Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Generation of Carries

We all know someone who made Carrie Bradshaw the author of their yearbook quote.  All the girls in high school wanted to be her, and why not?  She was effortlessly thin, effortlessly wealthy, effortlessly cool, effortlessly going to the best parties and meeting the best men.  By the end of the series run, she was aspirational rather than the realistic, glum portrayal of single life in New York that she was in the first season.  Everyone ooh-ed and ahh-ed over her shoes and her wild outfits, but that wasn’t realistic.  She had a gorgeous apartment, went out for drinks or dinner almost every night of the week, and could still afford Dior dresses and Manolo shoes?  Come on, no way.  And yet, everyone believed it, and believed that we were all Carries in a way.  We could write about our sex lives and dating escapades and become massive successes, flitting around Manhattan from exclusive door to exclusive door in our absurdly high and uncomfortable heels, having men take us to the most fabulous restaurants and hotels.  We would eat cupcakes and drink martinis and still be in fantastic shape, and still have money left for rent and cabs everywhere.  So now we have a generation of memoirists in the vein of Carrie Bradshaw, girls who think it’s the extravagance of their lifestyles that make them interesting and not their thoughts.  Carrie was only enviable for her glamorous lifestyle – we know nothing of her family life, of her inner thoughts as they relate to anything but men and dating, how she ended up a writer in New York (“The Carrie Diaries” non-sequitur aside).  Doesn’t it seem crazy that we can desire and aspire so badly to be like someone we hardly even know anything about?

Twitter, Instagram… these are tools devised for a generation of Carrie Bradshaws.  There is no space to develop insight into ourselves, to consider the implications of what we do on the world around us, to engage in meaningful conversation with another person about anything other than ourselves in these media.  All there is is space for us to show off our most recent Carrie-esque escapade: a picture of our new Hermes bag, a picture of the view from our rooftop deck, a picture of us all dolled up and at a really cool new club.  We hashtag everything in the hopes that someone will see it and think we are important and interesting, we feel a mild exhilaration when we receive a notification that someone has liked our picture, we are ecstatic when a minor celebrity replies to us or retweets something we say.  At one time I thought these mediums were about connection, the human need to connect with other people in order to feel worthwhile in some way.  But the connections we seek here are just validation, other people saying how jealous they are of our beautifully presented meal or the new Chanel Jumbo Flap someone who isn’t us bought for us.  It’s not about connections so much as it is about narcissism.  We probably hardly even care what other people are doing, but we sure as hell want them to see what we’re doing. 

A coworker of mine often gripes about braggy Facebook statuses.  A picture of the Barclays Center with the caption “VIP seats and meeting Kanye at the Jay-Z concert, you know no big deal”, a picture of a bottle of Armand de Brignac champagne sitting in a bucket of ice fashioned with the logo of a popular Vegas nightclub with the caption “Just a typical Friday night…”.  If it’s a typical Friday night, why do you see fit to write about it?  The faux modesty displayed here, pretending a ridiculous situation is ordinary and nothing to gush over, is pure narcissism.  What can you say to these pictures, pictures and posts people make online, publicly, explicitly so you can see them, besides “wow I’m so jealous!” (validating them) or “yeah I’m over Ace of Spades, so hood rich” (being too narcissistic to let someone else enjoy something without one-upping them).  You can’t win, really.

But back to Carrie Bradshaw.  This all came from an article I read in Gawker just now.  A woman was dumped via text message, and she responded by publicly shaming the dumper (only a few week relationship, mind you) on her blog, sending texts he sent her from his work phone to his company, and telling him how great her life is and how totally uninterested she was.  If you’re doing so great and you didn’t like this guy, why are you spending so much time trying to prove this to him?  Just say, “Okay cool, maybe I’ll see you around!” if you care so little.

But then I read her description of her book.  Now of course this is all how she has presented her story, but basically she is that girl who wanted to be Carrie Bradshaw.  She claims to have given up straight-A’s and medical school for vodka, boys, and shoes (oh, and a “VIP lifestyle”).  She’s successfully convinced herself that these things somehow make her interesting or different, or at the very least worth reading about.  Ignoring that fact that most female memoirists offer this same narrative of being so close to doing something meaningful but then giving it all up to get drunk and party (Cat Marnell, looking at you), it’s upsetting to me that this is what is presented to young women as the more interesting choice.  I will bet this woman has more followers on Twitter than my endocrinologist, making her more likely to be seen, more likely to obtain that modicum of celebrity that every young person strives for.  These women are even more anti-feminist than the strippers and porn stars who amass enormous twitter followings by objectifying themselves; these women are regular women with lots of great options in front of them that opt instead for a life of materialism and partying.

