Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Running Through South Philly

Sometimes I really love living in South Philly.

Yesterday, I was finishing up my late-afternoon run in the unseasonably hot weather, sweating and disgusting and wondering what the heck I was thinking running in this weather. I approached a hardware store, where four or five older gentlemen were seated in camping chairs having a heated discussion. A heated and colorful discussion.

As I ran in place at the corner, across the street from the hardware store, the oldest looking man shouted a quick “hey” and indicated in my direction.

The yelling and swearing stopped.

The older man continued to watch me as I ran across the street and around the corner until he could no longer see me, which is when he said, “alright” and immediately the debate began again.

It’s nice to know some men can still recognize a lady when they see one.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Husband Draft

I had an epiphany this weekend, thanks to a few friends, more beers and the NFL draft.

There should be a mate draft.

Let me explain.

We were out tying on a dayload in Fairmount, when Salty’s husband mentions that in Germany, they are considering allowing couples to lease a marriage, so to speak. Instead of saying “Forever and ever until death do us part.” They are saying, “Let’s see if we can make it seven years, and if we do, we can extend our contract.”

This little nugget of information sparked a conversation as to whether or not this was better and if it didn’t turn marriage into a cell phone contract. And if there was a chance that with every milestone you had to renew your contract. For instance, if you had a kid, would you need to agree to 18 years? Would you wait to buy a house until you were eligible for a free upgrade?

My mind began to wander. Maybe it was that I had watched bits of the NFL draft this weekend, but when Salty’s husband mentioned seven year contracts, I immediately thought of professional sports and started to wonder, out loud, “would trades be allowed?”

That is how it started.

Imagine if dating were handled the same way football teams handle acquiring players. It is post-season and you are sitting around with your girlfriends and one asks, “So how are things with you and Dave?” and you respond, “Good. But you know he only has a couple good years left in him, so I am thinking about trading him to Carol for her husband and a first round draft pick.”

Or, you realize that you picked up a real looker, but you need a real cooker. And so, you look around at what is available and make the trade that matches your needs.

And then there’s the draft.

It could be held in February or March, giving you enough time before wedding season starts in May. All the men that were ready to get married would be gathered in one place and just like the NFL draft you could scout your potential mates skills. You could get tape on him from his dating years, hear from past girlfriends about his skills. Instead of seeing how fast he can run the 40, you can see how he responds to dishes just sitting in the sink, or you asking for the remote. Instead of meeting with the press and potential sponsors, he could meet with your friends and your parents.

The only issue I haven’t resolved is salary. Of course in my head, when I think about compensation, I immediately think of karats. But since the men are typically the ones that give the women the ring, it didn’t really fit my analogy. I could switch it around and make it a wife draft, but that wouldn’t be very feminist of me.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Breaking Up Is Not That Hard To Do

I have been told I am an artful and fantastic dumper.

Not by the guys I dumped of course, though I have managed to stay friendly with some of them so that must say something. No, it was actually Bridie that told me I was a great dumper.
I am polite, but to the point. Just like tearing off a band-aid, though I suppose you don't have to be polite about that.

However, in my years and years of experience, I have noticed this skill doesn’t come as easy for everyone. So I am going to give you all a crash course in letting him/her down easy. Now, so I don’t have to continue with the “him/her” or the “he/she” I am going to write this for men who are interested in dumping women. However this advice can go both ways. I just wanted you to know, I am not being sexist. Just lazy.

Plus, I secretly hope that one day a publisher will read this blog and decide to collect all of my advice for men into a book that makes it to the New York Times bestseller list and gets me a spot on the Today show.

Now, the easiest way, in my humble opinion, to break the news that you no longer want this person in your life, is with a phone call. And if it is early enough in the relationship, this is perfectly acceptable. Of course you want to make sure you call her at a respectable hour, deliver the message, open up the floor for questions, answer them all succinctly, letting her know that this is not open for negotiation and then wish her well in all her future endeavors.

Note, I said call. Not text. This part is important. As I stated before, texting is never an appropriate way to end it with someone. I would almost rather you just never call again than have you send a text telling me it is over. At least if I never hear from you again I can imagine you were in a terrible accident and have amnesia or are in a full body cast or a coma. If you text me that we are through, then I have to face down the reality that is staring back at me from my iPhone. That I just wasted whatever amount of time with a total douchbag.

