Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Male Gaze

Ever felt that somebody was looking through you instead of at you? You are about to launch into an adorably interesting anecdote and you turn to face your audience. His eyes are facing your direction, but his stare is that of what I assume a possum's would be: physically alive but wildly inattentive.

He looks, but does not listen.

So you continue, like a social robot. But you might as well be speaking in tongues. His possum eyes have launched themselves onto something shiny, like the waitresses tightly clad behind.

And then it's a sinking feeling, somewhere in your uterus.

It's that feeling you get when the top comes off your 4 dollar coffee and sloshes your white button down.

It's the feeling you get when your friend's band covers Nickelback.

It's the feeling you get when you hear about BP on the radio.

It's the feeling you get when you turn to grab a piece of toilet paper and all you feel in cardboard. And it's the morning.

Hangnails, the voicemail, burnt hair (or steak for that matter), weight gain, dirty dishes.

Life's little inconveniences. I think they hurt more than we care to admit. I am not ashamed to admit that when I fall down the last two steps of my lecture hall isle as I attempt to turn in my midterm, I feel a little hurt inside.

But hopefully, one day there will be somebody with human eyes on the other end of the line, who will not gaze past the words of my midterm fall. He'll laugh, and say "That sucks baby."

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Where's the Beef?

Yesterday I went to a bbq at a friend's house. She is living with a family near the hills of Santa Barbara; the property is insanely beautiful. We, well other people, I sat and watched, grilled burgers and slathered them with avocado and grilled onions and watched the sun burn down the mountain. It was gorgeous and I felt for brief moments the power that comes with youth and possibility.

But poetics aside, there was a younger young man I shall call Ryan who came to the feast a little later. A small group was sitting around the sienna tiled kitchen island, indulging in a round of tequila shots. Nothing bonds a group of people who don't know one another like tequila. We had just slammed down out glasses when Ryan makes his way to the island, all smiles, floppy hair and gaged ears. Everybody makes quick introductions and small talk is pushed aside for more interesting conversation (thanks again, tequila). Somehow it was brought to attention that Ryan was a vegetarian. He explained his devotion to all things leafy over the mound of charred burgers by denouncing beef's nutritional value and revealing its truly foul nature as nothing but pounds of masticated, rotting flesh.

The debate then swiveled to gesticulating on the birth of vegetarianism, and its contradiction to homo sapien's hunter-gatherer beginnings. It was argued, by the carnivores, that man first survived by bringing down a beast to nourish himself. To reject that would be a break with the tradition that allowed our species initial survival. Ryan countered with the notion that today's meat consumption is far more wasteful, "Back then it was different they used everything, they sucked the bone marrow and shit."

Then everybody took a shot. As we went to cheers, somebody volunteered a toast. "To Beef." A slight current of dissension shimmered in the air.

When you talk about dietary lifestyles, it always seems to hit a little too close to home. What begins as a difference of opinion ends up as an epic battle between good and evil. Statistics and scientific facts begin to get muddled and exaggerated to prove points, and suddenly what we put in our mouths decides if we're going to heaven or hell.

We are all not immune! I took a class on Literature and the Environment last year and was bombarded with a few texts talking about things like the meat and dairy industry, how CAFO's are big death factories and purchasing these types of products is obscenely bad for earth. Then, considering myself all learned, I stupidly brought this up at a dinner party, began questioning milk (we're the only species that drinks it) and got an interesting response.


It is said that a way to a man's heart may be through his stomach, but to me it seems more like the way to severely piss a group of people off is through their stomachs.

Perhaps literature and food should stay away from one another. Oh, and Ryan? He ended up getting arrested later that night. Maybe he tried to convert the police to soy based products.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Green Girl

Anybody been seeing previews for that new exorcist movie?

Why is evil always wearing a nightgown?

I still have to close my eyes and ears.

The Exorcist scares the living diva out of me. I will briefly glimpse a preview of the new possessed girl's sweaty head snapping back at an unnatural angle and start shivering mentally. It just takes me back to dome spins and pea soup vomit. My first experience with Linda Blair was when Billy Crystal hosted the Oscars. I can't remember what year that was, but I remember my mother had let us sleep in the living room on a large fold out futon. It was really exciting.

