Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ode to Claire

These past couple days when I skulk into my office there has been a definite void.   Usually, my first stop when I walk into the office is to the cubicle directly across from mine, where coffee in hand, I shared my trials and tribulations with my favorite Irish coworker.   Whether it was tales of woe regarding my love-life, work-life, or hell, life in general or rare shinning occurrences of bliss--Claire could always be counted on to listen, laugh at the appropriate times, or say something, usually something Irish ("Bloody hell, girl.   That's shite!") to commiserate. Without Claire, I'm forced to just sink into my chair and begrudgingly go to work. 

Claire has moved on to greener pastures, and for the record, I couldn't be more thrilled for her.   I look at working here as putting in time--She put in her two years and left before she could be institutionalized, very much like Shawshank Prison.   Still, the loss of one of my best friends, best sources of entertainment, and that certain Irish chutzpah in the workplace is rough.  Every time I walk by her desk and see that instead of being covered with Organic Veggie Chips, perfume, dove chocolate, and masses of paper, it's wiped clean, I die a little inside.    So, for this blog, I am tipping my hat to my favorite Irish lass.   A ball of energy, cut from the same cloth as I, with 2 parts cynicism, and one part shinning optimism, and 1 part pure empathy, Claire will be missed in this office--by everyone, but especially by me.

Another reason that I think I bonded so quickly with Claire, is that, like me, she has the same ability to attract weirdos.  One evening at our favorite bar, for instance, Claire struck up a conversation with a deaf, black rapper named "Deaf Jeff".  He wrote all his sick grooves, but being deaf, he couldn't exactly rap, so he had a friend of his actually rap his words.    That night, Claire had no problem taking the CD he offered for her to listen to.   She had no problem listening.    She did, however, have a problem when Deaf Jeff demanded to hang out again.    He even went so far as to have friends of his text her, insisting she return his "demo CD".   When SHE insisted she A) was married B) had no interest in hanging out C) would not meet him face to face to return the CD--he buckled.   Still, I will never forget going back to the bar and explaining to the waitress that we were going to leave the CD at the bar, and should a black, deaf, gentleman wander in, the CD marked "Deaf Jeff" is meant to be returned to him.  She started the request with, "I have a strange favor to ask of you..."   Quite the understatement.

For legal reasons I cannot share all the fun and mischief Claire and I got ourselves into, usually with Sam, like three partners in crime--but, I will let her speak for herself.  In a list she compiled, known as, "Irishisms".   We love and miss you, Claire.

Oh suffering Jesus
Fecking eejit! (idiot)
Thick Gobshite (fool)
‘the fear’…when you wake up with a rotten hangover and your all jittery and paranoid.
‘handbags at dawn’- when a couple have been drinkin a lot then they start fighting after the pub closes…usually on the street.
I’d eat a childs arse through a chair (im starving)
Id eat a nuns fanny through a convent gate
I’d eat a horse between two scabby mattresses
That lad would peal an orange in his pocket (hes that stingy)
D’ya fancy a jar? (wanna go for a pint?) 
Couple a jars (a few pints)
A swifty or a swift half….(goin to go for a quick drink)
Goin to see a man about a dog…(what a man tells his wife and kids, as he’s goin to the pub)
You’ve a neck on ya like a jockeys bollox (you have some nerve)
Fuck me pink and call me rosey!  (jaysus im rightly shocked!!)
Havent seen ya in ages! (ages- long time)
Ask me bollox!
Go and shite!
I feel as rough as a dogs arse!
As scarce as hens teeth
As useless as tits on a bull!
Aul wan- (older woman)
Aul lad- (older man)
Babby (baby)
Queerhawk- (strange bird)
Banger (old car or a sausage)
Bells (time- ‘its ten bells’)
Bleedin deadly- (brilliant)
Bogs, jacks- (toilet)
Bollocking (berate…’jaysus he gave me a right bollocking’)
Shebeen- words for a pub
Chinwag- (chat)
Clattering up and down the stairs like a pair of Clydesdales (running up the stairs loudly!)
Cracker! (brilliant)
B’yore!  (a rough slutty lookin woman)
Dogs bollox (that lad thinks hes the dogs bollox and the cats pyjamas)
Do a bunk or do a flit (run away.)
Ya dry shite! (you boring person)
Dressed to the nines or all tarted up (dressed in your Sunday best clothes!)
Effin and blinding- (cursing and swearing)
Flagon (2 litre bottle of cider)
Flummoxed (perplexed)
Take a gander (have a nosey look)
Gawk- (to stare)
I couldn’t give a shite!
Gobsmacked (pretty shocked)
Holy Joe (someone who thinks they are really holy)
Ya haven’t a snowballs chance in hell!  (you have no chance)
I’ve a right throat on me (im parched for a beer)
Jammers (packed with people)
Kick in the bollox (bad news)
Langers/bullafants, shitfaced, mouldy, pissed, mangled, manky drunk
A lock in- when a pub locks people in after hours so the pub looks closed from the outside.
Leggin it (to run)
Like a blue arsed fly (when you are v busy) ‘im running around like a blue arsed fly’
Minerals (soft drinks or pop)
He’s a right molly or nance or nancyboy (hes effeminate)
Mingin (dirty, manky)
Me oul stegocia, me oul flower (my buddy)
Massive (deadly, brilliant) (or very good looking)
Molly coddle (over protect a child)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pretty Girl Rock