Because if you break up with someone in a text message, there is no other word for you.

But, wait you say, I can’t just not ever call her again. Well, then call her and tell her it is over. So long as you haven’t had sex with her or it is within the first two months of the “relationship.” After two months she has started to think about where this is going and possibly having the talk that the two of you should be exclusive and so you owe her more than a phone call.

Of course if you have already had the talk about exclusivity, then you need to do more than call her as well.

Now, here is where it gets tricky. Your instincts to not hurt her, or probably more to the point, to not see her cry, may lead you to take her out, tell her a bunch of lies and then end it in a very public setting.

Don’t do that.

First, if she is going to cry, it won’t matter where you are, so be respectful enough to let her cry in the privacy of her own home. Second, honesty is always the best policy, even when breaking up with someone.

So, go over to her place, unannounced is best, but you could call her on your way over to let her know you are stopping by. The less time she has to think about what is about to happen, the better. You go in, you keep it short, sweet and honest. If you’ve met someone else, you tell her that. If you are unhappy, you tell her that. If you are gay, well then god damnit, you tell her that. Of course you may wish to soften this blow to her self-esteem by explaining to her that she is so wonderful that you truly thought that if any woman could make you straight it was her.

My point is, do not think you can protect her by lying to her. Believe me she is a lot tougher than you think. She can handle the truth.

Then you leave, she may want to talk and try to work it out, but that will only delay the inevitable. So go, so she can get on with what she needs to do, which will include (not necessarily in this order) e-mailing and sending texts to all her friends and family, updating her Facebook page, re-activating her online dating account, changing your name in her phone from something cute to something awful and drinking a lot of wine before passing out and then getting up and going to work the next morning.

And after you leave, you leave her alone. For at least as long as you two were dating if not twice that amount. She needs time to heal and move on and you need to not be selfish and let her do that.

I am not saying you can’t be friends with her again. Just not at first. And really maybe not ever as I am unsure if “friends” who have seen each other naked can ever be just friends, but that is for another time.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Unemployment Diaries -- Professional Development

Confession time, kiddos: my new life plan terrifies me.

Don’t get me wrong, I am loving my new life. I have zero commute, can wear jeans to work (or scrubs as is the case this morning), I can play my music as loud as I want, get wash done, get shopping done and I have a really hot co-worker (Zac, that’s right he wasn’t a hallucination).

On the flip-side, however, there is no real plan for advancement or benefits. Plus, at the moment, the pay isn’t all that great. And I really like shiny, expensive things. So, while I know I love writing and being a writer and am even pretty good at it, I keep hearing the voices of guidance counselors past saying “It is really hard to make it as a writer. Maybe you should have a back-up plan.”

I know Snoop would tell me I shouldn’t listen and just keep on keeping on, but I can’t help it. I have my doubts.

It was these doubts that led me to the PR Institute.

Back when I still had a job at the agency, Bosley thought it would be a good idea for me to sign up for this six-week course on developing a communications plan. At the time I took it as a good sign that my job was secure. After all, why would the agency pay for me to take this course if they were planning on letting me go.

Silly, silly, Tatiana.

Last week, when a practical angel that still had her job called to ask me if I was still interested in taking the course, I hesitated. I don’t really need the PR Institute anymore as I have no interest in pursuing a career in public relations.

But then my reality started waking me up at night. And the follow-up questions from everyone about what I was going to do next started coming. I guess after a month, “writing” was no longer a good enough answer.

So I decided to attend the course. I contacted the coordinator, was assigned a team, and dressed in my cutest jeans and sleekest sweater, threw on my Burberry trench and plastered my most confidence-inspiring smile to my face.

I was going back in.

When I walked into the Center City office, it was easy to remember what drew me to this world in the first place. Everyone in the room was a pretty, shiny, expensive thing. All well-dressed, and well-coifed well-accessorized and stylish and smiling. Who wouldn’t want to be part of their world?

But just like my time on the cheerleading squad, I felt like a fraud.

Maybe I was just tired.

Or maybe I need another back-up plan.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Rules

At the ripe old age of 18, my mom bought for me my very first relationship, self-help book.

I remember it like it was yesterday. It was Christmastime. I had asked for the 50th Anniversary Special Edition Publication of Ayn Rand’s Fountainhead (and now that should clear up all those questions as to whether or not I have always been this big of a dork).

