Self Diagnosers

May 16, 2014

When I was young, my mostest favorite thing in the whole world was when my mom would rub my back. I’d lie across her legs for hours, listening to her and my grandmother trash talk our relatives as she gently rubbed my back, occasionally pressing her fingers down firmly in mid-rub. I’d ask what she was doing and her response was always ‘Nothing, just counting.’ At the time I didn’t know what she meant.

Cut to 15 years later.

I was living with HH and braving the congested New Jersey highways to and from work every day. It seemed that I would get into near collisions weekly with a Garden State-er because I couldn’t concentrate on my driving, instead counting the number of highway median stripes I drove by and trying to match them to the beat of whatever song was on the radio. I’d always try to get three stripes per beat of the music. Thinking that was totally normal, I told HH. Her response was that it was completely not and I should see a doctor stat.

I did and the doctor diagnosed me with a minor, minor case of OCD. He prescribed some meds and my counting stopped.

Until I stopped my meds.

After that, the obsession continued, morphing from three to nine (three times three), then 27 (nine times 3) and the eventually 39 (3 and 9). I’d count everything: the number of times I breathed, the syllables of a sentence I heard, the number of times I chewed my food and even how I masturbated (I won’t go any further as my mom is probably reading this).

I read up a bit on OCD and it said that very often it’s genetic, so I asked my mom about it. When I was home one visit, I sat her down and told her that I had OCD. ‘What’s your number?’ she asked, as if she had been waiting for this question my whole life. I told her I was a 39 and she told me she was a former 10, but now a 22 and that’s why she was always pressing down on my back. She counted everything, too.

So, I had finally figured out where my obsession came from and what it meant. That was, until a few years ago…

It when I was in architecture graduate school and I was working on a project with a girl we all un-affectionately referred to a Horse Laugh Girl (that should be self-explanatory). We were trying to determine the location of some punched windows in a concrete wall and, out of the blue she says ‘I’m sorry this is hard for me, I’m totally OCD.’

‘Oh my God,’ I exclaimed,’ (this before people said OMG) ‘What’s your number?’ I asked, thinking I had found a sympathetic spirit. She looked at me the same way I imagine the Israelites looked at Moses when he first told him God had spoken to him via a burning bush on top of a mountain. Realizing she didn’t know what I was talking about and that she totally didn’t have OCD we went about our project, never to speak of her lie again.

Then I started listening…it was as if everyone was declaring their self-diagnosed OCD. Someone was late for class…it was their OCD; a professor broke up with her boyfriend…it was her OCD; there was an eclipse…it was the Earth’s OCD.

I thought it was an isolated incident…until HH met her soon-to-be husband.

I was visiting HH and we went over to her boyfriend’s parent’s house, where his brother’s baby-mama was living. The three of us were in their basement looking through old pictures when she found one of her baby-daddy. She holds it up and with a white-trash smirk said ‘Look at him, total skater fag.’ HH looked at me and I scowled at baby-mama.

‘I’m so sorry.’ she said, knowing she had totally fucked up. ‘I’m bi-polar.’ I couldn’t help myself, so I asked ‘What does being bi-polar have to do with being a bigot?’ Of course, she had no answer, so she slinked upstairs and hid in her bedroom the rest of the day.

What is it with people now a days? I feel as if nothing is ever anyone’s fault anymore. Their lack of design capability can be attributed to OCD and someone’s narrow mindedness can be simplified to a rather serious mental illness.

You hear it all the time. Someone doesn’t hear what you say…it’s their ADD; someone’s having a bad day…they’re schizophrenic; I cry when Trinity died at the end of the third Matrix movie…it’s because I’m depressed.

We’re a society of self-diagnosis and I say it’s time to stop. You don’t have OCD, you just can’t make up your mind; you’re not bi-polar, you’re just an ignorant redneck, and I’m not depressed, I just really liked the Matrix trilogy and didn’t want it to end.

