hey pretty

Ceci n'est pas une "dating blog."

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Finances and the Issue of the Sugar Daddy

Several years ago, before the birth of HP, I maintained an incredibly boring blog that detailed my journey to financial responsibility. It had few readers, and I wrote it mainly as an attempt to keep my efforts to climb out of credit card debt and to establish regular savings and budgeting strategies in check. It lasted all of three months. I grew bored with it, and with its demise so died my futile attempts at fiscal responsibility. I also snagged a new job that paid considerably more than my non-profit gig and began spending money willy-nilly with little regard for long-term savings.

Every month a modest yet not unimpressive flow of cash enters my bank account. Towards the end of every pay period I realize I have just barely enough money to scrape together for a pack of smokes, a yoga class, some food and a night out. Every month a vow to do better. And yet, I seem to repeat the same cycle over and over. Meanwhile, my peers buy condos, prance around town in designer threads, and take cool vacations, while I wonder why at 30, I can't seem to get my act together.

Mainly it seems, because I live in profound denial of my complete inability to budget for anything.

Today, I decided to take some small form of action. I printed out my bank statement from July, and using different colored highlighters, identified the main categories through which I spend and waste money, and identified how much I spent in each. I won't go into the details but lets just say that eating and drinking out constituted a shockingly high percentage of my income. Not as much as necessities such as rent/gym/utilities/credit card bills, but it was definitely up there. That's the problem with living in DC and having a social life: every 25 dollar bar tab or meal out begins to add up. And July was apparently a very social month for me.

While I ponder ways to reduce my expenditures in this category (like eating in more often) I decided there were other actions I could take to gain some control of my finances.

1.) Although I have an online savings account that yields a nice interest rate, I always forget to transfer money to it. Today I had my HR Manager here at work re-route 300 a month to said account from my paycheck.

2.) My stupid credit bill. Oh, how often do I forget about thee? Far too often. From here on out, on the 15th of every month, a certain sum of money will be routed to paying the beastly thing down.

I already have automatic payments for the gym and my cell phone bill, so those I don't have to worry about.

Really, there should be no reason why I feel as poor as I do now. I even established a monthly clothing and beauty budget.

Which brings me to another issues.

A certain gentleman in my life is growing somewhat insistent that I need to have in my possession some prettier clothes and some better shoes. Really, he's growing tired of seeing my feet in the same Circa by Joan and David black sandals with a modest two inch heal. All of my explanations that they're comfortable and I hate breaking shoes in have been met with deaf ears. Mr. 46 wants to buy me some new shoes. And while he's at it, he'd like to buy me some new clothes.

I should stop here and explain that it's not as if I regularly dress in rags. I have nice clothes, I am simply of the mentality that it's better to spend more on fewer items. Thus, I tend to wear the same jeans by Paige Denim; the same American Apparel tees; the same couple of dresses by Susanna Monaco, Theory and Ann Taylor time and again.

Friends of HP are ecstatic with this development. Who wouldn't want a semi-wealthy man buying them stuff? My knee-jerk quasi-feminist sensibilities however, are having mixed reactions. While I adore fashion (I've been a devoted reader of Vogue since elementary school and I regularly troll Panda Head and Bright Young Things for clothing advice), part of me can't help but believe that it isn't the place of a man to play Pygmalion with the object of his affections and desires. Part of me thinks that doing so illustrates some slightly dark and power dynamics that I'd rather not think about, yet that tend to hover just beneath the surface of my relationship with 46 as it already is.

Yeah, I know. I'm totally reading too much into it, aren't I? Yes, there's a reason why ex-crush blew me off with the explanation that I "think too much." So I'm trying not to dwell over such unpleasantries. Instead, I am trying to keep an open mind while wondering if 46 is as much of a fan of Barney's Co-op as I am.

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Friday, July 27, 2007

Parents: Still Not Always Right

I can still remember what a shock it was when finally freed from my ultra-protective parents and away at college, I realized that they were in fact, not always right about everything. I can't recall what event or discovery catalyzed said revelation, but I do remember feeling like my very being had been shaken to the core. Things were never quite the same between me and them after that. Those of you who discovered the concept of rebellion earlier in life probably think that I sound absurd. But hey, I was raised in a very insular environment by two people who I trusted because I wasn't presented with another option, and because neither of them had ever done anything (that I knew of) to make me believe otherwise. Not having siblings probably factored highly into that equation as well. Going away to college exposed me to a slew of new experiences and characters whose backgrounds varied from mine. Eventually, my way of thinking got a little, okay, a lot, more independent.

Since then I have grown to find small doses of delight in situations that reveal the limits of my parents' knowledge. Of course they're both highly intelligent, well-read individuals, but ultimately they are not immune to the amusing hysterias that our information-age often produces. Case in point: Earlier today, my mother forwarded me an email supposedly originating from John's Hopkins University warning us that we shouldn't put bottles of water in the freezer or microwave plastic because of some chemical reaction that will most certainly give us cancer. This information immediately struck me as suspect. Given the fact that millions of people eat foods that have been microwaved under plastic, it seemed unlikely that this could be true. I mean, surely the food scientists at Lean Cuisine have tested out the containers their food comes in to make sure it won't give us life threatening illnesses when it's heated for a few minutes. Do they think we don't care if we get cancer as long as we're skinny? And surely the geniuses at Rubbermaid do a little investigative testing when they invent their products to screen for the issue as well. I mean, that kind of sounds like a class action lawsuit waiting to happen, dontcha think?