This morning, as I was driving to work, I was thinking about the Kardashians.  As I am not even remotely aquainted with these people, they don't regularly run through my mind.  But before my commute this morning  while lounging around my apartment, I read an article in "The Economist" (or maybe it was "US Weekly") detailing poor, long-suffering Khloe Kardashian's woes.    She can't get pregnant.  She's the "plain" sister (she'd probably still be the prettiest girl in your High School but no one looks decent standing next to the ass mecca that is Kim Kardashian). She is criticized constantly for her weight.   Blah Blah Blah. As I was driving, I thought about how terrible it must be to the least attractive sister, especially in a family like that. But when I thought more about it, I realized Khloe is actually the most grounded, well-rounded, and the least self-centered of all of them.  It occurred to me, being the "ugly duckling" (which again, she's not really) probably made her a better person.   
This weekend I talked to a girl at Oktoberfest, who incidentally went to U.D.   As I was chatting with her, my boyfriend came over to me with a cup of coffee from Graeters, and kissed my head.   From this girl's reaction, you would have thought he'd slain a mountain lion for me and laid it at my feet.   "Oh wow!  You didn't even have to ask for that!  I want one!" A coffee?  Well, there's a coffee shop.  Literally 30 yards away.   She wasn't talking about the coffee, she was talking about my boyfriend.  Apparently something as small as getting a  coffee for me when he knew I was getting cranky and tired was enough to make this girl think my boyfriend is the catch of the century.   And not that he's not...but for getting coffee? 

The more I talked to this girl the more I realized she was not lucky in love.  Her boyfriend, quite frankly, sounded like a load, and I wouldn't have put up with any of his shit for a New York minute.   And as I was listening to this girl talk about how she wished she had a great boyfriend like mine, I looked at her and thought, "Really?  How am I the winner in this situation?"  Girl was gorgeous.  Stupid gorgeous.   So gorgeous that I felt like a big turd sitting next to her.   She had long black shinny hair, perfectly white teeth, and she was tiny but still feminine looking.  In short, she's the kind of girl that makes other girls look like water buffaloes.   But with all her looks, she still couldn't find a guy to be nice to her.   Basically her whole life people have just used her for her looks, I imagine she goes on lots of dates and gets hit on a lot at bars, but she just looked miserable talking about who she was dating and at the same time full of optimism.   And why shouldn't she be?  I'm sure any guy would love to date her.   I realized that actually isn't the case, any guy would love to fuck her but wanting to get to know her?  Not unless you repeat that in a cheesy guy pickup line way, the same way changing tires can be made into a sexual advance.   (yeah baby, I'll change your tires).  What?

