Thursday, December 2, 2010

Holidays for Grown-Ups

That’s right, Ladies and Gentlefellas, it’s that time of year again: the season of competitive consumerism and mass hysteria. Break out the credit cards, lay-away rain checks and your copy of “Deck the Halls without Breaking the Chair!” – it’s the holidays.

The holiday season is essentially the ultimate challenge that the entire year leads up to; as kids, we worked to be good, or at least covertly bad, so we could get that pony we asked for every year, but never actually got EVEN THOUGH we’re 23 years old, totes responsible enough for it now, and have been above average in the nice-ness contest for at least 15 of those years. And as adults, we spend all year saving money in the “Christmas gift” fund, or as I like to call it ‘what I’ll buy myself because I worked all year for this money and do you realize how many times I had to say “how are you” without actually caring? Fund.’ Around September, we start unpacking the wool coats and scarves, and get reacquainted with the color combinations of red and green, blue and white, and…red, green and yellow? I don’t actually know what Kwanzaa colors are. Apparently in my mind it’s Kwanzaa: A very Rastafarian holiday.

Then it’s the madness and overzealous patriotism or disenfranchisement of Thanksgiving. In one corner you have the Happy Thanksgiving-ers who make the elementary hand-turkeys and actually own a weaved-wicker cornucopia for their dining table centerpiece. Cough, my mother, cough. In the other corner, you have the Chandler’s of the holiday, who are adamant about reminded everyone that it’s a holiday celebrating the massacre and eventual domination of the Native Americans by the evil pale faces. That Disney animated movie Pocahontas really put a damper on the pilgrim image. Then again, I’m French, and we celebrate Bastille Day. Tons of people died then, too. Bon Temps!

 Yet, once the dust settles on the heated Facebook Status debates of patriotism versus genocide, and everyone revives from their self-inflicted turkey comas, it’s all hands on deck Christmas time. Black Friday, Mass Chaos Sunday, Cyber Monday – it’s all part of the festivities. Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald singing Silver Bells blaring dauntingly through tiny department store speakers.  Gifts for Dad! Gifts for Mom! Gifts for your IRS Auditor! It’s inescapable. And as an adult, Christmas and the entire holiday season looks so different than I remember from my youth.

When you’re a kid, Christmas is nothing but bright, shiny paper, toys-r-us catalogs on Saturday mornings and advent calendar chocolates, what is this one, a bible verse? Bleh. This door sucks.  Holidays are tailored for children.  It’s the root of some of the most significant life lessons. Patience. Charity. Figuring out that you only have to be well behaved for the last three months leading up to December 25th because mom and dad don’t really remember much before then, save for a fist fight or minor arson conviction. And then just like that, just like magic, there’s stuff. Tons of stuff. Bright colored boxes with sticky tags that say your name on them; and all that matters is that the boxes are for you, and that you have more than either of your brothers, on account of how girls rule and boys drool.

Christmas is the way I learned the value of details. When I was six, I asked for “anything horses.” That year I got a book of every different breed of horse, and a Shetland pony-themed diary. The next year, I learned that to be more specific. Instead of “anything horses,” I wrote down, “actual horses.” That year, I got tiny plastic horse statues, and a wooden stable for 12, which is hilarious since I think I ended up with about 15 horses. This also taught me that in life, you have to choose favorites. The prettiest get shelter, and the defective Appaloosa gets to hang out in the bottom of the toy chest. While I was disappointed that my parents seemingly didn’t get the hint, I learned the power of specificity and detail. That’s why this year, I put links to horse adoption websites, as well as an direct link to a feed bag. And I customized a saddle with the name Sequoia embroidered on the side.

But as a grown-up, Christmas is an opportunity to get someone else to buy you stuff you need, rather than just whatever you want. And while it does seem like a bit of the magic has left the season when the first thing on your Christmas list is a coffee maker, that’s part of holiday evolution. The same year you start asking for kitchen appliances as gifts is the year you realize that you won’t be benefitting at all from the annual cookie exchange because you’re not 8 anymore, and can’t eat 17 snicker doodles worth of dough while you’re making 2 dozen of them. Mainly because you spent all your money on the ingredients and packaging and therefore can’t afford new clothes when you consume your way into the next size of pants.  So you try to live vicariously through the joyous smells of baking cookies and breads and those delicious, traitorous complex carbohydrates. And you smile while you watch children hoard your baked goods at parties and social gatherings, though the real reason you’re smiling is because you’re imagining getting a type of marshmallow gun and blasting macaroons at their stupid fast-metabolism faces. But that’s the nature of the holiday: kids get all the cookies, and you are old enough to get hammered at the Christmas party. It’s life’s way of compromising.

There are lots of things that suck about holidays for adults. You’re expected to hold actual conversations with relatives you only see once a year. As for that, I recommend coming up with a really realistic fake relationship if you don’t have a real one. Make him perfect enough to gush about for around the 45-minute mark, but give him some flaws so you have a reason to break up with him around mid-January. Don’t have him cheat on you, cause that makes you look sad, but something a little more significant than “he left his shoes in the middle of the floor.” I always go with “he really liked cats.” That works best in my family.

You have to bake. You have to clean. You have to share the wine you’ve been stockpiling all year because it’s rude to show up without anything, and everyone likes alcohol. It’s no longer cute to give hand-made cards as someone’s only gift, and if you send out ANY Christmas cards, you have to send them to everyone you’ve ever made eye contact with, or they’ll holiday spirit-sue you.  You have to come up with something under budget and amazing for your office secret santa swap, and you’ll never know a freaking thing about the person you get. Again, I suggest booze. You have to offer to help cook/clean/organize at any party or family event you attend, and if you’re me, somehow you end up volunteering to organize their home office. Thanks a lot, southern manners. Now I’m a volunteer administrative assistant.

But even in spite of all those things I hate about the holidays, I really do love the holidays. Starbucks has seasonal drinks. Nights always smell like burning wood and charcoal. The excuse, “but it’s Christmas” is finally relevant again. Staying inside and watching copious amounts of television is perfectly acceptable. And then, there’s hope that maybe this year you really WILL get that pony.

Besides, fewer people can judge me for blaring “(It Must’ve Been Ol’) Santa Claus” by Harry Connick Jr. on repeat.

And that, my friends in blogland, is what I call a win.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Most Complicated Non-Relationship, ever.

