Wednesday, February 29, 2012

How Not to Get a Girl 2

Another guy i work with. Again, all totally real.

N: So you and John are not engaged yet?
Me: No. There's no need to rush things like that. If we're going to be spending the rest of our lives together, then we have the rest of our lives. We don't need to get married immediately.
N: Wow. You're so amazing. If only you were single . . .

N: Hey, gorgeous. How's John?
Me: He's great. We're great. Things are so great with us.
N: Awww, you guys are so cute together. I wish I could find someone like you.

N: How was your break?
Me: Pretty good.
N: And how's John? Did you guys spend any time together over the holidays?
Me: Yeah; actually, he came down to Maryland with me and met my whole family.
N: How did that go?
Me: It went great. Everyone really loved him. It was wonderful.
N: Awesome. So are you guys still together, or . . . ?

Me: So you have a girlfriend now?
N: Yeah. I figured I couldn't wait around for you forever.
Me: I wondered why you hadn't been hitting on me as much lately.
N: Ha ha ha!
Me: Awwww. You laugh like i'm kidding.

N: Guess what I'm doing in two hours?!
Me: Making out with your girlfriend?
N: No. She's six hours away.
Me: I know. I just like to taunt you.
N: Ew. Um, for some reason my brain connected "taunt" with you and me making out, and . . . Ew. Not that I think it would be gross to make out with you, just . . . With the relationship we have, it would be . . . Not that I want to make out with you . . . Or that I've thought about it . . .
Me: Do you need another shovel? Oh, no, it looks like you're doing just fine with the one you've got.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Second Nerdiest Thing I've Ever Done

I've spent the last month or so obsessively reading the MarkReads reviews of Twilight, Harry Potter, and The Lord of the Rings, as well as the MarkWatches reviews of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. So when Mark announced that his first ever tour, "Intensity in Ten Cities", would include a stop in Boston, i naturally RSVP'd on Facebook immediately.

None of my friends were available to go with me (translation: no one else wanted to spend three hours at a table of strangers just to talk to a relatively obscure blogger and a bunch of MMRPG-playing basement-dwellers about Harry Potter), so i decided to go alone. At the last minute, interest was so great that Mark reserved a room in a Hilton near the original location.

I walked in the rain to the train station, rode into Boston, walked in the rain to the hotel, and sat in a room full of strangers for three hours while we talked about Harry Potter, Dr. Who, Battlestar Galactica, Lord of the Rings, and similarly nerdy topics. We also read aloud from terrible novels (like Knight Moves, a time-traveling erotic novel that has only seen the light of day because the author owns the publishing company), and acted out particularly-poorly written action scenes in very bad Harry Potter fanfic ("Harry pulled Draco away from Ginny as Hermione pulled Ginny away from each other.")

Afterwards, a sub-group went to a vegetarian/vegan diner, where i ate my first meatless burger (chickpea and mushroom) and vegan ice cream (coconut-based vanilla). It was all delicious, although there is simply no good substitute for ground beef. Shut up, turkey burger. There were fourteen women and Mark, all sitting around one table. At one point, M and i wanted to discuss an upcoming event in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but since Mark is currently watching that series and has a VERY strict no-spoilers policy, we couldn't talk about it. So we settled for acting out an elaborate pantomime of the upcoming events and our feelings about them. As i sat across the table from M, using my hands and facial expressions to tell her how excited i was to see Mark freak out about THAT ONE THING, it struck me that i had never been in a position quite like that one before.

In fact, the only time i have ever done anything nerdier than i did that night was October of 2001. The first Harry Potter movie came out that November, so while people were aware of the characters, they weren't yet instantly recognizable. This did not deter my siblings, Agelseb, and i from making our own Harry Potter costumes. One of my sisters wore a Sorting Hat costume made of (clean) garbage bags and paint, and i dressed as Hermione, even carrying a massive copy of Isaac Asimov's Guide to the Bible for added realism. So, yeah.

How Not to Get a Girl 1

These stories are all based on real events. In fact, they are all based on one guy who used to work with me.

A (picking up my hair): Your hair smells great.
Me: Please don't smell my hair.

A: See? This is why you should marry me.
Me: Because i told you about Dominos bread bowls?
A: Yes. We help each other out.
Me: But that's only an example of how i have helped you. What do you do for me?
A: I make you laugh. And that's the gift that lasts forever. How long can a bread bowl keep you satisfied? As long as it's on the menu. But how long can I keep you satisfied? As long as I'm alive.