Growing up, all I wanted to be was pretty.    I felt like a puffy, white, beluga whale, what with my pale skin, doughy body, and awkward social graces.   And I used to imagine that everything would be easy if only I could look like one of those girls.   You know, the girls that men write poetry about.  In the fifties they wore cashmere sweaters and tight pencil skits, in the 80s jean jackets and Benetton.  Men would describe these girls using terms such as "angel," and "goddess".     I think the nicest thing a boy ever said to me in high school was that I "had a decent rack but I talked too much."   Thus, thankfully, I've never had the problem of too much male interest. But are the pretty girls really better off?   Does any of it guarantee happiness?

Look at Khloe Kardashian, she seems to have the most normal, happiest, healthiest relationship of the bunch--and come on, she's no Kim.   And look at people like Christy Brinkley, Sandra Bullock, Princess Diana, etc.  All these gorgeous women were cheated on at the prime of their attractiveness. It didn't matter!  I think, really, when it comes to relationships, the best bet is to be a little plain (good news for me!)  Just attractive enough, but not so attractive that all people want is your body or to put you up on a shelf.   Maybe "The Coasters" were on to something when they said: "If you want to be happy for the rest of your life, never make a pretty woman your wife.   So from my personal point of view--get an ugly girl to marry you."

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Inferiority Complex

If you guys have followed my blog you should know that I am really shitty and awkward at a lot of things.   I also am very competitive and I hate being bad at anything, so it's an unfortunate combination. 
I am also not, what one would call, "a gal's gal."   Women, as a result of years of terror at the hands of mean girls/cheerleaders, scare me.  They can say something really nicely but convey the intended message,"Bitch, you 'aint shit," which I disliked enough coming from Dr. Dre.  Because of this, my default is to think of groups of women as rhinos that might charge at any moment, I might change my opinion upon getting to know someone, but I find it's better to be safe than sorry and I prefer to keep a safe distance. (For more thoughts on my views on women see: The Women)

I also, am not a gal's gal in the sense that domestic pursuits often allude me.  (see: Domestic Angel) The way I cook, for instance, could never be featured in a magazine because I ignore recipes and never can duplicate the same effort twice.  Also, as a single woman living alone with a cat, I cook rarely anymore. I am tempted to say I eat a lot of frozen dinners, but that's the lie I tell to make myself seem like more of an adult human, because a lot of times I can't even be bothered to pop in a Lean Cuisine.  Instead, my dinner is some odd combination of tuna from the can, microwave popcorn, and jell-o pudding,   

So ok, I get it.  I need to grow up a little, I can't be scared of women forever--High School is over, right?   I have a job, an apartment, and all my teeth--I need to streamline my life. Today, at Barnes and Noble, in an effort to do just that, I bought a "Slow-Cooker Cookbook" because I figured even I can dice some veggies the night before, slop it all together in the Crock Pot in the morning before work, and eat well when I get home.  I felt very smug and self-satisfied and adult.  

My first recipe choice was Turkey Goulash and despite reading the ingredients carefully and picking them up at Dorothy Lane Market (keepin' it classy) I of course, still forgot like half of the things I needed.   I also had to defrost the rock-solid turkey which wasn't supposed to be frozen but weirdly was, so I popped it into the microwave in a pyrex measuring cup that I sometimes use to feed my cat.   It all smells pretty good in that cooker though.   Sadly, this Goulash endeavor will probably turn out a lot better than my attempt earlier this weekend to not be scared of new groups of women..