Mom however (God bless her), has never quite embraced microwave technology. She's not convinced it's a process that will enhance her life in any way, and she's paranoid that people who regularly employ it will eventually develop third eyes. So I suppose it's not surprising that she felt compelled to forward that particular electronic missive on to me. My initial response expressed my skepticism towards the whole notion, but didn't discount it altogether. Since I'm not a scientist (nor do I play one on this blog) I don't feel confident knocking down theories supposedly originated by the esteemed scientific minds at JHU. But then I remembered snopes.com and felt inclined to do some quick research.

Just as I suspected, the email was a complete and total hoax. I sent mom the url, feeling a bratty pang of satisfaction. No response just yet. I'm sure she's miffed that I put the kibosh on her mission in life to become the Erin Brokovitch of microwave technology.

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Hey Good Lookin' What's Cookin'?

Me, apparently. Last night I shook the dust off of my long-neglected culinary skills and returned to the kitchen (actually, it was a terrace if you want to get all technical about it) for my first foray ever into the exciting world of grilling.

On the menu?

Grilled vegetable salad with pesto dressing
Grilled Yellow Finn Tuna
Toasted Japanese white bread that thinks its French with goat's cheese.

The vegetables consisted of red and yellow bell peppers; graffiti eggplant; corn; yellow squash; fennel; and zucchini. After approximately 10 minutes on the grill they were tossed with pesto and cherry tomatoes. I would have grilled the tomatoes, but they were so small and potentially cumbersome. As for the pesto, it had been my intention to whip a batch from scratch, but Whole Foods was low on basil so I settled for store-bought. Oh, I know. Quelle horror!

The tuna was marinated in a simple mixture of lemon juice, olive oil, fleur de sel and cracked black pepper for about an hour and a half before it was cooked. It spent a grand total of 6 minutes on the grill before my dining companion informed me that he had a feeling it was time to take it off. Okay, to be honest, I have no idea how long it was on the grill. Neither I nor my companion wear a watch, and we were both a little silly from some substances we had consumed earlier. We're guessing it was 6 minutes. Could have been more, could have been less.

The Japanese white bread that thinks it's French was lightly toasted and brushed with olive oil before being spread with goat's cheese.

The verdict?

The veggies were a bit charred for my taste, but my companion gamely wolfed his down.

The tuna was completely scrumptious. But then, I am of the opinion that when you pay 25 dollar for a large tuna steak, it can't be anything but amazing. Although I was apprehensive about giving it such a simple flavor treatment, I found that the austerity of the marinade was perfect in accentuating the fish's natural flavor. I'd definitely make it again, but not until I'm making more money at my job, as 25 dollars for a single component of one's dinner is a bit pricey.

The toasts of course were great, but how can white bread smothered with cheese be anything but scrumptious?

Next up?

I'm not sure, but this experience suggested to me that if I can whip up such a lovely meal with very little recent cooking practice, with some additional practice, I could be giving Nigella Lawson a run for her money. Look out!

In the comments section tell me about a successful meal that you once made.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

An Open Letter To Wired Magazine

Every month I look forward to reading Wired for its off-beat and engaging reporting on technology development and general trends in innovation. Yet in reading your August, 2007 section dedicated to workplace efficiency, I couldn't help but notice that some of your tips seemed geared towards male readers. Fashion guru Tim Gunn's advice for acceptable workplace attire for instance, seemed written entirely for clueless male Information Technology professionals who apparently prefer to dress in the dark with little appreciation for workplace decorum. While the majority of Wired's audience may in fact encompass this demographic, it seems worth mentioning that women do indeed account for some of your readership and that we may appreciate having our interests addressed as well. Perhaps in angling your fashion advice to men, you assume that your female readers are already so fashion savvy that we do not require your guidance. If this is the case then I thank you for the apparent faith you have in our sartorial choices.

But the fact of the matter remains that many women are as forward-thinking and as innovatively-minded as your male readership, and we deserve to be treated as such by being included as part of the audience of your articles.

Hey Pretty
Washington, DC

Monday, July 23, 2007

Everything I Thought I Never Wanted

On Saturday morning I awoke with the most awesome sense of unsettledness. I had spent Friday night imbibing considerable amounts of alcohol with some of my coworkers, and our conversation naturally fell towards the office, and everything that was wrong with our company, and how we were surely all about to be randomly fired for no good reason.

I knew in my heart that such talk was probably just paranoid speculation, but I still couldn't shake the fact that something was very wrong. After a nice brunch at Cafe St. Ex with friend A, I asked if she could drive me to the office on her way home so I could do some work. I have never before in my life voluntarily gone to the office on a Saturday. Normally, I view such behavior as the kind reserved for Type-As and people with no social lives. But I knew that if I didn't I'd be plagued all weekend by an intangible combination of guilt and pessimism, and they only way I could avoid that would be to get some work done.

Turns out than an empty office on a weekend afternoon is the perfect environment for cranking out some quality work, while taking care of some previously neglected communication. I had made plans with Mr. 46 for that night, and he kindly offered to come pick me up. At 6:00 he rolled up to my office building in a late-60's silver roadster convertible. Now before you start making sarcastic comments about how clichéd that is, let me tell you that I hear your snark and can at least say that he's owned the car for 15 years and purchasing it was not a result of some sort of icky mid-life crisis. Anyway.

Back at Casa Mr. 46 he prepared a light snack for us that we enjoyed while sipping a nice Spanish white wine and talking about our days. We ate produce from the local farmer's market--fresh cucumbers lightly salted with sel de mer; an heirloom tomato seasoned with the same, drizzled with balsamic vinegar; zucchini squash stir-fried with their tendrils in olive oil, garlic and plenty of salt and pepper. The harmony of sweet organic produce cut with oil and salt, combined with the effects of the wine and Mr. 46's assurances that my life isn't actually falling apart dissolved the edge I had previously been experiencing. From there he prepared a main dish of pasta with fresh clams and a nice simply sauce. By the time he brought out a bowl of fresh peach sliced seasoned with balsamic vinegar, I had all but melted into an extremely relaxed and contented pile of mush.

