hey pretty

Ceci n'est pas une "dating blog."

Monday, January 30, 2006

Wendy, We Will Miss You

The New York Times is reporting that playwrite Wendy Wasserstein, has died of lymphoma.

As the article rightly points out, Wasserstein broke innovative literary and dramatic ground in her depictions of the lives of unmarried, introspective, urban women long before Sex in the City imbued our lives with its glossy, stylized sheen.

Wasserstein's characters are like the ones we are acquainted with in real life, complete with physical flaws, intellectual epiphanies, and cynicism masking self-doubt. I first discovered her in high school, and her stories served as my first exposure to the emotional landscapes of adult women, my first glimpse of how my personality was forming and who I would eventually become.

Never the flaxen-haired-urban-pixie-vixens popularlized by Candace Bushnell's ouvre, Wasserstein's women lived the way we actually do, rather than what we can aspire to be through makeovers and expensive threads.

For more on Wendy, check out Bachelor Girls (an essay collection) and the Heidi Chronicles (a play).

Friday, January 27, 2006

Do It For the Bees

I just discovered this blog (yes, the whole Irish thing caught my attention, we know how I'm a sucker for Irish boys) and a current post about vegetarians. It got me thinking about my own stint in the land of vegan, the details of which are for another day. But, I do want to share my all time absolute favorite instance of the extremes youngsters will go to in the name of animal rights.

At the co-op I ate in there were regular discussions about what kind of food we would serve. Would we serve refined sugar products? Organic bananas? Would we allow people to bring meat into the co-op to cook themselves? One day the subject of honey came up. If we couldn't use sugar could we use honey as a viable alternative? After all, barely malt and brown rice syrup both taste like ass. Maple syrup is hella expensive. But honey is okay, right? It's a nice color and cheap and easy to cook with. Nothing wrong with that, right? Nope. An hour long debate then ensued about the ethics of cooking with honey and how it oppresses the bumble bees. I kid you not. That, my friends, is when veganism goes too far.

Is This Really What Craig Had in Mind?

I first discovered Craig's List in 1998. I was living in San Francisco with my parents and trying to decide what I wanted to do with my life as I had just graduated from college, and like all pot-head liberal arts students with a shiny new degree in English (with a concentration in post-modern studies, just to make me and this post even more excruciating), I was unemployed and living with my parents. Freeloading off of the parents was losing its luster. They had recently shifted their focus off of dissecting my, their only child's every move, and had instead diverted it to one another. The results were not pleasant. Moving to DC was at this point, a zygote of an idea, so I was entertaining plans to stay in San Fran. The weather was okay and although I had no friends, I thought I could maybe find some if I managed to break out of the cocoon I had built for myself upon arriving in the city and realizing that the real world did not actually resemble a wacked-out commune populated by sneering hipsters and neo-hippies greatly in need of showers (this was a shock at the time--an unwelcome one at that), as my college experience did.

Like any malcontent, my first instinct was to hop on Craig's List in search of employment and housing options. This was a time (and maybe it's still true in San Fran) where people posted appealing professional opportunities on CL. Rather than the crappy freelance technical writing shit I find today on the DC branch of CL, there were interesting jobs at places I would want to work, like ad agencies and museums. I never applied for any of these gigs because I eventually decided to move east where I had friends, and more importantly, where I did not have parents.

Fast forward to the present. CL in DC is a total mess. Rants and Raves seems to exist soley for the purpose of railing against fat chicks, bragging about incomes, and blabbing about boring political matters in totally uninformed and dull manners. I suppose the housing ads are good, but that's all the credit I am willing to give it.

I determined some time ago that because CL was so lacking in benefits that the least I could do was use it to entertain myself by posting bogus ads in the Missed Connections. This was not unlike the times in college when my friend A and I would make signs for parties that didn't exist (at addresses that did) and plaster them all over the library and the student mail room. Good old immature, pointless pranking. In perusing this site today I learned that I am not the only one who does this. I'm sure plenty of others do as well but since I haven't read about them I can't know for sure.

The approach taken by Blair contrasts sharply with mine. For starters, she's funnier than I am. Secondly, her posts are outrageously out there. I always sought to make them sound almost exactly like everyone else's while subtly making fun of everyone else's (you: white baseball cap, khakis, blue button down, brown hair, athletic, drinking a miller light at Mug Night at Whitlows)(everyone in DC looks alike, get it? original, i know) (me: blond hair, slender, wearing a cardigan, camisole, short skirt) (more of the same, ha ha). The post would then describe some totally generic encounter about a shared love of a sports team, a bummed smoke, and a request for future interaction. Then I would sit back and wait for the responses to pour in. Which they did, and it was comical yet slightly sad. I could never tell which of the guys who responded were on to prank and which ones wrote in ernest. Eventually, the ruse would bore me and I'd craft a different faux-encounter. Then I tired of the activity and stopped posting.

