Sunday, October 30, 2011

Why the heart is the stupidest of organs

A month or so ago I quit OkCupid cold turkey and, on the recommendation of a friend, went straight for the Fish (as in, Plenty of). While I haven't been exactly blown away by the prospects, I did manage to sort through the guppies and go out on a handful of dates over the last few weeks. But which ones did I throw back? Just to give you a brief run-down, there was:

--the thirty-seven-year-old traveling bicycle-parts salesman; lives 100 miles away in Richmond, VA, but travels through DC frequently on business. Separated, with kid(s)? Surprisingly good-looking, but mentioned church about three times too many for my taste. 

--the forty-year-old graphic designer. Divorced, no kids. Quirky, extremely high energy. When we met he went in for a hug, lunging in with his upper body while kicking one leg out behind him. (There was full leg extension.) Later he would tell me about a "crazy woman" he went on a date with who told him that he "hugged funny." He concluded this story by saying dismissively, "but she was crazy, though." Yes, you keep telling yourself that, quirky, in denial, weird-hugging guy!

--the thirty-seven-year-old bearded Canadian scientist. Divorced with a four-year-old daughter, who lives in Canada. Cycling fanatic. Quiet, slow-talking and soft-spoken, but we share similar tastes in music and food. Conveniently lives less than a mile from my house; rare indeed considering my less-than-central location. 

--the six foot four, thirty-one-year-old Moroccan with an adorable accent. Speaks: English, French, Arabic. Never married, no kids. Doesn't drink. Muslim. Lives a very inconvenient 25 miles away in VA. Likes: soccer (playing and watching), dancing, smokin' the hookah.

Four men, but only one of them makes my heart go pitter-pat. So which one is it? Which wildly inappropriate bachelor sends my traitor heart all aflutter? Why, none other than the Allah praising, alcohol abstaining, suburb dwelling, Green Card winner himself, of course!

In my defense, the perfect-on-paper Canadian sent me a "let's just be friends" e-mail explaining that he had begun seeing someone else. The fact that my primary emotion upon reading this was annoyance that he had "just friended" me before I could do it to him first should tell you all you need to know about our chemistry together. 

Also, I suppose it could be worse. I could have fallen for the Christian who lives 100 miles away. 

So, the Moroccan. At first I was wary, willingness to swill a beer and an aversion to organized religion being fairly high on my list of priorities. But we met, we went to a museum, we walked, we sat, we talked. We discussed religion and lack thereof, and politics, and family. We spoke in French and English and a weird mix of the two. He's the only guy I've met who will ooh and ahh with me over small dogs, and not just the big ones (he actually used the word "cute"), and he pulled out his phone to show me pictures of his co-worker's new chihuahua puppies. He was physically assertive bordering on aggressive, the way he leaned over me, into me, sat right next to me shoulder to shoulder and hip to hip, and had me edging slightly uncomfortably away. I declined an invitation to see a movie with him later that night, needing to go home and regroup, needing space and time to think. We took the Metro two stops together before I got off to transfer. We hugged and said goodbye, and I got up to stand by the doors as the train slowed to a stop. As the doors opened I turned and perhaps too enthusiastically waved goodbye, realizing at the same time how goofy I probably came off, and I cringed inside at my lack of finesse. Such a dork! I scolded myself. Minutes later on the red line, my phone beeped; a text. It was the Moroccan, already. After I waved, apparently the guy sitting by the door turned to him and said, "So sweet!" The fact that this random stranger would say that, and that the Moroccan would pass it along to me, complete with smiley face emoticon, for some reason warmed my heart. 

Once I got home I was ready to dismiss him, but for some reason I couldn't stop thinking about him. He texts me just to say hi almost every day. He calls me "jamila," which means beautiful in Arabic, and tells me he misses my pretty eyes. And this is where the white boys can really take a lesson--I love me some nerdy white boys, but flirting isn't usually their forte. 

In short, the Moroccan is sort of awesome I am sure our cultural, religious, geographic, and lifestyle differences will all work themselves out.  


Bwa! Ha ha ha ha ha!

Seriously though, he is really cute. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Why it's my picture and I'll bershon if I want to

Inspired by a post over at Hilarity in Shoes, I decided to post my own bershon picture. You all know what bershon is, right? If not, take a minute, I'll wait for you to catch up. Or you can just look at the following photo, circa 1993, because it will tell you all you need to know and more about bershon. Are you ready? I'm not sure if I'm ready, actually. I can't believe I am going to show the Internet a picture from the height of my (admittedly lengthy) awkward phase. Deep breaths...