Sure, my cynical side was still present, softly whispering to me that this was all a seduction ploy--pamper me into complacency and all that. But my romantic self loved every minute of it. My well-developed sense of independence has been a pervasive theme in several of my past relationships. I've found myself with guys who like my low-maintanceness and spend little time doting on me or lavishing me with extra attention. I've used my lack of need for such attention as a selling point for why I'm such a terrific girlfriend.

But the fact of the matter is, I really like being tended to in the manner in which Mr. 46 has been courting me. I used to think that there could be no place for nurturing in a romantic relationship. That the impulse to protect your partner and shield them from the harshness of the world wasn't appropriate within the context of a physical relationship. And now I see that perhaps I was wrong.

I also thought I'd never want to be with a man significantly older, balding and not much taller than me.

In yoga [yeah, groan, I know] there's a theory that the poses you least want to get into are the ones that your body and spirit need the most. That when you find yourself resisting a certain experience, that's the thing you actually need the most. And I believe that notion applies to the situation with Mr. 46 perfectly. On paper, he is nothing like what I would want in a man. But the reality of the situation is that he truly cares about other people, is a good listener, goes out of his way to do nice things for me, appreciates my good qualities, but isn't afraid to call me out on my shit. And after years of dating the same emotionally unavailable, self-centered 20/30-something guy, this experience with him is truly a rewarding one.

It's also causing me to reflect on the perceived power dynamics in male-female relationships. I've been skeeved out in the past by the notion of dating an older man simply because I held a bias that men who date women who are much younger than them most likely have some sort of inadequacies that might compel them to seek out partners who are easy to manipulate. But what this situation is illustrating is that every relationship is composed of a complex network of interpersonal dynamics where the balance of power frequently swings from one partner to another. Sure, he might seduce me with bowls of fresh peaches and bottles of fine wine, but I'm pretty and young, and surely that has some influence over his actions. And whenever the seduction routine gets a tad heavy-handed for my cynical feminist sensibilities, I call him "old man" and that's his cue to lay off.

So forgive the long-windedness of this post, but I guess what I'm trying to say is this: if you're willing to shift your expectations of what the ideal partner looks and acts like, you may be handsomely rewarded. I knew there was a reason why I felt like the earth split wide open the second we reunited. Because in a sense, it did.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

An Anthropologist In the World of Men

Hanging out with Mr. 46 has opened a previously secret world to me--that of men, their culture, and how they relate to one another. Perhaps it's just because we are so disgustingly open with one another, but I feel like he's been more willing to share with me little stories about what men do with one another and how they communicate, and simply what it's like to be a middle-aged divorced man.

My favorite example of this is the story of how he acquired his stereo speakers. Mr. 46 is a stereophile. He owns all sorts of old receivers and amps and cd players. He's a musician so such matters are terribly important to him. Several years ago he was visiting the house of an acquaintance when he spotted a pair of enormous wood speakers. Such objects of beauty these were that he asked his host about them. The host asked him if he wanted to buy them off him. Mr. 46 thought about it for a second and decided that yes, he did want to buy them. Mr. 46 also had some knowledge of the speakers and knew that they went for several grand a piece. He offered his host 800 for set and the host accepted.

What impressed me most about the story was how it very clearly illustrated a dynamic present among men that is clearly lacking between women. Sure, women compliment one another all the time, especially on things like handbags and shoes. But such compliments are often a form of social currency--often intended as a ploy to stay within one another's good graces.

His story has inspired me: next time another woman compliments something I am wearing or something I own, I am going to ask her if she wants to buy it. Just to see what her reaction would be. Of course knowing women, they'd take it as some sort of passive aggressive snark when really I'd just be operating with a different set of social currency.

Speaking of disgustingly open, Mr. 46 did something rather dumb. He told former crush about us. Apparently they've been friends since forever ago and Mr. 46 feels the need to tell former crush every minute detail of his personal life. Former crush did not react well to the news and told Mr. 46 a bunch of completely exaggerated facts about me. Where former crush gets off dragging my semi-good name through the proverbial dust is beyond me, but it incensed me beyond belief. Yes, I might have acted a little odd towards him, but it was only because he was being confusing and not communicating with me. So apparently he now thinks I'm nuts--further evidence that he drove me to insanity and that it's best that he's out of the picture. Only he isn't because he now seems intent on ruining a good thing. His whole involvement seems perfectly unnecessary. Can't he just "say something nice or not say anything at all"? And why I care about this so much is really bothering me as well.

But here are some more positive actions from Mr. 46 that I encourage my male readers to try with the ladies.

-Make her breakfast in the morning. Nothing says "thank you for a lovely night and morning" like a homemade breakfast. It needn't be fancy. Today I received a slice of thick white bread from a Japanese grocery store slathered with good butter and sprinkled with fish roe. I know, you're probably thinking that we're both insane. Apparently it's popular in other parts of the world. I pride myself on eating weird foods and I'm used to eating non-breakfasty foods first thing in the morning, but this was a little difficult for me to swallow (ha!). It tasted good and all, but it was somewhat intense for first thing in the morning. But in the interest of impressing him, and in showing him my appreciation for him, I downed the whole thing. Must satisfy stupid American palate later today with a cheeseburger and fries, however.

-Drive her to the Metro. Even if you aren't yet ready to leave for work, take 5 minutes out of your demanding day to drive her to the Metro. She *will* appreciate it and you probably aren't so important that your professional matters can't wait 5 minutes (yes, even in DC). Unless you're a doctor of course, and then you can disregard this one.