Blair's on the other hand, are completely the opposite. She writes of throwing eggs off balconies when stoned and her desire for encounters with men in bunny outfits wielding giant carrots. It's all incredibly amusing and I encourage you to check it out.

Posting fake ads to Craig's List is entirely snarky and underhanded, embodying the worst qualities of ironic sneering hipsterdom. But it does add entertainment to a blah afternoon at the office. Perhaps our antics will inspire more of the same for some of you dear readers.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Once Again, Ms. Winfrey

Why does Oprah always have to make it be about Oprah?

Insane in the Brain

Not really, I just couldn't think of a better title. Long-time friend and frequent commenter DS just passed this site along to me. I haven't investigate it at length but it was launched by a fellow Amherst Regional High School alum, and because us survivors of hippy high schools have to stick together, I am letting my fellow residents of the blogosphere in on the secret. It has info about music and stuff, written by people just like you--music fans, not self-important professional reviewer music geeks (Spin Magazine, cough cough). If you're extra cool you may even consider volunteering to write a review or two yourself. Yes, I am looking at you, Jeff, Starr and Mike.

Perfect for those of us tired of, or simply craving an alternative to Pitchfork Media.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

More Random Thoughts

1.) Yesterday E and L2 chastised me for not posting more often so I am compensating for that today with two entries.

2.) Best Quizzo team name ever (it was E's idea, as all good Quizzo team names are): I knocked up some girl at the march for life.

3.) Don't you wish there was some sort of foolproof formula for gauging the potential for a successful romantic relationship, coorelated to the moment in the relationship when intimacy is introduced? For example, wouldn't it be awesome if the following equation: (2nd date)(sex)= disaster and it would always be true and you could always count on it? Yes, I know intimacy is just one of many factors that constitute a relationship but it does play an enourmous role and does tend to make or break things. Maybe there is and I don't know about it because I'm terrible at math. Damn, I knew there was a reason I should have taken calculus.

4.) I read today that scientists have determined that January 24th is the most depressing day of the year. Unfortunatley, I don't think January 25th is much of an improvement. Damn, I hate winter. I miss sunlight.

Life As Junk Email

A random sampling of the contents of my junk email inbox. I wonder what this says about me...

Adolph Thacker: Stronger, more powerful erections
Children International: Please help rescue a little child from poverty ClaimsCenter: Kate: Congratulations! A Complimentary "IKEA Giftcard" is pending. $1000.00 valu...
Redemption.Processing: Acknowledge payment options kate , annuity or lump sum Sweepstakes Entrants: College Grad Sweeps Entitlement Document
OralBright: Whiter-Teeth in just 5 days!
Subliminal Pro: Change your mind, and you'll change your life!
ThirtyPlusSingles: Are you over 30 and single?
SBA Funding: fried get government funds in 36 hours
Levis Jeans Giveaway: Levis Jeans Giveaway - Limit of 1 Pair per Person
Career Advisor: Boost your salary. Get on track with a degree;
GetInTheGame: Kate: New xBox 360 - yours for nothing
GSA: Let the Govt fund it
OvernightAdvance: Kate, Would you like $500 by tomorrow?
Online Degrees: Earn your college degree online
Meet Your Match: Meet African-American singles in your area
DeVry University: Reach your potential with a degree
Playground Equipment: Find playground equipment that kids will enjoy.
things to do: Special Announcement: FREE SALSA LESSONS THIS THURSDAY! @ MIRRORS NIGHTCLUB & LO...
Money Agent: positions filling fast
Inkjet Blowout: Inkjets starting under 2 dollars
Online Opportunity: eBay Workers Needed Now
CarQuoteProvider: New 2006 Cars Are Here
My Credit Quote: Take the credit score challenge

Friday, January 20, 2006

Another Kickball League Comes to DC

Unless you're completely misanthropic and anti-social you have probably heard that our fair city is home to not one, but two competing kickball organizations, the "corporate" World Adult Kickball Association (WAKA) and the newer, less profit-oriented DC Kickball. Many bytes have been consumed by reporters obsessed with the competition between two organizations that run what is basically an excuse for 20-somethings to drink beer and mack on one another. Hey Pretty has recently learned that a third entity has entered this discourse, possibly adding even more fire to the debate over which-league-is better. Many people who align themselves with DC Kickball feel adamantly that their league is better than WAKA--that playing within an organization devoted less to profit makes for a better overall experience. I wouldn't know. I've played in WAKA for several years and like it well enough to captain a team while paying as little attention as possible to the bureaucratic nuances that keep the operation running.

