There is something so incredibly satisfying about being in a room with like-minded people. It’s the reason people start clubs, and families form traditions. And with those of us with an eye for class, manners, and decorum there’s nothing we like better than finding those with that same eye and practicing what we know to be the best way to look and behave in various situations. Oftentimes we purposely go to places and associate with people where we know this will be the case, but there are times when that is simply impossible.
Depending on your workplace, you really have no control over the people you work with and have to find a way to deal with the fact that they don’t understand the importance of dressing to your body type, sending thank you notes, or that no one should leave their house in, or admit to owning, Crocs. This can also be the case at family events that you are socially obligated to attend with the full knowledge that you can’t wear your best dress without the possibility of upstaging someone, or bring your best purse because of the very real chance that someone is going to spill alcohol on you.
While some people may see these situations and realities as a sign that adhering to a credo that no one notices is pointless, and give in to the frustration, and start wearing polyester and strappy sandals with unpainted toes, a truly classy woman will not. Because to really be classy it can’t be something you put on and take off, it’s a part of you and all that you do.
Someone else’s lack of manners is in no way an excuse for you not to display them any more than you would jump off of that proverbial cliff your mother was talking about. While classiness is a feminine quality, and can be attained by any woman who considers it important, it is also very much about being an individual, and it often takes a strong individual to be exactly the kind of woman she wants to be all of the time. (If I swear at the other cars when there’s no one else in my car, did it really happen?) This does not mean that you should sacrifice fine Italian leather to every rum and coke that happens along, but don’t let the circumstances you find yourself in ever keep you from being yourself.
There is nothing wrong with being the woman that others look up to.
That said, don’t repeat your anthem of class so frequently inside your head that you can’t enjoy a beer with your cousins, or indulge in casual Friday with your co-workers. Just be the prettiest one there.
When I am feeling particularly altruistic it’s easy to think about how lucky we all are, and how much we have compared to less fortunate individuals in our communities, and in the world. But, I can’t help thinking that it would be a disservice to all that many of us are blessed with to simply feel guilty or lucky, and do nothing with it. In the interest of best serving fate, it is our responsibility as intelligent, classy, beautiful, compassionate women to fulfill our every potential.
Sadly, putting this sort of thinking into practice is not simple or easy. For some reason it’s perfectly alright to want one thing, and to work towards getting that one thing is admirable. But this thing must, of course, be attainable and within reason. And your desires must be limited to this one thing or you are being greedy. Or crazy. About a thing that doesn’t even exist yet. Evidently “Dream Big” looks great sewn on a pillow, but to actually practice it is to insult those who don’t want more or dream of what you already have.
I call bullshit.
Ambition and drive and confidence and dedication have not historically been considered very feminine qualities, but we know that to be a fallacy, and it’s time to start acting like it. If Natalie Portman can represent Dior, pick and choose the best acting jobs, graduate from Harvard, make perfect Jewish babies, speak three languages, and live part time in Paris with her hot ballerina lover man then we can certainly go after the job, apartment, car, and lover man that we want. Awareness of reality should definitely hang in the balance, but it shouldn’t hold veto power, and you should never feel guilty for wanting more than you have. It is human nature to strive, and setting goals is healthy. This doesn’t mean that you stop living until you achieve everything that you want, or invest your ability to be happy in attaining these goals. The journey is the fun part, and wanting something slightly beyond the realm of what you think you can have makes you that much more invested in trying to get it.
You are going to have critics. Especially from those who come from another generation, and operate from a very “happy with what you have” standpoint. And they’re not wrong. You should be happy with what you have, and appreciate how fortunate you are in the grand scheme of the universe. And then you can plot your non-hostile, and gracefully executed takeover.
I want my cake, I want to eat it, and then I want an ice cream chaser.
As much evidence as there is to the contrary, I do actually make an effort to not make this blog full of whining and complaining. Generally, the last thing anyone wants to read is someone else bitching, so today you have fair warning. There is going to be lots of privileged white girl complaining, but I’ll try to make it cool.
