Friday, August 8, 2008


Early on in a baby's life, it truly doesn't know that reality doesn't revolve around it. When it can't see something, it believes it no longer exists. It's not until several months old that it will start to look for a toy if you hide it. Of course, even then, it's a slow process to find where you really fit in the scheme of things.

I miss the sense of omnipotence I had as a small child. When I heard that my mom was pregnant for the second time, I told her to make it a girl. I wanted a sister. Boys had cooties. That was all. Thank you. And, in my mind it was decided.

So, when people would ask me, "But, what if it's a boy?", I would look at them like they were idiots and gently inform them that that was not possible.

Call it luck or sheer force of will, but I got my way.

I clearly remember my 4th birthday. I remember the pink dress I wore. I remember telling people that 4 was my new favorite number. I got excited when NBC, channel 4 displayed their neon 4 on the tv screen. I noted that my hand would have 4 fingers if it wasn't for that odd-looking thumb. I can't remember any of my other birthdays being built up so much.

And yet, I have no memory of the major national event that happened locally that day. I know all the adults would have been talking about it. It's especially strange considering that my dad obsessively watched the news and had the habit of talking about politics like we were old enough to understand it.

I've wracked my brain, but I can't find the slightest memory of The Republican National Convention being held in downtown Detroit where Ronald Reagan accepted his party's nomination and would then go on to be president. I would like to say I remember something like that, but apparently nothing else could happen on Earth the day I turned 4.

He was the first president I can actually remember. I remember most of the important moments. I remember the crazy who shot him to impress Jodie Foster. But, I don't remember him being nominated in my hometown. Why?

BECAUSE I WAS 4! That was MY day, bitches! (Okay, I may have not known how to verbalize that sentiment, yet, but trust me, the feeling was there.)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


The details matter. It makes a difference to me whether I see a couple hold hands across the table or not.

The last time I saw him, his hand held mine against the tabletop and the waitress had stopped by several times to see if we were ready to order.

I told him, "She's probably getting annoyed with us."

I tried to sound concerned, but I just giggled.

As we were on our way out, the waitress came out to the lobby to remind us that we ordered dessert. I lifted my cheek from his chest when I heard her voice. I never even saw her follow us out there.

Is it enough to look happy? Others can see it in the smallest gestures. I have a tendency to pick apart happy moments in my mind, to kill them with dissection. It's nice when for an evening I forget to do that.

Afterwards, he asked me if I wanted to go across the street for a drink. It's one of the bars I like to write in. I laughed and told him they wouldn't recognize me without my notebook.

That's the same place where I am, right now. I'm looking for the subtext in a story.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

No Boobs for Oil

I don't know how things like this keep ending up in my inbox.

It seems the most frequent solicitors of the female flesh these days are not trying to make a quick buck. No. They have a higher calling to "protest". And, what horribly selfish person could say no to that?

In recent years, I've been asked to participate in a number of projects. There was the Iraq War protest where groups of women were photographed with their naked bodies spelling the word "peace". There was the protest against the Taliban where women were expected to walk naked around the block while the men watched with a six-pack of beer (fully clothed, I presume).

I will state, once and for all, where I stand on this. No, I'm not interested in getting naked to protest. I don't see how naked women make a good protest. All closet gay Republicans aside, I assume most of these protests will be reaching heterosexual men. Last I heard, they like looking at naked women. I don't plan to reward them for an unjustified war or anything else. No thank you.

Every time someone suggests a naked protest, their male sympathizers add their encouragement, eager to be "supportive" and volunteer the services of every woman they know. Yet, they never volunteer their own.

I would like to know why? If anything is likely to strike fear and disgust into the hearts of those in power, it would probably be pictures of naked men, "artfully" arranged. Now, I'm not discounting the buff young Adonises, because bringing out the latent homosexual impulses is sure to make them uncomfortable....but, let's get creative here. If you could be better served by a weedwacker than a razor, then this is especially for you.

If you have a third nipple, a vestigial tale, or anything else that can't be explained by science....well then, I'm definitely talking to you! It's time to stand up and do your duty for your country. If you believe in your cause as much as you say, this shouldn't be a problem, right?

