Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Sunday, July 25, 2010
I may look and sound all sweet and pure, but on the inside, I’m…I’m…. Actually, I’m neither sweet, nor pure, nor slutty. I think that actually makes me boring, which is the perfect melding of sweet and slutty. But enough about me. I want to tell you a story about my Greek sugar daddy and the summer where I was maybe a little less boring, at least on the surface.
I spent my summers in college working for a conference center as an intern. Basically, I was the conference planner’s bitch, but I got free room and board, even if my soul was not my own. What made this job so freaking fun was that my best friend in college, A, also worked as an intern and together, we would take long breaks, even longer lunches, and joy rides in the company golf cart. We had money to burn and tended to go out to dinner in the evenings, but not with booze or anything, because we were still only 19. One of the places we liked to frequent was this restaurant called Zorbadillo’s. It was a Greek and a Mexican Restaurant. No, not a Greek-Mexican fusion restaurant, but a restaurant with a delicious half menu of Greek food and a half menu of strangely deformed Mexican classics, such as mini crunchy enchiladas. Not yum. Well, the Greek food was fantastic, but the Mexican food was creepy.
The restaurant itself was quite the splendiferous visual experience. The walls were marble, Greek musical dvds were playing on flatscreen televisions high above the tables, and everywhere, there were statues and paintings of Greek art, mostly pseudo-classical stuff. It was a little like eating dinner in an episode of Hoarders featuring a wealthy, Greek man. Every time we went, there was something new to look at.
Speaking of wealthy Greek men, the owner of the restaurant was quite the character as well—a character that took a fancy to me, but ESPECIALLY took a fancy to A. I think she was the visual reincarnation of his first love or something, which is weird because she looks not at all Greek and looks Jewish, which she is. The owner, known as Costas, was a towering Greek man in his early sixties with the world’s most obvious lank, white comb over, which he wore if there wasn’t an occasion for his glossy grey toupee. He was portly, hairy and not dissimilar from the father in My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
One evening, Costas approached our table ostensibly, to check on the meal, but we ended up making formal introductions and staying to chat for quite some time. The next week, he sent over a bottle of wine and told the waitress to make the “lovely girls” happy. He also came over to give us his business card, in case we ever wanted to give him a little call. (Why would 19 year old girls want to call him?) He wrote some key words in Greek on the cards. I believe my word was “Friendship” and A’s word was “Beautiful.” I told you he liked her better than me. He regaled us with stories of Greece, and also stories about his grandmother in Greece, who he was going to visit in a couple of months. The next visit, Costas straight up pulled a chair up to our table, sat down, and motioned for the waitress to come over and take our order. And by “our” order, I mean the food that Costas commanded her to bring, along with a couple of good bottles of Greek wine. He started hinting more about taking us to Greece with him because we would love the beautiful ocean so much and we looked just like two beautiful Greek girls. A and I found it a hilarious adventure, and we kept going back to his restaurant every week, just to see what he would do next. This continued for the duration of the summer. We were 19--give us a break for bad judgment?
On a critical visit, Costas decided he wanted us to eat dessert, but any dessert at Zorbadillo’s was unacceptable. We MUST go find ice cream. And take a ride in his bright blue BMW (I think? I just remember it was fast, expensive and blue) sports car. I think he told us it cost 6 figures. After the ice cream and offers of trips to Las Vegas with him, he took us to his office—several blocks from the restaurant and totally empty, because it was the evening. In retrospect, going with a strange man to a deserted building was not the smartest thing we ever did. Oh, for the stupidity and perky breasts of youth! Oh, I forgot to mention that Costas was a bit of a Colorado Springs real estate magnate—in addition to the restaurant which was his “fun” business, he owned a bunch of property, including a mortuary and a conference center.
