Thursday, May 31, 2012

What Would Claire Huxtable Do

If you're either a long-time reader of this blog or one of the dozen female friends who suffered with me through my early 20's, you know that I do not have an abundance of experience with relationships.  I have dated, some people for more than one month even, but until R, I did not reach the coupling milestones many people achieved by the time they hit college.

As such there are times when I'm just not quite sure what to do. Do I compromise or stand my ground? Do I give mushy love or tough love? Do I be cuddly or sexy? Surprising or steady? And can I just go watch TV in the other room if I don't want to watch Sports Center, on a loop?

There is no rule book on being the best, better half in a successful relationship (or there are hundreds but they're in a section of the Barnes where I won't venture), so we relationship newbies are forced to turn to the only resource we have for lessons of this nature: the television.

I learned how to flirt from Winnie Cooper, how to be evasive from Felicity, and how to be an idiot from Serena van der Woodsen. But when it comes to how to be an all-around fantastic partner, there's only one woman I look to because she always looks right back with eyes that say, "we've got this, baby."

Nevermind that Claire Huxtable was a married lawyer at least 15 years my senior with five kids. She knew exactly how to handle every scenario encountered with her man Cliff.  Therefore, whenever I have a "what should I do?" moment, I look down at my wrist where the bracelets I'll soon be marketing would sit, and repeat six, simple letters: WWCHD?

Here - in my opinion - is precisely what CHWD in the given, extremely random situations:

  • Your boyfriend is asleep on the couch, but you have your heart set on dinner and dancing for the rest of the eve. Any man worthy of Claire (or a Claire protege) will wake if the right tunes hit his ear.  Claire would skip the shake-and-wake routine and head right to the record player (2012 version: iPod). She'd pop on some tunes to set the night's mood then start dancing her heart out at the feet of her man until he opens his eyes to the sight of a deck-out lady whose face says, "you try and sleep through this party I'm having in my batik blazer." 
  • You've just had an argument about how to raise a child/plant a garden/cook a meal/clean the house. Your man has insulted your approach to the task leaving you pouty and hurt. Claire would make it clear that he can't treat her like that and get away with it.  Her approach: step one: dress in your sexiest palazzo pants and trapeze top. Add a chunky, African-inspired necklace to prove you mean business.  Step two: curl up on the couch with a nice, thick book. Something that says, "I'm a lawyer/as smart as a lawyer, so watch it." Step three: When your man approaches to reconcile, don't budge, don't even look in his direction. Make him sweat through a few funny jokes and forced cuddles until you finally give him a look out of the corner of one of your eyes that says, "I'm not going to get mad because mad doesn't look cute on me, but you best not do what you did again." Step four: put your book down and nuzzle into him like all is completely forgotten. 
  • You need something done in the house that's definitely a two person job, but your man insists on doing it his way, on his time. Weeks and weeks go by and you still haven't framed hung that framed picture of your entire family singing with Stevie Wonder on the wall. Claire wouldn't wait, but she also wouldn't shove that fact in Cliff's face. She'd go to the store, get the picture framed, hire someone to hang it in the house, marvel at her resourcefulness, and sit down on the couch with a nice, thick book. When he finally notices the picture is hung, don't cry, "well nobody else was getting it done," just smile and nod. "Looks nice, doesn't it. I'm very pleased with how it's all come together." Claire lives by a simple model. If you want something done, don't complain about it until someone else does it, just do it yourself and be happy that it's done.
  • You and your man are finally headed for a night out on the town after weeks without a proper, adult date. You want to look like a knock out without straying from your normal, everyday style. Claire's answer: palazzo pants jumpsuit. It's that same reverse fit-n-flare that marks your daily dress, but this time it's synched at the waist with some form of sexy rope belt. Go with an eggplant or a royal green. You're regal, and he should know it.  
What completely bizarre celebrity or fictitious character do you turn to for advice on how to be a successful adult? Or if you girl is also my girl Claire, what other advice do you think she offers?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The 700th Post

This blog post is arriving way later today than I intended for it to arrive.

For some reason the big 7-0-0 sent me into a tizzy - what to write? what to say? what to feel? has been around since 2007. Somehow that feels like both a mere 25 and the full 700 posts ago. 

At previous hund-o markers, I've reflected on how the blog has changed my life (because it did) or listed my favorite past posts (it's really just the Laundro Matt series) or talked about how rewarding this writing has become (wildly so). One time I think I used a number marker (500 was it?) to implore you readers to pass the blog along to potential new fans (and you did it! Thanks!)

At 700 though, I have to be honest with you, I'm somewhat disappointed.

