Thursday, July 30, 2009

In Which My Inner Woodbridge Asserts Itself

There's a bit of a citified fluffy bunny romantic girly-girl inside me. I like champagne, high heels, and the occasional candlelit restaurant.

On the other hand, my neck's a little red. There are few things I love more than throwing back some beers in a lawn chair while various children of indeterminate sire run around under a sprinkler and use their elbows to wipe off their Kool-Aid mustaches. Afterwards, I want to hit the outlet mall and maybe get some jalapeno poppers over at the TGIFriday's.

As a true American, there is only one way to reconcile these two sides of myself. You got it, CONSUMERISM. And so, allow me to introduce the greatest, surest, sweetest path to my heart:

The Beer Mug of Blooms

Go and read all about it. I'll wait. It's glorious. There are special acrylic rocks, y'all. Of course, I would argue that acrylic is always special. Then again, I'm from Woodbridge.

Now, if your special lady is typically neck-deep in the tequila, you could send the Margarita Bouquet. If she never got over the cancellation of Sex and the City (in other words, if your taste in women is utterly appalling), you can send her the Appletini. All this tableau requires is a floral Alize.

In the comments, tell me what sort of drink would make the finest bouquet.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Would You Still Read My Blog if I Had a Nipple on My Kneecap?

Maybe I wasn’t hugged enough as a zygote, or perhaps all those years of hardcore Pixy Stik abuse have finally caught up with me. At any rate, I’ve started to test the limits of my friends’ affection for me. And I don’t mean by stretching their patience, running to the edge of their compassion, or by mocking them until they cry. That’s just a typical Tuesday for me.

Instead, I construct bizarre hypothetical scenarios and hope for the best:

Would you still find me attractive if I had a third boob? What if it was on my kneecap?

Would you still love me if I moved to New York to try my luck as a ninja pirate karaoke artist and perform vaudeville routines in Times Square?

Would you still be my friend if I invented my own language consisting entirely of taps and squeaks?

Would I still be pretty if I shaved the word “MOM” into the back of my head? How about if I wore a Vanilla Ice “Word to Your Mutha” jacket?

Would you still be my friend if I got a job kicking puppies, then using the puppy carcass to club a baby seal? Would it make a difference if I ate both the puppy and the baby seal? A good difference or a bad difference?

As humor is both my favorite coping mechanism and my first line of defense, I can only assume there’s a deeper reason for all my third boob and ninja queries.

Maybe the pain and brute force of the changes I’ve been through in the last six months have left me feeling wobbly and unsure. My life spun from awesome to painful to damn near perfect, and back again, and landed somewhere near terrific. I’m thrilled and giggly, and, more importantly, I’m content. Life is pretty much where it’s supposed to be.

But, perversely, nothing shakes my confidence quite like the feeling that everything is going a little TOO well.

We’re all just a few wrong turns from disaster. I could lose any number of the people I love, in any number of ways. Or I could lose my job, or get sick. Or the insides of me could change, and I could become someone I wouldn’t want to be. To some degree, I have control over these things, but much of the time I do not. So I try to appreciate everything I have, and to be someone worthy of everything I've been given.

But I have the occasional ugly moment where I’m waiting for disaster. And because I hate uncertainty, I hide behind my imaginary language of taps and squeaks, and wait for the other shoe to drop. I’m afraid to admit how much everything and everyone means to me, and I’m hiding behind jokes about baby seals.

In the comments, tell me I’m crazy. Or, tell me to be careful what I wish for, because I just might get it. Or admit that sometimes you feel like life is going a little TOO well.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Underlying Reason I Don't Post Photos of Myself

There are oodles of reasons why bloggers don't post photos of themselves. A yen for anonymity. A desire to not have one's attractiveness assessed by eleven-toed basement trogolodytes. A desire to swat away the Internet freakdoodles. A prehensile tail.

In my case, it's about 25 percent warding off the freakdoodles and 50 percent wanting to be judged on the merits of my words, vs. the merits of my bone structure, figure type, and hairstyle.

