May 3, Houston: The big one -- the Inprint reading -- occurs at the Alley Theatre on Monday, May 3. Do not miss it or you'll be sorry. I'm not kidding -- I'm going to say the craziest, most intellectual yet hilarious stuff I can think of, and I'll be sharing the stage with the ultra sexy Oscar Casares, too.
June 24, Houston: I'm one of the peeps scheduled to read at Poison Pen, at Houston's famous Poison Girl bar. Besides me, everyone there will be ultra, *super* sexy. Come see me and drink!
June 26, Washington, DC: I'll be reading at the American Library Association conference. Come on down.
My other blog: Go read my the Houston Chronicle parenting blog (or my ChronMomBlog, as I like to call it) and make sure my kids won't resent me more than other kids resent their own parents.
Buy my new novel, Lone Star Legend. Already did? Well, buy a few more for your friends, then. :)
Wednesday, August 12, 2009I donít know what Buddhist monks do, but maybe this is similar. (Or maybe itís only Level 1 in their lifelong video game.)
Lately Iím starting to believe that all anger and all violence is rooted in hurt feelings and fear. And Iím on a continual quest to control my temper. (My temper is roughly 400% better than it used to be, but thereís still room for improvement.) So this means my latest and greatest technique for temper-tempering is stopping to examine why Iím angry, and if the reason is another, underlying emotion (like fear or hurt feelings), then I force myself to admit that and express it in a reasonable way.
Thatís not easy. And you know whatís even less easy? Seeing someone else act like an angry jerk and then trying to figure out if theyíre hurt or scared and then forcing myself to have compassion for that person and to find a way to deal with him/her without resorting to reciprocal anger. Thatís so difficult that I hardly ever get it right. But I keep trying.
Itís like a detective show. Itís like a puzzle. Only some things in this world make me feel angry. So which ones are they, and why? No, honestly. What is the real reason why? And how can I use that to relate to others and to quit being such a bitch all the time?
Iím working on that. Thatís my hobby now. That, and the knitting.
different kinds of crafty
I recently went to all the libraries near me and checked out every knitting book they had. In one of the Stitch Ďn Bitch books, author Debbie Stoller lays out the four types of knitters, with equal fun-poking and discussion of the pros and cons of each. The first type was knitters who are really into the technical aspect of knitting and choose to make things that are challenging and show off their skillz. Okay, got it.
The second type was dubbed ďSheís Gotta Have ItĒ knitters, and theyíre the ones who see something they want to wear/own and then figure out how to knit it. And that, for the most part, is me. Even though Iím a noob, I know Iím that kind of knitter because Iím that kind of seamstress, crocheter and beader, too. Debbie went on to say that those types rarely learn skills outside of their comfort zone, which made me bristle for about three seconds before I realized that I didnít mind that being true, as long as I knew enough knitting to knit what I like.
Then there were two other kinds of knitters that I canít remember. Sorry. But itís there in her book, if you want to go read it for yourself.
Anyhow. This categorization of crafters made the wheels in my mind turn. Yes, the number-one consideration for me is how the finished piece looks, and whether I want to wear it or see it being worn by someone else. Of course it is. But could there really be other kinds of knitters on Earth? And, if so, would I be able to identify them in the future?
So then, the other day, I was skimming through the forums on Ravelry.com and saw peeps talking about Vogue Knitting magazine. That interested me because Vogue Knitting is a big part of why I learned to knit. Every season of my adult life, Iíve browsed through that mag at the racks and wished that I could knit. So it was with extreme rapture that, after taking the knitting lessons last month, I was finally able to justify my very own subscription to Vogue Knitting, whose Fall í09 issue was so beautiful, it made me sick. Every orange sweater in it, I wanted. And now I can have them. NOW I CAN KNIT THEM!!!!!1!!!1!!!! I HAVE THE POWER!! JUST LIKE HE-MAN DID, WHEN HE HAD THAT SWORD FROM CASTLE GREYSKULL!! EXCEPT THAT I DONíT THINK HE DID CRAFTS Ė HE JUST KILLED PEOPLE OR WHATEVER!!
So Iím on Ravelry, and theyíre talking about the Vogue, and some of them are hating on it. Theyíre like ďOh, the sweaters are weirdĒ and ďThe models are posed so weirdlyĒ and ďTheyíre all skinny and Iím not! Eff Vogue!Ē
And I became confused. Because, one, how could people not see that Vogue Knitting is the perfect blend of crafty magazine and fashion magazine?? Of course the models are going to be skinny and bent at weird angles. But the sweaters arenít weird, theyíre beautiful. Theyíre fashionable.
Second: Are we not knitters? We are Devo! (In this sentence, Devo means crafty.) Hence, we can take the Vogue sweater patterns and make them whatever size we want. Canít we? Hope so, because Iím wearing at least one orange Vogue sweater this winter, yíall, even if I have to do quantum physics on the pattern, first.
Then, after all that thoughtage, I realized that people who dislike Vogue might be those other kind of knitters Ė the first kind Deb Stoller talked about. The kind who really, really like the process of knitting and donít see it as a means to an end.
And, for those people, there is Interweave knitting magazine.
Right? Am I right? I mean, I like Interweave, too, but I can see that itís a little hardcore for me. But, at the same time, I love and respect the people who like that magazine better, and all the other kinds of knitters. Because weíre all sisters here, arenít we? (Yes. Guys, too.) Weíre all fellow witches in the coven of craft.
And right now Iím having a flashback to the mid-Ď90s, when I used to read the sewing newsgroups on Usenet and be amazed at the vicious arguments that broke out there, among crafters, on a forum that was meant to unite us. Good times, good times, as they say.
the sister-witch site in the coven of me
I finally got my Official Author Site, gwendolynzepeda.com, redesigned. If you look at it right after Iíve posted this entry, youíll see that it needs a content update, too. But still, itís kind of new and kind of fresh, and I feel like we should celebrate. So, pretty soon, Iím gonna have some sort of contest and give away an ARC (Advance Reading Copy) of my novel thatís coming out in January. To one of yíall, for free, with free shipping. Signed, too, maybe.
I just have to think up a tortuous, narcissistic contest quiz, first. (One that will probably be easily winnable using Google, though.) Thatíll be next entry. Also next entry, Iíll tell yíall my favorite easy summer recipes, most of which involve liquor and/or Mexican chili powder.
Take care until then.
Gwen 6:37 PM # (13) comments
Wednesday, March 18, 2009Guess what? 25 Random Facts About Me!
because I have been inspired.
Now, all I have to do is think of 25 new things to tell y'all, apart from the stuff divulged in the 100 things meme I did back in 2005, and apart from all the other stuff I've told y'all over the past 12 years.
1. I'm going to do a reading/event tonight in which I'm supposed to talk about my creative process(es). For that, I've decided to give a 5-minute history of my writing career. It's my first time doing anything like that, so I'm kind of nervous. But I'm always kind of nervous about all the events I do, no matter how new or old the material. Unless they're readings for little kids, that is.
2. I feel that the best Easter candy is Russel Stover's creme eggs, in coconut-in-dark-chocolate flavor.
3. I like to go to the grocery store with my fiance. That's, like, a serious date night activity for us. Sometimes I think it's because we both experienced hard times in our youth. But usually I don't try to analyze it.
4. I'm getting married on May 23rd. (THIS NEXT PART IS SECRET - SHH:) At first I was a little bit sad because my future in-laws didn't think I was the right person to marry their son. Not sad enough to let it stop us, or to dwell on it on a daily basis, but kind of disappointed. But, recently, my fiance talked to them about it, and they voiced their concerns... and now they're coming to the wedding. And I'm happier/more relieved about that than I would have expected.
5. I'm actually a really good daughter-in-law. No one here knows that, because last time I served in that capacity, it was in a tiny town that no one cared to visit. And then I left my husband, effectively removing the possibility of further communication with my parents-in-law. But I know that they loved me, because they told me so, more than once. And I loved them. And I spent jillions of hours with them, and I did what I could to make their lives easier. And I enjoyed doing so, because that's just the kind of crazy I am. And, I have to say here that my ex-mother-in-law was way, way, WAY more opposed to that marriage (and more vocal about it) than my current future in-laws have been. So, in general, I'm optimistic about the new in-law relationships I'm starting. I can rebuild them. I have the technology. I am... the $6 Million Daughter-in-Law. I've just been waiting for the paperwork to go through so I can begin.
6. I didn't realize, until recently, how much I missed being a daughter-in-law.
7. If it were up to me, and no one's judgment had any effect on my life, I'd cut my hair short and never wear makeup. It is up to me, I know, but I live in this world. In this world, prettiness can be a kind of armor. So I put on eyeliner every morning, just like a knight of old.
8. I turned 37 in December. A while back, something made me think that I was "almost in my forties." So, since then, I keep thinking that. "I'm almost in my forties -- I don't have to deal with that." "I'm practically 40 -- I should know better." "I'm in my forties now -- shouldn't I be doing [x] by now?" So now, in my mind, I'm in my mid-40s. I completely, mentally bypassed the last three years of my 30s. Weirdest part: I don't mind. I like being in my 40s. It's giving me an excuse to break old habits and try new things.
9. My favorite thing I've ever written is what I believe the fewest people have read: the very last story in my very first book. Every time I think about that, I imagine musicians I admire whose own favorite songs probably don't match up with my favorites. And I have no sympathy for them, because I wouldn't change my favorite Pavement songs, even if Stephen Malkmus hated those ones the most. And then, in turn, I have no sympathy for myself. So what if I like the ant story best? That doesn't mean it's the best one or the one that resonates with anyone else.
10. Sometimes I worry about Norm MacDonald. I was watching SNL, live, the night he accidentally said fuck and then immediately realized he'd get fired for it. He was fired. Then, after that, his career did a long, slow slide. I saw him on the Comedy Central Bob Saget roast, and he still looked sad, but you could also tell that his colleagues loved him. They joked about his gambling addiction. That made me worry about him more than before. I don't know why I worry about him, in particular. But that happens to a lot of people, right? You feel some weird connection/intuition for a certain celebrity or stranger, and you carry them around in your mind, right? Like a lot of people worry about Jennifer Anniston, or like Ben Folds worried about Muhammad Ali. I worry about Norm MacDonald. I hope that he's okay.
