Inexperienced Air Travelers

September 9, 2012

I’ll never forget the first time I flew on an airplane. I was eight years old and Mom and I flew home from visiting UJR in Providence. From the time we stepped onto the jet way, it was truly a magical experience, for me anyway. For some reason, Mom had been crying ever since UJR dropped us off at the bus depot on our way to the terminal and, if memory serves me correctly, she cried until we arrived home later that night. Once on board, I sat down in my middle seat with Mom on the aisle and a very distinguished looking business man next to me in the window seat. Like a precocious eight-year-old, I bugged my neighbor every five minutes to let me look out the window and, even though he was very nice, I imagine by the end of the flight he wanted to unlock the emergency exit door and throw my ass out of it. Anyway, we landed, Mom finally stopped crying and I went to school the next day proudly showing off the barf bag I stole from the seat pocket and the set of wings the pilot handed to me as we deboarded.

It’s been almost thirty years since that momentous trip and I can say without any hesitation that my view of air travel has done a complete one-eighty. No longer am I the bright-eyed eight year old ready to conquer the friendly skies. These days I’m more like the guy next to me on my first flight wondering why some brat keeps bothering me and why his hysterical mother won’t stop bawling and control her offspring.

My frustration begins as I pull off the highway exit to the airport. Undoubtedly, some country Bumpkin who’s braving the Wright brothers’ invention for the first time, almost misses the exit, crosses four lanes of traffic in his twelve cylinder, small penis compensating, four-wheel drive truck with the confederate flag emblazoned on the mud flaps and, of course, manages to cut me off during my favorite part of “I Believe” from The Book of Mormon, just as I’m about to exit myself. I put aside my tendency to tail gate him while honking my horn profusely, go back to my soundtrack and make my way to the Park and Ride.

But all too quickly, my urge to kill returns.

It’s not long after I make my way to the shuttle bus and sit down, does Bumpkin and his horridly obese, Bovine wife waddle in, huffing and puffing from the three tiny steps they had to climb to get inside, throw their cheap, Walmart suitcases on my vintage, green leather travel bag and proceed to plop their size 90-something waists and corresponding back sides right next to me. I try to not notice them sweating through their clothes and the fact that they smell like feet. We’re almost to the terminal when Bumpkin takes his cell phone from its protective sack that’s clipped to his belt, dials a number and continues to have a conversation with his white-trash brother-in-law about how he’s on the shuttle to the airport and he hopes “There ain’t no Arabs on my flight.” I roll my eyes, cover every part of my body that came even remotely close to them in Purell and count slowly down from ten, remembering that it’s not Bumpkin and Bovine’s fault that they’re hillbillies…it’s how they were raised.

Because I have a smart phone and because I make every effort to only travel with carry-on luggage, I bypass the check in line and go straight to security. Despite all my efforts to rid myself of Bumpkin and Bovine and through some weird trick of karmic retribution, I get stuck behind them in the security check point line . As they unload their luggage in preparation for the x-ray machine there’s Bumpkin’s obligatory joke about the scanner “shrivilin’ my nuts” (if only it did that and stop the spread of his seed), and them letting any nimrod in an army, navy or air force or marine uniform in front of them  for “protectin’ my freedom from All-Kee-Duh and the liberals.” and my personal favorite, the mentally insufficient chit-chat with the TSA agents about how much they get paid and if the benefits are any good. And, the pre-trip wouldn’t be complete without Bovine having to go through the security scanner like fifteen times, each pass removing one piece of home applied bedazzled metal from her person.

Finally, I make it through security, chug down a miniature-sized martini and Chili’s and make my way to the boarding gate. I’m not surprised when I see Bumpkin and Bovine slothing in a set of seats near the boarding counter, totally plug-blocking the outlets I need to charge my electrical devices. The thought of having to talk to them is greater than my need to be digitally connected, so I take a seat as far away from them as possible. As I wait for the plane to board and with a dead i-phone and i-pad, I watch Bumpkin and Bovine approach the gate agent no less than three times. I assume it’s to ask in the plane has seat belt extenders or to make sure that, even though they have a confirmed ticket, the plane’s not going to leave without them.

