Love in the Time of Adulthood or, Unsubscribing to the Carrie Bradshaw Bullshit

I was 13 when William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet came out and like every 13-year-old girl with pictures of Leonardo DiCaprio plastered all over her walls, this movie became my everything.

I owned a copy on VHS, both soundtracks, posters and every magazine with Claire and Leo on the cover.

It was marketed as, “The greatest love story of all time….for our time,” and when you’re an awkward 13-year-old with glasses and frizzy hair, you buy this.

“This is the most romantic thing ever. They’re soul mates. They love each other. It’s destiny!”

However, when you’re an adult with D&G glasses and access to a flat-iron, you see things a little differently.

It’s less impossibly romantic and more, “Oh my God. You dipshit chowderheads. You’ve known each other for THREE DAYS! Throw a solid month at it before you decide to start fucking about with daggers and poison.”

My concept of love came directly from the movies.

Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys and don’t let television and movies set the standard of what love is for your highly impressionable teenage daughter.

I thought that in order for it to be real – love needed to be like the movies. I believed the Carrie Bradshaw Bullshit.

What’s the Carrie Bradshaw Bullshit?

Pretty much everything she has ever said but this in particular:

cb

As an impressionable teenager, I understood this completely.

As an adult? Yeah. I’m gonna let my girl Lana Kane sum up my thoughts on this one:

lk

Let’s stop and think about this for a second.

Ridiculous? Really? Monkeys wearing tiny little pants are ridiculous. The price of fresh juice is ridiculous ($11 for a cup of pulverized fruit? Seriously, bro?). The fact that the chairman of the FCC used to be a lobbyist for the cable industry is ridiculous.

Any decent relationship shouldn’t be considered ridiculous. You’re looking for an adjective? Try happy. Try uplifting. Try amazeballs. Try anything but ridiculous.

Inconvenient? Like ATM fees and pop-up windows and when you realize you forgot something at the store and need to jackass all the way back to get it? Like that? This is something that you want to cultivate? OK, knucklehead. Enjoy that.

If a relationship is a pain in the ass and a chore, why are you engaged in it?

Consuming? You know what they used to call tuberculosis? Consumption. Look, there is nothing wrong with being into the person you’re into but I’m good without the symbiosis. You were your own fully-fledged person before your significant other came along and you should hold onto that.

If I wanted a tapeworm, I’d eat a raw slab of ham.

Can’t Live Without Each Other? I assure you, you can. And you will. Because unless the person you’re in a relationship with happens to be your conjoined twin (and that’s just a whole ‘nother kettle of crazy that I’m not going into), odds are – you’re gonna be just fine. You’ll endure. Because that’s what people do.

Despite all this, I like to believe that I’m still a romantic. My perspectives have shifted like the colors in a kaleidoscope and I just happen to be a realist/not a fucking idiot about the whole thing.

Admittedly, I have no idea what the hell I’m doing but I know this much to be true:

1. Be kind. You learned this as a toddler and it’s still applicable today.
2. Knock off the shit. Welcome to the big leagues. You are no longer in high school and here, we use our words. Don’t employ the silent treatment to punish someone. Don’t ignore texts and phone calls. You’re an adult. Talk it out. Be honest. Be generous with compliments, quick with apologies and sincere in both.
3. Make out. Like, a lot. Like, a whole lot.
4. Try. Put in the effort for no other reason than the other person is worth it.
5. Seriously. Goddamn it, babies. You’ve got to be kind.

I was in this restaurant once – eating solo while reading a book. I looked up and saw this middle-aged couple. Nothing remarkable or out of the ordinary – just two people sitting across from one another, holding hands.

Just happy to be there.

Romance is the little things and that’s what I want.

Yeah, you could be with someone who’d die for you…but wouldn’t you rather have someone who’ll live with you?

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Shame Shopping Or, What’s Important In A Dress Is The Woman Who’s Wearing It.

I have a shameful confession to make.

