talks when I'm dating; why are we having one now???
Fortunately for me, these guys are not blog readers, so don't think me callous, dear reader. Just reflective.
So because sometimes Guy Friend 2.0 has the potential to require 3x as much attention as a female friend, and because many of my female friends are pairing off and I need to replenish said girlfriend roster (guy friends can be game for most anything, but you always need a battalion of ladies for chocolate runs, mani/pedi afternoons, and the recession-proof shopping spree, no?) -- because of these factors, I have to build a wall at the border, and I don't know how we're handling visas just yet.
Fortunately for lazy me, Jon really summed it up, this new dictum of mine. Basically, if a guy was my friend before January 1, 2009, he will continue to be such, happily for me. If I meet a new guy, he either has to enter the dating line, or we're just friendly acquaintances. Thanks to that wonderful gene of obliviousness that so many of them carry (not you, Jon, not you), they'll never be any the wiser to the new system. Let's just keep this between us, shall we?
Anyhow, the morning began (after what amounted to maybe 3 hours of actual/comforting sleep) with some texting with my friends. One of them suggested that I drink Pedialyte in order to feel better. She said "it's the one thing I learned from my ex. ha" Which got me to thinking- what takeaways have *I* gotten?
I'm ever the fan of education. I need to constantly read or be watching something insightful or I get bored. I often end relationships because I'm bored... I wonder if there's a correlation? I've never sat and tried to compile the lessons I've learned from the boys I've been romantically linked with, adored, or otherwise dined with. (I'll exclude "fun facts" or trivia; for example, I won't include facts such as "Miller Lite is a 4x ribbon winner") Without naming names, I will go ahead and try to list them here:
1. how to grind coffee. first "boyfriend". he loved coffee and made fun of my coffee maker, thereby replacing it and getting me a coffee grinder to go with it. i wish i could say this was a huge gesture, but given the track of our relationship, it was more about accommodating his need for caffeine than insight into my own.
2. how to put someone in a headlock
3. how to break someone's arm (in the interest of fairness, #2/3 came from a Mixed Martial Arts fighter. a beefy guy, to be sure, but extremely smart and i've always been a sucker for the brains. i wish he'd taught me more about his legal specialty or something classy, but these days on the dating battlefield you take what you can get. that said, upon reflection, i do admit that this is slightly creepy. And perhaps foreshadows that I'd end up inadvertently go on a date with a self-professed reformed "ear collector".)
4. how to tie a tie. I love how women do this for men in the movies, and I felt inadequate not knowing myself, so a guy taught me and I got to do it maybe once or twice, thereby checking off one of my "must have" lady skills.
5. how to swing a golf club
Oh my God this is so depressing. Do men really have nothing to teach me? Wait, don't answer that.
Fact: People borrow things from other people. Cool. As it should be.
Fact: Many people read in the bathroom. (I have a theory that Blender and Maxim get 75% of their circulation based in this fact, but I digress...)
Unspoken rule: You can't borrow someone's book and then read it in the bathroom! That's just unconscionable. I don't care if it's the length of War and Peace and seems like its sole purpose is to be read in a bathroom.
how about you don't leave it in your bathroom where the person might see it when they come over?
...Especially if the book is one of their favorite books and they told you this.
...And if that person had to buy the book overseas because it's not published in the States, a fact which they made known to you.
And for God's sake, can you not leave it propped next to the matches?!
Reasons to love this movie:
1) Ben Affleck suddenly got hot! Did anyone else notice this? Was anyone else as surprised as I was to find him attractive after all these years? I thought he'd gone off and bloated himself on Violet's leftover cookies, but he was looking pretty good. A little skinny, but if you're in a scene with Jennifer Aniston I suppose you have to do that or you'll look like a piglet, and no one wants that for their big on-screen comeback. Ok, not the #1 thing to love about the movie, but the first one that comes to mind.
2) Fun cast of characters. A lot of people are in this movie, yet none of the big names carry the movie. I spent much of the movie wondering if Jennifer A/Ben Affleck had ever co-starred; it felt like they must have, but they probably hadn't. There's probably a fun 6-degrees of something game to get out of this movie? Everyone plays their typecasting, so don't get your panties in a bunch. Ben is "your typical guy". The hot sleazy guy from Wedding Crashers is a hot sleazy guy (whose name apparently escapes me). Scarlett as nymphette. Drew as quirky. And so on. I like knowing what to expect I guess! At least on a Sunday, and especially when my mouth is too full of candy to really, you know, think.
3) Insight. In case any of you missed a page of the book, even just a page, then you should see this. It's a really nice, subtle way to help your friend who just doesn't get it get it. But nicely. (more on the insight in a bit)
4) Hope for single people. Worth the price of admission, naturally.
5) Delicate balance of cute and insightful. It's cute and sweet, but not enough to make you cry. I HATE when movies prey upon my emotions. Keep your little heartwarming moments, your five-hanky drawn-out deaths scenes, and incredible reunions to yourself Hollywood. Stuff it! If I cry, it's gonna be on my terms!