I will save my naked flesh for worthier causes.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Puppy Love

Once upon a time, my sister had the perfect man. What ever happened with them? Well, she passed him on to me.

This is Bebe.

When she couldn't keep him, she made sure he would live with his favorite aunt.

He's made me realize something about myself. I really would rather be nice than be mean. I'm sad to say that finding this out surprised me a little. But, you don't have to worry about being "too nice" to a dog. He'll never start to take you for granted or deep down want to be mistreated. It's also okay to spoil and pamper him because he doesn't have to grow up to be an independent adult. I've found that I like having someone I can do that with. Human relationships are more complicated, but it's good to have him always there.

At the moment, he's chasing his tail. I won't burst his bubble by telling him he'll never catch it. Oh well....

Here's to Bebe, stealing socks and hearts in Bloomfield Hills, MI since 2006.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Gentlemen Beware

If you're the type to worry that reading the wrong thing may cause your testosterone levels to shrivel up, I suggest you stop reading immediately.

What I have to say here will not help the starving children in third world countries. It will not end any wars. It probably won't even keep me from another dark night of the soul. But, this has been building up for a long time and I need to get it off my chest.

I would really like to know when flattering clothing went out of style? I think Jon Stewart was correct when he said, "This is what happens when you don't let gays marry. They start designing out of spite."

I've seen a lot of women wearing these tops, lately. If I hadn't known, I would have thought they were maternity tops. Why would you wear it if you weren't pregnant?

But, it gets worse. I wish I had a picture of this one. I'll have to just describe it. Recently, in a store window, I saw a top that was narrow at the shoulders. It gradually got wider around the stomach. Then, it cinched in at the hips. It would have been like wearing a bubble. What body type could this possible flatter?

We already know that the body type that's considered the feminine ideal varies widely by culture. It could be larger or smaller, depending on the availability of the food supply. Only one thing has been constant. That is a waist-to-hip ratio of approximately 0.7, along with a proportional or bigger bust. This is because those are proportions typical of someone who had high estrogen levels during puberty and likely to be more fertile. (It's really just nature trying to get you to perpetuate yourself.)

Throughout the ages, fashions have been created to exaggerate the curves of the hips and bust. There have been bustles, hoop skirts, and wonderbras. Then, there have been the more extreme measures, like corsets laced so tight that women would faint. (I remember a class where we looked at pictures of just how that would deform her skeleton and damage the internal an attempt to look more fertile!) But, never before have I seen anything that attempted to add the curve to the middle. I wonder what this says about our collective mind?

Further examples:

The caption described Sarah Jessica Parker as "a vision in tomato". Did someone actually write that with a straight face?

Oh yeah, and this is just wrong!

So we're clear, these are all designer clothes. The younger and hipper the crowd, the more of this you will see.

I think I'm done, now. I'm ready to go back to pondering what people did with their Hammerpants after 1990. Oh...except...the one style I hope will never come back is shoulder pads in women's clothing. Why did they think we wanted disproportionately high shoulders? I use to cut them out of my clothes. I'm glad I had the sense to do so even back then.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The One Kind of Music

No matter how varied your musical tastes might be, everyone seems to have that one they don't like. I was talking about this with someone recently. The only kind of music he doesn't like is death metal.

He says, "I don't get it. How can they call screaming music? They should just scream."

I'll admit I did listen to a lot of "screaming" back in the day (and still do when I get in that mood), but for me, the music I don't like is country. Sometimes, someone will think they can convert me, but I might as well tell you not to bother. Oh, there was a time when someone took me to a country/western bar and insisted I pay attention to lyrics. I grudgingly admitted that some of them were funny. But, most of the time I just ruin the experience.

I remember one time there was a country singer on the Colbert Report. He said he was going to sing a song about a maintenance man who has a crush on the lady of the house.

I had to ask, "Doesn't that sound like a porn scenario?" (Oh, come on! Wasn't anyone else thinking it?)

I get frowned at in return.

As it turns out, he realized he didn't have a chance with her because he's just a maintenance man.

I say, "Well then, he should have been a poolboy."