Actually, I have multiple shameful confessions to make:

– I really like that Kid Ink/Chris Brown song.
– Sometimes when I get really sad, I’ll shame-eat a Burger King veggie burger and onion rings.
– I can’t remember half the character names on Game of Thrones and refer to them by their attributes (super cute political powerhouse queen regent, creepy bastard fuck who flayed Lily Allen’s brother, Lily Allen’s brother, kid from Love Actually who I love…)

But this shameful confession is far worse (don’t worry, Mom. I didn’t murder anyone or eat pork).

I buy clothes from Forever 21.

I know.
I KNOW.

There are a litany of issues with shopping there. Two of the biggest being their unfair labor practices and the fact that I am 31 and therefore, SO not their target demo (anorexic teenagers with a penchant for text speak and garish prints that look terrible on everyone).

But society insists that I wear clothes, Forever 21 sells cute little frocks for $10 a pop and I am only human.

It’s an unfortunate state of affairs. Especially for the girl who is 100% on board with the No Pants Revolution, but that’s the way it works….for now.

Look, I would love to be the cute girl who rocked Madewell and Kate Spade but here’s the deal – I can’t justify spending $158 on a dress when I could take that $158 and spend it on premium cable, gin and cheap tacos.

Priorities, y’all.

Since actually visiting one of their stores is as much fun as a surprise pap smear, I opt to buy my clothes online.

This is alternately a wonderful and terrible idea.

Wonderful because I don’t have to actually go into the store, battle a gaggle of judgy middle schoolers and have my eardrums assaulted by Iggy Azalea dubstep remixes.

It’s terrible because I don’t actually get the opportunity to try anything on and I just have to trust that the item I’ve chosen will fit.

I recently bought a few things and was understandably excited when my order came in.

Polka dots! Peach teardrop earrings! Sandals that are undeniably uncomfortable but super cute! That stupid thing to make a sock bun with!

I try on two floral print dresses and so far, so good. They fit well and I can totally wear them with my nude heels.

Then, I try on dress #3 and I go from looking like cute girl in a floral print to a monstrous sea cow…in a floral print.

Forever 21 and I disagree on many things and the definition of ‘medium’ is one of them.

So, I head to the store to return the dress and dear God, it is exactly the fresh hell that I envisioned.

Why are you wearing a Wu-Tang shirt? You don’t know the glory of the RZA, the GZA and M-E-T-H-O-D M-A-N.
Dear God, they make Frappuccinos that big now? Who needs all that sugar?
Little girl, does your mother know you left the house wearing that?
Wait, how did you get your sock bun to look so good?

After a solid half hour of furious rifling, I managed to find another dress that didn’t make me look like a pregnant dugong and switched out my purchase but I’m still having Kurtz-ian flashbacks – “The horror….the horror….”

Am I going to stop shopping at Forever 21? Probably not because $10 frocks and the fact I value HBO over clothing BUT I’m definitely going to try to make the attempt to seek out better retailers.

Any and all suggestions would be much appreciated.

Now if you’ll excuse me, one of these goddamn rings turned my finger green and I’ve got to scrub off the evidence…

John Hughes Did Not Direct My Life Or, A Girl And Her Desire To Recapture The Maybe

I had this bad habit.

Heroin.

Kidding.

Two cups of Cuban coffee will send me to rehab….as it rightfully should because if you make it right, that shit is rocket fuel (I love you, Havana. Never change).

Anyway.

You know how some people wear their hearts on their sleeves? Well, I’m the girl who took it a step further. Sleeves are for rookies. I basically slapped a bow on mine and handed it off with nothing more than a, “Dude, seriously. Be careful…”

Needless to say, this doesn’t always work out as well as anticipated and as a result, I’ve done a little masonry and put up a bit of a wall.

Made of Supermax concrete with barbed wire lacing across the top.

Little girl
Little girl
Let me in?
Not by the hair on my chinny-chinny-chin (I’m ethnic. We’re hirsute. What do you want?)

