Sunday, January 6, 2013

Seeking Mr. Right-there-jumping-out-of-that-plane

I'm turning 30 in a few months, and I recently realized I'm now at the age I made a lot of promises about in the past. One of those promises was that if I was still single at 30, I'd try online dating. I've had an onslaught of terrible dating experiences in the last year (including someone who turned out to be a drug dealer, someone who was mad I didn't want to come hang out at his bedbug-infested apartment, and a commitment-phobe friend who constantly appeared to be doing an uncanny Jekyll and Hyde impression). And I really have no time to meet anyone else. So, I signed up for Match.com. You know, to meet some normal guys. (Wow.)

There's no end to what I could write about my experiences on Match.com, and I've only been on the site for a week. (My favorite is probably the guy whose opening line was, "Hey baby u r cute n sexy, come cuddle w me by my fireplace." Sounds great, what's the address?!) But there is one issue in particular I'd like to take up.

Did you know that 99% of the guys on Match.com are adventure travelers? It seems dubious to me too, but let's continue as if it's true. The majority of guys on the site go on and on about all of the outdoor adventure activity they do, including mountain climbing, ziplining, white water rafting, bungee jumping, parasailing, sky diving, someone even talked about alligator wrestling. And of course they love traveling and frequent all these crazy places like Iceland and Belize and Egypt and Greece and the rainforests or whatever. They are outdoors all the time, playing every sport that was ever invented, including some you've never heard of (sled hockey?), and they work out 5+ times a week.

Come on.

I live in North Carolina, 3 hours away from the mountains and 3 hours away from the beach. These guys say they are ambitious and have pretty good jobs where they are making average salaries. How exactly are they ziplining regularly? And where? And how are they getting time off from work to travel all the time, at age 30? And with what money? I don't buy it.

But that's not even what bothers me. The real kicker here is the type of girl they are all looking for. Now on my profile, I checked off the boxes saying that I want someone who wants kids and who's single (... why I have to specify this troubles me). And I wrote out by hand that I am looking for an easy-going, honest, passionate guy. Are those the type of characteristics these guys are looking for? Not even close.

She has to be beautiful and adventurous and also love adventure sports like ziplining and whatever the hell, and she also has to love to travel. She has to be open to trying anything (I'm assuming this means sexual positions) and be outgoing and extroverted and like to go out but also like to stay in. She has to be a great conversationalist, smart, witty, funny, and "not get embarrassed easily." (Why are we specifying this? Again, troubled.) She has to be into sports - playing sports and watching sports - and be able to kick back with the guys. She also has to be ambitious, be smart and successful, be educated and have a great job, be family-oriented, be career-driven, want to have (and, unspoken, take care of) kids, knows how to take care of herself (I can only assume this means that she's thin and has highlights and gets manicures), be outdoorsy, like to be outside all the time (these are apparently two different things), like to camp and hike, be "active" and work out frequently, did I mention beautiful?, like all different kinds of foods and be willing to try - and LIKE, goddammit - any kind of exotic food, not be pessimistic or complain, be loyal and honest, not be self-conscious about anything (... you're helping), know who she is and what she wants, and, my favorite part, ACCEPT ME FOR WHO I AM.

Wow you guys. This is a joke, right? Do you sincerely think you can find all of this in one person? Have you considered the fact that you are on Match.com because this is what you're holding out for?! First of all, these guys check off "slender" as the body type for their match... they rarely check off "athletic and toned." But you want someone who does these adventure sports and plays sports too and works out every day? Huh? And how are you going to find someone who is career-driven and is family-oriented and is beautiful who also has time to play sports as an adult and like hike around all the time and wrestle alligators? What? I do know girls who do that kind of stuff, but believe me most of them do not meet all these other criteria, including having the hot model appearance you desire.

But also, think hard - DO YOU REALLY WANT THIS? I don't think you want this type of girl, if she even exists, because then she'd be too intimidating and you'd feel like she was overshadowing you and better than you at the things you do, and lord knows that would be a problem.

So I offer this plea to the guys of Match.com. Refocus. Look for a girl who doesn't mind that you (apparently) want to go off ziplining, but who might want to lay in the sunshine and read a book while you do. (To work on that tan you demand she have, obviously.) Or pick, like, two of the major things you're looking for. Like, she has to be adventurous and beautiful, but it's okay if she's a waitress. You know? Be a little more realistic. I'm not saying let go of your dreams. But get a grip. Everyone is not Angelina Jolie. (Not that you'd be into her, since she's athletic and toned and probably doesn't have time for parachuting with all those babies in tow.)

It's this bad, and I haven't even been on a date. Good lord. Clearly I'm going to be single forever.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

PhD student fears

This could not be more true about how PhD students often feel, especially late at night when we're exhausted. Be kind to your grad student friends this time of year:

"We are our own greatest source of frustration. We don't seem to be creative enough to meet our standards. We can't maintain our concentration, and we keep getting distracted by outside pursuits. Everything takes us longer to read, to write, and to understand than we think it should. In sum, we are frustrated that we are not brighter, quicker, more creative, and more diligent than we are. We feel that we should be able to do better...

...The resulting feeling is fear. Some of our fear is straightforward and conscious, such as the fear that a manuscript that represents a good deal of work and heartache will be rejected. But some of our fear is deeper seated and less conscious. At some level we suspect that all those grade reports and test scores were matched to our names in error. Now, in this new evaluation arena, we will be found out. We are about to be unmasked, revealed to the world as the intellectual weaklings, the pretenders to competence we've long suspected ourselves to be...

...Our insecurities are legion, and past accomplishments pale in comparison with our uncertain futures."

- from "A funny thing happened on the way to publication: Newcomers' perspectives on publishing in the organizational sciences," by Jill W. Graham and Ralph E. Stablein

Want to know more about getting a PhD? Ask Grad Student Barbie! :)


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Really REALLY organic raspberries (hey, I found all the bees!)