As soon as the gate agent announces that the plane has landed (which usually means there’s at least forty minutes until the next flight boards) Bumpkin and Bovine leap from their seats (actually, they do their best to lift up their fat rolls from around the seat under them without upsetting their center of gravity) and rush (as much as rotund people can) to stand as close as they can to the gate door without getting yelled at by airline employees. They stand there, biting their fingernails and sweating profusely as everyone boards. They mutter inane things like “I hope we can still get a seat” and “I hear they give you these fancy cookies on board, called Bisk-Cough.”

Thanks to BF and his frequent work travel schedule, I plop myself down in first class and order a cocktail to erase the images of Bumpkin and Bovine that have been burned into my brain. Not one second after I take my first sip, does the dynamic duo waddle on board, upsetting the balance of the plane and my comfortable state of mind. They barrel in, still worried that their confirmed ticket doesn’t mean they actually have a seat on the plane. He turns sideways to get through the aisle and brushes my face with his protruding, hairy belly. Not far behind him, she scoots by in her Vera Bradley knock-off luggage and hits me with her dog carrier that houses something that looks like the cross between a feral bunny and a New York City sewer rat.

They finally pass me, I finish my cocktail and, as the plane lands, I forget they ever invaded my existence. That is until five seconds after the pilot has announced that we’ve landed and told us it’s safe to unbuckle our seat belts. Bumpkin and Bovine barrel to the front of the plane, citing the fact that they have a connection that leaves in twenty minutes (translation: they haven’t had McDonald’s in over an hour and they’re going into DTs). I let them pass with my fingers crossed, hoping that I will never, ever, ever have to encounter them ever, ever again.

My advice to inexperienced air travelers: Stay home or, better yet, get together with your bumpkin and bovine neighbors, rent a van and drive to wherever it is you want to go. You won’t annoy people like me and you’ll be able to hit up every Crackle Barrel on your way to your destination.

My advice to everyone else: If, when you’re traveling, you find yourself displaying any of the travel faux pas demonstrated by Bumpkin and Bovine, take a good look around…because someone like me may be watching.

My advice to the man that had the misfortune of sitting next to Mom and me all those years ago: Please accept my most humble apology. I was only eight…I don’t know what Mom’s excuse was.



August 10, 2012

Once upon a time, I was victim to a corporate downsizing. It was a long time ago, but I’ve ended up in a much better place than I could have ever imagined with a great job and better pay. Because of that, I’d like to thank the person who was responsible for my aforementioned employment termination.

Everyone has stories of the boss from Hell. There are tales of sexual harassment, alcoholism, inter-office affairs, and I even once overheard a story of a boss who, because of some sort of OCD complex, always scooped their poop out of the toilet after a bowel movement and placed on top of the water tank behind the bowl. I can’t say that I can top those stories, but I do have something to say about Menstrua (that’s not her real name) an influential person who, I think, was the person solely responsible for me not working there anymore.

The reason why I call Menstrua Menstrua was because, like a woman on her period (and I can say this because I lived with Homo Honey for almost five years), you could never tell what kind of mood she was going to be in when you talked to her. I’ll never forget a series of meetings I was forced to attend that were scheduled by Menstrua. She would squeeze her fat ass through the conference room door, waddle over to her seat in her Payless sneakers, high water, color-faded black slacks and whatever potato sack top she pulled out of the hamper that morning, melt into the seat, slam her liter Mountain Dew bottle on the table and belt out something like “I’m in a really bad mood today,” or “I don’t feel like being in a meeting today,” or “I had a really crappy weekend.” I don’t know if it was an intimidation tactic or if she simply felt the need to announce her mood to everyone, but whatever the reason, she never started a meeting off on a positive note.