11. I fantasize about speaking every language.
12. I fantasize about having the psychic power to answer any question truthfully, and charging people (anyone) $500 a pop to answer their questions. Scientists' questions would be answered during weekly press conferences, though.
13. I fantasize... not about having the power to heal people, but about having the power to prescribe the perfect diets for them. I mean the diets that would make them healthy and happy.
14. I fantasize about having the power to perform telekinetic, painless, instant platic surgery on people. Because, you know how you'll see someone, and they're obviously self-conscious about some aspect of their appearance? Like a mole or their teeth or something? Well, I fantasize about having the power to fix that for people, without them even knowing it's being done.
15. All those fantasies mean that I'm a narcissist. Every time I take the personality disorder profile quiz thing, it says I'm mostly a narcissist. Which kind of annoys me, because I don't believe that I am. But then, people I admire score high on narcissism, too, so at least I'm in good company. Second-highest scoring for me is OCD. So what? I don't think there's anything wrong with that. Unless you're a clean-freak OCD'er, like our friend Cathy, because then it's just too much stress. (I like to converse with Cathy about various compulsions, but then I feel bad for her when she stresses about the cleanliness and germs.)
16. The score I don't get, and the personality disorder for which I have the lowest tolerance? Is histrionic-ness.
That means "attention whores." I especially hate being around attention whores who are boring -- that's the absolute worst. Second worst is catty attention whores who, for some reason, believe that I have something they want. Then they start trying to compete, and I never want to engage in that. I just want to get away. Actually... I've had histrionic friends, but they have to be interesting, and they have to have different taste in men, so that there's no competitiveness. In that case, I'm okay with them.
17. Really, this isn't 25 Random Things About Me. It's 25 Things That Have Been on My Mind a LOT Lately, Because I'm Slightly OCD and Think About the Same Topics Over and Over Until I'm Sick of Them. Thank you for reading, if you're still reading along.
18. I used to think that I'd hold my old grudges forever -- you know, like "She'll be sorry when I'm published and then I see her in public and she has to feel stupid about that time she said my writing was trite!" -- but it turns out that I don't. I work as hard as I can, and I forget about the old petty stuff because I feel like I've grown so far away from it. You know?
19. I worry about my kids way more than I let on. Sometimes I lie in bed at night having long, long strings of worries about them. But I choke it down because I don't want to be like Nemo's dad on that movie Finding Nemo. When I saw that movie, I cried super hard whenever his dad was on the screen. Because I totally empathized with that (fish) man, and I've never even had kids who were eaten by sharks. But, yeah, I don't want to bum out my kids like that. So I keep that stuff to myself, as much as possible.
20. I'm proud of the way my kids have turned out, but don't like to say that to people too often because it seems like a compliment to myself. But it's (mostly) not -- my kids are good kids. They were born good and worked to get better, independently of me or my parenting skillz.
21. Sometimes I want to post more pictures of my family online, but then I worry. Worry, worry, irrational worry....
22. I'm simultaneously excited and anxious about writing my next book.
23. I'm waiting to see if the last kids' book I submitted will get published. Trying not to be anxious about that. The kids' books get rejected way more often than you might imagine. Which doesn't feel too fabulous, but it toughens me up. It's all a business, you know. This writing stuff, I mean.
24. I feel bad/guilty/annoyed when I write an entry here and people feel compelled to reassure me about whatever I complained about. I always feel like I'm just venting/ranting/babbling, but then, if it comes off like whining or needing comfort, that bugs the crap out of me and I feel like I somehow betrayed myself. (But if it doesn't sound like whining, but people just want to offer comfort/reassurance, anyway, then that's okay.)
25. I don't like to need anyone. I like to be independent.
Whew. I did it!
The end. 5:58 PM # (9) comments
Thursday, December 04, 2008Now I have time to be stressed out.
I havenít written here lately because Iíve been under some stress, and I never feel like talking on the blog (or to anyone) when Iím under stress. But now itís all over, thank goshfully.
If I were in an airplane crash (God forbid; knock on wood), I already know exactly how Iíd react. Cool and alert as hell, Iíd put the oxygen mask on my face then put masks on everyone else. Iíd pull out the floatation device seats, hand them out, calculate the distance, count it off ď3, 2, 1, inhale!Ē and then swim everybody to safety. Then Iíd go back for the more valuable plane cargo. Then Iíd help with the rescue/recovery. Then Iíd clearly and cogently debrief to the authorities.
Then, Iíd go home, where Iím safe. Then, Iíd go to the bathroom and throw up. Iíd climb into bed, trembling, and cry. Iíd cry for two hours, probably. Then Iíd fall asleep and have a nightmare or two. Then Iíd wake up and be ready to start a new day.
Iím guessing Iíd do all this because thatís how I usually react in less major catastrophes. Except that I rarely throw up afterwards Ė itís more like momentary nausea and retching.
Last week I finished my second novel and turned it in the night before deadline. (Extended deadline, actually, but thatís okay.) Also, last week, I had extreme Family Court drama that magically resolved itself on the same day that I turned in my novel.
And now I feelÖ relieved, right?
No! I feel stressed! I feel all knotted up and uptight and downtrodden. I feel crazy and unsafe. I feel scared.
Iíll probably try to cry a little bit tonight, before I go to sleep. But thereís hardly any time. I have a lot of stuff to move on to. I think Iíll just move on, instead, then. Sometimes I find that stress is the best distraction from my stress recovery. :)
(This is what you call Type A personality. This is what it takes for me to succeed. Don't feel sorry for me. Be happy for me that I'm this crazy, because the sickness is what makes the dreams come true.)
shout out to Carl Jung
Do you ever have a recurring bad situation that makes you question your existence and your karma and all that? And you think ďWhy does this keep happening to me?Ē because you believe everything happens for a reason, but you canít think of one single reason for this crappy stuff to keep happening to you over and over again?
And then, finally, you find the one silver lining in the crappy thing, or you realize the one lesson itís taught you?
And then, the moment you have that realization, the crappy thing stops happening?
Yeah. Thatís happened to me a few times. It happened just the other day, in fact. And Iím very, very relieved that the crappy stuff seems to be over.
Thanks, Carl Jung!
Iím excited about this weekend. Hereís what I plan to do:
- Go see that movie Milk
- Go to the Turkish restaurant with the super fabulous dolmas that are not called dolmas in Turkish
- Start shopping for xmas presents for my brats, since theyíll be at their dadís house and therefore unable to see what Iím buying them
- Go to an Indian restaurant in my neighborhood that a real live Indian person from my neighborhood said was good. (I totally, gauchely but desperately, hit up an Indian stranger during a carpool ride. I was like, ďIím sorry to be rude, but are you Indian?Ē He was like, ďUmÖ yes.Ē I was like, ďCan you please tell me if there are any good Indian restaurants in our neighborhood, because the only one Iíve found isnít very good.Ē And he was like, ďOh! Yeah, sure.Ē And then he told me where two of them are. Thank gosh, because I was starting to have the Butter Chicken DTs and I canít be driving all the way instead 610 for treatment all the time.)
Despite my irrational feelings of discomfort, which are probably only Seasonal Affective Dysfunction, anyway, things are pretty awesome.
Even the carpooling has been awesome, lately. Iíve been talking with a lot of nice/cool/smart people, and that restores my faith in humanity and makes me happy to be alive. The other day I met a geologist who seemed like a really decent person. Another day I met a guy whoís sort of obsessed with ballroom dancing and he told me a lot of fascinating stuff about that scene. I met a Republican precinct judgeís wife and a former Democrat activist precinct judge on the same ride, and that was a good chat.
I continually meet legal secretaries who have hilarious or shocking stories to tell. I often talk with older peeps who have insightful viewpoints on local issues. Sometimes the people are witty and we laugh, and thatís good, to laugh with strangers.
Today a transplanted Floridian and I gave a woman advice on what to buy her grandkids for Christmas, and I felt like we did some serious good. Usually, if Iím driving, I just drive in silence. Especially with men, who donít care if you talk or not. Also, I like to concentrate super hard on my driving, so that everyone is comfortable. Iím currently obsessed with learning to brake my van as smoothly as possible, because my van has annoyingly tough brakes. Sometimes, though, Iíll get yakky with people and talk away the miles. Either way, itís good. I donít mind my commute anymore, now that Iím doing the HOV all the time. Even when Iím not talking to people, thereís always a lot to see out the window. I love my city, despite its flaws, so itís good.
Some of you might consider this big news.
My boyfriend (fiancť) is moving in with us. I feel like I already told yíall that, or like most people reading this assume he lives with me, anyway. But...
(saying this next part knowing, and knowing that you know, and knowing that you know that I know, that plans like this are likely to change and shift and grow)
weíre thinking about eloping now. Or just going to the courthouse or whatever.
See, weíve never been as worried about the wedding as we were about the marriage, and particularly about the physical love nest. So we set a long engagement, and kind of set the timeline around the housing market. Because we didnít feel we could be married until weíd secured a house in a certain area. And thatís not feasible until at least two years from now. So, while we were in deep talks about that, people around us were asking about the wedding. And weíd be like, ďUmÖ two years from nowÖ string quartet, samba band, and DJ.Ē
But now, the stars have aligned such that it makes more sense for us to live together in my house. And, now that thatís happening, weíre like, ďWait, why do we need a wedding, again?Ē
Itís kind of like: living together was the final step, so why do we need an expensive middle step? You know?
Itís kind of like: why spend on a wedding, money that would be better spent on, say, a trip to Europe? Where we could hire an Italian homeless person to pose as a priest for a few photos to send back home? You know?
So, thatís where itís at right now. In case anyoneís interested in that aspect of this eleven-year-long narrative. Plans subject to change, of course. Subject to Pricing, Funds, and Comp. Everything on Earth is subject to change, right? Even rocks, albeit very slowly.
