Wednesday, November 9, 2016

We're Gonna Need More Tequila

I'm shaking. I'm actually shaking.

This feels like a bad dream.

Listen. We all know (or you should know by now) that I am a crazy liberal feminist. Of course HRC had my vote. I had a feeling of dread all day yesterday that maybe, somehow, fear would win.

What do I mean by that?

Well, Trump ran on a platform of fear: fear of what would happen if Hillary won the presidency; fear of immigrants coming into our country and taking our jobs; fear of a loss of religious (read: Christian) freedom; fear that somehow our country has stopped being "great." And it worked.

People are afraid. I was not. But I am now.

I don't think people fully understand WHY we 'liberals' are so upset. This is not whining. This is not "boo hoo our candidate didn't win." This is actual, abject terror that we are experiencing for ourselves and our loved ones.

I'm terrified for the rights of my LGBT+ friends, and myself in that category. I'm a queer woman; what happens if, three years from now, I fall in love with and want to marry a woman? Not happening. It's also not exactly in my plan and I'm very happy with my boyfriend, but still, just thinking this made me burst into tears and fall on my kitchen floor crying this evening. I cried for my queer and gay friends who are married or in serious relationships, who now may have their marriages repealed or won't be able to marry while Trump is in office. I cried for my Trans friends who will have their genitals watched and regulated and told where they can go to the bathroom based on part of their anatomy.

I'm terrified for my friends who can possibly get pregnant. Birth control access is going to be severely restricted, and I can guarantee they will at least attempt (probably successfully) to outlaw abortion entirely. The right to reproductive choice and freedom is damn important to me, and they want to get rid of it. One of my lesbian friends even said today she's going to buy some Plan B in case she is raped because who knows if they'll still have Plan B on the shelves in a few months? That whole idea is fucked up on many levels, but I totally don't blame her and might buy some myself, just in case.

And they're definitely going to defund Planned Parenthood, which is a medical necessity for so many women and men and children in this country. I went to Planned Parenthood all throughout college. They helped refer me when I found a lump in my breast; they tested me after I was sexually assaulted; they were my regular gynecological provider for a good eight years. I've never had an abortion, in large part due to the fact that I could freely access birth control and could get in to a doctor who would answer all my questions honestly. You can kiss that goodbye.

I'm terrified at the likely repealing of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, leaving millions without health insurance. Those women who go to Planned Parenthood and now can't go there and also can't afford insurance? Their lives will literally be in jeopardy because of this. In fact, tons of women now are deciding to just make a gigantic decision to get IUDs while they can, because they're that afraid of what might happen in a few short months.

What happens to my Trans friends if they can't get the medicine or surgery they require just to be alive and living their authentic selves? What about their basic need to just survive as themselves? How the fuck can we take that away?

I was sexually assaulted shortly before I moved to California, and not by a stranger. Because of volunteering and acting in The Vagina Monologues so many times, I know that most of my friends have also been assaulted or raped. To have a President Elect who has not only bragged about grabbing women by the pussy because he can, but who has had multiple rape and sexual abuse allegations launched against him makes me physically ill. We are legitimately protecting and keeping rape culture alive by saying it's okay to elect this man as president. Imagine if Obama or Bush had had that many claims launched against them; would they still have won? No fucking way.

I have non-Caucasian, non-American-citizen friends. I have non-Christian friends. Trump and his supporters have made it abundantly clear how they feel about immigrants (both legal and illegal), and non-Christians, specifically Muslims, and having them all deported because...they're afraid. Build a wall because every Mexican is bad and came here illegally, right?

There is so much more to unpack here. The Republicans now control the House, the Senate, and the White House. Hillary won the popular vote, and I don't believe that half the country is actually as xenophobic, sexist, racist, etc. as Trump and his platform. But the fact remains that, in spite of all those shortcomings and the fact he was endorsed by the fucking KKK, half the country DID elect him. That is terrifying.

We are not whining. We are not bitter. We are angry and afraid. We are afraid that the rights of us and our loved ones, basic human rights (to marry, whether or not to have children, access to medical care, just not being shot for the color of their skin) will be repealed in the next six months, because that's what Trump promised.

I sincerely do not believe that half the country agrees with all these things, but I know a lot do, even partially. I know a lot just wanted to shake up the system, and on a basic level, I understand that. I'm not coming (entirely) from a place of anger, even though I am actually angry that we as a country have sunk to this level, and I know a lot of people on both sides of the aisle who share this anger.

I'm disappointed. I'm heartbroken. I'm worried. I'm livid. But mostly, I am seriously terrified.

I'm lucky because I now have a big girl job and health insurance, but I didn't when I first moved out here, and a lot of people still don't, or only have insurance because of the ACA. We are dooming millions of people because of this.

Yesterday the DOW was lower than it was on 9/11, because the entire world freaked out at the possibility of a Trump presidency, which could spell an epic economic collapse in the next few months, and that alone should make you afraid. (It has since recovered, but that still does not bode well for the future.)

I've never been afraid of people just because they're different than me, so I don't understand the fear that Trump promoted. To me, it just never made sense. Why fear the differences; why not celebrate and accept and be equal? We're all human beings. But that's not the path we have been on for a while, and the divisions in our country have been apparent and growing for years now. Yet this still hurts. It's still horrifying for us who never believed this could actually happen, not now when we have progressed so far.

Because I am white and pass for heterosexual to the average person, I am incredibly privileged, and I know that. I am lucky as fuck, but I am scared for all the people I know who are not this lucky. I have very few straight white male friends, so most of the people I know fall into these 'Other' categories that Trump has deemed "bad hombres" or "nasty women." And this is just the tip of the Trump iceberg we, the American Titanic, have struck upon.

So what do we do? I know a lot of people right now are grieving and processing and trying to just understand what the fuck happened. Take a day or two, let this sink in. It is a lot to absorb and understand; it's more than just "Hooray Trump won!" or "Fuck, Trump won!" We obviously need an overhaul of our political systems and voting processes because they failed us all, on multiple levels, many times in the past year and a half.

And after we have processed, we rise. We get queerer, louder, more obnoxious. We continue to educate ourselves and others as much as humanly possible. We let people know we aren't going to just let Trump and Pence and the rest of the Republicans strip away our rights. We fight, not with violence, but with love. It's like Voldemort and the Death Eaters vs. The Order of the Phoenix and Dumbledore's Army: we have to use what we are good at and what we have on our side, which isn't fear. You can't fight a fire with fire. We have to rise and continue to rise above it, as fucking hard as that is, to show our love and our strength and keep on that high road. Even if we lose, we can say we didn't just accept it. We got weirder, we became more loving, we protested and tried like hell. We can't hide or sit placidly by. We need a revolution AND a revelation. We need action.

But if, after all this, you still think Trump was the right decision, please talk to me in a year. If, at that point, you STILL STILL think Trump was the right decision, you can fuck a duck and die. (I told you I am angry.)