-If she's the type of woman to drop 30 bucks on a pair of ridiculously frilly lace underwear, please take a moment to compliment them. That's it. No need for a long monologue. A simple, "those are nice" will do.

-If you happen to be rather grumpy in the morning, it's perfectly acceptable to send her an email later in the day apologizing for being a grump. In fact, doing so may solidify your position in the boyfriend hall of fame.

-Invite her to run away with you to Argentina. This seriously happened to me last night. I was all like "wha...?" And he was all "think about it."

Can you imagine?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Ties That Bind. And Unbind.

It's time to accept the fact that as of Friday, I will be a stepchild.

It feels odd that age 30 I am inheriting a stepmother. Thankfully, my father already told my mom about the whole thing, and she accepted and processed the information in a surprisingly gracious manner and is now instructing me on how to do likewise.

According to my mom, the proper etiquette for acquiring an adult-onset stepmother is to inquire when her birthday is, and always send her a card to memorialize the day. You are also, apparently, supposed to send a card congratulating her on her new marriage. It is also important to note that this cards must be hand written on paper stock with neat penmanship, rather than the electronic alternative. See, I knew there was a reason why I have that box of stationary engraved with my full name sitting around somewhere.

Somebody totally needs to write a book about this. Screw chick lit. Stepmother how-to guides are obviously a goldmine of uncharted literary territory waiting to be tapped.

Mr. 46 is being extremely helpful regarding this whole development. Last night in the midst of complaining about everything, he sent me a suggestive text message which I responded to all in a huff because it struck me as insensitive that in the middle of a personal crisis he's discussing nudity. But he apologized. And then this morning when I arrived at work there was a splendid and wonderful email from him truly apologizing again and saying that when he put himself in my shoes to reflect upon what he had said, he instantly felt terrible.

Listen up men! If you screw up and need to make it right with your lady, that is ALL you have to say. You can also say that you were wrong, but expressing your empathy (write that word down and learn it) is essential.

I've always been a big believer in the whole "everything happens for a reason" school of thought. And while sometimes things happen that are random and violent and completely unnecessary, I still tend to adhere to the idea that people come in and out of your life for a reason. Right now, I feel surrounded by individuals who are teaching me all sorts of interesting lessons--mainly ones about how to be a more patient, optimistic, generous person. People who love me for my cynicism and cautiousness, but who are for some reason invested in me to the point where the want to help make me a better person. I don't understand why it's all happening now, but I suppose the answer will be clearer to me later.

Mr. 46 for example, has taught me a slew of interesting new things and we've only known one another a few days (although he's debating that point, preferring to say that it's been two years. I vacillate, myself). For instance: people need to make their own mistakes and learn their own lessons. Otherwise they never learn. I suppose I have believed that for a while haven't fully appreciated it until recently. And also, that sometimes you can be in a relationship with a person where you feel utterly natural being completely open and honest about everything. Like, not being so wouldn't even occur to you because being open and honest is simply how you *are* with one another. Believe me, not having to be all calculating about communication is a very weird thing for me.

But here's a question I have. Let's say you meet somebody and then you don't see them for two years. Is it possible that during that hiatus you were connected to one another in a way that you weren't aware of?

Ack! My new relationship is turning me into a hippy! Can you believe I just wrote that? Be glad I didn't have the moxy to utter it out loud. Lord help me, I think I might need an intervention.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Another Curveball From the Universe

Reason 9 million why my life is completely surreal right now: I just received an email from my father informing me that the wedding plans have been "moved up" and he'll be flying to San Diego on Thursday (from Mexico, where he lives) to get married.


Okay, 1: What wedding?
2: What engagement?
3: What wedding?
4: You decided that email was an appropriate medium with which to communicate this information?

Yeah, he and the GF have lived together for years. But I had rather assumed that by this point they wouldn't bother getting hitched. They're old, what does it matter?

So now, as an only child, guess who will probably get to tell my mom about this? Although she essentially left him, I know this won't be easy for her. And I hate having to be the bearer of bad news.

Apparently there will be a party of some sort in Mexico in September to celebrate the "marriage" (my dad's third, but who's counting right?) If I really wanted to be a brat, I could bring along Mr. 46 as my date. Wouldn't that add some controversy to the nuptials? Not that I am quite diabolical enough to do this. Only to daydream about it.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Universe: WTF?

Monday morning greetings, campers. How were your weekends? Mine was an absolute and complete mind-f*ck, thanks for asking.

New developments...I made out with 3 different people.

...My friend hooked up with my crush. After I told her the day before about what was happening with him. So essentially she put the moves on him after I asked her not to. Or he put the moves on her. Regardless, there was some move-putting on and I was not pleased about it.

...I appear to be having a fling with a significantly older man. Okay, now this one is weird. At the same party where my friend was macking on my now-former crush, this dude and I get to talking. He says, "So you remind me of this woman I met at a party a few years ago. We had this great connection but I haven't seen her since."

Me: What did she look like?
Him: You
Me: What was she like in general?
Him: You.

I ask a few more questions about location of said party and who else was there. And then I have an epiphany. Yes, we did indeed meet a party 2 years ago. We always seemed to "end up" smoking together outside and I remember having a marvelous time with him. But he had been married and I try not to chase married guys because actually? I'm not a complete homewrecker.

Me: Aren't you married?
Him: Not any more.

Ha! So one things leads to another and I found myself at his house last night talking and drinking and smoking into the very wee hours of the night.

