hey pretty

Ceci n'est pas une "dating blog."

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Deal or No Deal?

Having recently been dropped by somebody because I didn't like his dog (actually, his roommate's dog. His roommate's loud, slobbery, emotionally needy dog) I've been thinking a little recently about deal breakers--the quirks, little and small, that people exhibit that cause others to lose interest. I can't say I've ever used a person's dislike of a certain kind of animal (you don't like my Ethiopian Water Frog?? That's it. IT'S OVER!)(No, I don't have an Ethiopian Water Frog, but I used to. In fact, I should get another one. They're fun creatures to have around) but I have lost interest in people due to the fact that they started to annoy me. I'm sure it has seemed random to them as they probably haven't known they were being annoying, but they were. Anyway, this experience has inspired me to take stock of my likes and dislikes and I am slowly compiling a list of what I consider to be deal breakers. I think they're pretty reasonable, no George Costanza-ish excuses like "I don't like their elbows" or whatever.

1.) Shorter than me. Yes, I know, it's unfair to discriminate based on height and being a shorty myself I should be sympathetic. But shorter than 5'2"? Walk along...(and yes, I did once go out with a man shorter than me. I TOWERED over him in my two inch heels. I should not tower over anyone older than 14).

2.) Republican. Sorry, I tried but it turns out that the personal is political. You don't support my gay boyfriend's right to get married or my right to an abortion? Buh bye.

3.) Not funny. What, you have no sense of humor? The side of a Cheerios box is more entertaining than you are? Sorry, this girl needs to laugh. I get mopy and it's your job to cheer me up.

4.) redacted to protect the guilty.

5.) Obsession with sports. You like to watch football, baseball, tennis, soccer, bowling, pool? That's cool. You like to watch them ALL THE TIME AND YOU HAVE NO OTHER INTELLECTUAL INTERESTS? See ya.

6.) Fat. Yes, I am again being insensitive. However, if I have been pressured by society since I was 10 to fit within a certain range of physical sizes, then you must too. A few extra pounds I can deal with, I'm a curvy girl myself, but a girl must draw a line.

7.) You only like lame music. Your favorite band is Def Leppard? And you don't mean so ironically? No way.

8.) You work with me. I tried this once (okay twice, just with the same person) and I can say this didn't go as planned. For starters, it is quite challenging to be in an important meeting with somebody and to realize whenever they talk that you've seen them naked and vice versa. Plus, at some point you may want to bring a date to a work function and it's possible that your coworker won't appreciate seeing you with somebody else. Just say no.

9.) You think you're doing me a favor by dating me. Thanks, but no thanks.

10.) Bad breath, body odor, back hair and the like. No, no, ew, and no.

Those are the most glaring ones. Deal breakers that others have that don't matter much to me: Being poor, smoking and snoring.

And you?

Friday, June 23, 2006

Spend Less, Live More (A 26 Point Plan)

1.) Determine to eat out less
2.) Dig into your cookbook collection, the one you have amassed because your mother always gives you cookbooks because at one point in your life you loved to cook and was convinced it was your life's passion.*
3.) Select a recipe. Bonus points if its moderately healthy and tests your culinary skills.
4.) Write down the ingredients on a piece of notebook paper and stash said list in your purse.
5.) The next day, metro to Whole Foods.
6.) Buy everything on the piece of notebook paper, plus a box of your favorite pasta shape (Orichette in my case), a small block of good cheese, and a loaf of excellent whole wheat bread.
7.) Pay for said items and go home.
8.) Unpack items and prepare to start cooking.
9.) See that your friend has left you a voicemail and call her back.
10.) Agree to meet up with her in Adams Morgan to drink with her new beaux's kickball team.
11.) Decide that cooking dinner can wait and instead tear into the loaf of excellent whole wheat bread. Consume a large piece with hummus, figure it will do as a proper "base."
12.) Find friend at the kickball game which is only in the 4th inning. Accompany friend to Common Scare for a quick beer.
13.) Return to kickball field to find that the game has ended.
14.) Commence pilgrimage to the Mill.
15.) Hang out mainly with dudes all night. Dudes who are friends with the bartender who doesn't make you pay for anything.
16.) Chat up the drunk guy and get him to buy you shots.
17.) Eat some of the tater tots your friend's new beaux has bought her.
18.) Manage somehow, despite your boring outfit and smudged eye makeup, to become the object of desire for a married dude.
19.) Get married dude to buy you more beer.
20.) Drink more than you should for a Thursday, and flirt with married dude more than you should for, well for ever honestly.
21.) Snag ride home from friend's beaux.
22.) Spend 10 minutes lecturing married dude about the ethical intricacies of infidelity on the corner near your house.
23.) Shove married dude in cab.
24.) Call it a night.
25.) Wake up late (as usual), replay the night in your head and realize that although you hardly spent any money out drinking the night before you are, to quote J-Lo in the movie the Wedding Planner "a magnet for unavailable men."
26.) Eat more excellent whole wheat bread. Plan on buying a Gatorade and a Tab Energy Drink on the way in to work.

