hey pretty

Ceci n'est pas une "dating blog."

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Mirror Conspiracy

Remember that episode of Seinfeld where Elaine gains the wrath of the Barney's sales force because she insists on trekking outside in a Calvin Klein party dress to get an accurate assessment of her reflection in it because she's convinced that the store has nothing but "skinny mirrors?" I am convinced that similar forces are at work at my gym. I have been a member for several years now, and have caught my image in the full length mirrors in the locker room on countless occasions, and each time I think that I cannot possibly be as small as the image reflected back to me. Yes, I am short, but certainly not as petite as the mirrors would like me to believe that I am. Of course, after a childhood and adolescence marked by pitiful body issues, I am far from being the best judge of my own form. Like many women, I tend to be my body's harshest critic. I'm better than I used to be, but at times I still get caught up in scrutinizing my reflection, cursing genetics, my grilled cheese sandwich addiction, beer drinking and fondness for sloth, wondering how wonderful life would be a dress size smaller. I'll stop there before I start waxing philosophical about my days as a size 0.

Anyway, has anyone else out there experienced a similar phenomenon with gym locker room mirrors? My theory is that they install "skinny mirrors" so that you'll feel like your workouts are well, working, and you'll be inspired to continue to give them 80 bucks a month for membership dues. What do we think here? Yay? Nay?

And in other news, les corps de Hey Pretty est fatigue today. I somehow got it into my mind that I need to exercise more (frankly, because I do) so I have taken every opportunity possible to walk, which has meant an urban trek every day this week, and a trip to the gym on Tuesday where I re-introduced my lazy ass to the concept of jogging (see how I didn't front and call it "running"? I am all about the accurate reporting here). It actually went over far better than I expected it to. Perhaps an athlete lies within this fleshy frame after all.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Life in the Balance

You know that common struggle that women not in relationships commonly echo that they never get to see their friends with significant others because said friends are always caught up in their own romantic entanglements? Recently I feel caught up in an entirely different one. Namely, the struggle of illustrating to people that although I am seeing somebody, that this aspect of my life doesn't have to permeate all others. Until not long ago, I relished my singleness. I looked forward to the weekends, when I knew that inevitably, I would roll out with a girlfriend or four, in order to seek out whatever trouble might have been in store for us. And more times than not, trouble found us. In spades. But these days, there's another party to be accounted for, and although I want so much to incorporate him into my life, I'm still clinging to that desire for independence--for time out with my friends without him.

Yet as always, it seems that couples are everywhere, and the second you're a part of one everyone expects you to fully represent as part of a couple at all times. Even my friends who have always known me as single seem to expect me to mostly want to roll with Sailor. It's a tough adjustment to make. I live by the motto that boys are temporary, but your friendships are what endures, and yet it seems that in many cases, your single friends bond without you because another one lost from their ranks (for how long, who knows) causes their bonds to grow that much tighter. I am so not used to being on this side of the dynamic and it's a difficult position to settle down into and even accept. And of course, Sailor makes that somewhat challenging as well because he wants to spend time with me, and I have trouble saying no. Partially because I want to see him when I can, but also because I don't want him to feel isolated.

Also hard are platonic male friendships, a certain one in particular that has always been difficult. I've written about it here time and again. You know the one, you may have one like it. The friendship that has always straddled the line between friendship and romance, that never knows exactly what form to take. Not long ago, mine blew up in my face. Things got ugly, feels were hurt, I spent a large amount of time feeling anxious and scared that things would never be right, yet justifiably angry that my emotions were treated so lightly by somebody who claimed to care. Now, things are on the path to becoming right again. We're both in relationships and I think we're both recognizing a void where our friendship used to be so we're taking steps to rectify it. But I couldn't help but sense that Sailor may not be pleased with that. He sounded a little odd just now when I told him I'd be spending some quality time with said friend this evening.

