“Are you mad at me?” is one of the most common questions that couples ask one another. This classic question dates back to Prehistoric times. It was first uttered by a Tyrannosaurus Rex when he was afraid that his Brontosaurus wife was upset with him.
Of course he didn’t ask this question out loud and in English; that would be ridiculous. He wrote it with a rock on the wall of their love cave, which was later found by the Romans and translated by Marie Antoinette before she died of a red velvet cupcake overdose. And that ladies and gentleman, is your history and science lesson for the day.
As you can tell, history and science are not my strong suits. Sure, I took both classes at the prestigious University of Wisconsin…River Falls, but at that time, I had undiagnosed ADD and spent most classes feverishly shaking my leg under my desk, thinking about the scrapbooks I would never finish, doodling in my notebook in a desperate attempt to finally master the art of drawing a successful 3D cube and being distracted by a classmate whom I had a crush on.
I liked staring at his feet. He wore Converse tennis shoes and tied his shoe laces around his ankles. At the time, I thought his shoe lace placement was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.
I imagined that he did this in order to rebel against an oppressive world led by Fred Rogers and his “Neighborhood” – a world of obsessive compulsive patterns that conditioned us to believe that we could only feel whole if upon entering our homes each day, we sang a song begging people to be our neighbors while putting on a cardigan sweater and the same pair of blue tennis shoes that we tied the “right way.”
From the ankles down, he was living off the grid and raging against a machine of societal norms that were forced upon children of the 70′s and 80′s by public television. His rebellious nature and passion for being the change he wanted to see in the world, was intoxicating.
Sadly, ten years later, this passion is gone. From the looks of his Facebook page, he’s given up the fight. He’s married now. Everyone’s married. And in holy matrimony one must tie his or her shoes the “right way.”
I often wonder why we ask a question we already know the answer to. If you have to ask a person if they are mad at you, they most likely are. This question is most commonly asked during a disagreement, after you’ve said something inconsiderate or after you are caught cyberstalking the boy you had a crush on in college.
This question is never asked during a picnic in the park on a sunny spring day while the two of you blissfully ponder the names of your future children. Instead it’s asked while sitting in a 98 Honda Civic in the drive-thru line at Arby’s after he’s given you the silent treatment for the past 5 miles because you woke him up at five in the morning to express how hurt you are that he gave you the “Way to have no self-control, fatty” look after you finished an entire pizookie during dinner.
You then wouldn’t let him go back to sleep until he assured you that the giant cookie skillet you inhaled in less than two minutes was actually quite small and that it was probably only 100 calories since you saved a corner piece for him. Sure, he didn’t eat that piece, you did, but the offer was given.
Then you locked yourself in the bathroom and cried until he demanded you open the door or he was leaving forever. In this case, there is no reason to ask, “Are you mad at me?” It’s safe to assume that he is.
His silence speaks volumes and the fact that six hours later you are now in line at Arby’s is definitely a sign that you are both eating your feelings.
So in the spirit of my once rebellious and progressive college crush, I am going to attempt NOT to ask such an obvious question in my relationship.
Instead I will assume that he is definitely mad when I make him an hour late to every function we attend due to my procrastination and the fact that I still believe that I can “be ready in five minutes.”
In lieu of asking this question, I will apologize, promise to work on my lack of time perception and offer to buy him Arby’s.
It’s a difficult transition in a woman’s life when she graduates to the “Misses” clothing section of department stores.
It’s hard to resist the temptation of the Juniors section, which resembles the best party you’ve never been invited to. The bright lights, the rainbow of colors, the upbeat music and the glitter on the floor can be intoxicating to the eyes.
I once thought I was having a seizure, but then realized I was just in the dressing room of the Juniors section at Macy’s.
When you graduate to the Misses section, you realize that it has a different feel. No longer are you greeted by pictures of fresh-faced young women who appear to be having the best day of their entire lives simply by wearing leggings as pants and a see-thru blouse while jumping into the air.
Instead, the Misses section feels more like you are now a member of the book club, “Lonely Literate Ladies of the Library Who Embrace Lace and the Occasional Lower Leaking.”
You walk through a maze of aisles littered with embroidered holiday sweatshirts, turtlenecks and cap-sleeved shirts in putrid colors like mint, taupe, off-white and mother of pearl. The only music you can hear is the faint sound of Edwain McCain singing, “I’ll be Your Crying Shoulder,” which is playing on repeat as you slowly digest your new reality.
You search and search for something “fun” to wear to your girl’s night out, which now starts at 4 pm on a Saturday and consists of a “party” at a friend’s house who is trying to sell you crappy candles that never burn out, over-priced purses that resemble diaper bags (but you can get your initials embroidered on them for only $30 extra) and over-priced costume jewelry made by some chick named, “Lia Sophia,” who I am convinced was that girl in high school who told me that my Gap sweatshirt was “so two years ago.”