I wish I could write more, I wish I could cover more, and I wish I could dedicate the proper time needed to turn these twice-weekly posts into more of a community experience. Other blogs have come, been turned into book/tv/film deals and gone since 20-Nothings came about. Some have turned into successful YouTube video channels, well-followed Podcasts, or easy-to-digest Tumblrs.

This little project of mine remains a passion play. It's a place where I come to think things out and hope you can help me in the process.  It's a place where I share ideas that I think people need/want to hear. Ultimately it's the place where I found my voice as a writer, and that's worth every single one of the 700, no matter how few or many people are reading. It has been recommended that I go "gimmick" - turn it into a series of dialogues between R and me, make it about my advice for moving to L.A., or embark on some crazy Eat, Pray, Love journey that readers can obsess over. None of those are bad ideas, but all of them seem too different from what I set out to do here. If I remember correctly (Pierson?), I set out to write interesting pieces about all aspects of 20-something life, as often as I can manage to write them. In this world where every Twitter feed seems to turn into a TV show, it's easy to feel like that's not enough, but at the end of 700 posts (many of which I re-read by way of "celebration"), I know it's plenty.

ALL of that said, since I have no intention of stopping at 700, I think it's worth looking at ways to enhance and revise this content for how ever many posts it takes until I hit the end of my 20s (I bet I could figure this number out, but it's way too scary a proposition). Maybe one long posts and a few short thoughts per week? Maybe more video content? Maybe guest writers who are actually in their early 20s? Maybe the whole thing becomes a Tumblr instead of a blog??

Your thoughts, suggestions and comments are welcome.

And, AS ALWAYS, with every milestone I must, must, must say THANK YOU. As much as this writing is for my own process and development, it's much more for you and your enjoyment. Keep the comments coming, and hey, why not pass it along to 5 or 10 or 200 friends who aren't yet readers. Consider it a little 700th post gift ;) 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Instructions for Executing the Most Cliche L.A. Stay-cation Ever

R and I will be spending this Memorial Day weekend here in Los Angeles. In honor of this vacation in our own city - sorry, why use five words when you can use one, and it can be as adorbs as STAYCATION! - I've decided we should throw ourselves the most cliched L.A. weekend non-getaway possible. I love a plan. I love a plan with a theme even more, and I love a plan with a theme that is ridiculous most of all!!

Here is precisely how we shall go about executing this most Los Angeles weekend known to man:

  • Wake up at 9am every day, call this "sleeping in," rejoice. 
  • Make breakfast together from final remains of last week's farmer's market shopping. Marvel at just how superior the farmer's market eggs are to all other eggs.
  • I will go for a haircut at a trendy, overpriced salon on Fairfax where I'll show my stylist images of Rachel Bilson and ask her to attempt to recreate her entire person on my head. Prior to my cut, I will stop into Commissary on Fairfax for the most expensive cup of coffee currently available in this city. There I will see 10-15 people I know, all of whom will be sitting with their writing partners working on their scripts. 
  • R will play tennis (La Cienega courts), likely with a TV writer friend who is stressed out about staffing season. R will also play basketball (Robertson courts), likely with a group of screenwriter friends who are stressed out about their spec scripts.
  • We will go to Silver Lake for whatever hipster festival they're having in Silver Lake this weekend. There we'll pop into stores featuring items we cannot afford slash understand, comment that the Spice Station is the coolest store in any neighborhood in any city, and complain about how long the line for Intelligentsia coffee is. I'll be wearing a hipster costume in a desperate attempt to fit in. R will be wearing a navy blue Polo polo and will say, "all these people are dressed weird, including you." 
  • We'll stop into Joan's on Third to stock up for the Cemetery Screening on Saturday night. It's Sabrina, so we'll convince ourselves that fewer people will show up, full-well knowing 5,000 people are already in line.  At the screening we will see 10-15 people we know (5-9 of whom were also at Commissary that morning). Topics of conversation will include how amazing the Silver Lake festival was, thoughts on Moonrise Kingdom, and how stressed out people are about staffing season.
  • At least one night of the weekend will end with drinks at one of the three acceptable bars on Sunset and/or Hollywood.  Someone will say, "Hollywood really isn't that bad."Someone else will say, "yeah but it's so out of the way." 
  •  I will go to 3rd Street Dance for my Zumba class with Raul. Mavis and Bill won't be there today because they're taking their grandkids to Disneyland, but Trini will be, and she's bringing these new gluten-free blondies she got at a bakery up in Topanga for everyone to try.
  • I will attempt to write for an entire afternoon. 1/2 of that time will be spent re-editing things I've already written, and the other 1/2 will be spent on one page of dialogue for one scene of a 115 page script I told myself I'd finish four weeks ago.
  • R will fall asleep on the couch reading the following: scripts, Sports Illustrated, the New York Times, Los Angeles magazine, his Twitter feed.
  • We will hike Runyon Canyon and, while doing do, discuss/fight over how much more fun hiking Runyon Canyon would be with a dog.  Conversation will continue over brunch at the West Hollywood brunch spot we swear is a total secret. There we will see Busy Phillips for the second time, remark that no where is sacred, and that if she's going to be at our brunch place she should at least be there with Michelle Williams. Aren't they lesbian lovers or something?
  • We will take a drive to the beach intending to lay out on the beach. I will wear something neon, a giant hat, and bright pink pastel lipstick. We will both wear aviators. It will be at least 15 degrees colder at the beach than it is in "town", so we will stay for brunch then drive back and crash the pool at the SLS Hotel for the rest of the afternoon.
  • We'll do our week's worth of grocery shopping at the Melrose Place Farmer's Market. There we will revel at the insanely low cost of remarkable produce while secretly hoping to god we see Don Cheadle again. 
  • Someone will have a BBQ in their twinkle-light strewn backyard. We'll bring way-too-expensive sausages from Lindy & Grundy on Fairfax and some cold, quinoa salad I found on Pinterest.  Topics of conversation at the BBQ will include: what movies people have seen, whether or not people love or hate Girls, who's reading 50 Shades of Grey, and how stressed out everyone is about staffing season.
I think that about covers it! Now all I need to do is inform slash convince R of the plan. Maybe I won't tell him at all, and see if he guesses. I'll probably need to add a stop at Pressed Juicery and a half hour tending to our herb garden in that case...