His office, he told us, was made entirely out of Greek marble that he had imported from his homeland. I’m not sure if the bearskin rug on the floor was also imported. He took us back there ostensibly to give us gifts—which he did—pricey designer perfume and scented candles. He actually had the perfume in his trunk, but needed to supplement that, because of course, perfume is never a substantial enough gift for two teenage girls that you don’t really know. Again, we got invites to a preliminary Vegas weekend (where we could do all the shopping we wanted!) and then the ultimate, month long trip to Greece. At one point, while he was making desperate sheep’s eyes at A, he told me that it was absolutely necessary that I come along too because they clearly needed a third. I’m unclear whether this was an invitation for a threesome. We hemmed, hawed, and made excuses about having to get up for work, and did not give him a straight answer. When we departed, there was a hopeful glint in his lascivious, aging eyes.
Costas left several phone messages. My friend got a case of the ethical morals, and decided that it would be inappropriate for us to accept the offer of Vegas, Greece, and unlimited shopping. Me, having no such morals and probably much less expectation to put out sexually, was pretty darn disappointed. I always wanted to go to Greece. It was there, on that sad August day, that our source of delicious Greek food, designer perfume, and sports car rides ended. Everybody say awwww….
There’s an epilogue here though. One day, about 4 years later, I’m having lunch with a dude friend on a patio next to a very pretentious steakhouse. It’s maybe, 11:30am, meaning CLEARLY DAYTIME. We see a bright blue sports car pull into the metered spot in front of our restaurant and out steps Costas—who has made the wise decision to forgo both a comb over and a toupee and just shave his head—and a very young Eastern European girl wearing:
1. A cocktail dress (remember people, its 11:30am in Colorado Springs in April. Not cocktail occasion.)
2. Bright red lipstick
3. A short fur coat.
She couldn’t have possibly been a day older than 18. And before you go asking if it was his daughter—I saw him play grab ass with her in ways fathers do not play with their daughters. It would seem that Costas had replaced us, which makes both sad for my lost vacation opportunities, but glad because I would NEVER wear fur. Also, it was probably better for like, my purity’s sake or whatever. BUT GREECE! I’ve seen Mama Mia, that place is fucking gorgeous.
 I kind of feel like I’m reenacting Pretty Little Liars with my use of A here, but I don’t know what else to call her.
 The golf cart was all fun and games until I fell, off, cracked my head open, and then had to have it stapled back together, but that is a whole other post. Seriously,kids, be careful in things with wheels without seatbelts, because if you’re not careful, you could turn out like me. And that would be terrible.
 He didn’t say he wanted us to eat dessert off of him, but it was probably hinted at and/or a likely possibility in his mind. Eww, gross.
I’m not naturally romantic. Flowers, baby talk, affective nicknames, and PDAs actually make me feel a little uncomfortable. Maybe it’s because I’m WASP-y or maybe I just have a hard heart of ice. It’s pretty unclear. So this lack of natural romance makes me reasonable uninterested in dating much of the time. That and trying to get a fucking PhD pretty much kills any desire to participate in the screwy mating rituals of our ultimately dysfunctional culture. That being said, every once in a while, I’ll watch a angsty- hipster romantic movie like 500 Days of Summer or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind or listen to the Smiths for an afternoon. Or I’ll attend one of the 8000 weddings that I’m invited to/coerced into the bridal party. Just kidding, weddings make me not want to date men EVER. Regardless, these things are the catalyst for me to mistakenly decide to half-heartedly actually to try to date. These are my stories.
One of my biggest dealbreakers (thanks, Liz Lemon. I’ll guest on your talk show.) is when guys talk about their ex-girlfriends early in the dating process. Especially when it is non-topical or if it is ranting about what a crazy bitch she was. For example, I should have run in the other direction when the guy I dated a few months ago told me, in detail, about his ex-girlfriend’s conflicted divorce and all of her man-baggage preventing commitment. This was in maybe our third conversation? For reals. Inappropriate. I really, really should have ran in the other direction when one evening on the telephone, after we had been out a few times, he tells me this long story about how hard he worked to date this super-Christian girl with a minister father and how he had to practically convert, but it was worth it because they dated for six months. It was SUPER serious, but she wouldn’t sleep with him because of the whole Christianity thing. Good story, right? NO. This story was about some girl he dated IN THE EIGHTH GRADE. This dude was 32. I called him on the eccentricity of referring to your eighth grade girlfriend “a serious relationship” and he got super defensive, as if how dare I question his 13-year old commitment. Seriously, how dare I? My point here, with this anecdote, is that one of the reasons it's bad to share former dating stories early in the relationship is that the dude might discover that your definitions of relationship are very, very different. The women also might discover that you are an over-sensitive douchebag, but that’s a secondary issue.