There are approximately 1,056 different ways to reject someone without actually having to say “I don’t like you.” I am responsible for just like half of those. Putting yourself out there in that capacity, be it asking someone out on a date, applying for a job, or simply striking up a conversation with a stranger is number three on the most stressful things you will ever do in life. Two is divorce, and one is trying to get a driver’s license from the state of California. Reference to a previous blog, whaaaat!

The problem is, however, how do you tell the difference between when someone is being honest, and when someone is just trying to ditch you? Like when someone tells you that they like you, but don’t want to date you because of their career. Who else gets asked out and dumped in the same night? Just me. It’s like, okay, so you care about me so much that you don’t want to hurt me? Or you don’t care about me enough to put forth the effort. Effort does suck, in his defense.

Television, movies, and the romance section of any given bookstore will tell anyone that dating is fun. It’s exciting and new and awesome. Well, I’m almost positive that in the metaphorical bookstore of my life, they got the labels for “romance” and “science fiction/fantasy” mixed up, because it’s not easy, it’s not really fun, and sure, it’s exciting - in a terrible, awkward way.

Because when it comes to dating, my life is this.
Okay then, this is going well. We’re on the same page, no games. Look at us, all cute and flirty and off-book after only a month of rehearsals, just like the really good actors.  Wait a minute, I think my script was missing a page...
Oh, come ON. You’ve got to be kidding me. What the hell is even in Latvia?

“you’re really smart, and pretty, and confident. You’re the real deal. Just what I’ve been looking for. Except you know, Latvia 4evarrrr”

Okay, so I’m smart and pretty, and you forgot hilarious, but whatever. I can deal. Just fit it in somewhere else. But apparently I’m not smart or pretty ENOUGH to be cooler than Latvia. So, just for my knowledge of where this ridiculous bar for who is smart/pretty/awesome enough to actually DATE is set, what exactly are the standards? Are you looking for Ms. ActuallyWikipedia to walk into the bar any time soon? Cause I’m pretty sure that the girl who knows everything that Wikipedia knows doesn’t look like Christina Hendricks.

She looks more like this.

So that’s your girl I guess. And not to be a buzz kill, but I don’t know that Latvia even has Wikipedia. I mean, they weren’t even invited to play in the World Cup. That’s pretty embarrassing. But seriously, for real, have a freaking blast. I’m over it. I hope you get eaten by some kind of Latvian mountain lion. It sounds like you’re going to be really successful and happy in Latvia.

What’s really frustrating about all of this isn’t that I totally got major-leagued by some stupid Eastern European country that isn’t considered worldly enough for soccer, but it’s that I don’t even get a say in the matter. He’s all, I like you, you’re great, but you know, Latvia! And that’s it. Great. Well, Latvia might be exotic and exciting, but has LATVIA seen every episode of Friends enough times to quote entire scenes? NO. Does Latvia high-five you for not scratching on the eightball? NO. Do you even know anything about Latvia? I bet if you were dating Ms. ActuallyWikipedia she could just tell you, but you’d have to find restaurants with high vaulted ceilings in order to accommodate her ENORMOUS SKULL.

And as if that wasn't annoying enough, the fact is that there’s still six months left before he can even go to Latvia, not to mention the time it will take to acquire work visas and you know, other legal documents, because no matter what the liberal hemp-wearing lunatics on the University Avenue bridge over the I-80E tell you – we are not actually considered citizens of Earth. So he's telling me that he doesn't want to go out on a single date because he might go to Latvia in more than half a year, and I'm getting the impression that no matter what clothes I think I'm putting on, I walk into the room wearing this:

What I’m saying is, “hey, how have you been?” but what he’s hearing is, “unless you plan on being three blocks away from me for the next decade of your life, I’m out.” Go to Latvia if you want to. Go to Portland or Norfolk or the MOON if that’s what you really want to do with your life. But if you’re not going like, tomorrow, then hey, maybe we can get coffee. Just a thought. Because we might go get coffee, and find out that you’re an avid Creed fan, and then I’ll make up some crap about being super busy and maybe getting deported back to Texas, something about a bloody brick through a DMV window, and that will be that. The point is, at least we’ll know. We’ll know that you have terrible taste in music. And I will never look at you without hearing “With arms wide opeeeeeeen” looping through my brain. That would explain the cringing, though. 

I think the real issue at hand is everyone innate fear of getting close to someone, and inevitably getting hurt if and when they leave. From someone who's done a lot of leaving, I know how much it sucks to walk away from people you care about, not knowing when you'll see them again. And even knowing that I wouldn't be able to spend every single day of my life with these people, never once have I regretted knowing them in the capacity that I do. If I turned my back on every new person I met, on the off chance that I might one day live in another city, I'd be really lonely, and super bored. Not to mention how completely devoid of blog topics I'd be. 

But at the same time, I don't plan on attempting to force anyone into risks they are clearly not ready to take, because that's equally stupid. I don't make a habit of chasing people down, and for as often as I joke about it, I would never actually grab someone square by the shoulders and yell 'LOVE ME!' in his face. If for no other reason that how much it doesn't work. 

I have a problem with fix-it relationships, and the people who know me best will be the first to throw down the red flag and tell me to make a run for it. 

It's like my fabulous friend Wies said, "Oh no, Eleanor. Do you need a new project? Try knitting."

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Battle of DMV-Pleasanton [alternately titled: How California hates Texas.]

I don’t think it needs to be stated again, but I will for continuity sake: I am broke. So, in order to cut spending down, I decided I wanted to get a library card. A while ago, I made the trek down to the local Oakland Public Library, only to discover that I need a California Driver’s License with my current address on it in order to obtain said card. Apparently they think I’m planning on checking out hundreds of books, and making a run for the Texas border. So after much procrastination, I finally got myself to the DMV this week. I brought everything I could imagine needing in order to justify myself to the California state government, hoping, in vain, that this would be a one-trip affair.

I don’t know why I pretend like things will ever be easy.

To get off on the right foot, I show up without a pen. First time in my life I don’t have a pen, and it’s at the freaking DMV. Awesome. I wait patiently, for an hour and a half, while numbers and letters that are not mine creep across the “now serving” screen. I listen to the ramblings of the crazy wannabe truck driver next to me as his quizzes me on commercial license test questions, all of which I respond with “D. none of the above.” I don’t laugh at the woman verbally abusing her husband on the phone for leaving the house, EVEN THOUGH IT’S UNLOCKED NOW, and I even patiently explain the DMV ticket to window process to the old Asian woman clutching her handbag as if I’m going to rip it out of her hands at any moment, screaming LONG LIVE ANARCHY all the way out the door. Finally, G095 is called, and I race up to window number 6 with a pleasant smile on my face. Let’s do this, California. Let’s work as a team, and make me an official resident of your state.