I’m not trying to minimize mental illness. Luckily, my OCD has faded into oblivious, but I know there are a lot people out there that deal with some serious struggles every day, but I don’t think they use it as a crutch to defend their inadequacies.

My advice to all those self-diagnosers out there…

If you think you’re OCD, watch ‘As Good As It Gets’…that’s OCD.

If you think you’re schizophrenic, watch ‘A Beautiful Mind’…that’s schizophrenia.

If you think you’re bi-polar, watch any season of ‘Real Housewives’…that’s bi-polar.

My advice to everyone else…

When you have a self-diagnoser tell you they’re whatever they think they are, ask them when they were diagnosed, what medication they’re taking. I imagine they won’t be able to answer either.

I don’t know if it’s because she was depressed when I left for college that fall or because of a mid-life crisis, but when Beanie Babies (BB) burst on to the retail scene in the final months of 1993, Mom went cray cray for them. And I’m talking CRAY CRAY!

At the time she had a full-time job, but somehow seemed to hit every store opening when a new BB was introduced. She once woke up at 2am to drive three hours just to wait in line for three more hours to buy one because its name reminded her of an old fling from high school. Another time she actually got into a tug-of-war contest with an equally enthusiastic BB collector over the coveted Princess Diana collectible that Mom planned to give Uncle Robin. But my all-time favorite Mom BB story was when she was waiting in line in the bitter cold for a BB that her only granddaughter at the time had been coveting for months. Again, after driving for hours, Mom waited in line for the store doors to open when it hit her…the gallons of coffee she had been consuming to stay awake kicked in and she needed a bathroom, STAT. But she wasn’t going to let something as trivial as a teenie-weenie bladder get in the way of her and that BB.

What did she do?

She excused herself from the line explaining that she was diabetic and needed an insulin shot. That, of course, was a lie. Instead, she hurried back to her car, found an empty coffee can (why she had that in her car I don’t know), popped a squat and relieved herself right there in the parking lot. She returned to the line, made it in the store and, according to her snatched up not only the bear my niece wanted, but also the rare and elusive Jake The Duck BB.

Whenever someone asked Mom why she was snatching up every BB in a tri-county area, she told them she was building up a college fund for her granddaughter. As such, she covered the BB tags with the plastic cover ups and even kept her most prized BBs in plastic boxes, not allowing them to be touched or handled by anyone.

Cut to twenty years later when BBs aren’t worth the cloth they were made from and Mom is stuck with hundreds of useless plush dolls that are used more for chew toys for my brother’s dog than they are for a college fund.

Although she has some colorful stories to share, Mom is always a bit embarrassed when she talks about her BB obsession.

I think the same will ring true in another two decades when the subject of Honey Boo Boo (HBB) comes up.

Granted, I don’t know that much about HBB, but I know enough. BF and I don’t have cable, but on a recent work trip I stumbled upon a HBB marathon and decide to see what all the hype was about.

Well, in the first ten minutes of the episode, HBB and her family played a game of “Whose breath is that?”, and HBB and her two sisters, one of whom wasn’t wearing shoes, spent a couples hours at the convenience store adjacent to their home (I use to term loosely) where they purchased sodas, chips, candy bars and a couple of pair of sunglasses. After HBB’s pregnant sister peed on the couch, and after the mom wiped her finger on it and smelled it without washing her hands, and after no one seemed as if they were going to clean it up, I turned off the television, wanting the last few minutes of my life back.

I understand that there are programs that we watch because they make us feel better about ourselves (Intervention) and others because they are just total train wrecks (Who Wants To Marry a Millionaire), but I just don’t see the pull of HBB.

And poor HBB…in twenty years when she’s popped out three illegitimate children, is on welfare and only has the memories of drinking Red Bull infused with Mountain Dew to numb the pathetic-ness of her life, do you think anyone will want to tune in? She’s like those sad jocks from high school whose lives stopped at age eighteen, except that her life is going to end at age…whatever age she is.