What I wonder however, is how important is it to have yet another kickball outfit. Isn't two enough? What prompted the creators of Play Nakid to form an entirely new entity? Rumor has it that the league was formed after prominent players from one WAKA league decided to spin off into their own solo endeavor. Sure, I can understand not wanting to be in WAKA, but why can't they just join DC Kickball? Doesn't this seem like much ado about an activity that is basically allowing us to further wallow in impulsive, post-adolescent behavior?

Also of note is that I talked on the phone with the boy for an hour and a half last night! Normally I hate the phone and will do everything in my power to rush my friends off the phone when they happen to call me (certain exceptions do apply here). I don't know why, but I just find them to be very intrusive devices. Moreover, I just don't always enjoy talking that much. Often times, there is very little that I feel like saying outloud. Mostly I prefer to just listen. Anyway, it was a long-ass phone call. I kept on thinking of things I wanted him to know and the more we chatted the more I didn't want to hang up. It's all quite strange.

Of note: I managed to completely avoid the Capital Hill bars this weekend. L swung through in my place and dutifully noted that she ran into I and G, two former paramours, who I will note with disgust, did not bother to ask about me. Outa sight, outa mind, it seems.

Searching for Intelligent Signs of Life...

Today Pop Musicology reflects on the role of rock and roll in '50's society, which of course sent me into a reverie on the fabric of '50's culture, the rise of youth culture during that era, the historical forces that allowed '50's pop culture to be what is was, and so on. But that reminded me that I've almost forgotten about my first true intellectual love: critical theory and cultural studies. To be fair, it's sort of difficult to maintain an interest in the subject after college when your life comes to include more than reading books, pontificating on them, smoking pot, and pontificating on them some more. In the real world, it's pretty hard to find somebody to pay you to ponder the Marxist implications of urban topographies or the feminist implications of cereal box copy. Those of us who studied this subject in college are lucky enough to secure jobs that involve wordsmithing at all. In a way I suppose that's a good thing, as I am probably doing more for society in my job than I would be spinning obscure intellectual theories about MTV.

However, this doesn't mean I can't dabble, does it? Of course not. Therefore...

I'm on a search today and maybe you can help me, dear reader. Are you up for the challenge? Very well then. I am looking for a magazine or journal that I can subscribe to that dedicates itself to the deconstruction of popular culture (of today and yesterday) through a rigorous analytical lens. No, not a music magazine, thanks. Yes, I am familiar with Viceland, Index, Paper and Interview. No, not Artforum. Yes, it's trickier than you think, isn't it? I want a publication that applies the practice of critical theory to the minutiae of our every day lives. I don't particularly want to dwell over the post-colonial implications suggested by obscure literature. I want a publication that takes an intellectual approach to aspects of our world that make up our shared, every day experience. Can you think of such a publication? I certainly can not.

Thursday, January 19, 2006


Having spent close the seven years in DC, and having been unmarried and in my twenties for all of them, I am like many women here, something of an expert on dating in this city. My experiences have been varied--serious relationships, rebound relationships, one night stands, intense relationships that combust after three weeks, being the "other woman", on-line date lunches, friends with benefits. I've never accepted rent money in return for my companionship or anything but suffice to say, I've experienced quite a bit of what DC has to offer in terms of courtship options. Regular readers know of course, that this has made me a bit cynical. I've been adamently anti-relationship for about two years now, 1.) because I simply wanted the breathing room; 2.) because until then I hadn't done much to date around. Of course, in that time I have come to be known as one of the wilder persons of my various social groups, which was okay for a time but now I'm thinking that I'd like to do away with that particular aspect of my reputation. In other words, it's time to slow down and grow up a bit. For this reason, I have been trying to be more open to the idea of dating and less quick to just hook up for the sake of short-term companionship.