*It's true. I seriously considered culinary school. My stint as a vegan chef killed that dream. I'll be sure to tell you about it later, it's actually a funny story.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

No Help for the Introverted

For some reason recently I have been taking issue with my natural predisposition towards introversion. Being an introvert isn't easy. The majority of the world's population are extroverts so for starters we are outnumbered, and more importantly because extroverts are by definition more vocal than us introverts, they capture more attention. As members of a minority population, introverts are constantly pressured to be more outgoing. We're criticized for not engaging strangers in conversation and regarded as weird because we can't stand being in the middle of ten different conversations at once. Extroverts are never pressured to be more introverted although at times it would probably do everyone a world of good if they would just shut the F up. Why are people so uncomfortable with silence, anyway?

Now I am not talking about social anxiety disorders (which may or may not be total BS, the jury is still out), I am talking about those of us who naturally gravitate towards inward thought, who think before we speak, and who require plenty of alone time in order to recharge our batteries. Those of us who fit this description often end up feeling marginalized within social situations because the extroverts naturally hog the conversation and because we're not talking, people tend to overlook us. I had this experience the other day in a group of people who all ended up chit chatting about something I knew nothing about and they basically all turned their backs on me as I sat there and had wine dumped on my lap by the bartender. More often than not we're accused of being unfriendly and of having poor communication skills. More often than not, we simply possess *different kinds of* communication skills.

I know its counterproductive to waste emotional energy disliking an aspect of your personality that you can't control, but at times I wish I were more outgoing. There are times, when I'm feeling upbeat and when I'm with close friends, and when I am possibly also drunk that I veer towards extroversion. But these are rare occasions and most of the time I feel as if I carry an invisible shell into which I may retreat at the sign of any overwhelming outside force. I wish it were different but I don't see how it ever could be.

Ps: In re-reading this post and the others of this week I realize I have been in a terrible mood these past few days. I promise to cheer up soon and post something uplifting about unicorns or kittens.

Further Evidence That Not Liking Sports Makes You a Social Outcast

I really wish I could get into sports--watching them, playing them, not wanting to scream out of sheer frustration whenever polite conversation turns to them. I don't know if its a case of nature or nurture. Growing up, my mother (who comes from a family of artists) always encouraged my creative instincts. I drew, I took pictures, I played instruments, I wrote. I remember never feeling 100% comfortable with physical activities. Having been born in November, and thus being younger than a lot of my peers, and naturally being small, I always had the feeling of having less developed motor skills than everyone else. Gym class was always an anxious experience. The sheer pressure of having to perform and lacking confidence in my abilities made it a total nightmare, and it probably caused me to be worse at sports than I actually was. I discovered dance, which I liked well enough and spent much of my youth in jazz, tap, and ballet classes until I eventually quit when I discovered that pointe is just as painful as it looks and requires too huge a time commitment than I was willing to endure.

As vanity has compelled me to work out as an adult, I have been amazed by my body's immediate response to physical activity--the way in which I can quickly gain muscle tone quickly and my unnaturally large female biceps. A few years ago I had a boyfriend who was convinced I'd be a great swimmer--something about my shoulders and back, but water freaks me out so that's a no go. Recently I have begun to wonder if perhaps I have some natural athletic predispositions after all, but my long sorted history of having zero confidence in the heat of the game continues to hold me back. That, and I think I'm a little lazy.

