The Beary Kind

Hola amigo-go’s, from the other side of the equator. I thought by this point in my absence, you’ve probably graduated from the first 3 stages of grief AND are now crawling up upon the most spirit-shattering mile mark: Depression.

But fear not! I thought ahead and before I took off on my selfish South American sabbatical, I gave Poppycock specific instructions to post one of my all-time favorite musical numbers. Here, to help ease your agony is my rendition of Ryan Bingham’s “The Weary Kind.”

My own version is based on my everlasting love of sugar-coated Sunny Bears candy; and more importantly, how their gluten-free goodness can bring two, sweet-craving souls together over one tiny bulk bin.

The Beary Kind

Your hearts on sucrose

You went to the bulk bin with nothing to lose

This is the best place, for the Beary kind.

So sunny a treat,

My hand searches for the flavors so sweet,

Somehow I do feel another one there.

(CHORUS)

This is the best place for the Beary kind

This is the best place for love to find

This is the best place for bums to grind

Pick out the ones you want, and then give me a try

This candy has been

A friend for so long, it always delights

And now it has brought you into my sights

(CHORUS)

This is the best place for the Beary kind

This is the best place for love to find

This is the best place for bums to grind

Pick out the ones you want, and then give me a try

Your lips taste so new

Of the red one you so recently chewed

You are the man I’m meant to adore

Your hearts on sucrose; you went to the bulk bin with nothing to lose

This is the best place, for the Beary kind.

**** And Now!!! Some shameless self-promotion: If you dig Ryan Bingham’s work, check out my recent review of his newest album “Tomorrowland” in Paste Magazine:

http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2012/09/ryan-bingham-tomorrowland.html

Time To Feed The Travel Bug!

Dear readers, you’re going to want to sit down for this. Before I say what I’m about to say, might I suggest that NOW would be a good time to take up laugh yoga… meditation… prayer… anything really that helps you go to your happy place.

Okay. I’m just going to rip the band-aid off: Here and Goes.

Starting tomorrow, I will be off on a 2-week long vacation. No laptop. No checking my Nerd Rom inbox. No Mailbag Mondays!!!

Try as you might, you will NOT make me feel guilty for this. This is my first big — as in passport stamping, currency exchanging — trip since boarding the S.S. Homeowner Ship 3 years ago. I’ve been busting my chops, playing nice, putting down roots, putting up shop — AND frankly, it’s time to feed the travel bug a big, huge slice of globe-trotting pie.

And while I couldn’t be more excited to take my dusty, Patagonia hiking pack out of storage (can you say wicking skivvies!) and set off to charter an entirely unexplored country — my friends and family are a little more apprehensive. Their concern is 2-fold:

First, did I mention I was going to Medellin, Colombia?

  • As in with an “O.”
  • As in Pabl-O Esc-O-bar.

But really that’s just geography and ONE very UNIRONIC walrus mustache.

It’s basically just a general knowledge of my travel history that has them on edge. The fact that I have zero sense of direction; that I’m the kind of person who doesn’t just get lost driving in my car, but also have been known to lose my car itself.

And then there’s the actual track record of my personal misadventures, which can, in the wrong light, read like Inspector Clouseau meets an after-school-special.

Here are my top 10, by age and location:

  • 9 yo, Chichen Itza: Family is chased through the Yucatan jungle in the dark of night by masked banditos with machetes. (I am fast asleep in the back throughout the whole ordeal)
  • 10 yo, Hawaii: While constructing the most badasstastic drip castle ever, I turn around only to see the mouth of a rogue wave milliseconds before it pummels me into the bottom of the ocean floor.
  • 12 yo, Jamaica: While climbing Dunns Rivers Falls, I fall into a slippery-rock-sided watering hole and am pulled out by my dad just in the nick of time.
  • 13 yo, somewhere in the Caribbean: Family gets stuck on a cruise ship during a Category 4 Hurricane. The sound of synchronized up-chucking haunts me to this day.
  • 14 yo, Bahamas:  Picture it: My family and I are sunbathing in a little cove. All of a sudden, a speed boat races by. Then, seconds later, a fleet of siren-blaring coast guards follow. Drug dealers toss their stash overboard. My brother goes snorkeling and pulls a soggy $100 bill off the back of a barracuda.
  • 24 yo, Europe: Friend and I take a train from Barcelona to Amsterdam with no money and an expired credit card. Must resort to street performance-art by day, and by night eating hostel biscuits and watching Los Simpsones — the Spanish Simpsons — in a random guy’s hash bar. “Come mis pantalones, Dude!”
  • 29 yo, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico: Horse-back riding disaster, followed by a 12-year old boy running up to me and sticking his tongue down my throat on a friend’s dare.
  • 30 yo, Peru: Altitude sickness nearly causes me to fall down Juanu Picchu, taking out an entire tour group along the way.
  • 9 through 34 yo: The “LOST” years: Went missing in Disney Land, Berlin, Barcelona, Vienna, Venice, Aruba, and most recently the California Red Woods.