For all my nerdy David Foster Wallace fans: we are officially living in Infinite Jest. President Johnny Gentle, Famous Crooner = President Donald Trump, Famous Asshole. Pretty soon time will be subsidized (Year of the Trump Steak; Year of Trump College That Uses The Best Words, Only The Best Words; Year of the Trump Hotel Greatest Happy Hour), and the Great Concavity/Convexity is pretty much already full of human waste so we can just pack it in with real garbage too, and ONAN will form and we can continue our quest for Entertainment w/o/r/t actual facts or knowledge. Who wants to form a wheelchair gang; or, more likely, wants to join my pack of roving Militant Grammarians?

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Feeling Feelings


It's been a while.

Life has changed a lot. I got let go from the big girl job, I moved to Boulder from the Bay recently, and I am adjusting. Naturally, I'm also totally fucking depressed and anxious. As someone who already battles those feelings on a daily basis, gigantic changes are not easy. I'm homesick for the last few months in California, when I was #funemployed and doing whatever I wanted, and in my healthiest adult relationship to date (who knows if that's saying much, though, at this point).

Now I'm in Boulder. I don't have a paying job, I'm terrified about money, my manfriend moved to Maine for a new job and we are...I don't know what we are. Friends but more but not actually? We are in a new chapter and I have never had a relationship go to this space. It's terrifying, and requires adjustment and a lot of talking. I miss my friends in California and New York. I have my BFF here as my roommate, and another awesome roommate, and some other friends in the area. But, they all have lives and other things going on. And I'm just kind of here, processing on my own.

I cried most of the drive from California to Colorado. Gigantic, disgusting outbursts that scared Gomez and myself. I've cried nearly every day for weeks. This was a necessary change, I know, and staying in California would not have been any easier. I had no real place to live, no job that could sustain me, and no prospects on the horizon. I'm on the second step of applications for two separate writing jobs here already. I applied to more yesterday. I'm trying, very hard, to focus on myself and moving forward. And I will feel better for a while, and think hey, maybe I can do this. And then something minuscule pulls me backward and drags me through broken shards of memories and I break down.

Why am I telling you all this? Because I think on social media, we all have a tendency to just show the best things going on, to brag about all the great things and hide the parts of ourselves that are tender and aching. We don't want others to know when we are sad, when our thoughts go dark; we are afraid of ridicule and judgment. Nobody is happy 100% of the time. I used to pretend to be happy all the time. I remember, one day, just getting over that fact. It was in high school, I was having a dark day, and I didn't hide it with a fake smile. SO MANY people came up to me to say, "What's wrong? Why aren't you smiling? You're always smiling! Be happy!" That's, uh, not how that works, guys. But I'll never forget that moment (and have probably mentioned it before), and I think it's important that we show our authentic selves to the world. Current Nicole is anxious and depressed; plastering a fake smile on won't help that.

Friday and Saturday I actually had really good days and felt a lot better. Until late last night, and for most of today, when I've been in a horrible mood, regretting so many things and crying a lot. Healing isn't linear, and I'm trying not to beat myself up about it. I'm just trying to accept these emotions, deal with them as they arise, and keep going. I told my roommate that I was gonna go to my room and cry, then make myself look pretty and get out of the house for a while. She told me that was a great idea, that actually recognizing and letting yourself feel your emotions is the healthiest thing you can do. So I cried, and screamed into a pillow, and cried. Then I did deep, rhythmic yoga-esque breathing. Now I'm writing this. It helps.

I've called my mom crying almost every day, sometimes two or three times, telling her I'm not sure I can do this. So much upheaval at once is hard on anyone, and is especially tough for those of us who struggle with anxiety already. She's been a saint, and has given me some wonderful advice, and a lot of tough love (and regular love too). She told me to break my negative thought patterns that have been ingrained in me since childhood. I'm not afraid to be alone, I don't need a relationship, but I am afraid of being left behind, of being forgotten, of being unimportant to someone I care about deeply. This goes not just for romantic relationships, but also friendships. And it has happened to me far too often, which makes the fear of it happening even worse. I also feel guilty for even existing sometimes. Guilt and anxiety are two of my most-felt emotions, fun fact! But she has reminded me that guilt doesn't get you anywhere. Neither does worrying about everything. I don't have to be productive and smiley every single day, but I do need to work on breaking negative thought and behavior patterns I've had for...forever, it seems like.

Why do you need to know all of this? Well, you don't. If you're even still reading this far, brava! I just think we all need to be more honest about where we are, what we are going through, and what we need. I need to think and feel for myself. I need to not worry so much about others, and pleasing other people, and focus on the tasks ahead in my own life. I need my friends to understand that my emotions are turbulent, but I still love you all so damn much. I need you guys to occasionally text and message me with, "Hey, Nicole, you're okay. I love you. I'm here. You alright? Need anything? Look at this funny cat video!" Even if I don't respond right away, it will help, and I thank you for it. Or, just good general thoughts in my direction. Those are appreciated immensely. You found something small that reminds you of me and you want to send it? I'll give you my address. I'll return the favor when I have more money and energy, because I love giving random gifts to people, and I think we should all do it more often. If we are close friends, let's FaceTime or Skype and I'll show you around our cute house! And probably cry. I apparently look pretty when I cry, so, there's that!

What am I doing about the situation? I'm crying. I'm processing. I'm breathing. I am, slowly, growing and healing. I'm watching favorite movies and TV shows. I'm writing in a journal. I'm trying to remember to eat. (I'm really bad about that anyway, and TERRIBLE about it if I'm already depressed. I went too long without eating yesterday, around 8 hours, which probably helped trigger the later awful feelings I had. You can also remind me to eat, if you'd like.) I'm cooking for myself again, which has been alright. I made delicious salmon the other night. I got some nice produce from the farmer's market yesterday. I'm buying myself flowers and silly things for my room to make me happy, like a cheesy mirror from Target that says, "You are so loved," and a lamp that's a golden unicorn head (NEEDED NECESSARY YES). I'm drinking a fair amount, I admit, which is not the healthiest way of doing things, but splitting a bottle of wine with my BFF and talking about life makes me feel better, even if only for a moment. Or splitting multiple bottles with a couple friends and crashing on their couch and cuddling their cat who looks like a bear, that's good too.

Don't worry, I'm also back on Tinder. I hate it. There's been so much grossness in just over a week that I'm already sick of it. But I also know I am not ready to date, because I am a mess. I don't want to date someone just to have someone there, or because I'm insecure about myself. That's not a relationship; that's bullshit. That's using someone, and I won't do it. That being said, I've got some great screenshots of profiles and a couple of chats with some creeps that will make for a wonderful Tinder Moments soon. I was going to do that now, actually, but I felt the need to update and be forthright about how I am and what is actually going on with me. Basically, I'm focusing on myself (or trying to) and attempting to move forward in a relatively healthy fashion. Some days I can't get out of bed, or out of the house. Some days I can't sit still. My sleeping schedule is all fucked up. But, this is life. This is a period of change, of adjustment, of growth (hopefully). Nothing is static; everything moves. To quote the great Cher in Mermaids: "Life IS change, Charlotte."

Couldn't have said it better myself.

