Wednesday, September 30, 2009

My Magic Number

So Hoda and Donnie were on the Today show last week talking about the American male’s average number of sexual partners. Admittedly, I missed the first half of the segment (which means I don’t know how they came about this number or if there was an age range or a geographical element to it), but when I did start to pay attention, I learned that the magic number was nine.

Hoda couldn’t believe it either. Donnie then polled the audience, asking any man that had more than nine sexual partners to raise their hands.

According to Hoda, only one guy raised his hand.

I turned off the TV and took another shower.

It’s not as if I am embarrassed by my number. I just don’t think it is an actually reflection of who I am. I had a couple of really wild years in my early 20s, but have since settled down significantly and think there should be a way for my number to reflect the same.

The same thing happened to me with credit cards. I got out of my parents’ house, was offered all sorts of free gifts when I applied for a credit card. And before I knew anything about FICA scores or how they would follow me around for the rest of my life, I had a lot of debt, no way to pay it off and nothing (really) to show for it.

But I learned my lesson, set up a budget, paid off my debt and after a few years of great behavior, I no longer cringe when someone mentions a credit check.

So why can’t I do something similar with my other number that affects my relationships and hurts my pride? Well, this being the land of the free, I decided I can.

Because the people that keep records of everything we buy, how we buy it and how long it takes us to pay it off have decided that a negative mark will remain on your report card for seven years, I have decided that after seven years your bad sexual history should be erased as well. So now all those drunk idiots you hooked up with in college, but wouldn’t throw spare change at today no longer count. You no longer have to worry about remembering the names of all those guys whose names you aren't really sure of, so long as the last time you spoke with them was seven years ago or more.

And yes, before you ask, if you have gone seven years without, you are a born again virgin in my book. So feel free to make the second time you lose it just as special as you had hoped the first time would be.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

An Open Letter to Tiki Barber

Dearest Tiki,

I am really angry with you. Okay, not really, but seriously, how long have we known each other? Ten years maybe? And never once did you tell me that you suffer from reverse-poker-face syndrome?

Don’t deny it, Tiki, I know all about it. That is the problem with our illness -- we can’t hide it. Sunday night I saw you on Football Night in America, and every time Keith Olbermann called you “T” you flinched. Not just a flinch, but you made a face that clearly said, “Really, Olbermann? Is Tiki is so hard to say you have to reduce it to T?”

I will admit, at first I was hurt. Why couldn’t you come to me about this? You know I have been advocating for this illness for sometime -- demanding the scientific community recognize our plight and work to end it. Which is when I had the best idea EVER. What has my cause been sorely lacking from its inception? No, not a cheap colored rubber bracelet that people buy and wear in show of support, but a national spokesperson. A face America can attach to this affliction. Tiki -- you are that face.

I imagine you will be in town the first week of November when your g-men take on my birds. We can hash out all the finer details then. I am just so glad, as I am sure are you, that we will finally be able to shine a national spotlight on this curse that has haunted the both of us for too long.



Friday, September 25, 2009

Obviously I Need A Towel Holder in My Bathroom

I think the single worst thing about being single is that moment when you finish your shower and you pull back the curtain and realize you don’t have a dry towel handy. Hell, you don't even have a wet towel in arm's reach.

There is no one around to scream to, no one to bring you a dry towel. Instead you have to walk to wherever it is you keep your towels, dripping the whole way and then walk back to the bathroom, careful not to slip in the puddles you created.

And if you do slip, there is that moment, just before you catch yourself that you wonder, what if I fall and hurt myself. How long will I lie here before someone finds me.

I took solace in the fact that Bridie and I were suppose to meet for drinks that night. But then I remembered it was only a tentative plan and really, there is a good chance that Bridie wouldn’t think much of it if she couldn’t get in touch with me tonight. She might assume I ended up going out with my mom’s coworker. In fact, there is a good chance no one would alert the authorities until I failed to show up for the Eagles’ tailgate on Sunday. I mean my friends know there is nothing that would keep me from a bird’s game.

And of course there was the realization that when I was found, I would still be naked.

Fortunately for everyone involved I was a stunt person in another life and was able to catch myself before I fell to my doom.

I Need Your Help, People

So, I was in line (or on line for you Philly folks) at the Acme yesterday, when I came across the cover story of Ok magazine about Rob and Kristen’s Twillight Wedding.