A: This is why you should marry me. Because we have the same kind of energy beaming back and forth between us. I can see the energy in your soul beaming from your eyes into my eyes.
Me: Please stop talking.

A: I've updated my wardrobe, you know, trying to find more clothes like Casey might wear. Because I figured, you like the way he dresses, so maybe if I dress like him, you'll go out with me?
Me: I like Casey.

A: Did Casey give you that necklace?
Me: No. In fact, we broke up a few months ago.
A: What? You didn't tell me! I had no idea. Why didn't you tell me?
Me: It just didn't come up.
A: I'm so sorry. Man. Well, hey, now that that door is open, you wanna go get some coffee together or something?
Me: No.

A: See, I have a confession: the reason I've been asking you out more often is that I told Erica that I could get any girl I wanted. And she said I couldn't get you, no matter what. And I told her if I stepped up my game a little, I totally could.
Me: I know. She told me. She's my roommate.
A: So I'm stepping up my game.
Me: And stepping up your game involves . . . asking me out more often?
A: Well. Yeah. Pretty much.
Me: Yeah. It's not going to work. Erica was right.
A: We'll see.

A: I feel like I'll be at your wedding one day, and I'll be like, "Wow, you look so hot. You wanna go get coffee some time?" And your husband will go to punch me, and you'll be like, "No, babe. It's not worth it. His life is sad enough already."
Me: Yeah, that's pretty much how it would go down.

A: This is why we should get married, because we could just sit on our porch, and you could read, and I could be playing you music on the guitar, while we drink sweet tea and our beautiful adopted Black children run around in the yard.
Me: . . .

Friday, February 24, 2012

Overheard in the Office 10

Two voicemails from this morning:

"Hi, my name is L, and I would love to come to your school. So if you could give me a call back, that would be great. Bye!"
Um, yeah. We're going to need a little bit more than that.

"Hi, my name is (unintelligible murmur), and my number is xxx-xxx-xxmumblemumble. If you could call me back, I'd really appreciate it."
No worries. I'll get right on that.

Some people should not be allowed to use a phone.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Reason #6 Why I Should Live With My Boyfriend

Pammer just asked me if cats can masturbate.
"I really don't know that much about cat sexuality," i told her.
She continued to try to have a totally serious conversation with me about cat masturbation.

Overheard in the Office 9

Shouting. Lots and lots of shouting coming from a closed-door meeting in the next department over from mine.

Later, C mentioned the shouting meeting.
"Yeah, i heard that," i told her.
"It was all one person," she told me.

Later still, the assistant provost told me that she'd had a rough morning. I recommended that she drink some coffee.
"I almost threw my hot coffee on someone in a meeting earlier to cool them down!"
"Well, in that case, i think you need one of our fresh-baked chocolate-chip and M'N'M cookies."
"Ooh. Yeah. I might need one of those. I think I'll grab one now."

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

occasional vegetarian

This year, as once before in high school, i have decided to give up eating meat for Lent.

In some ways, it's almost too easy a decision to "count" as a Lenten sacrifice. In others, it is unimaginably difficult and complicated.

I eat meat nearly every day, because that's how you put together a meal: meat, grains (like rice or pasta), and vegetables. Except that, while you do need iron and protein every day, you don't need to get it from meat. You could serve pita bread with hummus and carrot sticks and still have a balanced meal, and with much less of the fat and salt that tend to accompany meat.

Cows are meant to eat grass. They are left all day to graze on grassy meadows. But when it's time for a real meal and not just all-day snacking, they are often fed grain instead of hay. This is because grain makes cows fatter faster, and people like their beef plump and juicy.

It takes about fifteen pounds of grain to make one pound of beef. That's fifteen pounds of grain that could have fed a starving child instead of clogging my arteries and padding my hips and draining my wallet. Because cows are left to graze all day anyway, and hay is pretty cheap. Grain, on the other hand, has to be bought, and that makes the beef more expensive. We are paying more money to die faster and let children around the world starve just because we like our burgers extra juicy.

I like chicken okay. I like roast pork and ribs sometimes, but i don't eat them very often. I'm not a big fan of turkey, ham, or roast pork. I love sea food, and the thought of bacon, steak, and burgers makes my mouth water.

But i eat chicken nearly every day, because it is a cheap and easy way to provide the meat that i somehow feel i am supposed to have.

If science could come up with meatless bacon, steak, and burgers that are as good as the real thing, i'd switch to vegetarianism in a heartbeat and never look back. But somehow, even turkey burgers are not quite the same thing. And i almost never eat these meats, because they are expensive and harder to cook than chicken, and because i know that chicken is healthier.