The anecdote that’s really spurring this post though is a little conversation I had over the weekend with a dude. Now, to be fair, I’d already written him off because he is a Republican that still lives with his mom, (I wish people had things like that tattooed on their forehead so I could avoid them immediately, but sadly, this is a social development yet to happen.) Anyway, I decided that no, I did not want to date someone whose ethics fundamentally oppose mine, but he didn’t seem to get the message when I didn’t IM him back for a week. Well, I finally felt badly for the dude and responded to his IM last night. The conversation went a little like this: EMPHASIS MINE.
Me: how has your week been?
Him: someone i dated is harrasing me and having one of their ex's call and text me with threats of violence - drama i don't need
Me: oh dear
why is she directing such animosity toward you?
Him: probably because she talked a lot of shit
and stooping down to her childish ways, left a note saying she might want to get an HIV test
i don't have anything, but i lied and implied she gave me HIV and i tested positive - i did this once before with someone who was stalkerish-clingy, not only did they freak out, but they left me along
i probably should've been smart/mature and not said anything back from the get go, but too late now
Me: umm, that’s super intense. So why is her boyfriend threatening you?
Him: he just said if i call or email or text, he will come to CA from TX, hunt me down, and take me out
Me: well, it’s good that you don’t have HIV.
Him: well i do need to get tested lol
but i was tested back in hmm, beginning of june and was negative, as always
good things for the week.. i'm trying to think... i did a 42 mile bike ride yesterday
The levels of ridiculous of this conversation are too many NOT to share with the entire internets. I’d like to point out a few of the more incredible pieces of this conversation.
1. 1. He’s used the “you gave me HIV “ line before and it worked! Whoopee! You’ve given some girl the impression that she is going to die and has essentially killed you too. That’s so NOT a mindfuck. But at least he realized the 2nd time he used it that he should have been more mature. BTW, this dude is 30.
2. 2.He left the HIV news IN A NOTE. It’s like that episode of Sex and the City where Berger breaks up with Carrie in a post-it. Only, you know, WITH AIDS.
3. 3. He got tested for HIV at the beginning of June, but needs to get tested again now, at the end of July? Really? How much unsafe sex are you having? And why are you telling me, a girl who ostensibly you want to sleep with, that you might be a danger to my health? Also, LOL?!?!? Since when is HIV testing laugh-out-loud worthy?
4. 4. Notice my very short responses. You’d think he would pick up on my disinterest or discomfort, but no. Probably because he is a Republican.
So, at the end of the day, I think being a Republican was not this guy’s worst feature and that’s a statement that is hard-pressed to come out of my mouth. This is what the dating field looks like? I’d rather stay home, watch Tivo, and pet my cat any day of the week. And that’s not just a line I tell my mom so that she doesn’t have to worry about me.
ETA: The same dude IMed me tonight to tell me that he had finally gone to church for the first time since Easter. It might be a problem if you are getting tested for HIV more frequently than you go to church.
Monday, July 12, 2010
Is it okay to be 20 and to have never had a boyfriend? Is it okay to be a bit fussy? I've seen most of my friend’s relationships go down in flames and I have had to be the one on disaster clean up duty, is it bad to be a little bit nervous because of it all?