While the line was long and I did have enough time to read the cover, it wasn’t long enough for me pick up the magazine and read the story -- I was in the 20 items or less lane. And I couldn’t buy the magazine because I am on a very strict budget which only allows for one trash magazine a month and I usually reserve that money for picking up Cosmo -- a girl can never have enough "drive your man wild in bed tonight" tips.

Do any of you read Ok? Perhaps one of you was unfortunate enough to be caught in a really long wait at the super market and got through the whole story? From the cover I gather that the magazine has behind the scenes pictures of the filming of the wedding that happens in book four of the series. Which is fine. But the cover itself seemed to suggest that these were photos or an inside look at this couple’s actual upcoming wedding. And if that is the case -- what the what? They are really getting married in an almost identical fashion to the characters they play in the movies?

Because if that is the case, I smell another letter writing campaign coming. This time to my U.S. Representatives. Surely, this sort of thing is banned by the Defense of Marriage Act, and if not, it should be.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

You Want Me in That Salon, You Need Me in That Salon

So, my mom has decided to fix me up with a co-worker.

My mother is rarely impulsive, usually only when diamonds or white zinfandel is involved. Considering she was at work I assume the former was at play, as in she was thinking about the three karats she would like to see on my ring finger some day.

And because I love my mom and there aren’t many things I wouldn’t do if she asked, I agreed to let this guy “facebook me.”

The next morning at breakfast my mother began filling me in on the details of my would-be suitor. I will spare you the itemized list of just how wrong this guy is for me and skip ahead to my favorite part. My mom added that he asked about me. Specifically he wanted to know if I was high maintenance. My mom told me that she responded that I was a pain in her a$$, but I wasn’t prissy, if that is what he meant. He clarified, wanting to know if I was the sort to work in the yard.

Umm, what yard?

Here’s the thing, where does normal maintenance end and HM begin? Seriously? Bare minimum I think a girl has got to wash and wear deodorant. I mean no one wants to make-out with someone that smells like an Italian hoagie. But, what if, during my shower I used a scented body wash? And then put on perfume? Have I crossed some invisible line that makes me too much trouble to date?

I can’t recall any guy ever saying he liked it when a girl showed up to dinner with dirty, chewed to the nub nails and uncombed hair, so we’ll add neat hair and nails to the list of okay. But, if in addition to keeping my nails clean I keep them polished and one length (pretty much), is that too much? And because my parents’ DNA combined to give me hair that needs a lot of work to look natural, I have to go to a salon every month or so and need special products that make it look this nice and shiny. Does all this work make me high maintenance? I don’t think I look like I’m high maintenance, but it takes a lot of work and products to make it so.

What about dressing well? Would guys really prefer us looking like we are fresh from the 80s or like we are currently with fashion, and dressing in retro 80s duds? Dr. Phil said guys want fashionable women, but when does fashionable end and HM begin?

And how does enjoying yard work qualify me as low maintenance? Because I know Martha Stewart likes working in her garden and somehow the LM label just doesn’t fit the domestic goddess.

At the end of the day, I don’t think most guys realize what they are asking for when they are asking for a low maintenance girl. No, guys we date don’t typically know our Louboutins from Louis Vuitton, but I have to believe on some subconscious level they appreciate the effort we make. Even if they can only muster the occasional, “You look really nice tonight.”

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Open Letter to the Pennsylvania General Assembly

Fellas, and by fellas I mean you ladies too, what the hell are you doing?

A while back our mutual friend, Michael Nutter, announced that the city was facing a major budget deficit. He came to you, asking you to pass legislation that would increase in our city’s sales tax to make up the difference.

Now, you know math hurts my head. And you also know I have had my problems with Mayor Nutter -- who can forget my drunken outburst at my Mummer’s Party last year when he showed up and I threw a bottle of Prosecco at his head, accusing him of ruining my life. But here’s the thing, he’s right. We need $700 million. And if we don’t get it, he’s not bluffing. He will shut down libraries and recreation centers and parks and layoff cops and firefighters and other city workers.

I understand there is some hold-up because of pension rules and who should control the funds and how the funds are dispersed and cops and firefighters are pissed off and you say you can’t get a compromise passed in time for Mayor Nutter’s September 18 deadline for implementing Plan C.