More frowns. I was apparently ruining a heart-wrenching song. Oh well....

When I was a freshman in college, my roommate was from inner-city Detroit. She didn't believe me that anyone in the suburbs liked rap. At the time, I thought she was being incredibly prejudiced, but in retrospect, maybe it wasn't that strange an assumption. After all, people from the suburbs can't exactly relate to the lyrics of gangsta rap.

Of course, it's probably this very difference that gives it appeal. Yes, suburban white boys sound funny when they try to talk like rappers, but it's probably a phase they need to go through. They'll outgrow it. (Or, they'll go straight to the midlife crisis.)

The thing I remember most about grunge is feeling like I should just give all the musicians a big hug. And, this was not just because the flannel shirts made everyone so damn cuddly. That was the first time I remember music embracing male vulnerability, instead of the tough guy image while still being hip and cool. Some would argue that the lyrics didn't make much sense, but it seems like they were the kind of lyrics that were a little too easy to project your own issues onto. It was always about you. I can see this from looking back at my college notebooks and seeing the lines from songs I would randomly quote in between calculations.

When I was younger, the kind of music we liked created our sense of identity. If you were a metalhead, you were just not the same person as someone who was not. It dictated how you dressed and who you automatically looked down your nose at based on their musical tastes. It was a serious matter. I couldn't do that, now. At this point, my tastes are much too varied. And, that's okay, now.

As a final thought, here's my most controversial opinion about Axl Rose. I still say that he was the only guy in 80's metal who could write ballads that weren't cheesy. ("Monster ballads" are fun, but no one would deny they are cheesy.) You can like them or not, but they're not cheesy.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Only in College

1. We had a peculiar sobriety test in my dorm, called the"wug test". I've never actually seen anyone pass it. And, in retrospect, it doesn't even make sense to me sober.

The way it worked was someone would hold up two pillows and would tell someone (who'd just consumed multiple shots), "This is a wug and this is a wug." Then, they point to one of the pillows and say, "What is this?"

The response would usually be, "That's a pillow." And, we would immediately say, "Oh no, you failed the wug test. You're drunk."

2. Nights at the Peanut Barrell. We could do nothing but throw peanuts at eachother at never get kicked out.

3. A blacklight poster was the highest form of art. And, a guy giving me flowers in an empty Zima bottle was the highest token of affection. (What was the sentiment, exactly? "Before I passed out that night, I thought of you and decided to save the bottle."......Awww, that's love.)

4. When I moved off campus, I lived with 3 other girls in a 4th floor apartment. Our balcony overlooked Michigan Ave, a major road that ran along campus. Most nights, we would drunkenly heckle anyone who was walking by. (Though, for that matter, in the daytime, we would soberly talk to passersby.)

One night, two guys came up and knocked on our door, demanding to meet the girls who were shouting at them. One of them actually ended up dating my roommate.
Later, she told us about a rather awkward conversation she had with her mom.

"I was telling her about him and suddenly, she asks, 'So, how did you meet this guy?' I didn't know what to say. I can't tell her how we really met."

5. Well, I guess it was typical at the time to meet guys in ways you wouldn't want to tell your mom about. I remember how I first met a guy I dated when I was 19. I was walking past his house. He was in the frontyard and stopped me to talk for awhile. Then, he invited me inside for a beer. (No, this wasn't dangerous. There were lots of people, both male and female, hanging around.)

Back then, it was just acceptable. I just don't stop to talk to people like that, anymore.

Oh God, I miss it, sometimes. That feeling that my whole life was ahead of me and the possibilities were endless. The completely-out-of-touch-with-reality ideals (Yes, we will legalize marijuana in November! I am old enough to vote, now!) And, feeling like all I needed to do was step outside to reach out and connect with someone. I could make a new friend everyday and each one was immediately "family". At the time, it felt like that feeling would last forever.

But, at the same time, I know I wouldn't really want to be back there. I don't really miss the bad apartments, sharing the cramped living space with too many people and too little privacy, the immature boys (That one bears repeating. I don't miss the immature boys!), the lack of any stability or certainty about my life.

It's weird to feel pulled in both directions at once.