Yours truly, Nervy Ness
If you’re not nervous about the idea of having a boyfriend then you aren’t ready to have a boyfriend. Men are like guns…you’re supposed to be cautious around them even if you’re an expert because they’re a bit dangerous. Also, because they go off unexpectedly. But they’re nice to have around because they make you feel safer. Except that they might accidentally kill you. This is why it’s good to be a bit wary around them. Guns, I mean. Men are fine. Unless they have guns. Then you’re totally fucked.
I was diagnosed with Depression. AND an Anxiety Disorder. I'm only 14. And even though my family knows about it, it's like they don't give a Rat's ass. My Mom is waay too pushy, my sister gets all pissy because she thinks I want attention, my Dad's a bastard and he pretty much just ignores it. I'm too scared to tell anyone else, and I'm pretty sure I have lost all my friends. And I was depressed, for like, a year before I actually dragged my Mom to a counselers office. And no one even batted an eye. I know this all kind of angsty and a bit self-pity-ish. But I feel like I'm all alone, and I am barely hanging on a thread. I though someone like you, who’s kinda of gone through the same thing, could give me some advice. I realize that I didn't actually ask you a question. Sorry. I suck that way.
You don’t suck and you aren’t alone. I’ve been there and I know it seems impossibly hard right now but it will get better. Ages 12-18 suck in general even if you aren’t battling depression and anxiety and I’m giving you a mental high-five just for having the determination to see a counselor. There are a lot of adults who aren’t strong enough to admit they need help so you’re already a step ahead of most people twice your age. I know your parents seem like idiots right now (and maybe they are) but I bet that they love you and want you to be happy even if they don’t understand what you’re going through. Don’t give up on them. Keep them in the loop. Everyone has a different way of pulling themselves out of the hole of depression. For me it’s medication, sunshine, exercise and giving myself permission to be sad but reminding myself that when I’m depressed I’m not rational and that feeling alone and thinking everyone hates me is not real and is just the depression lying to me. Find a friend to confide in, keep seeing your counselor and know that it does get better. I promise. Don’t give up.
(via The Bloggess)
Ladies, what are we really want? How do we decide who and what we want to be when we get out of bed in the morning? It appears that some think it might be that we want to opportunity to change our minds and ourselves, with the blow of a breeze. Liz Taylor, in an ad for one of her ubiquitous perfumes, informed the world that it’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind, but why is being capricious and fickle such a desirable quality? Is the feminist movement really working toward getting us ladies the opportunity to tell the waiter that we wanted salmon and not fettuccine alfredo?
This issue arises a lot in my favorite genre of music: women with acoustic guitars. Ani DiFranco wrote in one of the best songs that she was 32 flavors and then some. The song goes on to lament how both being pretty and being ugly is a punishment and that she wants to opportunity to be a phoenix that rises out from the fires of anger and oppression, even though she knows everyone will resent her magical powers to do so. Basically, Ani is telling people that her various incarnations (pretty, ugly, phoenix, saint, not saint) don’t stand between other people and their success. Simply stated, she can do what she wants to, bitches. Ain’t no one gonna stop her now.
Let’s turn now to that classic upbeat pop-ballad by Meredith Brooks: “Bitch.” It was already big hit when its got exploded by being featured in a key scene in Mel Gibson’s film ‘What Women Want.’ Ironically, Mel probably has the opposite kind of mind that he had in that film, because even men who are not able to read women’s minds know that we don’t appreciate being called a pig in heat. Meredith croons that she wants to be a bitch, lover, child, mother, and many other polar opposites, the implication here being that she wants to be adored for being all of these things. Instead of being pro-woman, I think Ms. Brooks likely has a case of confused identity. While I can appreciate wanting to be a lady on the street and a freak in the bed, I don’t actually think that being able to capriciously change your persona and along with it, your thoughts and needs, is a helpful thing. We don’t hear dudes chanting that they want to be players, sons, douche bags, and gentlemen.