I know his ex-wife, but we're not really friends. He and I have quite a few people in common. All would be mildly scandalized if this got out. It's way too early to know exactly what this is, of course and my head is still spinning from the weekend so I'm not even going to bother trying. He's completely different from the disaffected 30 something hipsters I normally go for, that much is certain. Like he's generally concerned about the well being of other individuals and wants to make them comfortable and at home as much as possible. And he does nice things for other people. Which makes sense, seeing as how he's 46 (!!) Yes, I know that age is just a number, but he is definitely the oldest guy I've ever been with. I mean, he was born in the '60s. I'll keep you all posted as further developments occur. We're going out on Wednesday for our first "official" date.

But before that happened with him, Lorelia and I got to scheming in our usual diabolical way, and decided we should 1.) spend the later part of the afternoon at Dr. Dremos and 2.) that we should invite the various men in our lives who represent "lose ends" and kick 'em to the curb once and for all. Which would have been a grand plan if it weren't for the fact that they all refused to fall into line with said plan, and none of them agreed to come out. And the others we had already very wisely deleted from our phones so there was no way of actually getting in touch with them. So instead, we drank hard cider and over-analyzed our respective romantic situations.

And then I decided to go pay Mr. 46 a visit. Invited, of course.

Buckle your seat belts. It's about to be a very wild ride.

Friday, July 13, 2007


It came! My new camera is here. Only took 1 day to ship. Thank you UPS! Now, despite what I do and what happens this weekend, it promises to be a good one if only because I have a pretty new toy to play with.

Rock on.

I noticed earlier that I have an unfortunate tendency to always come up with a winning witty retort minutes after I deliver the lackluster one my poor brain settled on as an alternative.

Case in point.

Earlier, I am emailing with *somebody* taking issue with his conviction that cabs are easy to find outside of Wonderland. In my experience, that Columbia Heights can be downright impossible to get out of at certain times of the night.

He responded that perhaps it's difficult for me, given the fact that I tend to find myself there after at 4:00 am after being passed out on the bar.

[Not true btw--I rarely even go to Wonderland!]

My comeback was something sort of feeble about preferring the cool tile floor and that it was time for us to have a lesson on prepositions.

Okay, not terrible.

But, minutes later, I came up with this classic: The bar at Wonderland certainly isn't the worst thing one could wake up on top of.

Then, sometime after this occured to me: Takes one to know one!

Very 5th grade, but then, so am I.

If only I could rewind time and ask for a do-over.

What I am reading today

-Does this terrify the rest of you as much as it does me?

Seriously, what is this administration's problem? We're led into a messy and expensive war on the basis of some "weapons of mass destruction" that may or may not exist, but if they do probably don't exist where we think they exist. And it turns out? The guys we should have been worried about all along--you know, the ones who drove our flying machine into our big buildings? Oh yeah. Getting stronger by the day. Lovely.

-And this was *before* text message was popularized.

-Scott Rosenberg, please marry me

-If Face Book and MySpace had a fight, who would win?

I am also reading my text message inbox. Because I decided to text you-know-who last night (who entertained my semi-sensical attempts at flirtation like a champ). He also, I just realized, took me to task for only responding to his party Evite as a "maybe." Oh, mysterious, mysterious me.

In other news, shout-out to roommate Ned for the excellent drive to work this morning. I did appreciate being spared the agony of a 45 minute metro ride, and I'm sure he enjoyed whatever non-sensicle rant I spewed about men and work and how they both suck or whatever.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Bang! Bang! You're Um. Well, Uh...

Did you get a perm? asked my co-worker D as we shared a smoke break together.

D, I have wavy hair. Why on earth would I need a perm?

Your hair looks different. Did you pull it back differently?

I sighed. Yes, my hair was different. The night before, bored by the latest episode of Top Chef, I reached for a pair of sharps and did something a little unorthodox. I cut my own hair. Into bangs.

Not that I haven't had them before, I've actually done this several times in the past and sort of knew what I was doing. And each time in the past I've been delighted with the results.

Today, I can't really tell. From what I can observe, they have the potential to be rather cute (one part Bette Page equal parts French school girl or Jewish Audrey Hepburn). But for now, they need professional help. Rather choppy and uneven, they could probably benefit from being shaped or trimmed by somebody with better perspective, who knows what they're doing.

Problem is, I sort of dread walking into a salon and explaining what I need. I dread the lecture from the know-it-all stylist about the dangers of waves and bangs. But I know they have some major potential, especially in their ability to emphasize my already rockin' green eyes.

And since my personal style is already a bit funky, and I know that I'm a cute girl, I can rock their imperfections as if I meant for them to be that way.

I can't imagine how I ever bleached my own hair (yes, bleached. I was blond in college. My natural color is a very dark brown).

So, uh...anyone know a very forgiving stylist who works on short notice?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Boredom Is The Past Of Least Resistance

Women often bemoan the sad state of their dating lives, especially when a certain somebody is taking too long to come around to fall under their feminine spells. We want instant gratification, easy definitions, romantic vehicles that go from dating to relationship in 20 seconds. But I was reminded recently of a potential alternate scenario and the relative charms of a relationship defined by resistance and tensions between both parties.

It's part of my nature to assume that a hookup is going to create a defined relationship. Like, we are x who do y. Or, we are "an item." I don't know why I should think that, seeing as how in my experience it clearly never does. Or hasn't for quite some time. The relationship with boy du jour has been a slow and steady climb. One marked by twisting trails, branches that stick out of nowhere to potentially knock me on my ass, ambiguous signs, forks in the road leading to nowhere. I mean, I didn't even like this person when I first met him. And yet I've loved every minute of it.