So I hand over my form, filled out entirely and beautifully, and she types my name into the archaic plastic box masquerading as a computer. I’ve had a state license before, so like the lady told me up front, two hours previously, it’s just a renewal, right? Well, here’s the thing about renewing your license. California has to recognize you as a citizen of earth before you can renew a CA driver’s license. So when the woman tells me I’m not in the system, I laugh and say, “yes I am. I’m wearing a Ramones t-shirt in my photo.” She doesn’t know who The Ramones are, nor is she as amused by this statement as I am. So she asks me what my name was when I lived in California.

Here’s the thing about names. My name is, has always been, and save for a potential stint in the witness protection program, or induction into the MIB, will always be Eleanor Thibeaux. That’s it, that’s my name. So she asks to see another form of identification, and I give her my passport. Again, she asks if that’s my name. Yes, I managed to write the same name on both my application AND my legal United States of America-issued proof of citizenship. How is this possible? Because, government lady, THAT IS MY NAME. Then she wants my social. Then she wants to know the name attached to my social security number. So I hand her my social security card, and again, it says Eleanor Thibeaux.  What are the chances? Man, I’m one detail-oriented Russian spy.

So we do the “what’s your name” dance a couple more times, until she finally says I don’t exist in the California database. So then she picks up my form again, and re-reads it. This whole time, she’s smiling at me, and we have a nice rapport going until she sees those five stupid little letters written in the smallest handwriting I could manage legibly.

“Previous License State or Foreign country: TEXAS”

It’s as if I had just walked up to her, punched her in the neck and told her I killed her dog. The mood shift was palpable. It’s like, if there were going to be another war in a revolutionary manner, it would be the California-Texas Revolutionary War. The conservatives are coming! The conservatives are coming!

Now, now my friend in the California state bureaucracy is glaring at me kind of menacingly. And of course, she still doesn’t have enough “proof.” They always want proof. She’s got my passport, which I remind her, and I cringe as she reads the part that says “Place of Birth: Texas, USA” because I’m pretty sure Californians don’t think Texas should be considered part of the union. It’s like back when the white people didn’t want the black people sharing their water fountains, only now, its Californians not wanting Texans to…breathe their air? Which I guess is fair, since the Golden State is so disgustingly green, and Texans really like SUV’s.

Then she says to me, “I need proof of your residency in Texas.” So I quizzically hand over to my Texas Driver’s License, and allow the pictorial representation of a proud, billowing Texas flag to do my talking for me. She stares at it, repulsed for a moment, and then looks back up at me. “I need proof from the state, like you need to contact them and have them send the information to you.” I’m sorry, is my completely legitimate driver’s license not enough? What, do you want me to get a brick from the Alamo speckled with the blood of like, a billion angry Mexicans to prove that I lived in the state?

It’s just absurd, the battle of Texas vs. California. There’s Team Lone Star, which is maybe one of the dumbest things to rally behind – the picture of a star. At least California has an animate object. They have a bear. But then again, it’s a golden bear, and WTF is that, if it’s not some kind of delicious cookie treat commonly referred to as “Teddy Grahams.”
So you’ve got the Californians and their self-righteous “we love the planet, peace and pursuit of happiness” crap, and then you’ve got Texans, who also love freedom, only it’s freedom to exploit the planet, and the pursuit of happiness as it pertains to their agenda.  Be whoever you want, just don’t be different.  And the Texans, to be honest, are confused - because wasn’t it originally Californians who were all about manifest destiny? And Texas is like, “Come on, Cali, we got Mexican problems, too!” But California is all “we love our Mexicans, just don’t let them vote, because last time we did, we got a cliché action star as our Governor. Oops, our bad. 

But then again, Texas had George W. and well, oops, that was OUR bad.

So there’s a war. Stars versus bears. And well look at that, it turns out the Texas Lone Star is actually a firepower star like in Super Mario Brothers and it makes everyone in the Texas army spit fireballs that kill snapping plants and oh what’s that? YELLOW BEARS.

But don’t worry, Chief Golden Bear has a plan.

So there I am in the middle of civil freedom lasers and religious agenda fireballs, and all I really wanted was a library card. And you can’t explain to Texas why you want to live in California, and you can’t apologize enough to California for having anything to do with Texas. So when the DMV employee says, “You need to contact Texas and tell them…” all I hear is, “you’re really screwed.” Texas is mad at me for leaving; Texas thinks I’m a traitor to America and that I stabbed Sam Houston right in the back. But California really doesn’t care, because all California hears is, “I was born in Texas, therefore, I was born into evil, and I hate the earth. Viva La Offshore drilling.”  

But here’s the thing both California, and Texas for all intents and purposes, don’t realize about me. I’m not a quitter. You think you can subdue me with a run-around, illogical governmental process? I’ve been wasting other people’s time my whole life; I know how this works. I will get that library card; I will get you to admit I live here, and I will get my picture taken by one of your menial state employees, who probably hates you more than I do. And you know what I plan to do once I have a state issued ID? I’m going to get in-state discounts on my education. I’m going to vote against the majority. I’m going to go to other states and act poorly, therefore further ruining the already diminished reputation of the state of California. I will commit minor offenses in the name of the Golden State AND it’s bear. Now who’s screwed?

Game on, California. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Currently Seeking: Seasonal Boyfriend

I fell asleep to the sounds of rain and wind last night. Well, I fell asleep, then woke up going, “what the hell is that sound?” and then fell BACK asleep to it. In the beautiful Bay Area of California, that means it is officially winter. And while we’re on it, does this mean we get two falls next year? Cause uh, we got skipped. The first rain of winter washes away the dirt, debris and wreckage of summer, leaving behind a fresh, clean palette for a whole array of new mistakes. That’s right, the smell of wool coats and desperation is once again revived here in Oakland.