This is also not a plea for you to feel sorry for me, and I hope it doesn't come across that way. My life has not been easy, but I don't expect pity. I am not a victim; I'm a person. We all go through things and experience them differently; this is just a hard place I am in. I'm just asking for peace, love, and understanding, which is all I ever really want anyway. What's so wrong with that?

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

What happens when you get weaned? You stop sucking.

I'm really frustrated.

I'm mad at myself, and mad at the patterns of behavior that I perpetuate, and that I let others perpetuate against me.

I'm getting sick of my own shit.

I'm trying hard to unlearn and undo bad patterns. I've progressed a lot, and I know that and am proud of myself for accomplishing some intense self-learning over the past few years. But lately I have felt so stuck, while simultaneously feeling like everything is spinning out of control around me.

And it's crazy, because I have these days of intense positivity and feeling like I am moving forward and progressing with my life, inch by hard-earned inch. And then, I get bad news. Or someone says something negative; or something catches me off-guard and I am just devastated. My anxiety flare-ups have increased in their rapidity and intensity. My emotional ups-and-downs have been increasingly more dramatic; the highest highs quickly followed with the lowest lows. It's starting to freak me out a little bit.

What's really strange, though, is that my support network is actually very stable, for once in my life. I have a huge group of cheerleaders behind me. Yes, I still have naysayers and people I feel like I am competing against, but I have some incredible people in my corner, and it seems like more are on the horizon. And it's daunting. I don't wanna fuck it all up; I don't want to disappoint. I get very human ostrich when things get tough, and generally go into "panic and hide away" mode, which is counterproductive. I'm becoming more upfront about my feelings and wants and needs in life, both in my romantic relationboat, and just my general daily activities.

It me.

But it's hard to unlearn things. It's rough to not feel like every man is just using me until he gets bored, which has been my experience. I embody an archetype that men find attractive: the curvy redhead. I get it. But I am so. much. more. than. that. And most men, when they learn that, decide that I'm too much. I can be a lot to handle, I get that. I refuse to tone myself down ever again. Because that's what I've learned how to do: change myself for a relationship. I won't do it.

I get consumptive. I am consumed. I focus so hard on that aspect of my life and need it for validation, and I hate that. It's not fair to me or to them. But I recognize these bad habits, and I'm working on them. I'm getting better at pulling myself out of negative thought cycles, and recognizing when they happen; but they have been happening a lot. My "I am so happy I could pass out" moments are turned into "I could murder everyone" moments in seconds.

I wrote a poem in high school. I called myself, "A walking box of paradoxes, / The biggest oxymoron that you could ever meet." I still think that's true. I'm simultaneously ecstatic and very uncertain. I know exactly what I want and also have no fucking clue. I'm super supported and loved and sometimes I feel very much alone. It's really hard to be someone who feels everything so deeply, but is also incredibly logical and intuitive. I recognize exactly why I am reacting to something how I am, but that doesn't stop the emotional outburst from happening, or the fact that twenty minutes later I am completely calm and rational. Or, three hours after that, I am an emotional wreck about the same thing again.

Maybe I'm just really fucked up.

I've been through so much shit in my 28 years. I am super proud for being a survivor of things that should have wrecked me and left me without hope or feeling. But instead, I am a super-feeler. It would be nice to find a middle ground, but since when have I ever lasted there? I am a woman of extremes and I always have been. I'm not trying to hide it or to be anything other than what I am. What I am trying to do is be the best version of myself possible, and it takes a lot of work.

Lately it has taken a lot of thinking and a lot of crying and tough emotional moments. I'm in the middle of my Saturn Return (Google it), and it's just turned so much upside-down. I am trying so hard to keep pushing forward. Some days I am totally energized by the challenges ahead; most days I am exhausted.

There's also been a lot of emotional upheaval in my friends' lives lately, and that hasn't been fun to deal with, either. But I love them and I of course will always be there for them, no matter what, just like they are there for me. There's just so. much. going on, and I'm struggling to prioritize and handle it all. Again, head in sand.

I need to confront things head-on, and be honest about what I expect and desire and want to invite into my life on a permanent basis. Because right now, I'm letting too much slide.

I have a new tattoo idea. Well, it's not new; I've been kicking it around in my head for a while. I actually wrote it on my arm in Sharpie over a year ago. I loved it.

In high school, I was a music nerd. (I still am.) I was in the high school chorus, the women's choir (until junior year), the select choir (sophomore year on), every music class from general freshman music up to Music Theory I (where I learned to play everything from harp to handbells), the Drama Club (which didn't last long, sadly), Voice Class, five musicals in three years, and I did a music internship my senior year, wherein I helped teach a freshman music class. Not to mention going to NYSSMA (multiple times, as both a soloist and part of a choir), All-County, and participating in various musical endeavors around my town. We had the best music teacher, Mr. K. No, seriously; he won the first-ever GRAMMY In The Schools Music Educator Award. He's amazing. He taught me everything and I love him forever. (The title of this post is also something he used to say to us, and is incredibly accurate.)

Above the whiteboard in the big music room (where I obviously spent a LOT of time), there was a giant printed out sign, obviously made in banner mode of Microsoft Office and printed out at school, before being laminated and taped to the top of the board. Whenever Mr. K said we weren't doing well, he told us we had to do better, because why? We have...


And it always worked. He held us to high standards, and as such, we were fucking amazing. Our music program was incredible, obviously. And I've forgotten about the need for STANDARDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! over the years, to my own detriment. So that's what I want. Just the word, "Standards," in a nice script, on my left forearm. Then, when I'm feeling down, or a situation isn't right, I can look down at my arm and say, "Yes. Standards. I have these, and they are high." And I use that as a guideline/basis for how I react and how I let people treat me.

I think it's a good idea. Again, maybe I am fucked up. But, I am who I am, and only I can change myself. Nobody gets to tell me what to do, or put me in a corner, or make me bleed my own blood.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

How I Got To Be So Weird. At Least, Partially.

Do you ever have those moments where you realize just how fucked up your childhood was? I'm experiencing one currently. Ashera posted on Facebook that there's a Pulp Fiction Soundtrack Pandora station and I freeeeaked outtttttt. I am not a Tarantino nerd; hardly. I think a lot of his movies are overwrought and, especially lately, totally over-the-top and they leave me unsatisfied and just pissed off. But. BUT. Pulp Fiction. Oh my god.

My sisters are both considerably older than me: one is eight years older; the other, five. As such, my oldest sister and I didn't know each other much growing up. But, my other sister, she and I were close. We did nearly everything together, especially in those early years. My father was a completely irresponsible parental figure for most of my childhood (my parents separated when I was 6), and later on, attempted to be a strict Catholic hardass, which failed spectacularly. You can't let your kids do whatever they want for their whole lives then decide when they are, say, 12 and 17, to become a judgmental dickbag. You can't let your youngest daughter watch South Park from the age of 7 onward (the unedited seasons you rented at Blockbuster as a family on VHS), and then turn off Pleasantville because it's "too graphic" about sex. Bitch, please.

