Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sometimes I cry, or "feeling the lump."


When I was 17, I went to see The Notebook with my mom and my friend Laura. At that time, Laura was my most bad ass friend. She had her nose and eyebrow pierced, often had blue or pink or green hair, and wore accessories with spikes on them. She drank hard alcohol and listened to punk music. (For the record, Laura is still a bad ass, but in a softer, more approachable way.) I was quiet and bookish, and bordering on nerdy... ok, maybe not bordering so much.

It didn't make sense for the two of us to be friends. People gawked at us palling around in gym class like they were watching a duck befriend a grizzly bear. (I am the duck in this scenario.) But it worked, and we remain very close friends to this day.

Here's my point. Are you ready? Good. So we went to see the Notebook, and it came to the scene at the end with all the Alzheimer's and forgetting and death and sadness where everyone is supposed to break down and blow snot bubbles. And sure enough, the theater began to echo with the sound of muffled sniffles. To my right, my mom sniffled. To my left, Laura was sniffling through her nose ring. Tissues were being broken out and mascara was being dabbed. When the lights came on, I turned to grab my purse. Laura looked at me incredulously, tear stains on her cheeks. "Are you fucking kidding me? Are you, like, dead inside?"

I shrugged. I wasn't really sure what had happened either. Because I do cry sometimes. A lot, in fact. I'm not prone to emotional outbursts, but I'm certainly not dead inside. And I can't even use the excuse that this story was too contrived and cheesy, because there are plenty of contrived and cheesy romantic cinematic moments that make me cry. This particular one just didn't do it for me.

Because the thing is, it has to be a moment. The stars have to align. You have to be in that vulnerable place, where your heart is wide open and ready to get fucked with. And when you do finally find yourself in that place... it still might not work! Not even if it's Ryan fucking Gosling!

Still, isn't it funny how some things will just get you? They catch you off guard. It doesn't make any sense whatsoever. One minute you're a normal human person munching on some kettle corn and then bam, your chest gets tight aaaaaaand......Throat, meet your new friend Lump.

I was surprised to feel the lump the first time I saw the following scenes:

1. When Pam and Jim get married at Niagara Falls
Remember the part where Pam has a meltdown and says she looks fat in her dress, and everything is going wrong, but then Jim says she looks beautiful and then snips his tie in half to say, "Fuck it, I don't care about anything right now but marrying you, damn it!" And then they decide to go get married in secret on a boat in ponchos and there's this shot, just after he tells the camera that he has wanted to marry Pam since the day they met, where she is resting her head on his shoulder and her hair is all wet and he looks over her head at the camera and just BEAMS. And I am crying, and also smiling like an idiot. I am cryling.

I see you cryling.

2. When Maya Rudolph and John Krasinski pull up to their new house in Away We Go.
They are pulling into the driveway and Alexi Murdoch is singing a song originally written for the movie called "Wait," and it's timed just so that when they turn onto the dirt road, he sings "Feeling on the verge of some great truth...  where I'm finally in my place." And suddenly it's everything that Garden State was supposed to be but wasn't. It's hard to explain, but it is magic. Just play the song and imagine the scene, and you might understand.

 



3. In Blue Valentine, when  **** (SPOILER ALERT) **** Michelle Williams leaves the clinic and breaks down and Ryan Gosling wraps her up in his arms and holds her tight. And he does the thing where he puts his hand on her hair and face and like, cradles her head. I can't handle face cradling. I'm done. Put me to bed. 


4. "Your hands are cold."
Do I have to explain this one? It doesn't work when you just watch the clip. You have to watch the film from beginning to end, without pausing, and just let it wash over you. The music, the gorgeous cinematography, the mood, but mostly the BUILD.





I will say, at the risk of sounding like Natalie Portman....  sometimes, I look forward to a good cry. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Wait, am I allowed to wear sequins after I turn 25?



You guys. It's my birthday on Monday. Again. Holy hell. They just keep coming at me like baseballs in a batting cage behind the dive bar and it smells like stale beer and I have helmet hair and I just want to go home and watch Parks and Rec.

In the last few weeks, a lot of people have been asking me what I want for my birthday. Like, more so than usual. In the past, my response to this fairly routine question has always been to shake my head and say something humble like, "Oh, you're so sweet! You don't need to get me anything! Your gorgeous presence is all that I desire in life! The sun shines out your butt and I bask in its glow, didn't you know?" Which is okay, I guess. I think everyone does this to a degree. We don't like to look selfish, do we? And the thought is what counts.