Sure. On the surface it looks kinda amber-alerty. But here’s the thing. I’ve learned from my mistakes. I’ve watched my fair share of Les Stroud’s “Survivorman.” I know all about stranger danger, not struggling against riptides, and what NOT to do in a major South American drug trafficking hub to attract the wrong kind of attention. Such as:

  • Don’t accept any unusual looking, ceramic bunny statues from strangers
  • Don’t wander off for an afternoon walk in the hillsides
  • Don’t feed the crocodiles
  • Don’t get into any unmarked mules
  • Don’t ask people where the “powder room” is.
  • Don’t wear my “Cuckoo for COCA Puffs” t-shirt
  • Don’t fraternize with US Secret Servicemen

Frankly, I like to think of myself as a less husky-voiced, brunette version of the fictional heroine Joan Wilder in the 1980’s masterstroke “Romancing the Stone.”

You can’t deny the strikingly similar parallels between us:

  • We’re both hopeless daydreamers who weep over our typewriters (mine: laptop)
  • We both wear flannel, plaid pajamas
  • We both live alone in our big-city apartments.
  • We both have male cats: Hers, “Romeo.” Mine, “Poppycock.”
  • We both have wild, big 80’s hairdo’s and wear wide, floppy hats
  • She’s a romance novelist; I’m an unlicensed romance blogologist
  • She receives a treasure map in the mail and goes to Colombia to rescue her sister from a corrupt antiquities dealer.
  • I got an E-ticket and will go to Colombia to hang out with my dear friend who attends art school in the heart of the city.

ME & JOAN

I can’t help it.  I like to live on the edge. But really, the view is oh soooo much better from there. And who knows, maybe I’ll come back to a sailboat parked in my driveway!

Hasta lueggo my Eggos. I WILL see you in November!!

The “Are You Really Over Him?” TEST

Before I get started, I just want to take a nanosecond to thank those readers who sent me “Happy Birthday” greetings over the weekend. While I’d love to say you’re all created equal in my eyes, who are we kidding? THREE people in particular left all of you choking in the dust with these holy superior grand gestures:

1. An anonymous admirer in Bangladesh who composed this haiku for me:

I am a Sherpa

I want to carry your bags

Up a mountain high

** Who knew you could even get Wi-Fi in a yurt.

2 & 3: My faithful readers Jill and Steve who literally made several of my Wish-Tree wishes come true with these wicked to the awesome, heart-melting cards:

And now — Step away from the ledge, put down the rubber-dart gun, and slowly walk your eyes to the center of the page:

After a brief delay, Mailbag Monday is here.

Dear Nerdy Romantic,

About 3 months ago, my boyfriend of over a year broke up with me for a perky, 24-year old au pair/Pilates instructor at his gym. Now that the shock has worn off and the Xanax prescription has run out, I can’t help but think: The longer I — a single woman in her late 30’s — stay out of the game, the harder it’s going to be to even make it on the field. So, my question to you is: How long do you think I should wait to start dating again?

Sincerely,
Benched

Dearest Benched:

Hot damn if there isn’t this Lifetime television-bred notion that the only available men out there for single women over the age of 30 have secret cyber lives, stolen identities, or are haunted by their dead ex-girlfriends.

Sure, our ego-maniacal culture views an attractive woman in her 40’s as some scientific anomaly that should be studied like an albino peacock  — WHILE men over 40 just grow more dignified, dapper, and datable cuz they’ve finally figured out the G-spot is nowhere near where Richard Gere’s rumored gerbil caught some shuteye.

Yes — statistically speaking, the older we get the pool of viable prospects dries up faster than a Wall Street bank’s paper trail. But those are all numbers. And you, dear “Benched” are more than a number. When the time is right, and you’re really READY to re-enter the dating pool, there are tons of things you can do to give yourself a leg up on the competition. Off the cuff:

  • Move to a Montana cattle ranch.
  • Hang outside the chain-link release yard of the nearest (white-collar) prison
  • When you do go out to the bars, find a cute guy and talk about whether your belly-button is an innie or outie.