This weekend, I went to Cincinnati to hang out with my new boyfriend.  I was meeting, for the first time, his group of friends.  I was (I think understandably) pretty nervous.  I don't care what romantic declarations are made to the contrary, if the friends don't like the significant other, the relationship ends pretty quick.  I really liked his guy friends, they were all the things I like about Mike--sharp, funny, laid-back, and warm.  In the group of guys and girls, I felt really comfortable.  Everyone was joking and laughing, I felt included, etc.   However, when the guys went down to watch football and I was left to chat with the women-folk, things went horribly awry.     As always, when left on my own in female company, I managed to say all the wrong things.  As soon as it was just me and the ladies I instantly felt like I felt when I was the chubby girl in Middle School that nobody liked and the girls made fun of, and I also suddenly became very aware of my arms.  When I get nervous, I talk.  And shit, did I talk.   Hence this exchange:

Me: Cheerfully, to mask my feelings of supreme terror at being in a room with women I don't know.  So  wow, these guys and their "frat" thing.   A little ridiculous, right?
Girl 1:   Well you're probably like that about your sorority.   
Me:  ... I wasn't actually in a sorority.
Girl 2:  A look of extreme pity ...Oh.  It's really such a great way to network and make friends.
Me: Understanding I'm being judged and trying wildly to compensate and seem normal and well adjusted.  I'm not really into the whole "sisterhood" thing.  Plus, I want friends you don't have to pay for.
Girl 1 and 2: Looks of offense and disgust.
Me: Realizing this was the inappropriate venue to discuss my actual feelings about sororities and the weird things that happen when you get too much estrogen in a small space.  Sorry.

I promise I'm not a bad person.  Nor am I a bad cook.  I just sometimes get this feeling that everyone is watching me, just waiting for me to fail so they can triumphantly say something to the effect of, "Clearly Annie, you don't belong here."  And, clearly...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sunday Kind of Love

I'm going to start this post by saying today was a bad day.  I woke up exhausted and hungover, the result of 12 hour workdays Monday-Wednesday this week AND a double bloody mary.    As I pulled into the parking lot at work every cell of my body was dreading actually doing anything productive or meaning full for the institution. My pores were exuding my distaste at the whole exercise. I thought to myself, "Self, today would be a great day to read other people's blogs and look at pictures of pretty dresses on the Macy's site, or better yet, food porn from Hello Cupcake!"  But no, I instead realized today would be a day of wrangling my disobedient body chemistry, and I don't like to do that, aside from (occasionally) wearing deodorant.  

I started the day by cleaning my desk to avoid actual work.  This is a clever technique because I appeared very busy and occasionally dashed around in search of more file folders or stacking boxes (whatever you call those rubbermaid containers that you put papers in).  Everyone knows that dashing in an office setting is a positive deterrent from people talking to you and asking for things because you look stressed, and in this day in age, possibly on the brink of going postal.   I was proud of having the foresight to employ the clever technique known as "avoidance" which has been popularized by problem avoiders such as alcoholics, Miss Havisham, and Charlie Sheen.  
Havishsham is my homegirl.

After my half-assed cleaning attempt (basically I just consolidated piles) I actually did some work.  It was the worst.  Everything I touched today seemed to turn to shit.  My meetings ran late and were so boring I was considering propping my eyelids open with toothpicks.  My inbox was full of messages riddled with unsolvable problems, and quite frankly, problems that I absolutely had no interest in solving.   The half-sandwhich leftover from dinner last night  I attempted to eat for lunch was soggy.   Clearly, no human has ever suffered like I did today.   

Then, as soon as I got out of work, desperate for some kind of respite, my mom called me with terrible news about my Dad's place of business, and no sooner did I talk her down from that and check my mailbox hoping for a nice Victoria's Secret Catalogue, did I instead receive a letter from the city of Dayton.   A speeding ticket.   I was caught on "hidden camera" at 1 pm on a sunny day.  Here's what I think about that... 

I didn't even actually get caught!    The founding fathers never intended for me to not speed and chain-smoke in my car out of view of  police.  It's in the constitution.   Fucking liberal, hippie, pinkos.

...But, the silver lining to all this, is the fact that I'm not actually bothered by any of this.  Honestly.   I had a horrible day, sufficiently horrible, that Daniel Powter's "Bad Day" doesn't even accurately sum it up--and I'm not even getting kicked off American Idol.  But here's the thing.  I'm giddy inside.   I'm humming Etta James's "Sunday Kind of Love."   Despite my exhaustion and disgust with situations in my life, I am also hopelessly, madly, blissfully happy.   I've got a new special fella in my life and every time I think about being homicidal or enraged, I instead think about how happy I am to have him and instead I get a smug smile on my face.  It's really revolting.   I'm annoying myself a little even, and as someone conceded and vain, it takes a lot to make me annoyed with myself--I usually think I'm pretty great.