For the next forty days, i will be deliberately planning meatless meals. I will endeavor to get my daily allowance of protein and iron from other sources, and since i only eat red meat and bacon about three times a month, i won't miss them too much.

After Easter, who knows? I'll be glad to sink my teeth into a fat, juicy, steak: pink and tender in the middle, seared in olive oil, rosemary, and sea salt. But i doubt that i'll eat bacon or red meat any more often after Easter than i do now. And chicken is just something i buy to "finish" my meal. Why not plan meals more deliberately to exclude meat? Why not alternate between really delicious meats that i actually want to eat and no meat at all? Doesn't that seem more sensible?


Today i visited my gas station attendant friend, Hamid. Ever since the first time i had to put gas in my car in Quincy, i have gone to Hamid, because he is awesome and because i believe in loyalty.

Hamid always asks me how i am doing. The last time i was there, he also asked about my life in general, what i was doing. I told him i was in school and working, and that i was very busy. Hamid's English is good, but not great, and the conversation was had as we leaned across my passenger window, so we didn't get into a lot of detail about goals and dreams and personal histories. But he knows that i am there for gas every other week, unless i've had to run a lot of errands and visit him a week early. And he told me that i would be a beautiful teacher of English.

Today, he asked again how i was doing.
"I'm good. Busy."
"With work, and school? You are full time?"
"Yes, full time work and school. I am very busy."
"Oh, it must be very hard for you. You are doing okay?"
"Yes, i am doing okay. It is good to be busy."
He smiles. "And you are alone? You have someone to help you, to cook for you?"
Are you hitting on me, Hamid? i wonder. But all i say is, "I cook for myself." I say it with a smile.
"Ah. And your family?"
"They are far away. They are in another state, about eight hours away."
"Ah. It must be very hard. Or easy? You are happy, or no?"
"I have friends here, so i am happy."
"It is good. Good to have friends."
We are both smiling, because that is more than words.
"You have a good week. I see you later?"
"Yes. You too!"

As i pull away and head for the grocery store, Mumford and Sons is the soundtrack to my inner monologue.

Cold is the water
It freezes your already cold mind
Already cold, cold mind

It is hard. I am very busy, and i am so tired, so tired. My family is far away, a mixed blessing. My friends are near, also a mixed blessing. Sometimes i get stuck in my own head. I've been feeling pretty stuck lately.

And you have your choices
And these are what make man great 
His ladder to the stars

I am so lucky to be where i am. This is everything i wanted and more than i ever dreamed of, and it should be hard. If it were easy, it would hardly be worth having. The work is what will enable me to be what i should be, what i could be.

But you are not alone in this
You are not alone in this
As brothers we will stand and we'll hold your hand
Hold your hand

I am not alone. I have Hamid, for one. And Benji, Emily, Larissa, John, and so many others. Hand-holding is powerful, whether it is actual fingers clasping or a smile shared over a half-opened passenger side window.

You are not alone in this
You are not alone in this

Monday, February 20, 2012


A few weeks ago, a minor spat with John spiraled into a total emotional breakdown on my part, including an hour of sobbing incoherently and talking about my parents. (To be clear, this was not at all John's fault. The minor spat was a conversation we'd been needing to have, and one off-handed remark of his opened my eyes to something in my life that i hadn't seen before and desperately needed to deal with.)

I knew that i had the power to hurt other people if i wished. I came to terms with that power a long time ago, and i try to use it responsibly. I am fully aware that i can intentionally hurt others with my words and actions.

What never struck me was how easily i could hurt someone unintentionally just because of who i am.

I am broken. 

It's hard for me to be loved. Some of that comes from my stubborn streak, some of it from my natural independence, and some from bad experiences with my mom and Casey. Both of them hurt me a lot because of who they are, because of their brokenness, and some of my own brokenness comes from them. But somehow it never occurred to me that i could turn around and do the same thing. It never occurred to me that pulling away and putting up walls and drawing deeply into myself -- simply because that is who i am and i don't know another way to be -- hurts other people. Even when people would tell me this, in an attempt to help me open up to others and improve both my life and theirs, it never really clicked.

I am broken, and the shards can cut those who want to hold me close.

I had an epiphany a while back about letting people help me. I realized that turning down help is denying another person a chance to be blessed. I resolved to get better about accepting help from others, realizing that my pride was not worth more than another person's happiness.