I didn’t even realize just how high these walls were until a couple of months ago.

I was watching Sliding Doors – an innocuous bit of late 90s fluff starring Gwyneth Paltrow – and charmingly cheeky Scotsman James (John Hannah) gets into a misunderstanding with Helen (Paltrow with her sterling English accent).

So, he heads over to her place, bangs on the door and starts howling for her.

I managed to both roll and cut my eyes simultaneously (a fancy bit of ocular yoga if there ever was one) and huffed, “Please. That would never happen.”

Because it wouldn’t. No-one would show up at your door and bang away as if seeking any port in a storm.

People don’t do that.

They send text messages. They leave voicemails. They email.

No-one shows up at your door with a boombox or flowers or even an apology. It just isn’t done.

Seeing this on-screen irked me and I reacted to it in a way I never have before – weary disbelief.

I never used to be like this.

I was the girl who believed in silly little love songs and movie endings. If your life wasn’t cinematic, well – that just meant you weren’t trying hard enough and I tried really damn hard to bring that sense of magic into my life.

I was the proto-Taylor Swift…without that obnoxious “Ohmygod! Really?!” face she does every five minutes….and the millions of dollars…and the annoying penchant for writing contrived, shitty songs about her exes.

Then, adulthood smashed into me and totally disabused me of that belief.

I know movie endings don’t happen in real life. That’s why they’re the movies, right? They’re escapist. I mean, I’m a smart girl. I minored in cinema studies. I get it.

I know that my one true love will never lead me safely through the Fire Swamp or engage in a battle of wits with a Sicilian when death is on the line.
He will never race through the streets on New Year’s Eve to find me, kiss me and tell me that he loves that I get cold when it’s 62 72 degrees out or that he loves that after spending the day with me, he can smell my perfume on his clothes.
He will never get off the train in a completely different country just to keep talking to me.

This doesn’t happen. I know this, but in the back of my head – I always kinda sorta believed it might.

Then, I stopped believing in the might. The maybe. The hope and the promise and the sheer, dumb serendipity of it all.

It got lost and idiot that I am, I didn’t put a tracking chip in it so I have no idea how find it.

I don’t want to be like this.
I want to be the girl who understands that it probably won’t but maybe, just maybe…

So, how does one recapture hope?

Maybe I have approach it A Clockwork Orange style – forcing my eyelids open while marathon-watching Love Actually, The Notebook, Dirty Dancing and Sleepless in Seattle? But, I get the feeling that would just result in dry eyes and a desire to listen to the Dirty Dancing Soundtrack (Look, if Hungry Eyes doesn’t do it for you, your soul is dead).

Maybe I have to stop mocking those shitty romance novels and actually read one….but no. Yeah. No. That’s just not gonna happen. If I’m looking for love stories – I skew towards Bukowski writing about Jane or Bourdain writing about pork.

Maybe I have to ixnay the Jay and ‘Ye and incorporate a little more John Legend into my life. This might actually work because the new John Legend? Kinda legit.

Or maybe there is no answer. Maybe it’s just something I have to figure out by living, man. L-I-V-I-N’….which is a real sonofabitch because let’s face it, a rom-com movie marathon takes a weekend but that whole living thing? Takes pretty much your whole life.

Songs That Have Entirely Too Large An Effect On Who I Am Or, Everything You Want by Vertical Horizon

If my life was a movie, firstly it would be fist-eatingly, crashingly dull. Secondly, the audience would wonder why there was a little brown girl on-screen cursing up a storm and talking about food as if it was her boyfriend. And finally, if my life was a movie – I would play the sidekick.

In my own movie.

Cogitate on that for a second.

I am the sidekick in a movie about my life.

I am not the pretty girl you lust after. I am not the girl that inspires double-takes and sweaty tangled sheets. I am not Pattie Boyd – a muse who’ll inspire both one of the greatest and one of the most insipid songs of all time (George Harrison’s Something and Eric Clapton’s Wonderful Tonight. What? The latter is glurgey garbage and should be summarily banned from all wedding receptions).