I try to be a good, responsible human being. Some examples: I recycle. I support local and used book stores. I try to buy my fruit at a farmer's market, but when I do go to a grocery store, I always pick out the organic fruit.

It's this last point I'd like to discuss.

It would be easy for anyone to create a quick, common sense list of things you'd think I probably wouldn't want to find in my fruit, or really in any of my food, ever. Let's try.

1) Mold
2) Pesticides
3) Bugs of any kind

Pretty simple, pretty standard, pretty predictable. Not asking for much here.

Now let me show you how it's gone the last few times I've bought organic raspberries.


Every. Damn. Time. 

I mean I guess that's a bit of a dramatization -- the bee is actually *frozen* inside the raspberry, not angrily flying out into my face. But either way, I think it's clear that the real point here is that there is always a BEE inside my raspberry. Always.

I have never found a bee inside a non-organic raspberry. I'm sure because of all the pesticides. And I appreciate that this must mean there really are no pesticides in the organic raspberries.

But why is there ALWAYS a bee? I'm not even kidding you, in every single box I buy there is one bee tucked inside a raspberry. I love you, nature, and I want my food to be organic - but all these dead bees are getting to be a bit much. Can't the raspberry companies put up a fan to shoo all the bees away from the boxes or something? Or how about luring them away from the fruit with a trojan horse made of pollen? I can keep going here, I've got a lot of great ideas that don't end with a bee floating in my cereal.

Anyway, I remember a few years ago, everyone was freaking out, like, where have all the bees gone, and it was this big national tragedy about the disappearing bees, and it was going to have all these unforeseen consequences and end up killing us all. They thought the bees were going extinct because of cell phone towers I think, or avian flu, or Justin Bieber? I don't know.

But guess what haters? You were all wrong. Apparently I've singlehandedly figured out what happened to all the fricking bees. I swear to the gods, there is a bee in my raspberry. Every. Damn. Time. And I cannot be the only person in the world buying organic raspberries.

So there you go guys, mystery solved. The bees are in the raspberries. Wow, I feel like Columbo... if Columbo had eaten a bee this morning.

I'm never buying raspberries again.

Monday, May 16, 2011

An Open Invitation

In case you guys didn't know, I'm moving. Like the rest of the world, I hate moving. Because somehow even though I just moved to this apartment 2 years ago, in that period of time I have accumulated an entire mortgage-sized house worth of useless stuff I don't even like or want. And enough dust to cover all of that useless stuff and then some. I mean, really, let's be honest. My Band Hero drumset doesn't even work. Not that any of my friends ever want to play it anyway. And... uh... when have I ever in my life used a serving dish???

But... not surprisingly I'm wayyyy too lazy to sell anything on eBay. (I'm sorry, but I will say it again - have you ever BEEN to a NYC post office? Seriously, shoot me.) So my big money-losing idea was to give some of my stuff to the Salvation Army, throw some of it away, dump some of it on my sister, and reluctantly move the rest of it with me to North Carolina. I also need to get rid of a bunch of clothes, because I don't even wear half of what's in my closet, since I bought most of it in 1990. (I am serious. I hate shopping.)

Of course this involves me actually going through all of my stuff and deciding what to give away, what to keep, and what to (gulp) pack. If there's anything I'm worse at than dating, it's packing. I can't even pack a suitcase for a trip. Nevermind packing up my entire apartment. I remember my friend Matt moved to college with just one suitcase. ONE suitcase! I've always wanted to be that person, but instead I'm the girl who brings her collection of 80,000 books along on a one-week vacation.

So needless to say, this is kind of how my packing attempts have been going so far:


You never realize how much OTHER cool stuff there is to do until you have to pack for a move. Like... anything else.

Miraculously, so far I have pulled together about 3 bags of clothes to give away. But the Salvation Army is sooooo farrrrrrrr. Well, ok, 3 blocks. But clothes are heavy. And it's not like in a normal town where you can have a boy carry the bags out to your car, and then you can just drive them to Salvo and roll them like gigantic snowballs out of your trunk and into the drop-off station. This is New York City. You have to carry them, by hand, out of your building and past all the suspicious onlookers to wherever you're going. (My longtime readers remember how well this went when I had to carry a gift-wrapped child-size guitar to work.) Then you have to walk past all the crazy drunk strung-out people who loiter outside the warehouse-like building, figure out where the hell to go inside, and hope that you don't get raped or murdered while you're trying to do a good deed.

I thought it might be safer to invite all my anonymous blog readers to my apartment to rifle through my stuff and take whatever you want, free of charge. So let this serve as an open-ended invitation. If any of you really like '90s clothes, feminist books, old plates from my parents' house, really any other kitchen items (they're unused, believe me), towels and sheets from my college days (and I'll even throw in a reversible comforter!) an unused yoga mat or unused 3 lb weights, about $1000 worth of GRE study materials (what a holy waste), a lot of half-used bath and body works body spray, belts (!! what am I doing with belts?!), and other random junk like that, come on over. Also, if there are any packing experts out there who want to pack up my apartment for free, you're invited too. You can even leave with a free bag of '90s clothes!

You have two months. You're welcome.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Eternal Sunshine of the Not-So-Spotless Mind

I'm getting the sense that you guys are not understanding the different kinds of dating fails I've been having recently. I've already explained to you how everything goes horribly wrong when I meet a boy at a party. But there are many other kinds of relationship wonders that happen in my life, and I feel like I should share another category of failure with you so that you can feel better about your own romantic forays. (And also because I know you like my drawings. Yay drawings!)

See, I'm sure you have been thinking after reading my recent posts, "It's obvious what you should do, dummy! Stop trying to meet boys at parties and bars. Instead date your FRIENDS!" Wow guys, what a terrible idea. Well, no, I mean, in theory it's a good idea. In the past my "successful" relationships have indeed come from friendships, so it makes sense. It used to work. I thought it was a good idea too. But lately this is how it's been going (get ready guys!):

Step 1: Friend's ex breaks up with him 2 years ago. (Happens to the best of us.)