A few years ago I fell madly in love. I let it consume all of my time and I had little left when things fell apart. In fact, I had something like 3 friends because I had neglected that aspect of my life for two whole years. I tend to function in extremes. With me, it tends to be all or nothing--superstar employee or total slacker; uber motivated fitness/diet freak or complete slob; total sweetheart or salty bitch. But I am trying, slowly but surely to roll those extremes together into a more unified package. Recently I have been wishing it was an easier undertaking.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Robert Polidori at the Corcoran

Last night, rather than attending happy hour I decided to shake things up a bit and attend a free lecture at the Corcoran by photographer Robert Polidori who is about to release After the Flood, which visits a portion of the physical aftermath of last year's hurricanes in New Orleans. The crowd was composed mainly of art students, who intimidated me just as much yesterday as they did when I was there age, and a bunch of old people. Interestingly, I seemed to be the only 20 or 30-something there. Don't young professionals know that free photography lectures are where it's at? Are they all too busy getting their happy hour on as I usually am? Anyway.

According to Polidori, the images he presented (from the book and in the lecture) are not so much of the homes devastated by Katrina, Rita and Wilma, but of the "trajectory of the lives" that their former inhabitants lost. For according to Polidori, we live many lives without physically dying. Defining events fall upon us that rip us from one life, displacing us into another. These images of homes destroyed by wind and water damage represent the remnants of those lives lost both literally and figuratively. Shooting mainly with 5"x7" sheet film, Polder's images are disturbingly beautiful. Many of them depict the interiors of homes abandoned by their former owners. Possessions are strewn about them haphazardly, roofs collapse inward, windows broken. Disintegrating sheet rock coats many of these rooms with an otherworldly white cloudiness, and most of the walls are mottled with mold in an almost painterly fashion. In one image, sheets of red paint peel off a bedroom wall like a shredded heart, an appropriate visual metaphor for what their owners, had the survived the storms, must have felt upon viewing their former homes.

Whereas so many photographs are flat to look at, Polder's exterior shots have an intriguing three-dimentiallity about themselves. As a viewer, you feel like you could reach in and move their objects around, and in seeing what they depict--homes that look like they've been dropped from the sky (often on to cars) like the house in the Wizard of Oz, your first instinct is to want to pick up their debris. The point, obviously, is that we can't.

In compiling this book Polidori says that his goal was to illustrate the lives of people's souls and how they change yet go on living. Although no humans are depicted in any of his images, their presence is alluded to in the destroyed possessions they've left behind. One sees in some of the shots homes where owners have obviously tried to salvage some of the mess, piles of furniture stacked in corners and abandoned beer cans telling us the ending of these discarded stories.

So much of the photography that has come out of last year's hurricane season has been of the victims of the storms. Polidori, who gained prominence for documenting the fall-out after the Chernobyl disaster is referred to by critics as an "architectural photographer." Yet nothing could be a more facile white washing of his artistic intent. Polidori is a portraitist in a more radical sense, not depicting actual people, but the artifacts of their everyday lives. In viewing his presentation, the word "Pompeii" kept on rolling through my mind--those videos they showed us in history class of the homes covered in volcanic dust, preserved as landmarks to a time before their disaster.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

All's Quiet on the Eastern Front

Somewhat quiet out there in blog-land today, isn't it? I think I have drafted at least two entries that I have ultimately discarded upon realizing that they were an utter drag to write, let alone read.

As we do every day, L and I hunkered down earlier for our ritual rapid-fire email exchange wherein I send her a link to something I want to buy and she either nixes it or gives me the thumbs up. In complaining that I hadn't received many emails today, especially emails from S, I reasoned to her that:

"It's hard to legitimately complain that your bf is neglecting you when he's off defending your freedoms and your right to read gawker all day."

Which is what I like to remind myself of in order to avoid becoming one of those irritatingly high maintenance types who demands constant communication from her S.O.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Hey, Jealousy

Hey, Jealousy

So surprisingly enough, you've found yourself in a great relationship. You are caught totally off guard by the fact that this fabulous individual who sounds so totally different from you is actually pretty perfect for you. But there is a problem. Other women. Now, he has told you that he is with you and only you, and that he has no intention of being with anyone else. Good to know. However, you've also been trying to be pretty low-key about your relationship and not (for the most part) rubbing it in anyone's face. This also means that knowledge of your couplehood is not a widely broadcasted fact. And so there's this girl, who'll we'll just refer to as the Vile Biatch because that is what she is, who insists on flirting with your man. Being the friendly type, your man is somewhat inappropriately not running screaming from the room at the site of her as he should. Instead he talks to her and is nice to her. Not wanting to be the jealous girlfriend, you don't do anything but quietly seethe.