Likewise, I have never had an urge to watch sports on television. I can't relate to people who are entertained by watching people run around inside a glowing little box, their activity interrupted once every few minutes for beer or automobile advertisements. But now that I am a grownup, I really wish that somebody had taken me aside as a youngster and explained to me the social significance of sports. I wish somebody had told me that not caring about or liking sports automatically excludes you from bonding experiences with your peers and marginalizes you during routine conversation. Case in point, today all of my peers at work are downtown at a pub watching the US play whoever in the World Cup. I was not invited, I presume because all at-work conversation about soccer has caused me to roll my eyes and reach for a crossword puzzle. Still, I can't help but feel left out. It's a lonely feeling when everyone else is dedicated to something that means absolutely nothing to you at all.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Somehow, This Doesn't Strike Me as Flattery

Huh, another link from Wonkette. It was cited under their "tags" for CityPaper, alcohol, booze, interns, metro, metro section, and rudderless pretension, leaving me to deduce that either Wonkette thinks I am an intern (good lord no) or "rudderless" and "pretentious." Um, thanks. As much as I appreciate the hits, I'd rather blog in obscurity if they're going to be snide about it. Perhaps I'm mis-reading things. Anyway, I don't see how being bored at work translates to pretentiousness. Given all the bored office workers I know, DC must be one pretentious city.

The Hell?

Last week, I complained of the phenomenon of the 180-man--the totally awesome guy who suddenly isn't. Checking my email this morning, I was shocked to find a message from 180-man himself. It didn't offer any form of explanation regarding his flip-flop, merely asked (after a week without any form of communication) how I was and what I did over the weekend, almost as if he hadn't been a complete jerk to me. Now I ask you, after you have given the girl plenty of opportunity to delete your number from her phone, purge her email inbox of any sign of your existence, why would you attempt to re-engage her in pointless email chit chat? Why would you care how she's doing? Is this fate's attempt at giving me an opportunity to date just so I can dump somebody, as my mother suggested I do a couple of months ago? (she thinks having the power to dump somebody would boost my "dating self esteem") Is it a half-hearted attempt on his part to butter me up again so he'll have somebody to booty call later in the week? Does he actually enjoy boring, pointless dates punctuated my agonizing silences? Am I that awesome that even the duds can't help but crawl back for more punishment? Does he want to engage me in emailing so he can "officially" break it off (which is totally unnecessary--his previous actions spoke loudly enough, thank you very much). What gives?

Friday, June 16, 2006

Slow Friday

The office is virtually empty right now and I am finding myself low on motivation--to either do my job or create a real blog post. If you're feeling as apathetic as I am right now, you can check out this game wherin you get to knock Rick Santorum senseless. I got 27 as my highest score. I was channeling some forgotten about irritation with a certain Republican.


Thursday, June 15, 2006

A Guilty Pleasure Validated

I don't know why, but I have been obsessed with magazines for the majority of my life. There's something about obtaining information through a slick, glossy medium with vivid photographs that you can easily shove in your bag that delights me to no end. My parents are similarly addicted so I grew up reading Time, the New Yorker, Esquire, the occasional Vogue, House Beautiful and Architectural Digest. When I became old enough to select my own magazine reads I flocked towards Cricket (not glossy, but magazine-like nonetheless), Seventeen, Sassy, and when Sassy grew lame, Paper.

Since then my stable of favorites has waxed and waned but my love of the medium remains constant. It was for this reason that I was thrilled to stumble across the New York Review of Magazines a while back in a search for media-centric websites. I fell in love instantly and have been hooked ever since. The current issue features interviews with prominent media types, and poses three questions to each:

1.What magazines do you read?

2.What magazines are your guilty pleasures—picked up just to indulge yourself?

3. What are the magazines you think you should read but seldom do?

Their answers reflected a common love of the New Yorker and Vanity Fair and the desire to read the New York Review of Books although most of them seldom do. Here are my answers:

1. I read the New Yorker; Fast Company; Vogue; Elle; Paste; Dwell; Esquire; Interview; Nylon; building trade magazines for work; Bust; and occasionally Blackbook.

2. I consider W; Vanity Fair; and Surface to be great indulgences.

3. I always mean to read the New York Review of Books (does anyone actually read it?); Bookforum, although I SWEAR I will get a subscription soon; and Harpers. I really want to like Harpers but I get bogged down in it whenever I try.

What about you?