So there's no rational reason why I should assume that a night of drunken shenanigans would result in a defined anything. Nor should I assume that things are over either. Because there have been a couple of exchanges since and they've been sizzling (and here we're talking polite conversation--that's it). With that in mind, I am currently really enjoying the resistance. Things are basically the way they were before the weekend, only more intense and hotter due to the whole covert nature of everything. I never thought I'd enjoy easing into something so much, but it's really quite enjoyable. I'm thinking about things, but all my angst from two days ago has been replaced by a devil-may-care attitude towards the whole situation. One that appeals to my Scorpio-like need for mystery and intrigue. Kind of like a '40's film noir, and since I've been accused of having that '40's kind of look a few times in my life, it fits.

Or even dare I say it...the Logan to my Veronica?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Breaking News...

See, optimism does pay off. At 2:00 this afternoon I received an Evite. To an event that you-know-who is throwing. Of course I took it as an opportunity to use a witty double entendre as my reply. Because that's how I roll. And because the theme of the Evite was completely begging for it.

Of course this now inspires additional introspection in the matter. Such as, is he planning on talking to me before the event? What other women are attending? Did he invite me simply to be polite? You know, the usual. But I'm feeling generally good about this development. Thought I'd share.

When Life Hands You Lemons, Say "No Thank You" and Hand Them Back

So I began my day feeling horrifically sad. Bummed out and blue in a way that made me feel like I'd never climb out of my emotional hole. It seemed that I was once again depressed about a boy. The kind of depression caused by ambiguity, waiting, and dreading whatever comes next. I spent most of the morning staring into space, researching Japanese meals I could learn to cook and writing people sad emails. Until I got tired of being sad and wondered if there wasn't something I could do to reverse my current fortunes. I mean, really. Sad about a guy? How clichéd is that. So not worth it.

It was then that I got to thinking about optimism again, and the fact that I am not one. In any given situation my immediate instinct is to think of the worst case scenario. It's my way of preparing myself for disappointment. Unfortunately, it has come to mean that I tend to *expect* disappointment. Luckily, I have my homegal Lorelia, who is the world's sunniest person. Seriously, I'm surprised that woodland creatures don't follow her around wherever she goes (instead she has boys for that). This isn't to say that L is one of those unbearably sweet types either. She's a total vixen and loves to gossip almost as much as I do. Anyway, I'm off track. I have been trying to learn from L's optimism. For instance, for the past two days whenever I've moaned or complained about the shambles that is my romantic life, L just tells me not to worry, because the boy will totally come around. Yes, as my friend she's supposed to say that, but I also believe that she really believes it. That's just how she is.

So rather than moping around the office any longer, I followed her lead. I identified something positive to think about, and I am choosing to focus on that. So instead of being all "my tawdry new romance isn't going to workout" I am instead thinking "I can't control another person and if it doesn't work out everything is going to be fine." See? Optimism.

So then I was thinking about the larger picture of personal fulfillment and decided that I have been sitting on the digital camera purchase for too long. Yes, I was trying to save for a Canon D30 and those cost over 1,000 dollars. So I decided to make things easier on myself. I decided that the Canon Rebel XTi (less expensive) is a perfectly acceptable piece of equipment and that it will be fine for my needs. Yes, it's my dream to be a professional photographer. But the longer I sit on my ass not shooting, the more it remains a dream. At least with the Rebel I'll be practicing my skills and improving. Perhaps even inching that much closer to my goal. So I clicked the order button, filled in my info, and with a much lighter wallet soon received email confirmation that my new prize will arrive within 4 to 6 days. Then begins the fun of learning to use it. Which I can totally handle!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Of All of the Time In the World To Spend It Wild and Unwise

I know it's been a couple of weeks since I shared any dating/boy related news. Well fear not! I have many juicy developments to share with you. So pull up a chair, grab some coffee. We may be here for a while.

So, dear readers, it seems that I have one doozy of a crush. I'm really not even certain if I can even call it that as crush sounds so light-hearted and innocent and this most certainly isn't. It's tortured and complex and unexpected and alarming.

We need to come up with a new word to classify whatever this is, because it's bad. But good. Oh, I can't tell the difference anymore.

So, it's been festering for months. I think it was even festering when I was actively proclaiming my dislike for the person. Like, I was doth protesting a little too much, if you catch my drift. Anyway, this person. There are a bunch of reasons why it has seemed like a bad idea to like him, not all of which I am ready to share. But after it became clear to me that said person was attracted to me, I thought it might be okay if he became my new boy toy. This plan was being put into implementation and was going splendidly. We'd run into one another occasionally. There'd be some bantering and flirting. I'd exit said situation feeling a little giddy but mostly like a complete rockstar for owning it so effectively.

Then on Saturday some stuff definitely went down. And he freaked out. Which lead me to freak out about his freaking out.

I know what you're thinking. Well, you're probably thinking many things. If you're smart you're wondering why Hey Pretty can't get her act together and like normal people who don't have issues. I wonder about that too. You're possibly also wondering why I cared about his freakout if he's a mere boytoy and I was only interested in batting him around a bit before putting him away for a while.

Well, a funny thing happened on Saturday. Somewhere in the midst of beer, jello shots, and an awesome makeout session, we clicked. Like, I want to talk to this person all the time and hold their hand and discover every single mysterious crevice of his brain and do nice things for him and generally hang out and watch TV with takeout food even if it's something I hate like documentaries on the History Channel kind of clicked.

Which I wasn't expecting because I was under the impression that he was kind of a washed-up womanizer, a little sleazy, and something of a loser.

And perhaps he is and my judgment is being clouded by the fact that he's a really good kisser. It's really impossible to tell. And it's confusing when you have a very rigid impression of a person and it begins to change. Especially when it goes from bad to good.


He freaked out. Had a little guy-meltdown and went home. Which lead me to complain about the whole situation ad nauseum on Sunday. Props to Lorelia and my roommates for putting up with me.