Step 2: Friend sleeps around immediately. (Part of the grieving process I think.)



Step 3: Friend wallows in self-despair for 2 years. (Uh... dude. It was 2 years ago. I mean, people break up. Everyone else in the world has survived breakups. Right? Come on, lil buddy.)



Step 4: Friend pours his heart out to me. (Long silences, heartfelt emotion. My specialty.)



Step 5: I resolve to show friend there's more to life than his ex. (This is New York! Concrete jungle wet dreams are made of!! ... Are those not the lyrics?... Good riddance to whatshername, make new memories to replace the old ones! Who can turn the world on with her smile?)



Step 6: Friend decides we have chemistry and a lot in common but he never noticed it before because of whatshername. (Story of my life.)



Step 7: Chemistry continues ambiguously for a long time. (Awkwarrrrd.)



Step 8: Friend starts a relationship with me in some form. (Asks me on a series of dates, sometimes goes for more. All signals are crystal clear.)




Step 9: Before things even have a chance to really get started, friend completely freaks out. (And runs away immediately with little to no action taken by me whatsoever, leaving me clueless and confused.)



Step 10: Friend comes back a week later and apologizes, telling me he realized he's not ready for this because he still isn't over his ex-girlfriend from 2 years ago. (Sigh.)



And if you think this has only happened to me once, you are sorely mistaken. Yeah, this seems to be a trend. And somehow it doesn't seem to matter that the other girl is in some way completely disinterested and unavailable (is engaged to someone else, got preggers and moved across the country with another guy... hell, came out as a lesbian -- could it get more unavailable than that?), or that she broke up with him years and years ago. For some reason I'm the one they decide to come after, and then I'm also the one they run away from because somehow amid all that carnage they're still not over their ex.

And I'm thinking:

Yay!! I'm like the girl Tom meets at the very end of 500 Days of Summer!!



...........If then they made a sequel where Tom started dating me, and then realized he wasn't over Summer, but she doesn't want him back, but he doesn't care and obsesses over it for another few years, leaving me confused!



Great movie, right? Damn, someone should send this screenplay to Hollywood!

It's really something... I seem to just have a special talent. So feel free to tell all your friends who aren't over their exes who broke up with them a couple years ago that you know the PERFECT woman for them to date. I mean, when you're good, you're good.

I should put this on my resume.

Friday, March 25, 2011

My Netflix Nemesis

I'll say it: I think my Netflix account has been taken over by a ruthless, vengeful android. I know this sounds crazy, but hear me out.

I'm sitting there crying on my couch after a really touching film about something like childhood prostitution, an exonerated convict, or genocide in a far away land (I watch a lot of documentaries), and Netflix catches me off guard and at that moment "innocently" asks me to rate the movie, immediately. I feel like I owe it to these people to express my concern for their plight and my gratitude to the director for making such a powerful film by rating the thing 5/5 stars. "More people should watch this!," I think to myself. What an idiot.

Netflix wastes no time in using my moment of weakness against me. My account fills before my eyes with only the most depressing, horrific movies. Romantic comedy? Ha. "Our best guess for Lisa: 2/5 stars based on your previous ratings," Netflix taunts. Comedy? "Our best guess for Lisa: 1/5 stars, you cultural elitist - why don't you go watch another documentary." Netflix hates me and clearly has me pegged as some morose fatalist who gets off on watching lots of people die in movies.

So I try to beat the system. I start rating movies not based on their quality, but instead based on how I would feel about being tied down in a room and forced to watch movies like that all day, every day, for the rest of my life. I stand in my apartment with the rating prompt on the screen and point my WiiMote like a gun. "What did I think of the Holocaust movie? 1 STAR! Screw you, Netflix recommendation engine!"

Netflix responds with a quick and silent blow, filling my account with movies that are horrible in a whole new way, clearly to teach me not to trifle with the dark overlord. I gave Zoolander a decent rating one night while I was drunk, thinking that might invite more comedies instead of movies about war crimes. What follows? A queue full of "5-star" SNL movies, buddy flicks and movies directed by the ever-illustrious auteur himself: Ben Stiller. Netflix schooled me, plain and simple. Tropic Thunder, for the lose.

My last resort was to just start rating EVERYTHING 3 stars. Good, bad, amazing, horrible - 3 star rating. Neutral. Switzerland. Boom. What now, Netflix? Bring it on.

Some people never learn.

I go into my queue the other day to find that Netflix started giving high projected ratings to movies which, based purely on their description, sound kind of good, but I'm not familiar with them. Maybe they deal with headier issues than a modeling competition, but they sound enjoyable, at least films you'd want to watch without cutting yourself. Just the thing for an empty queue that needs filling. Add to queue. Add to queue. Add to queue. Emails confirming immediate shipment. I'm feeling good, triumphant even! And then I see it:

"Based on your interest in these movies, we also recommend the following similar films:

Life is Beautiful
Casualties of War
Simon Birch
Sophie's Choice
Bambi."

Dude, seriously?

Okay, I surrender. YOU WIN, Netflix! Okay?! Can you hear me in there?! You are smarter than me, I don't know anything, and trying to prove otherwise was clearly a poor life choice. I'm so over it. Go back and tell all your superhuman friends - Watson, Hal, whoeverthehell you hang out with - humans are no match for you. Okay? So please leave us alone. God, computers are seriously the worst. I'm gonna go call Ken Jennings now so we can have a good cry. Smug bastards.

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Facebook Effect

To sum up the following story, I never dreamed it would be a real-world, in-person interaction that would get me defriended online. Oh what a brave new world we weave.