I have always taken issue with the phrase “supposed to”. It is applied far too liberally, encourages pigeon-holing and stereotyping, and limits thinking, which probably bothers me the most. I am a big fan of thinking. If society, or your school, or your boss, or your mom tells you that you are “supposed to” respond and behave in pre-determined ways then there is no need figure those things out for yourself; and too many people, when given the opportunity, will choose not to think or make decisions. Perhaps it’s ridiculous, but I believe that even if what you do ends up being the same as if you’d simply done what you were told, motivation matters. You should always be able to answer the question – why did you do that? Maybe it’s because I’m a control freak and over-thinking everything gives me a sense of ownership over my sad life, but let’s over-analyse that later.
I have been dealing with some stress and tension in relation to the fact that I am doing my life wrong. For some reason the “supposed to” list I made for myself has far more hold over my psyche than any and all others. Judge as you will. Everyone has expectations for their life – even the assholes who hit on me claiming they live in the moment and would like to offer me the distinct privilege of fucking them silly – or so I have to assume to preserve what little faith I have in humanity. And inevitably there are things on that list that are subject to change, and elements you are bound to give up due to circumstance (I accept that I will never ride a Pegasus – really, I do) but there are some that you count on, that if you satisfy all of the pre-requisites for, you expect to happen in accordance with the laws of logic and your tiny universe. For me, this included employment after graduating from a very expensive private university. Granted I got a taste of my dream job, which is more than most people can say, ever, but the vision for the year I turn twenty-five had a house in it that only I lived in. With a room with words all over the walls for me to write in, an extra car in the garage just for weekends, and a puppy. Maybe a little much, depending on what you’re comparing it to, but I’ve never lacked confidence.
It’s all well and good to wax internet poetic with your take what you want/seize the day/kick the world’s ass memes, but in my experience all of those require money (or maybe that’s only the things I want – not that I want to be a dragon with a pile of money, though a dragon would make all the travelling I do want to do more cost-effective). And because of…oh let’s just blame the world and you can apply whatever spiritual/ political/ financial/ etc. nuances you like to it… so, because of the world I mostly write things that no one reads in the back bedroom of my parents house, working as a mildly inappropriate substitute teacher, desperately trying to show my gratitude for all of those things by being polite and accommodating and helpful, when really I can’t stop mentally re-evaluating how I ended up here, with no puppy. And it’s no one’s fault, not even mine. I send out more resumes than I’m going to admit to, and interview for jobs with health insurance (some of which I actually want), and I’m super nice, so I just have to tell myself that they are only hiring inter-galactic alien robots and thus I have no reason to feel inadequate and panicky about not meeting their criteria. This existence simply is. For no reason.
Everyone’s go-to comforting comment is that “You’re so young!”, or at least it was. I try not to talk about depressing topics with people, so I don’t talk about myself much lately thus making the placating comments less necessary. But the reality is I am very quickly coming to the transition from “you’re so young”, barreling straight into “God, you’re no spring chicken, get your shit together”. Even if I do all the things I wanted to have done by now, no one will be nearly as impressed by them as they would have been. Alexander conquered the known world by the time he was 25, everyone is going to remember that; Hillary paid off her Corolla by age 24 simply does not have the same ring to it.
This means that my real problem is chilling the fuck out. And acknowledging the need for frolicking in perfect joy over parents who semi-enjoy me living in their back bedroom (despite how much more together their shit was at my age). And to continue sending resumes to everyone and begging people to read things (and mentioning my future plans for space travel and a bionic arm) and making strange phone calls because that’s all there is for an over-educated group babysitter to do combat this “world” problem we’re having. I also get to tell my recently college graduated sister that her new life choices are graduate school forever or the beautiful example of bitter hagdom I have set while making any money you can doing whatever someone will pay you for that won’t make it necessary to stop using forks. No one cares what you majored in. Or she can get married and have babies and get food stamps – it’s totally on trend again. I also reserve the right to hate her and her entire graduating class forever if things actually work out for the little bastards.
Of course I’m not quite so jaded that I don’t still harbor a tiny pearly, shiny, sparkle of delusion that one day soon I will be the exception to all this crap and get everything I want all at once. At which point I will deny I ever wrote this. And fly away on my Pegasus. Just like Lena Dunham.