Finally, I have to mention one of my other favorite songs by India Arie who desires to be able to come her hair some days and others to not. She also wants to be able to paint her toes if she feels like it. These things and her ability to choose them are crucial to her identity. While I sympathize with a woman who combs her hair infrequently (I only comb my hair sometimes, but in my defense, my hair is curly. You have my permission to judge.) I think that women are addicted to the idea of choice. Maybe it’s because we have too many shoes or maybe it’s because choice floats around as a positive concept in our political vocabulary. Not to belabor the point, but I don’t see dudes who feel the need to ask permission to wear jeans and chucks one day and a Brooks Brothers suit another day. Nor are they asking society for permission to have autonomy over their personal grooming habits. Basically, I think we are still seeing a fundamental divide between the ways men and women have opportunity to formulate their own identities. Women are wistful for choice and we sing songs about it. Men just assume they have it and move on to thinking about other topics—like Megan Fox’s boobs and Lebron’s fickleness.
I think the message of these has been garbled a little bit here. I think that we shouldn’t want to have the option of being 32 different flavors all in one day or somehow being a virgin and a mother I think what we (and by we, I mean young hip liberal feminist women or maybe just ladies in general) want is to have society accept more than one flavor. At this moment, it kind of feels like the only acceptable way to be is thin, white, upper middle class, passive/submissive, and young. Add in the also desirable characteristics of blonde, blue-eyed, big-boobed, and chaste, and we’ve got ourselves a pretty narrow definition of what approved femininity looks and acts like. In a word, it’s probably ok if we are vanilla. Yes, there is French vanilla, creamy vanilla, and even vanilla caramel, but at its core, ITS STILL ALL VANILLA. So here is what I’m advocating: make it ok for women to be the flavor of their choosing rocky road or baseball nut or even Jack Daniels, I don’t care. But seriously, let’s stop trying to be all those flavors at once because you know how bad Cookies and Cream tastes with orange sherbet? Really bad. Let’s not listen to Liz Taylor—she changed her mind into 8 marriages. Changing our mind makes us seem flaky and capricious. Pick a flavor and like it. Appreciate others’ flavors. Change flavors, if you want to. But stop this need to have the opportunity to be every flavor at once because its obnoxious. And sticky. Yeah, I just mixed up some serious metaphors in this entire post.
 Liz Taylor was so fucking hot back in the day. Watch any of her Tennessee Williams movies. Hell, I would have married her.
 Check out the Alana Davis cover of 32 Flavors—it’s incredible and she is incredible.
I can only speak about the experiences of one of these characteristics. Pretty or ugly? I won’t say.
 N.B. I’m paraphrasing and reinterpreting these lyrics—don’t bite my head off if you have a different understanding in comparison to my insightful interpretation. BTW, N.B means ‘nota bene’ or note well in Latin. I’m supposed to know Latin shit like that—it’s what they pay me for.
 Lay off me, I just finished a 400pp history of the Virgin Mary and it mindfucked me.
 Baseball Nut is a delicious flavor from Baskin Robbins that combines vanilla ice cream with cashews and black raspberries. It’s to die for. Why do they call it baseball nut? Unclear, but there’s probably some gender implications happening in there.
 N.B. I love all these songs. I am in no way mocking the clever and well-written music of the 1990s by feminist women. Nor am I suggesting that this music speaks for the entire feminist movement. It’s a fucking blog post with some casual observations. For reals.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Defiance disorder is
The Best Way to Be
On Dating in LA:
Open hearts to love?
Meet while inebriated.
On Taking Courses with Faculty:
The syllabus changed
Oh wait, no it didn’t. Mea
Culpa. My soul hurts
On the graduate student's mind and body:
I miss pedicures.
Grad school harms body and soul
Would corporate pay?
Calendars speed past
Books do not. If only I
Would be out of business
Sans all of our pain
Friday, July 9, 2010
So, this morning, I’m sitting in my pajamas watching an episode of Alton Brown’s Good Eats and trying to decide whether or not to leave the house today (my depression has been rearing its ugly head this week), when Alton makes the most delightful, flaky, tender looking flour tortillas. And he does it in moments with only flour, salt, water, and oh yes, LARD. What? I own most of those ingredients. Alton’s recipes tend to be wonderful. I have to run by the grocery store today anyway. I SHOULD MAKE THESE TORTILLAS. (I think the last time we really made Mexican food was during the Great Fire of All Hallows Eve 2009, but that’s a separate post.)