It totally sucks. You know he's into you and that he isn't going to breakup with you for the Vile Biatch, but it still bothers you. You want the Vile Biatch, who has totally seen you guys being cute and couple-y to back the eff off and yet she clearly enjoys torturing you. And you're sort of annoyed with your man for encouraging it yet you can't decide if you're being needlessly critical of him.

Why do girls do this sort of thing? It's so passive aggressive and awful. I don't care if you're 23 and think you're the bomb. You flirting with my boyfriend is utterly unacceptable and will not get you anywhere.

Thank you, that is all.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Chivalry Rewards System

Women moan that chivalry is dead. I beg to differ. Sometimes it's just a little hard to find. But I am working on a way to change that.

Ladies, what I propose is a chivalry rewards system, wherein every time your man does something like open the car door for you, walk on the right side of the street so that you don't get crushed by an out of control car, place his coat over a puddle for you to walk over, etc, you reward him with something like a kiss.

The name of the game here is "positive reinforcement." I'm testing it out on Sailor and it's going swimmingly. If all of you launch similar efforts, word may spread, and guys who don't take the time to do such things may see all the awesome treatment they're missing out on, and they may join in as well.

I see a potential revolution here, ladies. It'll be like the AMEX tagline. Chivalry has its rewards.

Now hop to it!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Coming Out to Play, Or Not

Tomorrow is the blogger happy hour, as anyone who follows DC Blogs is apt to know. To be honest, I have mixed feelings about it. I've been at this blogging game for a while now. Hey Pretty began in 2004 and before that I maintained another blog entitled Debt Girl about my not so enthralling attempts to better manage my personal finances, and even before that I started and abandoned a couple of other well meaning yet ultimately dead-ended blogging endeavors. All this is to say that I am hardly new to the game. But I am to the DC blogging community, and to be honest, I find it slightly intimidating. I mean, so many people simply seem to already know one another. When I hear about these happy hours, they seem like a great opportunity to meet new people, but in reality they always feel like a party of old friends that's already weathered a number of private and public storms. Okay, to be fair, I've only attended one. And the presence of the News 4 TV crew probably didn't help people feel enthusiastic about mingling with newbies. And to my detriment, I tend to be highly shy around strangers. It takes me a long time to be comfortable with new people, and in some cases I never do. On HP I can be as outspoken, obnoxious, or candid as I please because I have a curtain of words to hide behind. But in person it's me, and that's a bit harder. Sure, I've met others of you in other contexts. EJ for instance, has been wonderful about introducing me to her blogger friends. Candy Sandwich, I met by purely by fate one awful night that I'd rather forget for a myriad of reasons (not having anything to do with CS). And there are others as well whose friendships pre-existed HP, who I consider more to be real life friends. But then there are the people who I have never met, but who I have forged a camaraderie with through cross-commenting and about whom, I have grown more intrigued.

All this is to say that I may or may not wuss out when it comes to attending tomorrow's shin dig. Perhaps the work happy hour I have will fortify me with liquid courage and I'll feel braver about making small talk with strangers. Or maybe I'll show up and leave shortly after a non-blogger friend texts message me that they're going to the Pour House (tomorrow being Friday there's an 80% chance that will happen). Or maybe I'll simply go home and catch up on my Netflix until Sailor calls to inquire about what I am doing. It's impossible to know. But if there are others of you out there who blog in DC, who feel ambivalent about the prospect of hanging out in a room full of your blogging cohorts, please know that you are not alone.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Dear Fashion Industry...

Yes, it is time for another rant about clothing, and the challenges of finding clothing that actually fits. Now, I have said it before, and I will say it again. Hey Pretty is not one of those rail-thin types who can pull off any style. This one, she has some curves (you know, like actual real women tend to). Yet while a classic hourglass figure may be handy for causing certain boys to swoon, it does me no good when seeking out garments with which to cover said curves. All I want is an outfit that I can wear to a client meeting that doesn't require being pinned together or sitting with my shoulders rolled back to an impossible angle. I want pants that conform to my waist while accommodating my hips. Fashion industry, why is this so hard for you to understand? Do you know the number of women I know who have issues with button down shirts because they gape at bust while being way too large for their mid-sections? Why must you insist that everyone is proportioned in the same way? I am willing to meet you half-way here. Ages ago I accepted that at just under 5'3", everything would be too long for me. I even found an okay tailor and have been diligently taking my things in to be hemmed. An extra expense, yes. But I accept the burden. But please, how 'bout you throw me a bone here?