My mother, in an effort to either save time or trees, doesn’t wrap gifts. Instead she gives them all in gift bags. Well, imagine my elation as I pulled out my special edition of the Fountainhead. I think I may have even squealed a little. I ran over to my mother to hug her, when she stopped me and said, “There's more.”

I felt around the tissue paper and found another, smaller, paperback book. I pulled it out.
That’s right. My mother sneaked in a copy of The Rules: A Guide to Finding and Capturing Mr. Right.

On second thought, I decided not to give her a hug.

Back in my dorm, after the third phone call from her asking me if I had read it yet, I decided to humor her.

Fast forward four months. I am underage and out drinking with my teammates at a bar in University City. Some guy, who could have been a coxswain, but was probably a lightweight approached me and my friends to tell me that his friend thought I was cute. I looked over his head at his friend and told him I thought his friend was cute.

Most of my teammates dispersed to give me and my new boyfriend some privacy. All put one. I can’t remember her name, so I hope it wasn’t Allison (because that is what I am going to call her here). Allison grabbed me before I could walk over to him and said, “do not go over there. Make him come to you.”

Okay, I thought.

“And don’t talk to him for more than five minutes. Make up some excuse, come find us, and make him follow you if he wants. Oh, and if he asks for your number do not offer him a pen or paper. Make him find it.”

My head started spinning and it wasn’t all the shots we had done earlier.

“Oh my god, you read The Rules.”

She squealed like someone had just handed her a limited edition of the Fountainhead. “Oh my god, you did too. Then you know what to do.” She gave me a little hug and ran off.

Later, though not just five minutes later, I rejoined my friends and Allison beamed with pride. I didn’t have the heart to tell her I wasn’t following the rules, but my heart. See, I had excused myself to go to the ladies when I ran into the One That Would Change My Life (for better and for worse) and just saw no point in returning to the UVA rower.

In addition to such pearls of wisdom as “don’t help him find a pen to get your number” this ode to the antiquated game of playing hard to get also suggests you never call him (not even to call him back) nor should you ever accept an invitation for a date with less than three days notice. And never, ever, accept a date for the weekend after Wednesday evening. Instead, it suggests that on Wednesday evening, if you haven’t heard from Mr. Right, you should call your girlfriends and make plans. You know, so you won’t be tempted to go out with Mr. Right should he call at the last minute on Friday.

And maybe if I had played by the rules with the One (that changed my life, not to be confused with the mythical one soul mate that Hollywood and Hallmark have tried to convince us all exists) I could me Mrs. One right now.

But the part that really bothered me about the rules is that the authors insist the game-playing never end.

I know relationships all start out as a game, and I will admit I don’t have much experience with long-term relationships. However, I do hope that at some point everyone relaxes, the games end (or at least lessen greatly) and you get to just enjoy your partner. Because spending a lifetime playing a game with someone, especially if that game is "hard to get" sounds dreadful.

So, to recap. I’m no lady, nor am I a rules girl. Well, maybe Dr. Phil will be able to convince me to Love Smart.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Craigslist Killer

Am I the only one bothered by the media’s coverage of the Craigslist Killer?

I woke up a little late this morning, thanks to a late night with Bella, Edward and Jacob, made my tea and turned on Matt and Mere. Matt explained that coming up in the next hour was more information on the man suspected to be the Craigslist Killer.

Okay, I am not going to lie, I was in Allentown this weekend, where my parents only get two channels, the Fox News Network and the Lifetime Movie Network. You know Fox News was not about to report on something bad a preppy white person was doing, so this was the first I was hearing about CK.

Always looking for another excuse not to online date, I stayed tuned. I soon learned he wasn’t finding his victims in the women looking for men section, and no Mom and Dad I am not posting ads in the the “erotic services” section (yet). Even so, I was already hooked and so I continued to watch.

But here is where I started to get upset. It wasn't his actions that were news, it was who he was. Literally, the Today Show’s correspondent said (in so many words) “What everyone wants to know is what drove this attractive medical student to do something so depraved.”

Umm, what?