And while i did get a little bit better, i was still placing myself at the center of the issue. I was blessing other people by allowing them to do things for me. Therefore, when i allowed someone to help me, i was really doing something for them.

Sometimes, i need to put my pride entirely away and allow myself to be opened and broken and emptied, so that i can be filled anew. Sometimes, i need to care more about another person's joy than my own. Sometimes, i need to allow myself to be uncomfortable for the sake of making someone else's day better.

I am broken, and cannot mend myself.

While there are some things that i simply need to process all on my own, there are many more times when i need to turn to someone else. Whether this is God, a counselor, a teacher, or a friend, there are times when someone else has to help me smooth out the rough parts, match up the pieces, and glue it all back together.

I need to be more honest with myself and with others about my brokenness, and warn them about the edges. I need to know that they understand that i am broken, and that getting too close means that they will inevitably be cut from time to time. It is not my job to protect everyone in the world from everything that could ever hurt them, even when that includes me.

I need to know that being mended leaves scars. Some of them will be stronger than before. Some will be weaker. Some will ache. None will ever be entirely forgotten. I will live with my broken places every day, and so will the people who love me. Because they love me, and that's what you do.

I am broken.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Hector Elizondo

I am a regular reader of The Bloggess, who is way better at everything in life than most people will ever be at anything, and who owns a giant metal chicken named Beyonce. I once sent my boyfriend a link to the story where Jenny first procured Beyonce, because i thought it was a funny example of the kind of thing that would happen in our household one day. He immediately responded that i was never allowed to have a giant metal chicken. It escalated into a Facebook debate involving two of our other friends. This fight, by the way? Happened on the weekend we were celebrating my birthday. And Christmas. (Rude, John. Rude.)

And THEN!!! Jenny bought another, less giant metal chicken, and offered it up as a prize in this post. Obviously, the chicken in question was named Hector Elizondo, but some other people disagreed with me and i did not win it, despite the flawless argument in my comment to Jenny:

My boyfriend and i had a fight on my birthday about whether or not i was allowed to have a Beyonce of my very own. If i win this one, it’s free, which means that it’s like a gift, which means that i HAVE to keep it. Because it would be rude not to. But maybe he’ll make me keep it in the attic and only bring it out when Jenny visits. But Jenny will probably NEVER visit, John, because we live in Massachusetts and she lives in Texas and we have never met! So it’s just going to be in the attic all the time? What’s the point of that?! I can’t believe how he tries to suppress my decorating instincts. Rude. I am so mad at him right now!

Anyway, once i had entered the contest, i waited until John and i were snuggling in bed one night to spring the ultimate bargaining chip: i would wear a wedding dress on our wedding day if he would let me have a giant metal chicken.

Let me give you some background: when i was fifteen or sixteen, a friend of mine got married. I was a bridesmaid. The stress and politics and bullshit involved in a wedding seemed unthinkably absurd to me. American wedding culture makes this "the bride's day", which makes me viscerally angry; the whole point of a wedding is that TWO people are in a RELATIONSHIP. I don't like to be the center of attention, and i especially don't want to be the center of attention on a day that is supposed to be about me and my HUSBAND. Furthermore, i hate planning, and big events, and spending unnecessary money, and pretty much everything about weddings. Don't get me wrong: i like marriage, and want to be married one day, and i am that girl that has been dreaming about big fancy beautiful weddings since i was three. But so much of the crap that goes along with weddings is just that: crap.

The solution seemed obvious: a near-elopement, where the only people invited are the ones who are so important to your lives, both as individuals and as a couple, that you couldn’t imagine your wedding day without them. Have a casual ceremony in someone’s back yard. Don't announce the date before-hand. Wear t-shirts and jeans. Carry a bouquet of wildflowers harvested from the side of the road. Have an open-house reception after the honeymoon for all the people who weren't invited.

I’m totally serious about the t-shirt and jeans thing, by the way. I imagined myself in a white t-shirt (to keep up the “bridal” appearance), blue jeans (something blue) my mother’s pearls (something borrowed), and white Old Navy flip-flops (brand new, of course). Agelseb insisted that i had to wear a veil, so i considered something simple and no more than elbow-length. Or maybe just fresh flowers in my hair and screw her.

But John was not happy with this. He really wanted me to wear a wedding gown.

What he doesn’t know (or won't until he reads this) is that i had already decided to wear a dress. I stumbled across THE dress one day, totally by accident, and knew instantly that i would be married in that gown. But i continued to tease John with casual dress ideas.