So while everything around me falls to shit and my job is frustrating and terrible and I feel like I just can't catch a break--I'll also be impervious to the whole thing and humming "Sunday kind of Love" for the rest of the day.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Talents and Virtues

One of my best qualities (not to brag) is the ability to recognize people who are smarter than me.   I know this doesn't sound like it would be difficult, but I have a real knack for knowing when I'm in way over my head and need to call in someone who doesn't often get overwhelmed and retreat to her tub for a bubble bath with a side of vodka. Similarly, I know when someone is interesting and talented and I make it my business to cozy up to them and live vicariously through their accomplishments.  And I don't just mean in my professional and academic life--I do this in my personal life as well.  My closest confidantes are shooting stars.  

Katie, one of my few remaining friends from highschool, has a hilarious blog and is currently living the dream at a prestegious PR firm in NYC where she attends parties with  Loraine Schwartz.   One of my other friends from highschool is a musical prodigy, and I don't mean expert level on Guitar Hero, I mean he composes symphonies in his leisure time.  My prom date speaks 4 languages fluently. My main gay, within two years of taking dance classes, landed a role in "Chicago" and a position at a dance company.   My roommate in college won a legion of awards from the education school.  My other roommate won best female ROTC cadet in two states.   And then there's me...

  I do not possess any of these talents.  But I am really good at surrounding myself with people who do.   Which I like to think is an accomplishment in itself.   Not everyone has a list of friends this impressive.    I like to think of myself as a better looking Gertrude Stein, surrounding herself with the best of the best in art, music, intellectual pursuits, etc.   Or a more apt metapohor, the token ugly chick in a sorority full of bouncy blondes who through a combination of pity and the desire to look inclusive, made it through the rush process.

One of the highest compliments I could ever recieve is when my friends look to me for advice of any kind.   Katie sometimes asks for input on her blog, and I feel like a total rockstar.  Except, I also am selfish, so if I come up with a good idea I want to take it for my less-hilarious blog.  Like I suggested she do a "favorite things," podcast--and now I'm kicking myself because I think I could make that really funny if I say my favorite things are "Coffee stains on a white blouse, a blouse which incidentally pops open at inoportune times" or "using vaseline as lipgloss because Cover Girl wants like 8$ for that shit and you can also use the vaseline for when your nose gets raw from blowing it too much."   I'm like a whiter, skinnier, less omniscent version of Oprah.  

I used to feel really inferior in comparison to my friends, who have gone on to bigger, better things while I stayed in Dayton and got a job.   I get panicky when I realize my only Miss America talent is a sub-par dinsoaur impression, that's only funny because I am so committed to making people laugh I put all pride aside.   But, I am proud of my friends and only slightly jealous--but hopefully sometime soon I'll do something kind of cool that my friends can brag about and take undue credit for.   Just like I do for them. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Women

I have to be honest.  It's taken me a really long time to see the intrinsic value of female companionship.   Even though I'm a feminist, my reasoning behind the quest for female equality isn't because I think there is anything particularly special about women.    To quote Amy Poehler playing Hillary Clinton in a Saturday Night Live skit, "I didn't want a woman to be president!  I wanted to be president and I just happen to be a woman!"  This is sort of how I feel about feminism I don't think women in any way are smarter, more empathetic, or more capable than men.  But I think I am smart, empathetic, and capable and I happen to be a woman.  Thus there must be more of us out there and those smart, empathetic, and capable individuals shouldn't be handicapped because of their gender.  In my women studies classes, however, I never "got" the attitude that women are somehow superior to men in terms of any qualitative asset.   I heard argument after argument about how "women can solve all the world's problems if men got out of the way," and that all men knew was aggression and destruction.  I thought those arguments were pure, unadulterated, bullshit.  I've known some pretty stupid women and I find it hard to imagine they could reorganize a closet, let alone solve the world's problems.   Similarly, I have known some pretty pacific men.  If I had to rephrase, I would say "people could solve all the world's problems if other stupid people got out of the way" and all a lot of people know is aggression and destruction.  Such an inordinate amount of faith in women puzzled and enraged me.