Anyway, my dad took my sister to see Pulp Fiction when it came out in theaters. She was 12, so I was 7ish. My sister loved the movie. She immediately told me so much about it. We had the soundtrack and listened to it constantly. When it came out on video, I was allowed to watch one scene: the Jack Rabbit Slims Twist Contest. She and I acted it out CONSTANTLY. We already lived a life of constant dance parties. I came home to my mom vacuuming and blaring Talking Heads on vinyl an incalculable amount of times. But, post-Pulp Fiction, we danced with that scene on in the background, memorizing every little move they made. My sister was always Vincent Vega; I was always Mia Wallace.

I memorized all the lines on that soundtrack. ("Pigs are filthy animals. I don't eat filthy animals." "Yeah but bacon tastes good, pork chops taste good." "Well, sewer rat might taste like pumpkin pie, but I'll never know, 'cause I'll never eat the filthy motherfucker.") My mom is a huge surf guitar nut, so I already knew and appreciated The Ventures and that ilk. My sister and I made up our own line dance of sorts to "Jungle Boogie." Yes, I still know how to do it to this day, 20 years later. When Batman and Robin came out a few years later, I was already obsessed with the movie because, well, I already had a Batman obsession; BUT. UMA. She was Poison Ivy. My little life was made. She was one of my earliest lady crushes. Uma Thurman and Kate Winslet. I have pretty good taste in women.


I don't remember the first time I saw the movie in its entirety, but it wasn't many years later. I FREAKED. OUT. when I saw the whole Vincent-Mia scene, that much I do remember. That needle, man. And I was so upset about what happens to Vincent.

I used to take the soundtrack up to my room and play it on my little boombox and dance around the room by myself, when my sister was in her later teens and we didn't hang out as much. I sang "Son of a Preacher Man" at the top of my lungs, somehow convinced that song would come true for my life. Maybe that's why I had a brief affair with organized religion in my teens?

My uncle moved to Santa Cruz around the same time (where I now live). If you remember, when Vincent and Jules need new clothing, Vincent winds up in a UC Santa Cruz banana slugs shirt. My uncle sent us those exact shirts, and we were SO EXCITED to wear them. In my teens, it was my shirt for gym class. My sister got a hoodie version that I accidentally lost at church. She was so pissed. After I moved out here, I sent a care package of that exact hoodie, plus shirts for her husband and kids, to make up for that loss. I still haven't replaced my own shirt. One of these days I'll get my own UCSC shirt/sweatshirt again.

We will be there in 10.  Vincent Vega & Jules Winnfield:

When my sister and I went to Disney World together, just us, when I was 16, we ate at a restaurant where we got to sit in a classic car, "just like John and Uma!" We had expensive milkshakes and burgers, obviously. I remember going to Hawaii with my mom and stepdad a few years ago, and reading a Vanity Fair that had an oral history of Pulp Fiction while on the cliffs/beach overlooking the ocean. My ex and I watched it one Christmas at his parents house with his siblings. Best Christmas movie. When my sister got married, she and my dad did the Jack Rabbit Slims dance as their father-daughter dance. Seriously.

But I mean....this isn't normal. It's not normal for a seven year old girl to be obsessed with Pulp Fiction. I was also obsessed with The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which I saw around the same time. I'm still obsessed. I wrote my English Master's Thesis on the goddamn movie. And it's when I stop to think about this kind of thing that I think, "holy shit. I am really, incredibly weird."

I haven't seen a lot of Disney movies. I've never seen Mulan. Or The Emperor's New Groove. Or Atlantis. Or a lot of others. You know what I was watching? Pulp Fiction. Rocky Horror. Hairspray. Cry-Baby. Empire Records. Labyrinth. The Breakfast Club. Pretty in Pink. Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead. Pee-Wee's Big Adventure. Death Becomes Her. Clue. Clueless. Welcome to the Dollhouse.

Also, in full disclosure, my sister and I used to also act out the following scenes:

"King Cry-Baby," from Cry-Baby. She was Cry-Baby, I was Allison. (We were both Hatchet Face.) I still cannot watch this movie without acting it out, and former roommates and boyfriends alike can confirm this. (I also had this soundtrack and listened to it constantly.)

"Madison Time," from Hairspray. Along with most of the rest of the movie. I have always wanted to be Tracy Turnblad. In fact, when I met John Waters last year, my sister texted me, "Good luck, Tracy!" YES I MET JOHN WATERS. WE HAVE A PICTURE TOGETHER. HE SIGNED TWO BOOKS FOR ME. BOW DOWN, BITCHES.

"If You Want Blood," in Empire Records. She was Lucas, I was AJ, and my childhood best friend was usually Warren. (Stop calling me Warren!) Also, of course, everything to do with Rex Manning.

And, of course, best friend and I did this together for a talent show at our summer daycamp when we were 8 years old. She was Riff-Raff, I was Magenta. I will always be Magenta.

I told my editor at Dirge recently that, I look all sweet and innocent, but in reality I am a disgusting monster. I am a weird, dark, awkward child at heart. I can be very sweet and fluffy and a pretty rainbow unicorn. I can also be black lipstick and a sneer, fishnets and leather. And it's hard, because everyone expects you to always be one certain way all the time. Well, if you're a dark person, you should always be in dark lipstick and never smile. But, if you're a happy person, you should always be smiling and wearing pastels. (No not true fuck pastels.)

(Morticia FOREVER.)

It's rough to feel so dichotomous, but I understand that that's inherently who I am. I am a solid foundation of Nicole, with tenuous little arms that flail in all sorts of directions, trying to understand what is going on in the world and how to relate to everyone and everything else. Some days that means I look sweet and innocent; some days I look like a sex machine; some days I look like I will murder you with my eyes, and I am probably trying to do so. And that's alright. The freedom to express all these sides of my personality are all that I'm trying to do with myself and my life at this point in time. That's not so much to ask, right?

Wednesday, February 24, 2016




Life has been hectic. I haven't meant to abandon you all so abruptly, and I'm apologizing from the bottom of my loins. I've been wanting to write, but between working three jobs now, commuting, seeing friends, and dating, my free time wherein I want to do more than absolutely nothing has been minimal. Sunday I had a "me party" day for the first time in I don't even know how long. I did very little, and it was amazing.

Did I say three jobs? Indeed I did. Now, in addition to the big girl commuting job and the winery,k I am the social media coordinator for Dirge Magazine and I love it. I hope to start writing some articles for them soon as well; just need to figure out what the hell to say! (Suggestions are welcome.) Also, if you want to help me get paid for that job and not just work for the love of actually using my English degree, you can support us on Patreon. Next goal is staff pay! HELP ME BE LESS POOR. You can also find us on the book of FaceTwitter, and Instagram.

Now that my Dirge plug is over, let's talk about mediocrity, baby! Let's talk about stupid boys and me! Let's talk about all the weird things and the bad things that can be!

I've discussed a lot of the really terrible dates I've had, and made reference to a lot of idiotic Tinder profiles. Today, though, we're gonna talk about mediocrity. About the ones who floundered. Not in a grand, spectacular way; more in a creepy, awkward, "I'm an idiot" kind of way.