But there's a 20 percent I haven't told you about. I am, to put it diplomatically, not the photogenic sort. Posting photos of myself would cause a clutching of pearls across the blogverse, a collective gasp, and a rapid drop in traffic.
(If you aren't looking at me, I cease to exist. Hello? Hi! Look look look! Aren't I fantastically adorable and so funny that you could just pick me up and cuddle me like a fluffy little snarky bunny?)

There are the obvious photographic indignities. Most of the time, I am snapped swilling Boone's Farm, being headlocked/molested by one of my girlfriends, gesticulating wildly, or dressed in some sort of monstrosity that makes me look like I'm about to give birth. At Woodstock. In a tent. After a few go-rounds with the brown acid. Eeeeesh.

But sometimes, I just plain mutate. There's the Feral Child version of me, with wild eyes, curiously hunched bunny-walk posture, and an expression that makes viewers wonder if I regard them as dinner.

Even better is Devil Baby Shannon. She has red eyes, mysterious cleavage, and oddly elongated teeth.

Sometimes there's Every Woman Turns Into Her Mother Eventually Shannon. That's when I look angular, Australian, and vaguely disapproving.

Then sometimes, a bad angle makes my chins be fruitful and multiply. I call her Shannon the Hutt.

But I'm guessing the math whizzes among you are less concerned about a feral man-eating demonic multi-chinned blogger, when you can focus on the mysterious five percent missing from my formula.

I have a prehensile tail. You heard it here first.

In the comments, tell me if you're photogenic.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Let's Face It, I Probably Really Do Have a Relative Who Stirs Kool-Aid with Her Arm

Summer always makes me think of vacations. This is not necessarily a good thing.

For starters, I haven't gone anywhere for more than a long weekend since, oh, 2006 or so. And that was a somewhat misguided trip involving the World's Largest Manmade Illuminated Star, a Ford Focus that I kept losing in parking lots, and an accidental visit to an illegal off-track betting parlor. (Oh, wait, that trip was AWESOME.)

But mostly I think of the summer trips of my childhood. What's funny is that I can never remember where we went, what we did, or who we saw. My parents could mention that time we went to Upper Caledonia in the Zebulon Galaxy and battled three-headed cross-dressing Amway representatives, and I would not recall a thing.

Instead, this is what I remember:

I remember my mom's AMC station wagon, which was wood-paneled in homage to the Family Truckster. This was way back when booster seats and child seats were yuppie fripperies for the weak of spirit. (If I were a child today, parental paranoia would demand I wear a helmet and some bubble wrap.) My sister and I sprawled across the storage area on a pile of blankets, while our luggage was comfortably ensconced in the backseat (you know, where there was actual seatbelts and safety features, well, such as they were in the early 80s). I remember the gooey plastic ceiling cover which would melt and land on us in disturbingly vomitous chunks.

I remember the endless loop of our only two 8-tracks, Olivia Newton-John and ABBA. I remember being the only girl at Casita Elementary who knew all the words to "Fernando", which may have marked the beginning of my plummet into nerd-dom.

I remember the endless driving from hotel to motel to resort, as all lodging options in town were exhausted due to my dad's philosophical objection to making reservations.

I remember the endless driving as the source of my endless horking by the side of the road, at rest stops, and sometimes I-swear-it-was-an-accident onto my sister.

I remember leaving my favorite doll on the roof of the car.

I remember leaving my retainer at a Burger King.

I remember the time we returned to find my pet parakeet Sydney had committed suicide by trapping herself behind my dresser mirror. Upside down. And staring directly at me. Gross.

I also remember the time we returned to find a pescetarian Jonestown, as all of Skye's fish had jumped out of their tank in the week we were away.

I remember the funny way my dad would stick his tongue out just a little when we'd pass the same intersection half a dozen times from a dozen different directions. (The laws of physics never seemed to apply to my family in any real way. This is how we'd visit four states in an hour but teleport back from Tijuana.)

The one trip I do truly remember, we aimed for the Finger Lakes and landed in Montreal. I met a lottery winner and saw Turner and Hooch.