And it didn’t stop there. At least five times during every meeting she would turn to whoever had the misfortune of saying something she didn’t like and say to them, with both hands tangled up her bird’s nest mess of hair and say “What the fuck did you just say?” Not the best way to ask for clarification from someone.

And heaven forbid if you tried to take initiative on something that she deemed unimportant. For example, I took it upon myself to redesign the company’s outdated recruitment materials. When I say they were outdated, I mean that they weren’t even hip when Menstrua was a child which, according to her gay hair, gnarly feet and overall hagardness, had to have been decades. One day I was working away on the materials when Menstrua appeared in front of my cube. I tried to greet her, but was interrupted with “What the hell are you doing?” I explained what the hell I was doing and, not to my surprise, Menstrua reacted more like Baby Jane than the SVP of a global design firm. She threw her keys on the ground and shouted “God Damn it!” With my eyes wide open and my mouth agape with horror she tried to compose herself and said “I’m going to go because I don’t think you want me around feeling how I’m feeling.” Damn straight I didn’t want her around. She stomped off and I received an e-mail from her admin the next week instructing me that any extra initiatives beyond my prescribed duties needed to be expressly approved by Menstrua before any work began. Classy move, Menstrua.

And the piece de resistance of Menstrua’s absolute bat-shit-craziness: she was in the group of cubes adjacent to mine. Normally when I saw her moving down the hallway into my general direction, I would don my headphones and listen to something soothing, but I had forgotten them that day. I was prepared to hear her curse and scold, but for the first time, I actually heard her laugh. Although it sounded more like my cat right before she throws up on the bathroom mat, I could tell by the smile on her face that she was pleased by something. Since I had never seen this side of Menstrua before, I abandoned my work, leaned over my cube and eavesdropped on what I could ascertain was a discussion about project budgets or something to do with money. I was about to turn back to my work when I saw it: Menstrua lifted her shirt in glee, exposing the employee she was addressing to her saggy boobs harnessed into a granny bra and me to her muffin top that seemed to almost eat away at the top of her pants. She shouted “Fuckin’ A” and, thankfully, pulled her shirt back down. I threw up in my mouth a little, shot back down into my chair and tried to perform a Silkwood shower on my brain.

The day of my termination came and I was called into a conference room with the 29 other employees that were part of the downsizing. When I walked in there was Menstrua looking all smug and stupid, happy in the fact that she had finally found a legitimate reason to get rid of me: poor performance numbers. Knowing full well what was going to happen and not wanting her to get away with the possibility of feeling good about what she was doing to me, I sat myself down in the front row of chairs, right in front of her.

She started talking, some b.s. about budgets, blah, blah, blah when I started thinking of her pulling her shirt up and the horror that her husband must feel every time he sees her naked and, God forbid, when he has to have sexual relations with her. I started thinking of him trying to pull up her fat rolls to find her labia when, because of the hilarity of the visuals in my head, I cracked a shit-eating smile from ear to ear. For the rest of her diatribe, I sat there with that smile on my face knowing that, even though I didn’t have a job at that moment, I also didn’t have a double chin, abysmal fashion sense, the mouth of a drunken sailor or a husband who needs a map and the Jaws of Life to fulfill me sexually.

Since then, I have found several jobs making more money and reporting to people whom I don’t consider an embarrassment to the human race. So, I want to thank Menstrua for laying me off and for being such a cluster fuck of a boss. She’s famous amongst my friends and I always have something colorful to add when the subject of crappy bosses comes up in conversation.

My advice for Menstrua: Keep up the bad work. I still have friends that work for you and, if you keep it up, I’ll have enough material for a screen play.

My advice for everyone else: Just like ying and yang, for every Menstrua there’s a terrific boss out there for you. You just need to find him/her.

Effing Beauty Queens

June 25, 2012

(disclaimer: it’s not totally necessary, but this post assumes the reader has seen the movie, Drop Dead Gorgeous)

Drop Dead Gorgeous is one of my all-time favorite movies. BF and I have watched it over and over, imitating the Minnesota accent and wondering what it would be like to be on the set of a movie with the power house trio of Kirsti Alley, Ellen Barkin and Allison Janey. It’s a total mockumentary that pokes fun at the ridiculousness of beauty pageants or, as some like to call them, scholarship programs.