I say anti-feminist because the real reason these women were once considered daring or interesting, and certainly the reason Sex and the City was able to obtain such success, was because these women were acting like men.  Whether conscious or not, these women were pushing themselves into arenas typically occupied by men, proclaiming to have the same feelings as men about love and sex, aggressively asserting themselves as equals while simultaneously distancing themselves from other women who do stupid, woman-y things.  The whole premise of Sex and the City was that these women were having sex like men – with many partners, no strings attached, devoid of feelings or affection, and not as part of some grander search for a life-long mate but just because they wanted to.  The problem is that this was not about equality but about women forcing themselves to be more stereotypically masculine to have the lives they want.  The idea of having feelings and being emotional was stigmatized even more, pushing men even further into the depths of chauvinism to assert their manliness among this new breed of beer swigging, casual fling having women. 

These are the women who think they are totally in control of their dating lives but typically end up most broken hearted by rejection, case in point the woman discussed above.  This idealized version of yourself, the one who is exactly what men want – partier, big drinker, sexy, loves sports (just a guess here but I feel pretty confident in that one), not bothering with stupid shit like feelings – is still getting broken up with at times and that must be devastating.  I can’t imagine that that’s what men want to marry though.  Who wants to marry Carrie Bradshaw when all she cares about is herself and how your money will get her a nice closet and give her good writing material?  After all, what did Carrie love about Big if it wasn’t that he was rich and he didn’t seem all that into her?  Why do women chase celebrities and athletes and bankers to date knowing that they, stereotypically, aren’t the kind of people who show you respect or remain loyal?  I can say this with some authority because at one time, I pretended to be one of these emotionless party girls too.  My heart was broken and my feelings were hurt over and over, but still I tried my hardest to always have up the tough exterior.  I thought that I didn’t want to be a girly girl, I thought that I got along best with guys, but then I realized that I was the problem there – it was my own outlook hindering friendships with women and keeping me from being able to make girl friends easily.  I think a lot of these women are probably doing something similar.

Maybe having fun and getting “likes” really is the meaning of life though, and maybe I have it all wrong.  Maybe wanting someone to be interested in my thoughts about things other than their life is really too much to ask for, and maybe I would feel significantly more fulfilled if only I knew that there were some people out there who were watching my life unfold, commenting on how fabulous and glamorous it is, desperately awaiting my next post just to read more about my life.

Everyday Neuroses

I hate small talk.  I hate when people call just to chat and have nothing to say, and I hate running into old acquaintances at bars who say "so, how've ya been?"  It's been six years since we last spoke, would you like me to summarize that for you or can we please just stop pretending to care about each other's lives?  The people who ask those questions are the ones who just use it as a segue into them talking about their own lives and honestly, I don't care.  The same way I know they don't care about mine.

There's a Starbucks near work and it's the only one convenient to get to on my way.  The guy that works there weekday mornings insists on small talking with everyone, and while some people love it, I have taken to forgoing my morning pick-me-up rather than be forced to have awkward conversation with him.  He always forgets my name (no, still not Michelle) but calls me by it anyway, and he also calls out my order to the barista before I even get to speak.  Sure, grande non-fat Cinnamon Dolce is great, but sometimes I want some variety.  He's already yelled it though and the barista has started writing it on the cup and so I feel uncomfortable specifying that, no, I actually want a salted caramel mocha today, thank you very much.  Other people who go to this Starbucks LOVE this treatment.  They seem to experience such glee in the fact that the cashier remembers their names and their orders, and love telling him about their days.  He asked me where I work once and I told him and he misheard and started saying how he interviewed there and now always asks me about the wrong workplace.  Am I the asshole for not correcting him?  I really am Larry David.

The same goes for the Exxon nearby.  I refuse to go because the attendant always tells me about his damn weekend.  And it's always something ridiculous like he ended up in the hospital doing some Jackass style prank.  That's fine but please don't force me to think of responses for that.  Maybe I'm just condescending and cynical though, maybe other people really do care about other people's lives.  Maybe everyone was laughing at Larry David, and not because his behavior resonated with them for being the way they feel and act.

Now if you'll excuse me, there's a phone call I've been putting off making all morning because there is literally (not literally) nothing else in the world I dread doing more.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Schoolgirl Q

It's nice being back in the office.  I felt very out of the loop being out in the Middle of Nowhere the past two weeks.  Usually I get most of my news reading done in the morning with my coffee before everyone else comes in but on site, I'm not using a computer and reading a long article on a phone is incredibly annoying and tedious.  It's more boring here for sure but that's okay, I like changes of pace.

This past weekend was basically Murphy's Law exemplified, which is usually how I feel about my life in general but really this one was comically bad.  Between driving around for an hour in the East Village to find parking, to finally finding a spot when it starts to really rain, to finally getting to the venue when it starts to be a tsunami, to my friend getting mad at me for not wanting to stop for pizza at 4 AM before driving back closer to home, to the same friend insisting McDonald's was open (now 4:30) even though I looked it up and it said it closed at 11 PM, to ruining a pair of shoes with all the disgusting Meatpacking District sediment that found its way in via an enormous unavoidable puddle, everything went wrong.  Said friend is also now mad at me I imagine because she hasn't contacted me and I thought she was just drunk but maybe she is actually pissed.  I wish I was less of a baby about staying out super late, it kills my whole next day though.  I even forgot to take my gummy vitamins the next day, that's how out of it I was.  Being a morning person applies everyday unfortunately, meaning waking up at 7 even when I just went to bed at 5 the night before.  I'm probably just a loser though.

