Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What do YOU want?

Being single again after so many years leaves you at a bit of a loss. You look around and think, "What the hell am I supposed to do now?" The safety net is suddenly gone. There's no one to talk to. I really and truly spent the first night after he moved out watching Antiques Roadshow and drinking a Four Loko. My first ever. Fruit punch flavor. It's actually kind of delicious in a 'I can feel this killing me from the inside out,' kind of way (just what I needed.) And hooo lordy all you need is one. 

It's disorienting and sad, but it's as good a time as any to step back and think about what you really want out of life. A girl can fantasize a bit, right? What do I want?

Gender rules

In soooo many ways, I'm not a girly-girl. Never have been, never will be. I'm hopelessly maternal, and love dresses and jewelry and pink, for sure, but am also into rather traditionally masculine pursuits like science fiction television and action movies. I play video games and would rather cook (in heels, mind you) than bake. I could live without makeup. I'll take an extra dirty martini over a Cosmo any day. I sing high soprano but would choose to listen to System of a Down over Maria Callas. I could go on but I won't, because you get it. I don't really follow the rules when it comes to gender roles.

My childhood was rife with contradictions. As a toddler I refused to wear anything other than skirts, but also desperately wanted (and was ultimately given) my father's Swiss army knife. I didn't carry a purse until I was out of high school. Everyone was probably confused. My third grade teacher famously told my mother, "She's a good kid, she just takes a little getting used to." In retrospect, that teacher was a bitch, but her statement resonates through the years. She was right; I was and am...weird. On the gender spectrum I'm probably smack dab in the middle, perhaps just ever so slightly on the feminine side.

This makes dating difficult, as if dating needs to be more difficult than it already is. I tend to go for guys who have a similar mix of masculine and feminine, but they are few and far between. More common is the popped-collar bro who's looking for blonde and boobs. The boobs I've got. The blonde-ness (and all it entails) eludes me. I just can't BE a girly-girl. Obviously there's nothing inherently wrong with that, but there will always be people like my third grade teacher who call it like they see it and label me as weird. After almost 30 years on this earth, I think I might be okay with weird.

Please stop being so nice to me!

When a relationship falls apart, the pieces can go in one of a few ways. You can rage at one another, throwing around words like, “hate,” and never wanting to see eachother again. OR you can do what we’re doing, which is to be sad…heartbroken…devastated…but not necessarily angry.

Sure there was plenty of fighting towards the end and there have been moments here and there where our tensions have come to a head, but we made a promise to one another to try to keep it civil. Luckily it’s been better than civil. We’ve been able to mourn together for something that’s gone and isn’t coming back. We still love eachother but it didn't work. Sharing that sadness is healing, for some reason.

Since everything comes back to either Seinfeld or Sex & the City, do you remember the (gut-wrenching) episode where Aiden moves out? During that final conversation – his bags packed – he fixes Carrie's toilet and tells her he wants her to keep the engagement ring. She says something along the lines of, “Please stop being so nice to me.” 

While I appreciate the kindness that we can show to each other, even now, part of me wants to say that. Please stop being so nice to me.

My now-ex (*sob*) has been something of a prince. He’s leaving behind a lot of his belongings that we shared, to make things easier on me, and he’s been a lifesaver dealing with our landlady. She can be an intimidating personality and after a recent incident, he said, “No one’s going to push you around. No one’s going to bully you.” 25% of me wanted to melt, while the other 75% steeled itself. I tried to remind myself that there were times when I felt pushed around and bullied by him; that we made this decision together for a reason and that it was still the right decision. All the niceties, it feels like too little too late. It is too little too late.

Hungry Girl Creeps Me Out. But is She Right?

(Note: This was originally posted a few months ago, but for some reason it reverted to the Draft copy. All the comments disappeared too! Disappointing. I hope I didn't anger anyone's lawyers!)

I am soooo conflicted about this Hungry Girl character who recently invaded my beloved Cooking Channel. I do appreciate how she tries to maximize portion sizes (and thus, satisfaction) by bulking them up with fruits and veggies, but that goodwill is so quickly lost when she reaches for box of something powdered and awful. Her recipes are usually quite simple; only a handful of ingredients so that's not really where her creativity comes in. Her shtick seems to be in her, "swaps," where she takes something great (like kale or squash) and bastardizes it into something it's really really not (like 'potato chips' or 'french fries.') Why can't kale just be kale, I'm wondering?  Do we have to trick ourselves with food in order to be satisfied? That's what Hungry Girl is trying to tell us.

For some reason, the whole show has a vibe of, "Welcome to my personal hell." Lisa Lillien is obsessed with food and calorie counting, and wants you to be, too. She wants you to know that zero calorie non-stick spray should be used sparingly, because if you spray too long, there will be calories. And that you can make "macaroni and cheese" with frozen cheesy broccoli, whole wheat spirals, and several 35 calorie wedges of Laughing Cow cheese. That...is an abomination.

One recipe called for canned pumpkin and she put on a very serious face, saying, "Now, don't get the preseasoned pumpkin pie filling, because that would be a disaster. Sure, it would taste good, but..." That makes me think that, should the pure canned pumpkin have been disastrously replaced by pumpkin pie filling, Lisa Lillien would spend a good hour crying about it. "A disaster?" Come on. Counterproductive to her cause, maybe? A bad mistake that leads to an extra six hours on the treadmill on the 'San Fransisco' setting tomorrow? I would assume so. But it's not a disaster.

And don't think that the Hungry Girl stays slim simply by taking out all the, "stuff you don't need," (like nuts and raisins, as she reiterated several times during a granola recipe. Nuts and raisins.) because she also belongs to Weight Watchers, according to this article from 2010. Also in that article she claims to live in the middle of the supermarket, which we all know is where the most packaging and preservatives live as well. Iiiiieeeeeejustdunno.

It just seems like this woman is a junk food junkie who is also dominated by body image issues. From the telltale puffy cheeks - which betray a history of anorexia - to the bizarre lusting over things she won't actually eat. In a recent episode, the line, "I could read diner menus all day long," oozed out of her mouth like the honey she replaces with, "sugar-free maple syrup." Ugh. Before going to commercial break, she'll ask you a fun little question, like, "What food do you dream about the most?" Are you kidding me lady? Have a freaking french fry. I enjoy a bit of food lust as much as the next woman, but I'll indulge every one in a while.

OK, always. But, what do I know? In my world, kale can just be kale.