Billy did a historical montage of cinema in which he dubbed himself into famous movies of alternating genres. Horror was represented by The Exorcist, and Billy tried to reason with crazy ass Linda as if she were a distraught lover, not DEATH ITSELF.

I remember thinking, hmm, I wonder what movie this is, its kind of a strange scene, just a bed and this little weird girl OHMYGOD SHE IS FREAKING OUT AND THROWING UP EVERYWHERE AND TALKING LIKE AN OLD MAN WITH LUNG DISEASE. OHMYGOD I AM SO SCARED AND TEN YEARS OLD OHMYGOD.

I was paralyzed with fear. For years. From then on I referred to this mysterious character as "the green girl." I would try to explain to my sleepy and befuddled parents when I would wake them up at two in the morning, but I couldn't set the scene or context again as I was too afraid saying it aloud would make it real. It really disrupted my ability to be an adolescent, I could never sleep over at friend's houses, stomping off to my room was out of the question as I got too terrified alone; I was literally a sophomore in high school still creeping silently into my parents bedroom to huddle at the foot of their bed. Trembling in fear over green girl, over the possibility that my dad would wake up and find me, the refugee, and send me back to my deep dark bedroom.

I know I have been talking way too much about how to deal with demons, specifically those boy related. But the overexposure to this new demon-in-the-backwoods-of-Louisiana movie reminded me of the time I learned to man up and sleep in my own bed. It took, um years, but now I can curl up in the nook of my temporary air mattress (oh college) and clock a good ten hours of slumber. I remember at one time thinking i would never be able to sleep again, but today I am longing for my rubber bed as I type this. I guess if I can overcome green girl, what's a little bit of heartache?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Romance Day 1

My friend was telling me a story about a night out on the town. She was with a group of boys, one of whom I had dated, named...Joe. Joe and company were waxing on about how Joe's current girlfriend was a luminous ball of nuts emotion or something. A mutual friend of ours muttered to himself, without missing a beat, in reference to me,

"Well, you [Joe] do like the crazies [me]."

I am the first person to attest to my flamboyant side. When emotions are high, I'll combust like a supernova all over your previously pleasant evening. But it still doesn't feel luxurious when someone reminds you of the thing about yourself that gets you into trouble. The thing that snarls the lips of those I'd rather see smiling. The "get away from me" thing.

But then I look at the people who have meant or mean something to me. All of them are a little off. And the ones who aren't, well, we're really not that close. There is a strange kinship that happens when two nut jobs of a feather get together. You recognize that sedated wildness in the corners of their eyes; understanding that when the madness unleashes it will not always be pretty, but there is great comfort in solidarity.

My crazy seems to be triggered by, well frankly and stupidly, love; falling in it, for it, losing it, missing it, giving it, not getting it back, rejecting it. I won't get smashed and uproot plants after getting a bad grade or forgetting to pay my rent, but I'll end up with a counterful of dirt encrusted tulip plants the morning after getting dumped. And what's really crazy is the world feels me! Love makes most people want to drunkenly make bouquets or throw doughnuts at their ex's window, they just won't allow themselves. Well, I'll bite the bullet for y'all. Plants and baked goods beware.

I find, however, that there are ways in which to harness the beast within. Since it is that ole devil that riles me, I have decided to engage in a bit of a social experiment. I am going to try and give myself a good, solid dose of romance at least once a day. Things like going on an evening walk. Taking a bath. Listening to Billie Holiday in the morning. Wearing a flower in the button hole of my shirt. Reading 1 poem, because that's sort of all I can handle. Breathing Deeply. Drinking hot tea in the mornings and red wine at night. Brushing my hair. Eating fruit wildly over the sink.

It it going to be difficult, to woo myself, but I am going to try. Perhaps if I can fall in love with just plain old me, I can understand how to love somebody else. And I am sure once I learn to understand that, I won't be getting so Lady Macbeth on another poor boy's ass.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Getting Past Your Break-up

Remember how college broke up with me? No? Me neither. So I read this to refresh my memory.

I have naturally messy tendencies when it comes to break ups, so in true form I haven't quite moved one from college. I am in my third week of a six week summer school course. And I see him practically every day.