Back in '06 I dated a guy for like 2 months. It wasn't a big deal, I mean, we really liked each other but I was moving. We went to Darien Lake for a day, made root beer floats, played video games, cooked dinners, watched marathons of Sports Night (my favorite) and Aqua Teen Hunger Force (his favorite), made our own matching t-shirts referencing inside jokes... basically all the things you do when you know you don't have much time. We even made each other sappy mixtapes with songs about our ill-timed romance. Of course, in an extraordinarily stupid move, we never *officially* broke up before I moved to New York. Many way-too-long phone calls ensued, but neither of us really wanted to do long distance. I had been down that road several times, and it was a miserable one. If this was a romantic comedy, he would surprise me by showing up at my door. But instead we had the inevitable dramatic night where I cried on the phone as we called the whole thing off. Ah, the pains of love.

Of course, a week later he changed his MySpace profile song (remember those?) from Nickel Creek's "This Side" to... wait for it... "A Little Less 16 Candles, A Little More Touch Me" by Fall Out Boy, and started sleeping with one of the students he was a TA for. But whatever. Bygones.

That was about it. I mean, we were friends on Facebook, and he sporadically initiated IM conversations a few times so we could catch up. He got married a little while ago (not to his student), and I left a congrats message on his Facebook wall. There hasn't been any animosity, I thought it was a friendly breakup.

I had forgotten that he is in one of the Ph.D. programs I applied to, in his final year. There really aren't that many to choose from, this was one of the best, and we have similar research interests, so it wasn't surprising. I was invited by the school to come to an open house which included a panel discussion Thursday night -- he was listed as a panelist. I checked his Facebook page, and indeed, it looked like he was the person on the docket. I was kind of looking forward to it, I mean, it's been years, and I thought it would be nice to see a familiar face, even if he would have graduated by the time I got there. This picture of me shrugging illustrates my attitude about the situation (sorry for the shadow of my hand, this is not a high-tech operation):


When the panel discussion ended, I went to talk to him, and awkwardness ensued. He was standing with his wife, and he said, "hello nice to see you again," as if we had met each other just once through a mutual friend. It was clear to me his wife had no idea we had dated or even knew each other, which was fine with me, it was not really newsworthy. I tried carrying on a conversation but it was almost physically painful, I was getting nothing in return. I ended up awkwardly walking away to eat cookies. Something like this:


As fate would have it, the school assigned us to the same dinner table the next night. Presumably they thought we might have something in common. Little did they know how much. It was awkward again, all he said was an awkward "hey"... so I busied myself talking to others. As he was rounding the table with goodbyes, he said, once again, "nice to see you again." And that was it. I thought it was all very bizarre and uncomfortable, to be honest. I left wishing I hadn't seen him at all, but knowing I made a valiant effort toward normalcy.

But then, the most awkward thing of all happened. I went to check his Facebook page the next day, with thoughts of maybe just leaving a 'nice to see you again, great job on the panel,' type of comment, just to try to resolve the awkwardness (I hate awkwardness, it seriously keeps me up at night, when it happens I HAVE to resolve it)... and get this. He was no longer on my list of friends. I searched for his profile, and there was the dreaded button:

+ADD AS FRIEND.

Add as friend?! What the hell? When did this motherf*cker DEFRIEND me? We were Facebook friends the day before I came to the school. So he went home from the panel discussion and immediately defriended me? Or after dinner? I mean was that absolutely necessary? It's not like I really am jonesing to be "friends" with this person on Facebook, we have our own separate lives, we may never see each other again (here's hoping we don't, after that awkwardness). But he didn't defriend me after we broke up, and he did defriend me now. There was something that felt just really... aggressive... in that, and I couldn't figure out why it was bothering me so much.


Then it dawned on me -- it's the REVERSE of what I thought would ever happen. I picture myself really irritating people online, warranting a severing of the online relationship, but maybe I would see them again in person and they wouldn't mind me. I think I'm more likeable -- or at least more neutral and non-bothersome -- in person than I probably am online. I'm really a rather quiet person, I try not to irritate anyone too much and just to make things as non-confrontational and non-awkward as possible. I couldn't believe that an in-person interaction with me that lasted about 5 minutes could make a person go directly home and intentionally erase every trace of me from their life by deleting the last remaining online record of association with my existence. It hurt my feelings because it seemed like an affront to my actual being rather than the shadow of myself that I had curated online.

To this moment, I still don't understand why he did it. I'm trying not to dwell on it, exes are exes, Facebook is stupid, it really has no impact on my day-to-day life whatsoever. But I have to say, I feel like I've been broken up with all over again. And after all of this, there is only one person I can possibly think of to blame for this tumult. Only one person who can possibly be held responsible for this awkward, unsettling unfolding of events. Not two people. Not even three people. Just one. And it's so obvious that I bet you can guess who the culprit is. Okay, I'll say it. Mark Zuckerberg. F*cking douchebag.

"Look at it out here, it's all falling apart. I'm erasing you and I'm happy! By morning, you'll be gone." (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind)


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

No mom, our house is NOT Grand Central Station

Back in the day when I was a kid, before all this crazy technology came about, after-school activities in my suburban neighborhood were much different than I'm pretty sure they are today. Instead of broodily sitting in a corner wearing headphones, texting and updating my Facebook page, I was floating about the neighborhood, playing tag, riding bikes, swinging on swings, throwing balls, scraping my knees, refusing candy from strangers, and self-surgically removing splinters and gravel from various appendages. And kids used to invite each other over to play the old-fashioned way: 1) Calling on the family's single mustard-colored rotary landline phone which was mounted on the wall and had 18 miles of spiral cord all twisted up in a huge ball in front of it as a barricade (you had to REALLY need to use that thing to fight that pile of cord), or 2) Showing up on the stoop, throwing down their bike without even using the kickstand, and (gasp) ringing the doorbell.
Of course that also meant people frequently showed up at my door and called on the phone. By about the second phone call/doorbell ring in, my mother would start saying:

"What is this, Grand Central Station?!"