(Every time I write ďsoonĒ for a subtitle, I think of the My Bloody Valentine song of the same name. Do you?)
Pretty soon, Iím going to announce dates/times/locations for readings for my novel, Houston, We Have a Problema, which is coming out January 9th.
Iíll go ahead and tell yíall right now that there arenít going to be many physical readings. I feel guilty about this, because every time someoneís asked me in the past, Iíve been all glib, ďEast Chickenfoot, Arkansas? Yeah, sure, Iíll do a reading there in January or February.Ē But itís not actually like that. My publicist peeps have done the math, and they think online and media efforts sell more books than physical readings around the country.
SoÖ if youíre a book blogger or media peep who wants to review my book or interview me or otherwise be involved in some way when this book comes out, now is the time to tell me, so I can put you on the list or put you on the calendar. Actually, tell me also if youíre hosting any literary events or own a bookstore and would like to have me visit. Iím not supposed to invest a lot of time/energy/$ in readings out of state, but I am going to do a few, even if itís only for the excuse to travel around a little and write it off on my taxes. :)
So, yeah. Contact me now. Our operators are waiting to take your call. Buy my product. Get a giant one for her pleasure and doesnít leave you. All systems go. See you soon. And thanks.
Gwen 6:08 PM # (13) comments
Thursday, August 07, 2008Not again!
Sheila: I'm about to go look at your buffalo head princess
Sheila: but you should call me and tell me about the australians. that bewildered me
but I have to do DDR first for 40 min, bc I ate pizza. okay? i call you around 9, from my bed.
hurry and look at buck rogers and the princess
Sheila: lol i see it. im completely lost
me: in love with her, you mean?
and her futuristic stripper dancing?
Sheila: hes ridiculous
me: i know!
his stupid face!
PS, my dad dances like that when he's super drunk.
Sheila: its called gettin down
me: or used to
that's woman's body isn't even that good, and yet i love her
Sheila: oh my god
im watching again
me: then you have to go to youtube and see all the parodies of it
and then drunken batman dancing
Sheila: oh my jesus
thats the most ridiculous thing ive seen, maybe ever
me: bidi bidi bidi
can what i just watched be embedded?
me: adam west in the '60s. with a chick named molly
embedded: don't know
Sheila: how do i find drunk batman
" a large fresh orange juice, please"
Sheila: shes hot
me: i like how Robin's jerking off in the car
Sheila: she acts like kim cattrall
does batman special mean something sinister
me: i knew you'd like her, btw
i thought it meant bartender stocked oj just for batman
Sheila: hhahaha what the fuck is robin doing
Ďyou Interest me, strangelyí
me: he's jerking it to the sight of batman dancing, obvs
Sheila: is he showing off his satiny satiny gloves?
i always liked him. and his gayness
i was a kindergarten fag hag
Sheila: oh my god
shes so useless
me: who? the chick?
Sheila: lmao that was the best collection of videos, ever
yeah, when he falls she starts screaming before it happens and then steps away like she's avoiding something disgusting
hilarious body language
me: that's how women had to be back then.
avoiding the ODs, the vomit
Sheila: cradling his satin cape in the crook of his satiny arm
i know - haha - it seems really realistic
like, AHHH! i cant believe im dancing with a drunk!
me: he's a real satin man/ sitting in his satin land/ making satin satin satin nobody...
i feel like i might be 10 or 11 and we're watching this new series called batman
me: it's almost time for me to leave you and do DDR. don't let it hurt your feelings when that happens.
Sheila: i will not. i have to go -- ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh i remember now - i have to go walk the dog
like, 10 minutes ago
[hating and ranking deleted]
Sheila: why you always gotta be the mom, yo
me: because my uterus is all stretched out already
i tried to be the big sister. maybe that's what happened, instead
Sheila: its not all you though
not to get into this again
but people just expect that of you
me: i guess
but i must radiate that vibe
probably its you
me: i do it whenever i'm trying to be helpful
can't help it.
learned it at my aunt's knee
it's okay. i'm a good mom.
Sheila: you try to make people comfortable in a certain way
me: why not share the... whatever
Sheila: thats occasionally maternal
me: yeah -- with my boobs
(milk = both. you said it.)
Sheila: lol hahahaha
me: i felt bad for [delete]
but i was like "get used to it"
LIFE IS BREAST MILK, BITCHES
Sheila: was she traumatized?
me: maybe a little, for now
she'll get over it with a quickness
me: IT'S ALL BODILY FLUIDS. DO NOT DIFFERENTIATE
you're right. sadness
but she'll get over it, and ask him to go back.
sorry for all caps. i slightly manic
Sheila: me too. is ok.
me: iz oks
Sheila: you have mastered the lolcats and i have, not.
HA i knew youd know
i bought a lamp today
me: iz oks. i still wuvz u.
Sheila: jesus. too much cute
Sheila: from bj oldies.
no, so much hate for ikea now
now that i have world market furniture, i have no desire to walk through that nonsense
its that milk white glass
Sheila: thats my breaking news. everything else from today has been very boring, but the lamp is nice.
plus your boobs look good lately. don't forget that.
Sheila: oh yeah? oh, in that shirt
me: and the pool photo
u can haz weihgt gainz?
Sheila: lol haha, well they're floating in both those circumstances
i can haz?
yes please, thank god.
Sheila: ok im going to go walk the dog and you go do your ddr and ill talk to you later on
thats an appropriate expression of laughing for longer than a second isnt it?
Sheila: jesus. call me later. bye
me: byes 8:30 PM # (2) comments
Monday, June 16, 2008Advice for Girls and Boys
Boys first. Boys, girls don't want to have sex with boys who:
1. have to make sure their friends approve of their sex partners, first.
2. talk about sex and violence interchangeably. ("I'll shoot it in your eye, man!")
3. make it obvious that, once a girl has sex with them, every aspect of it will be discussed with his friends.
Come on, boys. Grow up. (Or admit that you'd don't really want girls to sleep with you. That's okay, too.)
Girls! Girls, nobody likes girls who:
1. constantly use sexual behavior to get attention.
2. constantly compare themselves to other girls.
3. think that attention from males is the most important thing on earth.
Unless... we're talking about a boy who wants to have sex. A boy who wants to have sex with a girl will put up with all of the above and more. But then, even he will get tired of it and move on to something else.
I had a lot more to tell y'all, but it all just slipped out of my mind. Man.
More later, then. Don't forget the poetry workshop on Sunday. I'm making worksheets for it this week.
Unless you're a psycho stalker, of course. No psycho stalkers invited. Sorry, guys. Maybe next time.
I just read E.M. Forster's Maurice. Before that, I read a bunch of Henry James. Before that, I read Gregory MacGuire's Son of a Witch. All of those were good.
Before that, I read a little bit of Etgar Karet's Bus Driver Who Wanted to Be God. Before that, I read A.M. Homes' The Mistress's Daughter. Before that, I read Madeleine L'Engle's Camilla, which I thought was awesome when I was a middle-schooler but which now cracked me up with its heavyweight self-importance and which saddened me with its romanticization of domestic violence.
Before that, I read Nicholson Baker's The Fermata, which was funny and clinically interesting.
I need more books to read. Lightweight books that fit in my purse on the bus.
That's all now. More later. 7:53 PM # (5) comments
Thursday, January 03, 2008Happy 2008
Did you have a good New Year's Eve? We did. My boyfriend Tad and his friends threw a party. At first, no one RSVPed on our Evite, because they all had clubs or hotel parties to attend. So we assumed it'd just be our core group of four couples, minus the couple who just had a baby. I thought we'd just drink and play cards, you know?
But a couple of people showed up. Then, as the night went on, people would call one of the hosts and ask what we were doing. And the host would say, "We're staying home because we don't want to mess with parking and traffic and the weather and all that shit. Come over if you want." And, by midnight, we had a pretty sizeable group of people, many of whom I'd never met before, but all of whom were awesome. Has that ever happened to you -- that you throw a party and it lines up with the planets such that every single person attending is either smart, funny, sexy, or all three? No jerks, no vomiting? That's what happened. Everyone was awesome, even to the point that they helped us clean up. Tad went to bed at 5:30. I went to bed at 7 AM, only because the sun was coming up and the people I was hanging with in the garage had a long drive home.
It was fun. It was a good start to the new year.
Quick List of Recent Annoyances
I have to get this out of my system.
1. People who block the intersection on red lights.
2. People who look at your jacket and scarf and gloves and not only have to let you know that they aren't bothered by the cold, but that you're a wussy/whiner/baby for needing a jacket. Bonus annoyance: Flashing back to that 80 degree day last summer, when you were comfortable but that person was sweating profusely and whining about the heat, but you sympathized with her, because you're not an asshole.
3. People who bring up your good news in conversation, and then call you a show-off because of it. Like, "Have you lost weight? Show off!" or "Is that a new blouse? Show off!" or "Are you a generally happy person? Show off!"
4. People who go out of their way to look cool, and who ignore you at social gatherings because you don't look cool enough, and who pretend not to recognize you in public, even though you've met them more than once. Bonus annoyance: If/when those people later decide you're cool ("You write books? I'm trying to write a book! Who's your agent? We should have lunch!") and suddenly act all friendly, as if their previous rudeness never occurred.
5. Networking events, because they're completely filled with people like the ones described above, and because I don't want to walk around with cheese and cheap wine in my hands, being judged by these people. And I don't like bragging that I'm a writer ("Show off!"), especially not to people like that. I would rather sit home and write, or attend a party where everyone already knows I'm a writer and no longer cares, or stand up on stage and read my books to people who are there because they like my writing, and not because they think I can do something for their careers.
6. People who dislike you and go out of their way to show it in the pettiest way possible (by forwarding jokes and "inspirational" emails to everyone in the department but you, by bringing baked goods and personally informing every person in the department except you)... but then expect you to greet them in the halls and introduce them to your boyfriend and/or fiance. And make a face of disbelief when you ignore them. As if you would want to contaminate your boyfriend and/or fiance with the misery that exudes from their pores.