Shirt: Ralph Lauren Black Label // Dress: Theory //
Nails: Essie Saturday Disco Fever

I wasn't sure how I felt about this combo, in some ways it felt too schoolgirl-y due to the shortish length of the dress (ah, the perils of being tall!) but it was also a nice new way of wearing this dress rather than just the plain dress and cardigan combo I usually do.  This silk button down requires cufflinks so I just rolled the sleeves up.  I cannot figure out how those things work in less than 5 minutes so I usually just give up.  It's pretty similar to how I used to feel about sock buns actually.

Tonight I think I will be going out for Mexican food, so I will be sure to analyze the margarita I get and see if my margarita post needs any updating (doubtful).

The PERFECT Margarita

I am obsessed with margaritas on the rocks and have been for about a year.  I sample them everywhere, I practice with different proportions and tequilas all the time, and I even make them in a big thermos and bring them to parties where everyone else is drinking Coors Light.  Really.

I finally figured out the components for the best margarita and I will share them with you so you too can make fabulously refreshing drinks all the time.

You will need:
- Tequila (100% Agave, silver - this means no Cuervo.  Doesn't have to be expensive at all, I like Espolon on the higher end and Toro or Kirkland for the cheaper stuff)
- Triple Sec (lots of people will say Cointreau is the way to go, I think your regular cheap triple sec is fine)
- Rose's Lime Juice
- a lime
- an orange

Fill your glass with ice.  The key to this margarita is the proportions, and I like it 3-2-1 tequila to lime to triple sec.  I also hate measuring so I just count.  Count to 6 while you pour your tequila.  Count to 3 while you pour your Rose's (you will add fresh lime juice which will make up for this, if not using fresh lime juice then count to 4).  Count to 2 while you pour your triple sec.  Cut your lime in half and try and get all the juice from one half into your glass.  Use a fork to do this easily, don't waste time with a damn juicer.  Cut your orange in half and squeeze into your drink.  One half of an orange should be enough for two margaritas.  Fill the rest of the way with seltzer.  Pour into a different glass, and then pour back into the original glass to mix.

You're welcome.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

No Matter How Far I Get I Always Feel Behind in my Mind

But fuck trying and not doing!

How do you know when you're past the hard part? I get out of bed everyday so there's that. I finished school I have a good job, I just feel so embarrassed by my progress or lack thereof all the time. I know things happened that were out of my control but how come I just couldn't control the things that were? I can't stop dwelling on all the regrets I have. My Life really could have been great right now but of course I fucked it up, like I do everything. 

I could be buying the Chanel bags I want or adding to my Balenciaga collection rather than repaying a scam operation for the times I was in school but not functioning, the times they let me stick around just because I paid. It kills me to be making good money, way more than the people whose jobs I thought were so great, and still be unable to just buy myself something without having to justify it. It kills me. I worked so hard to come back from the depths but that hardly means anything, there was no second chance to regain all the scholarship money I tossed away and I had to fuck myself over just to get myself back on track. 

So am I on track? I don't feel proud of myself. I don't feel tempted to make a Facebook again so everyone can see what I am up to now. When do I start being able to stop feeling like shit and beating myself up daily?  Will that day ever even come?  I hope so, because this shame is unbearable. 

Just realized this was supposed to be an ahem style blog and is now basically a recovery blog. How did that happen? Here's a pic of what I wore to brunch a few weeks ago to compensate. Maybe next week I will do a summer work outfit photo-heavy (and emotion-light! promise!) post but I guess since it's getting colder out that's of little help to anyone

Top: St. John Collection // 
Jeans: Georgia May (Mae? Don't feel like googling) Jagger for Hudson // 
Clutch: Balenciaga GGH Premier in Ciel //

I also wore a very cute Peter Som cardigan and some flats. And I got some bomb smoked salmon with some even better cream cheese. I wish there were more vehicles for cream cheese in my life because eating it with a fork is frowned upon. We got a jelly donut as an appetizer and I've been dreaming about the day me and that jelly donut will meet again ever since. 