Happy Memorial Day Weekend everyone! 
And, what am I missing here, L.A.??

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Yes, really no more GIRLS recaps

I feel badly that I haven't addressed some of your comments about my GIRLS recaps directly, so I will now do so indirectly but with more words that I would have used in comment responses, so there's that.

THANK YOU for all the comments regarding my former Girls recaps. I appreciate those of you who agree with me, and I really appreciate those of you who disagree with me but explained your positions without using mean words. It has been fascinating to read all the reactions to the show, both here on my blog and throughout the world wide web.

As I've said, I don't like the show. I hate it less than I first did, but I still do not enjoy it. That said, I think a lot of awesome discussion and controversy has come from the show, and that's more valuable than any 30 minute television episode. For this I am grateful to Lena and crew. They may not know exactly what they're doing, and they may not be doing it will expert skill, but they're doing something bold and different, and that beats another 1/2 hour of Sixteen & Pregnant any day of the week (unless you have food poisoning, in which case crap reality television is truly the only cure - House Hunters International, especially).

ALL OF THAT SAID I will not be continuing my recaps. Sometimes I too like reading snarky episode coverage written by writers who obviously hate the shows they're reviewing. I feel about it like I feel about reading TMZ between the hours of 5:30 and 6:00pm. It's that time of day where you can't handle the thought of doing one more piece of work and so reward yourself with 30 minutes of guilty pleasure. That said, I don't want to waste any more of my day reading about celebrity antics. Same goes for the Girls recaps. They involve a lot of negative energy and me making up rude nick names for people, and I'm always in a bad mood when I finish. I don't want to be in a bad mood after I watch TV (unless it's Breaking Bad and my bad mood is induced by the fact that I have to wait until 6 days for another episode). I want to watch Veep and laugh my ass off at Julia Louis-Dreyfus running down the hallways of the West Wing in one high heel.

I'll keep checking in with Girls as the season continues. R enjoys it, so if he says an episode is particularly good, I'll watch it. If that episode contains something worth writing about, I'll write about it. Until then, I'm sticking to my guns.

OF COURSE if one of you would like to submit a Girls recap or essay about your thoughts on Girls, I'd be happy to give a read/publish.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Wait, Wait??: Parents At Job Interviews Situation

(This post comes to you a day late and a few nights of sleep short. Turns out that even though Puerto Rico is technically America, you can still get food poisoning there. Oof). 

I can't remember where I was when I first heard that the parents of recent college grads are accompanying them on job interviews, but I remember my reaction: what idiot news outlet picked up an Onion News article again?

Then I read this on NPR: "Michigan State University surveyed more than 700 employers seeking to hire recent college graduates. Nearly one-third said parents had submitted resumes on their child's behalf, some without even informing the child. One-quarter reported hearing from parents urging the employer to hire their son or daughter for a position. Four percent of respondents reported that a parent actually showed up for the candidate's job interview."

Wait. WHAAAAAT is going on here?!?!

I don't even have time to do one of those cutesy/clever SNL-style REALLY?! posts. This literally needs to stop faster than I can write that piece.

I can't decide who I'm more concerned about, the parents engaging in this ridiculous and inappropriate behavior or the kids who are letting it happen.