Dudes. It’s cool. I’m going somewhere with this and also, I’ve had thirty years to reflect on it.

I’m the girl you wanna hang out with because she can talk about how Undertaker is 21-0 at Wrestlemania or how Lily Allen’s brother is Theon Greyjoy on Game of Thrones or how someone needs to make a goddamn Batman movie featuring Arkham Asylum because the fucking Rogue’s Gallery would be even more bad-ass than the fucking Avengers.

I know my weight and I punch it.

And bolstering this belief is Vertical Horizon – that late 90s pop-rock act with one big hit and one smaller hit that featured none other than Kelly Kapowski in the video.

Everything You Want was on heavy rotation in my life in 1999. Well, the local alternative rock station was on heavy rotation (RIP 103.1 – The Buzz) but this song in particular? It hit me right where I live.

The lyrics were so overwrought with anxiety and suffering. I mean, you guys! It’s like this band really knows me! Like, they totally get me, right? Like, totally.

Yeah, me and every other poor bastard who has suffered through a crush. Read: everyone in the history of ever.

The last refrain had a particular impact – “I am everything you want/I am everything you need/I am everything inside of you/That you wish you could be/I say all the right things/At all the right times/But I mean nothing to you/And I don’t know why.”

I could relate in a serious way. When you’re 16 with frizzy hair and glasses (I legit spent my high school years looking like the ‘Before’ Girl in a bad 80’s makeover movie) – this song speaks volumes.

As is usually the case, Teenage Jaime was wrong and Adult Jaime (the broad with straight hair, gainful employment and a preference for expensive gin) is right.

Teenage Jaime: I just know that if my crush got to know me – I mean really know me – they would totally fall in love with me, right?
Adult Jaime: Wrong! “I mean nothing to you and I don’t know why?” Uh, seriously sailor? I think I know why. It’s because you’re a presumptuous wank who thinks you know everything. Seriously, Dipshit – If you really did say and do all the right things at exactly the right time, they would notice. Trust me.
Teenage Jaime: ….Wow. I’m kind of a dick when I grow up.
Adult Jaime: Yeah, but look how cute our hair is.
Teenage Jaime: Good point. So, what do I do about this whole crush thing?
Adult Jaime: Know when to hold ’em. Know when to fold ’em.
Teenage Jaime: Did…did you just quote Kenny Rogers to me? Are..are you drunk right now?
Adult Jaime: Possibly.

Everything You Want had a pretty insidious effect on me. Teenage girls are already prone to crushing insecurity. Teenage girls with frizzy hair, glasses and Jessica Rabbit curves in a Bilbo Baggins body? Even more so.

That being said – I love this song. If I randomly hear it on the radio or on my iPod, I’m going to turn it up. But I’m old enough now to know the truth – that if someone loves you, they love you. That’s the long and the short of it. You don’t need to say all the right things at exactly the right time. You don’t need be some sort of mythical inspirational figure.

You just need to be yourself and if they can’t figure it out and they don’t love you based on that? Fuck ’em.

There’s seven billion people wandering around this shiny blue orb. You’ll find someone who wants you. Because, y’know, math.

And also because you’re kinda fucking amazing.

Trust me on that one – I’ve got cute hair and like good gin. I kinda know what I’m talking about.

Dress You Up In My Love Or, Style Rules From A Girl Who Has None

For the longest time, I had no clue how to dress myself.

I was “Pants go on bottom, top goes on top” girl and I’m pretty sure there was one point in high school where I lived in a pair of jeans, a plain white tee and flip-flops.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten a little bit better. I became involved with the most important relationship in my life (with my flat iron), I learned how to apply mascara without blinding myself and I’ve discovered some ridiculously easy ways to present a better version of myself to this world.

