April 26, 2007

Sloth

Posted in nutella, Present, The Where, The Who at 7:56 am by Dagny Taggart

I didn’t really do a whole heck of a lot last night, other than consume entirely too much Nutella.  I mean, I read for a little bit, and watched some awful TV, but I had gotten home a little later than usual and was just too drained to do much of anything.  Actually?  I blame the substance that has turned my beloved white automobile a garish shade of chartreuse. 

Even Claritin-D isn’t helping, people.  And we know how I feel about that.

So it looks like tonight is the night for getting stuff done before the weekend descends upon us once more.  I’ve got self-humiliation to arrange, some peeps potentially coming in from out of town, two movies coming in on the Netflix, and a yen for something outdoors and/or adventurous.  I’m swamped!  I know, I know.

“Get some rest. If you haven’t got your health, then you haven’t got anything.”

Apology:  It has come to my attention that “Barbie Girl” is, in fact, a duet.  Though I am from the (real) tri-state area, I cannot approximate a male denizen of Staten Island* to save my life, and will therefore have to forego any attempts at Aqua karaoke.  Other suggestions, are, however, most welcome.  Not this either, though.

*This said with the utmost respect and appreciation for the unique dialect adopted by such persons.

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April 25, 2007

A.I.

Posted in *cringe*, The Funny at 7:59 am by Dagny Taggart

On one of the glass-topped Target coffee tables in my apartment rests a green faux-leather finish scrapbook, compiled by the Sibling Extraordinaire after I completed my undergraduate adventures.  The last few pages, depicting my matriculation from hell law school, were added later.  Fortunately for me, these pages serve to remind me of something I haven’t seen in several years.

My natural hair color.

It’s a perfectly serviceable shade of medium/dark blond (depending on whom you ask), and it suits my Dutch/Polish heritage well.  It also serves as an excellent excuse for the not-infrequent lapses in common sense I’ve been known to experience.  The following have all been come to light  in the past six months, my current shade of auburn notwithstanding:

Apparently, microwaves and other electronic appliances come with a clear plastic film that covers the keypad, which one is supposed to remove during the unpacking process.  For the past… 3 years?  I’ve been thinking that the keypad on my microwave was peeling off.  Nope.  Just the protective covering.  Underneath the bubbling and peeling layer was a beautifully preserved panel.

If your fancy wine opener doesn’t seem to be getting the job done?  See if maybe the manufacturer switched to a screw-top design.   Better yet, take a look before things get that far, lest you frustratedly hand the entire assembly to your guest, who then starts laughing too hard to unscrew the cap for you.

The strange little buttons on your doorknob assembly are not there to decorate your jamb.  Rather, they serve the handy purpose of allowing you to disable the self-locking feature, which means that you do not, in fact, have to panic about the location of your keys each time you set foot outside your apartment.

The trunk of your car does not have such a feature.

One wonders if my camouflaged tresses are too deceptive?  Perhaps I should wear a sign.

April 18, 2007

Rules of Engagement

Posted in *cringe*, Past, The WTF at 7:21 am by Dagny Taggart

I was engaged when I was in college.  Whirlwind romance, yadda yadda yadda.  Because we (stupidly) got engaged so shortly after we met, our friends were pretty much the same group of people, and a big part of our social life centered around his fraternity.

Our sophomore year, he cheated* on me.  Things went to hell in a handbasket, and I broke up with him.  We agreed to try to be friends, since we couldn’t really split up the group.  Obviously, the girls were more sympathetic to me, the guys to him.  Still, I attended parties, with the understanding that I wouldn’t blatantly flirt/hit on anyone while I was there, out of respect and sensitivity.  I didn’t. 

But someone said I had.  Someone told the ex that I had been flirting with another guy all night, that I had invited someone back to my room.  A few minutes later, the president of the fraternity (whose girlfriend I was friends with) and another brother (whose girlfriend I was living with) asked me to leave the house.  I did. Publicly and humiliated, stunned, a little drunk, not entirely sure what had just happened. 

My girls came with me, including the abovementioned girlfriends.  They walked out, helped me home, got me water, and sat with me, handing me tissues.  It was awful.  I drunk dialed my parents, for crying out loud.

But that was then.  I’m not that girl anymore.  I know who I am, and what I’m doing, and anyone who has questions about either of those can come to me.  Anyone who chooses to listen to rumor instead?  Has only themselves to blame when they wind up doing things of which they shouldn’t be proud.

*His version of events might be slightly different.  And no, we weren’t “on a break”.

April 16, 2007

Open Letter

Posted in The Who, The Why, The WTF at 8:07 am by Dagny Taggart

Dear Sir:

I know a few things about you, but I don’t know who you are, exactly.  And there’s a lot I’ll learn about you if/when we do meet (again?), but I suspect I’m going to enjoy that.