So as I mentioned yesterday, I had a date. An an effort to protect this lovely boy's privacy, I won't go into much of the details. But since many of you have asked, I will say that it was quite wonderful. The set up was typical--adult beverages, a little food, dimly lit bar, hours of conversation--so many that the metro closed and I had to take a cab home, lots of "getting to know you" banter as well as more serious stuff, a moderate amount of cutesy behavior, a chaste good night kiss, and a solo cab ride home. I know, you are SO proud of me, right?

What I find interesting about this situation is that I feel like we're equals in a lot of ways. I don't feel as if I've relinquished emotional control to the other person or that I need to listen to agnsty chick music for hours on end wondering when, and in what creative way he'll flake or start acting like a total prick. I don't think I have ever felt that way after a first date before. Even my favorite relationships I've entered with my breath held, waiting for something to go wrong. It's a strange, and very grown-up sort of feeling. That alone makes the situation mildly terrifying of course. Potentially problematic is that fact that he's skinnier than I am. Sort of unsettling, right?

Me and My Nano

So the other K and E turned me on to the joys of the iPod shuffle function the other day, and it has been just what I needed to break out of my David Bowie rut (although as far as ruts go, that's not a bad one). K has a theory that although iPod shuffles are supposed to be totally random, everyone's iPod has a unique personality and therefore gravitates to a certain artist or genre, playing them/it more than others. So far, mine is displaying an affinity for Elvis Costello, having selected him twice yesterday and once this morning. In an attempt to test this theory, I will be keeping a list of the songs that my iPod selects and listing them here for my dear readers to ponder. This will be a semi-regular activity so there will be plenty of opportunities to weigh in.

Thursday, January 19 (am metro ride from Woodley Park to Silver Spring)

Now Mary--The White Stripes
You Look So Fine--Garbage
Smile Like You Mean It--The Killers
Rated X--Neko Case
Chopsticks--Liz Phair
Stranger in the House--Elvis Costello
My Vien iLin--Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
Shelter From the Storm--Bob Dylan
Fashion--David Bowie
Let's Go to Bed--The Cure
Huffer--The Breeders
Room on Fire--The Strokes
Take Me Out--Franz Ferdinand

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

I'm Back!

I'm back from Orlando where nothing of much significance took place. The weather was nice, and I was more content than I have been here in DC, thereby reaffirming my self-diagnoses of Seasonal Affective Disorder. I spent a lot of time working our two display booths, sucking up to reporters, and I handled our press event like a pro. Also attended a really interesting lecture on corporate branding and have resolved to spend more time in the near future figuring out how I can strengthen the brand name of the partnership program for building industry leaders that I administer and quasi-run. The turbulence we experienced returning to DC on Saturday night was unreal. You will recall the shifting weather patterns that were occurring that day. Be happy you didn't experience it miles high in the air in a silver metal tube as I did.

The trip home being as stressful as it was, I opted to stay in for the evening to catch up on my back-log of shows on Tivo while ignoring all attempts from the outside world to contact me on my cell phone. Note to potential suitors: If I do not answer your call at 3:01 am is it unlikely that I will respond to the one at 3:12 either. Moreover, it is incredibly obvious that at 3:12 am you really only want one thing, and if you can't be bothered to call me during the day ever, it is highly unlikely that I will entertain your request to "come over for a nightcap." Also, please note that business hours have changed and 3:12 is no longer an acceptable time to call me for any reason unless its a dire emergency like you're about to die or something and the only person who can help you lives in Woodley Park and doesn't have a car to transport you to the emergency room with. Otherwise, please call at a more reasonable hour. At 3:12 I am likely asleep or hooking up with somebody else. Please note that needing sex is not an emergency.