6) Jennifer Connelly's eyebrows' cameo. I think they deserve separate billing, don't you? I DARE you to try watching this movie without thinking about how you'd shape them, given the opportunity.
So SOMEHOW people missed this whole phenomenon. Is it warm under your rock? The other night a friend asked me "Wait, so this was a BOOK before a movie? How interesting!" I excuse her on grounds of her being married. While the rest of us read this book and discussed it in depth to the point that Oprah's book club would be proud, she was at home with her husband. Go figure.
The beginning of the movie brings up something I don't recall being in the book, but it's insightful and worth repeating. It says when you're little and a boy is mean to you or calls you names or whatever, that we're told "it's because he LIKES YOU!" Cute, and probably true at age, oh, 6. But then we process using this "fact" for the rest of our lives. Problematically, we forget to untangle ourselves from the idiocy of childhood, and we continue with that assumption straight though adulthood. We never reboot. We just keep going because no one pulled us aside around 13 or 14 years of age to tell us that "so um, P.S, right around now, you can start banking on it that if he's mean he's just an asshole. Have a nice life!"
Instead, we eternally read into everything guys do optimistically. When he doesn't call or he blows us off or he "forgets" something, we smile, feeling the warmth inside of unrequited love (aka heartburn). And because *no one* got the memo in those teenage years, our girlfriends bolster each other with equally misinformed interpretations. It's a serious blind leading the blind situation we have here.
If a guy doesn't call me, I have 10 girls on speed dial who will tell me that he's hesitating because he is intimidated by some aspect of me, or that the timing is off, or that he's just feeling it out, or that he's restrained by some social custom that somehow overrides his "undoubted" attraction to me. Now, friends, this movie and book has made its bizillions by popping the aforementioned balloon. Greg Behrendt unabashedly overshadows his co-author Amy Tucillo and offers himself up as the brutally honest guy friend you never asked for: You want to know why he didn't call? Because He's just not that into you. You want to know why he makes out with you but never takes you on proper dates? Because he's just not that into you. You want to know why he doesn't introduce you to his friends? Why he flakes? Why he doesn't call you his girlfriend... SAY IT WITH ME NOW!
The movie gives you the brutal lessons and weaves it into a sometimes-awkward narrative. It does an interesting thing, though, diverging from the book in a distinct way. As background: the protagonist is a somehow charmingly annoying girl who is a composite of every overly-optimistic-clingy-trait you and your 4 closest girlfriends have. You each have one such trait, she carries them ALL. You spend the movie alternatively rooting for her and cringing at her.
So, back to the schism between book and film - the book teaches you to give these "not into you"-having guys the big single-finger salute and move on, an empowered woman; it tells you to move on to greener pastures and halfheartedly assures you someone else more "deserving" will be out there. But then, in typical guy fashion, the movie SENDS MIXED MESSAGES! I actually looked this up, and according to Imdb, the movie is written by Abby Kohn and Mark Silverstein. Now, my guess is that Abby wanted to give it a clear ending: the girl learns her lesson and is empowered as a single. Stay the course, stay true to the book, mission accomplished.
But then Mark comes in and effs it up. He thinks about how he has put his masculine cred on the line by writing a chick flick and says "Abby, our movie will NEVER make it big if we don't give it a Hollywood ending. People are suffering a recession; now is not the time to promote a feminist agenda. Let the guy get the girl, would you? For AMERICA!"
And so [SPOILER ALERT!!!] he decides that in the end of the script the main girl -- who has spent two cringe-inducing hours over-reading the subtle signs of the guy we are SURE isn't interested in and who has been humiliated into finally believing that guys aren't into her and she's basically psycho (slash clingy slash pathetic)-- ends up being right about him all along!
Now what's the takeaway in that?!
Well, I can't tell you. What I can tell you is that the movie has some funny lines and some insightful observations about dating in the modern age. Coupled-off people should go see it so they can feel self-congratulatory for getting off this freakin battlefield. And singles should see it because, at least on screen, there's someone more pathetic than even your most pathetic, Facebook-stalking-drive-by-go-where-he-is-coincidentally day.
Personally, I came home from the movie purged of the last remnants of "does he or doesn't he" I've been carrying around about a few different people. It lightens your mental load quite a bit. I asked in an earlier post if guys give "hints"; the movie (mostly) suggests that they do not. That they communicate in broad strokes, that they will make their interest known, so don't sit around waiting for it. That you won't miss their signs if there *are* signs.
But I've gotta say, it's not that we girls don't *know* this. I think we just suffer choosy amnesia. You can have all the factual knowledge in the world and still want to follow your optimism. If you tell me I have a terminal disease (analogy made in honor of pending Valentine's day?), do I stop living? Nope! I keep moving on, doing my best, hoping for a miracle cure. We all do it, all day long.
What's lovely about this movie is that dating sucks on all levels, and someone pointed fun at it in a compassionate, non-barfy way, and without needing to resort to disgusting sexual humor. This one is for the girls. Relentless romantic optimism is personified, and -- for ONCE -- it wins.
In such a disillusioned and sarcastic world as the one we seem to be living in these days, it's just what the love doctor ordered.