“Maybe i’ll wear the dress i wore on our first date. That was white.”
“Yeah, but it was also kind of . . . short. And tight.”
“Yeah. Sexy! You loved it, remember? You thought i looked totally hot.”
“Yeah, but for your wedding, you don’t really want to be . . . hot. You're supposed to be more elegant and -- you can still be casual! -- but it's more about, like, purity and love. Not just sexiness.”
“Well, i have that white sundress, too. It's longer and not so tight. Maybe i’ll just wear that.”

But Hector Elizondo proved John's undoing. In an attempt to butter John up to the inevitability of me one day owning a metal chicken of a yet-to-be-determined size, i promised him that i would wear a wedding dress if he would allow me to have a metal chicken. He agreed, and then became very proud of himself for having made a deal that did not require him to display said metal chicken (just as i had predicted he would). Little did he know that he had actually lost the battle, since i had already found THE dress and planned to buy it without telling him.

Now all i need is Hector Elizondo and my victory will be complete! And the thing that sweetens the victory? John is so determined for me to wear a wedding dress that he is now committed to helping me find a metal chicken, just so that i will be "forced" to hold up my end of the deal, which i was already going to anyway. Basically, i manipulated my boyfriend into doing something that i wanted in exchange for a promise that i would do something else i wanted to do.

This is going to be the best marriage ever.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

It's tough being wildly attractive.

So because today is Valentine's Day, and because i have to look nice for work/look sexy for my boyfriend later, i am wearing black lace tights.

And because i am making him dinner, i needed to pick up some fresh ingredients today.

On my lunch break, i went to the grocery store. As i was headed for the checkout, a woman with a small child stopped me.

"Oh. Mygod. I love your tights."
I laughed nervously. "Oh! Um, thank you!"
"No, seriously. You look hot."
"Oh . . . thank you."
"Seriously. Those tights are so hot."
"Um, I got them at CVS."
"Get out!"
"Yep. They were five bucks."
"They are so amazing. You look adorable. Do you have plans tonight?"
"Yes. Yes i do."
"Good, because you look really hot."
"Um, thank you."
"You have a great day."
More nervous laughter. "Um, okay!"

I mean, they are pretty smoking. But please, ladies and gents, keep your pants on. It's two thirty on a Tuesday, and your shopping cart is blocking the snack aisle.

In her defense, these are fairly stunning.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Ghosts of Boyfriends Past: Casey

I don't like thinking too much about "Casey", but it's good to get it out.

In my sophomore year of college, i was recovering from my first love. I was finally starting to move on, when along came Casey. He was a senior, and had spent the last semester studying at Oxford.

Initially, he was interested in my friend Emily, but after she rejected him he took an interest in me. I had always had a thing for him, despite my gut feeling that he was an asshole. Our relationship progressed slowly; it was April, and he was graduating in May. Plus there was the awkwardness of Emily to deal with. We were all three uncomfortable with the situation, and each of us was jealous of the others for one reason or another. It was messy.

In late April/early May, Casey and i were making out almost every day, though the words "relationship" and "boyfriend/girlfriend" had yet to be spoken, except in jest. He told me that he loved me, and that he wanted to marry me and raise children with me and settle down with me, but he would not call me his girlfriend. I was hopelessly besotted and was certain that everything would work out in time.

After graduation, his plan was to have his parents pay his rent and other expenses while he figured out what he wanted to do with his life. Shockingly, they objected to this plan, and brought him back with them to Texas. I was devastated by the separation, but he assured me that all would be well.

And for a time, it was. We talked constantly on Facebook, AIM, and text. I downloaded Skype and bought a webcam; he promised that he'd get around to it. We talked about his dreams, goals, desires, trying to figure out his calling in life. But as the summer went on, things got more and more strained. I was living on campus and had no friends nearby. He was living at home and likewise alone. We were both slipping into a depression, but while i clung to him as my source of light and comfort, he pushed me away. He wanted to wallow in his misery.

Toward the end of July, he was in a wedding in Massachusetts. He came up for a long weekend, and he got a hotel room. For the first time in my life, i shared a bed with a lover. Yet despite our closeness, we still lacked intimacy. There was a wall between us, and i didn't know how to get rid of it. Things came to a head on his last night. We had had a fight, and i was crying silently in the corner of the bed. I would have left, but it was dark and well after midnight and nearly a mile to walk back to campus. He noticed my trembling, and suddenly his arms were around me and he was whispering in my ear. He apologized for his distance and coldness, and begged my forgiveness. He promised that things would get better soon, that he would snap out of it and figure out his life, that he would move back to New England and we would be together.

