Saturday, August 30, 2008

Dirty Little Secret

OK, so this is going to be quick because I'm on my way back from a weekend wedding (the nuptials from Hell, but more on that later maybe), and I am exhausted in every single way.
But anyway. So last time I mentioned that I had a date, but I didn't really divulge any details. And I'm still not going to -- at least not at this point. I will, however, give you the basics. We went out to dinner and it was pretty much at the nicest/coolest restaurant I've ever been to. I was impressed, and nothing about it was pretentious. I did feel like an idiot though because I think we are all aware of how limited my culinary knowledge is. Otherwise, it went well, and I think we might see each other again.
Now that I've given you the basics though, let me tell you why I feel weird about spilling all the deets -- even though I SO want to. I have this terrible habit of counting my chicks (or is it eggs?) before they're hatched, and I'm reeeeaaalllly trying hard to work on that. Anytime there is the slightest possibility of anything remotely exciting happening, I start gabbing about it. Because I like talking A LOT. But I really need to cut it out because I think -- and go ahead and call me superstitious -- that I jinx it. Especially when it comes to guys. And since it's been SO long since I've seriously dated someone (I pretty much just had a good time in college), I'm trying to keep any dating I do --which isn't much, trust me -- at least partially under wraps. Maybe if we're both lucky though, you'll hear details later. :-) Anyone else worry that if you talk about something too much before it happens (especially with relationships) that you'll jinx it?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Material Girl

A while back, I mentioned that I just had one of those faces that made random people want to talk to me. And I know that when I wrote about it, I sounded more than slightly annoyed with the fact that SO. MANY. PEOPLE were trying to talk to me in one day when I was just NOT in the mood. Now though, I'm thinking that having one of those faces might not be such a bad thing.
Sunday night, I was on the train headed downtown to have dinner with a human being of the male persuasion. (I'll pause here and let you all soak that in. Still pausing. Gathered all that information? OK, good.) Needless to say, I had actually put a little more effort into my appearance that normal (i.e. I had actually dried my hair), and I was looking pretty damn good if I do say so myself. But still. I was not prepared for this trip on the el.
I was just sitting, minding my own business, staring out the window, checking myself out in the window. Wow, I'm so vain, I probably think this song is about me. Juuuust kidding, I was really just checking to make sure that my hair hadn't started springing out in huge frizzy waves since I had flat-ironed the hell out of it before I left. Anyway, point is, I was keeping to myself. This, however, did not stop anyone from chatting me up. First a nice (read: creepy) gentleman with many gold teeth came up to me and told me I looked very nice that evening. That wouldn't have been skeezy in and of itself. But this 50-year-old man then asked for my number and told me I looked sexy from head to toe. Um. And he proceeded to ask me what the shade of my nail polish was. Luckily, I'm quick on my feet (no, not at all, I panicked for about 30 seconds before I did anything other than smile tight-lipped), and I told him I had a boyfriend.
Big sigh of relief. Until about 47.3 seconds later when another fella decided to test out his game on me. This time it was an upstanding young man by the name of Vinny (you should be feeling the waves of sarcasm washing over you right now). He told me he worked for the city. I think he maybe was a garbage collector. Or you know, he was in 'waste management,' to sound fancy. Anyway, I thought the combination of telling him I was headed to dinner and the fact that I was wearing a nice black dress would tip him off that I was going on a date (go ahead and commit that to memory. it's a rare occurrence, like a meteor shower or something), but he was persistent. He told me about 5 times how nice I looked and handed me a slip of paper with his digits. Thanks.
I walked off the train kind of chuckling to myself (and feeling a little more confident, I'm not going to lie. Even compliments from creepers can be flattering.) When I met up with my date I told him I had made some new friends on the train. He laughed and told me that was why he always had his iPod on hand -- that way he didn't have to worry about an crazies from the train striking up a conversation. All of that made sense of course, but that wasn't exactly feasible for me that night. Dress with no pockets and holding a clutch equals nowhere for me to carry any defense against unwanted socialization.
Later, I was actually thinking about it though. Do I really want to ward people off? I mean, YES, those two guys on the train were creepers. Big ones. And, sorry Vin, but I won't be ringing you up, like ever. But honestly, I love having experiences like that because they make amazing, hilarious, interesting, crazy stories. And if you can't tell, I adore sharing stories. I love hearing other people's and I love telling my own. How someone tells a story gives you immediate insight into what kind of person they are. And with me being an aspiring writer, these experiences that appall me and make me feel uncomfortable in the moment are just great opportunities for new pieces. Seriously, I could write a book. Actually, maybe I will.... hmmm...
Anyway, that night, I do remember mentioning to this guy how I actually like awkward encounters (of course, I do like non-awkward ones too). What if I had been listening to my music or reading the Red Eye so intently I could have burned a whole through the paper? Then I would have missed the chance for a fantastic conversation piece. And I said so: "Nah, I love when weird things happen to me. Really, it's the perfect material."

