Monday, April 30, 2012

About "From the B-Sides"

Tri-Tip, the other day, took time out of his busy work schedule to hound me for posting ARCHIVES. (Direct quote: "We demand NEW content!")

"But they ARE new content, at least to you," I said. "Those are all unpublished drafts of posts I never finished, or wasn't sure what to do with. Figured the time had come to make them work for their keep."

"Ah," he said, without missing a beat, "then they're not archives. They're B-sides."

And so they are.

Friday, April 20, 2012

From the B-Sides: Blues Lyrics

It's a warm summer night, but that computer screen glows cold/
This space you put between us is really growing old/
Talking to you is less appealing than mold/
So when the dealer comes around again, tell him that I fold

Written about the LT, sometime in spring or summer 2009.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

From the B-Sides: Cooking for the Then-Boyfriend

From last year:

I had kind of an off week last week--tired, not really into much, feeling like a failure--and Roommate (before she was Roommate) came over in the middle of it and looked into my fridge. "Hold up," she said. "You...went to the grocery!"

"Yes!" I said. "There's cheese, and bread, and even some lettuce mix."

She gave me a priceless look of amazement over the back of the door. "Wow," she said, "you HAVE had an off week!"

HA. Whatever.

On the plus side, I totally packed a lunch for myself today of FOOD that I bought at a GROCERY STORE, including SALAD with dressing and leftover pasta that I totally made ON MY OWN, with mainly-homemade sauce, thanks to the aforementioned dinner that I cooked for Boyfriend.

(Menu for Boyfriend Dinner: Two pork chops, of such high quality that I just cooked them in butter, salt and pepper, and a little garlic-from-a-jar. Wide good noodles from TJ's with a sauce of sheeps' milk yogurt, Nancy's sour cream, and leftover parmesan sauce from Safeway. Lettuce mix with dressing. Yes, it feels fancy to ME, okay? Okay.)

From mid-year 2010, cooking for AZ.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

From the B-Sides: On My Lust List for Spring

Oh, man.

From summer 2010. And I STILL want them!

Friday, April 13, 2012

From the B-Sides: On Changing and Being Changed

I wrote a post last year about being a partier and dating a partier, and I didn't publish it partly because I hadn't finished it, and partly because I was worried about my mother's reaction.

I need coffee. Hang on.

In my next life, I want to write like Tom Chiarelli. Why is there no Esquire Magazine for women?

Speaking of, the editor for Cosmopolitan, Ms. Kate White, is really an excellent writer. She has at least two non-fiction books out and a whole series of whodunits with a freelance writer (sound familiar?) as the protagonist, and they are really good.

I would totally read an entire magazine written in Ms. White's voice. She treats women like they are literate, independent, sane. Exactly how Esquire seems to treat its readers. I understand that Ms. White cares about Cosmo and I understand that one woman can't--and really, shouldn't--change a working magazine formula, but it is still slightly disappointing, like seeing someone you know and respect marry someone you know is no good for them.

(Tom Chiarelli is not the editor for Esquire. Just one of their more senior and important contributors. He writes a lot of advice pieces, but not advice columns; more longer non-fiction pieces that hope to show, instead of tell, young men how to be a man.)

Yes. Well. Although much of his advice (at least some) is non-gender specific, and I don't always agree with him, I do wonder what he would advise young men to do in these kinds of situations, both a) I've written a very casual and normal piece that I'm terribly worried about publishing because I'm worried about my mother (and, to be fair, my father as well, although he is less of a threat because he is less inclined to call me about it and also works much farther away) and b) I'm in a relationship that is changing me, and I hate it.

Let me be clear: the man is not TRYING to change me. He simply is, by virtue of being himself, and me being myself (by virtue of: GOD what a ridiculous phrase. I'm not even sure what it means.)

Ahem. The man is not at all trying to change me. (I've been THERE before and I know what that looks like. This is different.) I am reacting in some way that seems to be pre-prescribed by either my hormones or the socialization I can't fully rid myself of or the alignment of the stars and the moon or SOMETHING, and whatever that SOMETHING is, it can go jump in the Sound in December, as far as I am concerned, and never come back. (Writer's note: I almost used the phrase "I am simply reacting" and then went back and took it out. Whether you are writing an email, a powerpoint presentation, a blog post, a letter, whatever, you should NEVER use the words "simply" or "just". The minute you find yourself using them in your speech, stop immediately and figure out what you're really trying to say. Those are weasel words, passive-aggressive words, and they make you a hypocritical coward faster than you can say "Pharisee".)