At first I thought we could reconnect. I had only been away for a month or so. I mean, I was in love! I finally conceded that his lifestyle was the best I'd ever get. And then we broke up, but summer school seemed like a second chance.

Turns out, once you leave...you shouldn't go back.

I think college has moved on. I think he's seeing a new gal. In fact he's seeing a whole bunch of new gals, Class 2014. She, they, seem great. He'll take her out on the town, they'll have smoke seshies together on somebody's moldy couch, get to know each other and become best friends. And in four years he'll dump her and it'll start all over again. I can see this laid out like a teenage romance novel. But I can't help if it still hurts.

When you fall in love, it's because that person makes you breathe easier and faster at the same time. That person makes you unrealistically exuberant about everyday tasks like brushing your teeth and eating lunch. He made me jump out of skin. He made me feel like the luckiest, coolest girl in the world.

And then when it ends, all you've got left is a hangover and a humanity degree.

There have been some moments though; moments of brief and mature reflection. They say: Move on. You're a graduate (almost). Throwing up on yourself and breaking things doesn't look good on you anymore. You're evolving.

College is a sexy beast. I will miss him so dearly. But going back for round .5 has made me realize we could never be together. He does his thing every four years, and I've got to go find mine.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Death of a Diva

Facebook says the kind of birth control I take will kill you.

Er, give you cancer.

Or mess up your kidneys.

For all intents and purposes, it can make you really, really sick.

Good! Bring it on, deathbed. I've already thought out a few choice monologues for those poor people in my life who would feel morally obligated to sit by my side for an uncomfortable hour.

I imagine it'd begin like this.

Scene: I am sitting propped up in a white hospital bed, nearing death. I am chic in the throes of the last hour, so I am wearing a silk white turban. The walls are covered in cards and inappropriate and hilarious drawings my friends and family. Any available counter space is flooded with dark pink and red peonies. There are also Christmas Lights. It I weren't dying, it'd be a cheerful place to take a nap.

Enter Ex Boyfriend Number One

ME: Hello, you.

EXBF1: Hello. You look beautiful.

ME: No I don't, but you have to say that.

EXBF1: Looks uncomfortable.

ME: Come, sit down. It's not like you will get this extremely advanced and painful cancer from the birth control I was taking so you didn't have to use a condom. God Forbid.

...fade to black...

I know, I am a terrible diva. But it is so self-gratifying and perversely satisfying: dreaming of a chance at martyrdom and full circle closure. Yes, it feels a little nuts to wish for emotional exploitation in order to deal with your current demons, but I think in coping with a feeling that is so affecting it's incomprehensible, indulging your inner Norma Desmond is just grand.

"All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up." --Sunset Blvd.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I still Like you

You know how people say "It was the booze talking" ?

Booze is not a very nice person. Instead of "I love you," booze will say "I hate you." Instead of "You're the greatest," booze will say "You're the worst." Instead of a sweet nothing, booze will say everything.

I know it's my unofficial job as an early twenty something to indulge in bars, clubs, and sporadic binge drinking so that my children will have something to pry at when I refuse to let them go to parties in middle school. But I really hate booze sometimes. She is such a bitch.

When you first get introduced to booze, she is exciting. She introduces you to boys and cigarettes. You play fun games with her and feel more social and cool than you thought you could be. Then maybe she overwhelms you one night, but you forgive her. You always come back.

She is a one on one kind of friend. She wants to be a certain way, to act on her terms. It's hard to have a good conversation with someone else when you're with her. She wants you to herself. Try as you may to make a connection with another soul, it is hard to escape her pull. It comes out all wrong. You will try to say to them "I like you" and she will whisper in their ear "She's just drunk."

Monday, August 9, 2010

To Catch a Thief

I always enjoy a good limbo. But there is one that riles me into that state I assume dogs attain when they hear high-pitched whistles. If I remember correctly, this particular limbo is one of uncertainty, slight paranoia, and a pinch of delusion: when you think the boy is bagging someone(s) else.

