Wednesday, May 16, 2012

CONFESSIONS OF A HOPELESS ROMANTIC, or, Someone Just Serenade Me Outside My Window, Please

I consider myself to be somewhat of a feminist. I won't go into all the ways I think that word is misinterpreted and misunderstood in our society (that would be completely off-topic and lengthy), but I will say that I believe in women's rights and I have inherent faith in the ability of my gender to accomplish great things. Blah blah blah. I'll go burn a bra now, whatever. (Joking. Stereotypes suck.)

Anyway, despite my basic philosophy about being an independent woman who doesn't need a man to take care of her or define her, I would also classify myself as a hopeless romantic. Not the type who fights about which Twilight team they're on or only watches chick flicks, though. I mean, I've just always longed for my life to contain one incredible, last-ditch romantic moment that you see in the movies.

I'll admit, during my teenage years, I enjoyed romantic comedies a lot more than I do now...probably because A) they're all the same after awhile, and B) they set me up for disappointment. In my entire life, nobody has ever thrown a pebble at my window in the middle of the night or sent me anonymous roses or serenaded me. I've now come to terms that life isn't like the movies (only took me twenty-some years to figure that out, aren't you proud of me?) and I will never look out my window to see someone playing a Peter Gabriel song on a boombox for me. Thanks a lot, Jon Cusack.

But even so, I hold out hope that maybe someday somebody will do that for me. If that is the case, here are the moments that I would most like to happen to me:

1. The aforementioned scene from Say Anything with the boombox and Peter Gabriel.
2. A boy following me to the airport and confessing his love to front of the security checkpoint since I guess he wouldn't be able to get to the gate anymore. Damn.
3. That scene from The Notebook where Ryan Gosling hangs from the ferris wheel. Dangerous and exciting.
4. A boy writing a song for me. A romantic one, that is. None of that "this girl ruined my life" crap.
5. Being serenaded in public.
6. A boy learning a new language for me, like when Colin Firth speaks really bad Portuguese in Love Actually and proposes to that girl because he didn't know she learned English for him. So many feelings.
7. Anything that Jim Halpert ever did for Pam Beesly on The Office. Duh.

But I guess I understand why these moments don't make up everyday life. If they did, the movies wouldn't be so exciting or interesting.

(But just in case you're wondering, guys...if you want to impress a girl, large romantic gestures usually work. Even on feminist hopeless romantics like me.)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

GOOD GRAMMAR IS A TURN ON, or, If You Use the Correct Form of "Your/You're," I Will Probably Try to Make Out With You

photo from
Spelling and grammar have always come naturally to me. In sixth grade, I placed fourth in a school district spelling bee, and growing up I almost always got 100% on my spelling tests. In fifth grade, one of my favorite parts of the school day was when my teacher would write a sentence on the board and we would have to fix the grammar so that it was correct. In college I worked as a writing tutor, where I got paid to help people edit their papers. Proofreading is actually fun for me. I could keep going, but I'm sure you all think I'm enough of a nerd, so onward we go...

Now, I admit that I'm not perfect. I have typos in my papers (and probably my blog posts, whatever) and I don't always spell things correctly. However, I firmly believe that the world would be a better place if people would just follow the basic rules of grammar and punctuation. Do you know how many times I've seen an "official" looking sign with an apostrophe in the wrong place? "FREE MASSAGE'S TODAY ONLY." (I'm pretty sure the massage does not own today, people.) And it would seem to me that most of the English speaking world does not know the difference between your/you're and their/they're/there and then/than and two/too/to and so on.

But like I said, these things are inherently part of my daily brain function, so when I see a glaring apostrophe where there should just be a plural noun, I want to rip my hair out. I can't focus on anything else. That stupid apostrophe is the only thing that matters.

Mark my words, if you are good at grammar and you don't make the same mistakes that it seems most people make now, chances are we could easily become best friends. I may or may not want to cuddle you and stroke your cheek. Sorry, but good grammar is just a turn on.

(On an slightly related note, my best friend sent me one of the funniest birthday gifts ever: this book, which is based on Bethany Keeley's hilarious blog about "unnecessary" quotation marks. I pull it out every time I need a good laugh.)

Friday, February 3, 2012

WHOSE CONVERSATION IS THIS?, or, What Conversation Hearts Would Say If They Were Really Being Honest

I'm not a Valentine's Day person. Not just because I'm bitter and single, but because I find it stupid that you need a designated day to tell the people you love how important they are to you. (Although, truthfully, these days it seems that being "against" V-Day is just as cliche as being "for" it.) But even though I'm anti-Cupid, I am fiercely pro-chocolate, so I take advantage of all of the delicious confections that are displayed in every store I set foot in after New Years Day. Who cares if they're wrapped in vomit-inducing pink heart wrapping? They still taste delicious.