Adrian Fenty Made Me Late For Work

I was so close to making it into work on time this morning for a change. Last night I stayed in reading the Paris Review and watching the Hills (like that juxtaposition of the high-and low-brow?) and I got to sleep at a decent hour. Not a drop of alcohol passed my lips. I was perfectly well behaved and I loved every second of it. I awoke at a relatively decent hour (7:30) and while getting ready, threw on a skirt, tank top, cardigan combo noting that the ensemble vaguely resembled a sensible grown up outfit. I even went to the effort of finding my good purse and using that instead of the crummy Urban Outfitters thing I've been toting around recently. Checking the clock on my way out I noted that I was running pretty much on time. My chances of making it to Silver Spring by 9:00 were slim, but I would definitely get there by 9:05.

Jamming my ipod ear buds into my ears I trotted off to the Woodley Park Metro at an efficient clip. I'm one of those pedestrians that views walking as a means of transporting oneself from point A to point B, rather than say, an excuse to stroll around aimlessly, so I tend to walk pretty fast and I have little tolerance for people BSing around on the sidewalk. At the Metro I encountered a huge mess of people congesting foot traffic near the escalators. By the clipboards they held I figured they were affiliated with some political cause. I have a lot of experience dealing with petition drives through my last job working on ballot measure campaigns and nobody has more sympathy towards the plight of the signature gatherer than me. I almost ALWAYS stop to sign petitions (if I support the cause of course) and I sometimes even engage the canvassers in conversation. But today I was feeling selfish and I REALLY wanted to be on time for work.

I dodged my way through the crowd and was almost to the escalator when a man forcefully stepped in front me and shoved a clipboard at me. I was about to be annoyed when I looked up to see that it was Adrian Fenty.

Now let me just stop here to explain the small crush I have held for Fenty over the years. When he ran for City Council I was working at a non-profit dedicated to inner-city DC economic development and education issues. He and my boss were on good terms and they'd occasionally meet. Fenty seemed young and energetic. As a fellow-Oberlin alum, it impressed me that he had adopted a career of proactively making the world a better place, rather than slouching into sneering hipster-dom in Williamsburg as so many of our peers had. Over the years he has established himself as a champion of innovative economic development strategies as well. In short, I've been a fan for a while and fully support his Mayoral bid.

I couldn't very well blow him off so I stopped to sign his petition, impressed that he was out on the street doing the same grunt work as his volunteers. Slightly star struck, I blurted out that we both attended Oberlin, and he politely responded with a series of questions about what I do now and how I like it. I know full well that it was the part of the perfunctory baby-kissing, handshaking, vote-getting tactics that all politicos employee to garner votes, but I couldn't help feel a little honored and giddy to have been a target. Thoroughly thrown off my game, I wished him luck just as he shoved a business card into my hand and asked me if he had my vote. I nodded and descended the escalator. Sprinting through the turnstile in the station I saw that it was now 8:30 and my chances of a timely arrival at work were effectively screwed. No matter, he still has my support.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Excuse the Appearance...

I'm exploring some new aesthetic possibilities over here. I'm not so thrilled with the template choices though.

Whither Vertical Bars?

Today's news from DCist about Metro's plans to bring a fleet of new cars to their tracks, minus vertical bars has short people all over DC, myself included, positively bereft. Imagine if you will, your typical morning rush hour in Washington, DC. Having overslept, run out of conditioner, had problems locating your keys, gotten stuck in a pack of tourists too clueless to understand that 8 am* is not the best time to take the metro, had your money eaten by the Metro ticket machines, you haul ass on to a train just before the doors slam on you and that passive aggressive snotty robot voice tells you to "stand back" as "the doors are closing." The train is packed, as usual, but you attempt to negotiate your way through the crowd to find a spot where you will be within respectful distance of the nearest stranger and where you can read your copy of the Express in peace. Also imagine that you are only 62 inches tall. The train begins to move and then lurches suddenly to a stop. Because there are no vertical bars in the car, and because only being 62 inches tall and you cannot reach the horizontal ones near the ceiling, you fly head first into a pack of hungover interns, who topple like dominos down the aisle of the car. Chaos ensues.

Seriously, what is wrong with Metro? Does it lack such self-awareness that it doesn't realize the utter incompetence of its drivers and their love for slamming on the breaks just for kicks? Do Metro employees ever take the Metro themselves? I know its a cliché to complain about Metro and given the shittiness of other public transportation systems (yes San Francisco and Boston, I'm looking at you) we should be grateful for one as new as our own, but sometimes I question the common sense of Metro executives. First they give us those dreadful electronic posters that could induce a seizure among even the most neurochemically stable, and now they rob the vertically challenged of our fair land of our right to not fall on their asses on our rides to work.