Are you saying that this would be okay, even understandable if he was ugly? Lonely? Poor? If CK weren't good looking and engaged to be married and smart and set for life would we even be hearing about his sick little spree? Correct me if I am wrong, but Ted Bundy was described as good looking and cultured, right? Isn’t the profile for a serial killer almost always a good-looking, white male?

I mean I know that is why I cross to the safer side of the street whenever I am walking alone and I see an attractive white male in his mid to late 20s approaching me.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Mea Culpa

Years and years ago, back before I had a cell phone and therefore, didn’t really know better but still had no problem giving advice on things I knew nothing about, I was out for happy hour with co-workers. One of the gentlemen with us was a divorced partner that had recently rejoined the dating scene. He was complaining about text messages. He said that all the women he was meeting, online I believe, but I can’t be 100 percent sure, wanted to text. Which he found odd; he just wanted to call them.

This other nitwit girl and I that were giving him advice on dating insisted that texting was so much better than calling. It was noncommittal and non-threatening and that he should just get used to it.

Fast forward to the present and all I can say is I am very, very sorry.

Because it would seem that this man told two people, and then they told two people, and then they told two people and before you could say shining, lustrous fragrant hair, not only did we have ourselves a Breck commercial, we have an epidemic of guys that don’t want to talk anymore. They just want to text.

Don’t get me wrong. There is a time and place for texting. For instance, if you are under the age of 16, then you can text until your heart’s content. You don’t know any better and you won’t need to know any better for at least five years.

For the rest of us, confirming or coordinating plans, or letting your friends know you made it home safely, or if you had an incredible night/morning and want them to call you as soon as they wake up so you can tell them all about it -- all good times to text.

I am also pro-Booty Text. I know some will disagree with me here, but I think it is as effective as the Booty Call, but a thousand times more efficient. You can do away with all the pleasantries, and if I am already asleep, there is a good chance your text won’t wake me. Of course one may argue that this makes it less effective than the Booty Call, but let me tell you, if I’m already asleep when you call, you are not getting any booty.

I will also allow for texts when something funny or interesting happens and you want to quickly share it with a person (or persons) but don’t necessarily want to disturb anyone nor do you expect a response.

However, if you are trying to set up plans, or share your day or check in on a person -- don’t text. At the Agency, we had a “Three E-mail Rule” which basically stated that if it takes more than three e-mails to coordinate a project, we should pick up the phone or meet with the person face-to-face.

I think we should apply the same rule to text messages. If you need a simple answer to a simple question, like “are we still on for tomorrow night?’ Fine, send the text. But don’t ask a person “How was your weekend?” in a text. Call that person for cripes sake. Also don’t text me “Have any plans for this week?” As I am sure that is going to lead to follow-up texts and wouldn’t it be nicer to hear my answers. I have a very sexy phone voice.

On the flip side, if you find yourself texting, as opposed to seeing, someone, note this isn’t a good sign. Especially if you are looking for a relationship. While I can’t tell you what this person is looking for, because I don’t know myself, I can assure you it isn’t a serious girlfriend/boyfriend.

Oh, and for the record, It is never appropriate to break up with someone via text message, but we will cover that more thoroughly in my blog on the proper way to break it off.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Open Letter to Ben Affleck

Dear Ben,

I saw you on the Today Show this morning, and while I will say you looked great and the new film looks interesting, I have no idea why you had to blame me for the downfall of newspapers and good journalism.

You know I went to journalism school, right? Bloggers and the Internet aren’t destroying the newspaper and it just really hurt to hear you accuse me (us) like that.

It reminded me of the time recently when Gigi and I were out. After bumping around the Gay-borhood, Gigi and I decided we wanted to call it a night after one last stop at Parc. I know, it is a bit out of the way, but Gigi hadn’t been yet.

I was immediately suspect of the crowd. A lot of people overdressed as if they had just come from a wedding across the park. Still, we ordered some special drink that I can’t remember but I do remember thinking it would make a better brunch cocktail than a nightcap.

Anyway, we were taking in the ambiance when some 610er started complaining about all the “yuppies” in the bar and the cost of his beer because he was in Center City. Umm, excuse me DB, but your beer isn’t expensive because you are in Center City, it is expensive because you are in a Stephen Starr bar. Walk a block and I assure you you will be able to find your Miller Lite reasonably priced. Or better yet, get into your car, jump back on the blue route and drink in your own neighborhood.

