SHE SAID: Navigating and Directions

May 13, 2010

Gentlemen.  Jeremy.  Let’s talk.

do you have any idea where you're going?

What is it with directions?  And not just directions, but navigating in general.  Not to be too specific as I get too specific, but I went on a trip once with a friend in college, a male friend who had not only gotten into a great school, but completed the necessary requirements and was about to graduate, and he thought the towns were located where the name was written on a map, not where the convenient little black dots littering the map were placed.  I wish a recording of this trip existed.  Because while I was confused and progressively more frustrated at the time, I think I would laugh hysterically were I to hear it played back now.

All stupidity of this specimen aside, his example does demonstrate the refusal to ask for help.  He knew, as we circled around for the second time, that the town we were looking for wasn’t where he thought it was.  It wasn’t, like Hogwarts, visible for a select few.  But still, he refused to say anything, and continued to lead me around for a third time all the while declaring his amazement at our inability to find it.  Yes, at this point you can point out my own idiocy for not grabbing the map and hitting him over the head with it, but I was trying to be patient and a good team player … for once.  Plus, I was driving.  Two hands on the wheel.  Ten and two.

Another time, quite recently while driving in a city, I was given no indication whatsoever where I should steer the car until about twenty seconds after I had passed through an intersection by the gentleman holding the map (it was actually a smart phone with a mapping application, but it’s easier to say map).

I realize these are two specific occasions both bordering on the ridiculous … but the stereotype of a man refusing to stop to ask for directions as he steers his vehicle into the great unknown stems from somewhere and I would love to hear your side having experienced it more than enough.

Yes, we women might take forever to get ready and we might have to ask you a few times what you think of the outfit we’ve chosen and then ask you to carry seven items in your pockets because we cannot fit our license, debit card, extra hair tie, tampon, phone, lipstick and keys into our minuscule/non-existent pockets … but once we get our act together and open that door, we know where we are going and how to get there.  Maybe, while you’re waiting by the door, tapping your foot and reminding us what time the get together started, you could use that time constructively and figure out the route to said destination.  And no, I do not have someone waiting by the door and tapping his foot, he is far more patient and supportive than that, which is why we’re still together and he is still sane.

So what is it?  It must be something more interesting than not wanting to admit you don’t know something.  Is each trip a rite of passage in which you, equipped with a steering wheel, pedal and the sun, are to prove your competence to your tribe?  Do you say nothing and ask no questions because you want us sitting next to you, badgering you about whether or not you know where you’re going so you can crack a beer with your teeth and tell all your BBQing buddies about how your old ball and chain nagged the heck out of you on the way over because she didn’t think you knew where you were going?  Boy did you show her!  Seems like a lot to go through for a remedial story.  Is it some territorial thing?  Would you prefer to be peeing out the window and marking territory periodically while we’re moving along and that’s what’s distracting you?  Is it that you lose interest in the task at hand and move on to figuring out what athletes you should drop or shift on your fantasy team roster instead?  Because, while I get that other topics might distract you (ooh, she’s hot; I’m hungry; oh, I love this song), I’m able to both consider my next nail polish color and figure out how to get from point A to B, and I would expect you to as well.  Or is it that you want to deliver us helpless females, unharmed, to a destination needing no help at all from map, or navigator or smart phone?  Am I missing out on a competitive conversation that happens regularly between men about who had the easiest time arriving somewhere with the least amount of information?

I know we don’t tackle too many of the obvious male and female stuff on here, odd given the name of our blog, but this time let’s dive in.


SHE SAID: Nicknames

May 7, 2010

My mom always said that nicknames meant you were well liked. This theory arose coincidentally around the time I was dubbed “sniffer” and I have a sneaking suspicion they might be related. My nicknames included Fire, Snifter, Brandy Snifter, and Kid Sister. I’m sure I’m forgetting some.

I tried to drop my lifelong nickname freshman year in college. I had everyone calling me by my given name, the unused one typed in on my birth certificate, for two whole weeks. It seemed, and still does, like someone else’s name and going by it was kind of like stepping into someone else’s skin, albeit briefly. My brief flirtation with normalcy was cut short when my dad came to visit and let the cat out of the bag. I see people from elementary school who are surprised I still go by my nickname. One of them said, “I thought you’d have grown out of that by now.” It appears I have only grown more and more into it.

I had friends called names that would make my mom blush. Names they would accept as monikers despite me being embarrassed to say the word aloud, much less address someone as such. I have had friends name their significant others something lame and terrible and oh-so-cheesy. I’ve had friends name their or someone else’s body parts, which I don’t really think is all that necessary. I had friends that fought nicknames tooth and nail, a tact which seemed only to make the name stick with more zealousness. And yet, I’ve had friends lament their nicknamelessness.