Sadly, it’s inevitable that every lady must eventually embrace the Misses section. There comes a time when we must get over the delusion that we can walk into a Wet Seal or Forever 21 store and NOT get the stink eye from every young sales associate who has figured out that a small waist is more celebrated than intellect in our society.
We should no longer be shocked when we enter these stores and are immediately asked, “Are you looking for something for your daughter?” I, of course, say all of this out of righteous jealousy.
I realize that this can be an overwhelming and confusing process so I’m here to help.
Below, I’ve devised a list of when you know it’s time to venture on over to the Misses section:
1) You are trying on the same outfit as your granddaughter.
2) You have a granddaughter.
3) You’ve used a rotary phone in your lifetime.
4) You have ever uttered the words, “It’s too loud in here.”
5) You eat yogurt for the probiotics, which was recommended to you by your doctor after your recent colonoscopy.
6) You listen to NPR…even on the weekends.
7) You no longer ask for an STD test when at your annual lady appointment.
8) You have conversations with your friends that begin with, “Broccoli makes me gassy.”
9) You remember Reaganomics.
10) Your husband was in WW1.
Good luck! It’s an unjust world out there. However, we can change it. In order to do so, we must band together and redefine beauty in our society. We should demand that women over the age of 30 are treated equally and have the right to be sold attractive clothing.
We should occupy the aisles of every department store until age is deemed more beautiful than youth. We should…well, let’s be honest, we’re all too invested in “The Real Housewives” to find time for any of that. The new season of Orange County just started and Vicki has a new chin!
A video from the author…
I have learned that there is safety in numbers.
And it’s not just safety from abductors and those scary mall kiosk sales people, but most importantly social safety. Social safety is crucial when hanging out with a group of females. You NEVER want to be the one who strays from the group…even for a second.
If you’re out and have to use the restroom, you bring one or all. Increasing the number of people you bring along with you, lowers your chances of them talking behind your back once you’re gone.
And more often than not, that conversation will be negative. One of two scenarios will play out if you should decide to lone ranger it away from the group.
1) (Best case scenario) The group won’t mention you at all. They will merely watch you walk away and then make some silent judgment about you.
2) They will immediately begin negatively talking about you.
I was reminded of this female phenomenon while at the Mall of America last Tuesday night. I was walking parallel, but a little behind four women who appeared to be in their early 20’s. I kept a bit of distance between myself and them in order to secretly observe them.
They were laughing loudly and would occasionally give other females walking past full body scans with their eyes. As they judged those in front of them, I was judging them from the side. I kept following them. I wasn’t particularly proud to be stalking a group of cackling young women who I assumed were on their way to Wet Seal, but I had already committed and there seemed to be no going back.
Stalking them took me back to when I was in my early 20’s. I hated that time in my life because I was what can best be described as – the worst. I was an insecure mess who projected those feelings onto those around me. I was an awkward, emotional, gossipy know-it-all who drank too much. When I think back to those years, the Tegan and Sara song, “You wouldn’t like me” comes to mind.
Had my life been a television show at that time, the opening credits would have been me walking down the street sobbing while the song played:
“There’s a war inside of me
Do I cause new heartbreak to write a new broken song
Do I push it down or let it run me right into the wind
And I- I feel like I wouldn’t like me if I met me
Well I can’t stop talking for fear of listening to unwelcome sound
And you haven’t called me in weeks and honestly it’s bringing me down
Oh I- I feel like I wouldn’t like me if I met me
I- I feel like you wouldn’t like me if you met me.”
When the group stopped and sat at a table in the food court, I sat at the table next to them. I looked down at my phone in attempt to hide the fact that I was eavesdropping. One of the girls strayed from the pack and into the Chipotle. It took only a few seconds for them to begin talking about her.
“Can we just for a second talk about how Emma can’t go to Vegas because she can’t seem to get her sh*t together,” stated the tallest, blondest and tannest of the group.
Based on her stature and initiation of the trash-talking, I quickly came to the conclusion that she was the leader. The other girls nodded their heads in agreement and responded with, “I know. She’s a mess.” The leader continued, “I mean one DUI is normal, but two? That’s just gross.”
Her minions again agreed. I felt like I was watching an episode of MTV’s Daria. It was as if I was watching the real life characters of Quinn, Tiffany and infamous, Sandi bad-mouth Stacey, their “friend” and fellow Fashion Club member.
“And now she’s eating again!?! That’s the last thing she should be doing.”
The girls again agreed with the leader as I texted myself their conversation. I justified my spying by telling myself that I was simply doing research for work. I needed to observe, judge, record and then write in my column about what I had just heard. It was my comedic duty.
As soon as Emma returned to the table, the girls invited her back into the group and continued on as if nothing was ever said.
“Your burrito bowl smells delicious,” the leader said as they watched Emma eat.
I would like to think that as we grow older, women grow out of this behavior, but we don’t. As we age, we just become better at it. It becomes an art form. A ballet of words as we dance across the stage of passive aggressive perfection. As we get older we aren’t as blunt or obvious.