Example one: Chester. Chester and I started talking on Tinder and he seemed very sweet and sincere. He recently quit his Silicon Valley engineering job, and was planning on going to Europe for a three month vacation. Upon his return, his plan is to move to Santa Cruz area, live with friends, start anew. Hey, I respect the hell out of that plan. Who gets to do that kind of thing? We met for fancy cocktails and pizza on one of my few free nights (a Tuesday) after work. That first date actually went very well, mostly. We talked about all sorts of random things and I had fancy drinks and got a little tipsy, sobered up with some pizza which he insisted that I take the leftovers home with me. I mentioned that I work at a winery in SC on Saturdays, which is when he's usually in town, and invited him to stop over with friends sometime. The conversation did turn slightly sexual towards the end of the date (which lasted almost three hours), but when we got to my car he merely hugged me and told me to have a good week and that we should get together again before he left. All in all, not terrible.

The next few days are super busy. By the time Saturday rolls around, I'm exhausted and cranky. He starts texting me, asking when I'll be at the winery and when we close. I say I'm there until at least 5, later if we are busy. But, I warned him, I am in a super pissy, exhausted mood and won't want to hang out afterwards. If he wants to stop by with friends, though, he's more than welcome to do so. A few hours go by. Nothing. He texts me around 430, saying he's nearby, eating, alone. I tell him it's busy and I'm cranky but sure, stop in. So he does. He sits at the counter and goes through a tasting. Meanwhile, I am running my ass off, pouring wine and being charming as fuck while wishing evil and destruction on every person there (in my mind). It's very busy in the winery, including a group of about a dozen people. One of the girls in the group starts hitting on him. I couldn't give a fuck. I'm exhausted, I'm cranky, I want to go home, this is the second time we have met and he is not beholden to me.

He tells me that when he gets back from Europe, he wants to be a bartender because it just seems so fun! Clearly he has never worked in the service industry, because romanticizing it in such a naive way in your mid-30s tells me you have no experience in the subject. And telling me how cute I am and how much fun it looks like I'm having as I tell him repeatedly how cranky I am doesn't seem to add up in his brain. What a fun job! All the time! Alcohol! Yay! Sir. Please don't be a bartender. You will not last long.

After he finishes his tasting (five wines at one ounce pours aka about one glass), he sits at the bar and drinks multiple glasses of water. No more wine. Just water. Finally, people start leaving. It's been about 45 minutes or so. I tell him I'm gonna start kicking everyone out. He laughed and said something like, "yeah kick everyone out!" Then he said, "I'm pretty drunk so you could ask me aaaanything you want to right now and I would tell you." Instead, I incredulously asked him if he was fucking serious because he had one glass of wine and a shitload of water. He said he had a beer with his food earlier. Still, two drinks over a couple hours with food and water? Either you're an incredible lightweight (which you weren't a few days prior, to my knowledge), or you think this is flirtatious and cute and I'll wanna ask you naughty things. Nope. I will admonish you for being a lightweight and kick your ass to the curb. Which is what I did. I told him I was kicking him out. He responded with some line of like okay I'll just wait outside for you. I said, no, you won't. And he said that he had "rolled something special" for me since I was having a bad day. I told him unless I could take it home and smoke it alone, I didn't want it. He didn't seem to believe me. I had to reiterate yet again how tired and cranky I was, and how I had already made perfectly clear that I was not interested in hanging out after work. He seemed shocked. The door didn't hit him in the ass on the way out, but maybe it should have.

He texted me the next day. I ignored him. And the next day. And the next. Finally, he sent a text asking if I was "jealous" because of that girl flirting with him. I texted him and laid the smack down, explaining he had steadfastly ignored my repeated "I don't want to hang out and you need to leave" proclamations, and that's not okay with me. I'm not lying or playing hard to get; I don't want to hang out with you. Respect that and listen to me the first time I say that. Also that I'm not going to do drugs with him on our second time meeting. He sort of apologized, and I haven't heard from him since. Presumably he's in Europe, having one glass of wine and getting trashed and awkwardly hitting on women.

Example two: Aaron. Aaron is a recent transplant to the area, also from the east coast, also with a busy schedule. We were talking for over a week on Tinder, and he seemed thoughtful and kind. Our conversation ranged all over the place, which was a nice change of pace. He asked me out to dinner (I think also on a Tuesday, maybe I shouldn't do Tuesday dates anymore?) at a ramen place in SC. I have a long commute from the big girl job back down to SC, and that day was especially hellacious as there was three accidents on my way home. I was in deadstop traffic for a long time. I started messaging him, apologizing, saying I am going to be very late. It was in this conversation that his tone slighty changed. He went from full, grammatically correct sentences to using "u" and other chat speak. I was shrugging it off, but it didn't go unnoticed. When I finally got to the restaurant, I actually got parking right out front on the other side of the street, a rare miracle. I sent him a message that I'm walking up. The restaurants facade was mostly windows, so I peered inside and didn't see him. There were benches out front but they were empty. So I sat down and send another message, asking if he was there. I look over and see the next building over (which isn't open) has a bench in front of it, and there's a guy sitting there, but he has his hood up and he's on his phone. He looks over at me, but doesn't move. Now, I'm not going to walk up to some random dude on a bench with his hood up and ask if he's my Tinder date. Even I am not that stupid. So I sit and wait. I mean, I am incredibly late; maybe he is too, and I can't judge for that. And about two minutes later, the guy on the bench gets up, comes over, and it's Aaron. I immediately call him about about lurking and being weird. He shrugs it off and says he was just waiting. Ok. Well. I'm in this now, too late. (I just think of that scene from Closer where Julia Roberts confronts Jude Law about stalking her and "lurking from a distance.")

We sit down and I notice how YOUNG he looks. He seriously looks like he could be 17, and I feel super freaked out for a minute. He's also incredibly tall and thin, and moves awkwardly, like he's not fully comfortable with himself. We ordered sake and he did get ID'd and apparently is at least 21
so that made me feel a tiny bit better. The conversation was fine; we talked about random things. The ramen was decent. It felt more friendly than anything resembling a date, at least on my end. He mentions over dinner that he's having housemate issues, and says one of them is his "former partner." I don't ask for any specifics, just acknowledge how tough that situation must be.

The check comes. He reaches for it, looks it over. It's pretty cheap (two bowls of ramen and one split hot sake). I do my customary reach-for-the-wallet gesture. Now, call me old-fashioned, but if a man asks me out on a date, particularly a first date, I assume he will be paying. I will, however, always at least offer to split. He sees me take out my wallet, and says, "yeah, I mean, we could split this, or I could just pay, I don't know." I told him it's his decision. He paid. As he's signing the check he looks at me and says, "So, tell me about this corset modeling you do." Now, I had mentioned in our chatting that one night I did, indeed, model a corset at my good friend's lingerie store opening. It was quite fun and I looked daaaaamn good. But it had been a brief mention (no pictures or dirty talk or any of that nonsense) though apparently seeing me in person sparked the intrigue. I gave a brief overview of the night and how I'm no corset expert but it was fun and I might do it again because why not? And he says, "Yeah, I have some corset and dress up experience; mostly for theater. I definitely couldn't model one, though." Oh. Okay. Listen, I'm not here to kink-shame you, sir, but really? On the first date? I just explained I am not a corset queen; I did a favor for a friend but enjoyed doing it. In my mind, though, I'm thinking about how I don't want to discuss putting this boy in drag over dessert. Unfortunately, he did ask if I wanted dessert and we were right next door to a gourmet ice cream place that I LOVE, so I acquiesced and immediately regretted that decision.