Happy Holidays, everyone! I know this time of year means something a little different for us all. Decorating, shopping, vacationing, lovingly gathering with/avoiding family. Mild to extreme observance of whatever spiritual credo you adhere to. But what I really think it’s important for us not to forget this time of year are the Pagan roots we all descend from and should respect. Granted you’re probably already doing a lot of things without even realizing it – decorating trees, lighting candles, cooking and eating feasts in a ceremonial fashion, dressing up, and dancing.
If you think about it, those are really all the fun parts of the winter festivities anyway. Especially that whole making out under bushes thing. Awesome.
Since the point of all the religious observances is just to further bind you to the global power play that is organized religion, and they are mostly not fun, I’m all for glazing over those in favor of the purity of Pagan celebration. And what better way to exorcise the stress caused by all of those aforementioned seasonal obligations. A little worship to the North Star, in sparkly earrings and a red scarf, sashaying near flames sounds way better than your average midnight mass. Who’s to say that is any less spiritual or connected to the world around you?
Although, if that’s the sort of emotional freedom and happiness, the kind of connection that you get out of mass, or Hanukkah prayers, or ritualistically howling at the moon then more power to you. Shun the tree, oust Santa, and get on your knees in front of a manger. Personally, I think gold and silver are a choking hazard for babies. A nice fleece blanket would have been a lot more welcome at the birth of a barn baby in the Israeli desert. In my opinion. Or, like, socks. Or a Bugaboo stroller. Maybe myrrh is really good for diaper rash? Anyway. My point is just to value the joy of Paganism, in all its forms, as being of equal value as any other holiday tradition. Presents make people happy (and that whole scenario is very symbiotic with capitalism, so there’s that) and you shouldn’t let anyone make you feel guilty for thinking about what would please the people you love and sacrificing part of your income to get it for them when they label it “materialism”. We exist as physical entities. Materials are nice. Embrace it.
While you’re at it embrace the people you choose to be with this holiday. Do whatever makes you happy with them. And definitely set something on fire at some point.
Surprising, I know. And as one is won’t to do (as a viewer should do if the writers are doing their job) I put myself in the place of some interesting female characters and came out with a whole new idea about myself. Connie Britton in the pilot of American Horror Story only reinforced her place in my heart as the best lady to fight with ever, and my assertions about myself should anyone ever have to audacity to cheat on me and then move me into a haunted house. God help the man who tries. My side of the argument wouldn’t have the constraints of cable censorship.
Then I saw this week’s episode of Parks and Recreation with the drama of the Tammy’s. My family also suffers from the anomaly of multiple women with the same name, except one is my mom and I like her. I realized that while there is a valid point in not putting too many restrictions on the qualities that people you date must or must not possess, someone with the same name as my father is not an option. Neither is someone with the same name as someone I’ve already gone out with. Three of the same in the past is more than enough. He also can’t wear smaller jeans than me.
And then Legally Blonde came on, and if you can’t see how I would relate then you don’t deserve to read this. But beyond the validated indignation over the prejudiced treatment of blondes and pretty people there were some lessons to be learned. Being smart is enough to show other people you’re smart, but proving you’re smart has to be for you or you really are the pretentious cow that everyone’s assuming you are for even trying. And Luke Wilson was right when he said that being blonde was a powerful thing and there’s something to admire in using that power for good. Not that I’m going to stop flipping my hair for discount car maintenance services (I’m underemployed and on a budget, don’t judge me), but I’m all for using it to help others and using people’s prejudices against them to do my best. If my hair gets me places, then at least I know my brain keeps me there. Law school is not in my future but other wonderful, intellectual things are.
Of course, there have been a couple of fantasy moments inspired by Pan Am, mostly to do with makeup and wardrobe. Less to do with being sexually objectified and roped into spy networks.
If you’re not being inspired by your television viewing experience, then you’re doing it wrong. Or all you are watching is procedural crime dramas and your lack of connection with them is something I can only be thankful for. Happy Fall TV!!!
This is not going to be new. But if I have to continue living with it, then you can continue reading about it.
On a day when I definitely needed it I was treated to the profound ego boost that is being asked out while standing in line for salad. Sadly, the gentleman prefaced his request by pulling his pants down to show me his underwear. I informed the servers that my salad should be nowhere near his salad at any point in time. The scariest part of this story is that I was criticized for turning him down too readily. I realize it’s been a while since I’ve had an even slightly normal experience with a male person, but throwing the “don’t-show-me-your-underwear-in-eating-establishments” standard out the window is not an option. Sorry, boys.
