Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Don't Worry About The Bitch Faces. I Like You!

So, if you don't care what people think of you- just don't wear underwear! Simple. 
I was leaning against the bathroom counter at the bar, looking at my nails while I yelled in to my peeing friend that there was a lump of feces on the floor in her stall and to try and avoid it. It could have been a brownie, but the kind of place we were in made that possibility highly unlikely.

(It's too bad that someone defecating on the floor was not the unlikely situation, but moving on.)

As we both laughed/gagged over this predicament, another girl sauntered in to the bathroom and gave me a cold and disgusted once over. I know this girl, I've seen her around. And, much to my total bewilderment, this girl hates me and I have no idea why. We have never spoken to one another. I don't even really know her name. YET, every time I bump in to her during social events, I do my awkward bob-and-wave and she looks at me like I am a mystery brownie lump on a bar bathroom floor.

It kills me.

I smiled hugely at her in my nervous and very attractive way, and then proceeded to wash my hands vigorously. Like I was trying to prove my impeccable sanitary skills? Show that I am too cool for the environment and waste water because "water was SO 2010?" I don't know what I was doing. Oh, wait, yes I do.

I was being weird.

When I recounted this story to a girlfriend a few days later, she stopped me as I was mid-exaggerated re-enactment of the mean girl's eye rolling. "Wait," she said, holding up her wine to stop me. "You said you don't know this girl?"

"I have NO idea who she IS!" I cried, throwing up my hands. "I only know that she has a bangin' body, owns a lot of pairs of white shoes, and HATES ME for some reason."

"Then why do you care, exactly?"



The thing was, I did care. I cared an awful lot about someone who I did not know and I had never actually seen smile or be human in any way. And I was complaining about it to a friend that I did care an obscene amount about. I had wasted good wine and cheez doodle eating time talking about this mean girl, and that is unacceptable. You do not waste that precious cheez doodle time. 

I dropped the subject and moved on to more important and worldly topics (probably something celebrity or hair related. No judgements. I can't be brilliant all of the time,) but I couldn't shake how disappointed in myself I was for giving something so unhealthy in my life a large amount of attention. I really cared that this girl didn't like me. I cared that my waitress the night before was rude to me- so I tipped her an insane amount. I cared when people didn't like me,  didn't want to hang out with me, and I AM AN ALMOST 30 YEAR OLD WOMAN WHO COULD BE CONSIDERED IN SOME CIRCLES TO BE SEMI-INTELLIGENT.

It was like I kept putting myself in the position of the fat kid in stained sweatpants, always getting picked last for the kickball team. I was so focused on that awful feeling that I ignored all of the good, healthy things around me.

And I cared enough about myself that I really didn't want to be like that anymore.


It reminded me of when I did theater and was constantly thrown into a mix of people who had permanent bitch-faces and a fun assortment of personality disorders. I was 13, in full makeup cowering behind the stage during the local production of "The Sound Of Music", and the handsome 16 year old actor who played the asshole Rolfe walked up to me and sat down.

I couldn't breathe. Mainly because he was 16 OMG and VERY CUTE OMG and also very gay. (didn't know that at the time.) He looked at me tremblingly adoring him and tremblingly wishing my cue wasn't coming up, and he laid a perfectly manicured hand on top of mine.

"Listen. I know you are going to be something someday. Definitely not an actress-" (Thanks, asshole Rolfe.) "But you'll be something. I feel it. And you should know something." He took a deep and dramatic breath and closed his eyes before snapping them open and looking imploringly into mine. "There are always going to be people prettier than you. Smarter than you. Richer than you. But don't let them determine your worth. Don't let them bring you down. And for GOD SAKE, take care of your skin."

I decided to take gay Rolfe's wise advice and put it into play 17 years later. Last night I washed my face very carefully, and called up a friend for an evening chat. We talked about plans for the future, reminisced about shenanigans from the past...and I never, ever, not even once brought up something that wasn't worth bringing up. I was content with the fact that the right people like me. The right people would cheer me on and call me to eat cheez doodles and wouldn't give me a bitch face in a random bathroom. And these people were the ones worth focusing on. Worth calling at 1am. Worth sharing with them my thoughts on Jennifer Aniston's new boy toy without judgement.

