Saturday, February 9, 2013

New Lows

The question of where I went wrong in life has haunted me for a long time. I'm pretty sure I ended up where I am because of a million small choices, rather than one colossal error in judgment, but this insight has so far failed to help me right the ship. Indeed, I am reaching new lows. For example, the other day my friend, Dee, and I drank Sutter Home Pinot Grigio from single serve bottles with straws in the parking structure at work. Let's break down all the ways this is wrong. And by wrong, I don't mean drinking on the job. That's the only thing right about this situation. 1) Pinot Grigio is just about the last wine I ever want to drink. Of course since I now regularly consume PBR, it is obvious that I'm willing to drink anything as long as it contains alcohol. 2) Sutter Home is not exactly quality wine. Then again, if I wanted quality, I wouldn't be drinking Pinot Grigio. 3) We were drinking with straws. This, my friends, is a true sign of class and sophistication as is 4) We were in a parking structure. Sure we used lunch at Craft and dine at Mozza, drink Burgundy and Brunello, but look at us now--drinking plonk through a straw in a parking structure. Oh how the mighty have fallen. Today, Sutter Home. Tomorrow, Mad Dog 20/20. Pass me that bottle. And a's to new lows!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Apart From the Killing, of Course

So I realize my sanity has been in question for some time, but I'm wondering: how bad is it that I seem to have developed a thing for a serial killer? Could this be a sign I've finally gone around the bend? Now, to be fair, the serial killer in question is a fictional character--Joe Carroll from Fox's new show The Following. The first time I told someone I had a thing for Joe, she asked if I meant the actor, James Purefoy, who plays Joe. I had to admit I meant the character. Don't get me wrong--Mr. Purefoy is lovely to look at, even more lovely to listen to and plays the character quite exquisitely, but Joe does it for me. He's a professor of literature--which is like crack to me. In flashback scenes where we see him teaching he is, without question, the man I would conjure if I were asked to describe my idea of the perfect man. Apart from the killing, of course. The accent is certainly part of it (Purefoy is British), but also the intensity, the passion, the way he commands a room...he is charismatic and brilliant. And there is nothing more sexy on a man than brilliance. A few Google searches have assured me that I'm not alone in my love of Joe Carroll. Which makes me feel a little less insane. Of course we are meant to love Joe...if we didn't, how could we believe his followers would do what they're doing for him? He has to be charming, sexy and charismatic or the story doesn't have legs. Still, it raises questions. What if you found the perfect person and then found out something about them was morally abhorrent to you? Not necessarily killing, just something you feel is wrong? Does that change the way you feel about them? Can you still love them in spite of it? Something to ponder. Meanwhile, I'll be trolling the internet for Joe Carroll fanfic and waiting for the next episode of The Following. Joe Carroll is perfect. Apart from the killing, of course.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

10 More Signs Your Life is Seriously Fucked Up

It's hard to imagine, but my life may actually be worse than when I wrote the original post: At any rate, here are Ten MORE signs your life is seriously fucked up.

1) You have started fantasizing seriously about a life of crime. Not just the "hey, we should run drugs" kind of thing you might say to be funny, but more along the lines of if I registered a business with the secretary of state under someone else's name and created invoices... This is REALLY REALLY illegal! Why would this even occur to me? What the hell?

2) You spend nearly $600 and several hours filling out the initial paperwork to register for eHarmony and only one guy from your hundreds of matches (many of whom you actually sent a smile to first--see earlier post: emails you. Even though he's not really your type, you decide to reply. And get no response.

3) You volunteer to put together a fundraiser for a local charity only to realize you have neither enough money nor enough friends to make it happen.

4) You fantasize about having yourself committed to a mental hospital on a daily basis.

5) The last time you had sex was in a different decade.

6) You are nearing the age of retirement, but still haven't figured out what you want to be when you grow up.

7) Your car has tape holding it together in at least one spot.

8) You have a student loan the size of a mortgage, but will never afford a house.

9) You and your friends spend a frightening amount of time devising elaborate suicide plans, but none of you find this alarming.

10) You've started drinking PBR so you can afford to drink more even though you're a beer snob AND you've opened $100 bottles of wine at home alone because you've run out of the cheap stuff, and were either too fucked up to drive to get more or just didn't care anymore.