But wait, there's more.

So, late Sunday afternoon I decided to go to a friend's birthday celebration because I feel like leaving the house and also because there was a chance I'd run into HIM and we had some lose ends to take care of. He wasn't there. But apparently he has a brother, and he was there. A brother who spent half the night telling me anecdotes about HIM blissfully unaware that his HE had left my house very early that morning and that I had been wearing few clothes when that occurred. A brother who handed me his Treo and told me to message HIM so that he'd come over. Oh my. The whole situation was incredibly hilarious because of the players involved and the fact that certain people involved lacked CRUCIAL pieces of information. The Brother even suggested that we go over to HIS house to say hi. That struck me as being a terrible idea, and since I had consumed three beers by that point and I'm a lightweight I blurted out "That's a terrible idea and something tells me you're about to understand why rather soon." He just looked at me like I was on crack. By that point, I might as well have been.


Something good also occurred. When I messaged him on the Treo I gave him my # and told him to text me. Which lead to a good conversation wherein I simply said that I had fun last night and didn't think that any of it is a big deal (liar). I also asked him if we could possibly chat soon not on text and he agreed, stating that it would be even better to do so "over beer." So it could be a date. Or it could be that the prospect of talking to me drives him to drink. I can't tell.

So in relating all this to Lorelai this morning over email, she remarked "Well, the universe couldn't let Mercury leave its retrograde without one final bang, now could it?" and I couldn't agree more. Because Mercury in retrograde is always sucky and confusing and my life is chaotic and weird enough.
So that's what's shaking there. I have an undefined romantic affliction on a very confusing individual who would be completely perfect for me if he'd be willing to get over his issues. Again. In other words, same old song and dance over here. Of course, I am also wondering something else. It could just be that he's using his so-called fear as an excuse to not date me because he isn't that into me. Time will tell. For now, I'm just giving him some space and letting him make the next move. He knows where to find me.

Friday, July 06, 2007

More Evidence That I am Getting Old

Exhibit 1: When on perfectly lovely first date with perfectly lovely man (imagine what a human being would look like if Orlando Bloom and Penelope Cruz had a baby and the baby grew up to be a 6'4" tall man with sideburns and messy hair. Can you say swoon?), I found myself completely exhausted at 11:15 after two cocktails.

[Not to belabor the point, but he also walked me home--half a mile! So gallant!]

Exhibit 2: After imbibing previously mentioned two cocktails, I sleep for 5 hours and awake at 5:30 never to fall back asleep. Two cocktails! Measly vodka tonics at that. Spend next hour pacing and internet surfing. Give up on going back to sleep. Take 3 mile walk. This is on top of the 4 mile walk I took on the 4th and the 6+ one I took early in the week, bringing my total for the week-so-far up to 13 miles! Is there such a thing as competitive walking? Because if there is I wanna do it. I don't even care if I look dorky while doing it.

Exhibit 3: I just proclaimed that I don't care if I look like a dork while speed walking. All I need now is a fanny pack and I'll be ready to be put out to pasture.

Exhibit 4: Didn't kiss previously mentioned lovely man goodnight. Contemplated the option, then decided that the evening had been perfect as it was and didn't want to rock the boat by possibly infringing on his personal space or rushing anything. Given the fact that in my younger, wilder years I regularly invited young men up to my room for a little makeout session on the first date, this last development is especially telling. Perhaps I am not growing "older" so much as "wiser." Go figure.

Evidence that progress on the maturity front is a slow and laborious process: Am keeping options open and have my eye on somebody else I'd like to kiss this weekend. Eggs in one dating basket=bad idea. At least for now.


Thursday, July 05, 2007

Day Off

I'm home from work today--It's a personal tradition of mine to take July 5th off if it falls during the week. I'm spending the day trying to get organized, or at least a little more organized than I was yesterday. Due to that, I don't have much time to write. But I did just want to say say once again that my roomate is a complete rockstar and I apologize if I haven't written enough entries specifically delineating all of his wonderful qualities, both as a human and a person to share a 3rd floor with. I intend to remedy that in the future. And I may have a surprise for him when he gets home.

Happy now?

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

6.2 Miles

This is how far away my office is from my house. For ages I've wondered what it would be like to walk home from work but the sheer idea of Silver Spring to Woodley Park sounded incredibly daunting. Until yesterday. Faced with the option of spinning class, it suddenly felt like a waste of a perfect weather day to spend it sweating in a gym. I had all I would really need for a long walk--sneakers and an Ipod. And so I did it. I walked home. 16th Street provided a perfectly pleasant route for my journey. I had measured the route on Gmaps Pedometer before I left and had noted various landmarks that could stand as distance markers. For instance, I knew I couldn't let myself think I was too tired before I even hit Walter Reed, as that was only the 1/4 mark. I also knew that once I hit Columbia Road, I was mostly home.

The path had more hills than I expected, and since I had foolishly walked in Converse on Saturday, my shins were a bit mad at me. The inclines were a little uncomfortable, but overall I managed to keep a pretty good pace. I hit Adams Morgan at the 1 hour and 30 minute mark. I had been determined to make the trip in less than two hours, and although I was obviously in the clear, I picked up my pace and booked it down Lanier Street, over the Calvert Bridge and up Connecticut for the remaining leg of the walk. My end time? 1 hour and 40 minutes. Not bad.

As I've said before, I'm not an athlete. But there's something so wonderful about a nice long walk in good weather. The summer I lived in Boulder I walked five miles, five days a week. Now I'm lucky if I get to the gym once a week. Too bad the oppressive humidity that is DC in July is about to kick our asses. A 6.2 mile walk could otherwise become a pleasurable habit.