Let's focus on the parents first:

Love for your child is a powerful thing, but a love that compels you to sabotage that child's chances of getting a job because you can't see the working world forest through the parenting trees is not okay. Guys, you've had jobs, perhaps you've even interviewed young people for jobs. How would you have felt if their MOTHER submitted their resume?? What about if their DAD called to negotiate their salary?? What would you think??? The correct answer is that the parent is insane and the child is incapable.

Do. Not. Do. This. Please. I beg of you. This generation does not need anything hurting their chances in an already horrific job market. You. Are. Not. Helping. If you disagree I suggest you share your plan or current practice with three adult people who do not have children of job-seeking age, and see how they react. It wouldn't hurt if one of them happened to be a therapist.

Now kids, onto you:

Do. Not. Let. This. Happen. Yell, scream, threaten to stop Skyping, whatever it takes to make it clear to your parents (get it?) that they have no place in your actual employment process. They can provide counsel. They can provide connections. They can provide funding for outfits. They can even provide interview coaching or resume review, but it ends there.

I can often see both sides of a story, even if there is a fairly obvious side to take. On this, however, I am unwavering - unwavering and annoyed.

Can we get a time magazine cover on THIS parenting issue please??

Your thoughts are welcome below, on either side of the issue, I guess. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Recipe for a Perfect Girls Vacation


As you read this, I am on a beach in Puerto Rico with five of my best girlfriends from college. I am openly bragging about the glory that is this trip for the sake of girl-groups everywhere who make an effort to keep in touch as well as we do, and treat themselves to a vacation as often as they can. It is wildly important. Make it happen.

Here is precisely what my best girlfriends and I will be doing for the next several days to rekindle our five-way college romance and remind ourselves why a get-away of this nature is wildly important to our interpersonal development. I recommend you and yours do the same.

  • We will read every issue of UsWeekly, OK!, and People Magazine and People Style watch currently on shelves, aloud.
  • We will play !@#$, Chuck, or Marry with every single guy we knew from college, and every triplet of celebrity men we can think of, aloud. One of us will say, "guys! I hate this game. I don't remember anyone from college!" and another of us will say, "guys, do I have to play like I would have in college or like I would now that I know who's actually gay?"
  • Before doing so, we will run through the list of the nicknames we gave every single guy in college and the origin stories of those nicknames. Then I'll tell the story about how the guy we called "Religious" once told me he, "wasn't really religious at all," and we will laugh our asses off. 
  • We will share make-up, accessories, clothing and shoes to the point that on some nights none of us will be dressed in anything we actually brought. 
  • It we go dancing (which we obviously will), we will revive the infamous dance moves from college that we didn't know we did until one of us did an impression of the other one doing the move (read it twice). We will collectively agree that our favorite is the Lazy Liz Head Dance, complete with Drink Hold Pose.
  • We will make the one among us who is pregnant (!!!!!!!) tell us every single detail about getting pregnant, being pregnant, delivering a baby, and raising a baby that she has learned in her three months of pregnancy. At several points during these conversations, the rest of us will say, "ohmygod I'm not ready for that..." 
  • Of course we will talk about sex. The question is will we be able to get one among us to talk about it at a volume that's appropriate for the small children who may or may not be in the pool area.
  • We will make friends with every cab driver, waiter, bar tender and tour guide who we encounter during our stay with the hopes that this gets us free things. 
  • We will ask each other the questions we're afraid to ask our boyfriends, mothers, sisters, co-workers, post-college friends, and gynecologists. Every single question asked will start with, "Jessie, you can't blog about this."
  • We will drink way less than we did on this vacation five years ago, but still enough to take 10,000 ridiculous pictures in over-sized sombreros and, god-willing, fake mustaches. 
  • And we will woo. We will woo our swim-up drinks from the swim-up pool bar. We will woo the pregnant one when she walks out of the bathroom in her bathing suit for the first time. We will woo the first cab driver who calls us "five beautiful ladies." We are not woo girls, in the traditional sense, but while on our long overdue vacation in a tropical paradise, we will woo like hell.
See you next Tuesday!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

BREAKING NEWS regarding men and the pick-up game

Yesterday I heard someone say something and thought, "wow I have never even considered that genius thought before."

The someone was my friend/co-worker Jade, a thoughtful male of the 25-35-year-old range, and the something was exactly this:

"Everything it takes for a man to be good at picking up a woman is exactly what you don't want him to have in a relationship, and vice versa."

Unfortunately we were in a meeting where it was appropriate to make that statement yet inappropriate to stop the entire conversation and say OHMYGODWHAT?? HOLD ON!! I NEED TO WRITE ABOUT THIS, so I waited until it ended to approach.

"Could you say what you said in that meeting again?" I said.

It was a 1.5 hour meeting, but he knew exactly what I was referring to. Apparently my jaw-dropped face gave it away.