As we walk next door and wait in line, he stands behind and incredibly close to me. I kept trying to inch away, and he kept inching back up to me. Lord Uncle Jesse, have mercy, get this creep away from me. When it's my turn to order, I basically run up to the counter. The girl working was very sweet, but had apparently seen us standing so goddamn close together, so after scooping my ice cream, she didn't ring me up; rather, she called to Aaron and got his order too. Shit. He's gonna make me pay for this, isn't he? Sure enough, he orders, comes over to where I'm waiting to pay, stands uncomfortably close again, and the girl asks if the order is together. He takes his ice cream and starts to walk away. "Yes," I said, bitterly. I pay for our ice cream. He doesn't thank me, and instead asks if we want to go for a walk while we eat. I say no. We sit outside. Now, I am not the fastest eater of a lot of food, but I fucking inhale ice cream. Always have. It's my favorite. So I eat mine very quickly and he takes his goddamn time, eating tiny spoonfuls. He makes a comment on how I could be in an ice cream eating contest; I want to shove my spoon in his eyeball.

He starts talking about his job (an EMT) and working odd hours (overnight) and how it can mess with your sleep schedule and how he naps with his roommates cat during the day. I talk about my cat for a little bit, and he admits he has a leopard gecko (I think; is that a thing?) and how he likes to have it lie on his neck and he's brought it to his EMT shifts and I am just sooooooo ready to GTFO and say goodbye to lizard boy forever. I check my phone and there's a message from one of the Dirge editors (nothing important, actually), but I tell him I have work to do and need to go. (Less, I am eternally grateful for you for inadvertently giving me an escape route.) I say my car is just right over there; we start walking down the sidewalk together. He tells me how charming and fun I am. We awkwardly hug before I go to cross the street; I think he wanted to try and kiss me but I avoided that shit like the plague. Then, post-hug....he walks across the street with me. Urm, okay. He walks in front of my car, and after I have already sat down and closed the door, he runs back across, waving his phone. I look at him confusedly, open my door a crack and say, "What?" "Oh, can I have your phone number?" Shit. I gave it to him because I'm a weak-ass bitch. He walks away and I curse to myself, trying to rationalize. It wasn't THAT bad, right?

I go home and talk to my aunt and some friends. No, no it was bad. To quote my editor, "Don't fuck that guy." Don't worry. He ended up texting me the next morning; I ignored it. A few days later, he messaged me on Tinder. Apparently he never saw the messages I sent when I walked into the restaurant? "Where am I? What? Four days ago?" Yeah. Four days ago I sent you those messages asking if you were at the restaurant on our date, remember? When you were a creepy lurking fuck? I unmatched him. I haven't heard from him since.

Were these exceptionally bad/gross dudes? No. Are they men I have an interest in seeing again? Heeeeellllllllll no. Please, keep your weird lizard corset men and lightweight stoners away from me.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

November 12, 2015.

I can now play the following songs on ukulele:

"Do You Swear To Tell the Truth, The Whole Truth, And Nothing But the Truth, So Help Your Black Ass," and "Map of Tasmania" by Amanda Palmer.

"A Beginning Song," "Grace Cathedral Hill," and "O Valencia!" all by the Decemberists.

"Take a Walk on the Wild Side" by Lou Reed.

"Ahead By a Century" by The Tragically Hip. (I really want to learn "Bobcaygeon" but the chords I'm finding online don't sound right to me. I don't know if that's the fault of me, the ukulele, or the transcribers. Not going to happen until I find the right ones, though.)

I can also play "Wicked Games" by the Weeknd but it just sounds weird on the uke. I also attempted "Hotline Bling" but the chords I found for that also don't sound right. Disappointing. I wanted to make a "Hotline Uke" video SO BADLY. And "Missed the Boat" by Modest Mouse. Really hard to do the fast chord changes without it sounding weird. 

But, all in all, not bad for owning it under a week and, you know, maintaining a life and working and commuting and dating and writing and such. Apparently I'm a natural. Slash all those years of musical training haven't completely left my brain. Basically I'm obsessed with Amanda; it's a ridiculous, all-consuming love. Yes my ukulele is named Amanda. I have no shame. I am a ridiculous human being.

Anyway, today I worked at tech trade show for my company. I've worked one other show in my time in tech, down in Pasadena. It was a bust of a show, and we were hardly busy. This time, however, was very different. This was a huge convention, well-attended and well-staffed. Quite impressive, actually. The thing that was annoying this time (beyond the typical annoyances of serving the public for 8 hours) was the sexism. Now, it wasn't rampant, per se, but Silicon Valley and the tech industry has a distinct lack of women. Our booth was different in that my company had two women and one man, and our co-sponsor in the booth was three women. The company across from us also had a woman staffing their booth. We were an anomaly in a sea of men. Going through the presentation list for the three-day event, there was over 150 presentations. In a scan-through, I see around a dozen women (almost all on panels) presenting. That's it. Out of 150 presentations, and probably a good 175 people to present over three days, only 12-15 were women. Isn't that outrageous?!

I got a weird mix of men talking to me because I'm a woman, and men who wouldn't talk to me because I'm a woman. Granted, I am the administrative assistant, and I don't have as much tech knowledge and experience as my coworkers (one was in marketing, one on our tech consulting team) but I know to ask them if I have questions, or to direct people to our website. Basically, I'm not a total idiot, but I am not a programmer/expert, by any means. There were lots of men who saw me standing there and then made a beeline for the booth, just so that I would have to talk to them. There was also a number of men who completely ignored me if I was free, even if I greeted them, and waited to talk to the only man working at our booth. 

I took a late lunch break. I got there around 10:40 so we could finish setting up, as the expo hall opened at 11. I took an email break around 1; then didn't take a lunch break until 3. By that point my feet hurt, I was very hungry, and just wanted to sit and be alone for a while. After overpaying for a pre-made crappy sandwich and some greasy (but actually sort of delicious) garlic fries, I wandered around until I found a place to sit. It was upstairs, off the escalators. There were three big 6-8 seater tables, two of which were already occupied by single men on their laptops. I sit down, start eating, grateful for solitude and greasy fries. I'm texting one of the men about how glad I am to have a few minutes alone when, and I shit you not, some random middle-aged man plops himself down at the table across from me and pulls out his laptop. Now, he didn't go to a table with a man at it. He didn't ask if he could sit there or even say, "Hey, you appear to be alone, I'm going to sit here. Cool?" At almost the exact same time, a different man went up to one of the solitary men and politely asked if he could sit at the table. My dude just kept making eye contact with me, as if I was going to spark up a convo and MPDG his white male life into meaning. Instead, I'm pretty sure I cut him into pieces with my stare of death and destruction. I was not. pleased. Yeah, okay, it was a large table. Yes, of course if he had come up and said, "Excuse me, do you mind if I sit here?" I would have said he could. But no question, no politeness, just fucking sitting down across from me like it's the most normal thing in the world. RUDE. 