But you know what? That's kind of dumb. Because you end up with something kind of creepy and useless like monkey socks or pirate earrings and you try to be happy because it was such a nice gesture but you can't help thinking WTF do I do with this now?

And furthermore, what kind of lame life philosophy is that? When the world asks, What do you want? you don't answer, "Um, I don't know, a minimum wage job and a messy divorce and an illegitimate child, I guess?" NO! You say, "I want to be the motherfucking CEO, bitch!" Reach for the stars, because the stars don't have arms to reach for you! - Zach Galifianakis playing a pageant dad on SNL that one time.


Oh wow, I forgot for a second how perfect that sketch was. Phew, I remember now. "You're nasty!"

So, in the spirit of wanting to be a motherfucking CEO, when my parents called me the other day and asked what I would like for my birthday, I paused for a second and then blurted out, "A Crosley vintage style portable USB turntable?" And that's what they got me! And everyone was happy and nobody cried.


YES.

So I encourage all of you sexy Scorpios whose birthdays are coming up, or those who are already panicking about Christmas: Don't be afraid to ask for something you might actually enjoy! It's not selfish. You're really doing everyone a solid. It's a win-win-win. I'm not sure who the third winner is, but I have to believe there's someone out there winning besides Charlie Sheen.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Because I just saw 30 minutes of a movie that infuriated me enough to write this.

Today I came home from getting an oil change, because I am a modern single woman who gets shit done, and turned on the TV for background noise while I made myself a PBJ sandwich, because I am a modern single woman who can't afford a lot of groceries. The channel was on TBS, which is one that I can rely on for five-hour Office repeats and midnight movies starring Owen Wilson.

Anyway, as I was reaching for the strawberry jelly, I glanced over and noticed the screen. A circa-2004 Julia Stiles and a dashing blonde blue-eyed fellow who looked painfully like my ex-boyfriend were sitting at a library table and playing verbal footsie with each other.

You understand what I mean by verbal footsie. This is a thousand times worse than actual footsie because it will literally make you vomit if you are unlucky enough to witness it in real life. It goes like this: "Stop staring at me, I'm trying to study." "I don't know what you're talking about, you're the one who keeps looking at me. I'm just trying to learn science." Smile, wink, laugh, barf. Then, he reaches out and holds her hand! Oh, this shit just got real.


"You know you wanna get with this."

So the whole scene culminates in them suddenly running to some secret corner of the library and her ripping his shirt off and are they really going to have sex in the library? This is Julia Stiles circa 2004, after all! But no, this is a PG-13 movie, so they are interrupted by a group of paparazzi chasing them down for a scandalous picture. Then they have a big dramatic fight in of-course-the-rain where it is revealed the he has hidden his true identity from her, and he is actually a famous playboy Danish prince, and Julia Stiles is pissed because she spent her whole life working to be a doctor and now her picture is going to be in the tabloids and it is all ruined, and he is exactly the kind of distraction she was trying to avoid, and she was "Not pretending!!"

And then I got a text and I must have missed a scene or something because the next thing I knew, Julia Stiles is reciting Shakespeare and realizing she can't live without this ass hat, and look, she just got a letter of acceptance from Johns Hopkins Medical School, but fuck medical school because she is in love, goddamnit, and needs to max out her credit cards and fly to Amsterdam or Denmark or wherever the fuck. Then about 10 minutes later she is a princess or some shit and going into the underground jewelry safe with the queen and dancing at the ball in a pink dress and then I threw my PBJ crust at the screen and turned on my laptop to write this.


"This is way better than being a doctor."

I vaguely remember seeing this movie, which is cleverly titled The Prince & Me, when it first came out, back when film heroines were allowed to have short brown hair, and Julia Stiles was a thing and modern Shakespeare re-tellings were trendy, and for some reason they both smashed together because now all I can think about is Julia in 10 Things I Hate About You and O, both of which I have on DVD, but that's not the point, and what ever happened to Julia Stiles? Is she okay? Does anyone know? But I don't remember being so infuriated by it that I had to throw food at the screen. Of course, that would make me sixteen/ seventeen at the time, and apparently I was a hopeless romantic and not terribly feminist back then.

So the point I am trying to make is this: If this shit movie in any way leaked into my squishy teenage brain and influenced my expectations of true love, and this somehow led to my heart being broken by a guy who looked remarkably like this playboy Danish prince, then I am suing Julia Stiles and generic blonde actor and the horrible writers, and TBS, for that matter, for perpetuating lies and ruining lives.

