Thursday, March 29, 2012

Initial Thoughts Upon Living with a Boyfriend for the Very First Time

I officially made the move into R's spacious one bedroom apartment this past weekend. Here, in no particular order and without any editing, are my thoughts on the very new living situation:

  • he can see all my clothes in one place. A. this is bad because there are arguably too many of them, and he is arguably wondering if he's signed up for a life of never having more than 1/4 of the walk-in closet and B. if I get something new, I'm really going to have to hide it in there, which is going to throw off the WHOLE color-coding system!!
  • See above. Replace "my clothes" with "my shoes." Layer in the fact that he has already identified two pair of shoes which he believes to be identical. (They're so not)
  • So what happens if I have to go to the bathroom while he's in the shower? Like, go to the bathroom go-to-the-bathroom... Do I go in there while he's in the shower?? Do I make him stop the shower, get out, and wait a beat while I...? Or, does the Bread Bar on 3rd have a public restroom?
  • Alright. I'm starting to get it now. The point of having many food items in your fridge at all times is so that when you are hungry for a given meal or snack there is something for you to eat. He might be onto something...
  • What's the best practice here? Let the shirts-to-be-dry-cleaned sit in a ball on the floor until it's appropriate to discuss a less on-the-floor place for them to live, or establish that place without discussion and wait until he goes looking for the shirts to explain where they now live?
  • Is 50% of the DVR capacity now reserved for me? Or does it go 30% him, 30% me, 30% us? Because if it's 30/30/30 then someone is going to need to learn to love House Hunters a little more slash at all.
  • Does the scent of a candle require approval of both parties? What if one party doesn't even really believe in candles? Then, by default, the other party gets to pick the smell, size and quantity of whatever candles they deem necessary, right? Because everyone logical knows that candles are an integral part of home decor, and anyone illogical can't be trusted to say that freesia smells like a funeral. Right?
  • How bad is it if you throw away an important piece of mail belonging to the other person? Wait. I mean if you maybe throw it away. You're definitely not 100% sure you threw it away, but, yes, it's possible that there's a chance you threw it away when you were painstakingly organizing the "mail" vs. "keepsakes" baskets that now live on the bookshelf. It's bad, right? I mean, it's maybe bad.
  • Precisely how rude is it to fall asleep 1-2 hours earlier than your boymmate/roomfriend (I refuse to use the term L.I.B - live in boyfriend) 75% of the time?
  • When a man says, "no more pillows," he's referring to the surface before which he currently stands, correct? So if that statement occurs before the living room couch, one can only assume that it is perfectly appropriate to purchase more accent pillows for the bedroom bed.
  • Isn't the saying "less is more" obsolete if, in fact, "more is more." Applications to consider: picture frames on walls and/or flowers in vases.
  • Isn't the saying "style over substance" obsolete if you know the yellow houndstooth rug is the only rug that will look correct in the space? Applications to consider: under my vintage eggplant purple desk.
  • Can you only say, "I got you a gift for the apartment!" if the other person will use it and/or at least like it? Follow up: what is it called if they won't do either?
  • If, despite the above neurosis, everything is going incredibly well, and it feels like you've lived together for years, does that mean everything will go incredibly well as you live together for years? Because, despite some minor neuroses, I didn't second guess this move for a minute, and in spite of the above neuroses, I'm feeling like my gut was 100% right.
Posts on the new living situation will be less plentiful moving forward, but your thoughts/comments/advice are always welcome!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

My (delayed) Reaction to that New York Times Article, "The Go No-Where Generation""

I tried to avoid commenting on that recent New York Times article calling us 20-somethings the "Go No-Where Generation." I tried to avoid it because I didn't think I had a legitimate response.

I read that article and somewhat related to the idea of being stagnant. Yes, I currently live 3K miles from my hometown, but I waited five years to make the move. Yes, I'm currently following a passion, but I missed many opportunities to go on the kinds of crazy adventures that the writer of that article claims Americans past enjoyed.

Do I think all 20-somethings are lazy, Internet addicted, "Peter Pan's" afraid to make major moves for fear of leaving the nest, absolutely not. But do I think there's something to this idea of our generation favoring security over risk, yes.