That doesn’t sound like the can do spirit on which this country was built.

See, back when I was still working, we would sometimes have a big, daunting project that needed to get completed in what seemed like an impossible deadline. We called these “fire drills.” We would move all the necessary materials we needed into a conference room, gather the necessary employees there as well, order dinner, lock the doors and only let people out to pee and smoke (that part is important, you have to let smokers have their cigarettes).

Sure, after several hours in that room together things would get ugly. Particularly when makeup started melting and deodorant started to wear off. There was also almost always an instance when some idiot would say or do something stupid and one of us would have to be restrained less we kill him or her. But in the end, the job would get done. And here is the important part -- the client would be happy because they got a finished product. The attorney would be happy because attorneys love happy clients, not to mention they love wielding their power to make us all change our plans at a moments notice. We were all happy because we were hourly employees and were expecting a big fat paycheck that we were going to use to buy another expensive pocketbook. And the idiot was happy because he/she was still alive and really, idiots are always happy. They are too stupid not to be.

Do you see where I am going with this? If you don’t pass this budget (or at least these two provisions) Philadelphia will be forced to close all of our libraries. We all know, libraries make people smart and so without them, our city will be overrun with idiots. Simple, smiling idiots. Oh, and we will have fewer cops and firefighters on the streets to deal with the idiots, which is never good.

So, now go, stop reading my blog, find a big room, get the necessary players together, order some Chinese and extra strong coffee, and don’t come out until everyone is happy.



PS -- If you won’t listen to me, maybe you will listen to my local readers who I am urging to write to you with their concerns. Of course, if you are too busy passing this budget to respond, that is okay. Just remember what month comes after October and what happens that first Tuesday (that follows the first Monday) of that month.

Monday, September 14, 2009

I’ve Got Issues

I think I'm coming down with something.

I don’t know why, but suddenly I have an almost irresistible urge to watch romantic comedies. And not just any romcoms, but movies starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. One in particular.

It started this morning. I was in the shower, washing my hair when I wondered if You’ve Got Mail was available On Demand. I then started to plan my whole day around watching this movie later tonight. I was actually looking forward to getting back home tonight, making dinner and relaxing on my couch with this movie.

What the hell? Just yesterday I actually yelped when I saw an advertisement for X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Finally, I would be able to watch Hugh Jackman and Liev Schreiber in all their hotness battle it out in the comfort of my own home. Not 24 hours later, I am picking out a bottle of red and fantasizing about the meal I am going to enjoy with Tom Hanks. TOM HANKS!

I got out of the shower and decided I would work from one of my satellite offices today. Less the urge come over me again and this time I wasn’t able to smack myself back to reality. But my desire to see You’ve Got Mail would not desist. Instead, it only increased as everything I saw somehow reminded me of scenes from the movie. In line for my venti chai with soy I even found myself smiling as I remembered clever dialog from that stupid film.

Now my family has all sorts of home remedies for various illness. Most of them involve lots of clear fluids and layering on lots of clothing until you sweat out whatever it is that ails you. I'm wondering if this panacea will work for my current plague. Maybe I should just crawl back into bed and hide under my covers until whatever it is I caught passes.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Levi and Me

I hate Levi Johnston.

I hated him before I even saw him and then, when I first did see him I felt justified in my disgust. Mind you, I had no reason to hate him. He just looked like a douche bag to me. And you know how judgmental I can be at times.

But now I have a reason for detesting him. Levi Johnston actually had me defending Sarah Palin. Just for a moment, mind you. But it happened.

When I heard about the interview Levi Johnston gave to Vanity Fair, I breathed a sigh of relief. I am a subscriber to Vanity Fair and so I wouldn’t have to suffer the moral debate as to whether or not I should go out and buy a copy of the magazine. It would be delivered to me.

Still, it sat on my coffee table for a couple of days. The red corner banner screaming the exclusive with Mr. Johnston.

Finally, I poured myself a glass of wine, turned on my iPod and opened to the “Me and Mrs. Palin” spread. Immediately my stomach turned. Really? This guy is being offered modeling jobs?

The editor’s note on the next page told me that Levi was going to give us a behind the scenes look at the woman that might have been our vice president, and who will most likely run for president in 2012 (though that is never actually mentioned).