"I just happen to be a woman"

My attitude probably comes from my earliest experiences with the "fairer sex" (said with quite a bit of sarcasm).   In middle school I witnessed girls do things to each other (mainly to me) that were so cruel and manipulative Machiavelli himself would probably have advised them to take it down a few notches.  I never have surrounded myself with female company, preferring the no bullshit approach of most of my male friends, not to mention their ability to appreciate a good dick joke. This trend continued into high school and college, where I found my niche as fabulous best friend to still-in-the-closet gay men.   It was perfect, we laughed at the bitchy mean girls and were also able to covetously skim the J. Crew catalogue.  

 Anytime I've tried to participate in some "sisterhood" endeavor its been an absolute disaster.   And I have tried.   I was a cheerleader in high school but I failed to adequately grasp how important it was to wear spandex and act superior, and while the other cheerleaders gushed they would be bonded forever because of the experience, I fantasized about my teammates getting hit by a train, bows and pom poms flying.   In college for about two minutes I toyed with pledging a sorority, but after nearly choking on my own vomit when one of the sorority presidents opened a rush ceremony with the line, "Some people come to college to find a husband, I came to find my bridesmaids" I decided my gag reflex was just too sensitive.

Welcome to my own personal and private hell...

   So it was a surprise to everyone, and especially to me, that right out of college I landed a job at an office which is exclusively employed by women.   You couldn't imagine the arguments and personality clashes that ensue from the excessive amount of estrogen in the atmosphere.   Also, needless to say, every day is a fashion show because someone is wearing a pair of shoes/headband/dress/jacket that is totally adorable.   This irritates me and makes me think maybe there is something wise in confining females to the kitchen without drivers licenses.  Then I remember, there are smart, empathetic, capable members of my gender out there.   Somewhere.

But lately as I've bonded with a select motley crew of my coworkers, I'm beginning to reformulate my stance on intra-female friendships.  I thought about this as I was out with two of my coworkers, Sam and Claire, drinking bloody mary's and laughing so hard I thought I'd crack a rib--I love having female friends.   I never understood why it was necessary before, because if I wanted to talk fashion or gossip I could always just round up a gay, and I wouldn't have to worry about them being jealous if I started talking to a boy they secretly liked (thank God we fish from a completely different pond.)  Recently, however, I am realizing how much fun a "night out with the girls" can be, and that a lot of the competition, insecurity, and bitchiness subsides after schooling ends.   Instead, you're left with the things you have to common, which strangely enough, seems to extend well beyond similar genitalia.   I guess I'm a convert.  I still don't think they're superior, but I've found a pretty cool bunch of smart, empathetic, and capable ladies.   

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Diary of a Mad, Cashew Woman

I don't mean mad in the charming sense that British people use it-- I mean, literally mad.   To properly illustrate my rage, I'll allude to a film.  In a pivotal scene in "Never Been Kissed" unlucky in love Josie, nicknamed, "Josie Grossie" in her awkward highschool days screams to the heavens, "I'm not JOSIE GROSSIE anymore!" Got that?   Ok, MY rage is not liberting and coming to grips with highschool demons--I'm just screaming, "GOD FUCKING DAMNIT" because the cat knocked over the packet of Good 'n Plenty's and I really wanted some but even I'm above eating it off a cat-hair coated carpet.   That's the kind of mad I've been lately.

Luckily, there have been ample outlets for me to display my rage.   Yesterday for a work fund-raiser,  I was invited to participate in a full-contact game of blindfolded musical chairs.  In the game, participants are blindfolded and one less chair than the number of players are scattered randomly around a room.  Every player has to grope blindfolded for a chair and then the player left without a chair is eliminated.  With my rage and anger and possibily, I don't know, a little testosterone I was primed for action.  I kicked off my high heels and did the MC Hammer shuffle all around the room, keeping low, agile like a panther or some similar graceful jungle cat.  And then someone got in my way.  What was my reaction?  Did I try to avoid them?   No, I straight up made a blindfolded attempt at close-lining them which thankfully was unsuccessful, because I don't know if I could have played it off as an accident.  What is wrong with me?