There are several distinct differences between seasonal dating. Summer is more a season for casual dates, flings, and overall maintaining that coveted “single” Facebook relationship status. Summer dating is easy. Everyone is wearing single layers, there’s more to do outside, and even without alcohol everyone just seems pleasantly intoxicated. People are more social during the summer; they want to get out, breathe fresh air, and meet new people. Summer is when there is baseball. Baseball dates are the best kind of non-committal dates ever. Kiss him if you want, blame it on the kiss cam. If you just want to be friends, punch him in the arm when there’s a home run and high five EVERYONE around you. He’ll work it out on his own.

Winter dating is a beast of an entirely different nature. Winter is more Ella Fitzgerald than summer’s Katy Perry. Winter presents challenges that stop those non-commitment oriented parties dead in their tracks. Date ideas are now indoor, intimate and more expensive. In a recession, a person really has to be sure he or she is interested before taking that step. What if the date is a dud? Did I really just drop $60 bucks on someone who doesn’t realize New Orleans isn’t a state? So the selection process has to last longer; it has more significant questions, and it’s all about reading between the lines. Because the state of New Orleans is actually only a tiny part of the conglomerate state of Louisiana.

Another thing about winter is this: it’s cold. You know what’s not cold? The human body. It operates comfortably at a cozy 98.6 degrees, unless it’s my human body, which rests annoyingly healthy at 96.4 degrees, rendering me the crazy chick that is always freezing. This is where that light aroma of desperation comes in, the need for human contact, if simply for the sole purpose of a walking, talking space heater. Sadly, I could do without the talking part more often than not, but I’ve never been able to get that amendment to pass in the relationship negotiation process. People are walking around, staring down potential hand warmers with intent and purpose practically leaking out of their pores. It’s true - people are sweating emotions left and right as soon as we roll those clocks back and break out the rain boots.

And let’s not forget the other enemy working against the single ladies and gents of the winter season: holidays. Dates to parties, holiday-oriented social gatherings. Being able to tell your uncle that you’re not single because of that really annoying way you end every sentence with “I’m just saying.” Having to be dressed up and socially involved after hours with your coworkers is bad enough, but going to those kind of gatherings alone is worse. Showing up to a work party by yourself totally ruins your cover of “it’s okay that I don’t talk to any of you here, because I have a super rad social life that fulfills me entirely.” In fact, now they just know that you would rather be alone than go to one of their stupid Sunday afternoon tea + sandwich parties. I like tea, and I love sandwiches, and I just didn’t want you slightly neurotic women to ruin either of them for me. No offense.

So that first rain falls and it’s a race against the clock. Find a boyfriend. Find a boyfriend. Find a boy that could be abstractly construed as your boyfriend, and cling to him for dear life until the sun stays in the sky past 5:30 pm. It doesn’t much matter if you love him, it doesn’t really even matter if you like him, just GET him. Bonus points if you can snag one that’s funny, because he’ll make the mandatory work social gatherings slightly less painful, and he might even want to see the same movies you do. But if you can’t find one that’s funny, try to find one that’s so attractive no one cares what he is saying.

What I think what you’re supposed to hold out for is that one guy. The one that gives you an “oh crap” feeling when you run into him unexpectedly on the street; the one that makes your heart race out of panic because this was a dialog you hadn’t rehearsed seventeen times while getting ready for work that morning. The one that makes you think, oh dang, I can’t feel my legs.

 I have one of those. The guy I always want to run into, but then panic when I do, turn the volume up on my iPod and make a sharp right into whatever store is next. Apparently I’m dissatisfied with my service at Verizon, and I’m thinking about switching to T-Mobile? He’s the guy that I will ramble about for hours if someone will listen. And yes, he’s tall and funny and covertly polite. [End gush.] What the rulebook says, and by rulebook, I mean “The Notebook,” is that I’m supposed to hold out for that guy. But what happens when that guy is an idiot and doesn’t get with the program by the right calendar date? I mean, how many times do you have to say, “I don’t much care for you,” before he finally accepts that you like him and asks you out?

Winter in the Bay Area is cold and wet and gray. You know what cures weather depression? A super cute boyfriend that brings you coffee and is always willing to watch Dexter with you. So I’m conflicted. It’s almost like I need a temp agency for boyfriends.

“I only need him for three-four months, so I can give Oblivious McTakesForever time to catch up to the inevitable and get with the picture here. Must be able to memorize coffee order, enjoy television crime dramas, and preferably types 65 GWAM.”

Yeah, I’ve fallen victim to the hype. I love hype. I’m all about hype. The same people that ranted about how jealous they were of my singledom in the summer are talking about winter and romantic crap and boyfriends and how great it all is, and the metaphorical tables have turned.  And while I’m sure “because it’s winter” probably isn’t a solid reason to jump into a relationship, lately I’ve been hard pressed to come up with a reason that is. For the record, “because I’m bored” got the ax, along with “because it’s Wednesday” and “because I’m poor and I want someone to buy me this purse.”

Thursday, November 4, 2010

it's just like an interior design consultant, for my life.

For most ladies, the notion of arranged marriages in the western hemisphere has become entirely offensive. Even while women in our eastern counterpart sing its praises, all my American girls can think when a man speaks without horror of arranged marriage is, “WHY DON’T YOU JUST TELL ME I CAN’T VOTE AND LOCK ME IN THE KITCHEN?!”

Well, here’s my stance: Shrug to voting, and go ahead and lock me in the kitchen, I’ll just build a fort out of tablecloths and paper towels, with a frying pan/spatula doorbell and a sign on the door that says “No Boyz Ah-loud” written in hardened mustard. Now who looks dumb?

But in all honesty, this arranged marriage concept might have some merit. Because when it comes to making important choices, I lack a certain level of…rationality and intellect. I can go to a restaurant and never choose the wrong thing for dinner, but every time I think I’ve landed the right boyfriend, BAM, he has issues about his mother and can’t hold a job. And might be a raging alcoholic. I think it has something to do with the type of men I find attractive. I have this uncanny ability to seek out the oddball, the one with the “hasn’t showered today” look, though I have incredibly high standards for hygiene so it really limits the playing field there, and sadly unless he’s a celebrity/professional athlete or trust fund kid, there’s a particular caliber of person accompanying that look. It’s so irritating. Because you know who usually looks unkempt and understated? Unemployed guys. And I make this choice EVERY TIME.

Don’t believe me? Don’t worry, I have an example.

Let me introduce Captain GreenShirt and his friend, Scruffy McBlackShirt.