Before we say anything, we begin with a seemingly nice introductory phrase such as, “I’m not judging her, but” and “I’m only saying this out of love” or my favorite, “I’m not trying to be mean, but.” Whenever a sentence begins with any of these phrases, you can be sure that something negative or mean is about to follow.
I was recently in a group of women in their 40’s and 50’s who began talking about a “friend” once she left the room. As soon as the door closed, one of the women said, “I’m not trying to be mean, but her butt looks like it’s eating her pants. She just needs to wear clothes that suit her body.”
Translation: She’s fat. I’m not as fat. And calling her out for looking fat makes me feel better about crushing an entire bag of sour cream and onion chips while watching “The Bachelor” last night.
I wish I could tell you that I stood up and said, “That’s not nice! She’s your friend. You should be ashamed of yourself for saying such an awful thing,” but I didn’t. I just sat there and uncomfortably smiled. These women are older and I haven’t had the best track record with older chicks. And there is only one person to blame for this – Beth and her “pool.”
It was the summer of 1992. I was 12 years old and a member of the Parkway Angels softball team. I was the youngest player on the team. All of the other girls were two to three years older than me. I desperately wanted to fit in with them. The oldest, coolest and tannest of the group, Beth walked over to me after our last game of the season.
Everyone was in a good mood because we had just beat the Panthers. The Panthers were the number one team in our three team league. The Angels and the Panthers had a long-standing rivalry that dated all the way back to 1990. The third team in our league – The Hornets lost every game. If you were picked to be on the Hornets, you cried and then tried to fake mono so that you could sit out until the next draft.
As Beth walked toward me, the rest of the girls followed. She asked me if I wanted to play a “really fun game” with her. She had ignored me all season and now she was talking to me. I couldn’t believe it. So of course I agreed to play the game. She asked me to hold out my hand with my palm facing up.
She then said, “This is your house” as she outlined a box on my palm with her finger. She then asked a series of questions like where I would like my kitchen, living room, bathroom and bedroom. With my free hand, I pointed to where within the box I would like all these rooms to be.
She used her finger to outline small circles for each imaginary room. Finally she asked, “Where would you like your swimming pool?” I paused and then pointed to the back of the imaginary house that she built on my hand. She smiled at me. I still couldn’t believe she was talking to me and now she was smiling. Be still my wannabe popular heart!
I smiled back and that’s when she spit on the spot where my imaginary pool was supposed to go. And it wasn’t just girl spit. It was softball player spit. Thick, nasty and from her nasal cavity. Beth and the other girls laughed and then walked away as I stood there alone with the most popular girl’s spit on my hand. It’s a moment I will never forget and one that shaped the way I interact with “the older girls.”
When the “butt-eating her pants” woman returned, the group welcomed her back as if nothing had happened. Feeling uncomfortable, I sat on my hands for protection. The conversation switched to a “friend” of theirs who was having an affair with a married man. I continued to smile and was the last one to leave the group that night.
“I just finished reading War and Peace.”
There are so many joys when working in an office. Each day I am joined by a cast of cubicle characters who bring their own “charm” to the workplace. From Leslie (The Loud Talker) who develops an inner ear issue every time she puts on her headset and joins a conference call… to Brian (The Bore) who takes every opportunity to stand at my desk and tell me stories. Stories that always begin with, “To make a long story short,” but these stories are never short. Instead he insists that I let him “Start from the beginning.” Explaining to me why the Vikings lost in the Wild-Card round of the NFL playoffs shouldn’t take 45 minutes and include anecdotes from his dysfunctional childhood.
“My dad used to throw rocks at kids walking past our house and when the kids would stop and ask, ‘Who’s throwing rocks at us?’ He’d point at me and then run inside and lock the door. Then he’d crack open a Pabst Blue Ribbon beer and watch from the kitchen window as they beat me up.”
Wow, that’s great Brian, but in lieu of boring me, you should utilize our company’s wonderful mental health benefits and share your “stories” with a trained professional who can diagnose and medicate for a $25 copay.
Often times a trip to the restroom is the only place where I get go and get away. I think of it as a sacred place where I am safe. It’s a wonderful place far away from my desk where no one will scream into a telephone headset or talk to me until I too feel abused. Lately; however, I have noticed that this sacred place is being abused. People have apparently forgotten that there are rules and etiquette when it comes to using a public restroom. And when these rules are broken, it disrupts natural law and causes great harm to all who venture onto its porcelain thrones.
Below is a list of the most common crimes that are committed against the public restroom. Please review this list carefully to make sure that you are not a guilty of such crimes against nature.
- When there are a plethora of empty stalls available, do not use the one right next to me. When in the restroom, space is very important. Maybe you think you are flattering the person next to you by choosing to sit so close when so many other options are available, but you are not. Instead you are equivalent to the random person on the plane who thinks, “I’m sure this stranger sitting next to me would love to hear all about my career as a traveling meat salesman.” No, we would not. Please be kind and rewind it back a few stalls.
