23 12 / 2011
14 12 / 2011
Get up, Stand up
I all but ran to make the last bus downtown this morning, and climbed aboard to find it much more full than usual at 9:00 a.m. (oh fine, who am I kidding…9:20). I took an available spot, standing…not ideal, as I was suited up all professionally for a presentation today, in 3-inch heels rather than my usual sparkly Tom’s because I didn’t want to drag my pant hems along the asphalt, and carrying my laptop and a file folder in a large handbag. I took a moment to settle myself and switch on my iPod, and then realized I was standing right in front of a pretty attractive dude.
He appeared to be about my age. Possibly a lawyer, because he was wearing a suit and tie, but as we’ve already established, we were well beyond the beginning of market hours. Blackberry in hand, geek-chic glasses. Tall, judging by the way he sat, somewhat uncomfortably folded into the tiny bus seat.
Which is exactly where he remained. Even as I shifted my laptop bag on my shoulder and eventually set it down between my feet. Even as the bus stopped short and I had to fight with my shoes to keep my balance. He stayed seated until his stop - the first stop in the Financial District, so very nearly Chinatown - and crept (as well as a man over 6 feet can creep) off the bus.
I was downright huffy when I assumed his seat, mentally affirming that there was the type of man I could never date. If he wouldn’t give up his seat, surely that would also mean he wouldn’t open doors. I bet he’d be the guy who texts at 8 p.m. on Saturday to “meet up” that evening. His mom probably does his laundry. He probably won’t even think about settling down until age 38. He probably thinks houseplants require too much commitment.
My mental rant lasted approximately 2 blocks before I realized (a) I’d done nothing more than share airspace with this fellow for 10 minutes of my morning commute; and (b) was I, perhaps, being a little…harsh.
Or maybe…unfair? After all, where, exactly, did I get this notion that men should give up their bus seats for the ladies? And is it possible that the idea is just terribly archane and sexist and has no place in the brain of the professional and enlightened city-dwelling gal that I am?
So, I consulted an expert: my little brother, a full-fledged city-dwelling heterosexual man who has obviously done something right, because he’s convinced a perfectly lovely, professional, enlightened city-dwelling gal to marry him this spring. Plus, I know who raised him. So, his daily commute to work being virtually identical to mine, I asked if he’d give up his seat to a girl who got on the bus after him. His response surprised me:
"I mean, honestly, I used to but don’t always now…I’m ashamed to admit, haha. When I first moved to SF I ALWAYS did, but enough girls turned it down and looked at me like I was crazy/hitting on them that I rarely do anymore."
And of course, when he offered a seat he wasn’t hitting on the gal in question, and he wasn’t insulting her ability to stand on the bus as well as any man. He was just being nice. And come to think of it, there are a number of circumstances where I will give up my seat - for pregnant ladies, for example, or older people, or folks who are injured. This, to me, makes the act of offering a seat less about male/female dynamics, or a statement about feminism and chivalry. It’s just being nice.
Politeness and courteousness and niceness are all halmarks of good behavior, for anyone, any gender. I don’t see being a man being nice as a personal affront to my feminine power. But I also suppose I can’t blame the guys if they’re getting the nice beat right out of them with a high heel.
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14 12 / 2011
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12 12 / 2011
You Just Have to Wait
This morning I got an update from a college gal pal, Amy. Amy’d been in a few social situations with a certain hansome fellow, and last week, found herself in a scintillating and flirtatious discussion with him over anthropological documentaries. And in a serious display of female power, she had stared down the insecurity monster, and then grabbed the beast by the balls and sent the dude an e-mail casually asking if he’d like to join her for a documentary viewing event.
He didn’t write back.
A few days later she saw him at a mutual friend’s party, at which he resumed the flirty banter.
Amy’s reaction was naturally, W the F, along with the vengeful return of the insecurity monster. But in the course of a group e-mail download session about the dude, I pointed out that in fact, this whole exchange had taken place over the course of about four days.
How have we come by the notion that love happens instantaneously? I mean, let’s be honest, has that ever really happened? Where a chance meeting leads to an immediate connection and whirlwind romance that actually, you know, lasts?
I’ve noticed, actually, that some of my favorite couples, couples whose relationships I admire and even envy a little bit, took some time to come to be. My brother-in-law remained steadfast in his friendship with my sister for months before her heart healed enough from a breakup to be able to consider him. I spent a summer watching one of my best friends play cat-and-mouse with her now-husband before they both realized that the reason they kept winding up in the same place at the same time was because, well, they were kind of perfect for each other.
Love is very rarely immediate. I mean, like real stuff, not flash-in-the-pan drunk puppy love. The cute guy in class/at the coffee shop/who takes your number at the party more than likely isn’t going to drop to his knees and profess his undying love to you immediately. You may see a dude in class this semester and be cute and charming, and then you won’t see him next…and suddenly he returns from his research trip abroad, worldy and more mature, and there you are…still cute and charming…and then the magic happens. If you strike up a conversation with a handsome stranger in the coffee line over his book “Why George Orwell Matters,” chances are he’s not going to as you out right then and there…but if you see him next week, you may chat again…and after a few morning-coffee chats, you might decide to have coffee together intentionally sometime.