There’s something you should know, though.  Just in case it seems like at some point, just when everything seemed to be going really well, I start to send mixed messages.  Maybe you won’t really be sure if I like you or not, maybe you’ll think I could use therapy, meds, or both.  There’s a reason for this – maybe not a good one, but it’s the reason.

You’re going to scare me.  More than axe murderers, a surprise visit from my mom, or the thought of another 4 years of Republican rule.  And I’ll know what that fear means, but you won’t.  Unless you’re reading this right now.

The thing that you might not understand (many don’t) is that it’s not about you.  Or how you’re treating me, or anything else you’re putting out there.  The fact is, it’s a natural human reaction to be afraid of pain.  People don’t get nearly as critical of those who refuse to go skydiving, as they get of those who are scared to put themselves out there romantically.

And I’ll be putting myself out there.  I’ll be overcoming my fear enough to show up and be the best person I can as consistently as I can, because there’s something between us that seems worth it.  But that doesn’t mean the fear won’t still be there.  And every once in a while, I’m going to need to express my anxiety in a way that will make you think that perhaps I should “up the voltage.”

At some point, you’ll (hopefully) figure out that the reason behind all of this is tripartite:

  1. I’ve reached the PNR, and can’t talk myself out of caring anymore.
  2. This scares me.
  3. I’m putting myself out there anyway, because I think it’s worth it.

So if this happens, and you remember that I wrote this, do me two favors?  (1) Stick around, and (2) pretend like I’m not freaking out.  And then, reasonably soon (I’ll be aware of this and working on it), we’ll get back to the part where I’m the person you were attracted to initially, and you can use my little freakout time period to good-naturedly wheedle batches of freshly baked cookies from me.

Just thought I’d give you a heads up.  Oh – and if you’re that guy at Safeway this weekend, we’re going to have to discuss cutting back on the raw onion purchases. Ew.

See you around,

Dags

April 11, 2007

Sheep’s Clothing

Posted in *cringe*, The Who, The WTF at 9:38 am by Dagny Taggart

From my dating perspective, there are three kinds of guys out there.  There’s the superconfident, self-assured guy, who can come across as cocky or arrogant, but doesn’t think that’s something he needs to change, because he wants the kind of girl who can handle that.  There’s a quieter, more thoughtful (not to be confused with considerate, necessarily) type, whose approach is very different – but who is equally confident in his own way.

And then, there’s the third type – the guy who thinks he’s Thoughtful Guy, wants to be Confident Guy, and is in fact neither.  I call this one, “Nice Guy”.  It’s not a good thing.

When I say that he’s a nice guy in the tone of voice that implies air quotes around the phrase, I mean I think he’s far more interested in being perceived as a great catch, than in actually being one.  This guy usually winds up being “Bitter, party of one?” when things don’t work out, and is generally best avoided.  He’s hard to spot at first, because the litmus test I’ve developed isn’t particularly effective until the second or third date, sometimes even later (hopefully, at this point, you’ve managed to weed out the overt jackassery – unless that’s your thing). 

When you go on your first date with someone, you kind of hope that the conversation progresses beyond the basics – previous residences, education, occupation, family, etc.  For it to do so, you’ve got to be talking for a while.

Second date, you’re getting a little more personal, if things are going well.  You’re finding out more about the person’s likes and dislikes, how they view the world, what role they hope to play in it.  You’re giving them a chance to talk, to put both their best and worst foot forward, so you can get a better sense of whether you’d like to spend more time with them.  If they’re genuinely interested in you, they’re doing the same thing.  It’s a fine balance, but it’s fine to stumble over your words as you find more things you have in common – to say, me too! and mean it.  To relate a funny story that exactly expresses the sentiment just shared by the other person.  All of these are the hallmark of a great connection.

The Nice Guy, however, might be so concerned with telling you how great he is, that he forgets to check in on you every so often.  So concerned is he with showing you that not only is he intelligent and deep-thinking, but works out, makes a lot of money, and saves puppies and kittens in his spare time, that he won’t know that you just had the worst day at work.  Or even worse, should you actually get a word in edgewise, he’ll be annoyed that your bad day is interfering with his ability to show you just how great a guy he really is.

The problem here, is that he’s saying all the “right” things, planning elaborate dates, putting in a lot of effort.  Except, he doesn’t know whether or not these efforts are right for both of you.  And blames you for being an ungrateful wretch when you explain, gently, that as much as you love flowers, sending you a dozen gladiolas, to which you’re violently allergic, might not have had the same impact as he’d hoped.

And when you realize that he genuinely thinks he’s being perfect, and you decide to break the news as gently as possible (by bringing a six-pack over to his place and leaving it there after you’ve had the talk), don’t be surprised to get a drunken voicemail a few weeks later, accusing you of being too stuck up to appreciate a good thing.

