Sunday, April 25, 2010

Don't Speak For Me

I recently read an article in one of my favorite guilty pleasures. The magazine shall remain nameless not because I want to protect its bad choices in topics, or save it from tumbling into extinction, rather saving myself the embarrassment of admitting I read such crap. Oh, and by the way, I do read real books by real authors, but I will save my eclectic and sophisticated repoitoire for another time.

The article seeped under my skin. I have been quietly obsessing about it for two days. It was written by a famous actress who was giving advice to men about what we liked. “We” as if she were speaking on my behalf because we both have the same genitalia. (Not the same size necessarily, as she wears a bra size you can’t find in the full figured section of Target, and wears panties smaller than the petites you find in the little girl’s section on the other side of the store). So, this caricature of a woman believes that she’s of the authority to speak on behalf of all women. “This is what we expect out of you, boys, so listen up because I’m hot and on T.V. and if you fantasize about me, you need to know the ground rules." Yeah, whatever.

Do I sound bitter? It’s because I am – I strongly disagree with everything she proclaims in her advice column and the fact that she is drop dead gorgeous adds to my distain. Let’s dissect, shall we?

Her first assertion is that “WE” love your body – your potbelly, everything. Even if you’re insecure about something. She goes on to write that WE embrace everything because it’s you. That’s sweet and all, but I call B.S. If my dear husband were to find the 30 pounds that he lost eight years ago, I wouldn’t “love it because it’s you.” I would stick a SugerBusters book in his face and start feeding him tofu for breakfast. And I’m not the only one who feels this way. My mother is constantly hounding my father about the amount of food he shovels in his mouth, she subconciously picks his ear hair, and tells him he needs to shave if it’s been a couple of days. I know other women who feel the same way, but will keep them out of my thesis.

Boobylicious' second assertion is that WE remember forever what you say about the bodies of other women. In other words, comment on a pretty girl, we will remember what you said, how you said it and what you were wearing at the time. Now, this I can agree with. If Pants makes comments about women around town, I have been known to put that piece of vital information into a steel box, but Ms. Advice Columnist believes that we do so because it’s about learning what you think is sexy and how we might be able to convey it. “It’s about keeping our man by knowing what he likes.”

Wrong. We remember this tidbit of information should this woman’s name come up a second time. In which case we then conduct a name search on your email account when you are taking a nap, just to make sure that there are no indiscretions. Emulation has nothing to do with remembering these types of comments about other women. We have no desire to be like her. We do have a desire to cause her bodily harm if we find that you are cavorting with her via the Internet.

This famous knowitall, goes on to demand that you should never complain about our friends – even if we do. “You are not to pile on”. Well, I say that if you don’t agree with us and add a few “yeses” and “you’re right, she has been acting crazy lately”, we will draw the conclusion that you know something we don’t and your email will be checked again while you are napping. Always join in when we are frustrated. It brings us closer together as partners.

“Remember what we like”, she goes on. This one actually started off on the right foot but lost me towards the end. “Listen to us, do research and then surprise us with a gift that pertains to something we mentioned several months ago.” Okay, I don’t know about you, but I have a tendency to change my mind pretty frequently and if you don’t check in to see if I still think that new WII Fitness is the shizzle, you may be out $300. It sounded good at the time, but walking up the stairs to our office instead of taking the elevator is the only exercise we can fit in these days. In fact, we may not even be using the word, “shizzle” anymore to describe our glee.

Here’s a doozy: “We want you to order Scotch. It’s the most impressive drink order. It’s classic.” According to who, Ms. Double Dees? Last time I checked a good old fashioned Guinness worked just fine, and a Pacifico and a Margarita and a martini and a regular old diet Coke. Besides, why would I care what you drink as long as you drink enough to find me attractive at the end of the night. Also, Scotch smells bad on your breath and doesn’t really go well when you’re dancing the Humpty Hump.