Life is too short to let yourself be brought down.

And life is definitely too short to not take care of your skin.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Lean in. Drink wine. Maybe not at the same time.

We basically looked like this. But girls. And not bald.
The three of us girls stood by the closed door in our bathing suits and flimsy towels, hopping awkwardly from foot to foot as we anticipated going outside. It was 9 degrees and storming but given the over-all wind chill factor it felt roughly -678 degrees. We clutched glasses of wine and cursed under our breath, waiting for the jump.

Fernanda ran out first, jumping into the hot tub that we were torturing ourselves for with a slick little leap. Her wine never sloshed over the rim and I wished for the 3,794 time that weekend that I was as cool as she was. I was second, and as soon as my bare feet touched snow, I froze. Literally and figuratively.

"HAND ME YOUR WINE!" Fer yelled over the sound of the wind, swimming forward with a hand outstretched to help me. "I'LL HOLD YOUR WINE. JUMP IN NOW, IT WILL BE WORTH IT. JUMP! NOW!"

I did as she demanded, screaming obscenities at the top of my lungs while I hurled myself ungracefully into the swirling water. She smiled and handed me my perfectly protected drink as the hot water forgave the last seconds I had put my body through. She was right. It was worth it.

Jodi came third, and Fer nudged me as Jodi ran screaming out into the snow. "Grab her wine too. Help her in." I reached out for Jodi's drink as she splashed gratefully in next to us, her hair already white with frost. And then she slipped and did a nose dive into the water and came up laughing. Which is why I love her. And it was ok, because her wine was protected in my hands.

We then leaned back into the jets and chatted aimlessly for an hour. We touched on deep topics, sad topics, and then the topic of my boobs. We punctured the sadder moments with whoops of laughter when we saw each other's hair and eyelashes turning white from the snow. We cupped our ears against the chilly wind while we maintained conversation. And then we decided that we were probably going to die out there, so we went inside- the wine hand-off done backwards, but a seamless exchange all the same.

This might seem like an unremarkable story, but it held a lot of meaning for me. Lately my life has been a little crazy and I have been questioning a lot of the relationships I keep. I need someone to say: "Hey. What you are going through sucks right now, but I am going to be waiting with your wine in my hand so you can get into the good stuff safely. Ok? And, when you finally get your ass in here, you can have a drink and talk about your boobs. So- jump. I got this."

Or something like that.

Earlier in the day Brett and I had gone cross-country skiing, which I complained about bitterly right up until we strapped the boots on. I was cold. I was hungry. I peed 4 times before we left, which made me have to get naked in the ski rental's tiny bathroom while he waited patiently. I was basically being a little shit, and having a little shitty temper tantrum, which is sexy on NO ONE. I blamed my bad mood on a series of events that led us to this weekend, but even in my pouting mind I was wrong to act this way. I mentally slapped myself and pushed off into the snow, gliding along expertly, taking in the scenery and the muffled quiet and the sound of my own heart selfishly and childishly beating in my chest. We came up to the trail and I stopped cold, Brett almost toppling into me.

"What's wrong?" He asked in a strained voice, because he had probably had enough.

"There's a drop." I said, pointing with my pole. "There is a sheer drop. The trail isn't flat. You said it would be flat."

And then Brett said the one thing I really needed to hear. "It's only as steep as you want it to be. I've seen you go down steeper drops. Bend your knees and lean into it."

(And then he said something about "you might want to do this now, because there is a family of 12 behind us, so please don't take all day thinking about it like you usually do," but that was less poetic.)

And I leaned into it.

And made it (shakily) down.

The rest of the day went by with quiet serenity as we glided through the trees and ice patches and BEAR PAW PRINTS WTF. And then we got to a drop that made the last drop look like a wet dream and I halted once more. THIS DROP basically led to a burbling creek. Unless you pulled a sharp right. And if you have ever been on those long-ass skies you know that sharp rights for beginners are like unicorns in the middle of a grocery store looking for soy milk. Not entirely realistic.

Brett halted briefly before expertly handing the drop/death curve and then turned up to holler at me that he could give me the point-by-point directions for making it down. As he started in on instructions, I held one gloved hand up to (nicely, I swear,) silence him.