But if we are going to do a High Fidelity type list, as my co-writer is so fond of doing since everything seems to be rateable in his book, my favorite nicknames of the peer variety in no particular order are:

Log. One of my good friends was called Smokey after alerting the authorities to a fire. Since I was already called Fire, we got a kick out of the link. Our third friend, wanting to get in on the action, suggested we call her spark or flame. Smokey decided that no, Log was a much better idea.

FurPud. A guy I knew, called Pud by all who knew him, moved out West and dropped the nickname in the move. When some friends came to visit him, he reminded them that they were not to call him Pud since he didn’t want it catching on out West. His Eastern friends discovered, however, that his Western friends called him Furball, due to his extensive body hair, and when they all got together, Pud/Furball became Furpud.

Pearsie. When I was growing up, my best friend’s parents called his brother Pearsie. They said it was because he had looked like a pear when he was born. It always struck me as incredibly sweet, maybe it was the way they said it, and I remember it fondly to this day.

Kat-breath. I don’t know this woman, she’s a friend of a friend. But all her friends call her this both behind her back and to her face. Seems a bit … too specific. I hope she’s not a close talker.

America’s Guest. He came. Sometimes invited. He bummed a ticket, invite or twenty off of you. He was adored, stayed too long and entertained everyone the whole evening. Again and again and again.


HE SAID: The 1990s

April 22, 2010

I feel like lots of my time on this blog has been devoted casual references to the epic 1980s.  And besides a few mentions of shows like Beverly Hills, 90210 and Saved by the Bell, we really haven’t given enough credence to the 1990s.  Lots of cool shit went down in the 90s, and I’d like to tell you about some of them

1. The first thing that stands out is 1990s movies that tried so desperately to pretend they were still in the 80s.  Side Out, Days of Thunder, Point Break, Aspen Extreme…all movies made in the 90s.  Hell, Aspen Extreme was made in 1993! Oh and sidenote – if you haven’t seen Side Out, the beach volleyball movie starring C. Thomas Howell and Courtney Throne Smith, netflix the shit out of it.  These movies, from the cheesy soundtracks to the wardrobes scream 1980s, and its sweet.

2. Remember when you could wear a flannel shirt because Eddie Vedder rocked one? Or a cardigan because Kurt Cobain made them popular (I refuse to mention Mr. Rogers, who still gives me nightmares)? Perhaps you forgot, which is easy to do because of all the indie hipsters out there who have made these articles of clothing impossible to wear without the requisite skinny jeans (luckily, we are somewhat safe in Vermont).

3. Speaking of Eddie and Kurt, on the whole the music produced in the 1990s was WAY more memorable than what we get these days.  40 years later and we still talk about the Beatles/Floyd/Zeppelin etc, and in 20 years bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam will still be known to all (and yes, U effing 2 – though they are an 80s and 90s band).  Hell even Britney Spears will probably be talked about, if only because she’ll be making her 17th comeback.  But music the past 10 years or so, while I’ve enjoyed it, has produced very few, if any bands or artists that have a good chance of making it well into our future. Lady Gaga included.

4. While the 1990s was a decade of futility for teams (Patriots made one super bowl, sucked the rest of the decade; Celtics had their second player in 7 years die of cocaine issues and were a joke; the Red Sox spawned teams that featured names like Damon Buford; and the Bruins weren’t even on anyone’s radar), they were in a sense more enjoyable to watch.  I didn’t know every single thing about every single player – from what PED they were taking to what nightclub they were at trying to have sex with a young coed.  I don’t condone this action, but sometimes ignorance is bliss.

5. I really feel like bad, yet incredibly watchable TV was paramount in the 90s (90210 will not be listed here, it is not a bad show) – Party of Five, Walker Texas Ranger, Melrose Place, Califronia Dreams, Saved the Bell: The College Years, Friends…yup, I said Friends, that show sucked.  Why? Cause Ross is a huge tool. He Said, OUT!


SHE SAID: E-mail Forwards

September 22, 2009

Most email forwards I get at this point in my life make me laugh or are an interesting read.  I like to think this speaks highly of my friends that they send on interesting stuff for the most part.

However, lately I received this little gem:

Do not keep this message.

This message must leave your hands in 6 MINUTES.  Otherwise you will get a very unpleasant  surprise. This is true, even if you are not  superstitious, agnostic, or otherwise faith  impaired.

ONE.  Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.

TWO.  Marry a man/woman you love to talk to. As you get older, their conversational skills will be as important as any other.

THREE.  Don’t believe all you hear, spend all you have or sleep all you want.

FOUR.  When you say, ‘I love you,’ mean it.

FIVE.  When you say, ‘I’m sorry,’ look the person in the eye.