Because I am a modern single woman.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

"I want your ugly."


I have this reoccurring fantasy.

Ok, fantasy is not the right word. It's not kinky. Don't get excited. Or get excited, do what you must. But more like a daydream? Daydream. Where all of the guys I have dated and/or slept with are gathered in one room on a sound stage that resembles the set of The Dating Game. They are all sitting on cheap plastic stools (I did not spring for couches, I guess?) wondering what they are all doing here. They get to talking and realize their shared connection: me. How long would this take? Hours? Days? Would I ever come up in conversation? This is no longer a talk show, it is more like a Twilight Zone episode. Like that one where everyone is inexplicably stuck in a white room with high walls and can't get out. Or that Bunuel movie about a dinner party where the guests suddenly realize they can't leave and start eating each other? I haven't really fleshed out the details. My daydreams are not big on exposition.

Does this make me self-absorbed? Probably. Has everyone thought about this scenario at least once? I'm willing to bet most definitely.

I always wonder what they would say about me. Would my high school boyfriend remember our first kiss that summer afternoon in my driveway? Our last kiss? Would they remember our ugliest fights and our most passionate moments? Did I make any lasting impact on them? Do any of them miss me or hate me? Why did all of these relationships end, again? And, most importantly, have I left them alone on that sound stage for too long without food, and are they now trying to eat each other?

My mom told me yesterday that the secret to a happy marriage is to marry an ugly person. She didn't elaborate much, but I think she meant that physical attraction and passions inevitably fade, but at the end of the day, when all the pretenses drop away, and you are left with all of the ugly, your faded alma mater t-shirt and your mouth full of Crest whitestrips, that they still want to be there. That they stick around, for whatever reason.

I've never gotten to the point in a relationship where I am comfortable being naked. I don't mean physically naked. I'm pretty satisfied with the situation I've got going on right now. I moisturize and eat fruit and sometimes try those pilates moves from Self magazine. But naked as in completely myself. Like, ugly me. Glasses-wearing, unflattering-lighting me. I got pretty close in my most recent relationship, but I was always a little conscious of that other presence. Maybe that's a good thing. Maybe it pushes me to be better - to be the best version of me at all times. But is it really better? Aren't I just as lovable with a big t-shirt and dots of zit cream as I am with a push-up bra and skinny jeans? Maybe there is a happy medium I can get to. But in the end, is it my heart and compassion and sense of humor that really matter? I'd like to hope so.

Lady Gaga once said, "I want your ugly. I want your disease. I want your everything as long as it's free. I want your love." I think she was right - to truly love someone is to love even their ugliest qualities, maybe even especially those qualities. But she also once wore a dress made of raw meat and said, "Let's have some fun, this beat is sick, I wanna take a ride on your disco stick." So, there's that.

That being said, I don't really agree with my mom. I want to think that I will find someone I am attracted to in every way. Don't get me wrong; he doesn't have to be Alexander Skarsgard or anything. In fact, I'm not too comfortable dating a guy who is prettier than me. But I want to find someone who makes my heart skip a little when he smiles at me and shiver when he kisses my neck, someone who knows how to cook one great dish, who will drop whatever he's doing to pick me up at the airport, who's witty as hell, with excellent taste in music and movies, an endless passion for life, and a huge, huge heart that he isn't afraid to share with me. And maybe he will come with a receding hairline or really hairy feet, but I will love him for it and he will love my waffle addiction and the bump in my nose, and it won't matter because he will be kind and want to stay in bed with me for hours on a Saturday morning.

But for the record, if you're reading this, Alexander Skarsgard - I would never turn you down. Call me.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"Shut the fuck up, already."

photo courtesy of Flickr

-UPDATE-

Guess what, everyone? The universe must read my blog because I got a job! Actually, two jobs! And not entirely unpleasant jobs, at that! I now work at both the gift shop and the cafe of the local botanical gardens! I'm surrounded by beautiful flora and delicious baked goods all fucking day!

This is all proof that if you bitch about something long enough, the world will say ShutTheFuckUp already and will give you whatever you want.

Since this is a short post, I will include an anecdote of an adorable experience I had working at the gift shop:

The other day a little boy around the age of six came into the store with a crumpled five dollar bill. His mom said he was allowed to pick one toy in the store.

After careful deliberation, he picked up a toy lizard, reached up and placed it on my counter, pushing the wrinkled bill towards me shyly.

