Thursday, October 30, 2008

There's a Pep in My Step

So I saw my mountain man today. Damn, is he cute. We've been talking on the phone since the wedding, and as I happened to be driving through Chattanooga today, I stopped by his house and hung out. Not quite a first date because it was really just a hang out. So I guess you could call it our first hang out. Aw.

He had a few friends over, which was fun but made me sorta nervous. At first, he ignored me a little in that hard-to-get sort of way. I almost got a bit miffed because the girl likes attention, but then I figured it out. He was shy. This guy is an extreme extrovert - extreme! - but also actually shy. He kept looking at me out of the corner of his eye. Then when I'd catch him, he'd flash a side grin like he was blushing. Adorable. Later on, his friends showed me some videos they made together, and he got all embarrassed. I caught him checking out my boobs a few times too, which I always think is a good sign that if anything the guy finds me attractive.

I don't think this one has much long-term potential, but definite short-term fun. He had me laughing nonstop. Even joked about our old friend from the wedding when he asked if I managed to score Hollywood's number. When I said no, he said, "Ah well, he works in film so he does alright." And when I teased him about wearing flip flops to the wedding, he defended himself by saying they were his dress flip flops.

And, sure, I gave him the mountain man nickname because of his grizzly scruff and the fact that he enjoys the great outdoors, but geez he's tough. The guy rock climbs. He has a climbing wall inside a shed in his backyard. And he does something so hardcore I'd never even heard of it before today - bouldering. It involves scaling a giant boulder with bare hands and no harness or help of any kind. The dude just climbs a boulder all on his own. I saw videos - it's incredible. H-O-T. Definitely gonna see this one again...

In other news, I tried my Catwoman Halloween costume on tonight! It's officially my favorite costume ever. It fits perfectly and makes me feel badass. Watch out, Batman.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

I've Got a Crush.

On Mandy Moore. She's all grown up now, and her music is too. My favorite is "Gardenia," which you should check out. I'm the one who likes to make love on the floor. She's a pop tart no more, folks. And you know what? I'm not embarrassed. I like Mandy Moore. I like Mandy Moore's music. There! I said it. Doesn't it just feel better to be honest?

I'm looking forward to looking back on these days
And I'm fine, but I'm not okay
I'm looking forward to looking back on these days

That's from her song, "Looking Forward to Looking Back," and it's been in my head all day. I know this experience is one that I'll be able to look back on. I'll be able to look back and remember how hard it was, how alone I was (because it is something everyone goes through alone), how every day felt. Knowing that there will be a moment where I can look back helps because it means I'll make it to that point somehow, some day.

What do you do when you're going through a rough time?

Last spring, I had a very bad day and bought myself an ice cream cake. I like ice cream cake, and I normally don't eat sugar so that was quite a treat. I got mad at The X, though, when he ate my icing flowers. Nobody eats my icing flowers on my "I had a bad day" cake!

Sometimes I buy myself a pair of shoes. This explains why I own too many to fit in my closet. Sometimes I dance around in my living room. I still have my ballet slippers, and I keep them for just this reason. I am a silly girl indeed.

Sometimes I get my nails done or do them myself. I also like to cuddle up in my jammies on the couch watching a good movie with my puppy. Or I take a bubble bath and drink a glass of red wine. I listen to good music. I cook something delicious. I write a blog or read something for fun. I really love daisies, they're my favorite, and every once in awhile, I need flowers so I buy myself some. I call a good friend. Or my mommy. I look at pictures of fun times and people I love.

I always go back to people. That's what helps me most of all. I value my alone time - I need it and sometimes even crave it - but it's the people in my life that lift me on bad days and through bad times. I am loved. And the people I love are truly amazing. God did not design us to live life on our own. He said it was not good. We need companions. And I have the best of the bunch in the boat with me. When I do look back, that's what I'll see - the people that helped me through it step by step.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Grab That Net and Catch That Beautiful Butterfly!

Jerry Maguire was the Lord of the Living Room, and I am the Lady of Weddings. I joke that I go to weddings all the time, but I’ve only been to two in ’08. No, I am the Lady of Weddings because I’m really a Wedding Slut.

I always meet a guy at a wedding. If I’m going to a wedding single, I’ll either hook up with someone or leave having given out my digits. Or both. Last Saturday, my stepsister got married. I love her to bits, but see her every few years because she lives in Hawaii. I know, I know, I should visit, but tickets are damn expensive.

She and her now husband are both park rangers. They love the earth. And good for them. I love the earth too, but not enough to have a “green” wedding. Green as in good for the environment, but also green because it costs more money. I’d rather have a wedding with a big ass carbon footprint if it means more guests. Weddings are about people, people. So that’s my rant.

Everything was recycled. Everything was organic – even the alcohol. The cake tasted like a Nerf ball it was so spongy and flavorless. The funniest part is they had organic flowers flown in from California. I’m pretty sure all that jet fuel canceled out any good they were doing. My poor stepfather was confused because he thought all flowers were organic.

The wedding was outside in the beautiful Smokey Mountains at the Lily Barn. Evidently when they’re in season, the place is full of lilies. In October, it’s just friggin’ cold. The ceremony was beautiful surrounded by red and gold leaves, but eee gads the reception inside a log pavilion with just one wall was straight up chilly.

I didn’t know what to expect of the guests, but it was an interesting mix of people freezing their asses off in either Hawaiian shirts or Birkenstocks.

Before the wedding, a girl asked if I was at the rehearsal dinner. I said, “No, I couldn’t go because I teach in Atlanta on Friday afternoons so I wouldn’t have been able to get here in time.” Then she asked if I taught yoga. Strange, but I answered, “No, I’m in grad school so I teach at a college.” Her response? “Oh, I thought you looked like a yoga instructor because your body looks so alive.” Thank you? That has to be one of the oddest things anyone’s ever said to me.

My parents were quite productive at the rehearsal dinner, however. Saturday morning, Mom gave me the lowdown on who they determined to be the wedding’s most eligible bachelors. Bachelor #1 lives in Los Angeles and is 25 or 26. Uh uh. Bachelor #2 is originally from London (hot accent, great city) and currently lives in Greece. Seriously? I mean, I’m a big girl and can handle long distance, but I’m pretty sure dating a guy on another continent would have its challenges. Bachelor #3 lives in Hawaii and may or may not have a girlfriend.

“Thanks, Mom, but it sounds like none of these guys are date-able.”

“Well, you never know. They’re cute, and they’re single…well, except for maybe that one…and at least you’ll have somebody to dance with!”

As I sit down for the ceremony, I spot a good looking guy on the back row. He’s not next to a girl so I wonder if he’s one of the bachelors. He has hot mountain scruff and a good smile. I decide to keep an eye on him. I wasn’t planning on doing much dancing, but as cold as it was, I knew I’d need to stay in constant movement so my toes didn’t fall off.

The ceremony ends, and everyone headed up the hill to the reception. After sitting at my table for awhile, I realize I’m shivering and look over at the fireplace. To see my hot mountain man standing over there. I seize the day and walk over to him. Shaking my ass a little, I say, “Hey, move over and stop hogging the fire. I’m cold!” He laughs and says, “Ooo, you’ve got sass. Yes, ma’am!” I love it when a guy likes my sass. I like my sass.

We talk for awhile, and he’s completely hilarious. The guy has absolutely no filter, which is fascinating. And amusing. He also has the thickest, funniest East Tennessee accent that for some inexplicable reason I found adorable. He is, however, wearing flip flops so I have to tease, “Why exactly are you wearing flip flops? You do realize we’re in the mountains in mid-October, don’t you?”

“Yeah, I know. But it was either flip flops or my muddy hiking boots. I thought these were more wedding appropriate.”