In other words: Don’t Rush Yourself. Just because it’s over between you and your ex, doesn’t mean you’re OVER it. And I for one think it’s best to follow the TSA luggage regulations when entering a new relationship: i.e.

You can only take one, carry-on item on the plane, so make it a doozy.

The question then becomes: WHEN will you REALLY be ready to move on?

Theory 1: It takes half the time you were in the relationship to start seriously dating again. Reality: I’ve known women who are like lizards after a bad break-up. Their tail gets lopped off, only to grow back fresh and new in nothing flat.

Me personally — I tend to be more like Massive Head Wound Harry: showing up to fancy cocktail parties long after the break-up, horrifying guests as the pet dog gnaws at my dangling, left skull-flap.

head wound harry

Theory 2: Intensive Shock Therapoo-tang: In order to get over your ex, you must do the horizontal bop with a total stranger.

Again — been there, tried that. I ended up on some random dude’s futon in a basement apartment, eating fried Fruit Loops as he played me a CD of his Emo-punk band “Batteries for Frogger.” Only lyric I remember:

“I gave you my heart and you gave me human papilloma.”

In truth, there is no one-size-fits-all comeback cure. But that didn’t stop me from creating my very own “Are You Really Over Him?” TEST.

(Answers are graded on a point scale. Circle the number that best reflects your true experience:)

1. You have spent the last 5 weekends watching:

  • a. The entire Criterion collection of British Period Dramas: 3
  • b. The entire 4-hour, PBS documentary “Alone in the Wilderness”: 2
  • c. Sold your TV for a Black Diamond harness and belay AND have taken up rock-climbing: 1

——-

2. You + booty calls with ex:

  • a. You’re currently knocking boots with him as you read this blog: 3
  • b. You started wearing an old-fashioned, iron chastity belt: 2
  • c. You moved 3000 miles away to a remote, mountain village where people communicate solely through carrier pigeons:  1

——-

3. You hear “YOUR” song on the radio:

  • a. You start dry heaving and swerve into a ditch: 3
  • b.You roll down the windows and scream so loud, the Kraken goes scurrying back into his cave: 2
  • c. You calmly turn it off and switch on your Tony Robbins audio-podcast: 1

——–

4. His favorite t-shirt:

  • a. You wear it to bed at night and refuse to wash it for fear of losing his scent: 3
  • b. You use it to clean out the toilet: 2
  • c. The Retrievers long since picked it up from your house and returned it to its rightful owner. 1

——–

5. “YOUR” Favorite restaurant:

  • a. Go there alone on the weekends wearing sweatpants and a hoodie; sit at a table and refuse to let the waiter remove the second place setting: 3
  • b.The place shut down after an “anonymous” tip of kitchen rats was sent to the Health Inspector: 2
  • c. It served vegan-only food. Now, you only eat that which you’ve killed with a sawed-off shotgun: 1
——–
7. The weight you put on after the break-up:
  • a. Gilbert Grape’s mom: 3
  • b. A little more of you to love: 2
  • c. After joining a local running group, you look 10-times hotter than before you met whatever his name was: 1

——–

8. Your phone:

  • a. His contact name is still “Love Of My Life”: 3
  • b.His contact name is changed to “El Diablo”: 2
  • c. You erased his number all together: 1

——–

9. You find yourself listening to:

  • a. Bonnie Raitt: 3
  • a. Echo and the Bunnymen: 2
  • c. Beyonce: 1

———

10. After downing 4 Kamikaze shots, you:

  • a. Refill the glasses with your own, unstoppable stream of salty tears. AND then, you proceed to knock those back as well:  3
  • b. Go outside and start bashing in the windows of parked cars: 2
  • c. The only shots you’ve had in the last 2 months are wheat-grass shooters at the local Smoothie King: 1

————————————————————————————————

Time to tally up your points:

Total:

10 – 12:  Turn up the “I will Survive,” put on your fancy dress, and snag yourself the man of your dreams.

13 – 20:  Don’t cancel your Redbox membership just yet.

21-30:  head wound harry
You got some serious healing left to do.

Birthday Wishes from My Inner Child

What is that you say? You say it’s my birthday!

Remember when you were a kid. People ask how old you are and you round up to the biggest possible decimal. “I’m 10 and 3/4’ers and 5 days, 15 minutes, 33 seconds.” As if the longer your response is, the closer you are to it being the next year.