"Thank you," I say to him with a smile, "Would you like a receipt?"

He shook his head and said no, taking his lizard from me.

On his way out the door, he looked up at his mom and asked, "Mom, do you know why I didn't want a receipt?"

"No," she replied, "Why?"

With a serious look, the boy answered firmly, "Because I love lizards so much."



I can only hope to one day understand the kind of love that doesn't require a receipt.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The other day I was driving my car and just started screaming.

Sometimes I feel like Jim Carrey in the Truman Show. Sometimes I think there is no possible way that the world could be this much of a fucking bitch unless I was secretly being taped for a massive psychological experiment reality show that would later pay me millions of dollars for having tortured me for so many years.

Recently, I was driving my car and suddenly started screaming. My brain was entirely unaware it had decided to do this. Yet I screamed and screamed, louder and longer until my throat was dry and I felt satisfied that the world knew what a fucking asshole it was being.

Because what the fuck is up with the world right now? Right and wrong and sanity and fairness and everything good in life is going to shit, and the epicenter of all this shit is Tucson and my life.

It must be my fault. The first mistake I made was not deciding exactly what the fucking fuck I was going to do for the rest of my life the minute I graduated high school. They say college is a place where you are free to "explore" your "interests." No one tells you the truth - the more you explore, the more you are punished. Apparently, splitting your efforts between two unrelated majors does not translate as "well-rounded" when applying for grad school - it translates as "uncommitted."

Which all results in my being rejected from grad school at my own alma fucking mater for not making up my mind soon enough. Fuck me for exploring my interests. Fuck me for taking a risk on something and finding out it wasn't for me. Fuck me for trying to go back and take another path. And fuck me for getting less than a 4.0, because grad school is no place for all those idiots with a 3.7.

Also, fuck me for borrowing 30 grand in student loans for a degree that couldn't ensure me a position at a gas station. Last year I was in an intense and challenging grad school program; last week I went on an interview at Starbucks. I sold the living shit out of myself for minimum wage, cleaning toilets, and ensuring that all the doctors and lawyers and accountants and real estate agents and fucking everyone else who decided at age 18 exactly what the fuck they wanted to be will ENJOY A DISGUSTING CUP OF SHITTY OVERPRICED "COFFEE."


For the time being, you can either find me behind the counter at Starbucks or in the parking lot screaming in my car. Good afternoon, good evening, and goodnight.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

"Ghosts, like ladies, never speak 'til spoken to."


Happy Halloween, everyone! Here's my best Edie:


I hope you're being safe and looking as whorish as physically possible. It's my birthday and I'm off to celebrate! Cheers!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

And many more


My birthday is arriving on October 31st!

So just in case a magical genie or Robin Williams appears and promises me 10 birthday wishes as long as I can name them in less than a minute, I have compiled a handy list. Just to be safe.


1. Brown leather riding boots, black leather motorcycle boots, a black leather jacket.... just more things made of leather, basically.

2. Parks and Recreation on DVD

3. Alexander Skarsgard singing Happy Birthday to me in his underwear

4. A guest spot on Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis

5. Abs of steel

6. An endless supply of cupcakes, champagne, and Miss Dior Cherie.

7. A Brigitte Bardot hair day

8. One perfect night at home with my pseudo-boyfriend

9. To laugh with my friends until I pee a little... or a lot

10. A baby deer

Saturday, September 25, 2010

In which we've come a long way, baby.


"Does this floor make me look fat?"

Sometimes, I just get pissed.

Pissed at society, at men, at how tough it still is to be a girl in 2010.

As you can perhaps surmise from my fascination with sexist vintage advertisements, this is a topic I feel super-strongly about; it almost makes me want to put a tampon in a teacup. (Any Ghost World fans in the house?) But I know that sexism and feminism and gender roles are big issues to tackle in a single blog post, so I just intend to dance around them a bit. You know, like a lady.

I once asked my friend if, knowing what she knows now about the world, she would choose to have been born a guy. Without hesitation, she said, "Fuck yes. Are you kidding?"

"Really?" I replied, then paused in thought. "But... then you'd have to walk around with a penis every day. That would be terrible." I was only half-joking.

I guess I didn't expect my friend to react so strongly. I mean, this is a tough question. I personally think about it all the time. Because, much like Nancy Kwan and Doris Day and Sarah Jessica Parker, I enjoy being a girl... but I see my friend's point.