The other thing that kept happening today was that people (mostly men, but a small sprinkling of women) wanted things for free. We had samples of our hardware out on display and were raffling off some at the end of the day. The amount of people that came up and just grabbed them and said, "So I can have this?" is mindboggling to me. Or people just wanted free stuff. I get it. Swag is fun. I myself took home a fair amount of swag. There was also the men who tried to convince me to just give them things, with a wink and a little shrug. Sure, random man trying to charm me into giving you that $120 piece of hardware, that's TOTALLY going to work. I'm just a silly woman; pay attention to me and I'll give you anything. There was also the tried tactic of just complaining. "But I just want the t-shirt! Why do I have to register for your website?" Them's the rules. Don't like it? No shirt for you!! Yes I see other people giving away t-shirts willy-nilly, that's not how we do things here. It was a strange day, but I'm glad to have done it. I got to be out of the office and gain more experience in actual techland. 

Cons: rude people; grabby people; entitled men; aching feet and calves; general weariness; shitty lunch.

Pros: more experience; swag of all sorts (including a hat, a screwdriver with a built-in flashlight that I'm calling a sonic screwdriver, little brain teaser puzzles for my desk, and a plastic beer glass); seeing cool technology being demoed; meeting a hot Australian guy and giving him my business card because I'm just that smooth (I don't expect to hear from him but DAMN how could I NOT?!); free coffee from said Australian guy (he was demoing a fancy coffee maker that connects to WiFi and keeps track of the coffee stats); meeting the ladies in our partnership business who are super lovely and talented; a free beer at the end of the day. Oh and listening to Missy Elliot's new song on repeat for a good half hour on each way of my commute. Not ashamed; shit's fantastic. AND coming home to my ipsy makeup bag and two new Jeffree Star lipsticks (I'm obsessed with this stuff). 

I am good and properly tired. I will hopefully sleep well tonight, which is good because I have a long and busy weekend ahead of me. I'm so excited. I'm very happy. As annoying as parts of today was, life is damn good. Excuse me, Amanda is demanding my attention.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

I am, in fact a, literate, privileged white person who loves the Decemberists.

Last night, I went on a date. I know, what, I’m actually writing about a date?! Well, one of the three men I was seeing ended up politely telling me that he’s too focused on his career right now and doesn’t want to date. I’m not upset; he was sweet but it was early on and we had only been out a few times. At least he was polite enough not to ghost like Swayze on me.
I ended up bored at work yesterday, scrolling through Tinder and Bumble. I’ve had very few matches these days; I don’t know if it’s because I’m pickier because I’m pretty satisfied with my other two menfolk, or if I’m going through a drought period of matching. That actually happens; there will be weeks where I’m flooded with matches and people talking to me, and then weeks where I match with nobody. It’s been this way since I joined. Yesterday, I matched with precisely one person. In a strange twist, though, he actually messaged me and we started talking. Yes, I have to say, for the amount of matches I have on both apps, the amount of people I have talked to is quite low, and the amount I’ve met in person is even smaller. I get ignored a lot, honestly. It doesn’t bother me, it’s all part of the weird app dating scene. And again, at this point, it’s more out of curiosity than anything else. I’m quite satisfied with the man I’m seriously casually dating (that’s a thing), and my FWB. But, as there’s no monogamy happening at this point, why not scope around and see what’s going on?

So, he messaged me. In my profile there has always been, and will always be, a reference to  It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. At the bottom of my profile is this quote:

(Not the picture, obviously, although I should probably just put it in my pictures.)

I get a lot of response/questions about that quote. The FWB messaged me about it originally, saying, “My spaghetti policy is very strict: I don’t accept any impastas.” I knew we would get along. On my first date with casual-yet-serious, the line was brought up, and we ended up talking about It’s Always Sunny, which he didn’t know much of, but knew enough to converse and for me to try to convince him to watch some more of it at some point (still working on that). So, this gentleman, whom we will call Dan, started right in with It’s Always Sunny references. I was impressed/pleased. Awesome, this guy knows his stuff! We ended up talking for a bit, and he jokingly called me James Bond, and asked if I was free for a drink. Normally, I wait a while and talk to people for at least a couple days before I meet them. He works between Mountain View and Palo Alto, and suggested somewhere around there. Now, that’s a good 20-30 minutes in light traffic for me to drive further north towards the city, making my commute home longer. When I told him this, he suggested we meet down in Los Gatos, which is much closer to home for me. I figured, what the hell, and accepted. Plus, he wanted to meet at a place with funky pizza and fancy cocktails. Don’t think, just go. So I went.

Now, I will say, his profile said he preferred wine over beer (that’s a plus). Faulkner over Dickens (also a plus). And Magritte over Warhol (disagree entirely). I told him before I left that I love Warhol, so he was aware of this situation and my counter-stance. He also said he’s looking for a hiking buddy, and I’m not into that shit, and I also told him that. He didn’t mind. Dan was there before me, somehow, and I sat across from him at the table. We were talking casually at first. I ordered a fancy cocktail and he ordered the same one, even though he originally told me he was just going to have a glass of prosecco. He was not impressed with the drink, apparently. I, being the asshole I am, had to immediately ask him about why he’s anti-Warhol. Dan told me that he had gone to school in Pittsburgh, and so had been to the Warhol museum, and that he hates it. “It’s garbage. It’s not art.” I, of course, will not take that shit. This is pretty much how that conversation went:

“So, why do you consider Warhol and other pop art, NOT art?”
“Because it doesn’t take a long time! It’s not skilled; anyone could do it.”
“All art has to take a long time and be complicated to make in order for it to be classified as art?”
“No, of course not, but…”
“But that’s exactly what you just said. Is the fact that it’s taking everyday objects and turning them on their heads to show society how little we value things, is that what upsets you? The fact that it’s a representation of popular culture skewed?”
“Yeah, it’s not really art! It’s like, here’s a soup can, great. Anyone can do that.”
“But that’s the point!!”
“I don’t know, I just don’t like it. It’s not art to me.”
“But a painting of a pipe that says, ‘this is not a pipe’ underneath it is?”
“A man with an apple in front of his face? C’mon! Surrealism makes you think way more than Warhol ever could.”
“I disagree. I mean, I do like Magritte, and surrealism. But Warhol was right, too: ‘In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.’ How else do you explain the Kardashians?”
“No, they’ve been around way longer than 15 minutes. And Kanye! That’s why.”
“They were popular before Kanye.”
“Yeah, but he’s like, extending their influence.”

Clearly this was not going anywhere. I get his points, on some level, but he was not budging at all. And, of course, neither was I. I can at least concede to liking Magritte and not putting down all surrealists; they’re just not my favorite. I recognize why they are artists and their contribution to the art world, because I’m not a total asshole.