Gotta say though, I am so tired of the artificial Brooklyn aesthetic. I know it is cool to live there and all but dude you're from Ohio, must you be a composite of every Brooklyn hipster stereotype?  Girl in the grungy clothes with the unkempt hair - I know that Celine bag you're carrying set you back at least $3000, don't pretend to be all salt of the earth with me sista. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

I was Just Callin' 'Cause they were Just Leavin', Talk to Me Please Don't Have Much to Believe In

I tried typing this entry up a few times.  The first time, I didn't have good lyrics to title it with (actually I still don't but Marvin's Room always gets me and Drake is just so uncharacteristically haunting in it) so that was a no go.  The second time, I couldn't figure out how to get going without resorting to a platitude and if there's one thing I hate about other people's writing it's the overuse of platitudes so no way was I publishing that.  Here I can avoid the platitude-as-opening-expository-sentence scheme by listing the issues that plagued this post.

This is sort of akin to my self deprecation post, in which I wondered whether my self deprecation belied the way I really feel about myself or was just a tactic to keep people from thinking of me as vain or arrogant or, in work-related areas, threatening.  In the same way I have difficulty accepting a compliment, I also have difficulty accepting love.

For a long time, I was non-functioning.  Leading up to this point I cared mostly about going out and being seen and having boys pursue me.  Then, right before sophomore year of college, I got a boyfriend, my first real one.  He was very enamored with me, and it was an unfamiliar feeling.  He respected me and wanted to talk to me on the phone and it was just so mindblowing to me that someone would care enough to just chat with me on the phone for two hours on a Monday night for no reason other than to talk.  Having him sort of switched me off the track I was on and I became much more introverted.  So now I was still non-functioning, but non-functioning alone rather than at least occasionally making public social appearances.  When he moved home from school after graduation I thought he could finally be there for me through this, but he wasn't.  His friends took precedent over me (as friends often do!) and I was still alone, this time having even less of my own things going on by not living in the dorms anymore and having gone through a tremendously painful friend-breakup.  I clinged to him because I needed someone, and he pulled away forcefully.  I found out awful things he was saying about me but I stayed with him because I felt I had nothing else.  

Long story short he broke up with me and I took it about as bad as a human being has ever taken any sort of bad news, but somehow, this time, I persevered through and channeled my energy into school and working hard rather than self destructing.  It was infuriating to me that he had left me when I was finally getting better, I could finally talk about all the things I held in from him now and we could finally start planning a future.  I was finally starting to love myself, and there he was falling out of love with me.

I have questioned the correlation/causation of these two distinct events frequently but it's really impossible to know anything for sure.  During the time I clung to him I did it because I had nothing else and he was (understandably at times) annoyed that I needed so much from him, but then when I had my own friends and my own things going on, he wasn't interested in them or encouraging me to pursue them.

I have a boyfriend now who is incredible.  I have never before met anyone like him.  He is a chemical engineer also which makes it easy for us to not talk about work together (really, there is nothing more dull to talk about).  He loves me so much and I rarely ever doubt that.  He shows his love in the most incredible ways by getting me the most thoughtful gifts, always taking me fun new places and being down to just go play some frisbee golf up the block with me, he engages my mom in conversation whenever he is over and just a week or two ago I came home from work to find him and my mom making up a recipe for and testing out peach martinis for us to all have.  I don't know many guys who would feel so comfortable doing something so silly, but he does.  He genuinely doesn't care what other people think of him, and not in the tough-guy "i don't give a fuck!" way but in the "I'm gonna do/wear/go/eat what I want and I don't care if someone makes fun of me for it so long as I am enjoying it".  He should really be the 8th or 9th or whatever they're up to Wonder of the World.

And yet, sometimes I find myself questioning our relationship because it is so hard for me to accept that someone else can love me so truly unconditionally.  He knows all the bad things about me and he loves them, and that is frightening to me.  With my ex boyfriend, he didn't even know the worst because I was so scared to tell him things, but with Rudy, I have just been endlessly open with him about myself and he never judges me or makes fun of me.  He just loves me.  So why do I feel unsure about what we have when I fought so hard to keep a relationship with a guy who I knew didn't really like me anymore?  Why is it that I sometimes feel willing to let go of all of this when the thought of letting go of the guy who treated me poorly and as an afterthought constantly was so unbearable?

Most importantly, is this another reflection of how I feel about myself?  Do I find it so hard to believe that someone could really love the real me so much, especially when so many already turned down the stylized better version of me I was able to present to them, that I let these doubts about how long this can go on for plague my mind?  It's not that I haven't felt loved before, but never for so long and so unconditionally.  It's overwhelming and it's scary because I know when he says he won't stop loving me, he means it.  Maybe it's the permanence of it that frightens me.  Maybe I fear that one day he will wake up and realize that I am really not all the special or great.  Maybe I don't think I deserve this, and so I can't even let myself get lost in it and really let go.  Maybe my own insecurity is keeping me from being able to rationally assess the situation and the relationship.  I don't know but I sure hope I figure it out before I sabotage yet another thing in my life.  Maybe I'm just due for a little self-destruction, things have been going so well for so long that I'm aching to feel the intense emotions (mostly bad ones but some good ones) that I felt while in the throes of depression, my life completely controlled by my own inability to make a single rational decision.  It was awful, don't get me wrong, but the love I felt during that time was so intense, and the happiness when some random thing went well was incredible, though that might just be because the only other feelings I had to compare it to were brutal self loathing and crippling feelings of inadequacy.  "Normal" is so dull compared to being "in crisis", that's been a pretty huge adjustment for me.  People think that once you're stable in a new life you're way over the hump of recovering from mental illness, but I don't think that's true.  I think the sometimes the stability can become the humps in the healing process, because feeling normal is massively overrated.  Has this paragraph gone so off track that it's impossible to follow?  Probably.