- Turn around and see if you’ve left anything behind. It’s a horrible feeling when you gleefully walk into a stall only to find that its previous occupant has left behind traces of their DNA. This isn’t Law & Order. No one wants to have to investigate in order to find out which “lady” has left doo doo residue at the scene of the crime.
- In addition to what I’ve listed in number two. Yes, I said number two. Always flush. This is by far the most important thing to do before exiting the stall. Even if you think the toilet you have just used is one of those magical ones that can indicate when you are finished and flush itself. Even the automatic-flush toilets have a manual option. If you are having trouble finding it, call a friend, family member, the non-emergency police line for your county, the manufacturer of the toilet or your husband’s friend, “Jim the Plumber.” Whatever you do, don’t leave until the toilet is flushed and then flush again to prevent any clues that you were ever there. Heed my warning or you may be the recipient of a punishment that includes another restroom occupant rubbing your nose in the toilet bowl while pointing at you and saying, “No! Bad human! Very bad human.”
- The public restroom is not a place to stand around and commiserate with Pam in Accounting about how Alexis in Tech Support hurt her feelings after she forgot to include her on the “FREE DONUTS in the kitchen” email. We are all in there for personal, private business. Having to hear you talking only ruins what should be a shameful yet Zen experience for everyone involved. If you want to complain, chat, gossip or cry with a fellow co-worker, start smoking cigarettes. Then head outside (at least 100,000 feet from any building, person, grass, car, baby, sidewalk or street) and talk until your lungs fall out.
- Courtesy Flush. No one in the restroom wants to hear you. None of us are fans of a one person marching band. A courtesy flush can also eliminate odor. You can be green-friendly all you want in the privacy of your own home, but when it comes to the public restroom, flush away!
- Absolutely no phone calls in the restroom. What kind of person takes a phone call while on the potty? I’ll tell you who – the same person who takes phone calls and ignores the cashier while checking out at the grocery store or gas station. The same person who thinks it’s perfectly okay to walk around the holy land, Target, while on the phone discussing her husband’s alleged affair. If you do not respect people while they are at their place of worship, you’re probably not respecting the covenant of marriage and now your husband’s infidelities make sense. If you must use the phone in a public place, find a corner, hunch down very low, put your head between your legs and whisper to the person on the other end, “I don’t want to be the worst person in the world so I’ll have call you back.”
- Wash your hands. Just because you have chosen to live a disgusting lifestyle, does not mean the rest of us should suffer. You are the reason people have resorted to putting a handful of paper towels between themselves and the door handle. You are also to blame for the woman who thinks that flushing the toilet with her foot, is perfectly acceptable behavior. It’s just soap and water. It doesn’t hurt. Many of you are married, have birthed children or will be paying back student loans long after Medicare kicks in and all of these things are far more painful than merely washing your hands.
“Over there. Under…wear,” is a saying that my dad often blurts out. Sometimes he does it multiple times in a row; it’s just the OCD in the Lunzer family. However, his little saying has me thinking about the state of women’s underwear. Yesterday I visited Victoria’s Secret and bought two bras and paid over $100. I know this is the norm at VS and despite believing with every fiber of my mammary glands that this is robbery, I still shop there.
I used to buy bras at Target, Kohl’s or Macy’s, but once I tried my first Victoria’s Secret bra I was hooked…pun intended. I think VS adds an addictive chemical to all of their merchandise, but mainly the bras. Never before had I felt so much comfort and just from their advertising alone, wearing a VS bra made me feel like more of a woman. Not fatter, but rather fancier. And they even fitted me for my correct size. The first 52 times they asked me if I’d like to be fitted for a bra, I bluntly said no. It seemed dirty and wrong. I’m a modest Minnesota gal who believes, the thicker the layers of clothing, the closer to God. However, I am not close-minded so 10 years later, I finally allowed myself to be fitted. I stood there awkwardly as this pretty, blonde, twenty-something named Casey pulled out her measuring tape. We were alone in a dressing room. My palms began to sweat and I wondered, “Am I gay?” I took off my scarf and started to unbutton my blouse when she said, “Oh you don’t need to do that. I can measure with your shirt on.” Denied. I then decided I’d be straight again. She measured me in three different directions. It was over in only a few seconds. “You have a small waist,” she said when she finished. That made me gay again.