I think to myself, It’s too bad he only owns flip flops and hiking boots. This guy can’t be my soulmate because he’d never understand my shoe habit. (Yes, occasionally crazy thoughts like that do run through my head.)

He tells me he’s sitting with people from Hawaii and is teaching them how to talk redneck. Two of them are giving a toast later, and he suggested ways to give their speech a little Tennessee flair. “I told ‘em they should end it with somethin’ like, ‘There’s a shitload of love here, y’all!’ or maybe ‘Hot damn!’ but I’m not sure they’re gonna take my advice. We’ll see, though, so just know if you hear one of those, it was my idea.”

Eventually, it’s time to eat so we head back to our tables. Where I find both my parents totally smashed. The food hasn’t even been served yet. My mother is giggling at everything, and my stepfather shares that he saw the Paris Hilton sex tape and was not impressed. I bury my head in shame and announce that I’ll be the D.D.

Once the dancing starts, I drag my stepfather out there to get our groove on. He and my mom took dancing lessons, and he’s actually pretty good. On our way back to our seats, we walk past Bachelor #1. My drunk stepdad tells the guy, “Now don’t forget, I might be paying you in peanuts, but I want you to dance with my daughter tonight.” #1 smiled at me and said he’d be happy to, and my stepdad looks at me and says, “I’m pimping you out!” Parents should not be allowed to consume alcohol in public.

Later, while I’m talking to the cute mountain man, #1 comes over. It’s uncomfortable because I’m thinking #1 is interested, but I’m not, and in fact am actually interested in the other guy. The two of them starting talking and Mountain Man asks #1 where he’s from. To which he replies, “Hollywood.” It took all I had not to bust out laughing. He then talks about his job and says, “It’s complicated, but basically, I do marketing for movies. I work in film.” Trying too hard, young one. Mountain Man pushes for details because he actually owns a marketing company, but ends up just getting a definition for marketing. My mom saves me by forcing me to jump for the bouquet. A tradition I loathe.

I eventually do dance with #1. It’s a slow song, and he spins me around so fast I actually get dizzy. Though the organic wine may have contributed. I spent the remaining part of the wedding skirting him. My parents have terrible taste. Not only was “Hollywood” hopelessly cheesy, but he lives on the opposite side of the country and is a few years younger. While Mountain Man is 33 and lives two short hours away from me, which with my schedule, is hardly even long distance. Not to mention he was smart, funny, laidback…

At the end of the night, I can tell that Mountain Man is about to ask for my number. And, of course, my parents walk up, telling me it’s time to go. Mom is grinning ear to ear and nodding drunkenly at the guy. While my stepdad interrogates him and stops just shy of inquiring after his intentions. I promptly gave Mom a death glare, and she dragged my stepfather to the car.

We flirt a bit longer while walking slowly to the parking lot. Some guy I haven’t seen in ten years stops us and blabbers for 15 minutes so by the time we get to the lot, my parents are in the car and waiting anxiously by the exit. Subtle, folks. Mountain Man nervously laughs about feeling sixteen and says he’ll call soon. Which he did yay.

* For those of you who missed the reference, the title of this post is from the movie Wedding Crashers. Probably the best wedding movie ever. Crab cakes and football! That's Maryland!

Why I Should Be a Celebrity

I wouldn't say dumb or crazy shit. And neither would you. Actually, maybe that's why we're not celebrities. Dumb and crazy is interesting.

"I went in like a crop-duster with my nose flying first and snorted the cocaine off the dog. You get a little bugs, you get little hairs, you get grease and goo from the ground; it's not at all a healthy thing to do." - Gary Busey explaining how he reacted after accidentally spilling cocaine on his dog

"Do I have a large frog in my hair? Something's crawling out of my scalp. No, but I mean I feel it. I'm not worried about the looks. I'm worried about the sensation of my brain being eaten." - Joaquin Phoenix being interviewed on the red carpet at a movie premiere

"Don't ever paint your boobs. Really. It sucked. I learned my lesson. I'm never gonna paint my boobs ever again. It's not worth it. Do not paint your boobs. It's a pain in...the boobs." - Kendra from The Girls Next Door...after she painted her boobs

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Lord is My Shepherd

Grieving is hard. It's not a quick or easy process. Sometimes people ask me how I'm doing. I don't know how to answer that question. They're showing concern and acknowledging what I'm going through, but doesn't it seem like a question they know the answer to? "How are you?" "Not good. Rotten. Sad." And half the time I'm not sure if they really want the truth or if asking is a gesture. I can usually tell by the way it's asked or who's doing the asking. No one knows what to do or say, but that's ok. The trying matters.

I feel something different every day. Any hour of the day it could completely change. The feelings come at you so matter-of-fact, like a realization that you're hungry or remembering a task that needs to be done that day. I realized a couple weeks ago, I was angry. It almost made me laugh, I was so surprised and confused. I don't really get angry. Life is too short, people are too important, hearts are too fragile. But I felt like the girl in that movie Enchanted. Do you remember the scene where she realizes she's angry for the first time? That's kind of how it feels.

I do everything slower. I read slower, I respond to voicemail slower, I'm slower when I get ready to leave or do simple things like the dishes. I'm forgetful like my mind is moving slower. It's not that life is in slow motion - it's just me. And life is happening around me at its regular pace.

My adviser is wonderful. She's actually the reason I chose this school, and if you're thinking about grad school, let me give you a little advice. The adviser you choose to work with is just as important as the school you choose to attend. We had a meeting last Friday, and she asked how I'm doing. She wanted me to talk to her. She told me about her father's death and what she went through. And we cried together. Right there in her office, while we were supposed to be meeting about the research we're working on. Because in the middle of meetings, in the middle of routines, life is happening. I told her I feel like this is changing me, I keep saying that because it's a feeling I'm so conscious of, and she told me it would change me, but how was up to me. That made me feel a little more in control right when I'm feeling more out of control than ever.

I've been getting a lot of attention from guys lately, more than I'm used to. This perplexes me. How can I be attractive when I feel so not myself? One thing a friend told me would happen is that my emotions would be closer to the top, that I'd be more sensitive. That is happening, but I call it raw. I feel raw. Like the new skin that shows when you burn yourself. So today, I was wondering how in the world I'm sending a, "Come hither," message. And it occurred to me that maybe it's more of a, "Here I am," message. Maybe the raw honesty is attractive? I don't know.

It's not as unbelievable now. That he's gone. I think I'm starting to get used to it. And I hate that. It feels unnatural, like a betrayal. I want more hugs. He gave the best hugs. He squeezed tightly, and his hands were so strong you felt protected. In these last few years, whenever he hugged me, I held on longer. I wanted to cling to him all day long like a child clutching a teddy bear because of the comfort and safety it provides.

I try to act like myself, like everything's fine. That helps in some way, it helps me go through the motions and distract myself. I'm faking it to make it. But it's always there, the sad is always with me. In the pit of my stomach, the quickening of my pulse. I wonder if I'm fooling anyone. Or everyone.

I have a couple people I talk to, a couple I've tried to but can't, a couple I know I could if I needed to. I have no idea what my life will be like months from now. I can barely think about tomorrow or next week. It is a process. A process at least means it's something I'm moving through. Psalms 23 says, "Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil." Through. It's something you get through - not stay in forever. And on the other side, I will be different. I will be changed. But I will also be good.

Thanks. I promise a funner post tomorrow.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

I love this picture. If you watch closely, even in the middle of a very public moment, you can sometimes catch Barack and Michelle sharing an intimate moment. Usually just a subtle look. Or even (dare I say?) the infamous "terrorist fist bump." I actually loved that - I thought it was genuine and sweet. These two people really love each other.