Well, hey there boys. So here we are, and we’re talking; we're talking about punching strangers and how being a diver is less cool than being a spy, and about how Texas sucks but it’s not as bad as Alabama. Roll tide, roll? And all the while, this conversation is happening about three feet from us.

Thanks ladies. Now, was I looking for my future husband on the streets of New Orleans? No, not really. Oh did I forget to mention that’s where this is taking place? Yep, Bourbon Street. Another solid choice on my part. But the fact of the matter still stands the same. When presented with a choice, this is almost invariably the outcome.

That’s right. I passed up the polite, well-established, adorable guy to talk about superheroes and decade old footwear with a Gary, the sometimes-diver from Washington State with almost zero life goals based in reality. If being a life choice maker was a profession, I would be the least qualified. Or I’d be qualified in the way that people would ask, “What would Eleanor do” and then NOT do that thing. So arranged marriage starts to sound pretty good to me.

Let’s be honest here, in a world where arranged marriages are the norm, I have a better chance of being happy in the long run. Because you know what makes me happy? Designer sunglasses. Shoes. More than one meal a day. And these are things that I’m not going to find on my own, on account of how apparently some stupid part of my brain things underemployment and apathy is cute. So why not introduce an objective third party into the situation.

Arranged marriages provide a certain level of stability that I think could really work for me. Sure, there’s a chance I could get stuck with a real boring accountant type, but at least I’d have SOMEONE. Free form dating is reckless, riddled with uncertainty and overwhelming. Sure, sometimes it’s super cool to meet someone who thinks your jokes are funny, and really gets why you love NCIS and high fives so much, but then again, these are things anyone could learn. I could take my stable, boring accountant husband and say, “I like NCIS because it’s about solving crimes, and the Navy,” and then make him high five me. It’s almost like training a pet. He might not think it’s cool, he might not want to do it, but he will because let’s be honest, he’s stuck with me. And what’s that old phrase? If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

And as far as I’m concerned, if arranged marriages made a comeback, I think I could land a good one, because not only is my father a fantastic negotiator, all car salesmen be warned, P. Thibeaux is not to be hustled, but we also have a good deal of leverage, being from Texas and all. Unrefined oil can make a killing these days. I could be dating the proverbial Prince of Persia with that kind of dowry. And by proverbial, I mean…Jake Gyllenhaal as the Prince of Persia.

Aka - This guy.

So if those are my choices, if I can either be left to my own devices and end up with Scruffy McBlackShirt of Washington State with his “I dunno” career path and minus one checking account lifestyle, or Jake Gyllenhaal as the Prince of Persia, I’m gonna say, forget how I feel, I’ll just play a lot of online scrabble and get an credit card under the name “Princess Eleanor of hypothetical Persia.”

Go ahead, sexism and archaic moral code, put a price tag on my head. Just make sure that being hilarious, good at technology, and addicted to caffeine are all taken into consideration, and bring on the applications.

I’m throwing in the towel.
Let’s do this.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Concert First Dates (and how I abuse my power to ruin other's happiness.)

Every time I interview myself in the bathroom mirror while applying make up, don’t judge, you know you do it, too, I always as me the same question: Where DO you come up with your material?

Well, me, the answer is simple, really. My life is my source.

As an audio engineer, that’s right, it only took about 91 posts before I finally got to what I “do” for a living. Huzzah. I am lucky enough to go to work every day in a field most people categorize in their checking account “where my money goes” pie chart as entertainment or social activities. I get to witness, soberly, a lot of interesting human interactions, as well as be classically jaded by all genres of music, or some groups that can only be classified as “experimental noise.” My position also awards me a horrible amount of power and control over the success or failure of an entire roomful of people’s evenings. As the 2003 production team of “Annie Get Your Gun” figured out the hard way, giving someone like me control over a substantial group of individuals is rarely a good idea. It’s not often that a stage manager as cute as me could make so many people want to kill themselves. I’m one of a kind, really. But even setting my own role in this aside for just a moment, concerts really do make for a truly awful first date.

First dates are awkward as a general rule. Three hours beforehand, you never know where exactly the line is between dressed up and dressed down enough to strike the perfect impression on a gentleman caller. If I wear a dress, I run the risk of him wearing jeans and I look stupid. If I wear jeans and he’s more dressed up, and then we go to a fancy restaurant, again, I’ll look stupid. Fancy meaning, a place that isn’t…Rudy’s Can’t Fail Café? Think Denny’s, but punk rock and not gross. And they have beer. So once you finally give up on the entire notion of getting the right outfit, you have to worry about what you’re going to talk about. Because it’s a first date and you have to talk about something, right? Well, if you’re first date is at a concert or some kind of music festival, freaking forget it. You won’t be able to hear his response anyway. You know why? Because if I’m doing my job, I make sure of that.

So take away the conversation, and what do you have? Two relative strangers swaying awkwardly next to each other, both afraid to get too into the music and end up looking like an idiot, but still trying to pay enough attention to what’s going on just so you don’t sing the wrong lyrics. Which then turns into a head-to-head version of that terrible game show, “Don’t Forget the Lyrics.” What happened to you, Wayne Brady? So now a first date has turned into a credibility test and lyrical competition, and it’s too loud for even the occasional witty banter. No one walks away from something like that unscathed. NO ONE.

Another pitfall of the concert first date? Shoes. Concerts usually involve a lot of standing if you’re doing it right, and that’s the kiss of death for most girls. Why? Because a woman’s main source of confidence is her chosen footwear. I have spent more hours agonizing over which pair of shoes to wear than any allotted amount of time worrying about what I’m going to wear with them. Once I’ve chosen the shoes, I work the rest of the outfit around them. My go-to first date shoes are usually my truly amazing, and understated Steven Madden ankle boots. But when you introduce the element of 3-4 hours of standing around time, those boots are out. Because even for as wonderful as they are, four hours of standing around in them might actually kill me. And I refuse to be the first person to be taken out by a pair of shoes, even if they are Steve Madden.  So now I’m wearing converse, and my last ditch attempt at mustering up my aloof, coy persona is DOA. Sure, I rock the converse pretty regularly, and I bet I was wearing them when Mr. DumbDateIdea asked me out, but that’s different. That was spontaneous and casual. This is not. But it is now. In one big swoop, before we’ve even gone out, I’m annoyed and uncomfortable. Really good going, dude.