When she told me my size, I was shocked. I won’t share it here for fear of losing my nice girl image, but let’s just say it’s how old I’m turning next year and has not one, but two D’s. It’s sad that for the entirety of my adulthood thus far, I had been wearing bras that were too small for me and then wondering why they hurt so badly. I just never thought I was past a C because I’ve always thought of myself as average. I just assumed that if I were a double D, I would have been more successful in life. I would be driving a convertible, have a sweet tan and an older man who was willing to pay for a lavish lifestyle full of trips to Miami and plates full of Paella. But I drive a Honda, am borderline Albino, and only date younger men who pay for a nice lifestyle of trips to the Ruby Tuesday salad bar. I get Ruby’s for my boobies and I had always been fine with that. However, now how was I supposed to go back to all-you-can-eat ham salad when Paella and Miami was an option? And just as I stood up straighter and thought of the new possibilities for my life, I heard another VS attendant tell a younger, tan and much skinnier woman standing a few feet from me that she had the same bra size. And right then I was jilted back to reality. I remembered that all the trophy wives and spoiled mistresses I had ever seen looked like this woman. I continued to stand up straighter as I thought, “I’ll just have to keep working with this sense of humor thing. And who am I kidding? I love ham salad!” I then looked at my pretty breast-mate and whispered, “Don’t forget you’re SPF when you’re in Miami.” She gave me a strange look. She didn’t get it. They never do.
I followed Casey to the section with the actual Victoria Secret brand bras. Not the Pink brand. The Pink brand is marketed to high school and college girls and is a lot cheaper, but when I tried to enter that section of the store, there seemed to be some kind of “No Women Over 30 Allowed” force field that I couldn’t break through. It was so strong that I just decided to forge ahead and into the adult bra section. The section that greets you by saying, “You’re going to need your credit card for this.”
Casey asked me if I wanted a push up, padded, full coverage or demi-type bra. I had no idea. I knew that I didn’t want padded because I’m the type of gal who likes to draw as little attention to my chest as possible. Before taking a plunge into the Victoria’s Secret life-style, I was a fan of the sports bra…when I wasn’t playing sports. My friends would make fun of me. “Oh we’re going to the club? Just let me go put on my fancy sports bra and then layer it with one tank top, two sweaters and a scarf. Sexy!” In college my best friend hid all my sports bras from me. This was my bra-intervention. I felt like a piece of me had died that day. I was being forced to say good-bye to a great, supportive friend who helped to create a really classy uniboob and was extremely helpful when I ran that one time. I decided on the demi-style bra because lately I’ve been very pro-Demi Moore. I think she’s getting a bad rap and I’m really pulling for her to get that Red Bull addiction in check and seek her revenge on Ashton Kutcher by blowing up the set of Two and a Half Men. Of course John Cryer will survive because he will always be “Duckie” to me (Pretty in Pink movie reference).
After deciding on a few demi-style bras, Casey showed me some “cute new underwear we just got in.” They are called, “Cheekies.” I was well aware of Cheekies. These have not only hit the underwear scene, but the swimsuit scene as well. As if wearing a swimsuit wasn’t bad enough, they now offered bottoms that bunched in the middle and left your butt cheeks hanging out, which creates what I like to call a quasi-wedgie. And for me, if you’re going to creep up the trail, don’t be coy, just do it. I kindly declined to step into the world of the Cheekie. I had just about enough with my new bra size. So I paid for my bras and thanked Casey for her help and she replied, “Of course. But we also have full-size briefs if you’d be more comfortable in those.” I smiled, walked out the door and was straight again.
I have been told that I’ve ruined every family vacation during my adolescent years. My dad and mom worked hard each year, saving their money so that they could take my brother and me on an adventure during the summers. My dad was a saver extraordinaire. He once saved up enough change to buy a Lund Pro-V boat, which at the time was the BMW of fishing boats. Every night for four years, my dad would empty the loose change from the pockets of his work pants and place it into an empty 5 gallon Culligan water jug. Four years later, he pulled up to our house with a boat on a trailer behind our family mini-van. After my dad purchased his boat, he was considered a “baller” in our Eastside of St. Paul, Minnesota neighborhood. I felt like a character on Beverly Hills 90210 as our family sped around Lake Phalen going 30 miles an hour. All eyes were on us as we cruised along. I gazed upon what I assumed to be a sea of jealous faces as I thought, “This is what Donna Martin must feel like.” As an adult I found out that people were looking at us because gas powered motors were not allowed on Lake Phalen, but at the time I basked in my assumption that everyone looking at us, wanted to be us.
In my teen years, I was what most would consider, unpleasant. I was narcissistic, selfish and moody. My moods were the worst. I could be laughing hysterically to the comedic styling of Beavis and Butthead one minute and then the next I was screaming and crying on the floor because one of the straps on my favorite Doc Marten sandals had broken. And these mood swings didn’t cease as my age increased. Finally, in my late twenties my behavior was given a name, Bipolar II.
At the time when I was ruining our family vacations it was no laughing matter, but as the years have passed it has become a family joke. “Remember when you ruined our trip to Glacier National Park,” my dad often reminds everyone during any and every family dinner. “That was money down the drain.” I do remember how I ruined that vacation. It was 1994, I was 14 years old and the last thing I wanted to do was spend fourteen days in an RV with my mom, dad and little brother. It wasn’t long into our ride before I was grumbling about my dad’s incessant playing of his Johnny Horton CD. “If I have to listen to ‘North to Alaska’ one more time, I’m going to die. I’m going to open the door of this RV and fall out and onto the freeway,” I screamed to my parents from the back of the RV. During my teenage years, this was an ongoing fantasy of mine. Every time I felt anxiety, depression or the slightest discomfort, I would imagine how peaceful it would be to just open the door of the vehicle I was driving in and simply fall out. Looking back I realize that there would be nothing peaceful about falling out onto the unforgiving ground of the freeway at a speed of 70 miles per hour, but at that time, it seemed like my only option.