Ok, here we go...

No, wait.

Ok, now.

Here I am, thirteen years old, and clearly loving life. Don't be fooled by the disarmingly folksy church lady-ness of my mother, as clearly (as you can see by my expression), she is to be punished for her desire to do things like be proud of me and stand next to me. Don't you know pride is a sin, mother? 

We are all dressed up fancy-like, because I am about to go perform at a band concert. With my clarinet. I am actually a bit surprised I was not forced to pose with it for the picture, but then, there probably would have been actual blood. What's that? Why, yes, that is an extra-large sized lavender silk shirt I'm wearing, how kind of you to notice! What's that, now? I don't seem like an extra-large to you? Well I have to buy it in extra-large because I am tall! God! I mean, no, I didn't say god, I said gosh, mo-ther! (When the real reason is "because all the cool kids are doing it," it's good to have a back-up excuse. Similarly to when my sneakers were no longer white, and I would push my toe all the way to the very end and make my mom feel to make it seem as if I had outgrown them. Worked every time.)

From a distance of almost twenty years (!), I can tell you a few things about this picture right off the bat:

1) Though it may seem that by including not only ours but also our neighbors' trash cans in the frame, the photographer was making a pointed statement on American consumerism and modern decay, I'm pretty sure it was just a coincidence combined with a lack of any and all photographic instinct. 
2) This was not taken on a national holiday, as evidenced by the rolled-up American flag in the garage, waiting for its next chance to billow gracefully hang limply over
the land of the free our front door.
3) The passenger side car door is open, indicating that someone (me) had already gotten in the car, and then was forced to get out of the car again to take this picture, I mean god. Are you people trying to kill me?

I tell you, my mistake was wearing pantyhose. Whenever the pantyhose came out (and pretty much only then), it was, Wait, let me get the caaaaameraaaa! Precious moments, indeed.  

So there you have it, folks. The bershonniest bershon that ever bershonned. Anyone want to fight for the crown? 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Why I would live inside these pictures if I could

The prints are here! The prints are here!

Thank you to everyone who chimed in with advice on this post. Thanks to you I was able to come up with something I really love and that looks great together, if I do say so myself. And without further ado, here they are!

As you can see, with the beige couch and beige walls, that space was in desperate need of a pop of color. Also, you may notice that I went with something slightly different than was dictated by the general consensus. I really loved the Paris cityscape, and so I subbed it for the houses on cliffs photo, which felt like it didn't really belong, somehow, and was also a bit too beige, considering how much beige I already had going on. And voila! The final result. I put them in order of light to dark sky, which I think gives it a kind of morning-noon-night feel. You like? I like. 

Thankfully, I can take no credit for the perfectly level and evenly-spaced hanging of the pictures themselves, a task I was more than happy to hand off to my friend Pete as he blew through town on the way to see his other, realer friends. (I jest. Sort of.) But no, seriously, he knocked out in twenty minutes what would have taken me two hours of hair-pulling and Marge Simpson-like angry grumbling, only to end up with a wall full of crooked pictures and dozens of superfluous and toothpaste-spackled nail holes. Luckily I was saved from this fate, and just look! (Pay no attention to the wonky Ikea lamp! The wonky Ikea lamp is crooked, the pictures are straight!) Ok, so the last two are just a millimeter or so too close together, but I think I can let that go. I'm trying, anyway.

Et voila, a little bit of France in my living room. (Not quite as good as a living room in France, but it will have to do.)  

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Why life ain't grand

The cat/no cat debate came to a swift end today when I crunched some numbers and came to the depressing realization that I can't actually, well, afford a cat. If you think that's bad, here's what's worse: according to my calculations I also can't afford the modest and non-cat-having lifestyle that I currently enjoy. Ba dum bum! Yes, even though I am currently employed (in a job that I despise with the burning fire of a thousand suns) the P&L of my life is stacking up more and more in the losing column. You see, when I first moved to our fair (and hellishly expensive) city, it was with the anticipation of earning roughly 35% more a year than I do now. But we all know how that turned out. You know it's bad when a teacher's salary is now but an out of reach dream. Anyway, as you might imagine, that 35% amounts to a pretty sizable difference when it comes to things like paying rent and student loans and the $14 farmer's market cheese I accidentally bought out of politeness today. 