Sensing my growing frustration at said 610er, Gigi suggested we move. Unfortunately neither of realized we were jumping from the frying pan and into the fire. We weren’t even settled into our new location when four guys on my right and an old man on my left all tried talking to us at once.

The old man was impeccably dressed in a very expensive-looking suit and camel coat. But this wasn’t why we choose to talk to him. The four guys on my right were wasted and kept repeating their introductions. So, we learned from Pop-Pop that he was three-times divorced, never getting married again and in Internet advertising. Gigi told him she worked for a magazine and he told her (are you ready for this Ben?) that it’s a shame, since the Internet is replacing magazines and soon she won’t have a job.

Whaaat? Pop-Pop, I am not sure what it was like back in your day, but in 2009 it is never a good idea to insult the profession of the girl you are trying to pick-up. Just sayin’.

Anyway, back to my point, Ben, I know you know where Gigi works, and we both know her magazine isn't going anywhere. Most magazines aren’t. It is still a cheap thrill to buy a magazine and page through it while sitting in a park or on the beach or next to a pool or hell, even on your couch. And right now, everyone is looking for a cheap thrill.

I think people feel the same way about the newspaper. Maybe not the daily, but certainly the Sunday paper. I know I look forward to my morning tea and tearing apart the Sunday Inquirer. No, not online, but the physical paper.

So maybe newspapers need to figure out a way to parlay that behavior into subscription dollars. Maybe they should stop offering their online content for free and instead offer Sunday subscriptions along with online access during the week? New media has always been a struggle for old media, but old media adapts and changes and goes on. I mean when TV came along everyone said radio was doomed. But it wasn’t, it just changed.

But what do I know. I am just a silly blogger that is ruining journalism.

Oh, and before you go dismissing this as just unresolved anger because you didn’t ask me to be Seraphina’s godmother, I assure that is not what this is.

Give my love to Jennifer and the girls.



Thursday, April 16, 2009

Unemployment Diaries -- Red Rum, Red Rum

One thing that really sucks about being self-employed (doesn’t that just sound better than unemployed) is not seeing anyone all day, everyday. I can totally now see why Jack Nicholas’ character in The Shining lost it.

That much alone time is maddening.

Maybe this is why I have been running as much as I have recently.

I always loved to run. But before the termination of my position, I found a number of excuses not to. Most often it was not wanting to wake up at the butt-crack of dawn to get a run in before work. I am also a bit of a sweater, so running during my lunch hour was not an option. After work I was always so tired. But now, I really have no excuses.

Also running isn’t really not working for me. Most of the time I spend running I am coming up with dialog or drafting a blog entry in my head. Running also has the advantage of being wicked cheap. I already own the shoes and the clothes. Another great ancillary benefit of this new habit is that it is slimming me down. Which is important as pool season is almost upon us and I totally intend on doing a lot of writing pool side this summer.

What? I need to get out of the house. Plus the sun is good for me -- it provides me with Vitamin D, which helps my bones absorb calcium.

Of course, like Jack in The Shining, I have also picked up a nasty habit to fill the void during my days. No, I haven’t been repetitively typing, “All work and no play makes Tati a dull girl.” It is not quite that unproductive, but possibly as destructive. I have been texting with the Republican.

I know, I know, and even if I don’t know, believe me you aren’t going to say anything Marie and Bridie and Theresa haven’t already said. I just miss witty banter. A lot. And while the Republican isn’t many things, he is witty. And he makes me laugh.

Plus I am getting a lot better at not doing it all day, but only for only a couple of minutes at the beginning or end of my day.

And I will stop eventually. Soon. I promise.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


I typically get to Starbucks early in the morning, desperate for a venti soy chai latte to wake myself up -- yes I know they are approximately 1000 calories a piece, but what do you want me to do, I love them.

However, yesterday, I managed to get up early and run with one of my mommy friends, so I didn’t need tea to wake me up.

Plus thanks to the Duchess’s birthday bash on Saturday night, I was just a bit too hung over on Sunday to do much of anything that involved me getting off my couch. So once I got back from my run I had to write the Steve Harvey blog before I could run to Starbucks to post it.