I’m now officially at the age where many women don’t just round down; they outright alter the temporal passage of time:

“Well, according to the Maya long count calendar I’m actually only 24 solar years old.”  — OR — “A Shaman once told me I am an extremely new soul in terms of incarnations.”

And then there’s the super-fun turning point where complete strangers in the Publix checkout line morph into my Jewish grandmother and shamelessly pry into my most personal details.

“Oh, you’re such a pretty girl,” they begin innocently enough. And then, BAM! — They bitch slap me with, “Are you married? No? Oh, well, if everything is working down there, you should probably start freezing your eggs.”

Seriously, little-old ladies with shopping carts of canned prunes and Prevail adult diapers, standing there discussing my skincare regiment and the fact that the odds of me being able to have children is dwindling faster than the white-fish spread at the Zabar’s deli counter on Sunday.

(I dare not tell them I don’t think I even want rugrats — for fear of smiting out what little life they have left right there on the spot.)

Yes. Many of the most unforgettable, UN-regrettable, mind-and-heart blowing milestones of my life occurred in my 20’s. But I wouldn’t go backwards, not for all the butter beer in Hogsmeade. To not know what I know now. To taking Jell-o shots off the hood of my roommate’s ATV, only to wake up the next day spooning a Stay-Puft-Pillow-Buddy inside a dog-training crate.

Or the night I spent in jail for — well, let’s just say the crime has been expunged from my record. Sitting there in a 5-by-5-foot cell block with only me, a free-standing, stainless steel toilet seat with a braided weave jammed into the drain, AND red lipstick graffiti on the walls that read, “I fucked your unborn fetus.”

Most of the time, I don’t “feel” my age. I definitely don’t ACT it. But every now and again, I have this Benjamin Button moment where I appear young on the outside, while my thoughts are those of a crotchety blue hair. Example: A few weeks ago, I went to a book festival in town where there was a free, WISHING TREE station.

Orbiting around the trunks of 2 giant Magnolias were all these little kids, reaching on their tiptoes to tie their WISH SLIPS to the branches. I walked over. Grabbed a sheet, and thought:

“I wish the person who stole my social security number this year and filed false taxes with it would come to meet el Chupacabra in a dark alley.”

and — “I wish I could lock down a lower interest rate on my mortgage.”

But then I looked up. And there, scribbled in red and blue crayon on the hanging slips before me, read:

“I WISH BLEEP DE BLOOP DU BLOP”

AND — “I WISH THAT CATS WITH WINGS WERE REAL”

And it hit me: I don’t want to go backwards. I want to go inwards, and see the world through the eyes of my inner child. So — on this, my 35th (in actual years) birthday, I hereby pick up a red and blue crayon and make all of my wishes from there:

I wish…

  • I lived on the moon, so I could eat ice cream all day long and it would never melt or drip onto my hands.
  • My brother would grow nose hair as long as Repunzel’s
  • I could drive my car to Starlight Music and play keyboard in Jem & the Holograms
  • The screeching squirrel outside my apartment would turn into Falcor
  • A giant velociraptor would swoop down and eat the inventor of brussel sprouts.
  • When someone said “Time flies” they actually meant giant flies made out of alarm clocks that eat hours, instead of horse poop.
  • There was no such thing as ill-fitting dress shoes
  • Everything tasted like tater-tots.
  • I had 20 fingers so I could wrap twice as many cherry fruit-rollups around them.
  • Eating too much candy NEVER made your belly hurt
  • The hard-wood floors in my apartment were made out of trampolines
  • My bicycle glowed in the dark and had a rocket-propeller button under the seat
  • For the infinite causes of grass stains!!!!!!
  • That cats with wings were real (So. Does. He.)

And the Sign Says, “Crazy Cat Ladies Need Not Apply”

Hello my fine-feathered frangipanes and welcome to Mailbag Monday. Today’s episode hits rather close to home — soo much so I had to take a few steps back and ask myself: Can I honestly check my ego at the door and keep true to the code of journalistic objectivity?

Final answer: Not a shot in hell! So, on your mark, get set, and Go-Go-Gadget extreme personal bias —

Dear Nerdy Romantic,

What the F is up with single women and cats? I’ve heard of conscription. But is there an unwritten catscription that says any unmarried woman over the age of 26 must adopt a feline and name it something corny like Dumbledorable or Miss Kitty Fantastico?

Seriously — did I miss the memo? Can cats cure cancer or regenerate the ozone layer, because from where I’m sitting, their entire lives consist of eating, sleeping, shitting, and walking all over their delusional lovestruck owners.