Instead, Levi starts by telling us how he found out that his life was going to be changed forever. He was hunting when Bristol called him. When he refused to make the trip to Ohio to be there when Sarah Palin was first introduced to the world at the Republican National Convention, Sarah herself got on the phone and insisted he be there. See, poor Levi didn’t want the thousands of people looking at him. He was just a good ol’ boy from Alaska that wore Carharts and flannels and cowboy boots. Of course this begs the question -- then why, Levi, when you have the opportunity to fade back into obscurity, don’t you take it. You know, instead of giving exclusives to Vanity Fair and offering to let it all hang out in Playgirl.

But that is not what had me yelling at my magazine. Yes, in addition to yelling at my TV I sometimes yell at reading materials. What can I say? I am a very passionate (some say crazy) person.

No, what annoyed me was Levi’s behind the scenes details. First, it seems Levi just read every bad thing that was ever said about Sarah Palin and reiterated them for the interview. I mean, is it really all that shocking that she said stupid things around the house all the time? Second, he starts talking trash on what a terrible mother she was/is. That she was never home, never cooked, never cleaned and often relied on her family to help her around the house.

Oh my god, really? A working mom expecting help from her almost grown children? Shut the front door! I can’t believe it!

Oh wait, I can. Just ask Lana. She wasn’t even an official teenager when my mom and dad expected her to watch me and Ivan after school and when they went out in the evenings. And we were all expected to clean up around the house -- it was called doing our chores. I think most kids have them.

Please don’t get me wrong. I don’t like Sarah Palin. I think she is dumb and I disagree with almost everything she stands for and it feels very dirty defending her. I didn’t vote for her nor can I imagine circumstances in which l would vote for her. However, she was governor of Alaska, and the governor’s mansion is a notoriously difficult place for women to ascend to. In the history of the U.S. I think there have been maybe 10 women governors, and at least two of them only held the office because their husbands were governors and died during their term.

I eventually calmed myself down by reminding myself that she did campaign as a hockey mom and according to Levi she was never at any of Track’s hockey games. But still the whole article left a bad taste in my mouth. This is, after all, his son’s grandmother that he is talking trash on for all the world to read.

I mean, I get it Levi, I do. You cut your mullet and you saw how much better you looked sans hockey hair and realized you could probably get much better tail if you left Alaska and took advantage of your new fame. More power to you. But there is only so far you can go with the whole badmouthing your would-be mother-in-law. Maybe this will get you a spot on the next celebrity Big Brother or some other stupid reality show featuring people we wish we could forget about.

After that, if there is a god and she is good, you will go back to being an electrician in Alaska. And if god is really good, Bristol will have moved on but not before telling Vanity Fair just how disappointing it was to lose her virginity to such a loser.

I think I would buy two of that issue.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Talk

So my mother and I had the talk recently.

No, not the “sex talk.” Cripes we had that talk when I was five years old. And no, I wasn’t a slutty lil’ kindergartner, I just had a very active imagination -- I wanted to grow up to be a duck.

In my five-year-old head, ducks had the life. They got to swim all day long, live in my favorite park and ate bread that visitors to the park fed them. When it got cold, ducks packed it up and flew south where I assumed they lived in another really pretty park until it was warm enough to return to Allentown.

So whenever anyone asked me, “What do you want to be when you grow up? A nurse like your mommy.” I proudly announced that I was going to be a duck. Most people found this cute. My mom found it embarrassing. And so one evening, after I spent most of my bath time practicing being a duck, my mom sat me on her bed and explained that only mommy ducks and daddy ducks could make baby ducks and only baby ducks could grow up to be big ducks.

An hour later, after many questions on my part my mother the nurse had told me everything I needed to know about sex. Well, not everything. She didn’t tell me it was enjoyable. She also didn’t mention anything about oral sex.

The talk my mother and I had recently was about who was going to take care of them when they could no longer take care of themselves.

It started out innocently enough. She was telling me all about the houses she was finding on the Internet in South Carolina and how in just a couple of years her and my father would be able to retire there. Then she asked if I would visit them in South Carolina and I responded, “of course.”

“You will? You promise?”

“Of course, I will.” I hadn’t looked up from the magazine I was reading, but that didn’t mean I wasn’t listening.