Monday, August 18, 2008

U Got The Look

(OK, if someone can name that song and is as obsessed with the artist as I am, we're probably the same person and would be best friends in real life. Just so you know.)
So, you know how a lot of people say they have a type? Like the kind of person they always go for or are attracted to. Their "type." Well for the longest time, I refused to believe that I had a type. "No way," I'd say. "NONE of the guys I've gone for have anything in common... no type for me." Even my friends didn't see a pattern in the guys I was interested in. There was no rhyme or reason to my selection.
Until recently, that is. I started noticing a trend toward the end of my senior year, but I wasn't sure until now. My type? It's not preppy or jock or musician or even brooding thinker (although I do love the brainy ones). Nope, none of those. My type is tall, skinny jackass.
Perhaps I should explain. For some reason I like the tall, lanky guys, and cockiness is a major plus. However, I don't mean jackass in the fratty, I-am-male-therefore-I-am-the-shit way. There's a big difference between being a bit of a jackass and being a jerky asshole. (Wow, I am doing a LOT of swearing up in huurr....sorrrryyy). I like a guy who can match wits with me, who likes a little verbal sparring, and who doesn't come at me with sickeningly sweet lines. Actually, I'm suspicious of overly nice guys. I keep the ones with the too-kind, too-smooth words at arms length. What are you hiding? What's your angle? I can't help it -- that's just the way I think.
But that's not to say that I don't like nice guys at all. Have I confused you yet? Because I'm starting to get a little lost myself. Let me see if I can work this out. The jackasses I like will get in my face and tease me, but underneath, they are actually good guys. They like my fiestiness and are usually trying to actually get to know me, not just escort me home from the bar. I like a guy who can put up a good fight, and even enjoy it, because in my opinion, they can handle a chick who can be a little bitchy in a funny, fun way. (Note: this does NOT mean high-maintenance or demanding or naggy). Those are the guys that like smart girls, and you know what? I have major respect for that.
So what spurred this discussion of my type? Well, even in a new city, I'm finding myself drawn to the same. In college, I didn't seriously date a whole lot, but that's not to say that I didn't ever go out or spend time with members of the opposite sex. Because I did. And almost all of the guys who really made me sit up and pay attention had these qualities. Well, actually the one (as in I did not have another boyfriend in college) serious boyfriend I had was only tall and skinny. No jackass factor. Just emo. Which is a problem since I'm not the biggest fan of talking about my "feelings" and "the relationship." We broke up. Duh. But moving on... I like the tall ones (over 6 feet s'il vous plait) because I can wear my biggest heels and have no worries. I really have no idea why I like the skinny ones. Maybe it's from spending so much time around runner and swimmer boys when I was younger. And the jackass-iness? (so not a word) I think I've already explained that one.
When I go out now, I notice the lanky ones smirking instead of sauntering, the ones having conversations instead of just leaning back and surveying their victims (oops, I mean the girls at the bar). I even recently met a guy at a pub (doesn't that just sound so UK?) near me, and after about an hour of flirting/exchanging clever insults, he said, smiling, "I'm sorry, I'm kind of a jackass." To which I replied (because I have no verbal filter whatsoever), "Nah, it's fine. You're just my type."

Friday, August 15, 2008

Endless Love...