The other day I bought a bag of conversation hearts. I don't even really like them that much since they're not made of chocolate, but for some reason (probably the fact that I hadn't eaten lunch yet) they looked tasty, so I threw them in my cart. They're a classic Valentine candy, and they'll only be around for a little while, right? Whatever. As I was eating a few and reading their messages, I couldn't help but think about how inaccurate the "conversations" printed on these little heart-shaped wafers are. "E-MAIL ME?" "FRIEND 4EVER?" "GOOD 4 U?" No one says this crap anymore! If people were ever to try to use these candies to have a "conversation," they would fail. These don't reflect real relationships at all. (Then again, neither does the entire concept of Valentine's Day, but whatever.) So, sitting alone in my apartment eating these sugary (somewhat disgusting, which I had forgotten) hearts, I came up with some, er, realistic sayings that I think they should print. Then, because I'm an even bigger loser, I made my own candy hearts using this site and voila! Realistic candy hearts!

Then again, maybe the charm of these little candies actually lies in their outdated expressions...

Friday, January 27, 2012

TEENAGE WASTELAND, or, Please Stop Gyrating All Over Each Other on the Dancefloor So I Don’t Feel Awkward

Sometimes it is hard for me to remember what it was like to be a hormone-charged, dramatic sixteen year-old. Other times, I remember it quite clearly. One such time happened quite recently, when I chaperoned a high school dance.

As soon as the dance started, I was smacked in the face by memories. Spending hours getting ready with friends, wearing heels that killed my feet but were too cute to take off (okay, sometimes I still do that), those first few minutes of the dance where hardly anyone is dancing and everyone stands around awkwardly waiting for the party to pick up, and finally, the actual dancing. The – ahem – inappropriate dancing. You know what I’m talking about. The simulated sex on the dance floor. All of a sudden, the dance floor would transform into a mass of people gyrating and sweating and hanging on each other. As a teenager, I never understood what the big deal was. I didn’t get why the chaperones (mainly our teachers and parents, since I attended a public school, not a boarding school like the one I now work at) got so worked up about it. I got so annoyed by the ones who would prowl the dance floor, searching for couples to break up or just staring at us like they were waiting for us to do something wrong. Even worse were the ones who would move around the room in time to the music, as if they were trying to blend in or be less awkward. These chaperones were the reason I begged my parents not to volunteer. EVER. I obviously would have died of embarrassment.

Well, now I understand. I actually felt like a mother while I was at this dance. Even though none of the children are my biological kin, I felt like a parent at a dance where I didn’t belong. I could feel it in the air – I was now the “uncool” chaperone who was just standing in the way of the kids having fun. And while I didn’t prowl the dance floor breaking up couples who were too close together, I did feel the most awkward I have felt in a very long time. Because I suddenly remembered my sixteen year-old self so clearly, and I didn’t want to be “That Chaperone.” But what else was there for me to do? All I could do was stand on the sides, watching. I didn’t want to, but I was trapped. And I’ll admit, sometimes I did nod my head or walk in time to the music, just to make myself feel less like a statue who was stuck in one place. I turned into the person I used to despise as a high school student.

So here you go, teens: You may feel awkward around the chaperones at the dance, but I can guarantee most of them feel more awkward than you do.

Monday, January 9, 2012

IN DEFENSE OF BEING PALE, or, I Am The Color Of A Blank Sheet Of Paper And I'm Proud Of It

I'm a white girl.

No, seriously. I am a white girl not only in the stereotypical ways, but in every literal sense of the word. My skin has always been extremely pale, and no matter how much I try, I can't get a tan. During my three years of experience as a camp counselor, the only times my skin turned slightly darker than its usual shade of "eggshell" were when I got baked to a crisp during our field trips to the Michigan sand dunes, even despite my liberal and frequent applications of SPF 50 sunscreen. Nursing my skin back to health after these burns sometimes resulted in a minor tan (and LINES! Tan lines! I never get those!), but alas, it would fade almost instantly.

You know what, though? I have accepted my fate after 23 years of being a ghost. I've gotten used to the slew of "pale" and "white" comments I get from people who are just meeting me (especially in the summer), and I've even learned to put up with those annoying jerks who love to put their arm next to mine and "compare" our skin tones. Because guess what? IN 30 YEARS I WILL STILL HAVE YOUTHFUL BABY-BUTT SKIN AND YOU GUYS WON'T, HAHAHAHA.