Now for context, here’s a side story or two. I’m pretty famous for seeing a recipe I want to make and then doing everything I possibly can to make that recipe, even at the expense of people’s safety, pocket books, and sanity. For example, when I was in high school, I found a recipe for a Mushroom Crepe Cake (coincidentally, also an Alton Brown recipe.) It was complicated and involved making your own crepes in addition to a filling. The whole thing turned out beautifully, but I probably spent at least $50 of my parents money at the grocery store. Mom=not pleased. I really wish I had a picture of that thing, but this was like, the year 2000, when camera phones were only owned by the very wealthy or the very tech-y.
The other story happened a few years ago where I saw a cookie called the Rockin’ Reindeer Ravioli. The outside was sort of a vanilla graham flavor and the inside was a delicious chocolate-y something—I can’t really remember. Anyway, I saw these cookies and I demanded to make them immediately, even though it was literally blizzarding outside. My boyfriend of that time was also the adventurous sort, so about 8pm on a Sunday night during a snowstorm, we ventured out to Walmart. These cookies were so fucking complex, they not only required 2 types of flour, but their own special ravioli press thingie. Needless to say, Walmart did not have a designer ravioli press or a scalloped dough trimmer, because Walmsrt is not designed for pretentious middle class foodies, or at least they weren’t 5 years ago. The BF and I figured we would just work with what we had and it would be fine, obvi. Fast forward four hours later and we are stil struggling to get even ONE of the two kinds of dough right and apparently all those fancy-pantsy cooking tools were indispensible. We gave up before we even assemble one ravioli. Those cookies probably cost us at least $50. My habits are expensive.
But today’s tortillas were not! All I needed was lard! Now, I cook with fat frequently, but almost always in the butter-olive oil range. If I’m really adventurous, I use vegetable oil. (I know, I’m a real rebel, Dottie.) I went to Ralph’s in search of lard, which they only sell around the holidays (WTF? Since when is lard a trendy holiday ingredient? I must not know about it because I am white and only eat stuffing and pumpkin pie.) BTW, the butcher laughed at me and told me only his mom cooks with lard. Maybe that was supposed to be a joke or maybe he was hitting on me, its hard to say.
Never one to give up on a mission, I googled Mexican Market on my iPhone and found a fabulous one less than a mile away. Now, this market was awesome, though filled with meat, but also beautiful Mexican baked goods. I will go there again. They also sold lard, rendered in house, and hidden on a shelf in the back corner. Apparently, Mexican cooks don’t really use lard either. This should have been my first hint. Or maybe like, my sixteenth hint, but I’m pretty dense. They sold the lard by the bucket for $3—buckets themselves covered in the gooey fat paste. Even though I am dirt poor, I figured I could spare $3 because imagine the cornucopia of tortillas it would enable me to make!
Lard smells funny, like burning bacon wrapped hardwood. It is not appetizing, especially for me who does not eat meat. Why it did not occur to me that I could taste it in the tortillas is another one of life’s great mysteries. Holding my breath, I made the dough and then made tortillas. Everything was fine at this point and looking good. Until I put one in my mouth. It tasted like hot flour-coated bacon-wrapped hardwood. I DO NOT WANT TO GO TO THERE.
So, at 4:30pm on a Friday, here is my status:
LOSSES: $3, dinner to serve my BFF, dignity, 3 hours I could have been studying Latin,
GAINS: A bucket of lard, a messy kitchen, a faint distrust of Alton Brown, a house that smells faintly of burning bacon.
What the hell do I do with a bucket of lard? And don’t tell me any kinky games because I already thought of that and rejected them wholeheartedly.