That was the night that i almost had sex.

I was nineteen, naked, and saying yes, but Casey couldn't follow through. I later concluded (perhaps falsely; i'm not sure) that it was because he loved me. He told me that night that he knew i wanted to wait, that he didn't want to ruin my future, that he didn't want to ruin our future. So he abstained, and we slept together in only the most literal sense.

Over the next few weeks, our communication grew steadily more sporadic. From August to February, he did not speak to me at all. I wrote him letters almost daily, and saved them in a bundle to send to him one day.

At last, he contacted me again. We started to talk, and i sent him my letters. Our relationship took off to new heights. He had pulled out of his depression and was determined to find a job -- any job -- and save up to move back to me. He would go through Hell to be at my side, my love would sustain him through any trial, and together we would have a wonderful life.

But he couldn't follow through. His depression and self-doubt continued to hound him, and prevented him from supporting me. Understand this: i believed then and still do now that Casey loved me as completely as he was able to. I just don't believe that he was capable of very much love. He couldn't support me in my endeavors if he was not personally interested in them. It wasn't enough to love me. He couldn't ask about my day, he couldn't ask about my writing, he couldn't ask about my friends, my family, or my faith. I eventually realized that he only loved me in relation to himself. He only loved me because i was pretty and smart and talented and i loved him. He could see this wonderful creature who was interested in him and feel better about himself. Beyond that, i had no value to him. He didn't care about any intricacies of my personality and character that were not directly involved with his ego. He just wanted brainy arm candy, and if i had hobbies outside of him, that was fine. But he had no desire to be involved with any parts of my life that didn't intersect with his.

Finally, i ended it. My heart had been so broken and bruised that i had nothing left to give him. He begged for a second chance, but i was reluctant to give it. We continued to talk every day, but i was growing tired of his neediness and his shallow interest in me. Finally, after the whole Theo thing, i knew i had to tell him what i had done. Not because he was my boyfriend and i had been unfaithful, but because he wanted to be my boyfriend and i thought he was entitled to know the truth. I also had a presentiment that he would want nothing further to do with me when he found out what i'd done.

I was right. He told me that he wanted nothing further to do with me, that he never wanted to think about me again, and after one very strange email exchange that September, we never spoke again.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Ghosts of Boyfriends Past: James

A friend of mine coined a term in college: Freshman Mulligan. For those of you (like me) who are not up on your golf terms, a mulligan is a free do-over. Basically, if you mess up your stroke, you can take it over again and the bad one isn't counted on your score-card.

A freshman mulligan is a relationship in your freshman year of college that is a really terrible idea, but you're a freshman, so you get to date someone else and pretend that the old one never happened.

James is my very messy, complicated, unfortunate, regretful Freshman Mulligan.

The day i moved into my freshman dorm was the day that my parents decided to separate. My first care package from home, in October, contained a letter from my mom. Tucked in between the funny stories from home and the advice about college life were a few lines about her marriage. They were in therapy, but she didn't have much hope for a future.

Obviously, i was not in any condition to get into a serious relationship. So obviously, that was exactly what i did. James was a kid i'd known for two or three years from church events. He was really sweet and gentle, like a teddy bear. I knew that he was safe and loyal and easy, that being with him would be effortless, that i could take shelter in his affection without risking my heart. I liked him, but i knew from the start that this would never be a serious relationship.

There were other issues with our relationship. He was far more conservative than i, and constantly disagreed with me on things like my desire to get a tattoo, or my bellybutton ring. Also, he very much wanted to find a good Christian girl in college, settle down and get married, and be a pastor. I am not cut out to be a traditional pastor's wife, and he wouldn't be anything but a traditional pastor, his facial piercings and Chucks notwithstanding. I was seventeen and hurt and vulnerable and terrified, and didn't want to think about marriage just yet. But even before we started dating, he was thinking about how my first name would sound with his last one. Even before we started dating, he was thinking about the kids we'd have.

We dated for barely four months before i was strong enough to cut it off. He'd known it was coming, but was still bitter and angry and jealous, convinced that i was dating a mutual (flamboyantly gay) friend. He said nasty things behind my back and through text messages, he got very angry whenever he saw me with my gay "boyfriend", and he brooded all over campus for the next three months. And then he started dating a fabulously beautiful blonde athletic genius. They got married two years later.