"This is a theory I've had for a long time," he said, "Think about it. A man who excels at picking women up has certain qualities, and those qualities often lead to things like, say, cheating."

I cannot tell you how many times I've whined something along the lines of, "why aren't guys more skilled at starting a conversation?? How hard can it be to pick us  up??"

We want guys to be forward. We want them to approach us. We want them to be smooth yet standoffish. That's what it takes to attract us at a bar or party or wedding. They need to have a certain Casanova quality.

Aanndd yet we want none of that once we're actually in the relationship.  Sure, a certain degree of charming demeanor is lovely on any man, but that smooth maneuvering single-man routine is exactly what makes us jealous, nervous, and insecure.

But the "vice versa" situation is the part I find even more interesting.  My first impression of a shyer guy who doesn't quite know how to finesse a first convo is, "ugh." It's not instantly attractive or instantly sexy.  But 9 times out of 10, it's that guy who's really listening, and will really keep listening 6 months into the relationship. Now there's a difference between chronically shy and slightly unsure. Chronically shy is a problem, but slightly unsure (so, the opposite of your bachelor on parade) suggests a sense of humility and insecurity that's much more human than the opposite. That kind of personality breeds honesty.

This, of course, is my newly-developed theory based on Jade's newly-revealed theory. You'd have to ask far more men than I've dated and far more women than I know for a real assessment.

So let's do that: does this theory hold water or is it a case-by-case basis 100% of the time? 

Friday, May 11, 2012

How To Avoid Becoming a Sad Jon Hamm...if there even is such a thing


The topic of turning 30 in 1.5 years came up over dinner with a bunch of my girlfriends last night.  It’s a topic that’s coming up all too frequently these days, though I imagine it will get even worse in, say, 0.5 years.

For better or worse, it’s major life milestones like turning 30 that make you question where you’re going, and if you’re ever going to get there.  My bunch of girlfriends and I are in that place of wondering if whatever it is we intend to be is something we’ll actually become. If that doesn’t make sense then you probably already have a career. 

Part of our situation is a uniquely entertainment industry situation (NY, LA or otherwise). My friends who went to medical school are doctors. My friends who got jobs in accounting are accountants. If you pick a discipline that has certain requirements for entry and you complete the requirements (correctly), you enter.

Not the case for some of us at the dinner table the other night.  One among these friends – for example - is a wildly talented actress who’s still wondering if she’s going to become an actress. She has acted in dozens and dozens of impressive things, but there is a level at which you are solely supporting yourself as an actress, and one at which you are not.  I may write things (some of which people pay for), which I still wonder if and when I’ll actually be a writer.

My actress friend has decided to take things in a different direction based on this whole 28.5-year-old quandary. On account of age, the general state of the economy, and her desire to contribute more to the world that auditions allow, she’s trying out a 9-5 life. Right now it’s exploratory: is this something she’ll find more fulfilling that acting? It is something she can do in tandem? What will it be like to work inside a cubicle?? But she feels like this move might save her from ending up in a place she doesn’t want to be at, say, 1.5 years from 40.

…Which is how we got to the topic of Sad Jon Hamm.

Jon Hamm is my eternal go-to when the topic turns to, “will I ever make it.” The now iconic MAD MEN lead spent years and years as a working actor with very few credits before he landed the role that changed his life. Jon Hamm proves that it can be done, and there are dozens of him in Hollywood.

So I gave my friend my Jon Hamm speech when she brought up putting acting on the backburner to explore something far more stable.

“Yeah,” she said, “that’s true, but there are probably a lot of Sad Jon Hamm’s out there who didn’t get Jon Hamm’ed, and I don’t know if I can be a Sad Jon Hamm.”

(Then another friend said, “Sad Jon Hamm is an amazing twitter handle,” which is something one person says at one point in most conversations these days.)

By Sad Jon Hamm she doesn’t mean, “people who never made it,” she means, “people who discovered they couldn’t handle not making it, but it was too late to do something else.” Some people can do a 180 at 35, 45, 55, 60-years-old and be fine with whichever way the cookie crumbles, others cannot, and they're certainly not to blame.

“I think I might be a Sad Jon Hamm-type,” she said. “I don’t know if I have it in me to put all my eggs in this basket and not make it in some way, shape or form.” 

Can you know if you’ll end up a Sad Jon Hamm before it happens? “They” say that if you really want to succeed you have to put all your eggs in one basket and then run that basket to wherever it is baskets of eggs go to become careers. But at 28.5-years- old is it smarter to diversify your life skills?

Did Jon Hamm have a back up plan? Should he have? Or was Jon Hamm a Sad Jon Hamm right before he became Jon Hamm, Jon Hamm?