I guess what Metro actually wants is for me to start wrapping my arms around the waist of the nearest K Street lobbyist reading the Financial Times in order to achieve some semblance of balance during my ride, which is fine, because I've been contemplating scoring a rich older boyfriend anyway.

*Okay, who I am I kidding. Like I'm ever on the Metro that early.

Monday, June 12, 2006

I'm Sorry, Who Are You Again?

I'm experiencing a perplexing yet intriguing trend in the world of dating these days--guys who totally change personalities several weeks into a "relationship." Perhaps you can relate. You meet somebody and you hit it off well enough that you decide to go out. The dates are successful. The guy is cute and charming, opens doors, pays for dinner, is a decent kisser, sends fabulous emails, entertains your desire to not sleep together right away. Everything is great. You're glowing constantly and your friends can't wait to meet him. And then, out of nowhere he does a total 180 on you and starts acting completely weird. He can't hold up his end of a conversation and acts bored when you attempt to, is dismissive of your ideas and basically acts as if being at a baseball game with you is the last activity on earth that he'd ever want to participate in. Suddenly you're ceremonially deleting his number from your phone while at lunch with your girlfriends and actively seeking out rebound hookups.

Sometimes the experience hurts and even resembles something like heartbreak. Other times you're just offended enough that you're actually pissed off about it, and sometimes you can barely muster the energy to even care about it and spend a good amount of time assessing your desire to date anyone at all.

I know I've been guilty of similar sins, especially when I was younger. I can admit that in the past I have grown salty towards guys who have attempted to get too close too soon. Yes, I shut them out and there is probably a small handful of guys in this planet that would tell you I'm a bitch. I can accept that, and knowing this flaw of mine has enabled me to address it and now I do it far less often than I used to, if ever. But what is up with turning into a totally different person? I see it as a sign of declined interest, which is fine as people lose interest in one another all the time. But if you aren't that into me anymore, don't send me 20 emails a day and certainly don't ask me out on a date. It just wastes your time and mine. I'd be happier reading a book on a Friday night than trying to make conversation with somebody who doesn't have enough respect for me to be courteous and polite.

It's truly annoying. Wouldn't a crystal ball to forecast these changes in character be the most awesome thing ever? And yes, I know what you're thinking--perhaps one should be better at looking for signs that this sort of thing is about to go down. But how demoralizing is it to spend your social life analyzing behaviors and combing over actions for the sake of identifying a potentially negative personality trait? And many times early in a relationship, people are on their best behavior and they don't give you enough bad stuff to work with. This is supposed to be fun, after all.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Sharepod? Not So Much

A co-worker of mine graciously left his iPod in my care while he ran off to a meeting so that I could download some music I've been sweating forever but have been too cheap to purchase. I was practically buzzing with glee as I downloaded the semi-new Franz Ferd; Artic Monkeys; Clap Your Hands, Say Yeah!; Flogging Molly; Lucinda Williams; Sufjan Stevens; an old Stereolab I listened to non-stop in college but long ago lost; the Magic Numbers and a bunch of other random tracks. Between this and my plans to blow off work early to get a pedicure, attend happy hour and hit a Nats game, today was shaping up to be a lovely one indeed.

But then a glitch was hit and I have yet to find my way around it. So I have the music files on my computer, but I don't have i-Tunes at work. Long ago, I had I-Tunes at work, but downloading it violated the company's IT policy so when I received a new computer last winter i-Tunes did not make the journey to my new machine. I was tempted to say eff it to the rules again, but the possibility of incurring the wrath of IT proved an effective deterrent. IT is already very generous with me given the fact that I'm sure they know I blog and check my internet email accounts 100 million times a day. Moreover, I have been flirting with IT since I arrived at this office last August since I figure its always good to have them on your side, and so far it's worked out pretty well--I have a cute boy to flirt with at work and when I needed a new computer I didn't have to wait. So i-Tunes was out.

Next I figured that I could simply download Sharepod, the software that enabled my coworker's music to travel to my computer in the first place. This seemed like a surefire practical solution and I was pleased with my ingenuity, if you can even call it that as its a pretty obvious solution. But no matter. I downloaded Sharepod and my plan appeared to be on track.

And then it happened. Sharepod will not copy itself to my iPod no matter how nicely I ask it to. My computer insists on "reformatting" the drive my iPod shows up as, which I suspect in human terms translates to "erase everything", an option I am not willing to pursue. So now I am stuck. I have 178 new songs to import into my iPod and no way of accomplishing this task.