Now I’m back to the hopeless endeavor of randomly bumping into someone charming and attractive while substitute teaching. For some reason eligible bachelors are not often found in public school classrooms. And the few that work there are married. Because that is the unspoken rule of teachers.
Until I cave to the threat/inevitability of grad school, or am hired to write things, I will continue taking a super long time waiting for my lattes and praying that no one feels the need to start stripping in a show of affection. And I will also take into consideration that my stripping in public might be rewarded with a more positive reaction. No promises.
Before you get too excited, this has nothing to do with my life going fabulously well in comparison to other era’s of my life (hard to do when most of them are as yet to be experienced). It does, however, have everything to do with how similar my current disposition and situation seem to mirror that of Belle’s. Given the pop culture climate I feel it’s important to distinguish that I’m referring to Disney Belle and not Belle de Jour of the very entertaining and popular, Secret Diary of a Call Girl series. Not prostitute, Disney princess. Good? Good.
While California coastal towns are not exact replicas of French provincial towns they are kind of the same in that there is a family owned bakery where they make bread everyday, and as in the movie, no one speaks French. The same people doing the same things is starting to wear on me and I generally feel more at home in a bookstore than anywhere else, though since the advent of Visa no kindly shopkeepers with hair in their ears are handing me my favorite books for free.
[Sidenote: I don’t know what crazy story she’s reading with the prince, and the hidden identity thing, and this clueless heroine who can’t figure shit out for three chapters is, but that crazy Shakespearean/ Bourne Identity nightmare is not available on my Kindle.]
Without a doubt, I feel that both Belle and I are destined for as-yet-undiscovered great things. Hers involved falling in love with some kind of angry, talking minotaur and I’m hoping the object of my destiny falls more into the tall, handsome, and human category, but why quibble over details? Chick ends up with a castle and a kick ass library. Which is worth it even if she apparently has to waltz about the ballroom in the same yellow dress every evening for the servants’ amusement. People already think I’m exceptionally strange, just like Belle, but also are typically willing to forgive this character flaw if I hush up and sit pretty the rest of the time. I can only pray that no neck-less misogynistic hunters are plotting to surprise marry me, but one can never be too careful. I think that stalker I had totally qualifies in this instance. My dad likes cars and Belle’s dad likes, um, moving conveyance thingies. And the inanimate objects in my house do not talk to me, but I certainly talk to them. Maybe you didn’t need to know that part.
So, obviously, Belle and I are exactly the same and now all I have to do is wait for destiny to follow its natural course and I too can have the privilege of presiding over a kingdom that no one knows exists, since 10 years is adequate time for a castle and monarchy to be entirely forgotten and hidden in a dark forest full of wolves. If you’ll excuse me, it is half past singing loudly in the middle of the street time.
Coming from a not so envied position of semi-recently graduated and barely employed, a goodly number of my friends and I are well primed for a little instant gratification. I’m supportive of the fantasy insofar as something falling into my lap would be a nice change from scrabbling up metaphoric jagged cliffs to chase taunting golden mirages of boyfriends, promising careers, and a living space my parents don’t also occupy. But I can’t really embrace the entitlement that my generation refuses to see past. Yes, it would be nice if perfect scenarios presented themselves right in front of me, but I don’t expect that to happen and it’s not something the universe owes me. Capitalism, on the other hand, made some promises that haven’t been kept. I don’t mind working my ass off to get what I want, but putting in all the work only to suddenly realize your goal isn’t there when you reach the end is more than a little infuriating.
In this line of thinking, I was considering conversations I have had with my friends that seemed to end on the same note of dissatisfaction: “Why can’t my ideal someone/something magically appear”. And god knows I sympathize, but what worries me is that they seem to mean it. If they can site even one example (and there is invariably at least one) of someone stumbling into their dream with perfect timing and circumstance all they can think is that it should have been them. All I can think is that it would make a very boring story, but I’m fully aware of my masochistic and opportunistic tendencies. In any case, comparison is not a good verb on which to base your life. You will, without fail, come up short every time. Now weighing things against your own expectations can be equally dangerous, if not more (entirely dependent on your level of self-delusion), but it’s ever so slightly healthier to attempt to live your life on your own terms and based on your own perceptions of reality, morality, success, failure, and happiness. In my opinion. Of course it would be bloody fantastic if you could go to the boyfriend store and pick out a packet of Tall, Handsome, Debonair, Will Let You Name the Children, Comes with Puppy and just add water. Or to go to the Work building, get in the Dream Job Line, and pick up your envelope of…well, you get the idea. But we can’t. And maybe that’s a good thing.