Yours,

Sourpuss

My Dear Sweet Sourpuss —

You do realize of course that asking ME (see Poppycock’s Corner) to defend your dig on single-women-and-cats is like asking a homeless person to break a $20. But I can tell you are genuinely befuddled. And so I feel it my duty to at least try and show you another side of the story.

First of all, we don’t “name” our cats. The day we bring them home, we toss them a ball of yarn for which they use to spell out their human handles in string.

As for, “What the F is up with single women and cats?” — I don’t know. What the F is up with hippies and hula hoops; with nouveau douchers and spirit guides; with Nick Nolte and Hawaiian shirts; with hard-core runners and toe shoes; with Eddie Murphy and soul patches; with hipsters and triglycerides; with mandudes and Axe body spray; with dude-itarians and X-box; with ALL dudes in general everywhere and LOAD SOCKS????

The fact is — most of us who haven’t yet achieved a Bruddha-like state of non-attachment — tend to look outward to fill that which is missing within.

And of all attachments out there, the furry felid has always been a world-class resistance-buster. Since the beginning of ever, cats have been exalted for their mystic powers; they were revered by the Egyptian pharaohs, and story has it — the Prophet Muhammad adored his cat Muezza show much, he cut off his own sleeve rather than wake him from sleeping on his arm.

Practically speaking, cats keep our feet and ears warm. They eat roaches and spiders. And in some cases, they even kill demonic, sword-wielding pixie trolls that try and hold our noses when we sleep:

cat's eye

CAT’S EYE

Sure, Sourpuss. I will be the first to admit:  Kitty love can very easily take a sharp turn from laser stick to broomstick. One of my all-time favorite comedians Demetri Martin designed this hilarious line-chart below that illustrates how — at some point — a girl’s cuteness is futile against the time she talks about her cat.
demetri martin

But make no mistake. All ladies who are “crazy” about their cat(s) are NOT Crazy Cat Ladies — categories A and B respectively. There is a very clear fe-LINE between the TWO. And never shall the twain meet.

  • Category A
  • Category B

Simplest measure:

A: Has 1-3 cats, tops

B: Lost count 2 years ago

*************

A: Wears cute Etsy-bought shirts with the occasional, cat-screen-printed graphic.

B: Wears a terry-cloth bathrobe and gardening Crocs

**************

A: Hair is done-up in a neat bob or sweet do
B: Hair is matted and knotted from constant paw kneading

***************

A: Cat sleeps on the bed with her at night
B: Cats sleep on the bed while she sleeps on a waterproof mattress pad on the kitchen floor

***************
A: While out with friends, she devotes 10 minutes to cat-related convo, tops
B: She hasn’t joined her group of friends since the intervention circle 10 months ago.

***************
A: Grocery cart: Fresh veggies, fruits, grains, meats AND a week’s worth of organic cat food
B: Grocery cart: A giant crate of bulk cat food and bottled water… ONLY!

**************
A: Occasional dander-induced sneeze

B: Regularly coughs up a hairball

***************

A: While kissing, she might try and love-bite your upper lip
B: She doesn’t kiss. She shows affection by nudging your nose with her nose

***************

A: She maintains personal hygiene with regular baths and showers
B: She avoids all high-water-pressure scenarios as they scare the kitties

****************

A: While driving to the vet, she places cat in travel-carrier on the seat next to her
B: Her license was suspended after a string of 911 calls reporting a blue sedan swerving down the highway with several cats walking across the dashboard.

*****************

A: Sees a stray cat family with a new litter of kittens on the street — Calls a kill-free animal shelter to pick them up
B: Lures kittens away from their mom with cans of tuna fish to add to her brood

*****************

A: Cradles her friend’s newborn baby boy and rocks him to sleep
B: Tries to hold her friends newborn by the nape of his neck

*****************

A: Takes a spot of cream with her morning coffee
B: Drinks 5 glasses of warm milk a day

*****************

A: At the beach — She tinkles in the ocean
B: At beach — She pees on the shore and kicks a fresh pile of sand over the spot to cover it

*****************

A: She sees one rat in her house and immediately calls pest control
B: She intentionally goes to the pet stores and buys out the snake-feed rats to keep her cats happy

******************

A: She goes to IKEA and buys cute cat toys along with her BORGSJO bookshelves
B: She goes to IKEA and asks customer service if she can just buy the empty cardboard BOXES that the furniture comes in

******************

A: Car bumper sticker reads: “I HEART (CAT PIC)”
B: Car bumper sticker reads: “My child’s poop gave your child a brain parasite.”