If I try installing Sharepod onto my iPod from my own computer (an iBook) and then tried copying the files on Monday, would that do the trick?

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Return of the Indie Rock Picnic

June 15th is right around the corner, and do you know what that day is? The triumphant return of DC's ultimate summer time ritual--Free outdoor concerts at Fort Reno. What can be better than organizing a group of friends to contribute some food and a few blankets for dinner and some of the area's best indie bands? Even if you've never heard of the band that's playing they're a great opportunity to take in some fresh air and do a little people watching. When was the last time you got to see aging punk rockers dancing with their toddlers?

Monday, June 05, 2006

Flat Stanley 2.0?

So Lulu, my inspiration for all ideas dastardly and fun has outdone herself. We were discussing all the crazy things women do when scorned by a love and how although it can be tempting to turn your ex's favorite tee shirt that he left at your house into a pile of rags and send it back to him in the mail, the knowledge that you come across as a psycho probably would probably mitigate any satisfaction you might have otherwise felt. But what then do you do with a possession that somebody has left behind by mistake? The options are certainly plentiful. You can toss it in the trash, give it to a friend, hock it on Ebay, use it for target practice, the list goes on.

Or you can do what Lulu has suggested and go Flat Stanley on the item. As some of you may know, Flat Stanley is a popular project wherein school children send one another this piece of paper cut into the shape of a boy named Flat Stanley. Flat Stanley also comes with a journal and recipients are encouraged to fill out the journal explaining all of the fun things that Stanley did in his stay in their town, along with some fun facts about the town. The exercise is supposed to teach children that letter writing is fun, an especially important lesson in our age of emailing and instant communication. Flat Stanley is very popular and is probably even better traveled than Carmen Sandiego, a personal favorite from my own childhood. According to Lulu, what would be an exceptionally fun activity would be to send the ex's lost item to your friends in other parts of the country, or even in other parts of the world. The item could then be photographed having a grand old time on its vacation, preferably being used in activities that your ex would frown up. Of course a journal would also be included to explain the pictures, just in case your former didn't understand the significance of what was going down.

I wonder how people would react to something like that. On the one hand its slightly psycho. But its also so painfully funny its humor might actually outweigh its craziness. Does somebody want to test this out for us and tell us how it goes? We could even blog about it...

Making Simple Things Complicated

It's funny how you can begin a weekend with the best of intentions and then on Monday look back on the two days that were with a mixture of extreme sadness, anger and confusion. You know the drill. It's Friday afternoon, you're shutting down your computer, tidying up your working area, maybe even making a to-do list for the coming week. You're making a mental list of everything you're planning on doing over the next two days, which friends you'll see, where you'll want to go. If your personal life is a prone to drama as mine is, you'll probably also find yourself wondering what traumatic event will go down and in what way it will effect you. What you don't expect is that you'll spend the next two days rehashing the same story to your girlfriends in some attempt to make sense of a totally random and harsh situation, drowning your sorrows in liquor and wine, breaking down in an ATM vestibule and sobbing into your friends chest, and exchanging emails that grow progressively more bitter and sarcastic with every round.

Ending a relationship is never a simple thing. But there are a zillion ways of making it more complicated and painful than it needs to be. Ignoring somebody for days and then hinting of wanting to break it off over a series of vague emails is a terrific example. Acting as if you've had a lobotomy, you've been replaced by an uncharming twin, or you've switched places with a clone invented in the lab of a scientist with no sense of humor whatsoever are also good strategies. I don't know if its a universal-boy strategy (the kind they teach at the secret boy conferences--the same ones where they learn arcane sports facts and how to crush a can of beer on their heads) but I've noticed that many boys think that I good strategy for getting rid of a girl is to simply act like an enormous jerk. Perhaps they think the girl will just grow exasperated and dump them first and feel less regret because who could possibly miss somebody who acted like that. But here's the thing: this never works the way you think it should, and the girl will still be sad. She'll be sad to think that somebody who was once so charming and who seemed to have her interests at heart could change so dramatically and in such a short period of time. The fact that you're not around will actually hurt less than this. And then she and her friends will spend hours analyzing the situation (because, to quote a boy I know, "girls over-analyze. It's what they do") and then you'll just become "That Guy". And nobody wants to be "That Guy". Ever.