It definitely doesn’t feel like a good thing. Being an adult is hard and often awful, but when the big things work out it’s that much better when you’ve fought for every step towards the goals you want the most. With any luck you’ve reached a place where you can enjoy this massive piece of the puzzle falling into place. Not that I’m in possession of any of these puzzle pieces. I’m still trudging along with one eye on the clouds – just in case my dreams decide to suddenly fall from the sky.
I am an extremely accident prone person. So I tend to assess damage to myself as a matter of course: head – attached; fingers – functional; bruises – minimal; etc. but lately I can’t help but quantify the damage. For instance my teeth are worth thousands of dollars. Ish. A good chunk of that was the braces, but the rest was actually the consequence of a few of the various accidents I’ve already discussed. Not my best moments. And I now have my dentist’s home phone number, but it makes those times I open the car door into my head that much more upsetting.
And then there’s my brain to consider. I’m not entirely sure I was using it when I decided to go to a private university but that definitely upped the value into the tens of thousands. Suddenly that bump on my head is not only stupid, but downright fiscally irresponsible. I should be wearing a helmet at all times with alarms and lasers and things. But I like playing with my hair too much so that isn’t going to happen.
Valuing your life and the things you have and the things you do are all good and important, but assessing their monetary value is going to drive you insane. Bumps and bruises happen, both literally and metaphorically, but they heal and we’re either as good as new or we’ve learned something (remove head from under coffee table before standing up). It’s really hard to maintain the innocence of walking straight into things when you know there are going to be unyielding, fast-moving projectiles heading in our direction every so often, but I almost always think it’s worth it and that dizziness wears off in a minute or two.
Bashing yourself in the head with a car door, or a table, or a stapler (don’t ask) is definitely a bad thing, for the record, but is sometimes unavoidable.
Everyone who has ever made plans with me has waited the requisite ten extra minutes that it takes me to arrive. It doesn’t matter how insignificant or important the plans – I will be late, but only a little. My best friends have learned that the best course of action is to lie to me. Approximate time is the only way you can hope to be blessed with my presence when you actually require it. So, in the interest of trying to be less misleading I have started to utilize what I have come to learn is the beautiful irreplacability of the suffix “ish”. If I’ve promised to be there at noon-“ish” then it’s just barely permissible that I walk in at 12:24. With the hope that I was at least offending people less, I started to explore the further possibilities of these three amazing letters. It actually becomes theoretically feasible to avoid taking responsibility for anything with liberal application of “ish”.
“I said I’d be there at 3-ish.” “Two hours away is close-ish.” “I swear I was wearing a condom-ish.”
If you’re someone who really can’t stand to be nailed down to your plans, or anyone else’s then I can’t think you’ve been very successful at avoiding it without some “ish”-ing. “Ish” is also of great use when trying to explain something you know very little about. Like wine, for instance.
“There’s definitely a woodsy-ish note below the full-bodied apricot-ish flavor.”
No one can argue with you. All you’ve really said is that it tastes like red wine with a fruity flavor. It’s made of grapes, and you can see that it’s red. You’re in good shape.
Your friend asks just how hot your Flamin’ Hot Cheetos really are. “Spicy-ish.” Suddenly you absolved yourself of the responsibility for the third degree burns to their tongue but you still get the enjoyment of watching them run about with their tongue hanging out of their face. Or manfully tearing up. Also funny.
It’s like when someone tells you you’re stylish. They don’t really mean it, obviously.
There is also massive potential to get yourself into trouble, so make sure to use “ish” moderately. The word “ish” and I are not responsible for any negative repercussions of your use of the word because I am only telling you how useful-ish it is.
Happy New Year (ish)!!!!! I’ve now addressed all time zones at once.