 Oh hey look, Neiman Marcus is having an extra 25% off clearance online! What was I talking about?

Saturday, September 14, 2013

It's the Freakin Weekend

Yesterday was my last day being able to cover bad hair days with a hard hat this week, I kinda wish I could throw it back on right now. Doing the 80 miles home Thursday and the. Back there and home again Friday was pretty rough. I will probably be staying over next week. The operators came into the control room and apologized to me a few times for their language, they must not know I'm from Staten Island. 

I started off doing a half moon thing with gold on the bottom and then red on top but the gold glitter I was using didn't have nearly enough coverage and my nails are too short to make it work right now. I really need to stop biting my nails and cuticles, it's such a bad habit but I can't stop! 

Anyway so I had this friend for a long time. It was fine but she just had very different views from me on a lot of things. That isn't an issue in and of itself but she was always condescending about things to me, saying I was wrong always (even when it was things like my own workplace, things she literally knows nothing about) and making me feel bad about things. I would vent to her about things I didn't like that were going on and then she would use them against me later to make me feel shitty. I never did this to her when she did things I disagreed with - it was weird because she seemingly lived a more "open minded" lifestyle than I did when she was the one judging me on everything, intentionally ignoring the fact that maybe things that work for her don't for me and instead making me feel like shit for making different decisions and having different priorities. 

She wants to get dinner tonight but I am feeling conflicted. We didn't speak all summer because it just got to the point where she was so negative about things I was excited for that I didn't want to tell her anything anymore. She was in a very unhappy place then, discontent with her job and school program, and so in many ways I think her negativity towards me was situational, but what if it wasn't and I end up in the same cycle of not wanting to be mean to her when she's down but also being too sensitive to handle my life decisions being constantly questioned?  I should be less sensitive probably but I just don't get why people think its okay to be so critical of non life threatening things. If I was a heroin addict and she was staging an intervention it would be different but we are talking about my wearing red lipstick, and then not even asking her opinion before she starts telling me how inappropriate it is for work. Girl you've never been to my work, what on earth do you know?  Having opinions is fine but she is so absolute in them, even when she's wrong, that she thinks saying mean things about how I dress or do my hair is really just her being a good friend and helping me. I know my wardrobe is drab and colorless but hey, shut the fuck up eh?

Friday, September 13, 2013

Rather See Me Die than See Me Fly

It feels good to be home.  I am picking fights with people who don't deserve it because I am my own worst enemy. It's like I want everyone to know how miserable I am so I try to make sure they feel the same. And I make the tiniest little things escalate into a huge disaster if things don't go as planned or I feel like I'm being wronged. I don't think I care that much about what I do Saturday, so why am I crying over it and starting an argument about it when I know that no outcome and nothing anyone offers or says will satisfy me (mainly because my sadness was manufactured rather than brought on by the situation)? 

 I think maybe sometimes I just need some reassurance and I don't know how to go about getting it.  I just need someone to tell me I look great even when I'm broken out and gross,  or to tell me they love spending time with me even when I'm miserable and definitely no fun. Is this insecurity based? Or is it just a strange way of acting out my fairly common desire to be complimented?  I shouldn't rely on these. I shouldn't need them. 

When I was younger I was an easy target. I was made fun of a lot, for everything from my pale skin to my dark arm hair (I was definitely told I looked like wolverine quite a few times) and my height that prompted some to tell me I looked like a barbarian. I can laugh at these now but feeling ugly and wanting other people to think I was pretty really defined a significant portion of my adolescent life. I tried everything to get boys to like me and chase me the way they did my shorter, tanner peers. Not a single boy in my grade ever sought after me, and none of the guys I thought were cute would even consider me. So I thought I had to be fun and cool and slutty to get men to look at me, and while that worked, I never got the right kind of men to look at me. I've changed a lot since then (clearly!) but those same little-girl insecurities creep up on me a lot, when I see every other girl in the bar is a full six inches shorter than me I can't help but feel awkward, the big lumbering giant. When I go out with friends, guys go up to them left and right but no one talks to me. My mom says that's because I'm "intimidating" but she's my mom so she's supposed to say that. I just break down into that stupid little girl desperately wanting someone to look at her and love her, changing who I am to get the response I desire. I wouldn't say it's manipulation but man do I feel disgusted with myself when I catch myself doing it. 

