Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Freein' My Soul

One of my favorite movies is "Almost Famous." I love that movie. It speaks to me, partly because I identify with the characters and see myself in them at times, but mostly because that movie is a tribute to the beauty and power of music. It shows how music can unite people and lift people. It shows that music can inspire people to inspire others and to better themselves. And isn't that what rock and roll tries to do? Change the world? Even if it is one person at a time.

Music is the only thing that never lets you down in life. There's a scene in that movie, the band has had a fight, possibly broken up, and they're all sulking on their bus. Thick with pride, heavy with anger, and then they start to sing along to one of their favorite songs. The whole spirit just lifts and all the negativity seems to break away into tiny pieces. Their love for music takes precedence over any personal issues, and they can be together again without having to apologize or explain anything. Love means never having to say you're sorry? No. Music means never having to say you're sorry.

That's what music does. It speaks for the dark places in our hearts that we can't articulate because we can't see them clear enough. And because we are too saturated in them to find words to describe what we don't understand we're feeling. Music finds the words for us. And when the words and the images of the music fall short of expressing emotions exactly, the sounds transcend and elevate any shortcomings.

Because music is the one thing that never lets you down and the only thing that can express your own thoughts better than you can, music is also your best friend. Sometimes it's your only friend because it's all that understands you. On a bad day, find that perfect CD and pop it in. Everything else fades away and seems so trivial in the distance. The endless musical choices just contribute to its ability to adapt to every situation. Sunny day, listen to some peppy punk like The Strokes. Frustrating day, listen to Janis Joplin and scream along at the top of your lungs. Sad day, listen to some mellow Damien Rice to calm you or some Norah Jones to numb the pain. Bad breakup? Numerous choices because, as a friend likes to say, it's easier to write songs about love gone wrong than anything because pain inspires creativity. Old angry Alanis, bummed out Matt Nathanson, reflective Indigo Girls, bluesy Will Hoge, broken hearted Ryan Adams or depressed Counting Crows...I could go on and on.

No matter what, music can meet you where you are. And can take you to better places. That's what they mean when they say music frees your soul.

Monday, March 29, 2004

Some people think that there is a personal Heaven for everyone. That when you die and go to Heaven, it's whatever would be Heaven for you. Like Disneyworld without any lines and free Mickey Mouse ice cream. Or that beach from the Corona commercials.

If that's true, then there has to be a personal Hell too. And I know what mine is. Dating. To be permanently dating and filtering through all the losers. This long, neverending process of game-playing and confusion. I feel sometimes like Sysyphyss. I'm sure I spelled that wrong.

But to me, dating is like pushing a boulder up a hill only to have it always come rolling back down again. You put in all this work, all this energy and effort, but you know it's going to roll back at you. You know you're cursed and that the process will always end up crushing you in the end. Whether your heart is broken or you're frustrated to the point of feeling defeated. You know that you're putting in all your blood, sweat and tears, but eventually, the damn thing is just going to roll over your big toe.

And because you are aware of your curse, you're constantly waiting for it to happen. You're anxious, analyzing every move of the boulder so that you can know when it's going to roll back and you can get out of the way.

That's what I think about dating. It's just hard.

So why do we do it? Because of the joy and pride we'll feel if we actually get the boulder up over the hill? We'll see if that ever happens. It's enough to make a girl want to go back to rolling Hot Wheels down the driveway.

Friday, March 26, 2004

What Goes Around Comes Around

Dear God. What is the world coming to? You say that there hasn't been any rain, so it starts to pour. You say that you've been rejected too much lately, suddenly they all come back kicking. Is it selfish to say that's just not enough?

Tonight, I went to a concert. A guy who recently dumped me for being a V-word used to be in the band and so, he happened to be there. Of course, because of the I'm-too-cool-for-that-loser thing I had perfected, I ignored him. Successfully. Until, all of a sudden, despite the fact that I had my friends surrounding me, he comes up. What does he say? "I'm so sorry we haven't talked, I've had so much on my mind lately, I think you are the most amazing person. No, really, you are a maginificient woman, you immediately struck me and captivated me." What in the world is a self-respecting woman to do? Besides introduce him to her "current" who happens to be standing beside her as he says this. Nice.

Well, if that wasn't enough, Mr. "1/2" who was so unclear up until the point that I stopped answering or returning his phone calls, calls out of the blue to beg me to go out with him. As I'm trying to politely turn him down, my friends gawk at the awkward sounding conversation, and my current gives me a confused gaze. You'd think that Mr. Out of the Picture would be gone by now, but no, he's staring at me from a distance as I suffer through this tortured ordeal.