So that’s where we are. Pairs of awkward people in stupid shoes pretending like they care about whatever band is on stage so much that they couldn’t possibly tear their eyes away. And then there’s me, standing behind a console generating a disgusting amount of heat, and I’ve already been dealing with these bullshit musician-types for about three hours prior to the first-daters arrival. I’m not happy. I’m disgruntled, mildly sweaty, and sleepy. And if I’m not happy, why in the world would I want anyone else to be happy?

So I will see your awkward swaying, and raise you an almost-painful decibel wall of sound. Just call me Phil Spector, right down to the “might be a serial killer” tendencies. I hear you, Hipster McGee, talking about finding the sweet spot of the room. She looks impressed, but I know the truth. You’re a moron. The sweet spot of the room is exactly where I’m standing. Because I have the mutes and faders and equalizers. What do you have? An ugly sweatervest/pretentious Dockers combo and dollar store earplugs. And Captain Sweetspot-Sweatervest says something like, “I found these guys before they were anything.” And I can’t believe GenericDate SecondChoiceToms is still standing next to him. Before they were anything? Look around you. This place is only just bigger than my studio apartment. They’re still not really anything. There’s not even anyone else here. You’re standing in the middle a moderately empty room, you putz. My advice? Shut up and just buy her another beer before she realizes your Buddy Holly glasses don’t even have lenses.

First dates should be in quiet places, places with distractions, but not overwhelming ones. Not concerts. Sure, it seems like a really romantic, creative thing, but you’ll crash and burn before you can even fork over the cover charge. Save the concert date for a three-month anniversary or something, you know, when you have run out of things to say to each other anyway. 

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fight, Flight, or Flip the Monopoly board when he's not looking.

If I learned anything from The Notebook, it’s that relationships are about commitment, no matter the odds. When your true love leaves, write 365 letters and then build her a house. Then when she finally comes back, yell at her and tell her she’s a pain in the ass. 

Then take her out the middle of a lake and let a rainstorm ruin her clothes.

Because when it’s love, you have to fight. Not just for love, but also, for your right to party.

Well, maybe that’s the rule if you’re Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams, and you live in South Carolina in the 40’s, but from as far as I can tell, that’s not really how it works for the rest of us. Because not every love story is a novel. Yeah, I said it, Nicholas Sparks, what are you gonna do about it? In fact, not every love story is even a love story. The problem is that it’s rather difficult, especially being right in the midst of it all, to tell whether it’s right to fight, or throw in the towel. What is the maximum number of letters a guy can write before the next one is substantial ground for a restraining order?

As living, breathing beings, we are armed with two coping mechanisms: fight, or flight. When we feel pressure, when we're put in a position that inspires stress or panic, we can respond to stand and fight whatever it is, or we can get the hell out of there. Given these choices, I am a flighter – not a fighter. When push comes to shove, I fake left and make a break for the nearest exit. But often times, the concept of “flight” is automatic acknowledgement of defeat, and that is something I simply cannot accept. So as a society, we have developed a third choice, “flip the Monopoly board.” No one wins, no one loses, and no one owns Park Place anymore because the top hat is now under the futon. It’s called quitting, and I’m a fan.

I’ve been in relationships. The good kind, the ambiguous kind, or as I like to refer to them, common law relationships, and of course, the cliché and devastating bad kind. Clearly, none of them have really worked out, as evidenced by my current singledom. Yet, maybe more importantly, I’ve seen relationships happen. The beginning parts, where everything is awesome and "he’s so wonderful and smart, did I tell you he’s smart? Gosh, he’s got TWO degrees." The middle parts, where "all he ever does is talk about his degrees and they weren’t even from an Ivy League college, I mean what the hell is that about? He might as well have just gone to Chico State and majored in sleeping with drunk sorority chicks." And then the ending parts, where he actually went up to Chico State for a weekend and slept with said drunk sorority chicks. Well, you ARE the one who suggested it.

It's surprising to me, sometimes, how long it took to get to the ending parts. And then, even after it’s over, after the hair dryers have been thrown, the long soliloquies and monologues have been screamed across parking lots, what baffles me most is how often that’s not even the real ending. No, it seems that the break-up is merely a fake end of a band’s set, where they say goodbye, walk off the stage, only to come back on after a few minutes for the expected encore performance. Relationships really don’t need encore performances when all you could think about for the last 4 songs was what you were going to do after the show, how uncomfortable your shoes are, and how you didn’t even really like the band that much in the first place. Their first album was pretty good, but then they went and tried to do this indie electronic thing, and the keytar just looks stupid on everyone.

I think the real issue is that everyone has this negative connotation about the concept of quitting. It’s not necessarily our fault; we’ve been bombarded with anti-quitting propaganda for years. “Quitters never win,” “Wars are not won by evacuations,” and my favorite, “Pain is temporary. Quitting last forever.” Look at that pressure! Throw around a couple of those, toss in a, “there’s no crying in baseball” here and there, and you have a bunch of fully committed, entirely despondent couples. Everyone is just so convinced that giving up is a cowardly act, and yet sometimes, giving up is the most courageous thing to do.

I was in a relationship a few years ago, and at one point I realized, we were both miserable. We were so miserable, but so accustomed to being miserable that we didn’t even realize that we were unhappy. It just became the thing that defined our relationship. We were together because we loved each other, but for that very reason, we resented each other.  Because quitting was what weak people did, and we were stronger than that. We were so strong, in fact, that it quickly digressed into a contest to see which of us could squeeze the very life force out of the other on a daily basis.  We kept a tally sheet, which actually turned into more of a scroll, but it was a causality, like many a photograph and t-shirt, of our love’s termination. It wasn’t an easy thing to do, to walk away, but after the fog cleared, it was the bravest thing we could have done for each other. To walk away, and to let the other go.  I flipped the board, but he didn’t even look under the furniture for all the pieces. No winners, no losers. Well, except for the person who owned the game, because those pieces are kind of important if you ever want to play again.

 If it’s so easily accepted that people change as they age, priorities shift, personality traits mature or adapt at varying paces, then why is it so surprising to some that people who were once compatible don’t necessarily remain such? When I was 19, I really liked dying my hair black and listening to Anti-Flag. I dated people who shared my affinity for those things. My hair is now red and I really enjoy the musical stylings of “Florence + the Machine.” Do you think I’m dating the same kind of person I was dating when I was 19? Hell no. Seriously, back off the hair. It was a thing I was doing at the time. It was just a phase. When something stops working, it’s okay to walk away from it. And when someone makes the decision to walk away from you, it won’t do much good trying to hold on to him or her. If he decided to go, you can't tie him to you. He knows how to undo the same knots you do, and if he doesn't, well, there are books.