Btw I just caught myself. Ugh! My own worst enemy, truly. 

How will I handle this at work? Of course I desire for my work to be complimented at times but I can't use emotions to pry it out of people. I know there has to be a better way of dealing with these insecurities because I do it with work all the time, so why can't I incorporate that into my regular life?

Sometimes I feel like I don't deserve the things I have and so I sabotage them. But my job, I need my job! Otherwise Sallie Mae will come and confiscate my Balenciagas and I won't have that. So I don't sabotage my job because I need it. 

I don't know what that means. Probably something though. 

Ok thats enough of that! I'm gonna paint my nails Lollipop by Essie and do a gold accent nail. Who's with me??!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Simultaneously Homophobic and Homoerotic Nature of Male Group Bonding in the US

This may be the same everywhere, I am not sure, but I have never understood the dynamic of groups of male friends and how they interact. They often make jokes about one another being "gay", the worst offense a man could get, and yet they also insist on being surrounded only by other men the majority of the time and needing significant "man time". 

If you are a male and want to take your girlfriend out to eat on a Friday night, you are met by a chorus of "you're gay!!!" from your friends in your group text, when the alternative, the one they would consider to be less gay, is eschewing female companionship in favor of sitting in tight quarters surrounded by other men. Doesn't this seem backwards?

Male friendships today seem characterized by a constant barrage of insults and inside jokes, boys who have stayed friends longer than they have held lives and interests in common with nothing else really to say to one another. They use sports and discussing sports as a stand-in for real conversation the same way you talk about the weather with your neighbor in the elevator. No one really cares but it feels like bonding. And this is not male specific, I certainly use the "wow I love that nail polish color, is that Mint Candy Apple?" as a stand in to start conversation with other girls at a party or discuss the newest arrivals at Bloomingdales with friends when I have nothing else to say [Ed. note: I absolutely always know what your nail polish color is before I ask, I am just being polite]. But somehow this male version of small talk bonding has become a culture of its own and an institution in America. Was ESPN so profitable before the man-child advent brought on by the "frat pack" movies?  Would the incredible abundance of sports blogs have an audience with men of the 1980s?  

The idea of men needing to be stoic, emotionless Marlboro men is not a new one. In The Godfather, our hero, the man who gains all the power when he wasn't even the rightful heir, is the one who keeps his feelings to himself. The real heir to the throne, always wearing his emotions on his sleeve, dies as a result of the vulnerability that this gives an otherwise strong and fiery man. Emotions  in men today are still seen as a vulnerability, and the fear being compared to a gay man or, gasp, a woman is worth ignoring your own feelings about what would or could make you happy. I could be wrong here - maybe men really don't like hanging out with their girlfriends, but it seems the disparity between the grunting caveman men are with other men vs their baby-talking cuddly counterparts when they are with their girlfriends and wives says that there is definitely some persona adopting occurring here. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Put in Work, Put 'Em in the Dirt

Apparently chocolate lava cake and vodka is not a good mix, just a heads up!

I actually took a picture in my hard hat and safety glasses today but of course it came out blurry.  I think it's a sign that it's a sight too awful to be seen.  I know the camera phone outfit pictures are extra corny, but it's part of my "regular-girl" shtick (which is not actually a shtick at all, which is kinda the shtick too); I certainly don't know anyone who can carry a nice DSLR into work.

Sweater: 'S Max Mara // Tank: Cynthia Rowley //
Pants: Vince // Bag: Balenciaga RH City (it's the only one I brought) //
Shoes:  Red Wings bought by my company //
Background: Gray ("Steel") Hardhat, courtesy of my company

These shoes are the most expensive shoes I ever bought in my life.  I really wanted steel-toed boat shoes but my boss turned me down.  No wonder people associate engineering with nerds, the things we have to wear are necessarily hideous.

I like being out here.  I have stuff to do which is fantastic.  Lately I've just been doing busy work in the office and it's incredibly stressful having nothing to do.  I don't want people to know I'm not doing anything so I have to work even harder to find things to do and look busy and it's just way too anxiety inducing for me.  When I have a lot to do, my mind isn't allowed to wander over into doubting myself and wondering whether everyone thinks I'm a slacker or if my project manager just caught me browsing consignment clothes on eBay when he walked by (he did, I'm sure).  This is something I miss about school too.  At school, I was able to do things during the day like go to class and appointments and run errands, and then at night and on weekends I would study.  Now, I sit at my desk all day and come home just to have absolutely nothing to do.  I almost want to cancel my Netflix subscription because I'm embarrassed at how many shows I've plowed through as a result of this but then I will really, truly have nothing to do.  It isn't relaxing for me though, I like being busy because when I get things done I can ignore all the stupid shit I hate about myself and focus on the fact that I was productive.  It's a great feeling.  I used to go to bed early satisfied with my day and wake up ready for another one.  Now everyday is a blur, the accomplishments of one day are dragged out over weeks when you're dealing with work projects, and I never even do things for myself because I would rather go home and get in bed than deal with another minute of traffic.