I don't think I can offer many great alternatives, other than to be honest and to not cower from a situation. I certainly am no expert at ending a relationship, but I can say that I remain friends with some of my exes, so in a few cases I guess I've handled things pretty well. In fact, acrimonious breakups are not something I have much experience with. I'm normally pretty nice to the other person. If I'm upset I save that for my girlfriends. Guess there's a first time for everything, eh?

In situations like this you can be grateful for the endless patience of your friends, Jack Daniels shots, and L's favorite toast: Here's to Making Simple Things Complicated. Chin chin.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Not Pretty Enough?

Loyal readers "Anonymous" has advised the following via the comment section:

Hey Pretty-
The writing is constantly entertaining and the site meter must be on a steady incline, so why not give the blog a little face lift. Spruce it up and act like the bigshot you've become.

First of all, "big shot"--ha, ha. But that aside, I was thinking that HP is looking a bit ratty these days, especially in this age where bloggers are making their sites all fabulous and such with photos and fancy graphics. Being in the midst of a warm weather self-improvement kick myself, I can totally relate to the need to enact some aesthetic improvements. For all my talent wielding a camera, I'm a bit of a retard when it comes to layout, and a complete imbecile when it comes to tinkering with programming codes. So-oh...HP is officially welcoming any suggestions from its dear readership of what its new look should entail. What's the vibe we're going for here? How do we visually represent the je ne sais quoi that is HP?

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Unbearable Heaviness of Choices

I truly believe that when I look back on this last decade that has been my 20's, I will regard the theme of choices to be the greatest challenge I have had to face. Sure, college repaired me in some ways. Art History or English? Dorm or off-campus group house? Stay out late with my friends or write my 7 page Henry James essay? Go to class or stay in bed all day? Subsist off of burnt brown rice and undercooked lentils at the vegan coop or eat mushy tasteless goop and french fries at the dining hall?

At the time even those choices seemed difficult and now I scoff at my 19-year old self for even dignifying the feeling of doom that they imparted me with. For the curious, my choices regarding those decisions were: Both (Art History minor, English Major); Both and neither (Dorm freshman year, communal coop living sophomore and junior; off campus group house my senior); all too often the former; sadly, all too often the later; the former, but only until second semester senior year, for reasons that you can probably conjure on your own.

But the real choices came calling the second I stepped foot on the plane from Cleveland to San Francisco.

Where to live: San Francisco, Brooklyn (namely Williamsburg, and this was back in '98 when it was still an original idea); or DC.

Where to work: Capitol Hill, non-profits, something corporate?

Again, where to live: Arlington, Alexandria, Maryland or DC?

Quit my heinous non-profit job or stick it out for a promotion?

End this dead-end two-year relationship or stick it out in case it leads to something?

(we see sticking it out emerge as a familiar theme during these years--the eternal tug of war between realism and optimism coming into play)

Go to graduate school?

Research art programs, writing programs, law programs, or policy programs?

Date around, be single, or settle down?

Blog about it or keep it to myself?

Choices, every day.

In the perfect world choices are good. They're part of what define our freedom, the ultimate component of the American dream (Manifest Destiny at all that) being the ability to move around at will and conquer new territory both physical and psychic. The worst however are the ones that involve people besides yourself and learning to appreciate the weight of your choices not only for how the settle on your own shoulders but that of those around you as well.

Choices envelope us like clouds of the smoke from cigarettes that so many of us have yet to kick for good, permeating us and those close to us for ages to come. They effect everything. Where one action takes place an opposing reaction occurs (but can we always see it?)

I think a lot, too much for sure, about the effects of choices--in what way will solution A limit me in the future? What will its consequences be?

To remain optimistic I like to think that things happen for a reason. It's more comforting than accepting the random cruelness and wonderfulness of everything. That the choices I manage to make, when I don't procrastinate, when I manage to empower myself to steer my own course, all lead to something else. It reminds me of a quote that I first learned ages ago, attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson:

"Because the soul is progressive, it never quite repeats itself, but in every act attempts the production of a new and fairer whole."

The choices we make are symbolic of this dialectic--change informing change, always towards a better outcome.

How murky it can seem at the time. And how clear it becomes several progressions later. The consequences of your choices don't always produce the fantasies you envisioned, but sometimes they force you (for the better) to take actions you had otherwise been avoiding.

And that is our pop-psychology session for the day. Check in again tomorrow for more Deep Thoughts by Hey Pretty