And so, in the end, I caved. My former AOL editor now works at, and when she reached out to see if I'd write a response to that very New York Times piece, I bit.

Here are my full thoughts on the idea of the "go no-where generation." But more importantly, I'd love to make this a bigger conversation. Post your own responses and rants in comments, and maybe the Times will publish US, instead of old people who like to write about us!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Approximate Internal Monologue Upon Discovery of Very First Gray Hair

I apologize in advance for the drunken sailor-like language contained within this post.

  • Time: approx 8:45 AM
  • Location: bathroom mirror
  • State of Mind: neutral

(leans in close to mirror to apply Neutrogena tinted moisturizer)

Wait. Whoa. Is that?.... Wait. Lemme (shifts strands around at hairline). Is it??? (shifts more strange). No. It's not. It can't be. (more shifting). OHMYGODITHINKITIS.

(brings entire face within 1 centimeter of mirror)

It IS a fucking gray hair!!!


(stares at mini gray hair in mirror with look at panic/horror/excitement?/no, horror)

WWaaaiittt a minute. This might not be a legit gray hair. This might just be a left-over strand of white-stained hair from when I used that cheap dry shampoo called SShhhttt or DDssstt's PPsssttt...which is dumb.

It is totally and entirely possible that that's exactly what this could in fact be. Lemme put a little water on it to rub the potential dry shampoo residue off the strand, returning it to its rightful deep brown hue.

(wets finger, rubs hair, no dice)



Is it cute? It is small-ish and stark white..ish. That could be cute, no? Like maybe over the course of the next few years I'll develop a chic white streak across the top like...hhmm...Cruella Deville? Crap. Who else... OH! That woman from What Not To Wear! She's chic-ish. Good. That's one. Who else?????

My Mom...
and my Mommom...
and my great aunt Mel...

AND NOW IT'S HAPPENING TO ME....and I can't stop it...

And this obviously means I'm going to get corns and/or a hammer toe too, which is A. completely and totally disgusting and B. means I'll never be able to wear cute high heels again. NEVER AGAIN.


(takes deep breath)

You know what?....

(examines graybie again)

Fuck it. I'll just dye it. Oooh. RED. YES! New stage of life, NEW ME! I'll dye it, like, oooohhh DEBRA MESSING RED. Yes. Totally. That is totally what I will do. I've sort of always wanted to do that anyway, so now I have a valid excuse.

(stands back and attempts to envision oneself as a redhead)

HHmm...I wonder what that's going to run me? 'Bout $200 a month? No. Duh. You idiot. This is L.A. It's probably more like $300 a month....ugh....$300 a month to cover up my real real self.

Crap. $300 a month is a TON. That's like car plus car insurance payment money. I can't afford that!



Am I prematurely gray? I'm 28.5. Is that GRAY HAIR AGE?! Is it totally and completely appropriate that I should have a gray hair directly in the center of the front of my hairline?

How do I find this out? Google? Can I google this??

(runs into kitchen, grabs iPhone, runs back to bathroom, Googles "appropriate age for gray hair", clicks on WedMD, reads...)

"Salt and pepper, silver, pewter, charcoal. Whatever you call it, gray hair happens to all of us at some point. But why do some people go gray in their 20s, while others don’t see the first sign of silver until age 50? The truth is, there is no rhyme or reason to it."

No rhyme nor reason. It just is what it is....which is gray, potentially-but-not-definitely prematurely.

Well. As they say when something totally sucks, but there's nothing you can do about it: it is what it is.

(stares back at mirror, fully prepared to greet the very first gray hair with a bitchy "hello")


Where is it? (shifts strands around at hairline). Did it??? (shifts more strange). Is it???? (more shifting).


(brings entire face within 1 centimeter of mirror)

I think it's gone.


Well. PHEW! That was weird.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Girls, we clearly need to have a talk about how to go pee-pee on the bar bathroom potty.

Last Saturday night I found myself at The Rosewood Tavern on Fairfax in West Hollywood.

I'm a fan of almost everything about that bar. Amazing beer and liquor list. Delicious English pub-style food. Big room with high ceilings. Tons of Edison bulbs.