It's funny how family vacations have achieved a sort of American mythology. The food, the accommodations, all of it, is usually...just plain bad. It's all about bickering, getting lost, getting all the way to Wally World only to find out it's closed for repairs. But it's still something we do.
And I'll be damned if my hypothetical future kids, Union Carbide and Enron, get out of this fine American tradition of intergenerational torture. I may even drive a custom-built Truckster.

In the comments, tell me about your summer vacations.

Friday, July 17, 2009

In Which My Ordinarily Sweet Nature Betrays Me

I like to think of myself as a good person. Not always virtuous, but usually well-intentioned. But we all have those moments where we see the gap between who we are and who we could be. And the size of that gap is often dizzying, terrifying, and insurmountable.

For most people, the gap comes on day six of a rained-out vacation, or when they wake up next to a dead tranny Thai pirate hooker. For me, that gap comes every Sunday when I read the Washington Post's wedding announcements. I become this bitter little misanthrope who is bound and determined to shed this mortal coil in a Golden Girls-esque divorcee commune, if only so I don't ever have to read about myself in a wedding announcement.
I'm sure all these couples love one another madly, are wonderful friends, pay their taxes, and are good all-around folks. I'm just also not sure why they're so willing to present themselves as materialistic nitwits.

For your consideration, I offer last Sunday's fabulous couple. My eye twitched a little to discover that they signed a cocktail napkin exclusivity agreement at their first meeting (is that what I should have been doing all these years?). And the lucky young man spent their first date introducing her as "Mrs. Donnelly." But, hey, maybe it was love at first sight.

But then I remember love at first sight doesn't exist, because that's just infatuation. Infatuation is bells and flowers and chirping little birdies. It's candlelight and mythology and maybe a princess fantasy or two.

Love is far better and more mundane. Love is going to 7-11 at 3 a.m. for Alka-Seltzer, and not really minding, because your partner has a killer stomachache. Love is hearing the same story for the hundredth time, and being kind enough to laugh in all the right places. True-to-life love stories are often so boring that you fall asleep halfway through the telling. If Amy and Tripp have that, all the best to them.

Anyhoo, back to the delightful blessed joining of two souls. I was down with their wedding, Georgetown preppyset, tennis tournament-oriented as it was, until I got to the 32-MINUTE VIDEO TRIBUTE. Would any guest in their right mind want to sit through that? Wouldn't they rather, y'know, mingle with the friends and family they rarely see, wish the happy couple all the best, and maybe eat some food? No, I suppose not, when there are videotaped "luminaries" to observe.

So, last Sunday, hungover, in bed, and nibbling on plain tortillas, I was hit with the scariest conclusion of my life: that I'm not as nice a person as I should be. I'm snarky and bitter and have a pessimistic streak that pops up every Sunday, when I'm weak and vulnerable and my brain is sloshy from the previous night's excesses.

And then I hit the less-scary, but far more important conclusion: If I get married again, I'll just have cookout and some kegs. You're all invited! Burgers or dogs? How 'bout some relish? Can I get you another beer?

In the comments, tell me what section of the newspaper brings out your inner snarkbitch. Or, describe your behavior at my imaginary wedding. Bonus points for a hypothetical kegstand.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I Love a Good Bad Idea

Just ask me nicely, and I'll be happy to start a land war in Asia, or invade Russia in winter. However, in the absence of military backing or abundant vacation time, I'll have to embrace smaller, sillier concepts. Which of the following stupid things that I've done is the most fascinatingly idiotic?

1. Standing on a rolling chair to reach the top shelf
2. Marrying a near-stranger and moving to South America
3. Attempting to put away a glass bowl by tossing it onto the top shelf
4. Opening a bottle of beer with a corkscrew
5. Towing my car with control-top pantyhose
6. Sneaking a flask of bourbon into my 10-year high school reunion
7. Frying bacon while naked

I'm gonna have to go with Number Seven. Now scrub THAT mental image from your pre-caffeinated brains.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Deep Question for Friday...