SIX.  Be engaged at least six months before you get married.

SEVEN.  Believe in love at first sight.

EIGHT.  Never laugh at anyone’s dreams. People who don’t have dreams don’t have much.

NINE.  Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but  it’s the only way to live life completely.

TEN..  In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling.

ELEVEN.  Don’t judge people by their relatives.

TWELVE.  Talk slowly but think quickly.

THIRTEEN. When someone asks you a question you don’t want to  answer, smile and ask, ‘Why do you want to  know?’

FOURTEEN.  Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

FIFTEEN.  Say ‘bless you’ when you hear someone sneeze.

SIXTEEN.  When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.

SEVENTEEN.  Remember the three R’s: Respect for self; Respect for others; and Responsibility for all your actions.

EIGHTEEN.  Don’t let a little dispute injure a great friendship.

NINETEEN.  When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct  it

TWENTY. Smile when picking up the phone.  The caller will hear it in your voice

TWENTY-ONE. Spend  some time alone.

Now,  here’s the FUN part!

Send this to at  least 5 people and your life will improve.

1-4  people: Your life will improve slightly.

5-9  people: Your life will improve to your liking.

9-14  people: You will have at least 5 surprises in  the next 3 weeks

15  and above: Your life will improve drastically  and everything you ever dreamed of will begin to  take shape.

A  true friend is someone who reaches for your hand and touches your heart. Do not keep this message.

While the mission impossible innuendo is kind of cool and makes me feel dangerous and important, threatening emails are unpleasant to receive.  Threatening chain emails are not only unpleasant, but frustrating and anger inducing.  I was annoyed when I got them in grade school in the mail, and at least those required some effort on the sender’s part.  Within seconds of opening this email, I’m being promised impending doom if I don’t frustrate and anger a handful of friends.  Who doesn’t want to avoid something terrible horrible and no good happening to them?

“When you say ‘I love you,’ mean it.”  Thank you, Captain Obvious.

For a short period of time I would pick people I didn’t like or people who I knew were into this crap and send it on, just to save my Karma fearing self.  Then I decided that even that was lame and it was much more fun signing up people I didn’t like to get tons of spam emails from companies like the American Corn Hole Association then sending them hellfire and brimstone emails detailing How To Make Yourself A Better Person or reviewing life lessons you ignored when your mother yelled them at you from the kitchen.

And, for the record, the last part is not the “FUN” part.

Let’s start a boycott of this crap.  No more pyramid scheme emails.  No more send this on or descend into hell.  If it’s a picture of Jeremy from summer camp with the longish bowl cut looking slightly feminine, or his latest mug shot replica passport photo, send it on to as many people as you can think of, and yes you’re life will improve because people will laugh and you will laugh and laughing is healthy and makes you breathe deeply and exhale the bad air from your lungs.

Otherwise, let’s agree to just say no.


HE SAID: E-mail Forwards

September 22, 2009

I’ll start by throwing out a disclaimer, any forthcoming shitting on email forwards will only pertain to the types of forwards Nifer provided an example of.  As in, if my father forwards me a funny youtube link (at least, funny in his mind), it might annoy me but it is not even in the same ballpark of those fucking emails that tell me if I don’t forward it the love of my life will call me this week.  Guess what? She probably isn’t going to call this year, I already know that, I don’t need to hear that after reading 5 paragraphs of pointless drivel.

Wow, I must be angry this morning.

I will give people credit in this department though…because, quite honestly, until Nifer brought them up with her post, I hadn;t thought about them in awhile.  This leads me to two possible conclusions: 1. Faith in humanity that people have finally realized that forwarding an email claiming Bill Gates will pay you $50 for everyone you forward it to is a sham (not effing likely) and 2. Gmail’s Spam Filter is exception (highly effing likely).

Though I will also defend these morons to a small degree.  Let’s say you do have a crush on some girl, or you do need to make some fast cash…and some email comes along saying if you forward it to X amount of people you will get laid or rich…well I can see the appeal.  Honestly, most email applications are so user friendly these days it takes all of two minutes or less to throw in the appropriate amount of necessary emails to acheive your goals.  I guess what I’m saying is I can see someone rationalizing “Well, I know this girl won’t even make out with me let alone fall in love with me…but whatever, might as well forward it on, it only takes a minute.”

To all of you types though, let me stress, leave me the fuck off the list.

One final note (I’m keeping mine a bit shorter today, on account of Nifer’s Russianesque novel on her thoughts): People who fall for the scams along these lines, “Please help me.  I am from Nigeria and my father has recently passed but he has a fortune of 532352 billion dollars.  Please just give me your social security number and bank account details, so I have a place to store this money.  You will be paid 20% of the fortune.  Thank You. Dr. Okun.”  You are a bunch of “ritards” and deserve to lose your money.  Folks, please remember, “ritards” was made a politcally correct statement by “The Hangover.”