But unfortunately, The Rosewood Tavern made a tragic error in the design and build-out of their large bar/pub space, an error far too many otherwise perfect establishments commit.

There's only one women's bathroom, and it's a single stall.

If you have ever been a woman who has to go to the bathroom after consuming 1-3 alcoholic beverages, you know what a total and complete disaster a single stall sitch can present. Though, to be clear, it's not the single stall's fault. Yes, one toilet option for any number of pee-pee dancing ladies is seven toilets too few, but that's mostly because of a similarly tragic flaw in the design and build-out of women.

Some of them don't know how to go to the bathroom. And when you insert alcohol into the equation, that "some" becomes "most."

Last Saturday night at The Rosewood Tavern "most" became ALL. I waited in that bathroom line for 15 minutes (yes, I timed it) even though there were only 3, that's right 3 women in front of me. I can barely divide, and I still know that's too much time! What in god's name are you doing in a public bathroom at a loud bar when you know there are 5 people in line to pee??

Some thoughts:

  • You are snorting coke. I've never done that, but according to the movies it doesn't take 5 MINUTES!! Also, Rosewood Tavern is not Voyeur, so please leave here and go there.
  • You are re-doing your make-up. Again, that's not a full five-minute process. It should take 2-minutes, tops. If you feel you need longer, you should just go home.
  • You are talking to your friend who you brought into the bathroom with you. A. Don't do that. We're adults now. The time for pulling that move has passed. And B. If you're going to do that, DO IT FASTER.
  • You are making poops. I understand. Sometimes something "comes over you", and you must take care of that something before you are in trouble. That's mostly fine, but I'd prefer you do what you can to mitigate the situation, then promptly leave the bar for the comforts of your own bathroom.
Here, for those of you who seem to be very unfamiliar, here is exactly what should go on in the bathroom. I've added time-stamps to help you actualize this process.
  • You enter, and place one of those paper protectors on the toilet: 00:05
  • You pull down your pants/tights/skirt (note: if you are wearing a jumpsuit, please add an additional 00:03 seconds): 00:03
  • You pee. Let's pause here for a moment to discuss how you should be peeing when you're in a single stall bathroom with five people in line behind you. The answer is, quickly. Push it out kids. This is no time for a leisurely sit-and-stream. 00:08
  • You get up and put your underthings/pants/skirt back on (same as above on the jumpsuit situation, but, if you know the bar is rocking a single stall, it would be kinder to not wear the suit) 00:03
  • You wash your hands: 00:05
  • You dry those hands: 00:03
  • You check yourself out in the mirror (while I don't support this from a time-perspective, I realize it is inevitable) 00:05
We're at 39 seconds, and that's including the jump-suit allows!! Do you know how many seconds LESS THAN 5 minutes that is?? A LOT (I can't subtract either).
Bottom line ladies (pun obviously intended), please, PLEASE pee with more respect toward your fellow females in line.
Or, for a more memorable mantra - PEE IT FORWARD.
...which reminds me of another issue I've been meaning to discuss. WHAT IS WITH ALL THE SEAT SPRINKLE???

Thursday, March 15, 2012

How To Prepare To Move In With Your Boyfriend

There may come a time in your life when you and your boyfriend will decide you're ready to live together, and when that times comes, you may or may not have some serious prep work to do.

Here, in no particular order, are my personal recommendations.

1. Arrange an informal meeting in which you discuss the cosmetic improvements you'd each like to make to the apartment. I recommend this meeting take place while the TV is on or one/both of you have had a few cocktails.

2. At said meeting you want to be sure to get all those preferred cosmetic improvements out on the table to avoid conversations like the following:
  • R: I think I do want some extra drawers for clothes in the closet.
  • Me: Okay, great.
  • Me: this a session where we each say the additional apartment things we've been thinking we want?
  • R: No.
  • Me: Right...
3. Use feeling words to explain your desires for the shared space. Things like, "I feel like a new plant would look nice here!" or, "I feel like we could save space if we organize these utensils!" or, "I feel like we should paint that wall neon yellow!...?"