During our drive from Minnesota to Montana, I begged my dad to play my “Live Through This” Hole CD, but he resisted. According to him, our music options were Johnny Horton, Roger Miller, John Prine or silence. And the silence option was not even silence. Instead it was listening as my mom hummed the chorus to Diana Ross and The Supremes’ “Love Child” over and over again while reaching over from the passenger seat and running her fingers through my dad’s non-existent hair. In the 70’s my dad had long wavy locks, but by the 90’s my dad had nothing but peach fuzz. My mom was clearly living in the past and nothing annoyed me more than when she pretended his 70’s hair had made it into the 90’s.
Before we left for our vacation I begged to stay home. At the time I could not imagine leaving my friends for two whole weeks. Plus I had already made plans that my parents didn’t even take into consideration. I was planning on spending every summer day at Prosperity Recreation Center where my friends and I would sit on the gymnasium floor and watch the boys we liked play basketball and then run away screaming when they tried to shoot snot rockets at us. I had been looking forward to this all school year and my parents were ruining it. How dare they take me to one of the most beautiful places on earth where I whitewater rafted, hiked glacial mountains, stayed at campgrounds with water slides, had nightly bonfires and ate endless s ’mores!?! I still blame my parents for why my summer crush, Dan, never asked me out when I got back. If it weren’t for our family vacation, I could have gotten to him before Tanya did. Then maybe I could have been the girl who ran into his arms (full of homemade tattoos) and kissed his mouth (missing many teeth) when he was released from prison in 2000 for carjacking he committed in 1996. Ugh, parents.
I continued to complain during our entire vacation. I thought the mountains were annoying; the glaciers were “just regular old snow;” the mountain air smelled like the pig barn at the Minnesota State Fair and around every corner I swore that I saw a grizzly bear just waiting to maul us all to death. Of course none of these things were true yet I spent each day with a permanent scowl on my face. And at night before we all fell asleep inside the RV, I would cry just loud enough so my parents could hear that they were ruining my life. That was the last time we took a family vacation. Sure, we went to a cabin or camped here and there throughout the years, but that was our last true family vacation.
When my parents told me we wouldn’t be taking another trip the following summer, I was ecstatic. Ironically, I’m now the only one who misses going on family vacations. “We should take another vacation. Just the four of us,” I’ve suggested every summer since I turned 25 years old. Each time I make the suggestion, I hope that my dad will say yes and then reveal a 5 gallon Culligan water jug full of coins that he’s been saving to fund our trip. Sadly, this has yet to happen. The past is impossible for them to forget as my suggestion is always met with, “Maybe next year.” I think my only chance of getting the four of us to go on another family vacation is if I pay for the entire trip and then let my parents sit in the backseat of the RV and ruin it for me. It’s only fair.
New Year’s Eve is just around the corner and if you haven’t already lost all of your friends and family due to passive-aggressive, political Facebook statuses or Twitter wars, you’ll likely be invited to a party.
New Year’s Eve parties are always the biggest parties of the year. They signify a magical time full of the belief that when the clock strikes midnight, we get to start fresh. We believe January 1st of any new year to be a giant eraser, which rids us of all that we’ve done for the last 365 days. Gone are all of the chemicals we’ve put into our bodies, all the lies we’ve told, all the pounds we have gained, all the child support we owe and all of the pets we’ve returned to the Humane Society for no good reason other than we like new stuff.
On New Year’s Eve, we fantasize about a new beginning despite the fact that we often spend this magical night with our old smelly significant others. As we count down the minutes to welcome what we hope will be an improved life, optimism rushes through our heads. We think, “Maybe this will be the year I finally realize that it’s not worth staying in a relationship just because I’m too lazy to find a new place to live and I’m afraid I’ll lose my favorite chaise lounge in the breakup. My body perfectly contours to that chair and that is often a once in a lifetime thing.”
For those of us who find ourselves single on New Year’s Eve, we imagine that the New Year will bring us new love. A love that won’t get drunk and erase all of the shows we’ve been excited to sit down and watch for weeks on our DVR. Instead, we’ll find a supportive partner who will remind us to take our birth control and feed the fish. **I know we all get busy, but the average Fantail Goldfish can only survive up to 8 days without food so it’s important that you designate one night a week to logout of Facebook for 5 minutes so that you can feed your pet.**
Therefore, on this special night, I hope that everyone reading this has party plans. Even if the party you are invited to will be full of people you do not like and you would much rather sit at home alone with one hand in a bag of salt and vinegar chips and the other in your pants while re-watching Season 2 of Dr. Who on Netflix because you still don’t get what all the hype is about. However, you’re not willing to give up on the show just yet because you want to be as cool as those people who “get it” think they are. None of this matters on New Year’s Eve though. All that matters is that you have a place to go where you can take pictures of yourself surrounded by other humans and then immediately post those pictures onto Instagram so that you do not look like a complete social media failure.