And somehow, this phrase took on a life of its own. "What is this, Grand Central Station?" became by far the most common phrase in our household, and sooner or later, she used it to really describe anything. If we left clothes lying around. If we had a friend over and we were running out to the backyard. If we were playing with our cousins and making too much noise. If we left food out on the counter. If we left our backpacks at the table. If we left the house and had to come back because we forgot something. Pretty much anything warranted a "What is this, Grand Central Station?!"

Oh, mom.

Look, I've been to Grand Central Station. Mom had NO idea how great she had it. My sister and I dancing around on the floor in our socks? Playing slip-and-slide and tracking in a few blades of grass? Leaving some Legos or a book on the floor? None of this resembles Grand Central Station in any way, shape or form. Believe you me.

Grand Central Station is easily one of the worst places in NYC, behind only Times Square, the Empire State Building, and the 6 train at rush hour. The only way that you could feasibly compare any event or experience in my childhood home to Grand Central Station would be if at some point in my youth I had invited over:
  • About 8,000 rats and 140,000 cockroaches
  • A bunch of "Jews for Jesus" who were chasing my mom around holding clipboards and trying to enlist her
  • A creepy old man who was "playing" the recorder at screech-level volume with horrible muzak accompaniment playing on a boombox in the background
  • A person who sells pins
  • Someone with a card table, a zillion brochures, a cooler, and 5 or 6 ominous posters which say that the rapture is approaching on May such and such 2011 and ask my mother if she is prepared to be judged
  • A group of rapping breakdancers who perform the same exact show over and over again in our kitchen for cash
  • A group of people who take out all my mom's pots and pans and then "play" them, for cash
  • A drummer
  • 500 homeless people who lay around our house
  • 1000 vendors who glare suspiciously at my mom every time she touches anything in our kitchen
  • A man who takes off his hat and announces, "Ladies and gentleman, may I have just a few moments of your time," proceeding to follow my mom around the house, tell her why he's destitute, and ask her for money -- anything she can give would be appreciated
  • A woman and her small child (wearing brand new Nikes, I should mention) who sit in our hallway with a sign and a cup and ask my mom for money every time she walks by "please to help feed child"
  • 1 MTA employee who hides somewhere in our house and no matter how many times she's found she is still "on break"
  • 2000 cops with guns who don't even notice she's there
  • A crew filming a commercial in the middle of our house, forcing my mother to have to GO OUTSIDE in order to cross from the kitchen to the living room
  • A flash mob
  • A zillion angry New Yorkers with backpacks and briefcases and suitcases and iPhones running around our house, bumping into my mother every way she turns, and then knocking her down onto the ground while muttering "I hate this f*cking city" or while screaming "Get the hell out of the way!!!!!!! F*cking tourists."
All I'm saying is, my house was really nothing like Grand Central Station, and I think in the future all mothers should really think twice before using that expression. Because it could have been a LOT worse. We barely even made a sound. We didn't even ask her for money. And we only used the pots and pans to cook. I really don't know what my mom was thinking. Man did she have it good.

F*cking tourist.

Monday, January 24, 2011

One thing to avoid on a first date

While we're on the subject of dating, it reminded me that I wanted to give you guys a tip for something not to do on a first date. (And don't worry, this isn't another anti-texting diatribe, I promise.) Also, I decided that I will start including my infamous granola bar pictures in my blog, but only in posts about dating -- so you're in luck, because that means I've included another one here.

Okay, so here's the tip I wanted to pass along:

On a first date, do not mention date rape or roofies.

Now this seems like something I shouldn't have to tell you. You're thinking, oh come on Lisa, it is so obvious that you should not do this on a date at ALL, nevermind a first date. This is just your penchant for exaggeration, it never happened. Well, you'd be wrong. Apparently this is not as obvious as you might think.

I say that because not only have two guys mentioned drugging my drink on a first date, but also at the party last Saturday, a guy who was trying to get me to go home with him (not the guy I liked, someone else) also mentioned it. That's THREE times, fairly recently, that this has come up.

Now, this might be a funny joke that's exchanged between friends, and that's one thing. I have said in the past -- to friends I've known for years -- hey, I'm going to the bathroom, watch my drink, and don't put any GHB in it, ok? It's not the funniest joke I've ever made, but it's pretty innocuous when it's between friends.

But when you're on a first date with someone who you met at a party or a bar -- or when you're in the process of meeting a person at a party -- and you don't really know them, it is not funny at all. These were the 3 exchanges:

First date #1:
Me: "I'm going to the bathroom, I'll be right back."
Date: "Okay, don't worry, I won't drug your drink."

First date #2:
Me: "I'll be right back, I'm going to run to the bathroom."
Date: "Lucky for you I don't have my rohypnol with me tonight."

Party last Saturday:
Guy's friend: "Is he getting you a drink? I heard there's no more beer left. I'd be suspicious of where he's getting it from."
Me: "Are you saying you think he'll pee in it? Gross."
(guy returns)
Guy's friend: "She was worried you peed in her drink."
Guy: "She should be more worried that I roofied it."

Um... hey, guys??

And of course, being a person susceptible to intense levels of suspicion and with a keen talent for concocting elaborate conspiracy theories, when I come back from the bathroom, this is how the rest of the date typically plays out:


For you, the moral of my story is, do not make this "joke" on a first date with a person who doesn't know you. Because in a city like NYC, you very well could be a rapist or a serial killer or, at the very least, trying to have a one-night-stand to get laid, and if someone doesn't know you very well this might make them nervous that you're "kidding" -- and that as they say, humor reflects some semblance of truth. Like maybe you wouldn't actually drug me, but maybe you would do other weird things to get me to go home with you. Or maybe you're joking about it to make me THINK you're not the type of person who would do it... but why would you even think of it? Ultimately you just never know, and first dates are nerve-racking enough, and our mothers told us it's better to be safe than sorry. So my advice to you: play it safe on a first date -- forego the roofie jokes. I know you can hold back for just one night.


For me, on the other hand, the moral of my story is, never, ever, ever go to the bathroom on a first date. Problem solved.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Why my blog isn't about dating

I was catching up on some single girl / dating blogs today, and I thought for a hot second (don't laugh) "Hmm why isn't your blog about dating? Writing about dating is a good idea!"