4. Decide how many pair of shoes you can realistically part with on your own, remove those shoes from your closet without assistance, and bring those shoes to the donation center without anyone checking the bag before it goes. If asked, report back that you donated, "a whole lot of pairs!"

5. When asked why the belts need their own drawer, don't say, "because the clutches and small purses have their own drawer, so why shouldn't the belts?" That's not constructive...or logical.

6. If then asked, "when was the last time you even wore some of these belts?" don't quote the actual dates you last wore some of those belts. That's just weird. Why would you even know that??....

7. Yes, purple is a wonderful, wonderful color that can, in some circumstances, be considered gender neutral. Still, it's best to get over your affinity for it before moving into an apartment with a man...who is straight.

8. Decide what items you need from IKEA by perusing their extensive online site, then elect one member of your party to actually go retrieve those items. This move alone will add 10+ years to your relationship.

9. Now would be the time to share specific lifestyle quirks that are just bound to rear their ugly heads. It's not that weird that you really want the loose end of the toilet paper to fall behind and not in front of the roll.

10. Similarly, you don't have to make up excuses for why you want certain things a certain way in your new shared space. You can just say you want your clothes to be on the left side of the closet instead of the right. You don't have to make up some weird story about how because you're left handed they should be on the left so you don't bump elbows with your boyfriend if you're both inside the closet selecting clothing side-by-side.

11. And most importantly, when people ask how the move prep is going, don't make a face like you just ate fat-free, plain Greek yogurt for the first time, especially if your boyfriend is sitting directly next to you.

You're confident in your relationship! You're excited about this next step! And, if you're anything like me, you're insanely grateful that this man has agreed to live with you, despite your obvious quirks...and not-so-obvious number of shoes.

If you have any other tips for me as I enter the new, exciting phase of life-living, please share them in comments!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Things I Learned By Taking Two Adults Over The Age of 50 to Disneyland

Several weeks ago I wrote a post about the many things I learned by taking four kids under the age of 10 to Disneyland. It was inspired by the 10+ hour day R and I spent with his sister, brother-and-law and their four kids under the age of 10.

Today I'm filing a different post on a similar theme. This time it's a reflection on my experience taking two people over the age of 50 to Disneyland, and it's inspired by the 6+ hour day R and I spent with his parents.

For the record, we get free admission through a work situation...

Here we go:

Things I Learned By Taking Two Adults
Over The Age of 50 to Disneyland

  • The night before the big day you'll discuss leaving at 11AM then decide that's way too early and settle on 2PM.
  • You don't have to tell them to go to the bathroom before you leave, or really at any point throughout the day. In fact, it's more likely that they'll remind you.
  • Rather than scream and squeal at the costumed characters or plastic light sabers they see as they walk down Main Street U.S.A, they'll wax nostalgic about how similar the paint colors on the buildings looked like in 1972.
  • If you say, "so, the line is 45 minutes long..." they'll say, "that's okay. We're here to go on a few rides and have a nice time. If we wait, we wait," not, "45 MINUTES?! That's like an HOUR!!!"
  • While on that 45 minute line they will not require Angry Birds, Brick Breaker or any other smart phone game to pass the time, instead favoring things like conversation about when you were little and/or the current price of crude oil.
  • They will love that ride with the same audible energy, enthusiasm and excitement as any kid under the age of 10. The reaction will be a little less, "MAN, THAT WAS AWESOME!" and a little more, "THAT INDY RIDE IS REALLY SOMETHING!!" but the spirit is identical.
  • One among the two may need to stop for a snack, but it will be a strawberry Froze Fruit not a Mickey Mouse pretzel. It is possible that that's only because he didn't see the pretzel until later on...
  • There will not be one instance in which you need to yell ahead to tell them to stop running so they don't get lost.
  • They will, however, get lost inside the Disney store in pursuit of the perfect souvenir.
  • Even though you set out to treat them to a full day of whatever their hearts' desire, they'll turn that around and take care of you just like they did when you were 10-years-old.
  • But that parenting instinct won't stop them from holding hands like teenagers as they skip around the park like school-aged kids with eyes as wide as a toddler have when they see Disneyland for the very first time.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The "You're moving in?? Congrats!!" Curiosity

R and I are moving in together at the end of the month.