So in the spirit of starting over, I would like to share some tips on how to behave at a New Year’s Eve party. You may think you already know how to behave, but you also thought you could get an ACT score that would get you accepted into Notre Dame and look who ended up going the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. So I guess you really don’t know it all. Enjoy!
1. DON’T, I repeat DON’T show up to the party naked from the waist down. This will prove to your fellow party-goer that you are not only gross, but presumptuous. There’s no way to know whether you will find someone at the party who will appreciate your baby-making parts. Pre-party is just too soon to tell. Therefore, keep your bottom half covered until someone at the party at least makes eye contact with you.
2. Always bring a gift or something to share to the party. For example, your brother’s wife. Let’s face it; he hates her and so do you. Once at the party encourage her to take those shots of Everclear and eat those vodka-infused gummy bears and then stand back and film her making some very bad decisions, which will be the proof that’ll end her reign of terror on your family.
3. Hook up and flirt with EVERYBODY! Even the catering staff. You never know who has a great connection on LinkedIn, which can really jump start your career in the upcoming year. If you show the world love, it will love you back.
4. Make sure you share with everybody at the party your religious beliefs. And be very belligerent about it. Get up in people’s faces and say, “Shame on YOU!” Or “If you were a real (insert the name of the religion), you wouldn’t eat so much bread!” Also, blame them for causing horrible events such as the New Kids On The Block/Backstreet Boys Reunion Tour of 2011.
5. Eat off everyone’s plates…while they are eating off of it. This indicates your dominance over the party and shows everyone that you are top dawn. Then with your mouth full of other people’s food yell out, “On my momma nobody better step to this ‘cuz I’ll eat up all the figgy pudding in this house.”
6. Dance like everybody’s watching. Show that party what it looks like to be a winner on the Wii. You just spent every single day during the last year playing Just Dance 2 so that you could finally achieve the highest score ever recorded (16,369) for Technotronic’s “Pump Up the Jam” and everybody needs to know this.
7. Bring your kids to the party and leave them there. If you love them, let them go. If they come back to you then it was meant to be.
Happy New Year!
Growing up in Minnesota, the holidays were a magical time filled with white flaky snow, ice skating, crackling fireplaces, black ice on the roads and black-outs in our homes. Nothing says Peace on Earth like watching my 115 pound Aunt down 8 shots of Jagermeister and 4 Schmidt beers before vomiting on the front staircase of my parent’s St. Paul duplex. These were such special times, so special that they were the only time of year that my parents allowed criminals and crazy people into our home because…They were family.
A few of my favorite holiday memories:
**Names have been changed to protect the guilty**
Mom: “I’m not going to ask you guys again. Now get in there and clean that pigsty you call a bedroom before our company gets here.”
Dad: “Hurry up and hide anything you don’t want stolen. Uncle Brian’s on his way over.”
My brother and I reluctantly cleaned our room. I thought I had hid everything that was important to me, but I was wrong. That Christmas Eve, my Uncle Brian stole my brand new Barbie Ferrari. I was 9 years old and after much begging, my parents had allowed both of us to open one gift before the guests arrived. I was ecstatic that it was the bright red Barbie Ferrari I had been asking for all year, but less than two hours after tearing off the snowman wrapping paper, it was gone.
In the spirit of the holiday, I forgave my uncle’s kleptomania. Months later there were rumors that he had sold it for enough money to score some really good crank (a methamphetamine that my D.A.R.E. Officer had referred to as, “The working man’s drug”). After hearing this, I was hopeful that his “score” might have helped propel him back into the workforce after a fifteen year hiatus. “Maybe this will be the year Uncle Brian pays his child support,” I thought to myself as I gazed upon my mother’s Nativity set. It didn’t, but in that moment, I realized how thankful I was that he had not stolen the Pink (Barbie) 57 Chevy Convertible, which was still hidden in my parent’s closet waiting to be wrapped and delivered to me by “Santa” in the morning. Peace be with you, Brian.
One magical Christmas Eve back in 1988, My Uncle Dave brought with him his new girlfriend. Each Christmas Dave had a new girlfriend. And each “lady” was trashier than the previous. However, this particular Christmas, his girlfriend was different. She was kind, attractive and employed. Unlike the usual suspects, she didn’t once fall out of her chair in a drunken stupor or yell out the words, “You don’t know me!” and then throw the holiday cheese wheel across the room. Instead, she was a real class act. Later that night, I asked her to read me a bedtime story. She accepted with a smile and kneeled down next to my canopy bed. I laid back, closed my eyes and listened as she read, “Where the Wild Things Are.” I quickly began to drift off and into dreamland. And just before I fell into a deep sleep, I thought, “Wow, I can’t believe one of my uncle’s girlfriends can read.” Unfortunately, that was the last time we ever saw her.