Or so I thought…

In the movie, the least talented and probably the second least intelligent contestant wins not only because her mom rigs the competition, but because she seemingly embodies traditional American values (whatever that means) and tries to weave Christianity into everything, from her interview questions to her ill-conceived talent.

Ridiculous right? I thought so to until last night.

This weekend BF and I were invited to a state beauty pageant. A good friend was asked to be a judge and he asked us to come along. With dreams of hearing Adam West introduce the lovely contestants, witnessing a contestant interpret the song “Through The Eyes of Love” through sign language and maybe even hearing someone wish for world peace, BF and I sat down at our seats Friday night and waited for the lights to go down and the curtain to go up.

From the second the music started, we knew we had made the right decision to come. It seemed as though life was imitating art with the flowing silver backdrop and the contestants emerging from the back of the theater in sequins dresses and too much eye makeup, clapping and singing along to Lady Gaga’s Born This Way. As if they were admitting that being a beauty queen was in their DNA, they danced on stage, trying to make eye contact with each judge and emoting the confidence and poise that they’d seen on telecasts of pervious Miss America pageants.

And then the competition began. They girls were interviewed with questions like “Do you think playing too much Halo can lead to violent behavior in young people?” and “What are the values and convictions you think are important for a Miss Blah Blah Blah to embody?” Then there was physical fitness, evening wear, talent and the swimsuit portion (yes, they had a swimsuit competition). As the contestants paraded around, BF and I selected our favorites, those that seemed to fit the bill and to also have a little something extra that could make them stick out on a national stage.

Imagine our surprise when none of our picks made the top ten. I sat there in my seat, clapping for the finalists, but secretly thinking ‘which of the judges did they sleep with to make it this far?’(Which would have been a hard feat, as the judges were all gay guys and over the hill beauty queens).

So, we recalibrated and, from the ten, picked our top five.

Same scenario; none of our picks made the cut to the top five.

It wasn’t until the winner gave her speech did we realize why our predictions did not come true.

After she was crowned, sasheyed and had made her first walk as the state representative to the Miss America pageant, she stood in front of the crowd, waving and fighting back fake tears.

“None of this would be possible,” she said with a slight lisp, “without the love and support my heavenly Father, my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.” BF and I looked at each other, rolled our eyes, stopped clapping and sat down in silent protest for what we knew was coming up.

For five minutes we were forced to listen to the dogmatic diatribe of the zealot beauty queen moron. We pained through her testimony of how the Holy Spirit came to her and said to persevere during those times that the pageant circuit seemed too much to handle. I almost threw up in my mouth when she quoted not two, but three bible passages. And BF had to keep me in my seat when I wanted to leave after she promised to use her platform as a tool to rid the state of what she termed “radical ideals and morals”. I could only assume that she meant homosexuals and a women’s right to choose.

I stormed out of the venue as soon as I could, fumed all night and was even silent in the car ride home, incredulous that in today’s society a group of intelligent people could nominate a religious renegade to represent the state in which I live instead of selecting one of the well-rounded, articulate, talented young women I thought would best represented the region.

Then it hit me…it was Drop Dead Gorgeous all over. It’s not about talent, intelligence, poise or even body type. It’s about the person that’s going to appeal to the least common denominator: religious kooks and the uninformed. So, next year, if I’m lucky enough to attend the state Miss America beauty pageant (cause it’s certainly not a scholarship program in my opinion), I’m going to ask myself ‘Who would Sarah Palin want to win?’ and I’m going to put my money on her.

My advice to beauty queens:

Take another tip from Drop Dead Gorgeous: at your next competition, find the most pious, self-righteous religious moron in the pageant and sabotage her evening wear gown or rig the stage to have a stage light fall on her head during her talent. If you do, you’ll not only rid the world of a future tele-evangelist, you’ll also increase your chance of winning that much more.