Is this me wasting my youth?  What should I be doing with my time?  How do I cope to this new schedule, or lack thereof?  With school, you had homework due Tuesday and a quiz on Friday and an exam every three weeks.  You knew your schedule and you could stick to it.  Now my boss tells me I have four months to work on developing some control modules - how do I get myself to sit down and do it now when I have all the time in the world to get it done?


Personalizing Tragedy

I'm sitting here at the bar/restaurant, this time with the company of a second Ketel club, and hear a lot of people talking about September 11th. I don't want to seem callous by not acknowledging it but the truth is no one cares where I was or what I was doing, and recounting how minimally I was affected (knowing people who passed, seeing the smoke etc) would really just be a waste of time when there are so many truly extraordinary stories out there of people who really had their lives changed by the tragedy. I don't fault anyone for feeling affected by it but I just think these anniversaries become more about other people telling their story of how their dad had a meeting at the WTC and just decided not to go or whatever else and I just don't think it's a respectful way of remembering and honoring those who died. This wasn't about you or how lucky you are to be alive. It was, and is, about the innocent people who were murdered and the incredible efforts by rescue workers who risked their lives to save them. 

I know everyone's story of where they were is important to them and I do not want to take away from that, but with the worldwide platforms social media and the Internet give us, I think it would be better to really think about what happened rather than focus on where, specifically, you were and how you can relate the tragedy to your own life. It wasn't about you, and it wasn't about me either. Most things aren't. Let's remember that. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Drive Slow Homie, You Never Know Homie...

This week I am on-site at a nutritional products plant in Middle of Nowhere, New Jersey.  Our company did the programming for this plant's processes and I'm here for the startup, mostly to learn because the hardest aspect of my job is generally troubleshooting.  I am staying in a hotel in town and so I thought I'd discuss a little bit about long drives and commuting.  But first, what I wore for my first day as an on-site contractor -

Sweater: J. Crew // Denim Shirt: Gap  // Black Skinny Pants:  Vince // 
Bag: Balenciaga RH City // Shoes: Red Wings Steel-Toed Safety shoes, c/o my company //
Not Pictured:  Hard had and safety glasses (really the best parts)

Now, driving.  I do a lot of driving.  A tremendous amount really.  My work is 45 miles away, my boyfriend is 45 miles away, and my favorite malls are 40+ miles away.  I don't like to think about the tolls I am paying, so instead I focus on the brutality of the commute.

There are a few major questions I had when I started commuting.  

1) Why does the left lane always come to a complete stop while the other lanes keep moving?

The people in the left lane are there to be in the fast lane.  Now, let's forget for a second that no one else is moving because it's jam packed and focus on the fact that these people have places to be and their time is more important than yours.  As a result of these incredibly important things they have to do (I imagine they are all emergency room doctors), they are tailgating the absolute shit out of you.  You can't even see the hood of their car anymore in your rearview mirror.  You are able to gesture to them that they have something in their teeth.  So you slow down because the people in front of you slow down, but because these people are so close to you this slowing down results in them needing to come to a complete stop.  Now imagine this happening 100 times down the NJ Turnpike and you have a whole lot of people coming to a full stop, which means the people behind them have to as well, and the people behind them and so on and so forth.  How can you avoid this, you ask?  You can't, so enjoy.

2) Why is the left lane always the slower lane when crossing a bridge?

 Ah, bridges.  Those strange confined spaces where cars and trucks disproportionately tend to break down, trapping everyone else for hours while tow trucks try and figure out what on earth to do.  The left lane in general is the fast line, or so they say, but on bridges, it also happens to be the furthest away from the scary water lane.  This means people not used to driving on bridges will stick to the left and go as slow as possible because they drive over bridges the way they drive in Mario Kart, overcorrecting constantly and apparently unable to keep their hands from moving the wheel side to side.  They also will not pass the truck in front of them because that truck is a mere 6 inches from the center lane marker and it just feels too close.  Get in the right lane.  By the way this is actually how my mom drives while playing Mario Kart, as soon as the race starts she's suddenly unable to keep her hands from moving wildly and keep her car from alternately bouncing into the left and right barriers.  It's bizarre.

3) Why does everything suddenly clear up at the same spot all the time?

I'm working on this one.  Frankly, it defies the laws of physics and human behavior so I hope a research university gets in on this soon.

4) Does that asshole weaving in and out really get anywhere faster?

Yes, they do.  They arrive at their destination a whole 20 seconds earlier and have the added bonus of everyone they've passed knowing they are an asshole, so weave in and out at your own risk.