(Back to the point.)

It's an old joke: A woman marries a man hoping he will change, and he doesn't, and a man marries a woman hoping she'll never change, and she does.

I don't WANT to change. I don't want to be changed by him, and I don't want to want him to change, if you follow me. So far I may be succeeding at point three, but occasionally failing at points one and two, and here would probably be a good time to add some nouns, because this sentence is going to get ridiculously complicated quickly if I repeat the word "change" every five words, and you'll start to think you're listening to Obama's 2012 presidential campaign.

In a nutshell, I will post the body of the original post I wrote, because it fits in neatly AND now I'll never have to finish it, and I've already published the parental disclaimer, and so now by writing sleight-of-hand and I am fully blameless and can publish this post with equanimity. HA.

On Being And Dating a Partier.

Hanging out with moderate drinkers is sure different from hanging out with serious drinkers. For comparison: the Blonde Squad are moderate drinkers. The CTC Crew are serious drinkers. (And that's not all they do with their disposable income, I'll just put it that way.)

I've been trying to walk this fine line with my mother (and father) about the amount of partying that I talk about in this blog, not because I'm worried about their judgment or approval, but because they'll worry, and they'll want to talk about it, and I don't know how to communicate to them that they may be correct on some level to worry, but that talking about it would be like talking about why most girls under 30 aren't married yet or what Twitter does, exactly, or trying to explain Snark. It's not that they're dumb. (They're both better educated than I am.) It's that it's a generational phenomenon. I feel that what drives their worry is the fact that I am failing at life, that I am somehow an outlier who is terribly unhappy or unsuccessful or drinking some secret pain away or staying out because I can't bear to be home, and that may be true, but if it is, then the entire generation under 35, and most of the generation under 40, has the exact same problem and perhaps we should ALL go to more therapy and go to fewer bars.

Are bars the new psychiatrist's couch? Is shouting over your friends and chasing members of the opposite sex the new cognitive behavioral therapy?

Because my generation--and the one right before me, say--pretty much INVENTED binge drinking. It's what we do.

Put another way, partying is something that happens among a certain age group who has a fair amount of disposable income and a lot of free time, with no dependents, and is obviously sad about life, because why else would they drink that much?

Seriously, you put a lot of really gorgeous people in a room together who don't know each other, for a big party, and suddenly people are pounding the shots back like they're water. WHY? Why do we do this? Is it social anxiety? Are people afraid of something? Getting to know other people? Getting to know themselves? Are other people not going to like them? Will they know what to say? (I'm aware that paragraph is very poorly written. Sorry.)

So if I have a strong belief that I should live my single life and my relationship life in very similar veins--and I have a very strong belief that I should--then I should be able to go out with my partner, right? And I've made a practice of doing that very successfully. For many years, a shaping policy on my dating life has been that I won't date anyone I can't go out with. I shared that with my mother recently and she said, "But Miss Dear, you won't always want to GO OUT. You'll want to spend time at home!"

I pooh-poohed this idea, which is generally par for the course.

But dating partiers is hard, too. There's a lot of parties. People flirt. People get drunk, and do stupid things, and get jealous. I turn into a hag. It's not good. Or my date turns into a jealous asshole. (Editor's Note: Both have happened to me relatively recently, actually.)

One of the things that broke up the LT and I at the end of the relationship is that he still wanted to go out, in the GO-GO-GO atmosphere that is hard-livin' young professionals that spend every waking moment not at work on a ski mountain or on a sailboat or on a motorcycle or jumping out of airplanes, and I wanted to have more dinners out and see more live music (usually the symphony or jazz) and dance more.

Also, partying that much feels, after awhile--even with the slightly more sophisticated verneer of jazz and dancing and live music, which really only means that you get a cheap red wine hangover instead of a cheap whiskey hangover--childish.

CHILDISH. You're not doing anything. You're not contributing to society, you're not doing anything creative in your off hours. Whether you're on the ski slope or in the ballet audience, you're not doing anything good for society, and yes I DID just equate skiing with ballet. Are you CREATING the ballet? No? Then you're not spending your leisure hours in any more productive fashion than the dude who smokes pot every day and lives in the snow. (I'll buy the argument that there is more POTENTIAL for creativity for the person who attends ballet, but that only counts if they then use that generated creativity.)

And going to fancy parties and drinking with a really nice view is a kick in the pants, true, but it's not any more productive than skiing unless you're in the market for a rich husband or the best networker ever.