In other news, I am finding myself in a very take-charge sort of mood these days. Perhaps it's exactly that sort of motivation that inspires somebody to walk 6.2 miles. My special project at work has been stalling so I've stepped it up a bit this week and I've been taking all sorts of action. Including being a more hands-on manager of my intern, who was starting to get a little whiny and unmotivated. I'm enforcing a little tough love this week and way more things seem to be getting done. Have I mentioned that my intern is the CEO's daughter? Yeah. It's sort of a complicated endeavor. I want her to be happy, but she shouldn't be allowed to do whatever she wants based on birthright. But I can't let her family ties to the company intimidate me any longer.

I have very little management experience. Mostly I've just been managed by some incredibly incompetent individuals with terrible people skills. So I have a lot of knowledge about what I shouldn't do, but very little about what I should. In my book a good manager...

-Treats others with respect
-Clearly communicates expectations but sets only expectations that can reasonably be met
-Motivates through positivity rather than threats and negativity
-Knows when it's time to be firm and tell people to get it done
-Is flexible and open to new ideas
-Isn't afraid to admit fault when necessary
-Is confident in their own ability to lead and take charge

Mostly I am finding that I have little tolerance for other people's shit, to speak perfectly plainly. This isn't to say that I've lost my great sense of empathy. More that I've lost my previous ability to give people multiple second chances and the benefit of the doubt. I find that I tend to let others get away with a lot. I make excuses for their inconsistencies and pretend that it's okay when they let me down. I guess I'm just looking out for myself a little bit more than I have in the past. Like everything else in life, it's a constant balancing act.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Special Episode of Hey Pretty: Charm City

"It's like a special episode of your life," remarked Lorelai as we snaked our way through the crowds at Camden Yards.

A special episode of your life, like in 80's sitcoms when the Keatons went to Europe for a couple of episodes and the opening credits read Family Ties Goes To London or whatever. Only this wasn't London, it was Baltimore. And I was so stuffed full of crabs from dinner that I could barely walk.

Marylanders are so super possessive of their crabs it's as if no other region of the country harvests them. Anyway. Dinner was good. My companions feasted on piles of the things, dumped before them on our table while I opted for a single crab cake with some lackluster sides. A miscommunication with our waiter led me to order my crab cake fried, rather than broiled, although I thought he had said "boiled" when explaining the preparation options.

Later, I remarked to Lorelai that my crab cake tasted funny.
"That's because you ordered it fried, and not broiled," she said.
"Broiled? I thought he said 'boiled'"
"Boiled? Who would boil a crab cake?"
"Exactly, that's why I didn't order it as such."

Dinner was followed by two innings of an Orioles game. For the first time in my life, I participated in the 7th Inning Stretch. I know, weird, right? All this time it seems I've been leaving baseball games super early or they've been rained out. As much as I love *being* at baseball games, I have a hard time paying attention to the action on the field, especially when it's as far away as the cheap seats tend to be. Mostly, I texted my friends photos of Camden yard from my cell. And drank a beer, because unless you don't drink, I believe that one must always drink at least one beer at baseball game. It's part of the ritual.

Although we drove a mere hour from the District, there was something so lovely and liberating about being away from DC for a night. Whatever issues I had here were left behind for several hours, and with the aid of excellent company and excellent diversionary measures, I was able to take on a new attitude towards some things that had been bothering me. I guess that's why people take vacations.

Other highlights of the weekend:

Sleeping through a booty call on Friday night. The hookup had totally been arranged and agreed upon--late Friday night we'd "meet up for a drink." But I got tired of waiting and instead left happy hour to drink with my roommates on our front steps. And then I got tired and decided that if the call I'd been waiting for hadn't come by 12:30, it wasn't going to. And if it was, perhaps I didn't want it so badly. So I went to bed. Checking my missed calls the next morning, I see that the gentleman in question called at 1:30 am.

There are many layers to this story, not all of which I can share. The most amusing layer however, is that I spent half of my night with mutual friends of said individual who are blissfully unaware of our little arrangement. So they were all calling him, asking him to come over to where we were, and all I could really do was smile to myself that I already had the whole thing covered. And I would have were it not for my pesky need for sleep.

Anyway. I was a little annoyed that I missed it until I realized that perhaps it was for his own good. You see, I'm teaching him a little life lesson: you can't always get what you want when you want it. And I won't lie. He'll get it eventually.

Swimsuit shopping. Actually, this was more of a low point. I tried, oh lord did I try. The fun of fluorescent lights, not knowing my size and the lack of selection at Nordstrom's ended the pursuit of a new bathing suit after about 5 minutes. I tried on a bikini for the first time ever. How on earth I am supposed to determine my bikini top size if my bra size is all over the place is a mystery to me. Regardless, it was a completely awful experience. Remember how I've been steadily losing weight for the past 6 months? Nothing detracts from the glow of fitting into pants you haven't worn in two years like trying on swimsuits. I responded by going home and eating brown rice and steamed veggies for dinner.

Another low point was running into a crush at happy hour on Friday out with another woman, who he introduced to me as a "friend." Yes, I had the whole "I'm so much cuter than her" rant to myself in my head. But such rants are ultimately just a means of rationalizing one's jealousy and making yourself feel better. When she was in the rest room at one point he came over to me and started blabbering on about some party he was going to later, but I couldn't tell if it was an invitation or not, as he never came out and said "Hey, want to come with me?" Simply instead, "It'll be lots of fun!" Well for you, it would be. Not so much for me as your third wheel. Besides, I had a booty call to sleep through.

Borat. I finally got around to watching it. While some people have fixated on the whole "make sexy time" quote as their favorite, I am particularly partial to this one: "Let's go back to New York. At least there are no Jews there."