Friday, June 30, 2006

Love for Sale?

I’ve always been really bad at dating. I mean, awful. Catastrophically, ridiculously bad. I went out with a guy who spent the entire evening droning on about how his family disowned him, then stuck me with the check. I’ve been pinched on the butt by a guy who got roaring drunk on our first date, too. Then there was Trashed Me on His Website Guy, You’d Be Cuter if You Were Jewish Guy, and Let’s Get Matching Tattoos Guy. I’m wary of the whole enterprise.

But I’ve decided to launch myself back into it anyway, and in a rather spectacular fashion. I signed up for a bachelorette auction for the end of July. OK, it’s for charity. The event is sponsored by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, so what’s a little bit of embarrassment compared to helping cure cancer? Plus, I’m rounding up a cheering section. A few of my friends will be given blank checks with which they can rescue me if a Mullet Man decides I’m his dream date. I’m looking forward to it.

Plus, this auction has allowed me to have some awesome conversations. “Would you mind taking a digital photo of me?”
“What for?”
“It’s embarrassing.”
“What’s more embarrassing than”

In preparation, I decided to read an issue of Cosmopolitan. Yes, I am aware that studying for a bachelorette auction is hopelessly geeky, but I tend to overthink things a little. At one point I even contemplated gathering letters of reference from former boyfriends. (Is there such thing as Attention Surplus Disorder?)

Cosmo, for the record, is just a dreadful as I remembered. Every article is “62 Things to Do to Your Man Tonight!” which just sounds exhausting to me. Do men really expect 62 different things in one night? I must be getting old. When do Cosmo girls sleep? When I was 23, the typical article was “48 Things to Do to Your Man Tonight”, so I guess inflation is everywhere.

Plus there’s all the articles about “How to Twist Yourself Inside Out to Get a Man”, or “How to Dress Trampy”, or, best of all, “The Secret About Men.” (Typically, “They Like Sex.”) All of this makes me feel woefully unprepared.

So my new strategy is to just not think about it at all. Maybe someone nice will buy me. Or maybe someone awful will buy me, but at least it will make for a good story.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Ikea: 2, Dignity: 0

I’ve moved into my new apartment, and it’s just as cute as I could ever want. It's bright and sunny and really small, meaning that by comparison I feel like Godzilla.

However, I’ve discovered something troubling: I don’t own anything. When I got married, I more or less assumed it was a permanent arrangement. So I gave away most of my household stuff. Therefore, it’s been my patriotic duty as an American to spend a bunch of money that I don’t necessarily have on things I’m not sure if I really need.

I managed to purchase a few items off of Mike and Erin, meaning that I have a secondhand Ikea TV stand. (Nothing symbolizes post-divorce socioeconomic decline like secondhand Ikea). Then Worth took me to Target, where I spent $274 on stuff that every 19-year-old in America already has. Who knew you could spend so much money on forks and trash cans? The worst part was maneuvering the cart out to the car. The full-length mirror fell off the cart, dragging along the ground and shooting sparks for about 10 minutes before we figured out what that godawful noise was. Sccccrrrrrrrraaaape!

Then there was Ikea. If you ever want to be feel inferior to Sweden, then Ikea is the place for you. Kevin and I made an epic trek out there last weekend. I again spent almost $300, but this time it was on balcony furniture, a nightstand, and a bunch of kitchen stuff. All of it came neatly packed in microscopic boxes, meaning I had no conception of how much I had actually purchased until I got it all home.

For those of you who live in the non-Ikea hinterlands, the central idea of the place is that you buy cheap, Scandinavian semi-disposable particleboard crap that you assemble yourself. It's a money/time exchange: what you save in cash you lose in time and frustration. I decided that as a strong, independent woman, I could easily assemble the furniture myself. Never mind that I have no mechanical ability, am totally incapable of following directions, and don’t own a toolkit. (A toolkit is on my neverending list of Things to Buy.) I’ll borrow some tools and kick some butt.

First, there were the folding chairs for my balcony. Oh, the chairs. The first chair came out OK, except that I put the seat on backwards. The second chair refused to budge from its folded position (note to self: next time, don’t kick the wrench to make sure the bolts are tight enough).

The third chair broke me. The thing wouldn't go into the other thing, meaning I couldn't screw on the doohickey, no matter how hard I whacked the doohickey with a hammer. This started a chain-reaction freakout. I can't assemble furniture. I am totally incapable of taking care of myself. I'm weak and incompetent and stupid. I'm doomed to die alone. No, I'm doomed to die alone here in my little apartment, and no one will discover my body for weeks. I'll be eaten by my 50 cats, all of whom will be wearing little cat sweaters that I painstakingly knitted for them. No, I'm going to die alone under a bridge, in an old refrigerator, and no one will find my body until spring thaw.

After 15 minutes of free-association doom and gloom, I snapped out of it. I decided that the third chair could wait its turn, and I would move on to the fourth. The fourth chair practically assembled itself, which did wonders for my confidence. I even managed to put together a table and a nightstand without too much drama. (Well, except for when I put the nightstand drawer in upside-down, thereby diminishing its storage potential. But that was easily rectified. And I didn't cry.)

So, I assembled furniture myself. It wasn't even on my to-do list, so I feel like I achieved some self-sufficiency extra credit. I rock, I rule, I govern the known universe with an iron fist of coolness.

And as for Evil Chair #3? I got a guy to fix it. All it took was a beer and a few manly elbow jabs.(Thanks, Damien!) Hey, no woman is an island, and sometimes it's OK to ask for help.