Is there a difference between breasts, boobs, tits, fun bags, hooters, honkers, headlights, jugs, and bazongas? Are they all mere slang terms, or do they denote any sort of size or value judgment? For example, I think boobs are A and B-cups, tits are C's, and jugs would have to be DD and up. Honkers fall somewhere between tits and jugs. Also, I think "fun bags" denote a certain respect for the quality and attractiveness of the mammarian parts exhibited.

What's your favorite slang term for breasts? And I'd like to hear some more flattering slang terms for A-cups, because at this point all I can think of is, "mosquito bites."

What do you think?

Thursday, July 09, 2009

More Musings on Dealbreakers

One of the more interesting things about Tuesday's dealbreaker talk is how they're all so... universal. Nobody really cares for rudeness or cheating, for instance. The only really quirky dealbreaker seemed to be "obsession with a philosopher" (sorry, Brett!). We aren't special snowflakes. (Hey, maybe we ought to all be in some sort of polyamorous bloggy love nest together!)

So I've spent a little time thinking about which of my dealbreakers are more me-specific:

1. Cynicism. Negativity is a dealbreaker, of course, because who wants to be around someone who needs constant propping-up? Cynicism goes a little deeper: I cannot bear to love someone who believes the world is an evil place, everyone is out to get theirs, and we're all hurtling toward oblivion. I know I'm on the rainbows and unicorns, true love and carousels side of the spectrum, but I've always considered that one of my better qualities. Don't try to take that away from me.

2. Gaslighting. If I have a grievance or a concern, I expect to be heard out. If I'm told that I'm overthinking, overanalyzing, or possibly crazy, I'll run for the exits. Because, let's face it: I probably am over-everything at all of it, and it's entirely possible that I'm crazy, but that's just who I am. Take it or leave it.

3. Lack of social skills and friends. Having dated a few lone wolf types, I have to admit it's exhausting to be the center of someone's social world. And I go nuts when I have to babysit someone at a social gathering. We're all adults, pick a victim and say hello!

4. Dislike of children. It's ok to be on the fence about actually wanting them, because it's the mother of all big decisions. And, yes, they're loud and annoying and sometimes it's pretty grody when one of my friends' babies unleashes a stream of shiny drool all over the table. But I'd like to be able to see my parent friends without hearing a bunch of bitching on the way home.

5. Road rage. Oh, macho idiot driving, how I loathe thee! If you're flipping the bird at every U-turn, it's all brittle masculinity and meathead foolishness to me. A real man cares too much about the safety of his passengers (especially me!) to get in some sort of Mad Max road battle on 395.

6. Punchiness. This falls under my general hate of meathead idiocy. If you've thrown a punch in the last decade, for anything other than the strictest of self-defense, get out of my way. I abhor violence and don't believe in solving problems with your fists.

7. Lack of demonstrated fear toward my girlfriends. Hurt me at your peril. My girls will beat you, cut you, and leave you for dead in an alley without a second thought. As a more positive statement, winning over my friends is the fastest way to win me.

8. Picky eating. I didn't always have the healthiest relationship with food, and hearing a bunch of fussing brings back ugly memories.

9. Lack of conflict skills. If you go nuclear to win an argument, or, more to the point, you care more about winning the argument than resolving the problem, I'm going to kick off my sexy heels and run like hell. Also, yelling freaks me out completely.

10. White Knight complexes. I don't need anyone to swoop in and make it all better. Talking me down off my occasional insanity ledges, and offering advice when I ask for it? That's all I ask for.

In the comments, tell me I'm way too picky. Or tell me more about your dealbreakers, and whether you feel they're especially unique.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

D.S.I.: Drunk Scene Investigation

As a frequent (and fabulous) dinner party hostess, I have a bevy of morning-after-the-party rituals.

First and foremost is making coffee for whichever drunkies made the 4 a.m. decision that an air mattress is the better part of valor. Then, I use context clues to determine the exact level of group inebriation from the night before. There are many ways I can assess this. Here are the examples from my last gathering:

1. Stereo volume. Sunday mornings, I like to toss in a little Sam Cooke or Marvin Gaye. If either one blares out at teeth-shattering Gwar-esque volume, that's about 20 points of drunkity. (If Neil Diamond was waiting for me in the CD player, that's an extra 10 points.)