"I got this." I said calmly, taking in his bewildered face.

"Are you sure?" He asked.

"I have to know that I can do this in my own way. I know you want to help me, but I can do it. I'll come up with a way to do it, ok? Just be supportive? I'm going to just lean into it."

He blinked twice and then smiled. "Ok."

And then I leaned down- sat my ass on my skies- and slid down. And fell over at one point and couldn't get up.



I guess if I had a moral to this story it would simply be: "Surround yourself with friends that will hold your wine for you as you lean down into the steep slopes of life without dying or physical injury."

Or maybe something like: "Hot tubs in -76890 degrees are never a good idea health-wise, so maybe don't drink while you do that or maybe don't do that at all."

Or maybe the moral would simply be: "Always have someone there for you. Trust your instincts. Make your own way...and lean the fuck into it."

Put that onto a t-shirt and smoke it.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


I wanted to write a post about Valentines Day, because this blog is supposed to be about love and marriage and alcohol. Except, when I sat down to write the only thing I could think of were the Valentines I received as a kid.

You know the ones. The boxed sets covered in popular cartoons that you folded in half and passed out to every kid in class. The rich kids attached theirs to mini candy bars. The kids with edgy parents bought real cards from the museum store in Boston, and my Mom was the worst because she would just buy whatever box of Valentines she found lying near the cash register. Which is why in 5th grade I had to hand out Care Bear Valentines to everyone.

Which was insufferable.

Anyway, I would always shove all of my Valentines in my bag and wait until I got home to look at them. There, in the sanctuary of my bedroom, I would pull out all of my crushes Valentines, (yes, I said "all." I had crushes on everyone, even at one point my 45 year old math teacher,) and I would pore over the Star Trek/Animaniacs/Ren and Stimpy love letters searching for a clue that they loved me back.

I would try to decipher if "May The Force Be With You, Valentine" meant that Tim really, really liked me and wanted to support me in my future dreams and desires. He was basically wishing me strength and love. Or maybe he was telling me to go my own way.

Or maybe his Mom filled out his cards for him at random.

This ritual was exhausting and usually ended in tears and prank phone calls. Because even back then I was a walking "Desperate Housewives" reality show.

When I grew up and actually had real relationships and not just ones in my head, Valentines Day became this Thing that was still ritualistic and exhausting. Some guys were into it, some guys forgot it existed and gave me a gas station rose and a slurpee by way of apology. I always felt like I had to figure out what THEY felt about the holiday so I could be the ultimate cool girlfriend that appreciated everything-or-nothing-or-whatever-you-want-I-love-everything-you-do!!!!!!!

One boyfriend rented out an entire room in a restaurant and set up a romantic dinner. I was touched by how over the top he was, but also extremely uncomfortable and did this thing where I put green beans in my mouth to make me look like a walrus. (I was 19. I didn't have a firm grasp of comedic timing quite yet. Or... still.)

One boyfriend ignored it completely, and then felt bad and gave me some conversation hearts that he had in his pocket- half melted and covered in lint. Cool man. I love these. 

And one boyfriend took me out for burritos that we ate in his car and then to see the movie the Spiderwick Chronicles. And, that was the best Valentines Day yet, so I married him.

I'm almost 30 now and have had a lot of Valentines Days. And, it took me about this long to figure out how I really feel about it.

It's the worst.

Don't get me wrong. I love love, I'm not going to throw a dozen roses out of the bed for eating crackers, and I eat chocolate basically every 5 seconds. But, I don't need a specific day to tell people I love them or surprise them with a chocolate foil wrapped trout.

You know what day I find really romantic? February 15th. The hoopla is over, restaurant reservations are suddenly available, and ALL THE CANDY IS ON SALE.

Tell me you love me then. Give me a folded Star Trek Valentine then. Or maybe just make me a martini and tell me how gorgeous I am all-day-every-day-all-of-the-time.

Now that sounds like a perfect Valentines Day to me.

(The author will be spending her non-Valentines Day with a bowl of macaroni and cheese and zombie movies. Because nothing says "I love you" like brains. Because you need brains to say "I love you." Everyone knows this.)