My takeaway from all of this is two-fold. One, dudes have 99 problems, and usually you’re not one. You have no idea what may be going on in their lives, or in their silly little heads. Maybe there’s a girl he’s still getting over. Maybe it’s an ex-wife. Maybe his dog died. Maybe he just started a new job, or just lost the old one. Maybe he’s been offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in Brazil but is conflicted because of a deep-seeded fear of the Portuguese language. You don’t know what the story is…but it almost 100% certainly is not about you. And the corrollary is that you’re not going to lose your chance at love and happiness if you don’t wind up on a date with a dude within a week of meeting him. You’re cute and charming and awesome enough that they’re not going to forget about you. And the right guy isn’t going to let you get away. It just might take some time.
And from what I’ve seen, the kind of love that takes time is the kind worth waiting for.
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11 12 / 2011
Girl on Girl Crime
Let me preface this by saying that I am a total girls’ girl. I love my girlfriends. No really, I LOVE my girlfriends. I have my besties, the girls I’d drop everything to lay down in traffic for…but I’m a firm believer that a gal can really never have too many girlfriends.
I’ve also been involved in a traditionally male-dominated profession for most of my adult life…so I hang out with dudes a lot. And having many, many brothers, I like to think I can put up with dudes fairly well, particularly for a girls’ girl (and with respect to almost anything, except camping.)
As you may imagine, I’ve learned to deal with “hey, I’m your boyfriend’s girl friend” the girls’ girl way: I just make the girlfriends my girlfriends.
So, a few weeks ago, I joined a guy friend and his girlfriend (also my girlfriend) for a movie, along with a handful of other folks. My girlfriend got stuck at the office…so pre-movie dinner wound up consisting of a handful of dudes, and someone’s wife, and me. So, naturally, I set about making the lovely lady my newest girlfriend. She, unfortunately, was having none of it.
As we sat picking at our organic sea bass (me) and tempeh (her), I asked her every conceivable question about her job(s) (former and current), her farvorite types of exercise, what was up with tempeh, what books she was reading, her hobby of stand-up girl comedy. I made every effort to ignore her husband, notwithstanding the fact that he was paying no attention to me in the first place. I innocuously raised dinner discussion topics from politics to celebrity gossip in an attempt to find common ground. When dinner was over, I followed her into the bathroom in a last-ditch effort to bond over our Invisalign. Nothing worked. I concluded the evening with nothing more than the certainty that I never wanted to be on this woman’s bad side.
Flash forward to last night - and this gal and I both wound up our mutual friends’ holiday party. I stood at the top of the stairs when she arrived. I’m pretty sure she embraced me with only the upper half of her left forearm. I spent the rest of the evening directing my champagne-fueled witty banter elsewhere…until five minutes before she headed out the door when I stumbled into her tirade about another guy friend’s new girlfriend. I stood awed as little miss “we’re not friends/forearm hug” brought me into her circle, disparaging the friend’s lady with the kind of passion typically only reserved for political debates about contraception. She whispered to me behind the back of her hand. She giggled conspiratorially, ducked her head and lowered her voice to share the juiciest tidbits of information, glancing around the circle, making sure we knew that we were all a TEAM in this endeavor.
Where I once was on the wrong side, now I was on the right…her right side, I guess, against a common enemy of…someone I didn’t know, actually, and there was a good chance I’d never meet. A month ago this gal wanted nothing to do with me…and yet, tonight, I was on the side of good and righteousness deserving of a conspiratorial chuckle in someone’s baked-brie-scented kitchen.
So are girls only able to bond over the other-ness of other girls, their misfortune of being them, when we’re us? Is the only way of getting on a girl’s good side ensuring you’re standing next to her while she digs at the person on her bad side?
08 12 / 2011
Fish or cut bait.
Sh*t or get off the pot.
Know when to say when.
Know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em.
There’s a myriad of ways to say it – all things (ok, most things) eventually come to an end. The trick is recognizing the end when it presents itself…like the second-to-last bite of a cupcake when suddenly your mouth feels sticky and your belly swells and you’re positive that, as much as you want it, you can’t possibly fit the last morsel in your mouth…like realizing all the money in the world isn’t a fair price for like, your soul. Or even just your weekends…like the moment you stare at a half-full pint of beer and, being the responsible adult individual you are, realize that finishing the glass means the difference between a nice little Sunday and headache hell…like saying goodbye to the high school sweetheart when you’ve both realized it’s time to get out and see the world.
Sometimes it’s about stopping before it gets to be too much. And sometimes it’s about realizing when well enough isn’t…well…enough.
05 12 / 2011
CLM: This is the human incarnation of spinning your wheels. Someone needs to just shove a piece of cardboard under that ish. I just don’t think it’s me. I don’t think I’m the cardboard.
CJK: I will never describe you as cardboard. and if anyone does, let me know, so I can get a sparkly manicure, then punch them in the face.
You are NOBODY’s cardboard. You are the super sweet destination that is a little hard to get to if the weather is super bad
CLM: thank you. that’s something
CJK: Its everything missy.
I wouldn’t ruin a sparkly manicure for anyone.
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05 12 / 2011
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