I’m not advocating quitting because things are difficult. I’m advocating quitting when it hurts. I’m advocating letting things die peacefully. If you have to keep using the defibrillator every 5 minutes just to revive a six-times-stopped heart, maybe you just let it go that seventh time. It’s not so cute, showing up at her work with flowers a week after you threw her journal out the window and she called you “certifiably insane.” Maybe she didn’t mean it exactly, but I can guarantee she meant it kind of. It’s a fine line, between dedication and stalking, but a very important one to locate, and abide by.

After all, true love is never having to hear him read his Miranda Rights. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Peter Pan Generation: Second to the right, then straight on 'til late morning, early afternoonish. Text me first.

The other day, I called my mother in a panic.

Mom: Hello, dear.
Eleanor: Am I a fuck up?
Mom: It’s so unattractive when you use that language.
Eleanor: Am I?
Mom: Are you what? Unattractive? When you talk like that, yes.
Eleanor: No, Mom. A fuck up.
Mom: You know I don’t know what that means.
Eleanor: Useless, directionless, a failure at being grown up.
Mom: Oh sweetie, you’re just…a free spirit.
Eleanor: A free spirit? Dear God. You know who else used to be called free spirits? Fucking flower power hippie children. I can’t be a hippie, Mom. I hate people. I hate them.
Mom: Your anxiety attacks are fascinating.
Eleanor: …Thanks.

This proceeded with the “what do you want to do with your life?” question to which I responded, “live off my parents until I find my rich husband. Or get hired as a professional friend.” These are also the same careers I wanted when I was 7. I often joke about my blog being the voice of “disenfranchised youth and functional alcoholics,” because that’s how I view my life; I still think of myself as “youth,” regardless of my governmentally instituted “young adult” status. If I’m not responsible enough to rent a car, then I don’t have to be responsible for anything.

I am a proud member of the Peter Pan Generation.

I cannot possibly be an adult. When I was in school, I was only a piece of America’s “future.” I was preparing for the future – I wasn’t there yet. And as I look around at my current state, I don’t think this is really the “future” they were talking about. If the future is now the present, then don’t be expecting this economy to turn around any time soon. The adults of the future, who are now the young adults of the present, are not really adults at all. There’s still a part of me that wants to give up the day-to-day life and be a vigilante crime fighter. Is that who you want spear-heading the years to come? Didn’t think so. That’s who you want at least 20 feet away from you at all times.

Recently, the New York Times posted an article entitled, “What Is It About 20-Somethings?” where the author discusses several different explanations for why the 20-somethings of today’s America are taking so long to grow up. Changing social circumstances, new discoveries in neurological developments, and the workplace shift from skill-based trades to information-based jobs: it all boils down to the same issue. My generation is in denial.

There are five generally accepted milestones of achieving adulthood in our society.
In 1960, 77 percent of women and 65 percent of men had, by the time they reached 30, passed all five milestones. [In 2000,] fewer than half of the women and one-third of the men had done so.

Let’s take a gander at these life goals that I’m supposed to be working avidly towards.

1. Completing school: Well see, there you go. I have not one, but TWO pieces of cardstock paper protected by overpriced custom frames. Level 1, completed.

2. Leaving Home: Okay, well I did that. Then I went back, not unlike 40% of my generation, so back off, and then I left again. I think this level is only really complete when your old bedroom is a gym, or crafts room. Or in my parent’s case…a room belonging to a family you don’t know. Level 2, completed – but I think I lost a life in the process. Hopefully one of the next levels will have an opportunity for a 1UP.

3. Financial Independence and Stability: This is where I stumble. This is the level I can’t seem to get past. I get pretty far, past those stupid skeleton bird things, and past the big chomper on the chain, but just as I get my confidence up, a plant spits a fireball at me and I’m dead. Back to the beginning. Calling Daddy, making small talk before he finally just goes, “how much do you need now?” Level 3, GAME OVER.

4. Marriage: To this, I say with eloquence: do what now? I have my own apartment. I manage my bills, avoid evictions, I grocery shop, or don’t, and consequentially skip entire meals, sometimes I even clean. This is, however, only for myself. And it would be horrifying to admit how often my dishes go undone, and laundry piles up. The only relationships I’m even halfway good at are with my local bartenders and sandwich shop owners. Whose love, I believe, is only semi-conditional. I’m not hating on the concept, but sometimes I wonder if people realize once you marry someone, they’re there…ALL THE TIME. Throwing their laundry in with yours, eating the food you bought without telling you, putting the mixing spoons back in the wrong drawer even after you’ve told him a hundred times where the mixing spoons go. You can’t send them home. They are home. And I think marriage makes people boring. Don’t believe me? Go on my Facebook newsfeed.

Unmarried McAwesome: is going cliff diving in Costa Rica, and then is going to meet up with Indiana Jones for a secret excursion.
Married LeNolife: is spending Friday night with her new puppy, and making Banana Nut Bread.

See? And the crazy thing is, Married LeNolife used to go cliff diving! But then she had a party in a white dress and moved in with a guy who sells real estate and now they have a puppy and that’s all they talk about, and that’s all they will talk about until she gets knocked up. And then THAT’S all she’ll talk about. Which brings me to the final level:

5. Having a child: Clearly I’m out of the running of achieving adulthood. I couldn’t get past the fire plant. But if this is the rest of the game, I think I will just see the sights around Level 3, and hit up the sky bars to collect all those coins arranged in the shape of dollar signs and hidden power stars. Remember when I talked about how I skip meals because I’m too lazy to go to the grocery store? Remember when I said I don’t ever do my laundry until I’m absolutely out of clothes to wear a fourth time? Remember when I talked about never doing the dishes? I can’t even take care of myself, let alone be responsible for another human life; a little one, who can’t read the “don’t drink the poison” signs on bottles, and doesn’t understand sarcasm. Having a kid is the kiss of death for a social life. We’re 20-somethings! We’re young enough to do all those really stupid things that are gonna make great stories in our 30’s. What better a time to get arrested than when you’re in your 20’s? Why would I give up spending a night in jail to spend 4 hours trying to get my kid to stop writing on the wall with my eyeliner? Not for me, thanks.