Nerdy Romantic’s Online Dating Dictionary

In honor of Honey Boo-Boo — virtual “High Six’s” for everyone!

Mailbag Monday has arrived.

Dear Nerdy Romantic,

This particular situation has happened 3 times now in the last year: I meet a guy online. His relationship status reads “Separated.” We exchange several emails in which he flat out says he and his ex are ‘totes over.’ They just haven’t filed the paperwork yet because (said one guy) ‘it’s too freaking expensive to get a divorce right now’ — OR — (said another) ‘they’re trying to ease their children into the transition.’

Then we meet in person and in the middle of our date, the truth comes out: he stills lives with his wife and they continue to carry on a sexual relationship.

When did online dating become the game “Bullshit” — the guy puts down a card and I have to guess whether he’s lying or not?

Sincerely,
a Sucker Born

Okay “Sucker.” I will give you exactly 5 seconds to feel sorry for yourself. (Bum)

rockyAnd then, you’re going to tear off your pity pajamas. (Bum-BUM-bum)

rockyAND put on that iconic matching grey sweatsuit and black ski cap. (BUM-BUM-BUM-bum-bum-bum)

rockyTraining Is In Session. And you — my little light-weight — are now armed with the ultimate secret weapon: An Online Dating Dictionary. My own personal Sexicon compiled after months of sweat, blood and tears decoding the words and images in guys’ online dating profiles.

Breathe it, live it, be it. And in the end, you will be “crapping thunder” and going all 15 rounds with Apollo “King of Sting” Creed himself.

Nerdy Romantic’s Online Dating Dictionary

(This is a “LIVING” reference guide; meaning, it is ALWAYS open to new submissions.)

— “Numbers” —

(Favorite time of day) 4:20: TRANSLATION — The only jewelry I will ever give you is a pot-smoke-ring.

(Height) 5’5″ & below: TRANSLATION — True to form.(P.S. Peter Dinklage is all manaliciousness!)

5’11”: TRANSLATION — 5’6″ to 5’9″. You’re not fooling anyone

6′ & over: TRANSLATION — Tall glass o’ water.

35 & older male; seeking women between the ages of 18 and 24; no education: TRANSLATION — Strip-Club Owner.

(Income) $150,000 & above, yet on OK Cupid: TRANSLATION — Not denominated in “US” Dollars, but rather in “Zimbabwean” Dollars.

— “A” —

Actor in a lot of “indie” projects: TRANSLATION — In L.A., I worked the Craft Service table on movie sets.

Auto technician: TRANSLATION — Grease monkey

Avante Gartist: TRANSLATION — I use my monthly, mental-health benefit checks to buy macaroni-noodle supplies, etch-a-sketches, and tiny toe-nail clippers to prune the bonsai tree growing out of my bathtub.

— “B” —

(In profile picture) Bushy Gray Beard: Translation — If the guy is neither Kenny Rogers, Santa Claus, or the Gorton Fisherman, then he is definitely trying to hide something beneath his beard; most likely, a second family.

(Looking for a woman who is) Beautiful on the inside and out: TRANSLATION — She must have Donna Reid’s brain and Gisele Bundchen’s body.

(I like) Bipedal forward propulsion: TRANSLATION — I am Rain Man

(Favorite movie) Black Swan: TRANSLATION — Favorite movie: “Wild Things,” which I’m watching right now on my laptop for the 33rd time as I fill this section out on my iPhone.

Brooklyn is my favorite place on the entire planet: TRANSLATION — I lived in Williamsburg for 6 months before the city did to my ‘too-cool-for-school’ attitude what a Dementor does to a wizard’s soul.

— “C” —

Raised Catholic but not religious: TRANSLATION — The guilt rendered after 15 years of Sunday school is burnt so deeply into my subconscious that every second of sexual gratification I feel is forever marred by paranoia, remorse, and the insatiable need to shower.

(Favorite author) Chuck Palahniuk: TRANSLATION — I am a Dude-Brah. I have man-parts. I eat meat. Grunt.

(Profession) Comedian: TRANSLATION — “Take a good look at my face, you’ll see my smile looks out of place, look a little closer it’s easy to trace”, the track-marks of my intravenous drug use.

Condom Chomper: TRANSLATION — Child, a.k.a. I’ve had a vasectomy and will never reverse it no matter how much you beg.

(Profession) Creative-Marking executive: TRANSLATION — I wrap my car in advertisements for money.

— “D” —

(In pictures I’m wearing) Deck shoes and Drinking “Black & Tan” beer: TRANSLATION — I am a Jagbomb.