Then I called my doctor for fear I might have had an aneurysm. Because then I remembered my actual life.

The entire blog would look like this (this is a pictoral representation, drawn by me -- you're welcome):



And then there would be a bunch of blank posts.

No, I'm serious.

On Saturday I went to a party with my friends from my last job, and they told me they're jealous that whenever we go out, I am usually the person who gets her number taken by a guy. Which is a) categorically untrue, and also b) not worthy of jealousy because they are not factoring in how the situation usually plays out afterward. Typically it's one of two scenarios:

1) The guy never calls, probably for one of the following reasons:
  • He was drunk and forgets who I am.
  • He decided I'm cute but not really cute enough to be worth the effort.
  • He was really just taking my number in hopes that I'd go home with him but I'm not a ho and so he deleted my number.
  • He can't keep track of all the girls named Lisa in his phone.
  • He's gay.
  • He googled me and found this blog.
Or:

2) The guy does call (ok, TEXT, let's be real, I've never gotten a call from a guy in NYC) and:
  • After a series of awkward and too-innuendo-laden text messages (on his part) he texts that we'll have to hang out "sometime." Then he disappears altogether.
  • We go on an awkward date but really all he wants to do is have a one-night-stand so he's lukewarm and semi-insulting the entire night but then tries to come home with me.
I'm not even kidding, that's always how it plays out. And this is what my friends forget.

I actually did meet a guy at the party on Saturday. (Despite what my friends say, this is a rare occurrence.) He was so nice, and funny, a good beer pong player (but not TOO good), working on his Ph.D. in some remote history topic (Byzantine Empire I think), wore glasses, hijacked the music at the party to put on Michael Jackson, complimented me, introduced me to his friends, flirted but was not inappropriate, did not argue with things I said, asked for my number, and left the party without trying to make me come home with him. Gold star, sir. He also had on a guy version of a hat like this, which was cute in a weird way, and he let me wear it for part of the night (it looked cute on me too):


He was smart, not a hipster, not a meathead, not Jersey-ish, not a douchebag, not an alcoholic (but not a non-alcoholic), not pushy (but not wimpy), and did not appear to be a stoner or a smoker. Win.

But guess what? He texted me "Night" after he left the party, but of course I haven't heard from him since.

I feel like my friends who are in couples and jealous of my "single life" or my friends who are single and envious that some guy takes my number really just forget about the reality of the situation because they have painted a pretty picture in their heads. Let's be real - me meeting someone at a party or a bar (or for that matter anywhere in NYC for the last 5 years) has never ended in a healthy relationship. At BEST, it ends with me a) blasting music in my apartment, eating an entire bag of pretzels and crying on my sofa wondering why I'm such a failure, or b) becoming really cynical, carrying around a copy of something by Simone de Beauvoir, watching violent movies and ceasing to wash my hair or go out to a bar for a week and a half. At worst it ends with me forgetting the person ever even existed.

So really the point is, you should all be glad my blog isn't about dating, because although I used to have a pretty good handle on this aspect of my life, ever since I moved to NYC it's been shit. I could write about that for hours. And maybe I will sprinkle in a few posts about it. Mostly because I know you all secretly love the schadenfreude (n: pleasure derived from the misfortune of others) that you sometimes feel after reading my tales of woe. But for now, I leave you with a hand-drawn reminder of what my dating life is really like:

I'd Rather Go To The DMV (Guest Post)

(My friend Ryan was horrified by my use of dental metaphors in a recent post. I've asked him to write a rebuttal in the form of a guest post.)

By Dr. Ryan, D.D.S.

Me: "How are you today?"
Patient: "Better if I wasn't here!"

Me: "Hello Mrs. Smith, nice to see you."
Mrs. Smith: "Well, it's never nice to see you! No offense!"

(Nah, none taken. You just flat out looked me in the face and told me you hate me. Might as well just use the words. "I hate you.")

Me: "It looks like we're going to have to put a crown on that tooth."
Patient: "I guess SOMEone needs to pay for your fancy toys!"

(You're right, that crown gives me just enough money to buy that new BMW. Seriously?)

And so goes my day. Good Morning, you suck. That's the best way to sum it up. Seriously, what's the problem? As far back as people have had teeth (which is a pretty long way back, I think... kind of dozed that day in dental school), people have hated the dentist. Then, as society progressed the dental profession was used as a metaphor for all things painful, poisonous, unpleasant and rogue. For example - Ryan: "Do you like to watch the show 'Two and a Half Men?'" Lisa: "Uggh! I'd rather get a ROOT CANAL!" Grant you, not a real exchange, but it might as well have been ;)

I provide a required service. Sure, it may not always be a pleasant one. But I pose this question. Do you like to eat? Do you enjoy speaking? Do you think that you could do any of that without teeth? Nope. Not without teeth, and subsequently not without your dentist.

So the question I have is this. When did my chosen profession, my SERVICE to society, gain such a poor reputation as to be banished to the dark corner of unpleasant analogy? "OMG, trying to explain this to you is like pulling teeth!" Really? Is it really? I promise you it's not. Whatever difficult topic you are currently discussing with your dimwitted friend is much easier than pulling teeth. I should know - I have dim-witted friends that I attempt to explain things to (present company excluded) PLUS I've pulled teeth. I'd actually rather pull the tooth. More debris, but less frustration.

Besides, I can think of so many other things to use as examples of what I'd "rather be doing. . . ." An easy example - going to the DMV. This is, by far and without argument, the most inhumane and painful experience that a breathing human being with a soul can do with their time.

Lisa: "Hey Ryan, do you want to move to Manhattan?"
Ryan: "Uggh! I'd rather go to the DMV!"

Other great examples include: "I'd rather go to the post office on Christmas Eve." "I'd rather slam my nose with a baseball bat." Or, "Trying to explain this to you is like trying to teach a five year old the word ambidextrous!" That last one is a stretch, but you get where I'm going.