The planets have plans for you in 2008. Even Planet Pluto. Even Planet Chiron.
All my horoscopes, as well as the moon phase planning guide my dad gave me for Christmas, have been telling me that this is the year I will succeed... if I first examine my habits and attitudes, and get over something I've been reluctant to get over.
I'm thinking it's the networking thing. Planets Pluto, Chiron, and Blitzen, in my Fifth House of Marketing, are asking that I get over my reluctance to brag and start up some serious self-promotion. (Say it: "Show off! SHOW OFF!")
There are things I've wanted -- writerly things -- that I've been afraid to ask for because I don't think I'm good enough yet. Like grants, or writer jobs, or bigger speaking fees. Because, you know, I'm never good enough, in my own mind. (If I were already good enough, I wouldn't have to work so hard, would I? :) )
Meanwhile, though, I see people with far fewer credentials than me, and they're getting the things I want. They're like, "Hi! I'm Mindy! I'm a writer!! My friend published my poem in his zine, and I have a novel outline in a shoebox under my bed!!!" And they're now teaching Creative Writing at Purdue. Or whatever.
And now it's to the point where even I think it's ridiculous. You know? I'm like, "Gwen. Come on. Seriously. What the hell are you doing? Stand up, declare yourself, and get what's rightfully yours."
But... I don't want to. You know? That's a difficult thing for me. You think I'm a narcissist, and you're right, but I'm still insecure, and I still have deep-seated fears of people calling me a show off. What happened to the time when writers could just stay home, drinking and writing, mailing pages to their agents, and get paid? Offered jobs? Showered with appropriate amounts of recognition, no matter how hard they tried to hide?
Maybe those days never really existed. The more experience I get, the more I suspect that those myths were carefully manufactured by people who were really good at networking.
So that's my first resolution for this year, then. Get over the last vestiges of insecurity, and move on with my life. I might regret posting all this, later today. If so, that probably means it really needed to be said.
All those long paragraphs were written in order to weed out the anti-fans
, the haters, the misery spreaders, the train-wreck seekers, the ojo givers, the bad vibe emanators.
All of those people are gone now and their negative energy has dissipated. So I can tell you: I'm engaged. Tad and I are engaged now. It happened on my birthday. I am happy.
And that's all the news on that now. There's no date set. Therefore, I can't answer questions about any weddings, any babies, or any shared funeral plots. (His sister's literal first question, upon hearing the news: "But aren't your tubes tied?" My response, "Uh, no, they aren't. Wait... what? the? what?") (I love his sister, though. Love you, Susan!)
I will say this: Even though I'm a feminist and I believe that marriage is an outdated institution and that society pressures people to conform to ridiculous, meaningless traditions... etc.... I did get this little frisson of excitement when I realized that I now have every right to peruse bridal magazines.
Even though I've seen them before, and I think they're boring, and I know they're all from the perspective of a culture that's neither Tad's nor mine. So I don't really even want to look at them. But I like knowing that I can, now, without worrying about what other people think.
So that's my good news, y'all, and that's all for this entry. Hope y'all's 2008 is good so far. I hope your planets are all lining up. 5:52 AM # (54) comments
Monday, December 03, 2007A Plainclotheshorse
Sometimes I want to tell y'all what I find at the thrift stores, and maybe post pictures of my finds, but then I don't, because I've realized that I like pretty boring clothes.
Today, for instance, I am wearing black pants, a white shirt, and a fuchsia silk cardigan ($1.91 with orange tag markdown). And black loafers. And no jewelry, because I forgot it. And that's pretty much about as exciting as my wardrobe gets, unless I bust out a dress or the knee-high boots or something.
The other day I found a brand new pair of brown, unembellished, Unlisted loafers at my second-favorite thrift store, for $6.97. I found one of them on the floor, and I searched the store until I found its mate. And I was so ecstatically happy. "I should take a picture of these and put them on my Flickr page!" I said to myself. Then I realized how underwhelming a picture of brown loafers would be.
Oh, well. I'm still happy about them.
But, if you'd like to see something semi-exciting, go on over to my Flickr page and see that paintings I did to go above my fireplace.
The YouTubes and the CSSes and the BloggerWriters and the InterWebs
I feel kind of sad about the fact that I haven't posted anything on YouTube yet. I feel un-Web-pioneer-y. I even have stuff to post -- two or three readings and lectures I did that people were kind enough to videotape for me and then make DVDs for my use, to post on YouTube as I'd promised I would. And I haven't yet done it. I even have the video editing software on my computer. I just haven't had time to get it done.
Other information highway merge lanes I haven't had time to drive on:
- podcasting with the MP3s I have of myself reading and yakking at radio show hosts
- putting something about my books on the domain GwendolynZepeda.com
- getting on any writer-y sites and telling people I'm a writer
- updating the design of this here blog
How do y'all web mavens have time to do all this stuff? Is it because you do it as a career? Is it because you don't have 28 kids, like I do? Are you doing it at your day jobs? Are you tricking high school students into being your web content interns? Help me, ObiWanKenobis. Tell me your secrets.
It just takes time, I guess. Maybe I can do something on the web, next time I feel like painting a bunch of birds and hanging them up above my fireplace.
Weekend Adventure: Farmers' Market
One of my kid's friends spent the weekend with us, which was all the excuse we needed to conduct weekend adventures. We dragged that little boy to the Asian grocery store to see the live frogs and purchase cha siu for the fried-rice feast my boyfriend later cooked. We dragged him to a park that we'd never seen before, and that park ended up having bison and pigs and emus, oh my! We sought out a new (to us) carniceria, next door to our second favorite panaderia and ate a fabulously traditional Mexican Sunday breakfast of tacos, pastry, and insanely spicy hot sauce.
After we dropped the boy off at his home, my boyfriend dropped me off at my favorite thrift store for a few hours, which is always a very exciting adventure, for me at least. (Three skirts in gray and taupe! A light blue button-down!) Then we reconvened at Empire, which is the best coffee house in Houston.
(Please don't write and tell me that Brazil or Dietrich's are the best. They aren't. Empire is. Sorry.) (Just kidding. Feel free to tell me which is your fave, and why. I always want to know y'all's fave restaurants in Houston, okay?)
Best of all, though: We went to the farmers' market on Airline, which neither Tad nor I had been to since we were children. The Airline farmers' market is, as my youngest son put it, a "fleamarket of food." Their restrooms are nastier than those of the nightclub #s. But still -- they have beautiful fruits, vegetables, spices, and herbs for dirt cheap. We're going back again very soon. Every single week for the rest of our lives, maybe.
I've been meaning to tell y'all this for weeks now...
I no longer like Billy Joel's music.
You know why? Because, the other day, I heard a song of his I hadn't heard since I was a kid with snot running down my nose and no sense of what was happening in the world. That song was "Big Shot."
Here is the chorus and two verses of the song:
Because you had to be a big shot, didn't you
You had to open up your mouth
You had to be a big shot, didn't you
All your friends were so knocked out
You had to have the last word, last night
You know what everything's about
You and to have a white hot spotlight
You had to be a big shot last night
They were all impressed with your Halston dress
And the people you knew at Elaine's
And the story of your latest success
Kept 'em so entertained
But now you just can't remember
All the things you said
And you're not sure you want to know
I'll give you one hint, honey
You sure did put on a show
Well, it's no big sin to stick your two cents in
If you know when to leave it alone
But you went over the line
You couldn't see it was time to go home
What the hell is this guy's deal? The narrator of this song is mad at some chick because... why? Because she talked a lot? Because her friends were "knocked out" and "entertained" by her stories? Because she wore an expensive dress?
Maybe I'm just reading way too much into it (as I will sometimes do with lyrics when I'm in my van, listening to the radio during my 1.25 hour commute), but it sounds like the narrator just can't hang with women getting attention. Maybe attention that he feels is rightfully his?
Read those lyrics, then consider the lyrics to "Uptown Girl," which Mr. Joel presumably wrote later:
She's been living in her uptown world
I bet she's never had a backstreet guy
I bet her momma never told her why
You know I can't afford to buy her pearls
But maybe someday when my ship comes in
She'll understand what kind of guy I've been
And then I'll win
Watch out, uptown girl! Don't do it! Don't marry this backstreet guy, because every time you want to have a little fun with your friends or dress up a little or tell anyone about your accomplishments, he'll ridicule you and your white-bread world. Then, years later, after he's erroded your self esteem, the two of you will divorce and then he'll replace you with a younger woman too meek to hold her own on a cooking contest show!
Just kidding. Heh. I'm sure Billy Joel is a very nice person, and his song narrators are no reflection of his own views on women. I just like to listen to music and make up funny little stories for myself when I'm alone in my van.
When I was a child, I memorized lyrics without thinking about them. I also liked Billy Joel and hated Bob Seeger.
But now that I'm older, I can't help but think about lyrics. Do I want to listen to songs that say "Ha, ha, you rich bitch, I did donuts on your lawn with my motorcycle," or lyrics that say "I had sex with a rich woman in Hollywood and it was awesome, and now I'm an old, worn-out cliche of a rock star and I only have myself to blame"?
Or do I want to go back to my old favorite, with lyrics that say "It seems like we really hate women, but then again, we did steal most of this music from black musicians nowhere near as famous as us"? Now that Led Zeppelin's having a little comeback, I mean.
Silverfish, silverfish! It's Christmas time in the city!
I decorated our Christmas tree (Douglas fir, $17 at Lowe's with $10-off coupon) last night.
I'm not even going to tell y'all about the all-new holiday trauma tradition we started, which involved the whole family and the meticulous slaughtering of the silverfish that have been breeding in our garage, in the boxes that came over from our apartment more than a year ago, which contained all our Christmas ornaments and decorations.
I'm not even going to tell you about it.
Suffice it to say that tree is up, the garage is clear, and my children will grow up with beautiful holiday memories -- the strains of "Deck the Halls" intertwined with the dulcet tones of their mommy's voice, screaming, "There's one! KILL IT!" and "Bang it on the floor until they all fall out!" and "Because I gave birth to you, that's why!"