(Profile is filled with) Dos Equis Man quotes: TRANSLATION — I’m the Most Uninteresting Man in the World.

Drama-Free zone: TRANSLATION — My last girlfriend shot me with a poisoned dart gun because her virtual Small World cockapoo told her to.

Drinks:

  • ‘No Way’: TRANSLATION — Only on special occasions like Christmas, a spaceship shuttle launch, or Tuesdays.
  • ‘Occasionally’: TRANSLATION — I am the King of Karaoke
  • ‘Regularly’: TRANSLATION — I woke up the other day on a park bench with my bicycle chained to my ankle, spooning a homeless man named Mr. Snuffleupagus.

— “E” —

(Last read) The Economist: TRANSLATION — I believe a highly accommodative Federal Reserve monetary policy is the solution to stimulating job growth, and the last thing I read was “Playboy.”

ESTP: Meyers-Briggs personality type. TRANSLATION — Expecting Stupid Test (gets me in your) Pants

(Profession) Experimental Musician: TRANSLATION– I play the ukulele in a Klezmer-Bauhaus cover band. We are big in Azerbaijan.

— “F” —

(Likes) Face paint and Faygo: TRANSLATION– I’m just a Juggalo.

(Favorite movie) Fight Club: TRANSLATION — No shit Sherlock.

— “G” —

(Last read) Garden & Gun Magazine: TRANSLATION — Last read “Playboy.”

(Likes) Goblin cider (and/or Butter Beer): TRANSLATION — I will want to role play with you

— “H” —

I HATE filling out these things: TRANSLATION — I just want to get laid but the girls on Craigslist personals are all whackadoos whose driver’s licenses have been revoked.  

(Profession) Health & Wealth Instructor: TRANSLATION — I flunked out of graduate school. No PHD in psychology? No Problem. I received my Life Coach certification after completing a 5-day intensive online course.

— “I” —

ICP: TRANSLATION — Insane Clown Posse

— “J” —

(Prefers) Jewish women: TRANSLATION — I really, really, really, really hope the rumors are true because I can NOT take another Baptist blue-baller.

— “K” —

Kid at heart: TRANSLATION — Man child

(Have) Kids? NO: TRANSLATION —

  • Don’t have kids
  • Technically YES but a court-ruled Protective Order ensures my ex-wife has full custody
  • Technically NO; my ex-girlfriend is only 5 months along

— “L” —

(Profession) Lighting engineer: TRANSLATION — I do the laser star-fields at Burning Man, man.

LOOKS are not important; it’s a woman’s personality and good nature that matters: TRANSLATION — Not being attractive is a total deal-breaker.

— “M” —

(Favorite movies) The Matrix, When Nietzsche Wept, They Kill Horses Don’t They: TRANSLATION — I’m a philosophy major. Stick with me, and you’ll be flying in Zone 4 Style. (See: “Higher Education”)

MENSA member: TRANSLATION — I memorize SNAPPLE Real Facts. Did you know the average human will eat an average of 8 spiders while sleeping? I did.

(Profession) Merchant Marine fisherman: TRANSLATION — I once killed a man just to watch him die.

— “N” —

(Last read) National Geographic: TRANSLATION — I smell of pine, know how to communicate with humpback whales, and the last thing I read was “Playboy.”

— “O” —

Open marriage: TRANSLATION — My wife thinks I spend my Saturdays at Bible Study group

— “P” —

(#1 thing I can’t live without) PBR: TRANSLATION: I should be in AA

(Profession) Pet masseuse: TRANSLATION — I flunked out of veterinary school for selling horse tranquilizers on the black market.

No PICTURE in profile: TRANSLATION — I’m either married or look like the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Plushopheliast: TRANSLATION — I only have sex while wearing a furry koala costume.

His PROFILE name includes any of the following words:

sex, salami, Mr. Johnson, doggie style, hot beef stick, pound the punanni, God’s gift, funbags, chief, wong4u.

TRANSLATION — His penis is the size of a Gherkin

(Favorite movie) Princess Bride: TRANSLATION — This is actually my ex’s favorite movie, whom I will never get over, and whose beauty and grace will haunt me like the Tell Tale Heart until I gratefully die.

(Profession) Puppeteer: TRANSLATION — I am a control freak

PUSH the limits of my body and mind: TRANSLATION — I am into erotic asphyxiation.