- Callie Shell

Sunday, October 19, 2008

TAG! I'm So It.

I've been tagged by Lipsmacker at Lipstick Diaries! Thanks, chickie!

Here are the Rules:
1. Link to the person that tagged you
2. Post the rules on your blog
3. Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself
4. Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs
5. Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.
6. Let your tagger know when your entry is up

Six random things…eee gads, I feel like I’ve already told you everything, but I’ll give it a shot. I'd also like to point out that this is my second blog of the day. Somebody's clearly procrastinating...

1. My apartment is dirrty. Just like that muddy warehouse in the Christina Aguilera video, but without the boxing ring and sweaty guys. I’ve been in and out of town for over two months, and it’s really apparent. There are piles of clothes and books everywhere. It looks like the feds ransacked my apartment looking for incriminating evidence…but all they'd find is nerdy academic journals and crumpled up jeans. I wouldn’t want anyone I know to see it like this for fear they would permanently judge my character. But especially my mom. She’d ground me for a month and take away my TV and phone privileges.

2. For the first time in my life, I’m seriously considering getting a tattoo. It’s been on my mind since my grandfather passed. It would be white and on my right wrist. I’m still not committed to it, and I don’t know if I ever will, but I just thought this experience is changing me so much, I want to honor it. It’s a permanent scar on my soul so it seems only fitting to have a visible mark of it on my body. I’ll keep you posted.

3. I’m not a fan of spaghetti. I make great sauce - it’s the noodles I have a problem with. They’re just too messy. You can’t keep them on your fork and always have to suck them into your mouth. I would never eat spaghetti on a date. I’m really particular about what I eat on dates actually. I love wings, and Mexican is my absolute favorite, but eating those foods on a date before things are really comfortable…uh uh. I’d be too worried about grossing him out. Once a guy’s seen me naked, sure, ok, he can see me slurp up noodles, get dirty wing hands and shove tacos that are falling apart into my mouth.

4. I teach undergrads, and the class has about 35 students. On Friday, one of my students raised his hand and thoroughly embarrassed me. He said, “I have something I’ve been wanting to get off my chest. I think you’re really pretty. And, um, actually very sexy too.” My mouth gaped open. I was dumbstruck. A girl pointed and said, “Look! She’s turning red!” All I could think to say was, “Thank you. But I’d rather you just add a chili pepper to my ratemyprofessor profile.” I was mortified! Ok, it’s funny for half a second, but the guy really undermined my authority, and it was wholly inappropriate. And icky. It was really icky. Don't get me wrong - I love being told I'm pretty and sexy, in fact I can't hear it enough - but by a 20 year old who's supposed to respect and revere me? It made me feel more like a girl than a professor, which isn’t right.

5. When I was in college, I did a study abroad in London. I happened to be there at the same time that Madonna was in town for a movie premiere. So, as I am utterly stupid for Madge, I, of course, went. We were the crazies that shout at the famous people as they walk up the red carpet. A friend and I balanced each other standing on the rim of a metal trash can for an hour and a half just for a glimpse. We finally saw her, and it was the most breathtaking 25 seconds of my life. I shouted, “I LOVE YOU, MADONNA!” and I think if she had heard me, it would be me sitting next to her at the Versace fashion shows instead of Gwyneth. Sigh.

6. I am ridiculously addicted to coffee. If caffeine didn’t have such a strong effect on me, I’d drink it all the time. But it is quite potent, which is really part of its charm. I need caffeine. I need it. Every single morning. If I don’t have my coffee, I get a headache and I’m cranky because my eyes won’t open. Sometimes I drink so much, my little fingers shake. I can drink it without any sweetener (sugar-free, of course), but not without cream or milk. And remember that song a few years ago, “Meet Virginia”? I loved it because it said, “She only drinks coffee at midnight, when the moment is not right, her timing is quite unusual.” I do my best studying at night, and in college, I always studied at Waffle House because it was cheap, open all night and they had unlimited refills on coffee. I stopped after a giant cockroach crawled across my table. I still have a hard time going to Waffle House, and it’s been 8 years since that happened. Didn’t turn me off coffee, though, cuz nothing ever could. If coffee was a man, I'd marry it.

Now you're it!

My Dirty Laundry

Carolina Girl


Just a Girl

Little Sister Pixie

The Pink Jellybaby

* All these ladies are awesome, but I'm a dirty cheater so I'm tagging a 7th blogger. This girl's damn funny - I read a 3-part series about a bachelorette party she went to and think we may have been separated at birth. Check out my newest internet friend - At Least I'm Skinny.

Ryan Adams Has Troubles

I like my musicians like I like my men - slightly crazy in the head. Some of my favorites include Janis Joplin (the crazy killed her), Bob Dylan (the crazy's keepin' him alive), Adam Duritz (half the time he performs crazy drunk), Madonna (her crazy is still going strong) and I do love John Mayer despite the fact that he's a bit of an ass and rumor has it is now a junkie. Ryan Adams is as crazy as the day is long, and he did not disappoint Friday night. He brought the crazy full on.

Sadly, I did not make out with Ryan Adams or even meet the poor boy. Cuz he had a freak out. He was scheduled to perform for three hours - there wasn't even an opening act - but after an hour, he announced that his voice didn't sound good and he was embarrassed and humiliated and couldn't perform anymore. He left the stage dejected and pathetic. The crowd erupted in boos. I think some people even threw trash at the roadies.

I didn't mind too terribly much, though, because I got to see my favorite musician and he played my favorite song. Also, in a disturbing way, I'm turned on by his dark and brooding nature. I think only my love can fix him. Though I do have to admit I was pretty bummed that there was no harmonica player because the harmonica makes "Come Pick Me Up" the beauty that it is. And, of course, I fantasized that Mr. Adams was artfully skilled at my favorite instrument so learning he did not play it popped that bubble for me.

But the next time I see Ryan Adams, I'll jump his bones. That's a promise.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Breaking News Bulletin!!

Ok, you know how I say I have the greatest ex-boyfriends? Well, I really do. Tonight I'm going to a concert with one of those wonderful men. To see Ryan Fucking Adams. I love him. He is a music god. He is the man of my dreams...the naughty ones. And I have never seen him in concert. But my friend happens to have a job that lets him do cool things like take friends to concerts and is taking lucky me to the show tonight. We're sitting in his super close seats, and...wait for it...I might even get to meet Ryan after the show. My friend hung out with Kid Rock last night and hangs out with rock stars fairly regularly so there's a high probability.

I just want you to know that as he is one of my top five dude celebs, I am allowed to be totally slutty on this most special occasion. For once in my life, I will live up to the legend of Penny Lane by being the best band-aid there ever was. The whole of my life has led up to this one moment, and I will not disappoint destiny. Ryan, take me, I'm yours.

Seriously. Look at his face. He's so asking for it.

What I Know So Far About My Partner in Crime

Folks, I've been dating for roughly...16 years now. And I think I'm getting close to figuring out my mystery man's identity. My first date was with a guy named Trey, and we went to see Wayne's World. Ohhh yeah. And in the 16 years since then, I think I've done a good job of ruling out the bad qualities and sorting out the good. Bit by bit, I'm narrowing in on this elusive man of my dreams. Tonight, I had an epiphany that takes me one step closer, and I'd like to share this bit of sacred knowledge with you.

There are some things I know already about my P.I.C. (get it? And I'm pick-ing him...I'm so lame). Here's a sampling to get you up to speed. In high school, I learned that my guy...