Because that’s how “Nice Guy” behaves when he takes off the sheep’s clothing.

April 10, 2007

Haiku

Posted in *cringe*, The WTF at 8:40 am by Dagny Taggart

We all make mistakes
For instance, I mistook
You for a vertebrate.

I own this book.  It sits in a place of pride on my coffee table, next to this one

So remember when I said I was feeling overwhelmed?  That’s not changed, and it’s all because I’ve been a bit of a pushover.  Well, and because I should know by now that even if I get to spend most of a lovely weekend with my Sibling Extraordinaire, those last few minutes with my auditor will go pretty far in restoring my stress levels to an unfortunately elevated condition.  So that plan didn’t work quite as well as I’d hoped.

A certain emporer posted about women who don’t make time for their dating lives.  What about women who don’t make time for themselves?  If women who don’t give themselves time to date end up alone, what happens to anyone who doesn’t give herself time to just… be?

I’m not real eager to find out.

Another sage fellow recently discussed his need to “just be”.  Though my reasons are different, the sentiment is the same.  I need a breather.  To get that breather, I need a spine.  Possibly some barbs.  It might be time to get prickly – I just hope I can be good at it.  I’m not trying to be a bigger bitch than anyone, as it’s not really my style, so I can only hope that the people that matter will be understanding about the whole thing.

April 5, 2007

The Crazy

Posted in *cringe*, The WTF at 8:32 am by Dagny Taggart

 “I got a stage five. Virgin. Clinger.”

So the question of the day is, who is responsible for driving someone insane?*

I’ve been there – as both the insane party, and the one dating the piping hot bowl of crazy.  Neither is particularly fun.

The crazy takes two forms – the “committed relationship” crazy, and the “one-wants-more” crazy.  With “one wants more” crazy, there are ways to avoid insanity.  With “committed relationship” crazy, there’s only one thing you can do – go through the relationship’s pockets and look for loose change.  And that’s an entirely different post.

With OWM crazy, both parties can help the situation, they really can.  The Party Who Wants More can put down the Austen, Bronte, and WHMS.  Then, they can bathe, and even go outside.  Without the binoculars or telephoto lens.  Go for a run because it’s fun, and not because they’re chasing after that person who would be perfect… if they only liked PWWM back.

So, being admired and desired feels really great.  If PWWM is at all attractive and/or talented in the horizontal arts, it’s pretty tempting to play the “I’m really not looking for a relationship right now but if you’re up for it we could, you know, hang out” card.  The Desired Party is only human, and fallible, and could very well take this route.  The DP should also understand that this is what PWWM will consider an Invitation To Cling.  

Frankly, I think DP has just as much responsibility here as PWWM.  The second DP becomes aware that it might not just be a casual fling for PWWM, he/she has an obligation to cease and desist all relationship-like activities, unless he/she is willing to incur the wrath of The Crazy. 

I have no problem with the issuance of Invitations to Cling, I really don’t, because some responsibility lies with PWWM, too.  What annoys is when the DP doesn’t accept the consequences of the invitation. 

If only all of these situations ended like this:  “This girl’s fit for a strait-jacket. I mean she’s fucked three ways to the weekend. But you know what, Father? I dig it!” But the responsibility for remembering that they don’t lies with both parties.

*No actual humans were driven insane for the creation of this post.

April 3, 2007

Miss Manners

Posted in *cringe*, The WTF at 8:28 am by Dagny Taggart

I’m of the belief that everyone has baggage.  If you don’t have baggage, then you probably don’t have that much relationship experience, which can be baggage in and of itself. 

I, for example, really do NOT respond positively to the question “so what are you wearing?” when asked, by someone I’m not in an exclusive relationship with, via instant messenger or telephone.  I have this tic that causes my hand to click the “x” in the corner of the window, so I can find a way to not feel unclean just for reading that sentence.  I think this is more like a tote than actual baggage, because it likely won’t interfere with normal daily relationship operations.  At least, I kind of hope it wouldn’t. 

Sometimes, though, there’s something a little more serious.  Someone whose dating history incorporates colorful characters, for example, might not know exactly how best to approach something potentially healthier, something more along the lines of normal dating.  While not necessarily a dealbreaker for everyone, this could require more careful handling.

Whatever you choose to call it, if you start a relationship with someone, you run the risk of stumbling over the duffel they left in the living room.  You can choose to leave, or you can choose to stay.  But I think the only truly irresponsible choice is to stay, and criticize the person for having some extra Coach pieces lying around.  It’s their living room, after all.  How long you choose to stay is up to you, but it’s just plain rude to tell them to clean the place up on your account.

I think relationships would be a lot easier if everyone came with this disclaimer:  “I’m just a f*cked-up girl who’s lookin’ for my own piece of mind; don’t assign me yours.”  Then we might have an easier time remembering how impolite such unsolicited advice can be.