My commute this evening from the plant to the hotel (including stopping at a drugstore in between for toothpaste) was a whole 8 (EIGHT) minutes.  I even had time to get lost in the middle of nowhere and try and find deer and then find a restaurant to sit at and eat some steak joined only by a Ketel club and a crippling sense of loneliness.  At least I didn't hit traffic though!

Monday, September 9, 2013


I am embarrassed to tell people in my life that I've done this because there is so much stigma that goes along with being a so-called "blogger".  I promise you, I don't think I'm that important or that my views are that interesting or noteworthy.  I just know that sometimes you need to know there's someone who feels the same out there, or someone you can connect with, and I am hoping this will do just that for all the regular girls just trying to figure shit out and wade through the neuroses our parents inflicted in us by telling us we could be whatever we wanted to be.  Also I want to help some people figure out what to wear when you're at this weird transition age when every other blog is super avant garde or super impractical.  I am not saying I know what to wear, in fact maybe the way you will learn what to wear from me is by not wearing anything I ever wear.  Maybe I won't ever post a single thing I wear at all!  Who knows.

I signed up for a STEM subject mentorship program through the Huffington Post but they didn't get back to me until six months after the projected program end date, and I think by then the mentee I was matched up with was too busy or no longer interested.  I just want to talk to people!

Now - who will be my Candy Crush mentor?  I mean Level 140 MUST be a joke... right?

Self Deprecation and Having it All

I loved Seinfeld when I was a kid.  As I have slowly transitioned into a socially awkward Larry David-Jerry Seinfeld hybrid (really, I hate hugging people 'hello'), I've found myself becoming incredibly self-deprecating.  Is this cute, or the sign of someone with terribly low self-esteem?  People laugh at the jokes I make at my own expense and insist that they must not be true, but do they really see these things just as jokes or does this just bring their attention to the flaws in myself that I dwell on everyday?  Do I really see these comments as jokes or do I feel that way about myself?

This kind of self deprecation is closely related to the inability to take a compliment.  There is a scene in "Mean Girls" that is incredibly poignant (yes, I said that) where the main mean girl tells the new girl she is very pretty.  The new girl accepts the compliment and says "thanks!" which prompts the mean girl to reply, "So you agree, you think you're really pretty?"  It's so hard to take a compliment without sounding vain, and hard to deflect one without sounding insecure.  When we deflect compliments, is that our way of conveying that we think so low of ourselves that we find it hard to believe anyone could have something nice to say?

I hate standing out or being noticed.  I work as a chemical engineer and am the only female programmer in my company.  I try to dress plainly so as not to draw attention to myself, I follow up my ideas with "or something" so as not to seem too bold, I bring up my own flaws so I can be sure people don't think I think I'm something special.  Whether I am or not, when in a room with men used to working with men, it's best not to show them up ever.  This might be anti-feminist of me, I'm not sure, but I also think it's a smart career move, and I don't think many women make it into upper management by being as aggressive as their male counterparts.  

This past Christmas I was invited to a luncheon my company was hosting for a pharmaceutical company we work very closely with.  I had only been working here for 6 months at this point, and no other young engineers were invited so I was very excited about going.  Upon arrival, I drank a quick vodka club (SOCIAL LUBRICANT!) and made a stupid joke to a guy I had worked with before about him being shorter than me (I am 5'10" and was wearing 4" heels, so really most people there were).  Self deprecation mode kicking in, I turned the joke around on me and pointed out how enormous I am etc etc.  He chatted with me throughout the whole lunch and told me I am very "endearing".  Did my joke, akin to the jokes I hear my male colleagues making with each other all the time, endear me to him or was I endearing despite the snarky comment?  Did I get called a "bitch" later on behind my back, or did people appreciate my wit and ball-busting?  I want people to like me but I also want them to know I am competent, and I think, in the burgeoning male-dominated industries, this is the new "can women have it all?" struggle.  

Babbling Intro

I am always on the hunt for style/lifestyle blogs but, despite the total market saturation, it is really difficult to find one that speaks to me and I am sure I am not the only person with this problem.  I love shoes and accessories but let's be real - I can't wear 6 inch heels to work and I definitely can't spend all day typing at my desk while a big stack of bangles and other accessories jingle around.  My parents are not wealthy (they didn't pay for college...they're definitely not buying my clothes) and I don't have a rich fiance, boyfriend, husband, whatever.  This is nothing against those that do; if my mother could buy me as many Chanel bags and Birkins as I could fit in my closet I would not turn her down on any moral grounds, but I think there is a noticeable lack of real people doing real things with regular, attainable lifestyles.

So here I am, neurotic mess of a Millennial, college grad who actually found a full time job, nail painter-extraordinaire with abysmal cuticles, bargain hunter, margarita maker/drinker, Sallie Mae debtor (thanks, private college that forgives $500k loans to executives!), excessive self-reflector, and all around normal person.  Except for the fact that I don't have a Facebook.  I never even think about it but my God do other people find that to be the strangest thing ever.