  • Knows Nirvana could beat Pearl Jam in a battle of the bands to the death! (this became null and void after Kurt Cobain took himself out of contention in 1994 and my coming to grips with the fact that I am not nor ever will be a grunge chick)
  • Doesn’t smoke pot (my high school boyfriend did, and I wish I learned my lesson then because that would have saved my living room from being burned down)
  • Likes cats…which really translates to likes animals because evidently I’m allergic to cats
  • Is taller than me (a quality not as tough to find now, but at 14 it made for some awkward school dances)
  • Has his own car (this was crucial for my social life at 16)
  • Likes football (some things never change)
  • Drives a truck (some things do)
  • Makes me mix tapes
  • Buys me one of those roses for Homecoming that the Key Club delivers during 3rd period
As I grew up and matured, my list became more complex. Now I know that my guy...
  • Makes cheese omelets for me for breakfast (though I'm still a big fan of the mix tape, I'd prefer to have my coffee first)
  • Tolerates my dog who is really a cat that gets very excited when you come home
  • Likes football and beer
  • Can arch his eyebrows - how cute is that?!?
  • Knows how to work my lady parts (less important when I was younger cuz I was such a sweet little angel but hella important now)
  • Loves to travel and have all sorts of adventures
  • Remembers to buy me something for gift-giving holidays (surprisingly tough to find)
  • Does man things like drilling holes into walls and fixing shit I’m too lazy and impatient to learn how to fix
  • Grabs my ass in public (I love that. And yes, a quick smack will do.)
  • Takes me to Graceland because he loves me, and as wrong as it is, I’ve never been
  • Always does the f-ing dishes after I slave over a hot stove for his slack ass

So you get the drift. I’m getting close, I can feel it!

I have high ambitions for this hunky man I've yet to meet, and I'm pretty sure he's also smart and successful. And, of course, I'll be there to help him realize his full potential. This I've always known. But tonight, I know what my P.I.C. does for a living. He is a writer for either The Daily Show with John Stewart or The Colbert Report. Those shows are so clever and funny, my soulmate just has to work for one of them. He'd be perfect at it. Yet. I'm definitely making a dent in this lifelong mystery. Any day now...

* Alright. So maybe my family is right, and I am too picky. My partner in crime at least watches those shows and wishes he worked for them. Geez. Lowering my standards already, and I'm not even finished with this post.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I Really Do Heart NY

I don’t know what it is, but lately, I’ve really been missing the Big Apple. I think because I was supposed to visit my friend there for Halloween, and she had to bail on me last week. Since then, New York’s just been on my mind.

Every once in awhile, someone asks me where I’m going to go after I finish school. I always tell them I don’t know, that I’ll go anywhere, because that’s true and who knows where I’ll find a job. And that's the easy thing to say. But the truth is – I do think about it. And actually, as part of my new “I just want to be honest all the time” thing I’ve been testing out, I did give someone the real answer Saturday night.

Sometimes I imagine living in a small beach town somewhere on the East Coast. Maybe North Carolina because I like it there – the beach and the mountains, who can beat it? Maybe Virginia or on the water in Maryland somewhere. Savannah is heaven. But other times, I think I’d move back to DC or New York in a heartbeat. There’s something about New York that really sticks with you. It becomes a part of you. It’s a person, really, and it’s easy to get attached to a person as great as New York. It has so much energy, so much possibility. A lot of adventure and magic. I even love the dirt. It’s gritty and real. Unapologetic.

Here are a few reasons I miss living in the greatest city on earth…

  • Gristedes. Even the tiny carts.
  • Loud city birds outside my window at all hours of the day and night. I love the loud of the city.
  • People of all shapes, sizes, colors and backgrounds coexisting side by side.
  • $19.99 mani/pedi Tuesdays.
  • Art is all around you – visual art, the theater, amazing music venues – even the musicians in the Subway are better than you’d find in middle America.
  • There's a good reason New York is called "The City That Never Sleeps." Because it doesn't. There's always something going on and everything's open late. My kind of town.
  • Pizza by the slice 24 hours a day.
  • Mmm pizza perfection – John’s and, my personal love, Patsy’s.
  • Central Park – my bridge (yes, it’s mine), Poets’ Walk and the ducks. I love the ducks.

  • I love that you can take a walk in the middle of the night. I miss that a lot. You can’t even do that in DC because the District has a bedtime.
  • I love old, misshapen apartments. One of my apartments slanted downward slightly. I had notepads propping up my furniture.
  • Buying coffee and a croissant on the corner.
  • Being in the center of the universe. When your feet are on a sidewalk in Manhattan, you’re standing on the pulse of the world’s heartbeat.
  • I love that you can find furniture and shit to decorate your apartment just hanging out on the sidewalk waiting for someone to pick it up and take it home. My old roommate still uses the kitchen table and chairs I found on 28th Street between 7th and 8th.
  • Taxis! I freaking love New York cabs. And the cab drivers really are the best in the world. When I'm drunk, I always tell them and I think they like that.
  • The Queensburo Bridge.
  • 7th and 10th. You are a part of my heart.
  • I don’t care if it is cliché, Chumley’s is the best bar.
  • Lazy Sundays walking through galleries in SoHo or Chelsea.
  • Chocolate popcorn! The only reason to go to Times Square besides the theaters, of course.
  • Yankees games. Aw it’ll be so different in the new stadium. Boo.
  • The Chelsea Hotel.

  • New York City makes me feel more alive by just being in it.
  • You can spend a very lot or a very little on everything. We got Gucci, and we got Century 21. We got Cipriani, and we got Ray's.
  • Duane Reade.
  • I kinda do want weird city kids that ride public transportation, go to museums and know how to navigate around homeless people and crackheads.
  • You can have anything you want delivered to your door. Sushi, hamburgers, DVDs from the video store, even KFC delivers in the Big Apple (trust me – I’ve tried it).
  • I miss the subway. There was a guy in the 77th Street station (6 train) who always sang “Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone.” It was beautiful.
  • Most apartments have window AC units, but it can get pretty hot and humid in the city…which makes for some sticky, sweaty nights. Hot.
  • I'm not the only one who loves New York. My favorite songs about my favorite city - "Heart in New York" (Paul Simon), "New York State of Mind" (Billy Joel...come on now), "New York, New York" (Ryan Adams), "The Only Living Boy in New York" (Simon & Garfunkel), "Marching Bands of Manhattan" (Death Cab for Cutie), "Hotel Chelsea Nights" (Ryan Adams), "Chelsea Morning" (Joni Mitchell) and "I Guess the Lord Must Be in New York City" (Harry Nilsson).
  • Knowing New York is like being part of a club that the city just welcomes you into. You are a part of something because you are a part of that city. And no matter what happens, the city will always be there to pick you up and keep you moving on. I remember the city after 9/11. Everyone looked you in the eye. Everyone hurt. Everyone cared. Because the city hurt and the city cared. Living in New York is like being part of a big, loud, honest, passionate family.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Who Said 30 Was Old?!

Phew. W's Dirty 30 birthday weekend is over, and I survived. We had a really great time and partied like we were 21!

Punky (W would appreciate that nickname) loves to dress up so I decided for her big night, we should all dress in our best 80s outfit. Ringing in her milestone decked out in the decade of our youth. She looked slammin’ in an off-the-shoulder black sequin top, jean skirt and leggings with black and white stars. What really clinched it was her Kelly McGillis hair. I wore a bright pink dress with sequins, silver leggings and bright pink heels. And a rad side ponytail. Our other friends were rocking 80s gear too, and one wore a flashy yellow jacket. I kept telling him he looked like he just walked out of a Peter Gabriel video. I wanna be your sledge-ham-mer!!

At 7 pm, we arrive at a Japanese restaurant/karaoke bar. There were 12 of us total, and we were the only customers. The manager looked a few years older than us, which was confirmed when we explained we were dressed in the decade of our youth, and he pointed out that he was older than us and the 80s weren’t even the decade of his youth. He asked why we weren’t wearing Hammer Pants, and we answered honestly – “Because that’s not cute.”