My advice to everyone else:

If you haven’t seen it, rent Drop Dead Gorgeous (unfortunately, it’s not on Netflix) and get yourself invited to a beauty pageant. They’re a hoot!

January Jones has to be the worst actress of the century. If you agree with me, thank you. If not please keep reading.

In 2008, the aforementioned putrid actress was the main guest star on Law & Order which, unlike JJ, is very fun to watch play out on the boob tube. Anyhoo, January played a con woman who fakes a real estate scheme, kills her boyfriend and somehow, to avoid being incarcerated by NYPD, becomes the only lead in some federal terrorist investigation. Pretty good story, huh? It was, but JJ’s acting wasn’t. She delivered her lines like a fembot from the Austin Powers trilogy, had the body language of a body double for the title character in Weekend at Bernie’s and actually had me hoping that the power would suddenly go out in my condo so I wouldn’t have to watch her butcher a seemingly enjoyable script. It was the worst episode of Law & Order ever and almost deterred me from ever watching the show again.

I guess Lorne Michaels was out getting his back waxed the night the Law  & Order episode aired because in 2009, JJ was asked to host Saturday Night Live. I didn’t watch the program as I’m usually in a martini-induced coma by 11:30 on any given Saturday night. BF did watch it and he said that it was probably a good thing that I didn’t see it. JJ was awful and, I’ve read in some columns and blogs that it was considered the worst episode of SNL ever; even less enjoyable than Sinead O’Connor ripping up a picture of JPII. I wanted to check it out for myself, so I went to YouTube to see what I could find. Can you believe that in all of the YouTube database there isn’t one clip from her stint on the late night sketch comedy show? If that doesn’t tell how much it truly smelled, nothing could.

If you still don’t believe me that JJ has less acting ability than my left testicle, check out X-Men: Origins on Netflix. Instead of the mutant ability she was given in the script, they should have written a character just for her that made people’s eyes and ears bleed because her acting was so bad. I love and respect the X-Men franchise to say any more.

So, how can I hate a person’s acting ability, or lack thereof, so much but love one of their characters?

I’ve watched the first four seasons of Mad Men and I think it comes down to three things that make me love Betty Draper.

Number One: She always looks amazing. There were a few episodes after she kicked Don out of the house when she wallowed around the house in her nightgown, her hair was unkempt and she did nothing but yell at her children and suck down cigarettes. She did this and still looked like a Miss America contestant. Normally, this would upset me about an actress, but for her and the series, I think it helps accentuate the fact that in the 60’s women were supposed to always look their best, even when they felt their worst.

Number Two: Perhaps it’s her Grace Kelly type beauty, her statuesque figure or her perfect smile and thick blond hair, but January Jones looks the Betty Draper part. She looks like a spoiled rich bitch who married a stud, had two perfect children while maintaining a perfect figure and lives in mansion in the New York suburbs. I imagine this is why Matthew Weiner cast her in the role. It certainly wasn’t because of her screen test.

Number Three: She’s gorgeous when she smokes. In the sixties it was glamorous to smoke, and Betty Draper epitomizes that. I don’t know if it’s the effortless way she inhales, gently pressing her perfectly plump lips around the filter or the way she exhales as if she’s simply exhaling a breath, but something about her smoking makes me wanna turn straight for about fifteen minutes.

Despite these three accolades that only apply to her one character, I still think JJ is the most abhorrent actor to show up on the celluloid radar since Pauly Shore.

My advice to January Jones:

Go ahead and legally change your name to Betty Draper, drink continuously from the time you wake up until you fall asleep, smoke while you’re pregnant and prepare celery stalks filled with cream cheese for party appetizers. It suits you more than your real life.

My advice to everyone else:

Do what I do and limit your January Jones acting exposure to any series on AMC that revolves around the advertising profession in the 1960’s. You’ll thank me.