Perhaps you are thinking that I simply need to lose weight, and then clothing would fit. While my weight is certainly none of your business, I can assure you that my BMI falls within a reasonable range of what is healthy, and even when I successfully got myself down to a size 0 several years ago by boycotting most forms of solid food, I still had this problem. So the problem clearly lies with you, not me.

So let's address this issue of respectable, non-dowdy work wear for non-toothpicks. After that we can move on to attractive shoes that are comfortable to walk in.

Your friend,


Monday, September 11, 2006

Boys Say the Darndest Things

I was having a conversation with Sailor the other day about the importance of maintaining friendships while dating--how my friends are my family and I need to spend time with them, regardless of whether or not there's a guy in my life.

Hey Pretty: I find that I've become pretty good at balancing dating with the rest of my social life.

Sailor: That's because you have a very accommodating boyfriend.

Hey Pretty: Boyfriend? I wasn't aware that I have a boyfriend.

Sailor: A boy. Friend. You know, a friend who's a boy.

Hey Pretty: Nice save.

Friday, September 08, 2006

The Pros and Cons of Sleep Deprivation

Sailor stayed over last night and needed to leave at 6:00 to get to work on time (the ghastly hour of 7:30). After I let him out I debated going back to bed, but I knew that the hour and a half of sleep I'd get wouldn't be worth the difficulty in having to get out of bed for a second time that day. Getting up is bad enough. Why subject yourself to having to do it twice? Instead, I decided to go into work early. And that I did, arriving at 7:50 am. At 8:30 A and G noticed that I was already working and stopped by my cube to ask me if anything was wrong. I just pretended to be really into my job.

It's almost 3:00 now. I am so sleepy I can barely string thoughts together. Yet despite my mildly hallucinatory state, I have come up with several interesting innovations relating to projects and affairs at work today. Ironic isn't it, that despite my almost complete lack of verbal skills, I come up with the best ideas I've had in months? Apparently, being totally off whack is quite conducive to creativity.

Addendum: After sending Sailor an email complaining that his role in my Thursday night/Friday morning had resulted in my loss of beauty sleep he sent an oh-so delightful response informing me that not only did he manage to score the afternoon off, but that he "is currently naked and about to take a several hour long nap." I hate him. Okay, not really. But still.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Not Fair!

Do you ever have those days at work when you feel like pouting, stomping your feet and shouting "Not Fair!" in response to one of your manager's directives? Totally immature, I know. But I am having one of those days.

After putting in a solid attempt to carry myself with more poise and composure around the office, with the hope that one of the stupid senior managers might someday appreciate my contributions to the organization and give me a promotion, I have found myself, in the past half an hour on the verge of undoing all that good karma I have created for myself.

The details are unimportant. But let's say that a certain set of tasks that I requested be evenly spread out among members of our "team" have all been foisted upon me, with no appreciation on the part of my manager for the fact that the a.) suck a** and 2.) are a huge time burden.

A diplomatic email has been sent in response to her directive. There is nothing I can do but suck it up and do the work. And I will do so, while wondering what good it will do anyone in the end. Right, I didn't mention that what I am doing is something we promised the client we'd do, but something that is not actually profiting us in any way. In other words, the return on our investment here is nill.

Speaking of returns on investments, Lulu raised a brilliant point to me the other day in regards to my on-going saga with a certain boy who shall not be named, but who I was once convinced represented some sort of oh-so-romantic star-crossed lovers scenario. In realizing that I was forever doting on this character while he did nothing but lead me on, profess feelings for me, and then get a girlfriend, I became rather irate with the situation not very long ago. I mean, who does that? Yesterday Lulu pointed out that relationships are like financial investments--if they're not reaping a return on par to what you put into them, why bother.

I couldn't agree more. Here, here Lulu.