Beautiful. Priceless. You're welcome, kids. I love you, too. 6:04 AM # (14) comments
Saturday, November 24, 2007reminder of what I have
2007 has been a disappointing year for me, for various reasons beyond my control. A year of rejections, failures, unexpected expenses and medical dramas. I'm calling it, in my mind, a year of learning experiences and character strengthening.
The one thing I have been able to control is my own body--namely, how much I eat and how much I exercise. (And I know that's the seed of anorexia: focusing on controlling your own body when you feel powerless to control anything else. But don't worry; I'm very, very far from that.) So I've failed at increasing my income this year, but I succeeded at decreasing my weight.
So I need new clothes. And I'm broke. And I have a whole wardrobe of clothing that doesn't fit me anymore. So I thought I'd have a garage sale. But I couldn't, because my neighborhood association won't let us. And no one else I knew could get it together to have one... and selling clothes on eBay or Craigslist is too much work for too little money... But I was hoarding these bags of too-big clothes, thinking I'd sell them one way or another and then use the money to buy new clothes.
And then, the other day, my friend Letty, who works for the local women's shelter, called me up. I was walking around the clearance dress racks at Macy's when she called, in fact. She said, "Do you still have those clothes that are too big for you?"
I said yes. She said, "Would you consider donating them to the shelter? They just called me and said they desperately need clothes in that size."
I said uh, yeah, I guess, maybe. She said, "You don't have to give them all of it. They just really need work clothes and underwear."
I said, "Underwear? Y'all take underwear? I was just gonna throw mine away. I never donate underwear because that's kind of weird, you know? I mean, who wants old underwear?"
She said, "Well, sometimes women who come to the shelter have just been raped. So their underwear gets cut off of them when they're being examined. And, you know, we have clothes to give them, but we don't always have underwear--especially in the bigger sizes. So, you know, they just come to us..."
And I said okay, and I went home and got all the clothes together. And I went through my underwear drawer and pulled out the stuff that was fit to give away, and I tried not to think about how horrible it would be to have your underwear cut off, and then to move to a new place, full of strangers, with borrowed clothes and no underwear on your body. Or to try to start a new life with nothing but borrowed clothes, or literally no clothes at all. Not a wardrobe full of things that are a little too big, not a closet full of things you're a little bit tired of, but literally nothing.
Houston Area Women's Shelter needs larger sized work clothing and underwear, y'all. Especially sizes 20 and up. And winter coats. And toilettries. And diapers. And everything, all this stuff we take for granted.
I gave Letty the clothes and then we had lunch, and we talked about a lot of stuff. I've known Letty since Kindergarten, and we don't have lunch as often as we should, but when we do, we always end up discussing massive things. Because we are massive-issue-discussing friends. Which is good. It unblocks our minds.
One of the things we talked about was fear of poverty versus the ennui of middle class existence. Most people educated in America know of middle class ennui, because we read about it. It's like, the prevailing experience of our literary canon, right? So I knew about it, but I didn't really understand it until I became middle class.
I just bought a house, and Letty's agonizing over whether or not to buy a house, and we both see now what it is--a huge financial commitment to a lifestyle you're not sure you want to live for the life of your mortgage. And, if you fail (foreclose), then you aren't just a failure--you're a failure with worthless credit. Marked for life.
And Letty's been wanting to go to grad school, but says she's afraid to be broke. AKA poor. (I hope she doesn't mind me telling you this. Letty, tell me if you mind and I'll delete.)
Assuming everyone reading this has a little money, and therefore access to a computer and time to read this entry: Did you grow up poor? If so, then you know what it means to be afraid of returning to poverty. Did you grow up rich or middle class? If so, know that all your friends who grew up poor and scratched their way up are secretly, desperately afraid to turn poor again.
So I understood what Letty was saying, on the house count and on the grad school count. And I told her that, even though having a house makes me completely broke (AKA land-poor), I don't mind because this time, I'm controlling my poverty. This time, I look at my budget and make conscious decisions. There's no shame in being broke--in eating ramen noodles, buying thrift store clothes--if I've made the decision to do so in order to hold on to my house. And, if I decide to sell my house and go back to renting, it'll be a slight failure, but again, something I controlled.
It's winter now in Houston, finally. And it's the holidays. That means that, all over town, people who grew up poor are experiencing PTSD, and coping with it in various ways. Turning the heat up high. Not turning the heat up at all. Spending lots of money at the mall. Not spending money at all. Clinging to family. Avoiding family. Reliving old habits and trying to make sense of them. Creating new habits and trying to move on.
I turned up our heat a little today, because I think it's worth paying to be warm. I've been taking things out of storage--things people gave me that were kind of a pain to store all summer when we lived in an apartment. Tea pot. Coffee press. Warm slippers. Sweaters and coats.
And you know what? I'm glad I have these things, and people who love me enough to give them. And I'm especially glad that I have this little snail-shell house. Meaning it's heavy on my back, but it holds all the things that we need. In all senses of those words.
Last night we went to local club Rich's to see Felix da Housecat. Because he always puts on a good show, and Rich's is our favorite venue. And, guess what? Felix wasn't there. There was a hand-written sign on the register saying he was in the hospital, and that cover would be free, and that our pre-purchased tickets would be good for when Felix rescheduled.
I hope he isn't really hospital-worthy sick. I hope he just felt like flaking. But if he's really sick, I hope he gets well soon.
The opening act DJs did their best to make it up to us. They did a pretty good job.
After Rich's, we went to South Beach. South Beach is one of Houston's premier gay clubs. The reason we go there is JD Arnold. JD Arnold is, pretty much, Houston's best DJ. He used to work at Rich's for years and years and years. Then he went to South Beach (which is, incidentally, the phoenix risen from the literal ashes of hate-crime-ruined Heaven, as some of you will remember).
And then, JD Arnold left South Beach, apparently. Recently, I think. Because he was there last time we went, several months ago, and now he's not.
"What happened to JD Arnold?" I asked the door guys.
"Who?" they said. "Who is that?"
"Hey, what happened to JD Arnold?" I asked a bartender who was running around.
"Who?" he said, just like the caterpillar with the hookah in Alice in Wonderland.
A bunch of employees gathered together, then, and complained about some customer hitting on or failing to hit upon one of their number. I was kind of tipsy, so I said it again. "Hey, you guys, what happened to JD Arnold?"
They looked at each other, made faces, rolled eyes, and said in a haughty chorus, "Who?"
Then I got it. "Y'all are mad at him, aren't you? Y'all are, like, never saying his name in this club again?" They lifted eyebrows and scattered like feathers on the wind.
I still don't know what happened. South Beach hasn't updated their web site, either.
Last month we went to see DJ Sasha at Bar Rio. I know none of y'all listen to the music I listen to, and y'all probably just mentally blip over my long descriptions of the DJ shows. But, if you've read this far, know that in my fantasies of a post-lottery-winning wedding, I'm wearing a fuchsia silk cheongsam with embroidered peonies, and Sasha is DJing our reception. Got me?
A man called Spooky opened up that night, and he did very well. He's an older guy, looks like an extra on a Lord of the Rings set, in t-shirt and jeans. Not ranking on his looks at all--just saying he didn't look like you might expect a DJ to look. But he played like a mofo, so we loved him with all our hearts, right at that moment.
Then Sasha came out, and I was so, so excited, and I was right up there in the front where I could breathe his air...
... and he played this set that he later described as minimalist (in response to complaints, I think), but which I would describe as easy-listening techno. And I was sad, and disappointed. And I respect that he wants to try new stuff, and that he may be chilling out as he gets older, but, dude...
don't come to a dance club and play undanceable music.
Now I'm thinking JD Arnold will have to play at my wedding. If anyone can find him. If he hasn't been run out of Houston by the local velvet mafia, I mean.
I painted a bunch of paintings--commercial interior dec stuff like they teach you to do on Trading Spaces--and they came out nice, and I'm happy. And it felt good to make stuff off the top of my head, with no pressure.
Try some crafting today. Start a holiday tradition. Put your dinette set in storage and make your family a crafting room. Let the cat help by stepping all over your drying canvases. (Because, of course, mine did. Thanks, Starbuck!)
Okay, that's all. More later. Thanks for listening. 3:35 PM # (17) comments
Tuesday, August 28, 2007No One Knows What It's Like to Be the Fat Pants
Okay, so only some of y'all will recognize this feeling that I'm about to describe. But I'll go ahead and describe it. You know how, when you cross the peril-fraught borderline between PlusSizeLand and MissesWorld, suddenly PlusSizeLand, the land in which you've lived for so long, looks like total hell?
I've yo-yo'ed back down to the weight at which I can shop at the roomier not-plus-size stores, and in the Misses' sections of department stores. Granted, I'm only talking about tops and skirts, here -- not pants -- and I still have to root for XLs and the biggest of the misses' number sizes on those tops and skirts.
So I went shopping last week, for myself as well as for my kids, because most of my clothes have gotten cartoonishly big and I needed a few new things. First, I rooted through all the misses' stuff and picked out the few XL items I liked. Then, if I didn't get very much there, I'd shift up to the Women's World sections, or on to Lane Bryant.
And you know what? I didn't want to shop in those places anymore. Just looking at their mannequins made me feel ill. You know why? No, not because I hate my former fat self, or because I didn't want to be reminded of it. It was because women's plus size clothing is UGLY. It's so effing ugly.
You don't realize, if you've been shopping in plus size for a while, how categorically ugly it is. Or maybe you do, and therefore you hate to shop. That's how I'd been for the past couple of years. I hated to shop, and when I did shop, I only bought the simplest things. Black pants and solid color shirts or twinsets. For the weekends, dark jeans and black tops. Not because I wanted to dress like that every day, but because I didn't want the plus size alternatives -- pink pants with blue stripes, beige suits with sequined appliques, purple flowered dresses with purple polyester panties...
So, now that I can fit into misses' sizes (sometimes), I can't even bear to go back to the "women's" sections. It's too sad. It's like a former prisoner going back to see his jail. Why would he?