You Suck Meryl Streep

October 25, 2011

So, like most weekends I spent this past break from my Monday to Friday grind at the movies. After I bought my $15 ticket and obligatory $6 popcorn and $5 mega soda, I traveled the long, obnoxiously carpeted hallway to my theater. About halfway there, I saw an ad for Meryl Streep’s newest film, Iron Lady. It’s a biopic about Margaret Thatcher that, I’m sure, will be amazing. Meryl will nail the accent, the body language and even master the idiosyncrasies that people from the UK insist make them superior to us, their less fortunate cousins across the pond.

I just hope there are no scenes where Meryl has to cry.

Meryl Streep is arguably the most talented actress alive today. She has been nominated for more Academy Awards and Emmys than any other actor in the history of acting, winning two fro Kramer vs. Kramer and Adaptation. So, you must be asking yourself why the title of this post is “You suck, Meryl Streep”. It’s because, despite her proven acting talents and prowess on the stage and screen, Meryl Streep is a sub-par actress because she’s not ugly when she cries.

Think about when you cry or when people you care about cry. It’s never pretty. There are swollen eyes, runny noses and those awkward moments when you try to talk, but all that comes out is a wailing shriek that could rival any sea harpie or scorned mother-in-law. So, why oh why oh why-oh is that Meryl Streep, queen of stage and screen can’t muster enough acting prowess to make herself ugly when she’s pretending to be sad?

It’s not that she’s overly gorgeous. Granted, Meryl isn’t ugly, but pretty isn’t the first accolade that I think of when her name is mentioned. If you take other star-studded actress on par with her prowess, ie Elizabeth Taylor, Angelina Jolie and Ingrid Bergman – they are all considered “beautiful women”. Meryl is not.

And it’s not because she hasn’t had enough acting opportunities. It seems in almost every one of her of her roles, she has an opportunity to cry. Even in Devil Wears Prada, when she played the most heartless, soulless, life sucking bitch cow from hell, she was able to parade her lack of talent for shedding a tear.

If you look at other modern actress with credentials to back up their celluloid competence, you have to admit that their crying scenes are more convincing than Ms. Streeps’. Whenever Julianne Moore cries on film, you know, or at least believe, she’s in pain; Ellen Page actually looks like an alien when she sheds a tear; and Julia Roberts positively looks like Mr. Ed when she hears, in a movie, that her latest husband has come back from the grave to murder her or whatever ridiculous plot twist screenwriters use to get people to see her films.

So, I have to say, or in this case, write to you, Ms. Streep, that even though you have achieved so much in your illustrious career as an actress, that you have missed the mark on the simple fact of making yourself look like an ogre when you cry.

My advice you Meryl Streep

Take a cue from your fellow actress and, the next time you film a scene when you’re crying, don’t wear make up, channel your inner lesbian, and, when you’re told to find your unhappy place, think about your daughter being raped by Hitler while, at the same time, being exposed to all the horrific roles you passed up as a young actress, filled by talentless hookers with big boobs and no talent.

My advice to everyone else: When you watch Iron Lady and you come to the seminal scene where Margaret Thatcher breaks down in front of the British Parliament, or her husband, or her gay best friend, ask yourself “Is Meryl Streep accurately portraying the pain of one of the most handsome women in UK governmental history?”

There are milestones in relationships that every couple talks about. There’s the first time one of you says “I love you”, that first awkward meeting with his/her parents and the first date filled with obligatory questions like “What do you do?”, “What’s your favorite color?” and “What’s your sign?” But those aren’t the things that make relationships interesting. The things that really heat up relationships and define who we are as couples are those special little moments that we don’t ever speak about…but that doesn’t mean we can’t write about them.