The article wouldn’t have been true to its clichéd form if she had left out the passé advice of: “Stand up, open a door, offer a jacket.” I acknowledge that chivalry is an endangered species but let’s apply it across genders. I will gladly open a door for you if I see your hands are full. Rarely do I show up in the rain and snow without a jacket, and if you stand up in a meeting when I enter the room, it will only show that I am very late and will embarrass me further.

Here’s the one that had me bundling up the magazine for burning later: “No man should be on Facebook. I don't need to know what you're doing.” I’m sorry, 14 year old boy booty, but you are so far off the mark here. What’s wrong with being a male and being on Facebook? Frankly, I personally find status updates of my male friends to be enlightening and sweet and sometimes hilarious. Recently, Pants posted a status update that read: Love this quote of the day, "after ending his sixth marriage, rocker Greg Alman says that he's starting to think it might have something to do with him". Now that’s funny. So funny that I came home from work that night and asked him if he wanted me to make him dinner, because he deserved it because he’s so funny. It goes without mentioning that Faceboook is also a great way to spy on your significant other in order to fulfill the requirements outlined above.

This brainiac ended this stellar one-pager by writing: you don’t understand the power of your own smell. “We are with you partly because we love the way you smell.” While this can be true some of the time, I beg to differ after my husband eats a burrito or ice cream – he’s lactose intolerant. Then I don’t really like his smell and contrary to what this woman’s intent is, will not “suddenly get light headed over your smell.” It’s intoxicating, yes, but not the way this woman means it.

The next time these magazine editors want an honest assessment of how “WE” think about the world, and what advice or observations WE can give to men, here's a little advice: don’t go picking some cherry-eating trollop whose cleavage runs right up her nose and into her brain.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Happy Anniversary, Pants.

Is it totally goofy to be professing one’s love to their spouse on the world wide web? I could probably muster up the words and just tell him how I feel after four years of marriage and eight years of togetherness (absent those 3 months when I left to go look for my lost mind). But knowing how I operate, it would likely come out all garbled with a capper of “oh, and can you run the dishwasher before you come upstairs?” My expressions are more organized on paper.

So, dear Pants here goes my heart:

When I first found myself falling in love with you (30 el bees lighter and three years after I met you), I remember telling you in a downtown parking garage that you were my blue print. It was after one of those late sushi nights where you and I kept each other’s loneliness in check. I knew then that you were kind of into me too because you hated sushi. But you saw how the slippery slimy food made me dance in my chair and that was enough for you. Besides, there’s always teriyaki.

I recall thinking that night as our knees toughed under the sushi bar, that the gap between our ages was too much for me, along with your new divorce proceedings, oh and the fact that you already had children. All of it added up to mean one thing: that I will find someone just like you but without the strikes.

But the everyday pull to text you, email you, to call you, to make excuses to run into you was too overwhelming for me to ignore. But that’s exactly what I continued to do. If I just spend more time with him, I can learn more about him, and therefore be able to look for the perfect prototype.

Yeah, right. Who was I kidding? Certainly not my mother. Definitely not my friends. My incessant chatter about you, Pants – what you were doing, wearing, what you said that made me laugh, how we played golf together, went to the movies, how we went mountain biking at night, played tennis at 1 a.m., how you bought me that GPS so I would get lost when I went snow shoeing. All of these stories got on my friends’ and family’s last nerve.

Just admit it already, Brown.

I’m in love with you, Pants. And since those uncertain, self-deceptive days of being in your presence, my love for you has grown.

It’s little things that still get my attention: two weeks ago, you were outside an office building downtown. You were talking to a colleague and you were wearing a blue pin striped suit with a dark red tie. Your hands were animated. As I watched you from across the street, my stomach tightened with excitement. Pants is my husband. He’s coming home to me tonight. That hunk of burning love, that hot George Clooney look alike is going to fall asleep next to me. ME!

Or how about the other night when you were working late? Without even asking if I had eaten, you brought me home a plate of ahi, and a side of wasabi. You placed it on the counter, said you loved me and went to change out of your suit. I dusted off the ahi before you made it back downstairs.

Another little thing: You feed my secret addiction of trashy magazines. I will find a People or US Weekly tucked away in the groceries you brought home after work. I read it in hiding before company comes over. You allow me that small guilty pleasure.