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

How To Vacation with your Significant Other, and stay together.

I rarely dole out straight advice on topics unrelated to fashion (fyi, you need tangerine orange harem pants for Summer), but I actually believe I have something constructive to say on the topic of traveling with a significant other. R and I just got back from a trip to New Orleans in which we spent 18-hour days enduring 200% humidity with zero knowledge of the city, and we still like each other! Here are some factors that I believe contributed to this fact:

1. Go somewhere you both want to go - if you go to Chicago because your boyfriend really wants to go to Chicago even though you've been a bunch, don't particularly like it, and have been dying for an island get-away, you will be less happy. This seems simple, but it's not because couples want to please each other and be accommodating. Don't do it. Be very honest about your location preferences, and find something that works for you both. If you cannot do that successfully, break up.

2. Don't skimp on travel conveniences - This is a "do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do" rule. We tend to take red-eyes because we A. live in L.A. so we're used to them, B. are freaks about maximizing time in a given place and C. they're usually cheaper.  Starting off a trip on an exhausted foot is not the best way to go, so think about that when booking a flight that, say, takes off at 1:30 am.

3. Don't be shy about what you want to do - If it will give you endless pleasure to visit the destination's largest hat store, say so. Same goes if you'd kill to take in a baseball game or see a crazy show or walk to a weird part of town. Yes, this is a trip for both of you, but it's also a trip for each of you, so don't be a martyr if there's something you really want to experience, even if it's an ancient perfume shop that's fairly out of the way...and closed.

4. Know when it's touch-and-go -  When I start to get cranky I avert my gaze from things and use really short sentences. I'm trying to hide the fact that I'm getting cranky/tired because I don't want to cause a problem or make us go home early, but it's happening, and I usually can't stop it. R has developed a special skill for seeing this start to go down, and suggesting some sort of band-aid (read: "more drinks or bed, J?"). I would do the same for him except he doesn't seem to do cranky. That said, when he starts to touch his hair a lot I know it's too hot wherever we are, and we need to leave slash find some cold seltzer, stat. Learn these ticks, then learn what to do when they happen. There's nothing worse than someone going, "what's wrong? you look weird...are you okay? do we need to leave? are you upset?"

5. Plan some, not all - R and I are both inclined to make a reservation for breakfast, lunch and dinner with scheduled stops in between, but for this trip we only made a few plans with the hopes that insane things would unfold due to our unbridled spontaneity! As a result we enjoyed an amazing lunch at a place that required a reservation and an equally amazing crayfish boil in the back alley of a bar at 10pm. If you don't leave room for those kinds of things to happen, they won't. Don't plan accordingly.

6. Be extra nice to each other -  You should always be really nice to each other, but you should be EXTRA nice to each other when you're on vacation. Things are likely going to get a little stressful when you're traveling, so if you're extra nice about simple things (you look nice today! thank you so much for carrying the bag! why don't I go get us two waters? I'm going to hug you in public for no reason!), you'll stack up the collective good will so that when it's 110 degrees and you're standing in direct sunlight, you'll both be starting from a happier place.

7. Play Mom/Dad, Sort of - Vacations were simple and fun when we were little because our parents did everything, and when someone is taking care of you, you feel comfortable/protected/great, etc. Vacationing sans parents means that someone needs to be in charge of the sunscreen and someone else needs to be in charge of not losing the room key. Pick your jobs, and do them well, especially if your job is sunscreen and your boyfriend uses spf 85.

8. Rotate Navigating Duties  - If one person is navigating throughout the entire trip, then that person is always in control. Switch off. Make your boyfriend get you guys around the city the entire first day, then you take over on the second day. It's more fun if you're both invested, and this way if one person makes a mistake the other is less inclined to criticize because it's their turn soon enough.

9. Choose Not to Fight - If it usually pisses you off when your boyfriend leaves his jeans on the bedroom floor, let it go. If it drives you crazy that your girlfriend takes 30 minute showers, let it go. If you prefer the TV at volume 8 but he likes around an get it. You're on vacation. Calm down, and leave the OCD at home. 

10. Snacks -  Remember when your mom/dad would surprise you with a fruit roll-up at exactly the right moment? The power of a surprise snack cannot be underrated. Pack some in your bag (nuts, crackers, Gushers?!) and suggest others when you pass a store or stand (NoLa specific: sno cones, rose mint iced T's, barrels of crawfish).

BONUS! The Vacation-end Speech -  When I was little, we drove to Florida every Spring Break to visit my grandparents, and when we pulled into the driveway at the end of the trip home my parents would turn around in their front seats to face the four of us in the back and give a little speech about how well-behaved we were throughout the trip. They'd say, "you were all such good girls during our trip, and because you were such good girls we can keep visiting Mommom and Poppop in Florida and takes trips to other exciting places. Thank you for being good to each other, and good for us." I'm not kidding. This really happened. As such, it is engrained in me to end each vacation with a little speech about how great it was, how lucky I feel, and how excited I am for the next trip. R laughs throughout this entire display because it looks as ridiculous as it sounds. That said, it is lovely and I will always do it.