Sorry for the disjointed nature of today's post. I just thought that maybe some of you out there in blog-land could sympathize.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

So-So Movie, Killer Soundtrack


Casting aside the politics of copy-protected CDs and all that, you would do yourself a favor by buying this album.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Yes, I Leica

Quick question: Do any of you readers out there use a Leica 35mm camera? If so, care to share with me your reasons? I hear they're amazing yet I don't know why. I do know that Diane Arbus used them, which is encouraging. Similarly, fans of any other rangefinder cameras, I'd be curious to hear you weigh in as well. Use the comment section or email me directly: hey_prettyblog@yahoo.com.

My Life is an Open Book

Let's talk about something other than boys for a sec, 'kay? Don't worry, I'll get back to that topic in a moment, but first a nice literary interlude. Kristin, over at Candy Sandwich posed (posited?) some excellent questions about books and our relationships with them. Here's my take.

1. Book that changed your life: Julie and Julia, by Julie Powell. For those unaware, it's taken from the blog of a woman who, unsatisfied with her life, decides to set about on a project to cook her way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking. It's a wonderful testament to our abilities to dig ourselves out of negative situations, thereby transforming our lives. Since it's publication she has gone from office temp to being a well respected food critic. Also, To the Lighthouse by Virginia Wolff. It solidified my love of language and words.

2. Book you've read more than once: I've read many books more than once, but the one that comes to mind first is the metamorphosis simply because for some reason, professors at my college were obsessed with it. The number of Marxist interpretations I have submitted on that book is mind blowing. Same goes for Animal Farm.

3. Book you'd take to a desert island: Any Nick Hornsby. If I had an anthology of his writing I'd be pretty much set. Either that or some fabulous compilation of literary non-fiction pieces.

4. Book that made you laugh: Me Talk Pretty Some Day by the ubiquitous David Sedaris; Everything is Illuminated by JSF; Thank You For Smoking by Christopher Buckley.

5. Book that made you cry: It's not a book that comes to mind first, but a poem. Snapshot of a Difficult World by Adrienne Rich. I first read it in Poetry 100 freshman year of college and it has continued to captivate me as I experience more of life and understand more of what it means.

6. Book you wish you had written: Although depressing, I wish I had written The Rules of Attraction by Brett Easton Ellis, simply because it reminds me so much of my own college experience, and wish I had the creativity to have come up with it. Alas, he has at least a decade on me so I can't be too upset about that.

7. Book you wish had never been written: Speaking of Brett Easton Ellis...I absolutely despise Glamourama. It has done nothing for the genre of contemporary American fiction, and it's gratuitous violence and general god-awful terribleness has since overshadowed some of his early and better works.

8. Book you're currently reading: Goodbye Lemon by Adam Davies. I read his other novel The Frog King a few months ago and although the narrator infuriated me with his myopia, I was addicted to it.

9. Book you've been meaning to read: Well. My Amazon.com wish list is 3 pages long. This is the first page.

Marie Antoinette: The Journey by Antonia Fraser

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe

The Sound of No Hands Clapping: A Memoir by Toby Young

Literacy and Longing in L.A. by Jennifer Kaufman, Karen Mack

The Gay Talese Reader: Portraits and Encounters by Gay Talese, Barbara Lounsberry (Introduction)

The Futurist: A Novel by James P. Othmer

Blue Angel: A Novel by Francine Prose

Loser Goes First: My Thirty-Something Years of Dumb Luck and Minor Humiliation by Dan Kennedy

Never Mind the Pollacks: A Rock and Roll Novel by Neal Pollack

The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst

Jesus' Son: Stories by Denis Johnson

Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin

Principles of Marketing (11th Edition) (Principles of Marketing) by Philip Kotler, Gary Armstrong

The Best American Magazine Writing 2004 (Best American Magazine Writing) by American Society of Magazine Editor

I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell by Tucker Max

Remembrance of Things Past Volume 1-3 Box Set by Marcel Proust

Veronica: A Novel by Mary Gaitskill

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia

10. Now tagging the following bloggers to make this same list with their answers on their blogs. Not sure who's that much of a regular here so I'll take a guess and tag Irish Red, EJ, Lulu, and the Musical Guru. Anyone else who I didn't tag, but who feels like playing along, be my guest!