But it would seem forces greater than my determination to run or a Saturday night filled with beer and karaoke were at work here. Because when I walked in, standing behind the counter, waiting to take my order was not my regular barista, but a scruffy Zac Efron look-alike, though cuter because he wasn’t quite so girlie looking. He was tall, with blue eyes and floppy hair and my mouth dropped open for a moment as I wondered why the hell I didn’t take the time to apply make-up before I ran out of the house. At least eyebrows and mascara.

Thank god, my hair looked good.

I carefully placed my order, making sure I said all the words right and didn’t let anything like, “you are yummy delicious” slip out. Still, I was so flummoxed I forgot to ask for my latte in an environmentally friendly mug so he probably thinks I don’t care about the planet.

Now, you know I have a very strict policy about dating co-workers, and while I don’t work for Starbucks, I do work at the Starbucks, so I will not be throwing myself at this boy (as I would be shocked if this guy was 22 years old). It isn’t like they serve alcoholic beverages and I could blame it on being over-served when I walk in there the day after he rejected me (the way I do whenever a bartender has spurned my advances). I would never be able to visit that Starbucks again. And it is so close to my apartment, not to mention the free WiFi.

Still, I will be adjusting my schedule accordingly. You know how much I appreciate eye candy in the office.

Monday, April 13, 2009

I’m No Lady

Steve Harvey promised to empower me.

I woke up Saturday morning dreading the task at hand. I knew I could no longer put off reading Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, the latest relationship book my mother purchased for me in her effort to hasten the arrival of her grandbabies.

But first, the master procrastinator that I am, I made my self some tea and turned on CNN.

I wasn’t surprised when T.J. announced that they were going to rerun their interview with Steve Harvey that morning. T.J. has had a crush on me for quite some time, it was evident that he read my blog, knew I was planning on reading Steve’s book this weekend and thought I would find his interview helpful.

I agreed, plus it had the added advantage of keeping me from actually having to read the book for a few minutes more. From the interview I learned that men show their love for women with the three P’s: Profess, Provide and Protect. Steve also told me that he didn’t just pull all of this advice out of his rear-end, but that it comes from years and years (and years) of talking to men about women and relationships.

Steve also looked me in the eyes and promised his book would empower me.

Feeling newly invigorated, I mean what woman couldn’t use a little empowering on a rainy Saturday morning, I sat back on my couch and started reading.

Oh dear lord.

I will say this -- Steve made one really good point (and I believe this was part of the thinking like a man section). Women need standards and we need to make those standards clear early on and we need to recognize that we can’t change men, no matter how much we want to or try.

This makes perfect sense to me. If you want to get married and have children, you should find out pretty early on in a relationship if that is something your mate wants as well. If not, you should stop wasting your time and move on to the next one.

But that is it for the “I am woman, hear me roar” part of the book. The rest of it discusses what it means to be a lady.

And I think this is the part that really offends most women. Well, that or being compared to fried fish. Personally, I am not really sure which bothered me more.

Now, for Steve, acting like a lady means allowing a man to buy you dinner and open your door and hang things in your house and move heavy equipment. It also means cooking your man meals (I guess this means my mom would be better off buying me a cookbook than another how to find love book), and taking care of your kids and not wearing a t-shirt to bed every night.

On that last point, if you do wear a t-shirt to bed every night and you are always too tired (you know from holding down a full-time job and then coming home and cooking and cleaning and raising children) to have sex, know that your man is going to cheat on you. But don’t worry, when you discover his indiscretion and throw his ass out on the curb, he will do whatever it takes to get you back (if he is a real man) and when he does, he will be a better husband, but more importantly, you will be a better wife.

How taking that lying, cheating sack of shit back meets with the standards you are suppose to have is beyond me. But this isn’t the only discrepancy in the book, so I guess we are just to take Steve’s word for it.

Looking back on my past few “relationships” through Steve’s eyes I could see where I went wrong. I offered to pay my share on the two dates I had with the Republican, I never let Houdini help around my apartment, and not only did I pick the restaurant that Scooter and I went to, I brought the wine. And then there was Wharton.

Oh wait, I never made Wharton cuddle after sex or talk about his feelings, and she always paid when we went out. Yeah, I am not really sure where we went wrong. Oh, right, we had sex before the 90 day probationary period was up; another big no-no according to the Book of Steve.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Unemployment Diaries -- Insomniac

Remember when staying up all night was cool?