So I ask you all to do me a solid. Leave your dentist alone. What did he/she ever do to you besides fix your jacked-up grill and smile and nod when you tell them you "hate the needle" (Really? Because all the other people LOVE it! I actually have a lady who comes in just to get stuck once a day.) And next time something unpleasant presents itself remember, it could be worse. You could be at the DMV.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Birds and the Bees

Last night's Californication episode reminded me of an anecdote my Uncle Paul shared over Christmas about "the talk." Yeah, birds, bees, whatnot. He told me about how my grandpa explained it all to him back in the day. And I laughed for the entire night.

My uncle was not exactly the model child... he was quite the hellion, to put it mildly. (It's become kind of a tradition that whenever the cousins are around my uncle, we make him tell stories about all the crazy shit he used to do. It definitely makes us feel better about minor transgressions in our past that our mothers freaked out about.) And my grandpa definitely was a no-nonsense kind of guy. He had no tolerance for bullshit. He did not like to talk in the morning. And nobody else was allowed to either, believe you me. He was old school. He ruled with an iron fist. For instance, my mom was at a family bar with her cheerleading team and their coach after a game (it was a team event), and he came in to the bar and dragged her out by her ear because "what the hell is a 16 year old doing at a place like that?!" And there was no discussion about it. That's just the kind of guy he was. He ran Endicott Johnson shoe company. He was a powerful guy. (And an awesome guy.) And he had no patience for antics. Period. So you can imagine just what the birds and the bees talk must have been like. Well imagine no more...

One day after school when my uncle was 16 (uh a little too late!), my grandpa told him to get in the basement immediately. (My uncle thought this was a godsend, because usually when he was in big trouble my grandpa would tell him to get in the car and he would drive him to somewhere REALLY far away, like the middle of Pennsylvania, and lecture him the entire time inside a car he couldn't escape.) Apparently my grandpa had gotten wind that my 16-year-old uncle was interested in some girl who was 14, which is what prompted the talk. This is how it went:

Grandpa sat Uncle Paul down at a table and slammed a HUGE book down in front of him, with a big marker inside it. He told my uncle to flip to the marked page. "And READ what it says, the ENTIRE thing. Right now."

Guess what the page was? No, not the human anatomy, not when a man loves a woman, not even a working definition of sex. This was a LAW BOOK.

And the page?...

The definition of statutory rape.

Grandpa said: "Do you understand that?" Uncle Paul: "Yes." My grandpa: "Are you sure you understand? That says that even if everyone thinks it's a good idea, even if she thinks it's great and you think it's great and oh la di da everyone's just sooo happy and it's such a great idea... YOU GO TO JAIL." And he slammed the huge book shut. "You got that? You hear me? YOU..." and pointed right in his face... "YOU! Go. To. Jail."

And he stormed upstairs.

And there you have it folks, my family's rendition of the birds and the bees. My uncle said he was scared to pee for a month because he thought the cops might show up. :)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Tough old broad

My grandparents were as instrumental in raising me as my own parents. We even lived at their house when I was little because my mom was so sick with her pregnancies and my dad was working the night shift. I've probably spent as much time at their house as I have at my parents' house. They lived a 5 minute walk away, and right next to our elementary school. And when my sister and I were going off for the first day of school, or were coming home from college on a break, there were 4 people sitting at the kitchen table waiting, not 2. They were my two favorite people in the entire world. They're both gone now (my grandma died a few months ago), and I'm really sad about that. But I digress.

My mom noticed me starting to get sniffly (is that a word?) on the phone last night about being single and having soon-to-be-dried-up ovaries. She asked me if I've been reading articles online again. (Yep. How'd she know? Psychic mothers.) And she said something that actually made me feel so much better. She reminded me that my grandparents got married at age 30, back in 1950 when that was much less common than today and before there was any crazy technology/drugs to help you have babies. She also reminded me that they had six kids after that, the sixth one when they were just turning 40.

For better or worse (my grandma had dementia...) I seem to be most like my mom's parents. I am especially like my grandpa in almost everything in my entire life. So I can only hope I inherited these stellar reproductive genes as well. And you know what, suck it, New York Magazine. I'll get married and have babies when I'm good and ready.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Two of the Worst TV Shows

I know I've kind of gotten away from writing TV-related stuff ever since I consolidated The Televisionista with Mad Street Cred. That's kind of sad. So, for your reading pleasure, I will write about two shows that I submit should be taken off the air immediately.

1) Two and a Half Men: I feel like I'm in the movie Groundhog Day, because every week this show tops in the Nielsen Ratings and every week I think it must be April Fool's Day. Again. It's like my worst nightmare. Seriously everyone: this show is not funny. It's so stupid, and there's such better comedy on TV. Do you really have nothing better to do than watch this? Like for instance, getting a root canal? Knitting a sweater? Watching paint dry? I can't stand it. Just like (yeah I'll say it, flame away in the comments) I hated Friends. Except at least that show was about sexy people and had a theme song by The Rembrandts, so I could understand why people liked it. This show is about CHARLIE SHEEN, DUCKIE, and a little boy, and it has the worst theme song of all time. There's nothing redeeming about it. Middle-aged women of America, take heed: please for the love of god if you absolutely must watch TV Mondays at 9, tune in to The Bachelor or Gossip Girl. Yes, I am advocating watching either of those two pieces of trash over keeping Two and a Half Men at the top of the Nielsen Ratings. And I mean it.