“Tatiana, this is very important.”

I put my magazine down. “Mom, of course I will visit you. You will be near a beach won’t you?”

She sighed. “It’s just that with Ivan so far away and Lana, well, you know Lana,”

I do.

“I just think that most of the responsibility of caring for us when we are older will fall on you.”
The room started to spin and my vision started to cloud. I grabbed my glass of wine and took a large sip.

“I’m not worried so much about me -- I don’t have longevity on my side, but your father. I need to know that you will be there to take care of him.”

This conversation has haunted me ever since.

Not that my parents are in bad shape. Quite the opposite, they are both in great health and only getting better since they joined a gym near their house.

I’m just not ready for this sort of responsibility. I remember when Wharton and I were breaking up and he said something about not being able to handle a serious girlfriend at the time because his life was so in flux and he couldn’t be responsible for someone else’s feelings when making the decisions he had to make over that next year.

At the time I thought it was a line. Hell, maybe it was. But it was a good one because now I know exactly how that feels.

It was these thoughts, in part, that shut my brain down a few weeks ago. When I finally rebooted, I realized I have been spending so much time trying to control thinks I can’t while letting the things that are in my power to change get away from me. For instance, while worrying myself sick about my future as my parents caretaker, I wasn’t writing -- at all. The thing is, the only way this novel is going to get published is if I write it. And the only way I am going to become a rich and famous writer is to publish my first novel.

Once I am a rich and famous writer I won’t have to worry so much about whether or not I will be able to visit my parents in South Carolina often enough. After all rich people don ‘t have to worry about old parents -- they pay big bucks to make them someone else’s problem.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Is This Heaven? No, It’s South Philly

Sometimes I have to sit back and marvel at how, if you allow it, the universe will make sure you are exactly where you should be, exactly when you should be.

Or, at least I like to think so.

More than two years ago, now, I was living with Bridie in Queen Village. We had a lovely little house, but we both knew it was time to move on, grow up and get our own places. At the time I was a bit freaked out. I mean, I had been living with Bridie for more than five years (more than six years maybe, now that I think about it). She cooked for me and listened to me when my family was driving me crazy and whenever I wanted to get out of the house, there she was, my willing partner in crime.

Plus there was the matter of finding a place I liked that I could afford.

This fear of never finding a place intensified with every awful apartment I saw. There was the place that was lovely and shiny and new but had no closets. Then there was the place not quite as shiny and new but with terrific closet space -- so long as I didn’t mind leaving my apartment to walk down a communal hallway to get to my kitchen. Bridie knew from experience that wasn’t going to work -- see I really hate wearing pants and for the most part won’t when I am home.

Then there was the Grover apartment -- which got its name from the royal blue, wall-to-wall shag carpeting in the living room.

And then I found this place. Shiny and new and continuous, with a lot of really big closets and a lovely back area where I could grow lots of lovely things. I have yet to grow anything back there, but every spring, I make the attempt.

The only problem was that this perfect place for the perfect price was a little farther south than I had imagined myself living.

My fears worsened when Lana told me that her friends called my new neighborhood Little New Jersey. To this day, I have heard no one else refer to this part of town as anything but South Philly. However, if there is someone out there that has also heard it referred to as Lil’ NJ, please let me know.

Still, I moved in and now, more than two years later. I couldn’t be happier. What inspired this wave of domestic bliss. This morning’s trip to a new coffee shop. Well, not new, but new to me.

I knew my neighborhood was vegan and vegetarian friendly. In fact, I would guess it is one of the friendliest places in the city for herbivores. So, on my way to the Italian Market this morning, I knew I would have little problem stopping in somewhere for a latte with soy milk. By the time I got to the coffee shop, however, I was also a bit hungry. I figured I would also order a bagel with peanut butter, to go. But then what to my wondering eyes did appear but Tofutti cream cheese on the menu board.

I was so happy I had to sit down. You mean now I can eat my bagel and cream cheese in a public place the way god intended? Oh happy day. When the gentlemen behind the counter asked me if my coffee and bagel were for here or to go, I said for here. I was going to enjoy this moment damn it.

I spent the rest of the day feeling connected and whole and reassured that I was exactly where I was suppose to be. I know, it’s the little things. That is why I find it so hard to believe guys would consider me hard to please.