I’ve been guilty of doubting my past and current boyfriend’s interest/love for me when I see him glance the way of a woman who I deem to be a more attractive than me. My mind will swell with scenarios like:
I bet he wishes I looked more like her.
I knew I shouldn’t have cut my hair so short. He probably thinks he’s dating a guy now.
He would probably propose to me if I were Puerto Rican.
Ugh, look at that super skinny girl. I bet her legs have never rubbed against each other while walking around PetSmart trying to find her cat some soft food with 40 percent protein because she cares more about her cat’s diet than her own.
Last week, I even caught myself getting upset after seeing that my boyfriend liked a photo of a hotter woman on Instagram. I immediately wished for her to catch some incurable disease that would give her the speaking voice of Miley Cyrus and the face of a pug. After fifteen minutes of studying her flawless skin (thanks to the Valencia filter) and the flattering “above the head” camera angle she used, which showcased what we were supposed to believe was “accidental” cleavage, I realized that I was acting like a 13-year-old girl. I turned off my phone and immediately uninstalled Instagram. That is until I reinstalled it 7 minutes later. I think the active ingredient in Instagram is nicotine.
These kind of physical insecurities are annoying and irrational yet common for many women I’ve spoken with. And after much research (3 minutes of Google searches), I think I know who’s to blame – The Pussycat Dolls. Sure, they are no longer a band due to their realization that they do in fact hate cats and that their lead singer suffered from a doll phobia, but their anti-feminist sentiment lives on in their most popular song, “Don’t You Wish Your Girlfriend Was Hot Like Me.” When I first heard this song all I could think was, “Don’t you wish creating crappy music caused rapid weight gain? Don’t cha?”
Guys are always going to check out other women. They are extremely visual beings. Unfortunately, we have yet to invent a magical device that allows women to control their significant other’s eye sight. I’m thinking something along the lines of invisible fencing for your man-friend’s eyes. Every time he veers off the sight line of his lady-friend and onto that of a more attractive female, he is zapped right back into focal monogamy. However, if we deem the woman he is checking out to be less attractive than us, we reward him by remaining tear-free for one whole day. We then smile at him in an alluring way and bask in the glory of superficial superiority over our fellow female. And that my friends, is true feminism.
In my rational mind, I realize that my boyfriend is never going to leave me for that extremely hot girl he was checking out at Yogurtini on Sept 23rd at 7:18 pm – because he can’t. She’s too attractive. Nothing against him, he’s adorable, but in life we tend to date our aesthetic equals. Both of us may never be bikini-ready, but we look fantastic in hoodies. Sure there are those situations where the model-looking gal is dating/married to a far less attractive man, but those relationships are usually based on money, more money, pill addictions, absentee fathers and/or body dysmorphic disorder.
Since I have been thinking about my own insecurities and the way they affect the stability of my mind and relationship, I have come up with some great ways to increase your self-esteem and thus build up immunity to the hot women with dent-free legs and toned triceps who plague this world.
1. Look in the mirror at least once a day and pick one thing you like about yourself. Yesterday, I stood looking at myself in the mirror with a towel over my head for an hour and finally realized that I really liked that I decided to pay the extra $3.00 for the softer towel at Target. It really felt good against my adult acne-prone skin.
2. When a more attractive woman crosses your path, just think to yourself, “Oh that poor woman. It must be awful constantly using your and you’re incorrectly on Facebook.” “OMG Sandy! Your so funny!” – I imagine she left this comment when her “funny” friend shared a meme that George Takei posted. “Oh so you created this Willy Wonka meme. You must be a really creative person.”
3. Cut the tags out of your clothes. That way, with enough denial, you can convince yourself that every top/blouse/ or muumuu you own is a size extra small from the petite section of Baby Gap.
5. Buy yourself a no-slam toilet seat. Nothing distracts negative thoughts like watching your toilet seat cover take fifteen minutes to close.
6. Lie to yourself regularly. Here are some lies that I tell myself in order to feel better (temporarily):
- I would so much rather be pretty on the inside than on the outside.
- I don’t want guys looking at me because they think I’m attractive. I want them to respect me for my excellent parallel parking skills
- I don’t need to get Invisalign. I just need more lipstick. The brighter the lips, the straighter the teeth.
- Single digit sizes are so overrated. I would much rather spend my time pinning DIY photo pendants on Pinterest. I then sit at home and take Google images of cute children and add them to each pendant and sleep with them under my pillow thereby increasing the likelihood that my future baby will be gorgeous.
And if none of my above tips/tricks work for you or decrease your insecurities and your man-friend/husband still has a wandering eye, stop brushing your teeth and invite your mom to move in with you guys. Revenge is a dish best served smelly and annoying.