Friday, November 18, 2011


Me: "So, want to hit the Crescent? I'm in the mood for some karaoke."

Date: "Mmmm...I don't know. I usually love karaoke." (Author's note: I know this to be true--this was not our first date. But we had not yet gone to karaoke together.) "My mojo's kind of gone. I mean, a few weeks ago, I was in Portland, singing karaoke, and..."

Me (interrupting): "Where?"

Date: "At the Galaxy. And there was this big guy..."

Me (interrupting again): "With a beard? A rather long one?"

Date: "Yes!"

Me: "That's RC."

Date: "Oh, you know him? Wait, what am I saying? Of course you do."

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The First Thing You Do, You Destroy All The Mirrors*

Remember how this was supposed to be done for my parents' fortieth anniversary? Yeah, me either.

(If you're lost, feel free to check out Part 1 and Part 2 first.) (If anyone is reading this besides my parents, who deserve this effort and more even if it's only read by them. I love you guys.)

Where were we? Oh, yes. I had taken one post to describe my heroes, and another post to describe how awesome I was, and right when I was about to get to describe WHY I turned out awesome, and also modest, and did I mention I was about to compare myself to my heroes?--I sort of vanished into Korea. (Damn Korea.) (Possibly I'll try not to curse anymore in this love letter to my parents, whom are rather conservative.)

Ahem. So. I possibly ran out of words because I am not MUCH like my heroes, unfortunately, which sort of deflates my point--if you can do that--but I DID grow up to be pretty confident with a rather fresh mouth, and seriously, you want your daughter to grow up like this. You do. (Don't worry, moms that I know--SHE WON'T TURN OUT LIKE ME. Well...probably.)

Wow, I have really lost my point. LET'S JUST COMMENCE, SHALL WE?

Golden Rules For Raising a Kick Ass Daughter in the Style of Tina Fey

(Expect her to curse every now and then.)

1. Pray she "peaks" at 50. Mindy Kaling and Tina Fey made this point very clear: if your daughter isn't Pretty at 17, THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS.

Of course, you can't actually do anything about this, aside from encasing her in a burkha (or handy ivory tower, if you want to go all fairy tale) or marrying the ugliest partner you can find, but I wouldn't really  recommend any of those options. Here's what you can do, even if she has porcelain skin and perfect hair at five years old: bring her up in a household that focuses on other things. And this should start in the womb. (The Huffington Post did a fantastic article about this phenomenon here, which you should really read, right away, right now.)

Fortunately for my parents, they didn't have to work too hard on this, given the material they were blessed with. Arraying yourself in button down shirts with belts in weird places at 12 is not the way to attract a lot of attention for your looks, and it didn't help that I had an unwieldy-ily-large and rather British vocabulary, an enormous imagination, and two friends who were just as nerdy as I was. Tina Fey refers to this phase as "when she relaxed in her colonial lady outfit after school", which is why she is the comedy writer, and not me. And she and Mindy Kaling have both included hilarious pictures of themselves from those time periods, and I won't do that because I am not a multimillion dollar comedienne. What I will say: at the rather advanced age of twenty-four, I suddenly started hitting the gym, lost twenty pounds, cut off my hair, and dyed it blonde, and I was cute!...for about twenty minutes. Turns out that blonde hair needs a lot of upkeep. As I frequently find it difficult to shower more than once a week, you can imagine how well I did with that. For the next three years.

Why did this happen? (Besides the not-washing-hair phase, which happened for other reasons that I won't go into here.) Well. It's true that my parents didn't have to work too hard to keep my focus off my looks, but it's also true to say that they are both overachievers. To say that my up-bringing was not looks-focused would be an understatement. Let's put it this way: I didn't learn how to apply makeup until I was twenty. I didn't get my first pedicure until I had graduated from college. My up-bringing was 100% focused on school, activities, and church. I'm not even sure we owned mirrors in the house. (Joke.) (Barely.)

This is both entirely both my parents' fault, as it's their damn genes on my face, but also of course not their fault at all, since they couldn't help it. My mother was born with naturally perfect skin, a fast metabolism, a dread of sugar, and a great smile. You don't NEED makeup when you have all those things. My blessed father told us both, over and over again, that we were the most beautiful ladies he knew. I believed him, because he was my father, and besides, it made sense that if he was right about my mother--which he was--then he must be right about me, too! I was beautiful! Excellent!

(Junior high came as kind of a shock.)

Yes, well. It gives me things to laugh now, and more importantly, it turns out that that is THE ABSOLUTE BEST WAY TO RAISE A DAUGHTER. Like, only the absolutely most important thing you can do. Being shuttled around between school, activities, and church (also not a looks-focused organization, generally) I had zero time to stare into any mirrors even if we had owned them. Instead, I developed interests in many other things, all of which were focused on my talents and skills, and not my looks. Music. Art*. Drama. Travel. Knowledge about the world. Opinions (definitely developed a lot of those). Ability to FORM opinions and SHARE them, articulately. Hey: I am the product of two (2) salespeople. The dinner table was not quiet in our house.

Oh, yeah: the dinner table. It also turns out some kind of structure and dependability is also important for raising kids, and that brings us to The Next Golden Rule...TOMORROW!

*Name that Shakespeare reference!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Obviously, I Was Just Kidding

I was writing the piece about The Second Golden Rule, and then I realized that my piece on "How To Raise A Kick-Ass Daughter" was veering into "verbal diarrhea about my relationship with my parents". The first focus is good, the second focus is...not. Come on. That's what Roommate is for. (Other people might say, "That's what Therapy is for," but that's not how I roll.)

Please hold while I work out exactly what I want to say. THANK YOU.