When we were younger, it was during slumber parties. At first, it was just the sheer excitement of being up past bedtime. As we got older, staying up just wasn’t cool, it was a matter of survival. As the first person asleep became the victim of any number of practical jokes.

Then there was college. Staying up was part survival, part party. All night cramming sessions that inevitably included runs to Nifty Fifties for milkshakes or Pat’s for a cheesesteak. Sure, you could study during the day; hell you could even get a cheesesteak on campus during daylight hours, but that wasn’t the point. Studying all night with your roommates, doing whatever it took to stay awake was a right of passage, a bonding experience.

But now, staying up isn’t cool. It is depressing and stressing and worrisome.

It isn’t as if I didn’t have bouts of insomnia when I was employed. Of course I did. Everyone does, I am sure. I even had insomnia at times in high school -- which is why I can tell you the Snake Eater movies, all three, rock.

But since having my job taken from me I have been “sleeping” on my couch more than I have actually slept in my bed.

And if daytime television commercials are any indication of whom television programers think are watching -- definitely stay at home mommies with cats -- I wonder who they think is up at three in the morning.

Definitely the lonely, as evidenced by the number of eHarmony and party line ads I have recently seen. There are also a plethora of male enhancement ads, which leads me to believe that the lonely that are up at this hour are assumed to be men. That or unsatisfied girlfriends.
I have also witnessed a lot of weight loss ads, which I think is a horrible assumption to make -- not all fat people are lonely.

After 3 a.m. there are also a lot of ads for completely useless products like easier-to-use scissors or this do-hickey that helps you open any-size jar. I am not sure if this is because ad rates are so much cheaper during these hours or if the advertisers think it is easier to convince the sleep-deprived just how necessary these products are. I mean who knows, maybe after a couple more nights of not sleeping I may need that do-hickey to open jars as these big hands will be too tired.
Last night I also saw an ad for people who are tired of reusing their catheters that made me throw up a little bit in my mouth.

My mother, who calls every couple of days to see if I need anything, asked me the other morning what was wrong. Well, what was wrong was that I had literally just fallen asleep at 8 a.m. and she called at 8:30.

She suggested I try drinking wine before bed or taking Tylenol PM. She has also stopped calling so early in the morning. I haven’t taken her advice as of yet. I don’t want to become an addict or a wino, but I also don’t want to look like a member of the Cullen family.

Well, I mean, I would like to look like a member of the Cullen family, sans the dark circles under the eyes.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Just Ask Christian Bale’s Dad -- Gloria Steinem Is Not A Cheap Date

A good friend of mine, Grace, was recently accused of not being a feminist because she believes that men should pay on the first date. This attack shook Grace to her very core and so she did what any young person in her situation would do. She posted this information on her Facebook page, looking for confirmation that just because she wants a guy to pay for her on the first date, she does not need to relinquish her copy of the Feminine Mystique.

I immediately took offense to this because I too like it when a man pays for me on the first date. But to say I am not a feminist is like suggesting a frog’s ass isn’t water tight.

The feminist movement’s goal is to make women equal to men. And so far they have done a pretty okay job, though the work is certainly not finished yet. Still, more now than ever before women do not need to derive their identity from men. We are no longer social pariahs if we don’t get married immediately after college; if we don’t get married ever. When we do get married, we are no longer expected to take our husband’s name. When Peyton and I finally do tie the knot, formal invitations will not be addressed to Mr. and Mrs. Peyton Manning, but instead Mr. Manning and Tatiana (I am sort of like Madonna that way).

This is huge considering the whole notion of a man paying for a woman’s meal was that women simply couldn’t. Now we can, but we shouldn’t have to.

Operating from my previous assumption that men need women and not vice versa, it has become incumbent upon you men to impress us.

What? You gasp. No, seriously, you have to impress us. We have options and choices and at the end of the day, everything I read tells me my quality of life will actually dimimish when I get married to you, while yours will increase. So if you want me to make this leap, you had better bring something to the table (pun intended).

Now, if I was a client whose business you were trying to win over, you would put on a sharp suit, pick a really nice restaurant and at the end of the evening, pull out your AmEx card and say, “this one is on me.” Not because that client can’t pay for his/her meal, he’d better be able to if you expect him to pay your bills later, but because you want that client to like you and pick you and be impressed by you.