My advice to HBB: Take whatever money you’re making from your reality show and sink it into a college fund that can’t be touched until you’re eighteen and can only be spent on furthering your education…and cosmetology school doesn’t count.

My advice to everyone else: Stop watching this show and making uneducated people think they can make a living out of being unintelligent.

He’s Sexy and I Know It

October 15, 2012

For much of my adult life, I’ve thought that toilet paper should be free. It’s something that everybody uses (hopefully) and, if the government took the manufacturing and delivery over, it could create whole mess of jobs. Because of this utopian idea, some of my friends and family have labeled me with the scarlet letter of American politics: S for socialist. Yes, maybe I am a Socialist, but I don’t see wanting everyone to have an equal shot at happiness.

So, my question is…being a Socialist, should I feel guilty that I think Paul Ryan is dreamy?

I was watching the vice presidential debate last night and, even though I disagreed with almost everything he was saying,  I found myself defending the Wisconsin congressmen to my Liberal and Democrat friends. When he spoke to Medicare reform my mind was screaming “Die in hell you entitled pig!” but my heart was saying “I love the way the crook of his mouth slightly frowns down when he says ‘voucher’.” I feel like Benedict Arnold, but I can’t help how I feel.

First off, that hair. As someone who’s been obsessed with his own hair since the age of twelve, I can say with all confidence that Paul Ryan has the best hair in Congress. Eric Cantor is a close second, but Paul has him beat. The hairline is perfect, the part is in the right place to fit the shape of his head and the cut says “Hey, I’m hip,” while at the same time reassuring conservative voters that “I oppose all abortion, even in the cases of insect and rape.” And not to mention his widow’s peak. My mom used to tell me that a widow’s peak is the sign of ultimate beauty (probably because she has one), and in the case of Romney’s running mate, I have to agree.

For being thirty-nine years old, he has the skin of a pre-pubescent girl. Whether it’s good genes or that clean Midwestern living, he certainly doesn’t look his age. He has no frown lines or crow’s feet. Yes, his forehead is wrinkled, but I’d like to think that it’s all those late nights he stays awake in bed pondering his own sexuality.

And what other political figure has a P90X body? I think the only exercise John Boehner gets is swinging his golf clubs and bad mouthing Nancy Pelosi. And poor, old, say Mitch McConnell…he looks more like the skeleton from Tales From The Crypt that he does a seasoned congressman. But Paul is ushering in a new wave of political figures: the kind that says even though I don’t respect a woman’s body, I worship my own.

So, even though he wouldn’t support my toilet paper for the world campaign and is vehemently opposed to me and BF ever getting married, I still think he’s a sexy piece of man meat.

My advice to Paul Ryan: See the light and run away from the dark side of the force. Your look is too Democratic to be wasted on religious zealots and old billionaires.

My advice to everyone else: Write your congressperson and urge them to embrace the Pau Ryan lifestyle. If everyone looked like him, maybe we would be more willing to listen to what they have to say.

F— You, Carrie Bradshaw

October 10, 2012

Although I weep for straight women when it comes to the dating scene, men don’t have it much easier. I think the major breakdown between Mars dwellers and the counterparts on Venus is that, like species from different planets, the two sexes don’t speak the same language. The next time you’re at a mostly straight get together, notice who is talking to who. It’s always all the men huddled in one corner talking about sports, weather and boobs and the women on the opposite side of the room cackling about Botox, the latest trash novel and how their boyfriends are troglodytes. Despite that major communication breakdown, men and women have been getting together, procreating and living in fragile harmony for millennia.

But all that changed on June 6, 1998.

When Carrie Bradshaw burst on the scene as the main character in Sex and The City, she was an instant success. She was not so pretty that women were intimidated, but hot enough that every man still wanted to sleep with her. She seemed to have the perfect life: a great apartment in New York City, a job that required no office hours and a group of friends that seemed to think everything she did and said was fabulous. She really seemed to be the culmination of a contemporary woman in today’s society.