For BF and me, there have been several events that signaled to me “Hey, this guy is really awesome and you should scratch out the eyes of any other gay boy who wants a piece of him.” Here are just a few:

The first time we met was in a crowded bar in Atlanta. I was there with my roommate at the time who was friends with BF’s realtor. They introduced us and before I knew it we were talking about Madonna, dissecting the gay boys in Atlanta and how they differed from the boys in our home towns and comparing the consequences that had led up to us living in Atlanta. We found out that we both loved Madonna, especially her “Vogue” years, had a fine appreciated for the corn-fed southern boys in Atlanta and had each moved down south to attend graduate school; me for architecture; him for business school. After a few hours and more Red Bull and vodkas than I’d care to admit I found myself searching for my roommate, wanting to make sure that my designated driver hadn’t abandoned me. We searched the bar with BF eventually pointing and asking “Is that he?” The fact that he properly used the pronoun “he” instead of “him”, like most other people would have said, made me instantly fall in love with him and, because of the amount of alcohol I’d consumed, I planted a big wet kiss on his lips.

Next was the following evening on our first date. The drunken kiss I smacked on his lips the night before hadn’t scared him away, and BF decided to see me the next night. We started the evening at a pool party where we stood on the sidelines, made fun of all the older men in banana hammocks trying their hardest to look twenty-two and got to know each other. Later, we went to a dance club and hung out for a couple of hours. We decided to slip outside and I bought a pack of gum from the vending machine in case BF wanted to make out. Unfortunately, he didn’t. I popped a piece of gum in my mouth anyway, just in case and fiddled with the silver wrapper. I wrapped around BF’s finger and said something totally stupid like “I guess this means we’re married.” Without missing a beat, he turned to me and said “I have to warn you. I only marry for money.” I think that’s when I started to fall in love with him.

I totally fell in love with him on my birthday about six months later. BF threw me a surprise birthday party and invited all my favorite chums from grad school. But it wasn’t until he led me to our bedroom that I was really surprised. I opened the door and there was Homo Honey sitting on my bed. Knowing that I was totally obsessed with her, BF arranged for her to come down for the weekend to be part of my birthday celebration. It was the sweetest present anyone had ever given me and I still get goose bumps when I think about it nine years later. And the icing on top of the cake is that Homo Honey and BF totally fell in love with each other that weekend, too. They are so close, in fact, that they’ve been on vacation without me.  It’ magic when the two people you love the most love each other.

The final and probably most significant unspoken turning point that forged our relationship forever happened a few months after my birthday. I was lying in bed, reading a magazine while BF slept beside me. All of the sudden, he ripped a fart that would have startled Helen Keller. I looked down at him just as he was waking up. The fart was so loud that it actually woke him up. He looked at me and I looked at him and, as if we were twelve years old, we both erupted in a fit of laughter that must have lasted at least two minutes.

BF is probably going to kill me for writing that last paragraph, or maybe give me a Dutch over, but I’m willing to pay the price. It’s a cute story and one that we still laugh about to this day. So, the next time you’re with your friends swapping relationship stories, forget the tired clichés and tell everyone about the time you caught your honey picking their nose or the first time you went number two in front of them. I’m sure it’ll make the conversation a little more interesting.

My advice to BF: Don’t be mad. It’s a cute story and I didn’t use your real name.

My advice to everyone else: Savor those small, seemingly inconsequential moments in your relationships, whether they’re with your parents, you’re loved on or your besties. Those are the things that, over time, that you’ll remember.

So, what do you do?

March 12, 2011

I really hate it when I meet someone and  their first question is “So, what do you do?” I always want to say “Well, I do a lot of things. I breathe. I walk. I talk. I sing in the car sometimes and, when I’m really bored in meetings, I push back my cuticles.” I understand that it’s like the least common denominator of questions, but I just hate the way it’s phrased, as if what I’ve chosen as a profession defines actually who I am and what I do with my life.

Since graduating from college I’ve only really had three professions: a video store clerk, a graphic designer and my current career as an architect. And with every one, that ubiquitous, ice-breaking question has haunted me.