I LOVE Trader Joe's. Like, if Trader Joe were an actual man, I would probably propose. All of their stuff (good quality!) is so cheap and I feel like most of it's pretty healthy (besides the chocolate-covered everything that they have in every single aisle). My bill is much lower when I shop there than when I do at Whole Foods...which means more food! And things I don't really need. Plus the employees seem really nice and helpful. And their ads are cute and funny. I could probably go on and on. But let me tell you why I was so inspired to tell you how much I love TJ's on this day in particular.
The thing is, I was just able to create a dinner that didn't include oatmeal. All because of Trader Joe's, tonight did not end in a culinary catastrophe and I didn't have to just eat lots of carrots and hummus for dinner. (Although, I did that anyway). Thanks to TJ's, I actually made chicken with steamed veggies on the side. Well, that was partially due to the Glad steam bags I have, too, but whatever. (I know they make me seem lazy and are not super eco-friendly but OMG my veggies come out so perfectly steamed!) Anyway, I bought TJ's frozen, seasoned, grilled chicken to pop in the microwave and Voila! A meal that looks like it actually took some work. Actually, having to keeping checking on it was a lot of work for me. But STILL. This gives me hope that I will not be a kitchen klutz forever. Baby steps, people.

I was going to take a picture, but then I forgot and just ate it. Oops. Anyway, I am on my way to get coffee, run to the gym, and think more about the delicious meal I just made.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Blinded by the Light