Men have it easy. (White men have it easy.) Rather than being instantly sexualized or judged, they are treated as professionals- intelligent, capable, strong people who can get the job done. Women still have to fight for respect when we crawl out of our dens of domesticity.

On the other hand, sometimes I think that overt sexualization and feminine mystery give us a little bit of power over men. As much as the media treat us like objects, men are still utterly mystified by us.

Let's break for story time. Growing up, I never had a super strong feminine role model. My mother had three older brothers and is a tomboy in every sense of the word. I had to learn how to put on make-up and curl my own hair. I remember friends' moms looking elegant and effortlessly put-together. My mom was always a bit quirky with a big warm personality. She never wore clothes that flattered her enviably tiny frame, choosing to live in oversized men's tees, baseball caps, and jeans. She would sometimes top off an outfit with gaudy make-up and costume jewelry, as if imitating what she thought a woman was supposed to look like.

As a teenager, my family made me feel guilty for wanting to feel feminine. On the weekends, my mom, dad, and brother, a stellar athlete, would play baseball or basketball or tennis, and I was constantly teased for being "girly" and uncoordinated.

One day, I realized that I shouldn't feel ashamed for happily being a woman. Now, I own my femininity instead of trying to hide it. I am proud that my silhouette is curvy. I know femininity isn't just about my sexuality, but I like the feeling I get when buying lace underwear, the way a dress swishes against my thighs as I walk, the way tight jeans hug my butt, and that indescribable feeling of making that click-clack-click-clack noise when strutting down a hallway in pumps. And even though I'm terrified of it, I look forward to a day when I might carry a tiny human in my body.

Being uber-feminine doesn't mean I'm not an uber-feminist - quite the opposite, in fact. I am a raging crazy when it comes to issues of inequality between the sexes. I am the first person in a room to get offended by an offhand "that's what she said" comment.

As an undergrad, I took a class called the Sociology of Gender. One day, we were looking at pictures of "girls' toys" and "boys' toys" on the Toys-R-Us website. Girls' toys were pastel-colored and domestic: kitchen sets and vacuum cleaners and baby dolls. Boys' toys were primary-colored and involved occupations outside the home: pilots, doctors, firefighters, scientists.

This pattern wasn't shocking or novel to any of us. But then my teacher posed the question: why is it generally acceptable for girls to play with both types of toys, but when a boy plays with girls' toys, parents often worry that he will be gay? When you look a bit deeper, you see two forces at play here: one, that society celebrates any desire to be masculine, even a female's desire, but condemns a male's desire to be feminine. In other words, we are all supposed to want to be men. Secondly, in a certain way, parents generally aren't as concerned about what their daughters want to be than with what their sons want to be. This practice has a name- androcentrism - and there is clearly a hierarchy here.


That being said, it's tough dating a med student while studying art. I can't help thinking that he is saving the world one life at a time while I am looking at pretty pictures, and that I subconsciously chose a "feminine occupation" and rejected math and science because of my Barbie dolls and Fisher Price kitchen set. How will I ever know for sure if I am doing this because I love it or because I am supposed to love it?

Cheer up, ladies. Things will get better... sort of.

We all watch Mad Men, and last week's episode "The Beautiful Girls" taught us that we've come a long way from Peggy and Joan and Mrs. Blankenship. We've got our own slim cigarettes now, for example - tailored for the feminine hand.

Friday, September 17, 2010

A brief letter to the idiot hairdresser at Cost Cutters


I don't have the strongest math background.

I rushed through honors algebra, geometry, and trig in order to finish all math requirements by my sophomore year of high school, and I've never gone back, save for a brief period studying for the SAT and GRE (and sometimes to calculate a 35% off sale at Macy's.) But I am fairly certain that a quarter of an inch is never, in any math class or alternate alien universe, equal to three inches.

I understand the concept of "you get what you pay for in life." But apparently at Cost Cutters, $15 gets you the opposite of what you want. Who cuts hair blunt and straight-across anymore, unless it is specifically requested? And even then, you may get a few strange looks. ("Really? Straight across? Are you sure that's what you want? It might look weird.") If my regular hairdresser hadn't gotten fired, I would not be in this situation.

I know what you're thinking: it's just hair. It will grow back. But will it, really? I mean, okay, yeah, I know it will, really. But that is not the point! Hair isn't "just hair." In fact, I'm pretty sure I read once in Cosmo or Allure or Generic Women's Magazine that your hair is your greatest accessory.

My greatest accessory was just punched in the face.