On Sunday evening I took L to a house party. I have attended events at this house before and have always enjoyed them. The hosts were people who I count as the bohemian contingency of my friends. I've known some of them since high school in western, Massachusetts where dirt roads, LL Bean and mud splattered Subarus were a way of life. Having been raised in a crunchy sort of community (the town common regularly displayed a sign reminding residents to "Please Spay and Neuter [their] Pets") and having attended Oberlin college (Harvard for Hippies is one of its many nicknames) I've always considered myself to be something of a hippy. I don't wear patchouli anymore, but I have a fairly progressive few of social affairs, like tofu and have deep reservations about the corporate work world. I also have a tendency to not look quite as polished as other women in DC (I have wild curly hair, refuse to diet my way to perpetual size 0, wear Dansko clogs rather than pointy-toed heels and can't seem to retain a normal manicure schedule to save my life). The party. After about 45 minutes there it was apparent to both L and I that we stuck out like piles of bacon at a vegan buffet. Not that we were completely kabuki-d out or anything, but we were certainly the only girls there wearing makeup, and L swears the only who regularly check in with Mr. Gillet and Ms. Bic. Now, I am not saying that people can be defined by their appearances, I'm simply giving my dear readers an idea of the general aesthetic vibe of the evening. After 45 minutes of free beer, brief conversations with the people I knew, and getting weird looks from our fellow female attendees we decided to cut our losses and head out to our favorite Cap Hill haunt. The underlying message spelled out by our interactions (and lack thereof) between us and our peers there was that this wasn't really our place. Sociology tells us that people tend to flock to others who look like them, as approaches to personal upkeep often mirror similar views of the world and our places in it. We all learned that in high school and its all well and good. Well not really, it's actually kind of limiting. Our experience at the party was the inverse of what happens to us at some of the more trendy chi-chi places in town: rather than feeling marginalized because our jeans cost less than 200 dollars, we felt so because they didn't come from a thrift store. Some of this could have largely our own perceptions of the situation, but I don't think that we were entirely paranoid here. But appearance isn't everything kids, and even the earthy seem to make snap judgments based on them. The fact that I like to curl my eyelashes does not mean that I'm a shallow, evil capitalist. I left this weekend with a somewhat unsettling feeling that I still don't know just where my niche is.

In other news, Hey Pretty has a date tomorrow. Yes, a bonifide, eat dinner while seated across the table from an individual of the opposite sex while trying not to dump wine into my lap, hoping that my quips are witty, worrying what signals not inviting him home with me will send, praying there's nothing stuck in my teeth date. So far, he seems to be a non-mutant. Time will tell how accurate this assement is, as we all know I'm not the best initial judge of character (us hopeless romantics tend to give the horridly undeserving the benefit of the doubt). If things go smoothly I will tell my dear readers all about my latest victim. For now best to protect the innocent.

Lastly, I'm trying to make my social activities a little more diverse. Aside from movies and concerts, what are some fun non-bar activities to enjoy in our fair city? I like to go out and people watch, but hanging out at the same two bars every Saturday is wearing thin. Suggest away...

Friday, January 06, 2006

I have to go away next week for work and I don't wanna. I wanna: continue my usual during the week routine of getting to basically do whatever I want at work; quizzo at the pour house; flirting with my IT boyfriends when I need something computer related; running in cleveland park; yoga classes; drinking too much during the week but having a blast doing it; writing moody, petulant blog entries; flirting with my roommate; contemplating my new year's resolution to lead a more balanced life and to be more compassionate and less jaded and to find my life's passion (yeah, '06 promises to be an eventful year--lots to figure out before i turn 30); swapping dozens of emails w/ the Ls during work; photographing the city in black and white.

i do not wanna: lug a laptop all the way to orlando; run a media event; be hit on by lecherous professional builders all week; wake up really early on monday to fly to orlando to set up a frigging trade show booth all day; stand in a trade show booth all week being chipper and reciting the same five talking points over and over again all day while a HUD official criticizes my delivery; be on my best behavior.

but such is life.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Smoked Out

So it looks like the District is on its way to passing the smoking ban that has been hotly debated over the past few months. Of course, everyone has an opinion on the matter. Those who know me are well aware that I am rarely one to pass down a smoke with my cocktails (because what's better than some nice bourbon on the rocks than some nice bourbon on the rocks with a Parliament Light? Come on, you know I'm right...), yet I'm hesitant to weigh in too vocally on the matter. To be honest, I don't feel like there are that many strong arguments opposing the ban and my liberal guilt prevents me from truly siding with any of the weaker ones. Cigarette smoke is bad and people shouldn't have to inhale it if they don't want to. The proposed ban rubs me the wrong way not because I have some fancy policy-oriented argument against it, but because I'm pissed that I will have nowhere left to light up inside. The only good argument I can come up with here is a logistical one. If the ban passes, smokers will just go outside for their fixes. This means that the door to every bar in DC will be visible blocks away due to enormous mushroom clouds of smoke that folks will have to walk through in order to go inside. It reminds me of my Oberlin days (I'm allowed to refer to college as my "Oberlin days" because I am approaching 30 and therefore almost really old) where kids would smoke on the ramp of good old Mudd Library and administrators would walk by elaborately fake coughing and muttering about reckless youth under their breaths. Like the hellions on Mudd Library ramp, many people will probably blow their cigarette smoke directly in the faces of the kvetching non-smokers just because they're feeling marginalized and maligned. Would this be an improvement?