Immaturity aside, at least my chance of getting skin cancer is a bit slimmer because I don't bother trying to tan. And while my snowy skin did come with a lot of other lovely genetic gifts (eczema, sensitivity to practically every type of metal, those little weird bumps on the back of your arms, FRECKLES GALORE, etc.), I'm learning to be proud of it. I'm accepting my ivory complexion because I've realized it looks healthy and you know what? I'd rather look like Snow White than someone from Jersey Shore. My skin color is natural and normal for me. So you can go ahead and comment on it, but I'm just going to hold my freckled face high and laugh along with you. I'm pale and I'm proud of it.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

I'M A REAL BOY, or, Why Can't I Wear Old Spice If I Want To?

I have a confession. I bought a stick of Old Spice deodorant just because I like the way it smells. Sometimes I put it on before I go to bed because the scent comforts me. It makes me feel like I have a boy sleeping next to me. Or some heavenly scented man-angel watching me as I sleep. I don’t know what it is about Old Spice specifically -- there’s no way I would wear Axe (or whatever other scents guys like) -- but I love it. And if this makes me sound like a crazy single girl who is desperate for the scent of a man in her life, so be it. I’m not going to stop. Pair some Old Spice with an oversized sweater as PJs, and that is the best night of sleep ever. I also shave my legs with men’s shaving cream. It foams better, gives me a closer shave, and doesn’t smell like gross raspberry mango coconut cream or whatever scent Skintimate is trying to force on unsuspecting women at the moment. My bathroom smells like a man for two days, but you know what? I’m obviously okay with that.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


We’ve all been there. That moment when you finally gather the courage to text someone. Maybe it’s someone you know really well but you have something, er, touchy to say to them (which, let’s face it, you probably should say to them in person, but come on, you’re not going to). Maybe it’s someone you just met and want to hang out with but you’re afraid of rejection. Maybe it’s the person you only see for quick make-out sessions every few weeks and you know this text will imply that another meeting is, um, desired. We definitely live in a text-centric society, and, regardless of the person, when you’re sending a text that puts you out there or lets down your guard, it’s scary.

For me, I first spend at least 15 minutes drafting a carefully worded, spell-checked and grammar-checked (because yes, I actually care about my grammar when I text, whatever) message that does not seem too desperate/awkward/sensitive and will be sure to provoke a response. Then I stare at the unsent message, fighting myself about whether to hit “send.” If it’s a particularly ballsy text, I might delete it and re-type it a few times. I might not even send it at all. But all of this preparation is nothing compared to the moments that will follow once I have finally sent those precious words out into the abyss: the moments during which time slows down and I wait for a response.

You know what I’m talking about. Whether you’re waiting for a response to a simple “Hey what’s the math assignment for tomorrow?” or the more complicated “Are you up? Do you want to hang out?”, time always moves more slowly while you wait for the recipient to text you back. Here is the list of things that I should spend these agonizing minutes doing:

1. Reading a chapter of that book I started three and a half weeks ago and always stuff in my purse to take places but never actually read.
2. Re-reading the previous chapters of said book because I forgot what happened entirely.
3. Cleaning all of the hair off of my bathroom floor.
4. Sorting through all the junk emails from The Gap and in my email inbox.
5. Coming across a Gap coupon in one of those emails that I might possibly use sometime in the near future and then not deleting any of my emails because what if I end up needing them?
6. Drooling over all of the clothes from The Gap that I can’t afford, like that $85 dollar sweater I’m pretty sure I saw a replica of at GoodWill last week.
7. Making a playlist of songs I like to sing along to when I’m in the car by myself so that I don’t have to constantly select songs on my iPod while I’m driving.

…and so on. Here is the list of things that I actually do while waiting for a response:

1. Stare at my phone.
2. Check message inbox to make sure that I didn’t “miss” the text message arriving even though I’ve been staring at my phone the entire time.

Being the naturally anxious person that I am, this is something that I go through any time I send a text message that is outside of the realm of an inside joke text, an “I’ll meet you there” text, or a general “What’s up?” text. I hope I’m not alone in my neurotic texting behaviors, but again, because I am such an anxious weirdo, I assume that I am the only one who goes through this type of pain.

Then, a few ridiculously painful minutes (or hours, if the person I texted is a total dick) later, I receive a response. Depending on the message I receive, the episode of anxious texting may be over. Or, if a response from me is warranted, I may have to send another text, upon which the cycle begins all over again…

And if you just plain don’t text me back, well…that’s a story for another day.

(This post was also published on!)