We whisper about how hot the manager is in that “bad boy” way. He had piercings and tattoos…including barbed wire around one of his bulging biceps.

By 7:30, my 22 oz. Japanese beer bottle is half empty, I've already gulped down a Cosmo (it matched my outfit) and Punky finished her bottle of saki. The table has already downed two shots. We are drunk and getting louder by the minute. I shout, "Woo! 30 is awe-some!"

By 8:00, large quantities of alcohol have been consumed by the table. Food has been devoured. We are drunk and demanding karaoke start time be bumped up from 9:30 to right the hell now. Hot Manager says no.

Five minutes later, we decide to start karaoke anyway, and our table sings “Like a Prayer” acapella. Still the only people in the restaurant, and the sushi chef looks like his ears are bleeding.

Punky and I try to talk our friend, JP, into taking another shot with us, but he tells us we are already too drunk for 8:30.

Eventually, Hot Manager caves and begins karaoke early. Drunk girls victorious! We promptly start the evening off with shouting “Like a Prayer.”

The next hour is a bit of a blur. Another 22 oz. beer. And it seemed as though we sang every other song. All I knew was Punky was picking them, and then dragging me up with her. Here are the ones I remember – “What I Got," “I Kissed a Girl” (we didn’t select this, but I think Hot Manager did in hopes we would act out the lyrics…we did not), “Don’t Stop Believin’,” “Rock Your Body,” “Love Shack”…other songs I can’t remember…I do remember some guy sang “Livin’ on a Prayer,” and I made fun of him for not knowing the words. Everyone should know that song – it’s the national anthem of bars.

After singing “Oops! I Did It Again,” I walk past Hot Manager on my way to my seat. I ask if we’re annoying him with our bad music yet. He laughs and lies that no, we’re not, and then points out that I never have the microphone. I tell him that’s because I’m not a good singer, but I provide decent backup. He says he noticed I was a good backup dancer. Ooo ahh Hot Manager is flirting. I giggle back to our table where I attempt to share this tidbit with my friend Elle, but have difficulty because our side ponytails keep knocking into each other.

At about 10:30, my “date” arrives.

Ok, so the night before JP told me about a guy he went to law school with that just moved to DC. He thought we’d hit it off and wanted to introduce us. After a fair amount of peer pressure from my friends telling me, “Don’t be lame!” and “You need to get some!” along with JP’s promises that the guy was both nice and cute, I said sure. Friends have such persuasive arguments. Lucky for me, JP wasn’t lying. Dude was hot. And smart and funny and nice. But his most noticeable characteristic was his hotness and his hunky man arms. He’ll be known as “Guns” from here on for obvious reasons – he should have a permit for those things.

So Guns shows up, and we exchange awkward smiles. It’s an odd thing to be set up while all your friends are watching with wide eyes and nodding enthusiastically…and when you’re drunk. We talk for about two minutes before it’s Saki Bomb time. Saki Bomb! Saki Bomb! Saki Bomb!

A little after 11, we’re ready for our grand finale. Punky’s all time favorite song is Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock and Roll.” We shout and shake and throw our fists wildly in the air.

Everyone scampers to the door, but I see Hot Manager waiting to say goodbye. He tells me I’m a good dancer. Aw. So I tease him and tell him he should have danced with us. He says, “No, I can’t dance,” but that’s what all guys say so I tease again, “Oh, I’m sure that’s not true! You just don’t try!” And then he says, “No, I really can’t dance. My leg was severed below my knee and re-attached.” Then he lifted his pant leg to show me. Holy Scar Tissue, Batman. I think my jaw literally dropped. Drunk and rude, I asked, “Oh my gosh! That’s awful. How’d it happen?” I expected “Iraq” or “Afghanistan,” but he said, “Oh, nothing, just some guys out front tried to kill me.” Wha-huh?

Drunk and clumsy, Punky and I hop down to the sidewalk where I learn we’re on our way to a bar a few blocks away…and then to a strip club! She decided that she did want to go to one before she turned 30 after all. I decide that for this to take place, I need more alcohol.

We walk several blocks, while we comfort our friend, Gov, who just got dumped via text for telling the girl he was going to a strip club. I called him Gov because he has a good government job. All my friends are smart, serious people by day, but him especially. This is important to point out because he later gets obliterated like a street vagrant in Amsterdam.

Nothing too interesting happened at the next bar, but Punky and I did try to make friends with a girl in the bathroom. I thought she was also at a party because she was wearing a flapper dress. "Oh good! You're here for a party too! I thought we were the only ones in costumes! Hee hee!" She was actually just wearing a flapper dress. Oops. But seriously, who does that?

An hour or so later, we leave the bar, which happens to be next to the strip club we’re about to enter. JP instructs us to “act sober.” He says they don’t let drunken idiots in, and I think this strip club has high standards for an establishment with naked women dancing about. I put my serious face on, but the bouncer starts talking to Guns about football. I cannot keep my mouth shut when football comes up. It turns out they’re both Eagles fans, and I contribute that as a Colts fan, I hate the Steelers. My cover is blown. The bouncer looks at me sideways and laughs, pointing out that they were talking about Philadelphia, not Pittsburgh. I defend myself by saying, “It’s the same state! I hate the Steelers!” Punky, who doesn’t follow any sport at all, asks why. “Because a few years ago, they beat the Colts in the playoffs, and it was so upsetting, I cried! It was one of only two football games in my life that ever made me cry.” The bouncer laughs at me and lets us all in. Yay drunk me.

We’re seated at two tables in front of the little stage the naked lady is dancing on. I order beer and stare at boobs. Guns tells me that his firm brought him here a few times when he was a summer associate, and it’s a nice strip club because the strippers don’t hassle you for money or gyrate on you. I am fascinated and appalled with a business culture where taking prospective employees to strip clubs for lunch is common practice. I decide this is an important cultural experience for me as my class on Monday will be discussing Ariel Levy’s Female Chauvinist Pigs – Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture.

I’m distracted by all the nakedness (do you know they actually wear stripper heels??), but Guns seems totally uninterested. I notice JP and Punky in an intense conversation, and I know that they’re critiquing the strippers. I drink more.

I try to talk to Guns about the stripper, but he couldn’t care less, which is also fascinating to me. For each girl, I make him tell me if her boobs are real. He shrugs and says, “No, almost all of them are fake.” We talk about music, and he tells me he used to be in a band. He plays the guitar. Seriously, Universe? I didn’t even pick this one out.

I’m on my second beer and though I’m still distracted by the naked ladies, I’m also interested in my conversation with Guns. It probably helps that I’m totally wasted. Over the course of the next two and a half hours, here’s a sampling of my conversation with him and JP and Punky’s conversation about the strippers –

Me: So what bands do you listen to?

Guns: Mostly old stuff, actually. I really like Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin…I don’t know, most people don’t listen to that, though. What do you like?

M: I like some old stuff! I like the Stones, and I really love Tom Petty. I think he’s a great American hero.

G: You like Tom Petty?! I like Tom Petty!


JP: I mean, this one’s ok, she’s got a better ass than the last one.

Punky: Yeah, but her boobs are still fake, and that bothers me.


M: Almost Famous is my favorite movie.

G: I love that movie! It has a great soundtrack.

M: The best! The movie’s all about how important music is. And Kate Hudson is so cute in it.

G: Yeah! She is! That’s one of my favorite movies too! That's so cool!!


P: Ok, now this one isn’t even trying. She looks bored.

JP: Yeah…but they all have that look. Can you really blame them?


M: You lived in New York? So did I! Where did you live?

G: The Upper East Side.

M: Me too!

G: No way!