2) Last Call With Carson Daly/Lopez Tonight: The best thing I can say about you dear is WHYYYY??? Why is this show still on the air? I genuinely don't understand its appeal. You'll notice that I'm speaking in the singular. That's because these two late night talk shows are so equally and embarrassingly unfunny that I actually can't distinguish them in my head. Late night talk shows (even at a REALLY late time or on a cable network) are COVETED spots, and we cast this jackass in the role? The least funny human being that exists? There are no funny skits on this show, the interviews are PAINFUL to sit through, the monologue makes me want to pull out my own teeth. I actually LIKE commercials during this show because they're HILARIOUS compared to the show's content. A sweet respite from the inanity. And I hate commercials more than I hate sushi. Seriously, how does this happen? Who is this guy sleeping with? Every once in a while I think, maybe I'll try this again, clearly there's something I'm missing if this still hasn't been canceled after that last episode I saw. And I sit down in front of my TV and I swear to god I can't last more than 10 minutes. I can't do it to myself. My life is worth more than that. Dear TV viewers, WHO IS WATCHING THIS TRASH? Are there people out there who are like, wow you know, that is a really great show, I can't wait until tomorrow night so I can do it all over again? Have some self-respect. Goddamnit.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Not Knocked Up

A constant source of anxiety for me is the fact that I am a 27 (and a half) year old single girl whose friends seem to all be married, buying houses, having babies, or at least in serious relationships that are heading that way. But hey, I am a pretty strong woman, admittedly picky when it comes to dudes, and I am doing the best I can to not put pressure on myself or to make myself feel bad about being in the place in life than I am. I think it's better for me this way than settling for someone or something that will just end up making me miserable in the end, or rushing into things to meet some arbitrary deadline. Plus, I'm not THAT old. Right?

Well, at least that's what I thought, until this article from NY Mag informed me otherwise: "Waking Up From the Pill: Fifty years ago, birth-control pills gave women control of their bodies, while making it easy to forget their basic biology—until in some cases, it’s too late."

Talk about an upper. After waiting a few hours to let my anxiety attack subside, my take is that it basically makes out women who 1) take The Pill and 2) don't pop out kids as soon as they graduate college to be selfish adolescent floozies who need to stop being so "carefree" and start taking on the more serious task of getting preggers before age 28 -- the age at which you're done for.

"The fact is that the Pill, while giving women control of their bodies for the first time in history, allowed them to forget about the biological realities of being female until it was, in some cases, too late. It changed the narrative of women’s lives, so that it was much easier to put off having children until all the fun had been had..."

Wow, cuz that's exactly what I've been doing. What a good point. I took the pill and completely lost my mind, forgetting all about my biological clock, so that I could go to more parties. But the infertility fairy will come on the night of my 28th birthday (or is it 35th? I really can't remember which is the cutoff date... I'm getting so silly now that I'm taking this pill) to take back what is rightfully hers, that which I sacrificed for all of my NYC orgies.

I'm sorry but I just don't understand this article. It's about infertility, which is something that a lot of people worry about anyway, including me, but is full of statements that make no sense. What she's saying about the link between infertility and the pill is probably true, and thinking about it is not a bad thing. But I take serious issue with the way she says what she's saying in this article and the little side comments she makes. There are big problems with this article from a feminist perspective, and I'm sure people smarter than me have noted them, I actually haven't looked for any reactions to it yet because I was so fired up after reading it I had to write something myself. I'm a feminist, and I recognize the feminist issues here, but that's not really even what I'm preoccupied with.

Honestly, it's as a single person that I'm offended by her insinuations. (Of course she's a smug married - her wedding announcement in the NYT is one of the first links when you google her.) I'd like to have a family someday, I just haven't found the right person. I'm not on the pill because I'm trying to extend my youth or whatever, or because I'm ignoring my body or don't understand it, I'm on the pill because I do understand it. I didn't go on the pill and forget about my period, or forget about getting pregnant. I have an anxiety disorder, I worry about getting pregnant just by brushing against a person on the subway. She's making a lot of assumptions and generalizations, and I don't appreciate her tone. The last I knew, the pill didn't give me a lobotomy. But thanks for your concern. Can't we have a valid conversation about infertility and keep your judgments about my (not that abnormal) lifestyle out of it?

Well anyway guys, I don't know why I'm wasting all this time writing a blog post - I only have 6 months left to get knocked up. Better get going!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Resolve

I'll say it. I hate New Year's Resolutions. Mostly because, let's be honest, I either forget about them after about a month (...a week) or am just such a complete failure at them that it just destroys my already tenuous self-esteem.

But also, it's just annoying really. It reminds me of the type of people I don't like. The ones who like get up at 5am every day just for kicks and by 6am have gone to the gym, read the paper, cooked and fed their kids breakfast, ran a marathon, meditated, went to a hot yoga class and shoveled 6 driveways. The people who say everything is a "win-win." And who drink vitamin/protein/wheatgrass/fruit/vegetable/chalk/sandpaper juice concoctions instead of a nice cup of black coffee. And whose response to my horrified reaction is some sort of speech about the negative effects of caffeine -- which they're just telling me for my own good. Yes, thank you. Yeah, you know the type.

But at the same time, I also hate people who say "My new year's resolution is to stop making new year's resolutions." Oh god, get over yourself. You're just saying that to be obnoxious. Stop being a little snot, and start taking a STAND!

And so I submit to you my New Year's Anti-Resolutions:

1.  Yell at someone on the street. If you've ever been to New York City, you know that it's incredibly frustrating, and now I work in Times Square and live in west midtown, so I'm around it all day and all night. I just want to push tourists, or punch them in the back of the head, cut off their ponytails, or at least scream in their faces. Well, carpe diem bitches. This is the year.

2. Cancel gym membership. Why even pretend, you know? I hate the gym and I always will. What a waste of money that I could be spending on food. Speaking of which...

3. Eat more dessert. How many times last year did I pass up a piece of pie or a delicious bowl of ice cream for the sake of some stupid new year's resolution? (Zero.) Not this year baby. Bring on the cheesecake.

4. Stop doing so many chores. They're called chores for a reason. What a drag. When I need clean clothes I'll just buy new ones with the money I saved by canceling my gym membership.

5. Watch more reality TV. I've heard it's good for the mind.

2011 is shaping up to be the best year yet.