The most recent “little thing” was when we had planned on having a romantic night to celebrate our four year anniversary. I was on day number two of a work crisis and instead of jumping on me to get off the phone and be present in the moment, you cancelled our evening, took Yack and me out to dinner and allowed me the opportunity to stress, emote, freak out and overindulge in one two many Saki’s. You even drove us home.

Pants, I am still head over heels in love with you for the little things you do for me, but also for everything that you are. You are the pinnacle of this happy family. And because of you and our children, I feel like I must have shoveled large piles of sheep dung in a past life to be so fortunate in this one.

What an amazing blue print you turned out to be.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The She Devil - Creating a Monster

I have been duped. It’s a hard pill to swallow by admitting it, but I have been duped. I was a little fish swimming along in my April Fool’s pond and got suckered by an enticing worm on the edge of a fishing line.. and I bit. I not only bit, I held on for dear life until my April Fool’s Day joy seeped out of me like fish guts.
And April Fools will never be the same for me again.
Up until April 1, 2010, the coveted day was a true favorite. I attribute my enjoyment to my successes. I was good at April Fools’ Day. I wasn’t only good, I was stellar. Being one step ahead of friends and family was an art, and I had mastered it.
My obsession for pulling off the perfect prank started very young. I remember my dad busting into my room at 6 a.m. on 4/1 telling me to get up because the garage was on fire and we needed to get out of the house asap. Or the time he had a friend call the house phone, and he pretended to be talking to the principal about my bad behavior. I even recall a time my parents told me that school was cancelled that day only to be startled into reality with the pair of them yelling, “APRIL FOOOOLLLLS” at my bedroom door.
This went on for years until I took over. It was my turn to take the torch and carry on the bounties of a family trait that had thrived in our household for decades.
And so in college, I set up a friend to call my mother and tell her that she was a rental car representative and that her 18 year old daughter rented a car with a fake ID and they had apprehended the vehicle at the Candadian border. That really burned my mother a new one. I would like to think she's still licking her wounds.
Or what about the time I pretended to be a guy on the other side of campus and called my slightly desperate friend for a blind date. This being prior to cell phones, my friend had a nice little three day phone relationship with several boys of College 8’s second story dorm who happened to answer the pay phone in the hallway at any given time. I still owe those gentlemen a big thank you.
My friend was finally ready to meet the man of her dreams. Unfortunately, when she appeared at the coffee shop, hair quaffed, perfume wafting in the wind, she realized that the guy sitting at the outside picnic table under the umbrella smoking a cigarette with his hat on backwards, shades on, was actually me. That was a goodie.
Another memorable experience can only be explained by a member of my most distinctive and proud posse. You can find her ode here:

I pulled off some of my best work last year – April 1, 2009. Pants got a vasectomy about six months prior after Yack turned one year. I was done with pregnancy, done with babies, I had my Yack and my step kids and I was happy – a working mother who felt that juggling the number of balls she had in the air was “just right”. One more ball (kid), and everything could crumble around me. So, I sent Pants in to get the snip. Well, my dear old husband never went back and got tested to see if there was change left in the coin purse, if you know what I mean. And with any married couple we continued to carpet bomb without fear.. I mean, really, how often don’t those snips work? Anyway, the week prior to the blessed day, I had been complaining of nausea and stomach cramps and fatigue.
Pants questioned whether or not the procedure worked and was I "late"?.. Yes I am late, but how in the heck am I supposed to know if your snip worked? Do I look like a penis doctor to you?
On April 1, 2009, I persuaded my very wonderful, very reluctant pregnant friend to pee on a stick. I then presented it to him while he sat in my office after responding to a phone conversation that ended, “I really can’t talk to you about this over the phone. This is something that has to happen in person”.
I didn’t say anything, just shuffled the stick across the table and waited for him to read it. He was in shock.. sweat, eff bombs, and pacing were all symptoms of his reaction. Then, he realized that I wasn’t reacting the same way, sat down and asked, “well, how do YOU feel about it?” I responded with, “I don’t know how I feel, I mean, obviously I am not as excited as when I was pregnant with Yack.” He then said, “no kidding. I had a vasectomy because we didn’t want any more children.” I let my sinister side take over and allowed him to sweat for about 10-15 minutes and then I let him have it, “you have known me for 6 years and this is the greatest day of the year.”
He returned the favor by having our accountant tell us we owed well over the amount that we anticipated in taxes which made my knees buckle for a good spell, but the coincidence in this is the amount he joked about last year is the same amount we owe this year.
Cut to April 1, 2010. Boy did I have my day planned. I was going to have our financial advisor who also happens to be my firm and his firm’s financial advisor as well as some close friends who took our advice, to phone Pants up and indicate that he was now filing for bankruptcy and that he was leaving the country… oh, and here’s a new cell phone number where he can reach him, but don't pass it on to any "authorities". I imagined it having the same effect as a Berney Madolf situation. My plan was hatched.
At 6:30 that morning, the house phone rang. Pants answered. I was still dead to the world. He proclaimed that the phone was dead, and minutes later my cell phone began to ring. I picked it up immediately as it was my step daughter. Getting a call from her at 6:30 in the morning is alarming from the get-go. You see, Mik is in college – a Freshman. It took moving mountains to get her there and keeping her there up to this point as been a breeze, knock on wood. As with any college student, any call before noon is one you don’t want to receive, so I picked up ready to put my game face on and facilitate the fixing.. roommate issues? Bad grade in Astronomy? Not sure how to get over a wicked hangover? Mik feels it necessary to call her step mother with such dilemmas in life.
I answered the phone to screaming, crying, and panting. The conversation, albeit foggy, went something like this:
“Oh, Amy, I am in such big trouble. I am outside my dorm room right now. They did a random search of my dorm room and found a bunch of alcohol under my bed.”
My immediate thought went straight to the handbook guidelines I had read prior to her attending: “there shall be a no-tolerance policy at this university. Any alcohol or illegal substances found in the dormitories will result in an automatic removal of the living facilities and possible expulsion from the university.”
I thought of how we were going to get her out of this one. I have been known to be pretty understanding during my step daughter’s high school career and her real-life curve balls she has thrown me in the middle of the night. Most of those issues were about breakups, parties, getting out of trouble. I had answers for everything.
I didn’t have an answer for her this time, so I started asking questions:
Me, the Sucker: “Where are you right now?”
She-Devil: “Sob sob, I am standing outside my room. The chancellor wants to see me in his office immediately. Amy, I don’t know what to say.”
Sucker: “Is the alcohol yours?”
She-Devil: “No, it’s my roommate’s stash, but she is in there telling them that its’ mine.”
I hardly believed her because my dear step daughter, similar in nature to her step mother, may have dabbled in bad behavior once or twice at the institute of higher learning. So, likely she has a 40 to 50 percent ownership of the "stash".
Sucker: “Okay, Mik. Calm down. The best thing you can do right now is calm down.”
I knew at this moment that I needed to kick up my game, that this type of response wasn't going to get her anywhere and may in fact backfire. I needed a shower.
I turned on the water and stood with the phone glued to my ear as I listened to her sob. Hopeless, defeated.
I figured that I would get dressed, hop in the car and drive to her. This requires a level head and adult intervention. We’ll pull through this.
As the fog lifted from my mind and the morning sun pierced my eyes, I internally began to construct a game plan, not only to get her out of this dilemma with school officials, but more importantly, to run interference with her inevitably pissed off father.
She-Devil stopped crying, as if a faucet was immediately turned off. And in a low voice, with a hint of malevolence, she calmly whispered, “April Fool”.
After several regrettable outbursts, I finally calmed down, and began thinking about what this all meant. I had created a monster.
The She Devil then turned into a laughing hyena, and reminded me as I am just about to hang up on her, “You only have yourself to blame, Amy. I would have never gone out of my way to put you through all of this if you hadn’t been the mentor of my wicked ways.

Next time I see the She Devil, I must remember to tighten the bolts behind her ears.