I was living in Miami Beach, dating my loser ex-boyfriend (see Facebook and Ex Boyfriends for more information) when I worked as a video store clerk. That was when I was in my early twenties, which meant I ate nothing but McDonalds without ever gaining a pound and was able to go out every night of the week until 3am and still make it to work the next morning. Miami Beach in the late 90s was a hot bed of hot guys all high on something, which meant they were usually pretty chatty and nice. Night after night I’d go out and meet new people. Inevitably, they’d ask what I do and, when I told them, they’d instantly blurt out some schpeal about a late-movie fine on their account and ask if I could take it off for them. That, or they’d ask if I could give them free popcorn the next time they were in the store. Sometimes, if they were really cute or had a job that I could use to swap favors (waiters at good restaurants or bouncers at the hottest clubs) I’d say yes, but mostly, I’d just sit there and listen to how so-and-so wasn’t good in this movie or how everyone thought they shouldn’t have to pay for a movie they rented but didn’t like.

A little over a year of working in that job, I fled Miami for the oppressive suburbs to New Jersey to live with Homo Honey and work as a graphic designer in medical advertising. HH has always been extremely social and well-liked which meant we went to a lot of parties. As she is the cat’s meow and desirable in every aspect of the word, HH would disappear throughout the night talking to random girls or cute boys and I’d get stuck talking, usually, to the only other gay person at the party. I’d stand there, waiting for the question and when the homosexual would ask “So, what do you do?” I’d tell them that I was a graphic designer for a pharmaceutical company. Then, as if they were at a confidential doctor’s visit, they’d start asking me about what medication they should take for whatever ailed them. One guy asked me about the best fungal cream to remove athlete’s foot. At one party, this very homely lesbian asked about how to get rid of her chronic halitosis which was really, really bad. And one guy who, after several cocktails I imagine, asked if I had and Viagra on me. It was like they asked me what I did and then totally didn’t listen to the answer. I said I was a graphic designer, not an effing doctor, or even a medical scientist.

Although the parties sucked, living with HH was a blast, but like all good things, our time came to an end and I moved down south to become an architect. After three years of sleepless nights and horrible design reviews by my Ewok professor and his stupid role of playing the devil’s advocate, I graduated and started my third career. In that same time I met BF and made some good friends. My friends have friends and those friends have friends, which means I’ve met a lot of people. And all those friends of friends of friends only ever seem to be interested in one thing: what I do for a living. When I tell them I’m an architect, I don’t get asked for favors like when I was a video store clerk, or asked for medical advice when I was a graphic designer; instead I get one of three responses. The first is “Oh my God. I love Frank Lloyd Wright. He’s totally my favorite architect.” To that I ask “Who’s your second favorite architect?” Usually they can’t name another. The second response is “Neat.” And that’s it. I don’t know if they’re waiting for me to ask them what they do for work or if they don’t know exactly what an architect is, but that’s all I get. We stand there for a few awkward seconds until I excuse myself to get another drink or go to the bathroom. The third response I get and, this one fascinates me the most, is just a blank stare, like I just told them I was Jeffrey Dahmer’s cousin.

It’s taken fifteen years, three careers and a millions times beings asked “So, what do you do?” for me to realize a universal truth: people don’t care what I do. They ask me that stupid question because: 1) They think they’re being polite. 2) They don’t understand the concept of comfortable silence. Or 3) (and I think this one is usually the case) They only ask me, thinking I’ll ask them, so they can talk about themselves.

So, I’ve decided, the next time I’m at a party and someone asks me “So, what do you do?” I’m going to smile and say either “I’m a phone sex operator” or “I work in sanitation.”

My advice to those of you who feel the need to always ask “So, what do you do?”: First, stop asking that. Ask “What do you do for work?” Second, don’t ask unless you really care and are willing and able to follow up their response with at least two questions related to their career. And third, if you’re just asking so you can talk about your job…get a life. No one want to hear about your stupid job.

My advice to everyone else: The next time you’re at a party and some d-bag asks you “So, what do you do?” follow my lead and think of the most obnoxious career and see what happens.