I remember how sluggishly the tiny light of realization comes on. Maybe you accidentally read a months worth of text messages, or maybe his email was still logged in when you opened your browser. Maybe you are Lisbeth Salander and have been monitoring his Internet trail for months. To me it reads like the half an hour after somebody relieved themselves and tried to cover it up with Glade aerosol. The cloyingly sweet scent pervades every pore in your body as it attempts to mask what just happened, but underneath it all, the shit still stanks.

Now all divas in this world just want a little respect. And respect is usually attained with a little honesty. But if honesty is not a top priority in the boy's baby banging behind, it's time to take measures into your own hands. Here's the how-to on catching the thievin, lyin, doggin scoundrel.

1) God Complex.
In order to become a crazy investigative bitch, you must have the backing of a higher purpose. You are the savior for all the women who have been spurned, who's unrequited love has driven them to booze, drugs, or weight gain. You are the hero of the bitch. Consider that women are an integral part of reproduction, the veritable and only source of life for human kind; if this gender begins to disintegrate, a threat of the extinction of our species exists. Therefore homegirl, you are not just catching that bastard, you are saving the human race.

2) Review the Script.
So you realize you're Mother Teresa. Perfect. Now it's time to get to work. Begin over analyzing every moment you were together. Was he really buying panties for his mama? Was that actually a bruise on his thigh? Did we actually go to dinner last week, or did I hallucinate that? Trust nothing. One thing man has never been very capable at is covering his tracks. Take Bill Clinton. I bet Monica could scrapbook their time together. All you have to do is gather the facts...erm, well assumptions based loosely on facts, that may have seemed paltry before but will take on greater meaning when you put them in perspective. Remember when he took you to the movie and then went to the bathroom? What do you think he was doing in there? Peeing?! pssh, c'mon girl. Wise up.

3) Manipulation.
Okay so now you have a bullet proof case based on hyperventilation, resentment, and paranoia. It's time to test the waters to see how your claims hold up. When do the boys creep? And when is their guard down? Late at night, and in the bathroom. Show up at two a.m. in a trench coat, with Clue and a good bottle of red. When he looks at you as if you have three tits, breeze past him and say, "I thought maybe you could Clue me in." Secondly, hide a walky talky in his bathroom. Twice a day, scream into it WHO ARE YOU SLEEPING WITH. He'll be so caught off guard on both occasions that you may just find the answers you're looking for.

4) Show him ya Teeth.
Soo maybe the bathroom interrogation and game night didn't work. You've got a tough chocolate chip cookie on your hands. Not to worry. Employ your second string of offense (and don't fret, in this metaphor you are a pro football team, not high school, so second string is just as good as the first). I like to go a little old school when it comes to the intimidation factor, make him an offer he can't refuse. I imagine it'd be difficult to find a decapitated horse head, but it's the thought that counts. Use old stuffed animals. He won't be happy to find a bed full of bunny and teddy bear heads one morning. If you're wicked serious, perhaps a ken doll or two.

5) Physical Violence.
Water boarding. Strangulation. Handcuffs. Taser.

Just kidding. Don't do that. Seriously, don't do that. But it is getting down to the wire. Your previously sane methods didn't work. It's time to play dirty. This one requires a bit of cash flow, so while you are doing all those other normal and sexy activities listed above, save some money. Then hit him with an all day pain fest: Shopping spree. You need some "new clothes," in fact you need a lotttt of new clothes. Begin at a department store. He should hold your bag while you are in the dressing room, emerge after every outfit to discuss the stitching, hemlines, or construction of each garment. Then go to a shoe store. Try on five pairs of heels and ask him to walk around the store with you. No sitting. Ask the sales girls to bag everything separately. and Gift wrap it, he's carrying it. Visit boutiques that only have chairs as decoration. Try to go to lunch at a vegetarian or vegan place that doesn't serve alcohol. Finish the day off with a stop to the drug store for tampons. Suddenly receive a work phone call and ask him to "pick them up for you." After he takes you home, turn to him and thank him for a wonderful day. Then ask him if he is banging blah blah blah's name you found in his inbox. If he doesn't crumble after that, you've got bigger problems. He's gay.

This fool-proof list is 45% guarenteed to catch your man's side dish. Now is not the time to wallow, it's the time to get a lawyer because you will probably need one.