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Accidental Handbag

Have you ever accidentally purchased something? A new Coach bag for example? It happened to me very recently. I had a perfectly good reason for being in Bloomingdale's. I was looking desperately for a menorah for my holiday party. I had tons of last minute details to take care of and quickly checked their holiday decor section. No luck. I was heading rather quickly for the exit when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a sale table in handbags. Can't hurt to have a quick look. And there it was, a shiny, black patent leather Coach bag. Reduced 30%. 30%! Talk about irresistible impulses. There was a split second of "oh Helen, you don't really need this and shouldn't be spending money" which was replaced in an instant by "ah, but it's Christmas and Scrooge may give me a bonus this year..." It all happened so fast. Before I knew it, I'd swiped my card, signed the screen and was out the door carrying a Medium Brown Bag with my new treasure nestled inside. I didn't mean to buy it. Indeed, my intentions upon entering Bloomie's were quite pure. And so I maintain that I purchased the bag by accident. A very happy accident as it turns out.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Leaving Home

At age 18 you leave home for the first time, bound for university, full of youthful optimism about the future and ready to conquer the world. Leaving is bittersweet. Of course you’ll miss your family, but adventure awaits! You are excited to spread your wings, to experience life on your own. You don’t realize at the time that you are leaving for good-- that this house will never really be your home again. Sure, you’ll be home for breaks here and there. The house will be the same except for some new furniture or maybe new curtains. Mom and Dad will be in their usual chairs. It will feel and smell like home every time you return and a part of you will always feel as though you never left.

Four years fly by and suddenly you are searching for your first real job. Renting your first real apartment. Life is happening. You get married . Or you don’t. Have children. Or not. You go to grad school, change careers, travel the world. You live your life thousands of miles from the place you grew up. And time passes so quickly.

Inevitably, you find yourself back in your childhood home. The same one you left decades (my God, how can it be that long?) ago. You’re older now. Youthful optimism has been replaced by healthy cynicism or (worse) resignation. You sort through the remnants of your childhood. Long forgotten toys, homework assignments, beloved books, music in formats ranging from LP to 8-track to cassette. Along with the archeological evidence of your childhood, you find memories in every item pulled from the cupboard—the bowl mom used to mix cookie dough, dad’s handkerchiefs. (He always managed to have a clean one when you were little to wipe your nose or clean your hands.) Every mundane item, from soup ladel to flashlight, is inspected and either claimed as useful or sentimental or relegated to the Goodwill box. The house now stands empty. Lonely. Memories of all those dinners, birthdays, Christmas Eves dance like ghosts in your mind’s eye. There was always so much laughter. But now there’s only stillness. Mom and Dad are both gone. And the house, once so full of life, is silent as you leave home for the last time.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Beer Goggles are a (Fat) Girl's Best Friend

I had some mixed reactions from people to my last post. Some found my post brilliantly funny (hell yes it was) others seemed to take exception to me saying out loud that I’m fat. Which just seems weird since I am, in fact, fat. I haven’t always been comfortable talking about my weight. For a long time I was so ashamed of it, I wouldn’t have dreamed of calling attention to it. Instead I wore a lot of black and hoped no one would notice my girth. Maybe I would blend in with the walls. Who was I kidding? At my size, the only way this was going to work is if someone thought I actually was a wall. Anyway, recently I’ve started talking about my weight—mostly joking, but also matter-of-factly. After all, it seemed just silly to never mention the elephant in the room (so to speak). I’ve started slipping in a fat joke here, a self-reference there. I’ve noticed that it makes some thin people uncomfortable when I talk about being fat. I guess it is somewhat understandable. If I say to a friend, “Oh, I’m such an idiot,” the friend will say something like “you are not an idiot.” When I say, my God I am fat, they falter. They can’t honestly “you are not fat.” That would make them a liar, an idiot or blind. On the other hand, should my friend agree with me by saying you really are a fucking fat ass, well, that seems mean. So instead they normally say something like” Helen!” in a chastising tone or they make funny, guttural noise and change the subject.