Our parents lived in a different world. The American Dream was all about building a life with a family and kids, going to college or going to war; the world was in a state of reconstruct, and it was up to them to do the reconstructing. The Peter Pan Generation’s American Dream is to study abroad undecided for as long as possible. 'Don’t pick a major until you’re stateside,' that’s the life for us. Then once we've got that ambiguous bachelor’s degree, we spend a summer pretending to look for a job, all the while complaining about this damned economy, and then just go back to school for a graduate’s program because, well, what else is there to do? Move back in with my parents? Hell no, I still haven’t studied in Australia!

In my generation, most 20-somethings are “remain[ing] un-tethered” to romantic partners or permanent homes. We avoid ties like we avoid responsibility, like we avoid dinner with the parents. Essentially, the Peter Pan Generation is just a bunch of wild cards running around the country, changing direction as often as we change hairstyles. Jumping from “passion” to “passion,” a habit that was reserved for the artists and drug addicts of our parents’ generation. No wonder they’re looking at us like a bunch of coked out vagabonds. It’s been their experience that if a kid is listless, impulsive, and lacking any interest in planning for the future, he or she is probably addicted to crank. It’s hard to explain that most of us aren’t meth-heads, we’re just overly optimistic, and immensely confused. In evaluating my own life, I treat my skills like receipts to an auditor on my kitchen table. Take the box, dump the whole of its contents out on the surface and sardonically state, “good fucking luck.” This is what I’ve got – you tell me what to do with it.

Whether it’s fear, laziness, economical circumstance, or some crazy neurological development process, and let’s not rule out the ever-popular mommy-and-daddy-issues, the fact is that my fellow 20-somethings and I are simply in no rush to be grown ups.

Because grown-ups become pirates. And we kill pirates.

Lookie, lookie – I’ve got Hookie. I couldn’t help it. Sorry.

"What Is It With 20-Somethings?" by Robin Marantz Henig

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Bottom Line: I'll be Queen with or without you.

Recently, I’ve been throwing around the word “accidentally” too often. I accidentally gave a guy my number. I accidentally went on a date with him. I accidentally told him I was a lesbian. It was an accident.

Okay, the last one was really just my fault, because sometimes I try to play along with movie references I don’t get because I don’t want to admit that I don’t get them and then four days later I realize that I told him I was gay and I mean, how do you bounce back from something like that? You don't, that's how.

But seriously, the first two are a direct result of the communication breakdown between boys and girls of the 21st century. The girls are embracing the challenges and structures of romantic confrontation, and the boys, well, the boys just want to "kick it."

It usually goes something like this:

There's no honor in it anymore. It's all "whatever" and "I don't care" and "I'll text you" and no one is getting chased by the campus police for illegally singing, "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You" with the entire marching band during soccer practice. Not to mention that Smarmy Pete never even slightly resembles Heath Ledger, but that's almost irrelevant at this point.

And I think I know how guys and girls got so far off. For my fellow ladies, I like to call it "Disney Princess Propaganda." From the early, impressionable ages of my youth, I was bombarded with fairytales and love stories, subliminal suggestions and heightened, unrealistic expectations. Sleeping Beauty falls in love with the first guy that kisses her and they're soulmates fo' life. Ariel gets her man without saying a single word. (Maybe that's my problem.) Even when I was six, all I remember thinking is, yeah, but I mean, boys can fall in love with the really annoying seagull-type, too, right? And Jasmine. Fucking Jasmine. Jasmine falls in love with a broke, homeless guy who pretends to be rich, lies to her, and then ends up getting to be King of Agrabah anyway. I mean, what the hell kind of life lesson is that? But they were all happy. So by the time I was seven, I wanted to be Queen of the United States, and I was planning on marrying into it. I didn't have much patience for governmental logistics.

Then I graduated to PG-13 movies. I grew up enough to realize that the US wasn't going to make me queen, but I still had the terrible notion of true love swimming treacherously through my mind. I just knew that Justin Timberlake was going to stand outside my house with a boombox above his head, declaring his undying love for me, and then we would dance to "Kiss Me" by Sixpence None the Richer in my backyard with outdoor string lights and I could say that line about not being a hooker. I was in love with my conceptual theory on love - it's rules and protocols. I wanted all of it. I'm 23 years old, I still want all of it. I'm just much more pessimistic about the entire practice now.

Because while my I was watching "Runaway Bride" for the 30th time, daydreaming about all the ways Brian, the adorable drummer from fifth period Geometry could prove to be my very own Richard Gere, the boys of my generation were playing baseball, stealing cars and running over pedestrians in Grand Theft Auto, and shooting each other with bottle rockets.

Translation: They were doing everything humanly possible to avoid learning the rules of dating.

Consequence: "wanna hang out?"
Answer: No. Pass. Super pass.

Why? Because it's wrong. You got it all wrong. Try again. I do not want to hang out. I want you to talk me out of jumping off the side of the Titanic into the Atlantic Ocean and then take me dancing with a bunch of drunk irish people. I want you to use the word "date." Don't try to be smooth and elusive, because that's how I accidentally end up on a third maybe-date wondering what the hell I'm supposed to do with my hands when we get to the driver-side door of my Scion.

It's a wonder anyone gets together these days. I swear, I walk around and see "couples" and I wonder how long they've just been "hanging out." The Victorian Era had it right. There should be a courting process. It should involve fancy clothes, hard-soled shoes, flowers and love letters sealed with wax. I honestly don't think I'd care one bit if the only reason a gentleman caller was interested in me was because he wanted to usurp my father's reign and be King of France, just so long as he holds the door for me and takes off his top hat when I walk in the room. Even in my fantasy life, my standards and lowered and realistic, because really, King of France? Can you say 'under-achiever?' All I want is a little definition. A little effort. A little...commitment to the cause. Am I demanding a ring before you kiss me? No. Although a ring would be necessary if you want those goats my father talked about. Actually, in my case, I think the dowry would be cattle. Or barrels of unrefined oil. You know, cause of Texas and whatever. Just man up, say what you mean, and under no circumstance should you shrug at any point during the conversation.

I know that the male population won't change, so I'm sure I'll continue to "hang out." But I'm not happy about it. And don't get mad at me when I don't know we've been dating for three months. Getting my Facebook status to change from "Single" to "In A Relationship" takes a blatant simple sentence, or two.

...and "Tuesday" presents.