God, I hope not.

Not only was Carrie Bradshaw a completely unsustainable character, she also embodied everything that I, and every other productive member of society dislike about how women treat other people.

Example 1: Aiden.

Aiden Quinn was everything any straight woman would want in a companion. He was handsome, gainfully employed and worshiped the ground Carrie strutted on in her $400 shoes. And what did she do to him? She refused to wear the engagement ring he bought her (instead stringing it on a necklace around her neck) and she totally cheated on him with that sleeze bag, Big. What kind of message does that send? It says “Women, stay away from available, attractive, attentive men.”

Example 2: Finances.

First of all, a freelance writer for a third rate newspaper in New York City would earn enough money to live in Carrie’s apartment, afford her extensive wardrobe and be able to go out every episode to the newest and most hip night clubs and restaurants. Which, I guess, is why Carrie was always having money problems. There was the time that the French architect thought she was a prostitute and left her a thousand dollars after they spent the night together. The moral of that story? Ladies, when you’re a bit cash poor, sleep around and earn some money.

And then, after Aiden came to his senses and dumped Carrie’s cheating behind, she was forced to come up with enough money for a down payment on her condo (Aiden had previously purchased the apartment for her and Carrie to share with an adjacent unit.) Anyhoo, of course she didn’t have enough money. Did she try to secure a loan like a normal person? No. Instead, she got super mad after Charlotte didn’t offer up $50K for Carrie to use, interest free, for a down payment. Then, like any rational human being, Carrie stormed over to so-called best friend’s Park Avenue palace and tore Charlotte a new one. Then what happened? Charlotte gave Carrie her engagement ring from her failed marriage to use as a down payment. Lesson learned from that: When you need something, guilt someone else more fortunate than you into helping out.

Example 3: She smoked.

I mean, what straight guy in his right mind wants to date some chic who smokes? Yes, she did eventually quite, but only because Sarah Jessica Parker got knocked up and couldn’t sustain the lung-charring habit any longer.

So, what has Carrie Bradshaw taught us? That you can dick around really great guys, get paid for having sex with smelly French men, be a complete moron with your finances and literally kill yourself with every puff of a cigarette and still be considered the “it” girl.

So now, thanks to her wildly successful show and two spin-off movies (only one of which is worth watching), Carrie Bradshaw has taught women that they can basically act like complete selfish, lunatic harpies and think they deserve a millionaire husband, a thriving career writing 500 word quips about her slutty friends and meaningless life, and a shoe menagerie that rivals that of Imelda Marcos.

My advice to Carrie Bradshaw: Even though you’re off the air and no longer producing new episodes to warp the minds of straight women everywhere, you’re still there in re-runs and TBS marathons…my only hope is that the next great female sitcom will produce the anti-Carrie and show women that they can be successful by working hard, happy by not treating great guys like lepers and happy without having a shopping addiction.

My advice to straight women: Stop thinking you’re a “Carrie” or even a “Charlotte” or “Miranda” or “Samantha”. They are all archetypes. They do not exist. But you do, so get out there and start living your own life.

My  advice to straight men: The next time your lady friends channels her inner Carrie, channel your inner Big and treat her like shit, never call and then go out and start dating someone else. If she really is like Carrie, she’ll come running back, ready to forgive all your sins.

I Weep For Straight Women

October 4, 2012

I consider myself very lucky to have found BF when I did. Although I did have one pretty negative relationship experience (see Facebook and Ex Boyfriends), I think I came out ahead. It seems that the older one gets, the harder it is to find a partner. Maybe it’s because the dating pool gets smaller; maybe it’s because as we get older we become more set in our ways, or maybe it’s because as time goes on, the only people left to date are the ones that nobody else wanted.

Whatever the reason, it seems to me that there are a lot of amazing single women and very few single men worth their time. As a gay man, I surround myself with fabulous women (I hang out only with Homo Honeys and a Fruit Fly every now and then to keep things interesting) who, for reasons that seem to escape me and them, can’t seem to find a good guy. Time after time they are forced to run through the dating gauntlet.