My point is that boys are stupid. They do not know what they want or what to say or what to do. They don't have the guts, then they realize what they're missing. Do I even know if my current is keepable? Does he stick Saran Wrap safe? I have no clue. But I don't even have time to gasp while Mr. Almost Was and Mr. Half Ass compete for my attention. Not long after this did Mr. I Wanna Get to Know You ask for my number. Never in my life have I had four boys in one single night vie for my attentions. And can I just say? I think I'm better off alone in bed with my drooling Shih Tzu.

When I was little, my cousin Courtney taught me a valuable lesson. She used to drop kick her brother Eric in the chest whenever he got in her way. Do you think a single girl with a swift hitch can pull her own in a world of boys fighting for a leg to stand on? We'll soon find out because I'm not one to take anything lying down.

No, thanks. You know what? Sometimes the best choice is not to make a choice between what you have. Sometimes you know that you have to hold out for something better. And this time, better may just be me alone. I like myself. And I don't need some dude to come around and try to mess that up. I can hold my own.

Friday, March 5, 2004

Wvuuu to you too!

I am a twenty-five year old virgin. That's right. I'm a dinosaur, about to go extinct because there just aren't many of us left these days. Actually, I'd like to be extinct, but come on, after holding out this long, I'm not gonna give it up for just anyone.

I'm not gonna lie to you, it's tough out there. I keep getting dumped when guys find out my nasty little secret is I'm not so nasty. I guess it's because I'm meeting the wrong men. I don't meet the ones that are looking for a nice girl to take home to mom. I meet the ones that are looking to have sex next week. "Oh? So I'm not gonna get sex on Tuesday?" Wvuuuu! Out the door faster than you can say, "Trojan Maaan!"

And what exactly am I supposed to do about that anyway? When a guy introduces himself and asks if he can buy me a drink, should I respond with, "Hi. My name is ____. And I'm a virgin." Not really the conversation starter. And I doubt I would end up getting that drink. So what are my alternatives then? Wait a few weeks or a month until he says, "You are so hot, I can't wait to make love to you." And then say, "Aww, thanks, you're hot too...but you're not gonna. Na na na boo boo." Again...wvuuu! Out the door!

It's a tough, tough world out there for us dinosaur virgins. I mean, you've got "Sex and the City." What do I have? "Hugging in the City?" I don't think Manolo Blahnik would donate their shoes to that snooze fest.

And having bare feet isn't the only reason. Nobody wants to see a gal in bed by herself. I used to sleep with a teddy bear for comfort, you know, but after awhile that wasn't enough so I started sleeping with a bear the size of my torso. Again, after awhile, it was a poor substitute for a man so now I sleep with that big ass bear on my small ass couch where I pretend that the pillows along my back are Johnny Depp. It makes for sweet dreams, sure, until I wake up gazing serenely into my dog's eyes and get a stinky kiss on the mouth by a mangy shih tzu. Not so sweet after all.

My mother says to lighten up, I'll find a guy someday. Hmph. She was also the one was told me the farmer doesn't buy the cow if he can get the milk for free, and I see lots of freaking farmers selling the farm to get one hot hefer. My mom does give kind advice, though amusing at times.
The last time we were discussing my virginal issues, she offered up an interesting perspective.

Another guy had told me that he needed to find out if he was sexually compatible with a girl before he fully committed himself to her...after which he kissed me on the forehead and yelled, "I'll talk to you later," while sprinting down my front steps. Wvuuu!

She said, "Well, that's just ridiculous. You can tell if you're sexually compatible with someone from the way they kiss. And after all, putting those two organs together isn't such a big deal because they always fit. It's finding two hearts that fit that's the hard part."

Thanks, Mom. I guess she's right in a way. Maybe all sex does is complicate an already complicated process. Then again, maybe I should have given that milk up for free. But either way, I figure I got a nice little filter out of all this, a way to find out who's really worth keeping around. Why do you think they make that "Wvuuuu" sound out the door? It's my bare foot kicking them in the woo-hoo.

Thursday, March 4, 2004

George, mind if I borrow that ax?

I hate dating. It makes me freaking crazy, a total lunatic, irrational, nervous, and I probably twitch too. So many people say that the beginning is the best part, so exciting, full of butterflies and mystery. But those are the people who are looking back at the beginning of successful relationships because not all relationships progress past the beginning stage.

Sometimes you think you have a great beginning, but then poof! For no reason at all, with no offered explanation or suggestions for improvement, the person is gone without a trace. I know I’ve done this a time or two myself so I can’t be “playa hata.” I’ve definitely gone out on one or two dates with a guy and decided it’s not worth seeing him again. The grown-up mature way that I choose to deal with this is the ever so popular “No Call” approach. No call gets in and no call goes out. I hate doing that, I feel bad when I do, but I want to avoid what would be an unnecessary awkward situation for the both of us. “Well, Greg, the reason I don’t want to go out with you again is I think you’re too tall, too conservative, and you don’t make me laugh enough.” Who the hell wants to hear that?