So, I changed topics. “You like It’s Always Sunny, too? I love that show.”
“Yeah, I like it, but, I mean, I don’t know. There’s just no redeeming value to it.”
“Why does it need to have redeeming value? Can’t it just be a silly show for people to enjoy?”
“Well, yeah, it’s funny and everything, but it’s just a bunch of self-absorbed alcoholics getting into shenanigans.”
“Yes! Exactly! That’s the point!”
“Yeah, but, I don’t know…I like things with redeeming social values tied into them, that are like, re-affirming, somehow.”

Okay, that’s fair. But hi, contradiction, how you doing? Maybe the redeeming social value for me is the fact that it doesn’t have one. Maybe I enjoy a silly show that is nothing but silly and totally unrealistic and whacked out that makes me laugh and forget about things? Makes me forget all the bullshit and daily worries and anxieties that I host inside? That’s redeeming, in my opinion. But, it’s not HIS opinion, so fuck it. We kept talking about TV shows; he asked what other ones I watch. We had none in common except for Parks and Rec. We switched to music. He asked about my love of the Decemberists, which is deep and unending, and I admitted that. He said, “so, that makes you a literate privileged white person, you know?” Yes, yes, I’m aware. I asked about his favorite bands, which turned out to be Brand New and Death Cab for Cutie. I immediately pointed at him, incredulously, and said “Uh, so, you know you’re a literate, privileged white person as well, right?” He laughed and agreed. But seriously? You felt the need to call me out as a literate, privileged white person, when you are the exact same thing? Sorry, 25-year-old white male software engineer in Silicon Valley, I will not put up with that shit. I am aware of my white privilege. I recognize it. Please don’t shame me for my favorite band when your favorite bands are equally as based in nerdy white privilege, thanks.

For as much as we disagreed, it was kind of fun to have nerdy passionate banter about things. We got a second round of drinks and ordered pizzas. Everything was going along okay; at least we were laughing about the uncomfortableness and how we totally disagreed on nearly everything. We ate our pizza, kept talking and I gave him my theories on the differences between the Decemberists, Modest Mouse, Death Cab for Cutie, and Radiohead, along with the hardcore fans of each band. Basically I was just making broad, sweeping generalizations and judging people, but it was quite fun. I said I was an example of a typical Decemberists fan, and he is an example of a typical Death Cab fan. I’m not wrong on either one of these, by the way. He was wearing a hoodie and plastic Rivers Cuomo-style glasses, and a band t-shirt with jeans. He was coming from work. Hi there, Silicon Valley software engineer stereotype, nice to have a date with you. In fact, when I relayed this to my boss this morning, he said, “sounds like a Silicon Valley programmer: self-centered asshole.” We talked about books, and actually agreed on some literary topics. He hasn’t read any DFW but House of Leaves is on his bookshelf, waiting to be read. He also said some redeeming things about fighting the patriarchy, I will give him credit for those. I even told him straight-up, "Okay, you're not completely terrible. That just redeemed you."

I told him my theory that, at heart, we are all garbage people just trying to be better every day, but that honestly, most people don't have their shit together and we are all secretly awful and just trying to get through the days. He told me he fundamentally disagreed, and that there are no bad people, not really, just people who have had bad experiences who then act out. I mean, that's so sweet and naive on the one hand. On the other, I had to again point-blank disagree, as I know people who have not experienced trauma who are total assholes, and people who have experienced horrible things who are gentle, loving souls. (The garbage people theory is mostly a joke and based on the fact that, at heart, I feel like I am a garbage person. Most people would disagree with that statement, but I feel that way a lot of the time.) I wish I could be that wide-eyed. Alas, I've been through too many fucked-up situations to be so trusting and naive. Maybe he's Anne Frank in disguise? I would love to believe that most people are truly good at heart, and in fact, a lot of them are. But there are so many people that I've known and had to interact with who are just awful individuals that I can't believe they were turned that way from bad experiences. I don't know. Human behavior is not one of my areas of expertise. Or maybe I really am a jaded, cynical bitch. Garbage person #1.

We had finished our second drinks and were winding down the evening when he looked at me very seriously. “Okay, now, we’ve talked about things important to you: books, movies, TV shows. I’m a foodie; food is my thing. Do you have any likes or dislikes?” Now, here’s the thing: I fucking love food. I eat a lot. I will eat a lot of things. For a long time I was a picky eater; but in the past few years my palate has broadened and there’s a short list of things I don’t eat, and even then I can be flexible if need be. I don’t like nuts, but I’ve eaten them in things recently and I didn’t die. I’m not a fan of fruit or things with seeds in them, honestly. Weirds me out and the texture of most of them is just gross to me. Minus peaches, oranges, lemons, limes, and cooked apples. Otherwise I probably won’t eat fruit. Maybe a bite or two of a banana or a blueberry or two. It’s my own thing; I get it. But I didn’t mention either of those things to him. I explained that I love all sorts of cuisine: Asian food of all varieties, sushi, Mexican, Thai, a good burger (bacon cheeseburger preferably). And then I admitted the three foods I actually hate and generally don’t eat: tomatoes, celery, and rosemary. He nearly had a heart attack. Now, I can handle tomato paste in, like, curry or if it’s not at the forefront of the food. I don’t like pizza sauce. I don’t like marinara. I don’t like tomatoes on my sandwiches. I barely use ketchup or hot sauce (minus Frank’s because I’m from Buffalo, you goon). Have I knowingly ingested tomatoes in the past few years? Yes of course I have. Do I prefer not to eat them? Yup. I hate the texture of celery and it tastes like wet dirt to me. A Bloody Mary is basically the most disgusting drink I can think of. I would rather die from a horrible hangover than drink that shit. Oh my god no no no no no DISGUSTING. Gimme a mimosa or a bellini, please, thank you. I will begrudgingly eat celery if it happens to be in some soup, but I will try my hardest to either pick it out or just eat around it. Otherwise, nope. And how do people eat rosemary?! It legitimately is a pine needle just fucking hanging out in your food. It makes as much sense to me as chopping up a pinecone and sprinkling it on your food. Just, why?! Ugh.

Dan, however, was not amused. “What?! Those are, like, the best foods! I feel like you just insulted my best friends.” Seriously. Because I apologized for insulting those foods, and he corrected me with, “No, not foods. Friends.” Urm. Right, then. He apparently worked in an Italian restaurant for almost two years, and instead of being disgusted at the sight of pasta sauce, was still deeply in love with it. Ok then. He politely walked me to my car, we hugged goodbye. I sent him a message thanking him again when I got home and admitting a Death Cab song came on while I was driving and that I do like some of their songs. I haven’t heard from him. I’m not expecting to. Cons: most of the date. Pros: a free meal and cocktails, a blog post, discovering a new restaurant that I can go to with someone who actually likes me. I think I win.

I just really needed a picture of Colin Meloy as a palate cleanser. That's the only reason for this picture. Although do we really NEED a reason to look at the most perfect man in the universe except for the fact that he is perfect and just the BEST ugh seriously stop that, Colin. You're too perfect.