I have a friend up north who had been dating a guy for about six months; the appropriate amount of time to introduce him to her parents. She arranged the time, made sure he had a clean shirt and pressed trousers and even programmed her parent’s address into his navigation system to ensure the night would go off without a hitch. Unfortunately, things did not work out according to plan. After sitting in embarrassed silence for an hour with her mother huffing over the uneaten meal she prepared and her father planning her boyfriend’s death for standing her up, she received a text. What did it say? “Can’t make it. Don’t have enough change to pay the toll. Sorry.”

Another friend of mine, a dear sweet girl I met in college was seriously dating a seemingly great guy last year. They were out on their six month anniversary, when he excused himself to the restroom. My friend sat at the table, eagerly waiting for him to return so she could deliver her anniversary present: saying the “L” word for the first time. She was rehearsing what she wanted to say in her head when she heard the ubiquitous ding of an iPhone receiving a text message. A faint blue light illuminated from beneath the boyfriend’s side of the table. She leaned over and noticed that, in his hurried scurry to the men’s room, boyfriend’s iPhone had slipped out of his pocket. She picked it up and placed it on the table. Like any human being would do, she looked at the message (and don’t tell me you wouldn’t have done the same thing). It was from a hooker named Heather (total hooker name, right?) and all it said was “Hurry up. I’m horny.” My friend, being the meek, charming woman that she is, didn’t make a scene, she didn’t cry running out the restaurant or even bat an eyelash. All she did was drop the iphone in her boyfriend’s glass of wine and walk out the restaurant, her head held high.

I have another friend from graduate school who is totally amazing, super cute, wicked smart and stylish to the nines. Because she’s so awesome, she started dating a really great guy a few years ago…or so she thought. About three months into their relationship, she was spending the night at his house. She went into the bathroom to wash her face, brush her teeth and get ready for bed when she heard a knock at the door. The boy assured her it was nothing and she went about her bedtime ritual. About five minutes later she returned to the living room to find the boy and some unkempt hipster bent over the table sniffing cocaine through a rolled up dollar bill.  Totally cliché, right?

This same friend also dated a guy for about nine months who, at first, seemed really great. He owned his own business, had never been arrested and had a head of hair that could rival any Hollywood leading man, past or present. But like all great romances, things weren’t perfect? The chink in his armor was that he had horrible smelling feet. And I’m not just talking about your typical, run of the mill smelly feet; I’m talking about hot wet garbage on a humid day smelly feet. Like Pepe LePew smelly feet. It was too much for my friend to handle and she eventually had to break up with him. We all told her she was crazy and I was convinced that she had made a mistake until a few weeks ago.

She and I were at a street festival in town when she saw the smelly-footed ex sitting at a henna/face painting booth. Not sure what he was doing there, we abandoned our place in the funnel cake line and went over to investigate. Come to find out that about a year ago, the ex sold his business, purchased a small tract of land in the woods and, according to him, was building an “earth ship.” And then he introduced us to his granola-encrusted girlfriend who looked like she hadn’t eaten real food in years and hadn’t showered since the Summer Solstice. He introduced her (I forget her name) and the only accolade he could bestow on her was “She’s a really amazing face painter.”

I bought my friend a funnel cake after that as an apology for scolding her when she broke up with Mr. Smelly Feet. She had actually really dodged a bullet with that one.

Maybe it’s because there are more women in the world than men, but it seems to me that straight girls really get the short end of the dating stick.

My advice to single straight men: Get jobs, keep money for tolls in your car and don’t sniff coke in front of your girlfriends…they’re kinda turn offs.

My advice to straight women: It’s going to be a long, rocky road, but you’ll find someone out there. You’re all too amazing not to.

My advice to everyone else: Keep on the lookout for quality men for your hetero female friends. Unfortunately, they need all the help they can get.