P: Why don’t any of them have pubic hair? I think that’s just weird.

JP: Yeah, you gotta have something. Otherwise it’s like a child, and that’s creepy.


G: I used to hang out at a bar up there a lot, you might know it. Did you ever go to Brother Jimmy’s?

M: I love that bar! I went there all the time! They knew me by name, and I went back a couple years ago after not having been there for like three years, and the same door guy was working. He remembered me and said, “Hey! Where have you been?”

G: That place was a lot of fun. I really like wings, and their wings are great.

M: You like wings?! I like wings! They had great wings specials for Monday Night Football.

G: Yeah! They did!


P: Do you think she’s happy?

JP: Happy? I don’t know. Does it matter? She looks alright.


M: Whoa! You like the Outer Banks?! I love the Outer Banks!


P: Oh, this one’s not as pretty as the last.

JP: Yeah, her face is wrecked.


G: You’re voting for Obama?! I’m voting for Obama!


P: Aw, I like this one. She’s enthusiastic. She really looks like she’s having fun!

JP: Yeah, she’s the best one. You should give her a dollar. [which is exactly what Punky did]


M: You breathe air?! I breathe air! [ok, this is an exaggeration, but around 2:30, we were about there]

It was at this point that I noticed Gov had his head on the table. I looked at Punky, and she shrugged. I see that while his head was on the table, his lips are moving, and he's in conversation. I figured he must be ok. He’s very responsible.

Several minutes pass, and I look back at the table to see that Gov is missing. Our friend in the Peter Gabriel jacket announces that Gov just threw up. In the strip club. He made it to the bathroom, but still…he puked at a strip club. Check, please!

Eventually, Gov comes back and takes a nap in his chair. We sort out the bill and all walk out…except Gov, who kind of shuffles. As I walk past the stripper, I thank her and tell her she is a lovely lady.

On the street, Guns and I have a little make out. At some point, he grabs my ass, and I giggle. “I’m sorry, I can’t stop thinking about the strippers. Can you? I mean, you just grabbed my ass, but all I could think about was all the naked asses I’ve seen in the past two and a half hours.” He laughs and says he can’t believe I just said that. But, come on, you know he was totally thinking it.

It’s late, and Punky and I have to get up early to drive home. Aw Guns is sweet and asks me to hang out tomorrow. He wanted to have lunch and watch football. I love this guy. But, alas, it’s way past midnight, and Cinderella needs to get her ass to bed. We say goodnight, and Punky thanks everyone for her best birthday ever. Gov snores.

I woke up early Sunday morning with crusty drunk eyes, but my side ponytail still firmly in place. The drive home was long and excruciating because, sadly, I am not 21 anymore. Not even close.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Sex and Politics

Ta da. This is my first drunk blog. Here I am, sitting in my little pj’s, drinking a Magic Hat. Yum. I’m in DC right now, and boy, do I miss it. I spent the evening hanging out with some of my most favorite people and drinking my favorite delicious beer.

I am lucky to have a lot of awesome friends. The one I’ve been seeing a lot lately, W, went to high school with me. A couple of our other close friends from high school live in DC, and we’ve good some other good friends here too. When the group all gets together, we have the best conversations.

You know when someone you’re dating meets your family for the first time? And you’re wondering and hoping they’ll get along really well together? That’s what it’s like when I introduce a guy to these friends. I have a lot of friends, all over the place, and they’re all really different, but these friends…I don’t know what it is, but if you don’t get this group, you don’t get me.

Tonight we talked about everything – from sex to politics to current events to our lives and the futures we imagine for ourselves. Here’s a bunch of random shit from the night. G means girl, and B means boy, just to provide a little clarification. I’m really just telling you the ridiculous things that were said and ignoring all the serious ones because like I said, I'm a little drunk.

G: So are you still dating that doctor?

B: Nah, not really.

G: Was it her boobs?

B: I mean, they were really big and overwhelming at first. They were so big, I didn’t know what to do with them. I just batted them around like cat toys.

G: So they were too much for you?

B: No, I wouldn’t say that. They grew on me.

B2: Did you name them?

B: You couldn’t name them. They’re so big, they’re in different hemispheres. One was in summer, and one was in fall. I mean, if you named them, they’d have four names.

G: Yes, well, good for you, but why aren’t you seeing her anymore if you were so turned on?

B: Oh. She got tired of me, I think.

G2: Of you grabbing her boobs all the time?

B: Yeah, probably. But her boobs were really great.

G3: Aw, don't say that! You used to love little boobs. We need more men like you on our side!

B: I don't know. I can't decide, but I may be spoiled. Although they weren’t great to look at, and you see them a lot more than you touch them. I don’t know. It’s a tough call.

B2: Whatever. We just like boobs. All boobs. We don't discriminate. We're just happy to see them.


G: I cannot believe that you seriously think Sarah Palin is a viable candidate.

B2: Oh you just hate women.

G: Yeah, that must be it…I’m self-loathing like that…

B: Yeah, you look at her and see that hot cheerleader in high school that stole your boyfriend.

G: Actually, I probably hate her because I love women, and she’s making us all look bad.

B: She does seem pretty dumb on national issues, I’ll give you that.

G: Thank you! I'm sure she does a good job on the state and local level, but she’s not qualified to be in charge of anything nationally.

B: Maybe, but I’d let her be in charge of me any day…I'd let her tell me what to do! And I hope she keeps the glasses on. She's got that whole "sexy librarian" thing going for her.

(I should clarify that the guys were joking when they said all of that. Don’t want you to hate them or think they’re sexist pigs. Well, they do all think she’s hot.)


B2: So are you guys like totally turned on by the gyno?

G: The gyno? Are you kidding?

G2: No, he’s serious. He asks this all the time.

G: Um, no. It’s uncomfortable, sometimes it kinda hurts, we don’t like it at all.

B2: But not just a little bit?

G and G2: No!

G3: Are you turned on by the cough test?

B2: No, but that’s different.

G2: It’s not different.

B2: And I mean, we’re just thinking about if we look too small or something.

G3: You’re worried your penis looks too small to the doctor? Why do guys not understand that all flaccid penises are small? You're the ones with penis envy.

B2: Well, but sometimes they look bigger than others. So we’re always hoping for the middle range, I’d say.

G2: You guys like to imagine that we’re always turned on by strangers. We don’t work like that.

B2: Guys do. We’re turned on all the time.

G3: Yeah, we know. That’s why you masturbate all the time.

B2: What? You guys don’t?

G3: Isn’t this something you figured out at 16?

B2: I just choose not to believe you.


B2: I think it’s Poo Button time…where's the laptop?

All the girls in unison: NO!

(Men are disgusting. If you don't know what that is, you're lucky - DON'T LOOK IT UP. Don't say I didn't warn you!)


G4: I think that before you actually turn 30, you have to go to a strip club at least once.

G2: I don’t know if that’s true, but I am kinda curious…

B3: You want to go to a strip club?! Sweet!

B: There are a couple nice ones around here. You want a classy one? Or does it matter?

G2: Classy! Gross, why would I want to go to any other kind?

G3: Ew how many other kinds are there?

B2: Strippers are gross, dude. I remember for my buddy’s bachelor party, we hired these strippers, and they were nasty. They came to the house and danced around and stuff naked. Then they told us they were getting wet and asked for paper towels to wipe themselves! It was the grossest thing I’ve ever seen. But we did pay them extra money to sit on our friend’s face. That was funny.

G3: He is so gonna get you back for that when you get married.


B: What do normal people talk about? I don't think I'm good at conversation. I only have two things I talk about. Sex and politics. And we’ve already talked about both.

G: So now you don’t have anything else to say?

B: No, probably not. But seriously, what do people talk about? I don’t think it’s like this.