The point I am trying to make here is that now I am suddenly hanging out with a lot of boys who are heavy drinkers and it's WONDERFUL, but I'm not ACCOMPLISHING a damn thing besides wearing out my liver and looking really good at night. The last two dates Handrolled and I have had have been specifically about drinking, as in, that was the entire plan for the date: "Let's get drunk and watch movies and snuggle." To be fair, I LOVE this activity. But when it's the GOAL for the date, I feel like we shoot past "happy energetic tipsy", which is what everyone is aiming for, and go directly to "Blackout Express", which means that some part of me SOMEWHERE has a good night but I don't get to remember all of it in the morning, which is no fun.

Zaphod Breeblebox's Gambit: When you send a drink down the hatch and it seems to have no affect, so you send another one down to see what the first one is doing, and now they're BOTH ignoring you, so you send a third drink down to see what the first two are up to and that one seems to have some affect, so you have another drink to keep the party going, and suddenly you're wasted and you never got to even enjoy being tipsy.

And it's not only Mr. Handrolled. Two separate members of the Blonde Squad suffered from such serious hangovers this weekend that they slept half their hangovers away, and let me emphasize that that does not normally happen to these girls. I'm seeing what seems like a RESURGENCE of heavy drinking all around me and it makes me feel partly responsible.

God, I missed my calling. I should have been a false prophet. I'd have been amazing. My eyes already glow blue anyway.

The long and short of it is that I thought, until I wrote all this out, that I was suddenly wanting to stay in and party less because Mr. Handrolled was starting to party so much more, and so he was pushing me in the opposite direction, and he was going to be mighty disappointed soon when the party girl he liked disappears for Shrewish Hag, and suddenly I'm thinking it's not his fault at all. Which makes me feel slightly less crazy, and also makes me think that my dates (and my friends) really are drinking this much to either dull pain, or have more fun, which is all well and good but I'd like not to depend on it. Can I be the same fun party girl without drinking quite so much?

And to really put the lid on things, it's possible I'm only thinking this way because I went to my first chiropractic appointment today and I feel old.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

From the B-Sides: Only Child Syndrome

I just want things to STAY WHERE I PUT THEM, he said.

I agreed.

I'm touchy about my cereal, he said. I have to keep a box just for me because I go crazy when the level is different from where I left.

I understood.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

From the B-Sides: Randoms

Me, to the bartender: "Whiskey and Ginger, please."

Bartender takes one look at me and snorts. "Yeah, I bet you ARE a Whiskey Ginger."
Me: "Is that like a whiskey-FUELED Ginger?"
Bartender: "Or a Frisky Whiskey Ginger?"
Me: "Wow."

Kit, introducing me to a friend of hers: "And sometimes, Aarwenn lets you come over and bounce on her tramp!"

I meant to say "Give you a ride" and switched halfway through the sentence to say, "Drive you home", and this is what came out:

Me, to Entrepreneur: "Okay, so you need me to ride you home?"
Him: " this a trick question?"

Me, to Sales Guy: "You had him take the day off work so he could help you lay tile in your basement? That IS a good friend."
Sales Guy, defensively: "Yeah, well I bailed him out in LA when he got busted for possession, so as far as I'm concerned, he's still in the hole."

"Bobby": Yeah, not drinking yesterday was a big feat for me.
Me: "Yeah, I don't think I've accomplished that since I had the swine flu."

Monday, April 09, 2012

Death and Taxes (and coffee)

It's a BEAUTIFUL day here and I got a new, free, blouse! I feel pretty classy sitting here in it.

Roommate has switched Bux stores, and she doesn't have to go in quite so early anymore, which means that occasionally I drop her off at the new store on my way to work, and get a free latte out of the deal. This also means that she and I get to trade witty banter in the car, which is a fun start to the day.

This morning, as we left the house, I looked at us--she in her full on Sbux black and me in my charcoal gray blouse and black pants, both of us compulsively wearing our aviators--and laughed.

"What?" she said, grinning.

"Someone who didn't know the culture at all would assume we were going to a funeral," I pointed out.

She laughed. "SO true. It's all sunny, and there's spring coming and bluebirds singing and--"

"--rainbows popping--"

"--right, and people are happy and smiling and probably wearing pastels, and here we are in full on BLACK."

"The Ex-Goth in the Entrepreneur would be proud."

And then, a little later, we weren't far from her store and I court death by pulling a fast left turn in front of oncoming traffic, because, jeez, we were on our way for COFFEE and that can't wait for things like safety, am I right?

Her: "Turns out, we WERE dressed for a funeral!"

Me: "We had no idea IT WOULD BE OUR OWN."