So, anyway, I am fat. And I’m officially on eHarmony! Where I currently have 480 matches! Many of them are fairly unattractive. Some are hideous. Some of them are fat themselves and yet, oddly enough, none of them have tried to date me. One of my thin, attractive friends suggested that maybe they are shy and I should make the first move. So I tried an experiment. I went through and “sent a smile” to each and every one of my matches (except for one guy who was so sad looking that I feared that it was just too mean to do so, though it is most likely he would have rejected me as well). I did this for about the first two hundred and fifty matches before finally losing interest. I got exactly two responses. Both asked me a couple of questions and then disappeared into the ether. I didn’t get enough interaction with either to tell if I would actually like them so it’s not as though I’m heartbroken. Still, I can’t help feeling a little bit put out that nearly 500 hundred men, many of whom are really unattractive and/or much too old for me, are not interested in me…even after I made the first move with half of them. I realize men only date thin women. I mean, I know this intellectually, but I sort of thought maybe my winning personality (hey, what's so funny?) would win at least one or two of them over, but alas, no. As I have pointed out time and time again, online dating is not a good option for fat girls. The problem, of course, is that there’s not enough alcohol involved. Before online dating, you had to meet people the old fashioned bars where, at the end of the night, when the boys are all liquored up and facing the prospect of going home alone, even the fat girls have a chance at getting lucky. Those were the days! Anyway, I figured I'd given it my best shot with online dating. I'd proven my point and was ready to put an end to this experiment. Plus, my subscription was about to expire. So of course I got an email yesterday telling me eHarmony had auto-renewed my subscription for another three months! I’ve basically paid an additional $130 to be rejected by 500 more men. Good times.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I Reject You

So recently a number of my friends have been saying things like “are you dating anyone?” Or “What about you, Helen, are you seeing anyone?” To which I reply, “are you joking?” Then they blink at me, wide-eyed and cartoon-like “what? Why not?” “Because I’m fat,” I say. “Oh, that doesn’t matter,” they say. Mind you the people who are telling me this are thin and attractive. Their next line is always “have you tried online dating?” Now it’s me who looks at them wide-eyed and blinking? “Are you mad?” I say. “What?” they say, “Everyone does it now.” “I’m FAT, ” I say. “That doesn’t matter,” they say. Again, thin, beautiful people telling me it doesn’t matter. Last week three different people told me I should try online dating.

Maybe they were on to something. Why not give it a shot? Sure, my friend, M, cautioned me by showing me the photo she had saved to her phone of the man a dating site had said was her perfect match. He was so incredibly unattractive that someone actually thought the picture must have been PhotoShopped to look so bad. Still, there is the off chance David Tennant has dumped his baby mama and is currently trolling eHarmony for a fat girl from the States (can you say green card?) in which case I'm in! And if no one responds to my profile, well then I can answer honestly when people ask me if I’ve tried online dating and say “yes, I have. No one picked me.” Because that, of course, is what happens when you’re fat. No one picks you. My thin, attractive friends tell me I have a pretty face. “Doesn’t matter,” I say. A man will pick a thin girl who looks like she’s been repeatedly hit in the face with a shovel over a fat girl with a pretty face every time. Trust me. I know this to be a fact. My friend J actually said to me once: “I met a girl. She’s butt ugly. She looks like she’s been repeatedly hit in the face with a shovel, but she has a good body so I’ll probably call her.”

So, in spite of M's caution, I spent the better part of my day filling out the preposterous million question profile on eHarmony. Am I vivacious? I asked my friends. Should I call myself “somewhat” attractive? What are four words you would pick to describe me? What are five things I cannot live without? (Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, small batch Bourbon, Champagne and coffee--hey at least one wasn't alcohol,right?) Speaking of booze, the questionnaire wanted to know how often I drink. Does several times per week make me seem like a raging alcoholic? I wonder if there are people out there looking for a fat drunk woman who watches Doctor Who? OMG. After writing that sentence I realize I wouldn’t date me either. Anyway, I completed my profile, uploaded a picture of me holding a glass of wine (because honestly, that’s what I look like most of the time) and waited. Not for long as it turned out. Apparently, I had thirteen new matches right away!

Wow! This was exciting! Until I looked at them. These guys made M’s perfect match look like a Calvin Klein model. Seriously. I’m not joking. Not only were these guys all way older than I am (that’s what I get for saying I like wine and travel, I guess), but they were all extraordinarily unattractive. Now before you tell me how shallow I am let me say this. I am female. Therefore, I am often attracted to men who do not fit in the standard “good looking” category. If a guy is smart and funny and even reasonably okay looking, I’m capable of developing a crush on him. If he’s a bit nerdy, it’s entirely likely I will. I am not overly concerned with looks. Once again, I am fat so being overly concerned with looks would be hypocritical at best. Plus, like most women I know, I'm more concerned with personality. What I’m saying here is that even though my standards are fairly low, these guys were even lower. Of course the very best part of this story is that not one of these fair fellows has tried to contact me. That’s right. I have been rejected by thirteen of the most heinously unattractive men in Los Angeles. I’ll bet at least one of them has saved my picture to his phone and is, even now, telling his friends “can you believe eHarmony said this horror show was my perfect match?”