Plus-size retailers: Please make better clothes. Look at Old Navy -- they make the same clothes in all sizes. Granted, they're cheesy clothes that fall apart at the drop of a price tag, but they're equally cheesy for all sizes. Come on, y'all. Fat chicks want normal clothes, too.
(Everything I say about fatness has been said before, I know. I think Wendy at Pound already said this a long time ago, about how all the plus size clothes have weird sequined appliques and stuff. Hey, look, even better -- she said something a long time ago about how the media hates Torrid because if Torrid tells white teenaged girls it's okay to be fat, then fewer white teenaged girls will be available for mainstream porn. Hell yes, Wendy! I just remembered reason 37 why I love you, all the way back since before 2005.)
So, um... yeah. As my weight wanes, my bad clotheshorse habit threatens to return. See you at Ross Dress for Less, where I'm tunneling like a mole through the aisles.
(What is a clotheshorse, by the way? Does anyone know what that actually means?)
I hope no one was put off by that last topic.
I mean, I hope no one Googles my name and then reads stuff about my diet or my feelings about plus-sized clothing, and then decides not to give me a job, or not to give me a writing award, or not to look for me on Match.com, or not to be my cyber-friend anymore, or not to say hi to me on the elevator, or to mention me in an article about someone else's blog and call me a "whiny weight loss blogger."
Tomorrow or the next day, I'll tell y'all a story about real life, okay? I have this story that I've been reading around town, about a real person, and people who have heard it keep asking me why I don't publish the story or put it on my blog or print it out on fliers and circulate it via telephone poles. So... tomorrow. Or the next day, at the latest. I will tell y'all the story, and hopefully you'll like it. Prepare to qualify.
A Dangerous Obsession
A while back, I was talking to a professional-type person about stress and ways of coping with stress.
"I've been kind of stressed-out lately," I told her, "and I get irrationally worried about things... and so I've been coping with it by thinking about Christmas."
"Christmas?" she said.
"Yeah," I said. "Sometimes, when I get super stressed out by the whole single-mom-trying-to-support-three-kids thing, I let myself get obsessed with Christmas -- you know, what gifts I'm gonna give, what food I'm gonna cook -- instead of, you know, drinking or doing drugs or driving my car off a cliff. It's kind of weird, I know, but it really helps me to calm down."
She said, "Obsessing about Christmas is a waste of time. Have you considered Wellbutrin?"
It kind of hurt my feelings when she said that, so I left her office and didn't go back. Instead, I went to the library and checked out 101 Things to Make for Christmas and A Southern Living Christmas and Christmas with Better Homes and Gardens. I even tried something new and checked out a Thanksgiving cookbook.
And now I feel great. Now I feel just awesome, and it didn't cost me a copayment or prescription.
You know the part of Charlie Brown's Christmas special where the kids wave their hands all over the sad little tree and it turns awesome? Well, the tree is me. You know the part where Charlie Brown pays Lucy five cents to give him psychological advice, and then he leaves her booth feeling worse than before? That is not me. I am not Charlie Brown. See, Charlie Brown is a cynic. I, on the other hand, am a consumer. Get it? Charlie Brown is just reading the wrong craft books, and shopping at the wrong stores.
Okay. Just a little pin prick.
That's all. I just wanted to warm up my frozen fingers with some fast stream-of-conscious typing. Because, you know, Houston is the most air-conditioned city in the world, and therefore it's August and I'm freezing my face off. I'm wearing hose and a sweater and a wool skirt, because the AC is killing me in this town.
I told my boyfriend, "Oh, no, I accidentally dressed like an anime person today." And he goes, "You mean the sexy school girl?" And I go, "No, the frumpy maid who gets tentacle raped by her boss or whatever." And he nodded sympathetically. "I still love you," he said. "Shut up," I told him. "Stop your lying."
For lunch, we went to our favorite pho place, where I watched two Asian girls in grey pantsuits force a skirted Caucasian girl to eat a heaping spoonful of grass jelly, red beans, and packed snow. (Not really snow, but it looked like it.) And my Asian boyfriend was like, "I don't even eat that stuff," and I was like, "I know." And the Caucasian chick looked nervous as hell, taping her stiletto heel crazily under the table. I thought maybe her boyfriend was Asian, and she was having lunch with his sisters to be nice, and they were being subtly, psychologically cruel to her. Or maybe they were her bosses, even though they were all the same age. Because this Caucasian chick obviously knew her way around the chopsticks and the noodles -- she was slurping her food with the best of them -- but she was still nervous as hell. Maybe it was a gang initiation.
The sub-titles will no longer relate to the content under them. I have decided.
Really, I'm just bored. I want to be back home again, at night, signing more school papers for my kids and hearing that their second day of school went well, even better than the first. I want them to be happy and prosperous. I want us to make Christmas crafts, like a family that's happier than the ones on TV. They want me to read them a book at night. They said the last Harry Potter would be fine, even though they barely remember what happened in any of the previous. "What happened in the last one?" I quizzed. "Uh-h-h-h..." said my youngest. "Dumbledore died," said my oldest, now fifteen and six foot two. (Oops, spoiler, sorry.)
"Okay," I said. "Tonight, we read."
We got a new cat during the summer, and her name is Starbuck, (and please don't email me nagging stuff about pet ownership), and she's kind of tripping out right now. "You never told me you had three kids," she said, when they got home from the summer at their dad's. "I had them for you," I told her. "Now you can get them to pet you, instead of always bugging me." In response, she shed a hundred cat hairs on my pillow case, then slowly walked away, under the bed, to wait for me to sleep, and then to wake me up at 4 AM with noisy cat toys.
We got her from the county shelter. Don't go there unless you want to go home with 3 or 5 new pets. It'll make you sad, seeing all the pets that are waiting there for no one. I put some pictures on my Flickr page, but you can hardly understand them because my camera phone was in a bad mood that day. It made my cat all blurry. But that's okay, really, because I want to respect her privacy. She's not really recognizable in the photo, and Starbuck is her psuedonym. (Her real name is "the cat.") We bought her a water fountain for cats. She only likes it sometimes.
The Carousel of Other People and Their Hormones
My cube-mate has quit her job, and she'll be replaced by the most beautiful woman in our company. Which is fine with me, because the most beautiful woman in our company is also very nice. But it's funny... some of our men are pre-swarming. They're coming by, all like, "So, Gwen, how've you been? Heard you're getting a new neighbor, huh? Yeah, so, um... do you have any sprocket reports or widgets I can lend a hand with, today and every day from now on? Here at your desk?"
And I feel like telling them, "You know, it's okay if you want to use me as your excuse to be near Beautiful Chick. But don't start doing it until she gets here, okay? Just leave me in peace til then -- it won't hurt my feelings."
Other, other people are having the other kind of feelings - not the attracted, but the repulsing. Over at his job, my boyfriend has fallen prey to a Bitter Old Woman. You know -- the kind who is miserable and self-denying, and therefore has nothing better to do than to hate on happy people. The kind who stays at her desk on her lunch hour and monitors how many minutes everyone else spends at lunch with their friends. The kind who has no one to talk to, and so makes careful note of others' personal conversations. The kind who, instead of trying to elevate herself from her own misery, spends every minute of her work day working to drag others down, down, down to her miserable level.
So I sympathize with him. I know that type very well.
I don't care if you've got ten babies.
See how I quoted that song above? "I don't care if you've got ten babies, you can work the stick in my Mercedes"?
I don't have anything to say about babies or cars. That's just a lyric that runs through my mind at random moments. 12:16 PM # (25) comments
Monday, May 21, 2007Dead Bird O Rama
Lately there are more and more dead birds on the plaza around our office building. Last time I walked through the glass-encased walkway, there were three. A couple of weeks ago there was one wedged into one of the benches where the smokers hang out. They usually end up in weird positions. Upside-down and twisted, feathers still bright. It makes me sad. I went online to see if there was something strange going on. But no... a single skyscraper causes the deaths of 200 birds per day, I read.
The other day I was in my mini-van listening to the radio, and a local news station's daily terror-mongering teaser was on. Every day they tell us something new and horrible that we have to tune in at 5 PM to get the details on.
I live in Houston, Texas. As some of you know, a lot of Hurricane Katrina evacuees moved here a couple of years ago. As I mentioned at the time, some Houston residents were bitter about that. So, of course, the local media jumped on that, and they've been jumping on it ever since.
So I'm listening to the radio the other day, and the local news station runs this promo that can be paraphrased like so:
[Ominous music.] Your tax dollars... WASTED. Two years ago, Houston took in New Orlean's poorest citizens when they needed help. Some say they've repaid us with crime, violence, and LEECHING THE SYSTEM. Last week Hurricane Katrina victims left FEMA trailers in shambles. Furniture was stolen and rooms were FILLED WITH HUMAN WASTE. Tonight! On Watchdog TerrorAlert HateMonger News!
I heard all that and thought, "Man, that's kind of cold."
Then, immediately after, kooky, carefree Zydeco music flows from my stereo. It's another commercial, in which a Cajun-esque voice invites me to come on down to New Orleans and enjoy the (newly restored) atmosphere for which it's famous.
Hmm. I bet that if the people who paid for that ad heard the one that immediately preceded it, they wished for a refund.
Meanwhile, they prevailing belief among my set is that all the rich people in New Orleans are probably happy that all their poor people are gone now. They're gone, and they can't afford to come back.
I don't regret that Houston spent money on and made space for the evacuees that we took in. It was the right thing to do, and I'm proud that my hometown did it. However, I think rich people from New Orleans should consider visitng us and spending some tourism money here, instead of the other way around.
Or, you know--someone should plan the commercials better, at the very least.
Big, Wrinkled, Teenaged Girls
I hate it when supposed adults act like immature children. Especially when those adults are older than me. It makes me uncomfortable, and makes me embarrassed for them. Especially when their immature behavior takes place in a professional setting.
No specific story behind this--just a general weariness.