What did I forget??

Monday, May 7, 2012

GIRLS Recap: Week Four - The Last One

Hi guys. Apologies for the delay with this week's GIRLS recap. I was in New Orleans for Jazz Fest, which is something everyone should do at least once in their lives. Now let's move on to subjective opinions!

I tried to think of a more exciting way to structure my recap of the fourth episode of this show, but then I watched it and all creativity ran away from my brain, as if to take cover from what it just witnessed.  I'm sorry - truly, I am - but I have finally arrived at the verdict: I don't like this show.

Let me use this week's episode to illustrate why.


Adam texted Hannah a picture of his penis wearing a fur shrug. Hannah screams "oh my god" and wakes Marnie/Charlie up (they don't deserve the "Bennifer" treatment). Everyone acts as if this is the first time a picture of a penis has been transmitted over a mobile device, then Adam texts back that it wasn't intended for Hannah. Marnie/Charlie are like, DUMP HIM AND HAVE SOME SELF RESPECT ALREADY! Hannah is like, "wait guys, what's the problem here?" And then despite Marnie strongly advising that Hannah not text back, she strips off her shirt and texts back a picture of her boobs.  It is, perhaps, the most pathetic moment I've ever seen televised. I believe that's the point of it all, but frankly I've done my time being/being around girls who do things which are that pathetic and immature, and I'm done now.


Hannah now works somewhere where the boss - an old man with a big beard - fondles women. Hannah brings this up with the female co-workers, but they're all okay with it because he buys them nice Christmas gifts. Apparently this episode is taking place in a time where sexting was brand new and sexual harassment was, like, whatever.


Sosh and Jessa run into this guy that Sosh knows from Camp Ramah (which, side-note, is where my Dad went to Summer Camp!!) I predict that Sosh will eventually hook up with this boy based on how insanely awkward she is acting around him. 


Charlie and that obnoxious friend of his who had the opium tea a few weeks ago pretend to write a song about Keds...or they really write a song about Keds. It doesn't matter. Then Opium kid says, "your girlfriend is my nightmare." I agree with him, but I still don't like him. That's the whole scene.

EXT. WEST VILLAGE (Cafe Cluny!!) - DAY

Jessa was late to pick up the kids she babysits. The kids are mad about it. Jessa essentially tells them to shut up, because she's a babysitter with attitude you guys. Then Jessa runs into the dad and uncle of the kids. They have a brief conversation that serves as background music to the screaming sexual chemistry brewing between Jessa and the dad (whose name I truly do not know).


Opium asshole is now rummaging through the girls' stuff.  They find Marnie's virbrator. Charlie calls it a "share tool." Opium says, "you're a share tool." That's the entire scene.


The touchy boss says, "you'll tell me if the touching bothers you right?" Hannah says, "yes," and then walks away. That's that entire scene.


Opium is now rummaging through Hannah's stuff...where he find's Hannah's diary...which he reads because he's an asshole. He oviously reads something about Charlie because right after he's finished he tries to hide the diary from Charlie. He will eventually let Charlie read the diary because this episode is called "Hannah's Diary." I predict he and Charlie will toss out the Keds song and write an entirely new song called, "Share Tool" - JUST KIDDING! It will be called "Hannah's Diary."


Jessa is at the park with the kids. She's talking to the other nanny's. She says, "Lola is being such a 'see you next tuesday,'" and the other nanny's aren't about it because they are actual care-givers of children and not an insanely stylish British girl who is just being a nanny so she doesn't have to get a read job.


I'm going to do this one like this:
  • Hannah's lady-friend co-workers: How's the touching?
  • Hannah: I think I'm getting used to it.
  • HLFCW: Cool, just don't tell your boyfriend. Mine got mad. 
  • H: Yeah, whatever. I shouldn't even call the guy I'm dating my boyfriend. Wait. Wanna see something weird? (she shows the penis picture)
  • HLFCW: Omg what is this nasty business?
  • H: I know, riighht??! And then after he sent it he said it wasn't for me.
  • HLFCW: (grave) Dump him you idiot. No self-respecting woman puts up with that.
  • H: But you guys like the boss touch your boobs?
  • HLFCW: That's different. 
I only have confused slash mean things to say about the above scene, so I'll just leave it at that.