(OK, I KNOW that someone -- or everyone -- knows this song. I think I'm just going to have to start every post with a song title or lyric from now on. Then I can say, "QUICK! Name that song!" allll the time. And you can guess, and maybe even win! Sadly, though, I don't have any prizes because I'm poor, but I rewrite your resume (that's my job) or tell you you're neat or something. Or you could not get anything but the satisfaction of knowing that you are up on all the hits, past and present.)
For some reason, my motivation to work out has been nonexistent for the past three days. Which is very odd because if I go more than two days without some activity I get ANTSY. This might be because I'm not allowed to wear my contacts for a while (more on that in a sec), and the only thing I can really do is the elliptical or the recumbent bike while wearing my glasses. I just don't love these. Or really even like them much. I just want to ruuuuun, especially since our weather here has been perfect for it lately. But in glasses, it's not really easy. They slide down my nose or sweat drips on them or they bounce around and mess up my depth perception (my palms have met the sidewalk and many a building corner trying to run in glasses). And honestly, my eyes are so bad that not wearing glasses is NOT an option, kids.
OK, so this is the "more on that in a sec" part. I've been having problems with my eyes for a couple months. I figured it was just dirtier air from living in the city during the summer. Hmm, well, maybe I was wrong. I woke up early Saturday morning and realized that OMG I LEFT MY CONTACTS IN. Normally I wouldn't freak out so much that it required all caps, but with the eye issues, I was worried. Also, I haven't done this in forever. As in, if I did no other thing when stumbling in at 4 in the morning during college (OK, and a few times in the past few months. -- I'm really no good at lying), I took out my contacts. About 4 hours later on Saturday morning, my eyes were blood red, I had tears streaming down my face and I was having major photosensitivity issues. I HAD to get to an emergency clinic downtown because I literally could not see. The problem with that was... I could not see. Which makes wandering around the third largest city in the country really fun.
Or one of the scariest things I've ever done in my life.
I decided that I should probably not go it alone since two feet ahead (if that) was pretty much as far as I could see. So I tried calling T to see if she might be able to accompany her invalid friend downtown, but she was out on a long run. I left her one message saying, "Hey give me a call back... I kind of need a favor, but it's not a huge deal." Half an hour later, I left her another voicemail, this time featuring me crying and throwing around the word "emergency" because, well, I thought I was literally going to lose my sight. After I was on the train because I already decided that I just had to get downtown before the clinic closed, she called me back, fearing the worst. Oops, silly me, I forgot to tell her that the problem was just my eyes and that I needed her to hop on the train with me. She thought I was hurt and/or dead (can you be both? I mean... if you're dead, are you really hurt anymore? did i just ask that?) because I was an idiot and told her I could walk home alone from the bar the night before. So here she was wracked with guilt, thinking she had let her Chicago BFF (because I know that's what I am to you, right?!!?) die a less-than-noble, wine-fueled death. Sorry for the minor heart attack, T!
Anyway, in leaving my apartment, I realized I couldn't wear my glasses because I had to put sunglasses on due to the photosensitivity. But guess what, folks? My vision is at NEGATIVE EIGHT. I am that nearsighted. When they ask me to look at an eye chart without any form of vision correction, all I can (barely) make out is the gigantic E at the top. And really I think I've just memorized that -- all I really see is a big, black, fuzzy block. So for me, walking around Lincoln Park and downtown Chicago with no visual help is practically suicide. Just so we're clear, I know that actual blind people do this all the time and we don't hear about them meeting their maker on a daily basis. And I give them sooooo much more credit for that after this experience. But, you see, even though my vision IS terrible, I'm not used to not being able to see at all. On Saturday, not only was I without contacts or glasses, but I had to keep my eyes shut for most of the time I was walking around because the burning and light sensitivity were that bad. And unlike our severely visually impaired friends, I am not used to being in the dark. And I don't have the city memorized without the use of my eyes. And I didn't have a stick. I knew that when I got off at Wabash and Madison, Monroe would be to one side of me and Washington would be to the other. (Thank goodness Chicago is built on a grid!) But that was about it. I didn't have the number of steps memorized for each block, and of course, there is major construction on Wabash that is blocking the sidewalks, meaning I pretty much had to walk in the street. Great timing, Chicago.
After all that, I did make it to the doctor -- who, after looking at my bloodshot eyes, was amazed I made it without major injury and prescribed me with steroid eye drops to reduce the inflammation and clear up any possible conjunctivitis from such bad irritation (ew, yeah, I know). She also seemed a little frightened when she took a look at my eyes -- at least from what I could see. And she made me call T, who gladly obliged to pick me up on the Brown Line (and then cringed when she saw my eyes) so she didn't have to worry about me meeting an untimely death again. Then I popped in some eye drops and about 5 ibuprofen, and had to lie in bed for about 4 hours with my eyes shut with a bag of ice over them except when I was putting in drops every two hours. That KILLED ME. I wasn't tired so I couldn't really sleep. And I'm naturally kind of restless, which doesn't help when I've been told to just lie still alllll day. All I could do was listen to music and you know, be alone with my own thoughts, which is usually not the most stellar plan of action for a nut-job like moi. Like I said, people, that just about killed me.
But do you know what was worse than that about this whole day? (OK, besides the burning sensation and almost dying when I stumbled through a crosswalk that clearly said "DON'T WALK.") The worst part was having to explain to people what my deal was all day. I mean, I know I didn't have to, but everyone I encountered thought I was on drugs. I went into Starbucks in a Dominick's grocery and would not take off my sunglasses indoors. And I'm sure I was looking slightly to the left of the barista and he was thinking, "Yeah, like YOU need more coffee." Then when I had to enter my PIN for my debit card, I literally leaned my face down to within two inches of the keypad just so I could see the numbers. And on the train, I think everyone felt really uncomfortable sitting next to the potential junkie. Who was wiping her nose and twitching occasionally when she looked into the light just a little too directly. And the security guard at the doctor's building and the pharmacy girl at Walgreen's? They were none too patient with scary girl with bloodshot eyes and suspiciously dilated pupils. Until I finally kind of snapped and said, "I'm sorry, having a little trouble with my vision here, so it's just a tad difficult for me to sign whatever paper you are waving in my face." They were suddenly very nice to me.
Every other time I just got on the phone with my mom (let's call her Super Nurse Practitioner for diagnosing me via phone) to give her a loud update of my progress (yes I was THAT girl on the train) so that people could overhear and think, "Oh, poor girl, she's not calling her dealer for a fresh shipment of coke after all." You know what, maybe that was too much trouble to go through. If this ever happens again, I'm just going to show everyone my red eyes, get all Whitney on them, and yell, "Bobby! Crack is WHACK!" Then we'll see what happens.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Give Me Two Perrr, I Need Two Perrr