G: I’m horny!

B: Eat some cake.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Do Dreams Mean Anything?

I had a weird dream last night. No, Ryan Gosling and Justin Timberlake were not in this one. Sadly, there weren’t any hot celebs at all.

Rocky and I started talking on the phone a couple weeks ago, and it’s been fun. We’re still taking things super slowly, which is perfect for right now, and haven’t even had our first date yet. That part is a little odd, but still good to be moving slowly. We were supposed to go out last week, but our schedules didn’t work. I should also say that he’s in the middle of training for a promotion he just got so he’s not in Atlanta very often.

In the dream, Rocky and I were in love. Aw. And his mom came to visit so I met her for the first time. Rocky (he would seriously dig this nickname!) had to work so his mom and I went to lunch together. She was kind of snobby. Like a yuppie mom from an 80s teen movie. I think she even wore a pastel sweater around her neck and a tennis skirt. Eventually, she confessed that I was too good for her son. She said he would only disappoint me and things wouldn’t work out. She liked me and didn’t want to see me get hurt.

I woke up before I had decided whether to throw lemonade into her lap or tattle to Rocky. Have you ever been warned away from someone?

Five or so years ago, I started dating some weirdo…I can’t even remember his name there have been so many. We went out a few times, had fun, he seemed nice. Until we were at a jazz club with a few of my friends, and he tried to finger me under the table! I even had jeans on so I really don’t know what he was doing. After he produced only a horrified reaction in me, I announced to my friends that I had to go to the bathroom and they had to go with me. I wasn’t even trying to be subtle.

We went to the bathroom to do what girls do in the ladies room – talk about boys. They were equally shocked, and we all had a good laugh. When we came out, we saw that he was sitting with two random girls. I marched over there and told him off in front of his new friends, calling him a pervert and warning the girls that they were too good for him. I probably sounded like a crazy person, but after disclosing that only moments ago he tried to finger me under the table, they were appropriately disgusted, and he sulked out of the bar. Guys can be such freaks.

I've been on the receiving end of a warning too. Once a friend told me a guy I was dating wasn’t ready for a relationship and had a lot of issues. I didn’t want to believe her because I really liked the guy and saw a lot of potential. And you always have to consider the source. But what have we learned in all our years of dating, ladies? That potential is not reality. It should come as no surprise that I should have heeded the warning after all.

So what do I make of this dream? Am I warning myself against him? Does my subconscious really not think Rocky is right for me? But I like what I know of him so far. Is it that I really just don’t want to be dating anyone? Maybe I’m not ready right now. Or maybe it’s just a meaningless dream?

This morning, all those crazy questions were swirling around in my brain, and then I realized what I like so much about this is that it’s chill. We’ve been talking for two months, and I’m not sure where it’s going if anywhere, but I'm enjoying the ride. It’s so easygoing. Usually if a guy is nervous, I get nervous or if he’s stressing about us, I stress about us, but this time around, I’m chill and he’s chill. And I’m not sure that’s symbiosis as much as we both just happen to be laidback about this.

So I pish-poshed that silly dream and fell back asleep thinking about Ryan Gosling! And a few hours later, I got a cute email from Rocky and decided his dream mom was just wrong. He’s a real sweetheart.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

My First Confession

A few weeks ago, I had a Catholic question. So I asked Goofer because after 17 years of Catholic schooling, he should know every answer. And he did, but it led to an interesting conversation, one in which he explained the sacrament of confession. It was the best explanation I've heard, and now I really do get it. So I’m gonna try out a little confession right now. Bear with me, it’s my first.

I confess…

  • Every once in awhile, I still lie to my mother. (Stop looking at me like that! You don’t know her. And anyway they’re little white lies…)
  • A friend of mine did a favor for me once, and I promised to make him cookies as a thank-you. I didn’t have time so I bought some at a bakery and pawned them off as my own. He said they were the best he’d ever had.
  • I have faked orgasms…with probably every boyfriend I’ve ever had and then some.
  • I have apologized for things I didn’t understand.
  • Sometimes, I use my girlish charms to my advantage. I’ll bat my eyes, smile a flirty smile and even turn up my Southern accent. I recently got free windshield wipers for doing this. And once I sweet-talked the security guard at the Peace Corps building into bending a rule for me. I’ll stop when it stops working.
  • I really can’t stand close talkers or loud breathers. Those are the rudest, grossest things ev-er.
  • I have broken hearts needlessly and been unkind to guys that I knew cared for me. I am not proud of this.
  • I have a shoe fetish. My closet literally cannot hold all of my precious little treasures.
  • I tell people I like their haircuts when I don’t.
  • Sometimes I’d rather just stay on my couch and watch a movie.
  • I always say a prayer every time an ambulance or firetruck passes me. And when I drive past accidents.
  • I really like my arms and my eyes, I even like my stomach, but I don’t like my breasts.
  • I have made up excuses as to why I can’t go out with someone to avoid flat out rejecting them. In high school, if a guy asked me out and I didn’t want to go, I would say, “Hold on, I have to ask my mom.” Then I’d ask her so he could hear through the phone while shaking my head to instruct her to say “No.”
  • I can’t fall asleep while my feet are cold. Sometimes it takes a long time to warm them up. I hate it when I have cold feet. But I really love it when I can stick them under someone’s legs on the couch.
  • Size does matter.
  • I once kissed a guy that I knew had a girlfriend (he kissed me, I kissed back).
  • One time, I kissed someone first. I was drunk, he was timid, and I knew it was a sure thing. I decided never to do the first kissing again. I like to be pursued.
  • I did naked things on my roof in New York once with a guy I was dating. I didn’t even care if someone was watching. The idea of it was actually kind of exciting.
  • I am a feminist and a liberal, but there are a few things I’m weirdly old-fashioned about. I think it’s because of my Papaw. He taught me what a man is supposed to be. At the beginning of a relationship, I like it if the guy pays all the time. After we’ve been dating awhile, I pitch in but still expect him to pay for things most of the time. I’m totally turned off by guys who can’t take initiative. If a guy doesn’t lead, I assume he’s a wimp. I kind of want my guy to be the breadwinner. I want to work, but I like the idea of my man being the provider (as retro as that is). It doesn’t matter either way really, like right now my best friend is working while her husband is in law school. He tells everyone she’s his sugar mama. I won’t care if I’m the sugar mama, but there is something about it being the other way around, and I know this comes from Papaw.
  • I could never marry anyone who’s not a Christian so I don’t date non-Christians.
  • Ditto for Republicans.
  • I know every word to the musical RENT.
  • I would love to write a book some day, but I’m not sure I have the discipline or something interesting enough to say that would fill 200 pages.
  • I really miss my Papaw.
  • On bad dates, I pretend to be having fun and that I’m interested in seeing him again. It’s my desire to please, I think, and it’s terrible.
  • I kiss and tell.
  • I often make fun of the idiots and weirdoes I’ve dated. Many laughs are had at their expense.
  • If I’m in my late 30s and not married, I’d have artificial insemination because I really want to be a mom and to experience the whole pregnancy thing.
  • I have never read the Bible cover to cover because a lot of the Old Testament is super weird and not that interesting. But I should read it and want to.
  • I don’t speak a foreign language, and I don’t actually care.
  • I have my entire wedding planned out because I am ridiculous and have been in and to a million weddings. My favorite is a night or two before, I want to have a Roast where all our friends can tease us and tell all the crazy things we’ve done that they couldn’t talk about at the Rehearsal Dinner.
  • I once had the nickname “Kissing Bandit.” Though that’s not the worst nickname I’ve had…no, I’m not confessing that one!
  • I buy underwear that says things. Today I’m wearing little boyshorts that say, “I heart geeks.” I really heart nerds, but they didn’t have those.
  • I am very impatient.
  • I have sex dreams. Sometimes about someone I’m dating or have dated. Sometimes I can’t see the guy’s face, and I like to imagine I’m dreaming about my soulmate but it’s probably more likely that my subconscious is lazy. Sometimes I dream about famous people, and two nights ago, I dreamed about having sex with Ryan Gosling. Then had a second dream about sex with Justin Timberlake. I rode two celebs in one night!
  • I stole the cookie from the cookie jar, I shot J.R. and I was on One Eyed Willy’s pirate ship as it sailed out into the distance. I also lie sometimes to make you laugh.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Runaway Train

I have a new favorite song. Sugarland's Already Gone. I’ve been playing it on repeat for a week. I have never listened to a song so obsessively before, but I just can’t get enough. Music makes us feel. It can make us aware of feelings we have that we didn’t know we had because we didn’t know how to express them. It can also sharpen our feelings and put them into perspective so that we understand ourselves better. It can teach us and inspire us.