Big, Mean, Passive-Aggressive Public Service Announcement (Because, Apparently, That's the Kind of Person I Am)
If you've semi-recently stopped being my friend (maybe because I told you I didn't want to hang out with you anymore), then please, please, please don't email me. Don't leave me voicemails, and don't write about me on your blog. Or, if you do choose to write about me on your blog, don't take my reading it as a sign that I "can't let go," or that I want to have contact with you. I'm a human being. It's human nature to be unable to resist reading blogs about oneself. Especially when the entries are completely deluded and disjointed from reality. You may check your referrer logs and see that I've been reading, yes. But it doesn't mean I'm obsessed with you. It mostly means that I'm trying to gauge how psycho you're likely to become.
I know that posting this here is passive-aggressive. Why post this for everyone to see and wonder about, instead of just telling the offender directly?
Because I don't want to talk to her. Because I know she's dying for me to talk to her. Hence the constant crazy blog entries, then contradictory, fake-friendly phone calls and emails. I've been through this before and know the routine. She will say or do whatever she can to make me speak to her, and then she'll twist whatever I say into something bizarre that she wants to believe. Actually, in fact, I'm pretty sure that if the psycho is reading this right now, she doesn't even think it's about her. That's how deluded she is.
So let me start again. New open letter: If you are the friend or spouse of someone who stopped being my friend, but who won't stop talking about me, then please, please exert all your influence to keep her from contacting me anymore. Take everything she's told you about me for the last five months, and apply your common sense to it. When she tells you that I used to like her very much, but something mysterious made me stop liking her, know that it was her creepy behavior. When she tells you that I'm a horrible, passive-aggressive, cowardly person because I "made lame excuses" for not wanting to hang out with her anymore, know that I tried to get away from her as politely as I could, with as few of her angry outbursts and veiled suicide threats as possible. When she tells you that I'm obviously disturbed, and that I "just can't let go," go back and read her blog entries about me from the last five months. And then check her cell phone records to see how often she's called me since she first told everyone I was a crazy, mean bitch... even though I never call her. And then check her email and see that she emailed me just the other day, as if we were friends. As if she hadn't spent the last five months publicly disparaging me and thanking God that she's on antidepressants that help her cope with my evil, hateful behavior.
I've been waiting for this to be over for five freaking months now. That's longer than our friendship lasted. How long do I have to wait?
Please, I'm begging you--tell her to leave me alone. If you can't make her stop doing this--to me and probably to every friend she's ever had--and if you can't make her go to counseling, then please, at least make her stop emailing me. Whatever else you may think I deserve, I don't deserve this. I don't like constantly wondering, in the back of my mind, what she's going to do next. I don't like being unable to go places where she lives/works/eats without worrying at least a little that she'll turn up and do something strange.
All I want is to be left alone. In exchange, I will continue not to tell mutual associates what your friend/spouse has been doing, and how effing crazy she is. Thank you. 5:58 AM # (13) comments
Friday, May 18, 2007Ghost Issues
Every year of my life, I try to work on my issues and improve myself as much as possible. This year, I'm working on two main things: Eradicating all passive-aggresiveness from my life (not practicing it, not tolerating it from others), and the ghost-issue of control.
I say ghost issue because it's not something that ever really happens, just something I irrationally fear. Like, for instance, here's a fictional example, okay? Let's say I'm fat, and I want to lose weight, because I want to wear nicer clothes for cheap, all right? And let's say that I'm reasonably intelligent and experienced in these matters, so I know how to lose weight. I've done it before.
But, at the same time, I'm afraid. Maybe every time I try to indulge in a fantasy about weight loss, my mind derails and takes me back to a time when I was thin, and someone hated me for it. Very vividly, instead of being able to think of a dress on clearance at Target, my mind calls up a woman who went to my church twenty years ago, who said to me, in front of the priest and everyone, "But I guess with that cute little figure of yours, you don't have to be smart."
Or it calls up the sensation of a man on the bus, twenty-two years ago, who purposely rubbed against me on the way to his seat. Or it calls up something disgustingly inappropriate that I heard someone say to a thin woman just the other day. Or the completely fictional idea of being raped.
And... this is not a real issue. Because, hello--people say rude things around me all the time, whether I'm fat, thin, purple, or green. There are haters and perverts everywhere, and they victimize whoever they can, no matter what. So why should their opinions matter more if I'm thin?
I have an irrational feeling that my control over my own body extends inversely to the minds of the people around me. As if losing ten pounds will make ten more people try to break my boundaries, and therefore force me to be ten percent more vigilant, or ten percent more afraid. I know it's irrational, especially to people who know me in real life and know that I'm way too much of a bitch-face to get sexually harassed very often. But I still feel this irrational feeling, hypothetically, and therefore I have to work through it.
I try to explain it to my friends, and I'm not sure that they understand. One friend does, actually. She says it's probably PTSD. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, as we all know, can be worked through. All you have to do is identify irrational thoughts, and then rethink them. Like this:
"A lot of people are assholes, but that's no reason to let assholes affect your decisions on what to do with your life."
(Even the hypothetical not-rude, not-offensive behavior starts to upset me. Just thinking about the fact that when I'm thinner, more people talk to me, smile at me, and like me... bothers the living shit out of me. It makes me want to stay fat, sometimes, seriously. I feel like, the people who like me at this weight are the only ones I want as friends. People who only like women of a certain weight, I don't want anything to do with. But that's a different issue, I think. Not a control issue, but rabid, hypersensitive feminism and anti-lookism, and a deep, futile desire to be respected for my mind. :) One of my friends says that this observation is untrue--that people aren't treating me better because I'm thinner, they're treating me better because I'm radiating more happiness and confidence. But I don't believe her. She's only ever been young and thin, and I've been both fat and thin, both young and not-young, so I think I have more bitter, real-life experience with lookism. Unfortunately. Stay gold, Ashley! Stay gold!)
My boyfriend says I had a lot of nightmares last night.
"You had a lot of nightmares last night."
"I did? No, I didn't."
"Yeah. You were all yelling and trying to run in your sleep. Oh, and you had that one where something's wrong with your hand."
"Oh! Did I wake up and tell you my fingers were broken? I dreamed my fingers were all bent the wrong way, and then I woke up and pulled my hand from under the pillow to make sure, and my hand was asleep, so I thought it really was broken, and then I yelled for you to take me to the hospital. But then my hand woke up, so I went back to sleep."
"You always have that dream when I spend the night here."
"I know. It's because, when you're next to me, I don't have any place to put my hand. We need a bigger bed." 6:04 AM # (7) comments
Wednesday, May 09, 2007I've been sparing you.
Haven't posted in a while because I'm in a state of drudgery, and boring, cyclical drudgery, at that. All stuff you've heard before, even down to the fact that I didn't get the last child-support check owed me, and therefore am broke. Same old shit. Same shit, different day.
Watching all that Battlestar Galactica lately has got me thinking: What do you have to look forward to? Obviously, if you're indefinitely stuck on a battleship because robots took over your planet, you're desperate to find things to look forward to. Right? But what about for us peeps on Earth, waiting as we are for Edward James Olmos and his crew to find us? What do we have to look forward to?
I've been asking my friends, and it's interesting to hear their answers. Especially the chronological range. (I think that's the big word I mean.) Some people are looking forward to things that will take place three months from now, like parties and TV shows. Some people are looking forward to more misty future events, like what they'll do when they retire.
Alone at night, before I slept, I tried to count five things I was looking forward to. I counted two that had to do with my next books' release, in Spring 2008, and one that wasn't as much a thing as it was a hope. ("Uh... selling another book? If I do?") And then I told myself that I can always look forward to creating more stuff, books or whatever else, whether I end up selling them or not. And then I fell asleep, I think.
How much of what you look forward to is stuff you can control, and how much is controlled by someone else? I was rereading The House on Mango Street the other day, and identified strongly with the narrator's disgust at her parents looking forward to winning the lottery. And yet, at the same time, thoughts of lottery winning often buoy me up throughout the work day, work week, work year.
I think I can only look forward to things I'll control, to things I plan to do... and then realize my hopes by getting off my ass and doing them. But sometimes I get tired. And sometimes, I run out of money. Also, no matter how determined I get, I can't plan the future very far in advance. (I've never been good at chess, either.)
Next weekend, barring unforeseen bullshit, I'll go to the beach, maybe.
My horoscope keeps saying annoying crap like, "Although it bothers you not to be in control and not to be accomplishing anything, you should take this time to take stock of your strengths and weaknesses. Heal old wounds. Take some time to relax."
I'm going to stop reading it. From now on, I'm only going to read superstitious crap that fills me with optimism. 10:10 AM # (4) comments
Tuesday, April 24, 2007Questions on my Mind Lately
1. Why would a teacher tolerate bullying in his classroom?
2. If a divorced mother is "bat-shit insane," how does that justify a divorced father verbally abusing his own child?
3. Is it just my imagination, or do some men see children only as extensions of their own mothers, and not as human beings in their own right?
You know what I mean? We all know about men who obviously love their current wives' children, but act like their former wives' children don't exist. We all know about men who refuse to pay child support because they see it as funding their ex-wives' leisure. We've seen news stories in which men kill not only their ex-lovers, but also those lovers' children. And we've all seen nature shows on PBS in which animals purposely kill the children of other animals.
So what's up with that? Are some men closer to the animal world, in all its savage nobility, than the rest of us? Or are these just the same old human men we've seen forever, who were trained by other men to believe that women and children are less than human?
4. If I'm such a good person, why am I not teaching? So many messed-up human beings are teaching by default. I claim to actually care about children, so why don't I put my money where my mouth is?
5. If I go to my suburb's Chick-Fil-A on a Friday night, and I see blond jocks and cheerleaders make fun of the high-school students working the counter, what should I do? Should I say really loudly to my boyfriend, "What kind of losers spend their Friday nights making fun of people who have jobs?" Or does that only exacerbate the situation--make me the same kind of bully I despise? 6:24 AM # (14) comments
Friday, March 23, 2007Tired, Cranky
I wrote a long post for you guys earlier, then emailed it to myself for later revision, and then it disappeared. Dammit.
So, instead of posting what I wrote, I will give you guys some free advice. Ready? Here it is:
Never take advice from someone less successful than you.