This is (shockingly) not a post about all the details (and decorating...) involved in that development (yet). It's a post about the very curious reaction I've gotten from people upon sharing the good news.

In almost every circumstance, from almost every person, it's been some form of "CONGRATS!!"
  • Via g-chat from my cousin: "WOW! CONGRATS!!"
  • Via e-mail from one of my best friends: "Such great news, congrats!!"
  • In person (with a kiss) from R's parents who are in town: "Mazel tov!"
Prior to all this unsolicited expression of commendation (of course I looked up the definition of "congratulations"), I didn't think of moving in with my boyfriend as an accomplishment to be commended. A good for you!, yes. A that's exciting!, definitely. But all the congrats imply I've done something impressive or difficult, that moving in is some kind of a feat.

"It is!!" said Carly when we chatted about this whole thing earlier. She would know. Carly has lived with her now husband for a number of years I can't even remember, but her perspective comes from the "been there, done that" place. She should be congratulated; she's done it...successfully.

My current congrats are technically more of the, "way to go! you got a guy to want to live with you!" variety. They're congrats on not breaking up, or congrats on being mature enough to take a big step in your relationship, or congrats on arriving at a point in that relationship where you believe you can compromise on where the shoes should live. Are they accomplishments by the simple definition of the word, yes, but at no point in the beginning of the relationship did people say, "nice guy, good luck not breaking up." It's like these congrats upon moving in imply that the whole world didn't think it was particularly likely. That the odds of arriving at "move in" are so low, they deserve recognition. Oh, you did it? Wow, what's the chance! Congrats!

I guess it's also curious because no one said congrats when I announced I was moving into a 200 square foot apartment in Manhattan with a rando off Craigslist. They said, "wow," or, "cool...," or, "you're paying that for that?!" Somehow the world didn't view my ability to live on my own, navigate the Manhattan real estate market, or finagle a way to pay 1K a month on a 28K salary as worthy of commendation. Trust me, it was a lot harder than settling into a lovely one bedroom with a giant back patio on the cusp of Beverly Hills will be.

I know it's not an uncommon reaction to this common life milestone. I, myself, have probably offered congratulations to a friend in a similar situation. But when you, yourself, are sharing the news, the congrats feels somewhat strange or unjustified.

"That's great, though!" a colleague said, "It means you don't feel like it was difficult at all to get to this point.

Maybe that's it. Maybe all these congrats make me feel like moving in with R is somehow a bigger deal than it is in my head. I never doubted we'd get to this point. Now that we're here it just feel exciting and natural. So maybe that's the rub for me, hearing, "you did it!" when I never questioned whether this day would arrive.

Of course, talk to me after I move my never-to-be-disclosed amount of shoes into R's not-the-biggest-walk-in-you've-ever-seen closet. I wholly welcome your congrats now, but after that war is waged, I'll actually deserve them.

Wish us/me luck! Or, you know, however you want to react.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Maybe I'm wrong about the whole wait-until-you're-fully-established-to-have-kids thing

I have a friend who just announced that she's pregnant with her third child. She runs a flourishing business that she started in her early 20s. She's successfully breaking into several other fields based on her diverse passions. She recently renovated her entire house.

Aaanndd she's only 1.5 years older than I am.

It would appear as though waiting until her career was established to start a family didn't factor into her plans. We haven't spoken about this, so I can't say that she had specific plans, or whether her current life followed those specific plans. All I do know is that she wanted to have three children and felt the time was right to complete the brood. In doing so, she's moving beyond the "family building" phase of life (at least the early stages of it) before I've remotely considered starting my own.

What if that's the better/smarter/more efficient way to do it? Have kids when you're 24-26 (only, of course, if you're in a position to have those kids, at that age), and then by the time you're in your early 30s you've got the motherhood thing under control so you can focus attention on your career? Do you end up ahead or behind? Did you miss out on anything? Are these even questions that can ever be answered?

In the case of this example, my friend never stopped focusing on her career to have and raise her children, nor does one have to. I guess the real question is, if a person only has the bandwidth to give one thing 100%, does it make sense to stack kids before career?