Sure, we tell little kids all the time they should never lie. Look at George Washington cutting down that damn tree and lying about it. He felt bad. He knew it wasn’t right, but ya know what? He still did it. Oh sure, we tell the kids that he confessed and eventually told the truth, but I don’t think it happened like that. I think it went down like this. Little Georgie got a new ax and decided to test it out on his father’s favorite apple tree. Big, thick bark, he wondered how long it would take for his shiny new tool to chop it down. So, like any curious little kid, he tested it out.

I mean, I remember one time when my cousin set the carpet on fire because he was burning the edge of a pirate's treasure map for 'effect.' Little brat dropped the match and boom! Up in flames went the shag! Of course, he had to confess, it was obvious the black hole in the carpet didn’t happen all on its own. Anyways, back to our boy George. He realized what he did, tried to blame it on some Indians, and when his momma asked him if the new ax he probably had stashed cleverly behind his back had anything to do with the death of the tree, he collapsed. It was his momma, after all, and he was what? 8?

My point is – everyone lies. And that is why dating is so damn tricky and hard. Every time that a boy tells me, “I’ll talk to you later,” I wonder what that means. Does that mean: “I’ll call you in an hour,” “I’ll call you tomorrow,” or “I’ll call you when hell freezes over and Paris Hilton joins a convent?” I just don’t know. And the worst thing of it is not the guessing game or the waiting game. The worst is the ending. Because we know it won’t work out, it never does, it never has, so you know that it’s going to probably go up in flames like my aunt’s shag rug.

I truly have no idea why we still put ourselves through this torturous mess over and over again. I mean, it’s only the first of March and I’ve been rejected 3 ½ times already! Ok, ok, one of the guys I would’ve stopped calling only he did it first, but still, that’s a big freaking number for two short months. (By the way, the ½ is for the guy I’m currently dating who I am sure has called for the last time…despite the fact that I say that every time he calls…)

Dating is a necessary evil, I know, but I feel at the moment (after 3 ½ times in 2 months) that I want to fold. I feel like I’ve run out of chips, I have no more energy left to sit and put money down for a game I’ll most surely lose. I just want to go back to my quiet life where I can leave dirty dishes out and wear no make-up and not worry about anyone noticing or judging. I don't really need all this hassle anyway. I'm happy alone, and if something's gonna happen, it just will. God is in control, and clearly I need some more me-time. Maybe I can find old George’s old ax to build myself a cabin, and I can hibernate until dating season is over.

Tuesday, March 2, 2004

Let's Change the World

I am currently reading a women's studies book. It is a book on how women were reflected in the mass media during the 1940's and 50's. I was just reading this book at a coffee shop when I decided I needed a break so I stopped to call someone. I wanted to call this guy I've been seeing for a couple of weeks, but it's not serious and so I wasn't sure if it would be inappropriate or unallowed for me to call him just to chat. I sat and pondered this for about fifteen minutes when my mind felt a deja vu. Wasn't I just reading about the effect that images like Donna Reed and Kathy from "Father Knows Best" had on women?

We are not as progressive as we might like to think. Women certainly have more opportunities and are recognized as individuals of equal potential as men, but there are still some ways in which we can feel subjugated. Take this situation, for instance. Why is it that I feel as though he can call me, but I can't call him? Why am I so afraid that if I called him, he would feel as though his manhood had been threatened and would instantly lose all interest in me? What's the big deal anyway?

Sadly, I don't think I have any answers for these questions other than this - isn't that just the way things work? Boys call girls, boys ask out girls, boys don't like girls who are "too forward" or "too aggressive." I don't know why exactly, but I still believe that's the truth. I don't care how forward of a thinker a man might be, that doesn't necessarily mean that he'll like a girl who calls him. I hate that the world is this way. I hate that there are still so many men who are threatened by women who are more successful or more intelligent than them. I hate that there are so many men complaining about "crazy" women who call too much (which may just mean they call at all). But for some reason, no matter how much progress we have achieved at the political and social levels (though there is still much yet to be gained), we have not progressed at all levels.

And I do mean "we" collectively, as in both men and women. Because I fall into that ideology too. I almost never call a man and would never ask one out unless we were already seeing each other. I often will cook for a man if I am seriously pursuing him. I try to always look pretty when I see him and make sure there are no dirty dishes laying around when he comes over to visit because whatever would he think if my makeup was not on or he saw a dirty bowl left out? As much as I do consider myself a feminist, I still struggle with gender roles on a woman-to-man level.

I realize this, however, and that I want to be with a man who is not threatened by my success or intellect. I want a man who encourages and welcomes my expressions of interest. I want a man who will not judge me for any reason. I want a man who is a feminist. And so, even if this one is not, I called. If he never calls again, I will know he wasn't worth my time or energy to begin with. And if he is intrigued by my showing interest, I will know that he's worth showing a little mroe to. So we'll see what happens next. And whoever said you couldn't change the world one person at a time?

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