I also recently have been having very eloquent and angry conversations with myself, directed at people who piss me off.   That co-worker who snapped at me today?   Well I gave her a twenty minute piece of my mind, except she wasn't there--I was just talking to myself furiously in my car.   So furiously, I'm sure that passersby thought I was having a bluetooth conversation with a tax collector or something.   Thank God for bluetooths by the way, without them how would I play off the frequent instances during which I talk to myself in public? 

I don't know where all this rage is coming from, but I kind of dig it.   While cursing profusely this morning I jumpstarted my car in five inch heels after leaving the lights on all night even after my mother explicitedly reminded me to turn them off.   Ok, so it was stupid--but you have to admit there's something sexy about a mad woman in heels doing mechanical work.  Oh you don't admit that?   Well fuck you, nobody hit your buzzer. 

...Let's see how long this lasts.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Unsolicited Dating Advice

Recently, well not so recently anymore, I broke up.  And like every human mammal, when faced with a taxing situation I rely on previous experience and learned insights to deal with it.   And while experience has taught me to laugh at myself, listen to my mom, and always pack extra undies--it has not taught me how to be attractive to the opposite sex.

In middle school I think I was at the pinnacle of my attractiveness (that sentence just made Chris Hanson want to sit me down in the kitchen set of "To Catch a Predator).  But I'm serious.  By eighth grade I had mastered the art of blue, sparkly eye shadow, laughing at unfunny things boys said just to boost their already inflated egos, and the ability to pretend to be whomever I thought the boy in question would enjoy.  He liked sports?   Toss me a football!   He liked dumb girls?   Holding a pencil is hard!   He liked conservative girls?   Abortion is murder!

Sadly, this period of unstoppable appeal didn't last very long.  Sometime around sophomore year of high-school I began questioning this tried and true method of man-snatching.  I was exhausted and bad at being desirable anyway.  The spark-plug shaped, stocky, loud, little rabble rouser in me just would not be contained under a cloud of giggles and Bath and Body Works perfume.  I stopped worrying about intimidating my male classmates and more about being educated, and worst of all, I started becoming confident in voicing my own opinions.   Can you say boner shrinker? And this trend has continued.  While I am not beyond rocking a push-up bra or a short skirt or even a stiletto heel, these tricks can only camouflage the ball-busting bitch underneath for so long.   Anecdote time.   A man on a date once told me "football is a metaphor for his life.  It's about being mentally tough"   I told him a) his life must be preeeeetty homoerotic, what with all the men in tight pants and ass-slapping b) that's the stupidest thing I've ever heard and c) I could tell we had nothing in common, so thanks, but no thanks.   Wrong!   Middle school Annie would have known better.   She would have tried (probably unsuccessfully--but mature Annie didn't even try) to smile and nod and tell him how fascinating she thought he was.

So I'm stuck with this.   I have this problem.   And worse I keep forgetting it is, in fact, a problem. I think I'm kinda cool.  Kinda too cool to put up with bullshit.   So dating in today's world is a minefield.   I will talk religion and politics on a first date--and I will straight-up tell my first date I disagree with his views on either.    Also, I do this Jurassic Park spitting dinosaur impression which usually involves me sending flecks of spit airborne across the table onto my dinner partner's face...   Yeah, Emily Post would bust a spleen in anger if she saw me whip out that little gem.

So while some girls are calling their significant other "my handsome" or making him cookies, I'm arguing about gentrification and chewing with my mouth (slightly!) open.  My advice?   Be like those girls, be like Middle School fembot me, but definitely don't be like the "true me" I am now.   Then again, in my own coy little way I can tell you sometimes your mom was right--being yourself works.   ::Wink:: (again with my mouth open)