Right? Am I right? You like that, huh?
When I want money advice, I go to a Republican. Why? Because Republicans love money, and they'll do anything to get and retain it. And they all have more money than me, and they all pay less on their taxes. So I ask them. "Teach me," I say. And, sure, some of their advice is unpalatable to me, and so I don't follow it. But it makes more sense to take their advice than to take that of poor, struggling liberals who work non-profit jobs. And, the same thing goes for the other way around. Why would I ask conservatives for sex advice, when they hate for people to have sex? For that, the struggling liberals are a better source of knowledge. Ha, ha, just kidding. No, I'm not.
When I want relationship advice, I ask people who are in successful relationships. You know? No, seriously... I'm saying, "Do you know any?" Just kidding. Ha, ha.
So finally: When I want career advice, I ask someone who's in my field, who's done more in that field than I have so far. Of course. Hello - why would I ask someone with less experience than me?
Meanwhile, contrary to the logic of everything I've just said, don't you find that people who are less successfull than you are always the ones trying to give you advice?
Why do they do that? I don't know. I can only guess. Maybe they're in denial about how unsuccessful they are. Maybe they're just trying to drag you down. Maybe they want you to learn from their mistakes, now that it's too late for them to do that for themselves.
Either way: When less successful people try to give you advice, don't take it. Just ignore it. You can smile and say, "Okay, thanks," but then leave it at that, you know? And don't feel bad about ignoring their advice, either.
Screw them. Life is too short, and you have a long way to go. 8:31 PM # (9) comments
Friday, March 02, 2007Turning Down the Direct Hit
Someone just asked you out. You know why? Because you're sexy, dammit. Aren't you flattered? Of course you are. And yet, unfortunately, your feelings for the other person are not mutual. You don't want to go out with him/her. So, what next?
You tell him or her the truth.
Ouch, right? Painful for the other person, awkward for you. It's so awkward, I can totally see how you'd want to avoid the whole conversation altogether. I know, because I've been there, and I've given all the wrong answers. And now I know why they're wrong:
Do not lie. Don't say, "Uh, not this weekend, but maybe some other time." You might think that doing that is a nice way to let the other person down, or to hint that you're not interested. But it isn't. It only gives him or her a reason to try again later. Yes, you can reason that, after you've turned the person down three times in a row, he or she will get the hint. But then, you've wasted that person's time, and gotten his or her hopes up for nothing. Why? This person doesn't deserve to be misled just because he or she thought you were sexy. So don't do it.
Don't give him or her the wrong phone number.
I know it's easy to reason that this is a nice method, since it delays the asker's embarrassment until he or she is alone. But it's not nice. It's mean, because it gives the other person even more hope before letting them down. Not only that, but it inconveniences the person whose number you actually gave. (You know--your number with the last two digits transposed. Yeah. The old woman who has that number is tired of getting calls from people who wanted to take you to the movies. She's trying to watch House. Quit bothering her.)
Don't be an asshole.
Don't say, "As if!" Don't say, "Oh, hell no!" Don't say anything rude. Why would you do that? What kind of evil jerk are you? I don't care if the person who asked you out is ugly, smelly, stupid, and has alien genitalia that's incompatible with yours. It still took that person a lot of guts to ask you out, and you need to respect the polite show of interest.
Obviously, if you are that kind of evil jerk, you aren't reading a blog post about how to be polite. So I won't go on and on about how being rude exposes you as someone with low self esteem. I'll just end this paragraph by reminding everyone to treat others as you'd like to be treated.
Here are suggestions for things you can say.
Memorize them if you need to, because I know that you're very sexy and therefore someone is bound to ask you out any moment now.
"No, thank you. I'm flattered, but I never really thought of you in that way."
"Oh, that's so sweet... but no, thanks. I couldn't."
"I'm gonna have to say no. But I would like to stay friends, if that's okay."
"Thank you for asking, but I'm seeing someone else right now."
(If the asker is in your social circle, you shouldn't say this unless it's true. Otherwise, it jacks up future opportunities for you to hook up with mutual friends.)
Here's one my friend Letty told me, for when the asker is being a little ambiguous, as if he/she might actually want your number for networking or to sell you Pampered Chef products or something:
"Why don't you give me your number instead, and I'll call you when I have time."
Then, you don't call. Or, hey--call when you want a Pampered Chef baking stone, and pretend you never realized the interest was romantic. Who could turn down the opportunity to make a sale, platonic or not?
"Dude, I would totally have sex with you right now, on this table, but my husband/wife/cult leader would kill me."
"Thank you, but I'm not looking to date anyone right now. Hey, have you met my friend Samantha?"
How to Respond When Someone Turns Down Your Direct Hit
You just hit on a sexy person, and he or she turned you down. They did it politely, but ouch, that shit hurt. So embarrassing. So disappointing. No one likes to get rejected. It sucks.
I know, because the last time I told someone that I liked him and he told me the feelings weren't mutual, it burned like the heat of a thousand sucks. But at least he told me politely, and for that I'll always be glad.
So. What do you do? You stand there, go "Gulp!" real loud in your throat, and accept the rejection as graciously as you can. Here is what you can say:
"Okay. Well, just thought I'd check and see. Let me know if you change your mind," or
"Okay. Well, you can't blame a guy for trying, can you? [wink]" or
"All right. Well, if you change your mind, you know where to find me," or
"Okay, well, I hope we can still be friends," or
"Aw, man. That was embarrrassing. I appreciate your honesty, though. Later."
Do NOT say:
"What? Why not??" or
"But... but... I thought..." or
"I think you're making a big mistake, because..." or
"Well, then you've been leading me on all this time," or
anything with bad words in it.
Do not argue with the person. He or she knows better than you whether or not he/she wants to date you.
Do not ask for explanations. You can't expect someone to answer that truthfully, anyway. "Because you're creepy. Because you're whiny. Because I'm too materialistic to date someone who makes as little money as you do. Because I'm holding out for someone I'm too scared to ask out."
See how horrible that sounds? You don't want to hear that, do you?"
Do not get angry.
It's okay to feel angry (or hurt, or disappointed), deep inside your mind, alone in your room at night, but you can't act on that feeling, because it's inappropriate. Because--face it--no one owes you a freaking date.
See, the reason so many people don't turn down dates honestly and politely is because either a) they never learned how, or b) the last time they did, someone freaked out and responded with anger, accusations, or incessant demands for a satisfactory reason. Or stalking. Or crying. You know--general awkwardness.
Be as gracious as you can. That way, you leave a good impression. And that leads to the possibility of your target changing his or her mind, or at least hooking you up with his/her friends. 4:43 PM # (4) comments
Tuesday, February 27, 2007Passive Hits
One of the things I've been working on, as far as self-improvement goes, is passive aggressiveness. I'm trying to eradicate all traces of it from my life.
When I was younger, I used to think that the best (safest) way to hit on someone was to do it ambiguously. That way, if they liked you back, they would say so (hopefully). And, if they didn't like you back and said so, you could always deny your interest in the first place.
Now that I'm older and have lived through more things, I've done a complete 180 emotional reversal on this issue. I hate it when people hit on me ambiguously, or express their romantic interest passively. And I see now how inconsiderate that sort of behavior is. Here are all my reasons why:
1. The other person knows that you like her/him, and yet you are giving her/him no opportunity to turn you down.
For example, you think you're clever when you say things like, "So, Cillian Murphy, would you ever date a single mom of three who likes to write? Hee, hee."
Meanwhile, Cillian Murphy is thinking, "I don't want to date you, Gwen." And yet he can't say it, because you didn't ask that question, and he is too well mannered to answer the question you didn't ask.
2. It's creepy.
Like I said, the other person already senses that you like him/her, and yet you never say anything outright, so he/she never says anything outright, and the situation drags on and on and on. And you're content to let it drag, because, that way, you can still fool yourself into believing that your unrequited feelings are secretly mutual. But, meanwhile, the other person is wondering more and more what the hell is wrong with you, and why you can't take a freaking hint.
3. It's the technique that perverts use.
You know how perverts on the subway sneak up next to you, slowly ooze into a fondle or squeeze, and then, if you face them, they say, "Excuse me," as if their touching your ass was an accident?
Don't do that to people. Not physically, and not emotionally. Don't ask for a phone number on false pretenses, then call that person late at night, when you're drunk enough to have the guts. Don't pull the "Oops, I kissed you because I was drunk" maneuver. Don't try the old "I rubbed up against you because I'm half asleep" routine. It fills your victim with complete, utter disgust.
4. It's insulting.
If you're pretending to be someone's friend for months or years on end, solely because you're secretly living for the possibility that that person will "wake up" one day and decide to sleep with you... Then you aren't a very good friend. You aren't a friend at all. You're dishonest and manipulative, and when the other person realizes that, you will totally blow any chance you might have had to score.
5. Most important reason: Confidence is sexy.
It's way, way sexier. So is honesty, even when it's difficult to display. Hasn't it ever happened to you that someone walks up and flat-out asks you on a date, or says, "I find you really attractive"? And, even if you never gave that person a second look before, don't you feel flattered? And, as long as the person is candid-but-not-creepy, aren't you impressed by his/her confidence? If you're a normal person, you are, right? (I'm talking to normal people and not jerks, who aren't worth asking out, anyway.)
Just be honest. Just come out and ask. I could have a million reasons for turning you down. It might be what you're afraid of hearing. I.e., "No. You disgust me. How dare you suggest such a thing."
But, since I'm not a jerk, it would sound more like, "I'm flattered, but no, thank you." And then you'd know for sure, and you could move on with your life.
Or, who knows? The answer could be "Yes. Hell yes!" Or, it could be, "You know, I never thought about you in that way. But now that you've flattered and impressed me, I might." Or, it could be, "I'm not dating right now, but I'll certainly keep you in mind for when I am." Or, it could be, "No thanks, because I have a boyfriend, but how about I introduce you to my friend Samantha?"
But you will never know until you ask. And, if you creep me out instead of just asking, the answer will never be yes. 7:15 PM # (14) comments