So, why shouldn’t the same apply when you take me out for dinner?

Understand, we women do our parts too. We get dressed up, we put on uncomfortable shoes and wear make-up, laugh at your corny jokes and pretend to be interested in college basketball. We play our parts because, like you men, we also have the biological urge to couple-off.

It's just thanks to Gloria’s pioneering ways, we can now wait until we are 60 if that is what it takes to find the one that’s right.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

If You're Going to San Francisco

Well god, if she does exist, has a sick sense of humor.

For five years I have tried to get into the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco. The first three years the race closed before I could even register. Last year, Nike started a lottery system, and once again I was denied.

So this year, back when I still had a job, I again signed up for the lottery, entered my credit card information on the off chance I did get in and would have to pay for registration, and crossed my fingers.

Two weeks later I was let go. I would like to believe it wasn't because my performance suffered due to my typing with crossed fingers, but I guess I will never know.

In the chaos that ensued I had forgotten that I had signed up. That is until I got an e-mail from Nike a week later congratulating me on my acceptance.

My first thought was, really? I was concerned about this unnecessary expense and how it may strain my pocketbook. But that subsided and I remembered that a) my new mantra is "things happen for a reason and b) this is why I have a savings account.

That is when I allowed myself to get excited for this race. The finisher’s medal is a Tiffany’s necklace, handed to you by a really hot male model in a tuxedo -- just two of the reasons why it is so hard to get into this race.

Plus I have never been to San Francisco. I have known several people that I have been there and all have remarked that I would absolutely love it. I have seen pictures, and I love the idea that in just a few months I will be running through that beautiful, albeit hilly, city.

Also, the last time I trained for a marathon, New York City, Bosley gave me so much grief about it, he actually wanted me to promise to never run another marathon again, I had wondered how I was going to train for this one, undercover. I can also stay in San Fran longer without having to worry about how much vacation time I am taking.

So maybe god does know what she’s doing.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Unemployment Diaries -- Day 12

So, now that my claim has been filed, my last column written and most of my friends have been notified, I am beginning to settle into some sort of routine -- well at least I am sleeping again.

At first, my biggest fear was that I wouldn’t have the discipline to make this work. That I would spend my days either on my couch or in my bed, sleeping or watching TV or eating, but not writing. I discussed this fear, briefly with Bridie the other night when she was over. I reasoned that the fact that I am not doing anything else was reason enough to get out of bed in the morning and get my butt in gear. Of course, I only half believed her when I said it.

I remember back in the day when MTV still played music videos, okay, maybe not that far back, but at the very least music-related programming was still the channel’s mainstay, there was an interview with Snoop Dogg. He was offering advice to kids out there that wanted to be a chart-topping rap artists and world-class pimps. He said he never had a back-up, forcing him to become a successful rapper.

I realized the morning after Bridie was over to drink wine and discuss our lives, after the hangover subsided, that the past 12 years of my life have been my back-up plan. I am finally working on my dream. So while, it is sometimes hard to turn off USA, especially when they have back-to-back Law and Order SVU’s, I do. Because there are no excuses and if I don’t get this done, well, then I very well could be homeless or, worse, back to living with my parents in Allentown.

I also find that I enjoy the weekends more. Not because I can finally see my friends again, though that does rock too, but because I can let myself off the hook. It is tough being both the boss and the employee. But on Saturday and Sunday, I am just me. This past Saturday, I stayed in bed until noon, something I haven’t done in at least a year. And then I got up and was productive and had an awesome day, and I realized that it wasn’t just because it was Saturday and nice out. But because for the first time in 12 years I didn’t feel guilty that I wasn’t sitting at my computer getting some writing done.

So, Snoop, if you are out there reading this (and I am sure you are), thanks. If it weren’t for you I might have a real dog now -- I once read somewhere that having a dog helps you keep a routine as there is no sleeping in when the pooch has to pee.

For those of you that are just checking in for the best locations for Internet access -- the Starbucks at Broad and Jackson has free wireless, though it is kinda slow (still faster than the Borders at Broad and Chestnut), but only a couple of outlets and really large windows that make it really sunny and hard to see your computer.

And for those of you that just learned I am blogging again and are reading this in hopes that I will fail miserably, well, this entry isn’t going to make you happy, but stay tuned. I am sure it won’t all be roses and daisies.