I’m not talking that Glamour/Cosmo bullshit that involves buying expensive products and doing inane things like heating up your eyelash curler so your lashes will curl better (Yeah. OK. Let me take this hot piece of metal and jab it in my eye. That sounds like a plan)

I’m talking legit advice for a girl who just wants to look hot and feel better while she shovels pizza into her gaping maw and schools a bunch of rookies on why Batman and Iron Man aren’t technically superheroes but rather, bad-ass vigilantes/genius, billionaire, playboy philanthropists.

Style Rules From A Girl Who Has None:

– Sweatpants are acceptable for the following:

– Working out (but dude, running shorts)
– Sleeping (but dude, why are you wearing pants at all?)
– For when you’re sick (Eh, you’re sick. You get a pass. Get cozy on the couch – I’m gonna get you some soup)
– For that 72 hour window after your boyfriend dumps you and you spend quality time shame-eating fast food and listening to sad bastard music.

They are unacceptable otherwise. Especially if the ass is emblazoned with any sort of lettering. When I see ‘Juicy’ scrawled on your ass, I don’t think luscious ba-donk; I think anal leakage.

– Pearls on a little girl! It’s a fairy tale! And if you get that reference – hello new best friend! Seriously, though? A pair of pearl earrings will treat you right. I got mine at Forever 21 for like, two bucks. Fake it until you make it.

– Mascara. Seriously. It takes you from a six to a ten, makes you look more awake and it takes literally 30 seconds to apply.

– Dude, have you seen your legs? Those pins are aces and girl, you better work. Trade in the jeans for a swingy skirt or a fabulous frock. Throw on a pair of wedges or a pair of colorful flats and immediately feel 76% more attractive.

Three Really Fucking Good Reasons To Wear A Dress:

1. If you’re wearing a dress, you’re not wearing pants and we all know that no pants = the best pants.
2. It is absurdly easy to get dressed in the morning. This past winter, I pretty much lived in sweater dresses and boots. And I swear, it felt like I was getting one over on the universe. “Wait…Hold up. I can basically putz around in what is essentially a long, fitted sweater, throw on a pair of boots and a necklace and people will compliment me? Awesome!”
3. I seriously have much more self-confidence when I wear a dress and heels.

frock

Case in point – this dress. When I wear this dress, I feel much more polished, poised, capable and yes, pretty.

Now, some might think this is dipshittery of the highest order and that I should feel good regardless of my sartorial choices, but I DON’T, OK? I  don’t.

Look dudes – like every other woman out there, I’m a quivering wreck wracked with insecurities.  I have scrutinized every part of my body, I have pinched and grimaced and I have felt so damn unpretty. And it sucks and every single woman I know has done the same exact thing.

And if putting on a dress and a pair of heels lessens that personal assault, then goddamn it – I’m flingin’ on a frock.

Look good, feel better, BE better.

I’m trying to make this a thing. You should too. It’s fun.

Bukowski Girls and Neruda Girls Or, Every Last Little Light In New York City

There are two kinds of girls in this world – Neruda Girls and Bukowski Girls.

Neruda girls want to hear:

For those of you not fluent in Spanish (full disclosure: I am not. I can curse and order food), it translates to, “I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.”

It’s a good great line, right? Passionate, evocative, poetic and brimming with romantic promise.

Neruda Girls eat this up – warm honey all sticky-sweet on their fingertips.

Then, you’ve got your Bukowski girls who want to hear:

Like all teenage girls in love with the idea of love, I was once a Neruda Girl.

But now, that kind of talk just makes me cut my eyes, cock my head and go, “What’s your game, friend? What do you want?”

It’s not that I don’t believe Neruda’s lines. I’m sure he does want a woman to bloom underneath him. To burst forth all blushing pink and sweet.

I just think that Bukowski – irascible, inebriated bastard that he was – is a lot more honest.

Neruda will love you madly. He’ll grab you by your hips and sweep you up in this overwhelming delirium – all wild kisses tearing at your lips and your heart. All shattered plates and screaming and storming out. All blood and sweat and salt.