Jessa holds court at the playground telling all the other nannies that they should get paid more. Then she loses the kids (OBVIOUSLY), while loud rap music plays. Turns out the kids are hiding under something that looks like it may be The Wavery Inn (smart kids!). Jessa says, "you little fuckers better come out," and then they refuse to come out, which is probably what I would do if my nanny used that language in my presence.


Sosh and camp guy are watching a movie at her apartment. They start to hook up. He pleasures her orally within seconds of the hook-up beginning. She tells him that she wants to have sex...if he wants to have sex, but he should probably know that she's a virgin. He immediately stops because, "it's really not [his] thing." She says, "You don't even have to worry about it because I'm like the least virginy virgin ever." Scenes like this probably happen in real life which is sad for virgins because no one should feel bad about their limited sexual history. That said, you're not exactly asking for kind and loving treatment from an understanding man if you offer to have sex with him 60 seconds into a hook-up. I think there may be a lesson in this scene, but I'm not sure.


The kids tells the parents that Jessa lost them. Jessa admits she lost the kids, but only to the dad, and only after he moves her into very dim lighting. The dad tells her he lost the kids once, so she shouldn't feel bad. Then Jessa says she relates to the kids because she used to run away and tells lies all the time, like, for example, "my mom's this awesome mom, and we're best friends." Then dad says, "hopefully Lola will turn out as good as you did." Two things: A. hopefully she'll turn out WAY better and B. that mini glimmer of Jessa's challenged relationship with her mother was the most interesting thing to happen to her character all season, AND SHE WAS BRIEFLY PREGNANT.


Hannah goes to Adam's house to break up with him. She says really powerful and impressive things like, "and you didn't bother to explain [the text thing] because I don't make you feel like you have to explain." I LOVED this moment. I loved Hannah standing up for herself and saying real things and admitting what a fool she's been about him. I thought this was going to be the break through moment where I finally start to like this show. Aaannddd then Hannah said, "I don't want a boyfriend. I just want someone who wants to hang out with me all the time, and thinks I'm the best person in the world, and doesn't have sex with anyone else." And with that, I knew the moment I was hoping for was never going to come. Yes, of course they make out. And yes, of course Hannah says, "why didn't you text me back?" And Adam says, "Uh, I jerked off to it." (IT of course being the picture of Hannah's boobs). And that's that. This, to me, is the defining scene of the season. It says, "GIRLS can be total and complete idiots in their 20s, and this is a show about all those instances of idiot behavior. Enjoy!"


Side-note: Sosh would never go to Bushwick.

I was almost right. They played the Keds song and "Hannah's Diary." It was weird and painful and awkward and funny? I don't know, but it was in that moment that I decided GIRLS is A. not a comedy and B. not a show I will continue to watch past this episode.

Yes, this is the final recap. I really don't enjoy myself while I'm watching this show. I'm angry. I'm mean. I say things like, "I hated those idiot girls then, and I still hate them now." It's not a good scene.

I still couldn't tell you if this show is blatantly making fun of all the stereotypical characters it's created and their very ridiculous/immature/confusing way of acting or if it's celebrating all that they do. I don't think it knows, and maybe that's the point.

Bottom line: GIRLS is not for me. That doesn't make it right, wrong or bad, it just makes it a very specific thing that I very clearly do not appreciate. And rather than produce weekly snark at the expense of the many, many people working very hard on this show, I'm going to bow out. Thank you for reading up to this point. Now...

How about you? Are you in or are you out? Any if you're in, I'd love to know why. I promise I won't crucify you for the choice. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

My Unexpected Late 20's Vocabulary

Last week I spoke with a woman who runs a website for soon-to-be college graduates about my own post-grad experience. She asked me questions about what I did right, what I did wrong, and what I would advise today's 22-year-olds to do. The whole experience made me realize that I am not 22-years-old..not by a long shot.

Since then I've been particularly aware of the things I say throughout the day which prove that very point.  Here is a working list:

  • Did you water the plants this morning?
  • I got my expense check back, but I think I'm just going to put it all toward my IRA
  • Let's just go to bed then, it is 11 PM.
  • I mean, I could have another drink, but I don't need one.
  • Where did you put the Bed Bath coupon?
  • Crap, I'm out of under eye cream.
  • Crap, I'm out of fish oil pills.
  • Crap, I'm out of Activia.
  • I didn't realize we scheduled three dinners this week. We should cancel one. 
  • I feel like I should probably have this mole looked at.
  • Let's find some time to look through ___________'s wedding registry and pick something.
  • would appear that I can not eat __________ anymore... 

Of course, on the flip side, I also say things like this:

  • Girls vacation?!?! Sure! I can currently afford that without going into credit card debt.
  • How many people do you think we can fit in our backyard for the party? 40-50?
  • Yeah, I was on briefly. That was miserable. 

What do you find yourself saying now that your life no longer revolves around 2 for 1 happy hours?