Macho Macho Men

October 1, 2012

 

In addition to establishing the world’s first man cave, my Dad is an extremely macho guy. A mixture of The Fonz, Burt Reynolds and with a little Dirty Harry and Charles Bronson thrown in for good measure, he truly is the last of a dying breed that eats red meat, smokes non-filtered cigarettes and still doesn’t understand why “those tree hugging animal lovers” disapprove of his leather jackets and alligator cowboy boots.

He thinks the metrosexual movement is a sissy response to emotional men not being to control their emotions during “chick flicks” and that wearing a shirt with “one of those damn horses on it” is worse than a Nazi war camp bar code tattoo. He is of a different time; one that has always seemed to elude me.

When my brothers and I were young, we’d sit inside Dad’s old beat up white Pontiac Grand Prix (that we un-affectionately called The Titanic) and stare in wonder as he stood outside the car, pumping gas with one hand and smoking a cigarette with the other. He’d look up at one of the many ‘No Smoking’ signs and exhale a large plume of smoke as if to say, ‘Don’t worry, I’m man enough to survive an explosion.’

Another time when I was growing up, I was playing on the jungle gym in our front yard. Being gangly and awkward, I fell, smashed my head on the ground and ended up in the Emergency Room. Turned out there was nothing wrong with me, but since we had been there so long, Mom and Dad decided to pick up some fast food on the way home. We pulled up to the McDonald’s drive thru and my eyes fixated on the current Happy Meal toy accessories: Hot Wheels. Being me, I didn’t want the fire-red corvette intended for the boy, but instead the hot pink VW convertible with flowers emblazoned on the front hood. After begging and pleading with Mom and even grabbing my arm and wincing in pain to gain sympathy, she acquiesced and asked Dad to order two boy Happy Meals for my brothers and a girl one for me. Dad rolled down his window and when asked for his order he shouted out “Yeah, give me three of those things the kids eat.” When asked for the sex, he responded “Ah, hell. I don’t care.” At the time I was mortified, but in the years that have followed, I realized that Dad wasn’t embarrassed to order his nancy boy son a girl Happy Meal, he was embarrassed at all to order a Happy Meal. Maybe he was afraid the checkout girl would think he wasn’t man enough to eat at Big Mac; or maybe didn’t want to give the illusion that he had emotions. Who knows…

But the best expression of Dad’s macho man-ness happened when I was in college. He and Mom came to visit me my freshman year and they took me out to dinner. As usual, I ordered too much food and had to take my desert home in a doggie bag. As we were getting ready to leave, I asked Dad to hold my left overs while I fished through my backpack for my car keys. “I’m not holding that,’ he said as if I had just asked him to grab onto a stick of lit dynamite. I stared at him, wondering why he couldn’t fulfill this most simple request when Mom turned to me and explained “Real men finish their meals, dear.”

So anyway, I finished college, moved away from my parents and, until recently thought Dad was really the last of the Macho Macho Men.

But that was, until I moved to the south.

I was on the Park-N-Ride bus with other home bound travelers at the airport, driving through the sea of cars in the parking lot. The attendant would call out row numbers, prompting car owners to shout out the make, model and color of their cars. I heard “White Ford Truck” and “Silver Audi A4” and such. When the bus was about half empty they bus driver shouted out “Row 6D” and a Bumpkin (for more clarification, please read Inexperienced Air Travelers) piped up “Cadillac.” Not satisfied with the level of information provided, the driver simply asked “Make and model, sir?” Bumpkin did not reply. The driver repeated his question and Bumpkin finally answered “It’s one of them make up cars.” That was when his wife elbowed him and, as proudly as a mother on her child’s graduation day from Harvard said “It’s a pink Mary Kay Cadillac. I’m the top sales person in the district.”