2. A rain jacket stuffed between the cushions? That's an indication that I used it to cover up a particularly spill-prone guest. Minus 10 points, as I was clearly sober enough to encase a friend in plastic. However, plus 5 points, as I clearly thought that was a classy and tasteful thing to do.

3. Empty beer cans floating in the ice bucket? Either I thought they were full (sad and delusional), or I was having ice bucket races. Nevermind, it's worth 5 points of drunkity.

4. Location of furniture. Far too often, I find the patio furniture inside, and the indoor furniture out on the balcony. So either I am redecorating in my drunken stupor, or my friends are trying to be cute. I'll give it 10 points.

5. Kitchen conditions. If the recycling bin and the trash can appear to have had a bastard child, namely, a pile of cans and napkins piled neatly on the stove, that's worth 10 points.

6. Scariest of all? The fridge. Ever and always. I almost always find something spectacular in there. This time around, I found a Cool Whip flag cake, uncovered, on the second shelf. On top of the cake was a crystal bowl, which had once upon a time held fruit salad but was now empty. The fruit salad could be found in a Ziploc bag, elsewhere. So, somehow, I was able to move the fruit salad into a bag, but decided an empty bowl belonged in the fridge, not the sink...and, moreover, decided it belonged square on top of the cake. That's a good hundred points right here:
D.S.I. Report: High levels of drunkity, marginally more drunk than the time I found a cupcake in the shower, and considerably less drunk than the time I climbed a tree in a dominatrix outfit.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Swamps Make for Awesome Analogies

On rare occasions, my friends will ask me for dating advice. On even rarer occasions, I'll spout something approaching wisdom. And so that brings us to a sunny day, a plate of Tex-Mex, and a boy with girl troubles.

My advice? "Not every personal swamp is there for you to wade into."

Once you're OK with how ungrammatical and obscure I'm being, it's a pretty good point. Dating is a reductive and nerve-wracking process, and sometimes you're better off cutting your losses and staying out of the muck. There's a point where you have to look at someone, decide that your flavors of crazy match up, and go for broke. Sometimes, however, you take a look, then you take a second look, and you run like hell.

I've done my share of running, when the dealbreakers became abundantly obvious and the relationship felt more project-oriented than it ought to be. And there have been times I've looked at the swamp and plunged on regardless, miring myself in the muck of yet another man's shortcomings. I've been talked down to, abandoned, failed, cheated and bullied. But I've come back each time as a slightly better version of myself.

I like to think I've learned something. And here's what it is: We've all got our swamps. Each of us is a bundle of raw emotions, childhood hurts, petty fears and impractical hope, and we're all doing the best we can with the emotional equipment we've been given. In the best cases, we're doing the best we can with the emotional equipment we've built for ourselves.

In the end, you have choose someone who doesn't drag you into their muck, because they have the strength to meet you halfway.

In the comments, tell me your dealbreakers. Or tell me how Clash of the Titans is the most awesome movie ever.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Among the Things I Regret...

I wish I hadn't given two of my neighbors an eyeful of underpants on Sunday morning. And, how I wish I hadn't said, "Hi!" to them in my best Sunday voice, and given them a friendly wave and a big-ass smile as I fumbled about in my t-shirt, struggling to cover up my hindquarters.

And I truly, to the bottom of my squishy marshmallow heart, wish these neighbors hadn't both been under the age of five.

But really, any of YOU put on pants to go get the newspaper.

In the comments, tell me about the time you flashed a preschooler. Or am I the only person who does this?

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The Results Are In...

...and ready for the three of you who still care about my bra size.

After last week's Great Bra Size Debate, the terms of the bet were renegotiated to allow for a recount. So off I went to Nordstrom, home of the mass-market upscale bra fitting experience. After repeated instructions to face the wall and put my arms out, I was measured by a clerk, verified by a manager, and forced to try on about two dozen bras. After all that, I turned out to be...a 34A. As ever, and ever shall be.

Sorry, Thunderbird. Better luck next time!

Also, I have never been so thoroughly sick of my boobs.