And he’ll do it again and again and again. Maybe with you or maybe with someone else.

Bukowski is just sort of fucking amazed by your very presence and the fact that you’re willing to give him everything. The fact that he’s willing if not eager to offer up everything left of him. But this is hardly devoid of passion because your kisses leave your lips raw with love and let’s face it, Bukowski might just die if you ever take your love away.

I’m a Bukowski Girl.

I never craved madness or a love that would make my blood boil.

All I want to do is just be in the same sun-dappled bedroom. To listen to you breathe and be close enough to touch. Because that’s enough. The warmth of your body, our records, our books, our morning coffee, your smile and how you make me laugh. Again and again and again.

 

 

 

It’s Just a Little Bag, But We’d Feel Naked in Public Without It Or, What’s In My Bag?

My favorite episode of Boy Meets World is the one where Shawn falls in love with Angela based on the contents of her bag.

When I was younger, I had all sorts of interesting shit in my bag – guitar picks, crumpled photos and notes, concert ticket stubs, sand and seashells (always sand) and errant bits of jewelry.

Now, I am old, boring and functional and my bag definitely reflects that fact.

– My camera. I got Fudge Pop (yes, I named my camera Fudge Pop) for my 29th birthday and I love him.
– Pens. Because nary a day goes by without me scribbling something frantically on my hand.
– My overstuffed wallet with more money that jingles than folds, entirely too many cards and stubs and a baseball card featuring Cole Hamels of the Philadelphia Phillies. Dude’s got a wicked biscuit.
– My glasses. I think I need a new prescription. My terrible eyes are starting to get even worse. I’m kinda digging on these.
– Hand Sanitizer from the Body Shop. It’s supposed to smell like lemons. It smells like low-grade kitchen cleaner. Not cute.
– Ibuprofen
– The Comforter solid perfume from Lush. It smells like blackcurrants which reminds me of my childhood because I was all about the Ribena and black jelly babies.
– My phone. It is not fancy. It is not cool. It is not pretty. But it is functional and enables me to stay in touch with the people I love the most. Also, Twitter.
– Passionberry Vanilla Body Butter. According to Ulta, it is a sensual mix of passionfruit, pink berries and vanilla orchids. According to me, it smells yummy.
– A mirror
– Errant hair ties and bobby pins because even though I wake up two hours before work to do my hair, it still looks like a bird’s nest most days.
– Chacho. He’s my lucha libre good luck charm who wrestles away the bad mojo in my life. Also, it reminds me of home as I got it the last time Paps, my sister and I went to the supermercado by Mom’s. That place is awesome. Fully stocked with Mexican coke, spicy snacks, good Cuban coffee and kick-ass hot sauce. Man, I miss that joint.
– Make up bag.
– Orthotricyclen. ‘Cause you know what’s awesome? Modern medicine.
– Bobbi Brown lip gloss, Sugar lip balm and Burt’s Bees lip balm. I might have a lip of a problem.
– Cinnamon flavored gum. Growing up as a kid in England, cinnamon-flavored gum didn’t exist. I remember actually chewing sticks of cinnamon (ah, the joys of growing up ethnic…). Then, I moved to the States, discovered this magical stuff and became obsessed.
– Lush’s Shimmy Shimmy Bar. Or as Sarah calls it, ‘that stripper stuff you have.’ Thanks, Sarah!
Smith’s Minted Rose Lip Balm. Again, I have a problem.
– Lush’s Mint Julip Lip Exfoliant. It smells good, it tastes good and makes my lips soft. Girl’s gotta be prepared in case Ron Livingston shows up (I’m sorry, Mrs. Livingston. Your husband is a very handsome man)
– Keys to Esther.
– Notebook for scribbling random nonsense. Mostly, “Yo Dipshit! Don’t Forget: ______” lists.
– A cardigan because most places I do, the air is turned down to arctic levels and I get really cold, really easily.

What’s in your bag?