SHE SAID: Walk of Shame

August 21, 2009

Always more embarrassing for a women.  I don’t care how dressed up you were the night before, even stumbling home in the morning fog wearing a disheveled tux with stubble is more distinguished than stumbling home in heels with a wrinkled dress and your hair only slightly reminiscent of its previous night’s splendor.  And most times, let’s figure the couple in question was at a bar, the guy is wearing something he could arguably wear in the morning … while the girl is in something that is clearly evening attire.  Eyeliner, mascara … it can get ridiculously messy.  We women give away WAY more when trying to ease our way home the next morning whether or not you snuggled, snogged, or slept with the person you spent the night with, it is assumed you spent the night grappling with the double backed beast when caught slinking home.

walk-of-shameIn college, these walks were more prevalent for most people.  Myself, I was saying my prayers at nine thirty and in bed by ten with all my homework done, but some of those ruffians I hung around with would come home the next morning.

One made it home in a shower curtain liner after leaving his fair lass’s room to use the lavatory and not remembering which room he had left once he exited the bathroom.  This necessitated some quick thinking.

One friend never found her other shoe despite panicked rummaging and her prince never sought her out.

Another was relieving himself of last night’s ingestion in a bush on his way back to his room while a prospective student tour happened upon him.

In hind sight, I wish I had planted myself somewhere on a Sunday morning where I could have taken in some of the walks of shame.  I’m a little bummed when I think of the people watching I missed out on that would have been so easy to witness.  Head down, eyes focused on the sidewalk, pace quickened…heels clicking.

And therein lies the fun.  Not getting caught.  There’s something victorious about making it back to your room without getting seen.  Not that you won’t laugh about the story with friends or brag to your buddies, but there is some key part in getting back to your room before someone sees you.

As an adult, it gets less exciting, a little more pathetic.  Getting spotted driving home early, your car seen in someone’s driveway, your parent’s drinking coffee at the breakfast table while you’re sneaking in the back door.  And no, that never happened to me.

But one time, having thought I snuck in unnoticed at an ungodly hour, I went to join my father for breakfast after grabbing a few hours of sleep.  He put the paper down as I sat to eat and said, “You looked really beautiful last night.”  Thinking this was one of those touching father-daughter moments that Hallmark attempts to construct, I thanked him.  Then he picked the paper back up and as he cracked it to make sure it wasn’t folding over and hampering his reading, he followed with, “Maybe that’s why you didn’t come home last night.”

Busted.


SHE SAID: Random Facebook Friends

June 1, 2009

You know someone.  Barely.  You met once at a bar and shared a brief conversation of which you couldn’t really hear all the words; you went to camp together 15 years ago and shared the same bunk house with 15 other campers and had some friends in common; you took an entry level Psych class your freshman year in college and had to write a group research paper with five other people about hidden biases and no one really did anything other than this other girl … whatever, you get my point.

You kind of know someone, and they friend you. Do you accept?  If you do accept, does that take your friendship to the next level?  When you see them out do you initiate a conversation that wouldn’t have happened before the friending?  Do you comment on how fun that Spring Break trip looked based on the photos they posted?  Is it possible to see them and walk by, as you would have before, without any words exchanged?  Do you simply make eye contact and nod while you’re walking by?  Suddenly, I’m not so sure how to interact with people I don’t know that well.

I got friended by a woman I see all the time and was sure didn’t know who I am.  After I accepted, she still never says hi, nods her head in passing, or even looks at me.  What is the point of being Facebook friends?  My profile isn’t that exciting.  Is this friend collecting?  Was she trying to break a big number as far as friends go.  Does she know my name, but have no idea what I look like in person?  There is a disconnect in that we don’t share hellos, but we allow each other to see pictures we’ve posted, things friends wrote on our walls, our status updates, relatively personal things.

Then there is the random friend who posts ‘we should get together soon!’ on your wall and you have an exchange every few weeks about a meeting which never comes to fruition, but you still go through the whole rigmarole each time.  I’m convinced these friends don’t have any intention of getting together, but feel like they should throw it out there for some reason.

I also have friends who I wasn’t that close with in college or high school who I have developed great friendships with thanks to Facebook.  One friend in particular I chat with pretty regularly and am thrilled that we got back into touch and are able to keep tabs on what the other is doing.  I reconnected with another friend after not seeing each other since we were 12 and we’re now planning a cheese and beer tour of Vermont together.  For that I say, thanks Facebook!  I’ll be sure to post an album of our travels.

And my personal favorite: the random friend you never knew that well that you never see who gets tanked one night, stalks facebook friends and posts comments on a ton of your pictures.  Classic.