A friend of mine once asked how James, who was of average intelligence, charm, and looks, had managed to land two of the most attractive girls in our graduating class. I can't speak for his wife, but i can say that while James may have been pretty nondescript and a little annoying, he was nice. And he was safe. And sometimes, that's all you're looking for.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Larissa, You're So Vain, You Probably Think This Post Is About You

While C is out of the office, i have no one to tell my stories to. So i'll have to tell them here.

Yesterday, Wesley came in and awkwardly visited me for a while. Also, he may have taken a picture of me with his phone. We should check his background and see if it's still you or if it's switched to me.

My food stash in my desk is running low. I need to buy more peanut butter m'n'ms and Pringles. Also, i worked out yesterday and now my abs hurt. Boo.

KP has me doing more grading projects for her. We should totally start a grading business for professors and local teachers. We could make bank. We can work up a business plan while you're in Mongolia and then launch it when you get back.

I feel like i had another story to tell you, but maybe i was hallucinating. I need a nap.

I hate it when people call/come into the office and have no idea who they need to talk to.
"Um, I got a letter from someone about something, so . . . can you do that?"
What? No. Read the letter again. See if there is any helpful information in there anywhere. Even one word, like "account" or "schedule" could be enormously helpful. You really don't remember anything? How have you managed to stay alive this long, let alone get into college? Please step away from my desk before i cut you.

Four o'clock. This is what my ex used to call the "power hour". He was dumb. This is also when you usually drift over to my desk to see how i am killing time in the last hour. Usually, i'm reading blogs, Facebook chatting with my boyfriend, or doing homework. Today i would probably complain to you about how my abs hurt and i should never have started working out again. Because they do, and i shouldn't have. Let's be honest: i'm already as hot as anyone could ever be, right? What's the point of working out?

Someone in my office was wearing jeans and Uggs today. I think it's perfectly acceptable for you and i to relax our dress code a little.

I really want to have a tea party one day. Mostly because my dad gave me this hand-me-down tea set and i haven't really had a chance to use it. Let's have a tea party with little elegant cakes and big flowered hats when the weather gets warmer. We can have it on my porch. Because Beer Street is the epitome of class and sophistication.

Okay, it's almost 5:00. Damn, this was a boring day at work. Please come back and be bored with me? Kthanx.


You'd better have some great stories from this trip. All i want is for all of your decisions in life to pan out positively for me, in terms of entertainment and vicarious thrills. Is that too much to ask? Please keep in mind that if you tell me interesting stories, i might blog them. And it will be almost like you're famous. I mean, not really, because i would steal the story and not give you any credit, and anyway i only have like five readers, but it's something, right?

My abs still hurt from working out on Monday. This is Wednesday. This is why i never work out. Except that i did lunges today, but whatever. My legs are fine.

Wesley just brought me a fax and asked where to sign up for a campus tour.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Ghosts of Boyfriends Past: Ford/Victor

Since neither of these relationships lasted for longer than a month, i'm combining them into one entry.

"Ford" was first. When i was fourteen, my friends and i started inexplicably taking late-night trips to Acme (grocery store). Looking back, i'm sure these trips really only happened half a dozen times, but it seemed like we were there once a week, usually to stock up on chips and soda for a sleepover.

There was one bag boy who was HOT. And i don't mean that we were fourteen and thought he was cute but really he was dorky. I mean he looked like an Abercrombie model. He was clearly older than we were, but no one was sure how much older. He always seemed to be there when we were, and always seemed to be looking at me. I actually didn't notice his attention until one of my friends pointed it out.

"Acme Boy is staring at you!" she whispered piercingly.
"What? No. I'm sure he's looking at all of us," i whispered back.

But the other girls soon confirmed it: Acme Boy had eyes only for me. Many months went by of awkward staring and smiling. When i was there with my mom, he'd check me out. When i was there with my friends, he'd check me out. Finally, one day, i was there with my uncle. As we were in the checkout line, Acme Boy was bagging groceries two lanes away. A few minutes later, he found a reason to move to the very next line. We continued staring and grinning until i was distracted by my uncle. Suddenly, Acme Boy was standing right next to me, and he slipped me a piece of paper, whispering, "Call me." On it was his name and number.

My friends and i were speechless with giggles. (What? We were fourteen. The stereotype is true: teenage girls giggle a lot.) My mom encouraged me to call, which i did the next day.

As it turned out, Ford was seventeen. He had just turned seventeen, and i was two months away from my fifteenth birthday, so it wasn't that significant a gap. As it further turned out, Ford had not realized that i was fourteen. He had thought i was twelve.