My personal philosophy is born as much from circumstance as belief. I was single and unable to care for a child from 24 through now (both financially and responsibility-wise). If I had been married things may have been different, but to be honest I think I've always planned to get my career as secure as possible before moving into the child-rearing phase of life. But what's that ordering based on? I don't know. I guess my belief that having children in the middle of my 20s would damage my career path. According to the example of my friend, that's not true.

So what if I was a 28-year-old with a four-year-old child? Would my career be on hold? Would I feel like I'm behind in life? Or would I feel at ease because I've started a family and can focus on raising that family while continuing to build a career?

This is not a rhetorical question. I'd love any thoughts/positions/experiences on the topic.

Is there any benefit to starting a family early? Career benefit? Personal benefit? Am I right to look at this friend and say, "hhmm, that's one seemingly smart way to do it," or is there no such thing as a smart way to do something as life-changing as starting a family?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

An SOS Re: Teens and These "Am I Ugly" Videos

Are you aware of this wildly disturbing new trend where teens (anywhere from 10-16) post YouTube videos of themselves asking people to comment on whether or not they are pretty or ugly? Because I recently caught wind of the situation via an NPR segment (side note: I'm much worldlier now that I spend 2 hours a day in a car!), and I absolutely cannot get over it.

Here's one of the first pieces that broke the "trend" from Jezebel, another piece on the issue from the HuffPo, and the NPR coverage I listened to yesterday afternoon.

Apparently it's as simple as this: a teen girl (or guy, but in most cases girl) uses her laptop webcam to record a short video in which she asks members of the YouTube audience (so, the world) to comment on her looks. "Am I pretty?" she may say, "Because people at school say I'm pretty, but I just want to know for real if I'm really pretty." Or she may say, "Am I fat and ugly? My brother says I'm fat, and some kids at school tell me I'm ugly, so, you know, I just want to see if you all thing I'm really fat and ugly. I think I probably am, but I thought I'd ask to see for real."

That second one is a real transcript from a real video of a real 11-year-old girl. (Note: I've decided not to post any of the videos here because I don't want to promote them.)

Once the video is posted, the comments start rolling the thousands. In the case of one specific video sighted in the Jezebel article, "responses ranged from the cruel ("your forehead scares me") to blunt ("just get bangs") to wise, at least for YouTube. ("youre not ugly, society is.")" Those are among the most tame I've read in my limited YouTube scanning. Many of the comments are absolutely brutal and contain physical as well as character commentary (from, "you're a dog!" to "what kind of dumb bitch asks this??").

I don't think I need to point this out, but for sake of clarity on my position: THIS IS A MASSIVE PROBLEM.

I don't know where to begin with the state of teens these days (you know you're old when...) - their need for approval, their focus on appearance, the insanely public nature of their lives. During that NPR call-in show, one expert explained that today's teens place far more importance on what the general public thinks of them than family or close friends. I'm not surprised. These kids grew up in an age where celebrity is something that can achieved by anyone who can enough people to follow their every action. They don't see anything wrong with opening themselves up to compliment or criticism from complete strangers.

Some of that is a given. I myself publish a blog and keep an updated Twitter account. I get the fact that these are the times we live in, but that doesn't mean we can't protect and prepare young people to deal with the brand new world.

My very first question when things like this happen is always, how did no one in the life of this child (because teens are children) know this was going on? The answer is that most teens have their own laptops in their own rooms, which are not monitored. Unfortunately that's not a problem for me to solve.

What I/we all can do I this: talk to the teenager(s) in our life about this whole situation - a cousin, a sister, a student, a friend of the family, I don't care. If you don't know any teenagers, talk to adults you know who have teenaged children. SO much can be done by just addressing the trend/issue in an open conversation.

Kids are bound to do experimental things, and with the Internet at arm's reach, those options have expanded a thousand fold. It's our job (yes, even us 28-year-olds with no kids on the horizon for some time) to make sure they understand what they're doing and, most importantly, why they're doing it.

End rant.

Next week we return to topics more along the lines of how hungover I get these days.