I chuckled to myself, knowing that even though this Bumpkin was definitely a macho macho man, things had softened a bit since Dad’s time…Dad wouldn’t have ever, and still to this day, been seen in a pink car, let alone allow Mom to announce its color to a bus full of strangers. He would have preferred to walk to and from the airport instead.

My advice to Macho Macho Men:

The sexual revolution is over and you lost. Suck it up and learn to cry.

My advice to everyone else:

If you have a Macho Macho Man in your life, put him in those situations (Happy Meal, leftovers, pink cars, etc…) and see how he reacts. It will be entertaining.

My MIL

September 26, 2012

I’ve heard some real horror stories when it comes to Mother-In-Laws (MILs). I had a friend whose MIL rewrote all her post wedding shower thank you cards because, in her opinion, my friend’s handwriting was too disorganized and the wording in the notes didn’t properly convey the messages of humility and thankfulness. I’ve also heard a story of a MIL that, whenever she visited her daughter and her Son-In-Law, she would never remove her coat as if to say “I’m only here because I have to and I can’t wait to remove myself from you presence.” But, the crème-de-la-crème of all MIL stories goes to a good friend of mine who, for her own safety, shall be called Victoria. Victoria and her husband were on a tropical beach vacation with her in-laws. Being in her thirties and having just given birth to a gorgeous baby boy, who I still think should have been named Michael, Victoria was a bit self-conscious of her post-baby body and decided on a series of modest one-piece bathing suits and some groovy mesh cover ups. Well, she was on the beach one morning with her MIL, when the MIL turns to her and says “Victoria, I don’t know you where those frumpy suits and weird cover ups. Look around. You’re not the fattest one on the beach.”

It’s when I hear horror stories like this that I thank the cosmos for my MIL. Her name is Lani and, second only to Mom, she is by far the grooviest mother on the planet. You might be asking yourself “What makes Lani so groovy?” or “She can’t be cooler than my mom.” So, let me elaborate.

The first time BF and I went to visit Lani and her family for Christmas, I fell horribly ill hours after we landed. I spent the entire week at her house lying in BF’s old top bunk sleeping, throwing up and wishing morphine was an over-the-counter pain killer. The only thing that made me feel better was eating a Wendy’s frosty. Something about the semi-chocolate, semi-plastic taste of the refreshing drink made me feel better, if only for a few minutes. One day, BF was recruited by his grandmother (another super awesome lady), to help set up for the family Christmas party, which meant no Frosties for me. I was in bed, cursing my life when there was a knock on the door. I said “Come In” with the little strength that I had. In walked Lani with a smile on her face and a Frosty in her hand. I instantly started to feel better.

Cut to a few years later and we’re at the wedding of BF’s youngest brother. It was a very religious ceremony with a lot of religious people in a very religious town with a very religious reception at which, I wasn’t at my most comfortable. I could see the gears of everyone at the party trying to figure out why I was included in the family pictures and why BF wasn’t yet married at 30-something. That’s when Lani swooped in and saved the day. With her head held high and exuding the pride only a mother can pull off, she made the rounds to everyone at the reception, introducing me as her Son-In-Law. Not only did I feel more comfortable at the party, but I had a heightened respect for my Lani.

Every time BF and I visit Lani she always makes a batch of his favorite cookies. They are a delicious recipe called Cherry Winks that literally melt in your mouth and leaving craving more, like a crack addict after a good fix. Unfortunately, I don’t get to eat many of them, as BF protects them more ferociously than a mama bear with her newborn cubs. But this last time we visited, that wasn’t a problem. When we walked into her house, I noticed not one box of homemade cookies on the counter, but two. One full of Cherry Winks, and the other full of my favorite cookies.

More than the Frosty or the proud announcement that the wedding, those cookies told me that I was certainly part of the family.

My advice to my MIL:

As rare as it is for me, I have no advice for you Lani. I think you’re pretty awesome just the way you are.

My advice to everyone else:

Like with my Mom, my Homo Honey and my Superhero Boyfriend, everyone reading this should be insanely jealous.

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