(I did not even want to go to the stupid farmer's market, you see, because I already had to stay late at my stupid job but my boss had insisted like twenty times over the last week that I must go to the farmer's market after work on Thursday. I considered not going and just telling her I went, but I was worried that it would have been canceled or she would ask me a very specific question or something and then she would know I was lying to her, so blah, I went. After passing by tents selling apples and smelly soaps I spotted a cheese booth. Naturally, I made a beeline, and after sampling five or six different ones from the friendly cheese lady, I pointed decisively to a small wedge and said, "I'll have that one." 

"That will be one million dollars, please," the no longer so friendly cheese lady said, with a gleam in her eye. And what was I going to say? Oh, I don't think the cheese that you and your husband slaved over for months is worth a million dollars? Do you happen to have any less extravagantly-priced cheeses for the budget-minded consumer? There was nothing to say, so instead I opened my wallet and gave her my last twenty.) 

Even with my relatively "cheap" (ha!) apartment in a decidedly unswanky and inconveniently located part of town (complete with back alley views), and even battling the 9-5:30 or 6:00 grind of a job I hate, and even giving up my car, and shopping, and vacations (not that I'll get any paid time off until after I've worked there a full year), this is still going to be a losing venture. In the ongoing battle of Rachel v. Life, I think it's fair to say that I have encountered yet another setback. And this time I'm all out of ideas.             

Monday, October 17, 2011

Why you can have at it with your crazy cat lady cliches. I can take it.

becca: u need a puppy. u would be happier.
me: oh i know. nothing like being gone 10 hours a day to make you need a puppy.
becca: well u need a dog walker too
me: one day, when i'm rich and happy
becca: paha
me: besides, i'm too unstable. always plotting my next move
becca: scruffy says hello. he would like to know what you had for dinner 
me: aww. i needa scruff
becca: u do though. someone happy to see u come home.
me: cat?
becca: cats are such a crapshoot. they aren't so much happy to see you
me: guys are always shooting me down when i tell them i want to get a cat. like, the two guy friends i've talked to about it are really adamantly against it. 
becca: HAHAHA. maybe u shouldn't. man repellent.
me: that would ensure i remain single forever, i guess. although sometimes certain guys tell you that and then these certain guys go and fall for some crazy chick with...guess what...a cat! and have the cat over for visits at their apartment! and stuff
becca: ur the rule, not the exception
me: i know, man. but maybe that's how i'll know if a guy really likes me. if he likes me in spite of my cat
becca: but rach. there are so many other things to like you in spite of.
me: ...

Who needs haters when you have a sister, amiright? 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Why the past is now present and the future is weird

Internet, I have a confession to make. Hi, my name is Rachel and I am a premature purger of cell phone contacts. Please tell me I'm not alone. 

While some people hoard their friends and acquaintances like so many dollars in Mark Zuckerberg's bank account, and keep years worth of penis pictures literally at their fingertips, I am very nearly the exact opposite. Namely, if I suspect I may never have cause to talk to a person again, I delete that person from my phone without a backwards glance. Zap, they're gone! (I like to keep things tidy.) Of course this, this can lead to awkward situations when you run into someone unexpectedly after not talking for a year or more, and they're like, "Call me!" and you're like, "No, call me!"

Or, like tonight, when I received a mystery text--"Hows dc?" (sic). The only clue was a Mythaca area code. Admittedly, I performed a pretty thorough contact list clean-up after my move, deleting anyone I suspected I would no longer talk to after I left Mythaca (which happened to be pretty much everyone I knew in Mythaca). I replied, "So far so good. How are you?" hoping the mystery texter's response would provide a clue. But no dice. "Im good im. glad your happu"  Hmm. So, this person was either drunk or really bad at texting. Now I was curious. "Hey, don't hate me cuz I got a new phone," I texted (lies), "but who are you?"

"Hajaj iys james." Oh. Because that clears things up. Sheesh.

"Phlegm?" I asked. (Not his real last name, but close enough, anyway.)

"What?" he asked. Ok, so not that James, then. Definitely for the best.

"Flay?" I tried again. 

"Ha yes." Jackpot. Good ole Jimmy James coming out of nowhere with the surprise text again.

"James Flay is my dentist," I responded (again, not his real last name, but true story. Not only am I destined to make the acquaintance of/spend multiple years of my life in a relationship with a more than coincidental number of James/Jims/Jimmys, but now apparently there aren't even enough last names to go around). "You're Jimmy," I kindly reminded him.

"Haha sorry jimmy," he responded.