(QUICK! Name that song! Anyone? Anyone?)
So today, folks, I'd like to talk about shoes. Mind you, I'm not one of those crazy people who just CANNOT STOP talking about her love of footwear, although I do love a nice new pair of kicks. I actually work with one of those, and it's annoying, so I stay fairly nonverbal about my adoration for shoes. Anyway, point is I think that more than any other accessory, new shoes can make you feel like a million bucks even if you only went to Payless and paid $14.95 for them.
BUT (yes, there is a but, here), I tend to be rather discriminatory when it comes to doling out my affection. I do not love all shoes equally. Oh no. When it comes to shoes, I never do halfway. It's all or nothing, baby.
And by 'all' I mean towering 4-plus inch heels. By 'nothing' I mean my Asics or maybe flip flops (OK and some of these crazy fun flat sandals this summer, but whatever, these details are really going to ruin my argument). However, right now, I'm going to say something that may appall many of you. You have been warned so here it goes: I HATE ballet flats. Hate hate hate hate hate. Sure, they're cute and, to some, are a good alternative to heels when you want to dress up but have a short date. But they are NOT comfortable and unless you are Gisele, they probably don't do much for you. They don't improve your posture and really don't give your feet much support. And if you are in possession of cankles (which I pride myself on not having, so I say this for anyone else's own good), flats will NOT help you. Plus they're SO girly, and despite my undying love for all things with ankle-breaking height, girly I am not.
Another thing I hate are one or two-inch heels. I mean they can't even really call themselves heels! The are frauds, fakes, impostors, high-heel wannabes. Suck it up and toss on an extra inch or two. As the lovely Victoria Beckham states in her book, "That Extra Half an Inch," "One shoe style I have little love for is the kitten heel. I think a lot of women see them as the wearable compromise to high heels, but in fact they have none of the benefits of high heels yet also none of the casual ease of flats." Amen, sister. I still don't really like flats, but I don't mind throwing on a pair of cute Pumas if wearing heels is just not practical and wearing running shoes with an outfit would be downright ugly. Anyway, point is that kitten heels are masquerading as heels when they don't really do much other than add height, and not much of it at that. They aren't any more comfortable and they just make you sit back on your heels and slouch in a weird, indescribable way. And they don't make your calves look like you run 15 miles a day the way a pair a sweet pumps does. I feel like they almost give you cankles if you don't already have them.
Now, I will tell you a little something else about why I have this all or nothing philosophy when it comes to shoes. I'm not comfortable in between. I can of course wear my running shoes forever, because they are running shoes, duh. They're meant to support your feet. It's what they do. But honestly, I can wear heels almost as long. Today, for example, I wore my heels from 10 am to 10pm. And these are big heels, no wussy summer sandals for me. I've walked literally MILES in these. No, they aren't amazingly supportive or anything. They're from Payless and they have four-inch cork (ish, c'mon it's Payless, I don't even want to know what my shoes are made of) heels. But I wear them everywhere.
Part of me knows that it's all mental when it comes to my wearing such stilts. I'm 5'7"ish and when I put these babies on, I'm almost 5'11". This is especially useful when I'm out and I meet a guy. If he's shorter than I am, then I see no future for us (sad, right?). But if I wear my heels and I still have to look up a little? Well then, sir, you've passed the first test. (You are totally allowed to call me superficial now). Additionally, when I go out with my three lovely cousins who are all over six feet tall and look like MODELS, I don't feel like such a misfit. Also, I just really like to be taller than half of the bar's patrons. I may have some issues with competitiveness. And power. Either way, the "high-heel high" is what makes me forget that I'm wearing what should be rather painful contraptions on my feet.
The other factor that enables me to wear such a high heels is all physiological. My feet are beat up and scuffed and broken and downright mangled from years of dance and running (more on this topic at another time actually). I once had a guy I knew grab for my feet and I highly advised -- warned him even --against it. He didn't believe that a girl's feet could be that bad so he went for it anyway --and paid dearly. OK well maybe not DEARLY but he did recoil and tell me they were gross. Well, duh, I told you not to do it. Anyway, it's not that my feet are dirty... they're just... tough. And I don't do anything to them but paint the nails so that the part showing in sandals looks pretty. I probably won't do anything either since their toughness makes it a lot easier for me to stand for hours in high heels.
The other thing that makes it easier? The ridiculous size of my feet. I have this theory that because my feet are so long, even when I wear tall heels or wedges, there is still a good portion of my foot on the ground. So I still have a pretty good base to stand on. And since I've already shared so much with you about my tootsies, I might as well tell you what I call my feet. I used to call them boats or skis, but now folks, I have decided to call them my drag queen feet. Mostly because the drag queens I've seen (I live pretty darn close to Boystown, kids), all walk amazingly well in heels for not having been at it as long as some of the females I know. Rarely do they stumble or look like they're limping or lilting to one side. No way, they're pros. And so am I. As one of the girls at work said after I told her my "drag queen feet" theory, "Thank goodness you have a feminine face." Thanks. I think.