I’m not going to aggrandize and say that this song does all or any of those things. But it does make me feel. And it makes me think. Nostalgia is, I think, what this song does for me.

My Mama mapped out the road that she knows
Which hands you shake and which hands you hold
In my hand-me-down Mercury, ready to roll
She knew that I had to go
And hangout, make lots of noise
Lay out late with a boy
Make the mistakes that she made 'cause she knew all along

I was already gone
I was already gone
I was already gone
Life is a runaway train you can't wait to jump on

This is the first verse, and I like it because it makes me remember being young. I mean, I am young still, of course, but I mean really young. I think about high school and college and how little I knew and how much I wanted to learn. I still make lots of noise and always will, but there’s something about the noise of your youth. And while the nighttime will always be magical, there’s something very special about the nights of our youth too, isn’t there?

My high school boyfriend - ooo was he hot. Everyone thought so. He had piercing green eyes, dark hair, a crooked grin that told you he was too cool for school (as evidenced when he later dropped out of college). His hair was long too. Something I’ve found truly repulsive in men since, but at 16, it was hot. I learned a lot from that boy…

Have you ever had an all-night date? I don’t even mean one of those hot and heavy nights where you stay up all night doing naked things. I mean a date. I want to see Nick and Norah’s Playlist so bad! And part of the reason is because they have one wild, all night date moving from one unexpected adventure to the next.

I had my first late night date my freshman year of college. It wasn’t technically all night, but it might as well have been. We ended up on the steps of The Vulcan in Birmingham, Alabama, and he kissed me for the first time. He had green eyes too, come to think of it. He was good looking, intelligent, kind and grew up in Kenya. A man of the world!

I heard once about a couple in Florida that started their first date watching the sunset on the Gulf Coast, then drove all night to see the sunrise on the Atlantic Coast. Ro-man-tic! If there ever was a perfect date, that’d be it. Because honestly, I’m looking for a partner in crime who’s up for anything and always says yes to crazy.

The verse also makes me think about when I moved to New York. Everyone in my family thought I was nuts, they were all mad at me, but especially my mom. She really didn't understand why I wasn't following her map. But when I moved, she was in the Uhaul with me, took care of everything and helped me move in and decorate. As great as she was, I know she cried on the way home. She loves me, she accepts me for who I am and even though she has a hard time understanding my decisions, she always supports them. And she knows I need to be independent so it's ok that I am.

They say the first time won't ever last
But that didn't stop me the first time he laughed
All my friends tried to warn me the day that we met
"Girl, don't you lose your heart yet"
But his dark eyes dared me with danger
And sparks fly like flame to a paper
Fire in his touch burning me up, but still I held on

I was already gone
I was already gone
I was already gone
Life is a runaway train you can't wait to jump on

This verse makes me think about the Firestarter. I dated him for a little over a year when I lived in New York right after college. He was a bad boy, and while I know it’s just a phase, phew is it one I’m glad I had. He taught me about passion. I knew all along he wasn’t the one, but I couldn’t make myself walk away. I was fixated. Spellbound.

Passion is a funny thing. It can trick you into thinking there’s something deeper – that’s how it helps you justify sticking around. The times in my life when I have felt incredible passion and lust, those feelings didn’t fade away like the warning we’ve all heard. It was always just as hot and firey as the first time. But eventually it's not as satisfying because there actually is more to a relationship than what happens inside the bedroom.

Just the other day, I told a friend of mine that I had figured something out. I said, “I know why people get married.” She laughed and said, “Oh good, why?” (I should add this friend is already married.) “When you find someone you have hot passion with, but also connect with in all the important ways too.” She laughed at my revelation because it was not news to her, but hey – I learn new things every day.

I can categorize all of my relationships as being dominated either by sexual passion or emotional connection. It just never occurred to me it was possible that you didn’t have to choose between them. Or that passion can last a lifetime.

Passion definitely has to be there. It puts the "crazy" in crazy love. There's the thrill of the first few months, when you're discovering each other's bodies, finding all the secret spots and learning each other. The first all-night naked romp. The first all-day naked romp. Then there's the thrill of the passion that comes from sharing for the first time that you're falling for each other - sweet nothings lead to the hottest of hot. And there is nothing like the first time you say "I love you." Nothing is sexier, and you cling tighter to him than ever before, hoping it will never end.

The last time I saw him, we packed up my things
And he smiled like the first time he told me his name
And we cried with each other
We split the blame for the parts that we couldn't change
Pictures, dishes and socks
It's our whole life down to one box
There he was waving goodbye on the front porch alone

But I was already gone
I was already gone
I was already gone
I was already gone
I was already gone

Thankfully, I have never been divorced. I pray I will never know such pain. But break-ups...ah, I know what those feel like. I think I've experienced those from every possible angle. I hate the last kiss. What's the saddest is when you know it's the last kiss, but no one says it. You know it's nearing the end, you might not be sure exactly when it's coming, but then you kiss that one kiss...and you know...that was the last.

The Firestarter taught me many lessons about life and love. He was my first adult relationship. It’s different when you’re an adult. The love is bigger and deeper, but it also hurts more. I think that’s because you share a life together. You share friends, you share space, you share days and nights, and you come to depend on each other in a million little ways.

It hurts the most when you do the final exchange. When you give him his stuff back, and all the evidence of the love is gone.

Now there’s only one toothbrush in the toothbrush holder. His shirts are no longer hanging in the closet. Even the things that used to irritate you, you’re sad to see gone like his socks he left on the floor or the cord to his laptop you always tripped on.

I kept my ex’s Old Spice Bodywash for awhile. It's not that we broke up and then haven't seen each other. I saw him just a couple weeks ago, but it’s not the kind of thing you give back. I kept it for over 6 months, hidden under my sink because it made me sad to look at it.

I ended things. It was my decision. And when I finally told him, I was already gone. I had been gone for awhile. It’s weird, isn’t it? How you can leave something but still be in it?

We can’t wait to grow up. I had the earliest curfew of all my friends, and I couldn’t wait to stay out late. That was my big rebellion my freshman year. Well, that and Fruit Rollups for breakfast. My high school boyfriend hurt me. And that guy I kissed in Birmingham turned out to have a host of issues I was too young to deal with. The Firestarter burned up my living room and broke my heart for the first time, it hurt in ways I didn't know it could. He wasn’t the last, and the hurt wasn't the worst.

All the fun and excitement of trying new things, testing boundaries, taking leaps can bring pain and heartache too. It is a wild runaway train, but the risks and the costs are worth the ride. Every bit of life – the good and the bad – that we can experience makes every pleasure sweeter, every smile wider and every minute brighter. That's what I've learned in the past month. That and all my hugs have been longer and tighter.

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