No, I'm Rachel, I was tempted to respond, but didn't. (Punctuation is important, people!)

Apparently he had just texted to tell me he was glad I was happy, and to ask if I had met any tall, handsome men yet. ("All the time," I told him.) He joked about being "dust in the wind," (a relationship metaphor I am more than familiar with), I joked back about not snapping me up when he had the chance, and if there's a better way to put a quick stop to a casual text conversation, I don't know what it is. Try it sometime! 

So, to delete or not to delete, that is the question. Are you a hoarder or a purger? And does anyone remember the days when you would actually call someone on the phone when you wanted to talk to them, like, using your voice? Oh, hey, you know what would be great? Voice activated text messages! You just speak your message into your phone, and it translates it into a text message for you, so you can have an entire text conversation with someone by using your voice, but without the hassle of actually having to talk to each other! 

The future is weird. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Why are you so angry, men of the "manosphere?"

Dear Manosphere Haters,

I really think we may have gotten off on the wrong foot, here. So, hi. I'm Rachel. Nice to meet you. (Not really, but we may as well all be polite here, no? Which is more than I can say about you.) 

Now, I know what you have been saying about me, and I have to say, a lot of it hasn't been very nice. But, no matter. Clearly, the Internet is not a forum for people to be nice to each other; it's for expressing your opinions! Of which you have so, so many. Or really, just one opinion, expressed over and over in a virtual shouting match, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. The thing is, you are making this into an Us vs. Them, when I really think we could all be on the same page, here. What I mean is, I am single and bitter, and clearly a majority of you are also single and just as bitter. Can't we all just be bitter together? Because, look, some of the things you are saying, I agree with. Like, for example, when you say that I am 29 and still single. Horrors! Ok, actually, I have to admit, I don't totally agree with that. I wish I did, but this is what happens when you show up two whole years late to the party. So. Hi. My name is Rachel. I'm 31, and I'm single. Can we all agree to that? Yes, I think we can. Look at us all, agreeing! Truly the Internet is a wonderful thing.

So, look, I realize the mere fact that I am 31 and single and a woman is personally offensive to many of you, for reasons I am only beginning to try to understand. But if I am going to try to understand you, I hope you will try to understand me, too. I know it's hard, because as a woman I am completely irrational. (Giggle giggle, eyelash flutter.) But let's still try to understand each other. Please know that me being single has nothing to do with you, either individually or as a sex. I don't hate you, and I don't hate men. (If I suspected that most men were as bitter and hate-filled as I've witnessed some of you be, I might have to reconsider my position, but as it is I still have a modicum of faith in the fundamental decency of malekind. Please don't prove me wrong.) Yes, I am still single at an age that apparently many people would be more comfortable with me being firmly settled down and breeding. But look, if I had kids I would just raise them liberal, and I have a sneaking suspicion that many of you would have just as big a problem with that, and so perhaps we can all once again agree that me not having children is actually for the best in that sense, no? So, yes, as I said, I am 31 and single (although you can all keep calling me 29 and single, if it floats your boat; I'm not going to stop you). But it's not because I "rode the c*ck carousel," and it's not because I "chased a career" (ha! And this is how I know none of you have ever read my blog before. Is there a support group for 31-year-old Professional Fuck-ups?), and it's not because I rejected the oh-so-many offers of marriage I received in my younger and "cuter" years (seriously, you guys kill me with your very generous assumptions). No, it's not any of that. Instead, the reason I am single is probably very similar to the reason a lot of you are (clearly) single--a combination of bad luck and worse timing. Sometimes things work out. Sometimes they don't, eh? Sometimes they work out sooner, and sometimes later. Maybe they don't ever work out, although we all hope that isn't the case. Does that really make me a "c*nt" and a "pretentious vain-glory harridan?" Really? (Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?)

You are clearly talking about someone in your hate-filled rants, but here's the thing: you're not actually talking about me. You can quote me out of context, and you can use the basic (and largely incorrect) biographical details of my life that I have willingly shared to burn me in effigy. Because you need a target for your anger, and I get that. (But from whence comes this anger? Can we discuss? Do you need a hug? A cookie?) But I cannot and do not represent all women, just as all of you (hopefully, please god) do not represent all men. I mean, I am sorry if some girl somewhere rejected you; I feel for you, I really do. I've been there! But you don't have to vilify every other woman in the world for it. Or maybe you do, what do I know about things like feelings and emotions? I am just a woman, after all.

I hope you find your peace, woman haters. At least have a cookie.