We continued chatting (and made out a few times) over the next few weeks, until Ford learned that i didn't want to have sex until i was married. I never heard from him again, though my sisters have since spotted him waiting tables at a sports bar. They say he has put on weight, and they are pretty sure he's gay.

"Victor", oddly enough, was an old friend of Fusco. I met him when my brother started taking Tae Kwon Do in town. Victor was in his class. He looked like a Hollister model, combining skater-boy edge with big blue eyes, dimples, and golden curls. I fell for him instantly and kept crushing on him for an entire year, even during the whole Ford fiasco. But he had a girlfriend.

Eventually, however, they broke up, he noticed me, and we started texting. I was nearly heartbroken when i learned that he was interested in a girl from my youth group, and tried to dissuade him by persuading him of her craziness (which was true, by the way. She was crazy.) The next day, he asked me out. Obviously i should have turned him down, but i was fifteen and he was really cute.

We dated for nearly three months before he broke it off because he was "going through some stuff" and needed to face it alone, like a "lone wolf". It wasn't until a few months after that that i learned he'd been cheating on me with the crazy girl from my youth group. Or maybe he was cheating on her with me. I never found out enough about the timeline to be sure, and i never wanted to. I did find out that he had been basically molesting her for their entire relationship. She was two years younger than we were (thirteen), and way too young and sheltered to be dating an older boy or to be making mature decisions about her sexuality. He'd pressured her into all kinds of things, and i am just selfish enough to still be glad that, for whatever reason, i had managed to escape that part of his character.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Ghosts of Boyfriends Past: Fusco

This year is the first year in my life that i will be in a relationship for Valentine's Day. In recognition of that fact, i will be spending the weeks leading up to the 14th telling stories of my past relationships. Get ready to mock.

"Fusco" was my very first boyfriend. He moved into my town when i had just turned thirteen. He was pretty much the most amazing boy i'd ever met. Of course, being homeschooled in a small town sort of limited the selection, but i was thirteen and didn't know that.

Fusco had blue eyes and was tall and cute. He was also gangly and awkward looking, but i was thirteen. He was brilliant in all the ways i wasn't (math, computers, science), he was musically gifted (his dad, a professional jazz musician, was the new pianist at our church), and he was edgy and cool (he went to public school and listened to music by bands that were not explicitly Christian). Best of all, we had never seen each other in diapers. We had not spent our whole lives within a ten-mile radius of one another. He was new and exciting.

I was the most awkward of my group of friends (we were all homeschooled, so that title was hotly contested). As the boring one, i had already resigned myself to a life of spinsterhood. I did not get nearly as much attention as my cute and peppy friends, and was sure that boys would never notice me.

But Fusco was different. And by that i mean that i had big boobs.

Me, right around the time i started high school.

We dated for seven months. After about three, Fusco declared his intention to propose to me on my eighteenth birthday. He had it all planned out. We'd be on my back deck, and it would be snowing, and he would go down on one knee. I was not impressed, but pretended to be, because i liked having a boyfriend.

However, there were problems. I was starting to develop a crush on my grandmother's exchange student, and everyone (including my dad, who was usually oblivious to all human social interactions) was convinced that he had a crush on me. Plus, Fusco was constantly flirting with "Renee", one of my best friends. When i would talk to him about it, he would reassure me that they were just friends and that there was nothing going on. Then he would go to Renee and talk to her about our conversation and ask how he should reassure me further.

Finally, in October, i was starting to feel like i needed to break up with him. But his birthday was in October, so i postponed it. Then in November, his parents started talking about divorce. December was Christmas, but i couldn't wait any longer. I ended the relationship.

Fusco was crushed. He wanted badly to win me back, but i insisted that we take some time to work on our friendship. After a few weeks had passed, Fusco and i had a serious talk. He told me that he still loved me, and still wanted to marry me one day, but that he didn't think i was ready for a relationship. Also, he really liked Renee, and had decided to date her while he was waiting for me.

Obviously, i was swept off my feet, and when i turned eighteen Fusco proposed and we lived happily ever after.

Sike! Renee broke Fusco's heart, and then they both dated other people for a while. Fusco and i lost touch, Renee and i stopped speaking (high school drama), and we all moved on with our lives. Renee went to rehab, got out, got pregnant, got engaged, broke up with the guy, and named her son Kratos Wolf (yes, for real).

Nearly eight years after all of this began, Renee and Fusco are back together. Love is weird.