— “R” —

(I enjoy) Rainy days in bookstores: TRANSLATION — I really, really, really need to get laid

(Profession) Repels off tall buildings: TRANSLATION — Skyscraper window cleaner

— “S” —

(I have a) Sarcastic sense of humor that is often misinterpreted: TRANSLATION — I am a complete dick

Separated: TRANSLATION — I am actively seeking a new partner to replace my current girlfriend/wife while SHE is at home needle-pointing me and our pet Yorke matching wool sweaters for winter.

(Profile picture) Shirtless mirror shot with cellphone: TRANSLATION — I’m hoping my rippling abs and bulging biceps detract from the fact that my voice is as high as a pre-pubescent school girl at a Justin Bieber concert.

Smokes:

  • “No Way”: TRANSLATION — Pot doesn’t count
  • “Occasionally“: TRANSLATION — Only when I drink, which is hardly Never.
  • “Regularly“: TRANSLATION — I breathe through a hole in my throat

— “V” —

Vegan: TRANSLATION — I am a documentary film maker. I’m always hungry. I think I’ll make a movie about being a hungry vegan.

 

— “Y” —

(Newest interest) Yoga: TRANSLATION — I’m really hoping to nail this Tantric thing down come winter.

 

The RETRIEVERS is Reborn

Okay my precious peeps, put some water on the kettle, tuck yourself nice and tight into your Snuggie, pop a NoDoz or 2, and make yourself comfortable BECAUSE today’s Mailbag Monday is going to take a while.

Dear Nerdy Romantic,

You can file this email under “W” for “walk of shame.” About 3 weeks ago, I had one of those unbelievable dates you see in the movies: It started early in the night at a coffee shop and ended with us sitting on the rooftop level of a parking garage sharing our thoughts on the universe till dawn. He kissed me “good day” and we made plans to have dinner and a movie at his apartment that Friday. He mentioned he was the last living soul to still own a VCR so I decided to bring over my VHS copy of “Harold & Maude.”

Crucial side note: This movie was a gift from my favorite uncle Dan on my 13th birthday. He was the one man in my life who encouraged me to pursue my love of art despite its 1-in-a-billion success rate. He died in a car accident shortly after that birthday, but every time I watch that video, I feel his big bear hug wrap around me with love and support.

My date and I barely made it past the hanging scene before finding our way to his bedroom and — well, you know the rest. The next morning, I woke up to the sound of him getting dressed. He acted distant and said he was really “swamped” at work and would try and call when his schedule opened up. I have no clue what words came out of my mouth next BUT I found myself halfway back home when it hit me: I left my copy of “Harold & Maude” in his VCR.

I’ve accepted the fact that he and I are not meant to be. But I can’t accept losing that video.  Every time I try and call him, though, I get tongue-tied and hang up. What do you suggest I do?

Desperately Seeking Maude

Well Mrs. Chasen, the “Computer Dating Services” of our day may still “screen out the fat and ugly.” But they certainly drop the ball when it comes to weeding out the jacktards and dillweeds.

So, “Desperately Seeking Maude” — this is where things get personal, real personal.

It was 5 years ago. I was living in San Franciscone. One afternoon, I asked my friend Chloe if she wanted to ride bikes to the theater and catch a Sunday matinee.

“I’d love to,” she hesitated, “Except for the fact that I left my bicycle at this guy’s office and haven’t had the nerve to ask for it back.”

“What do you mean?” I inquired innocently. “It’s your bike. It’s Mr. Blue Wheels. Why doesn’t he just drop it by your apartment or you go pick it up?”

To make a shlong story short, the last time Chloe saw this guy, she was collaborating with him on a design project at his studio.  After a few hours of work, they took a break at a nearby bar. 5 shots of Jimmy Beam later (4 for him, 1 for her), he proposed they play hide the salami back at his place. She politely rebuffed his offer and the guy proceeded to throw a very public tantrum about her “total bullshit teasing.” Chloe made a mad dash for the exits, hailed a cab home, and left Mr. Blue Wheels in the cold, dark hallway of the guy’s studio.

Two weeks later, and many anxiously aborted attempts to recover Blue, THE RETRIEVERS was born.

— The snack bar is now open for a 15-minute intermission —

The concept: A Repo service for those too embarrassed, hurt, ashamed, etc… to go back for that which was left behind. It started off as a practical joke. For kicks, I wrote the following advertisement:

“Did some bad break-up or awkward one-night stand wake-up have you some lover’s house in a hurry, a frantic flurry, so that you ended up leaving some cherished item behind? Well then, contact the Retrievers.

It could be as small as the left earring stud or as large as a bicycle; a book, boxer shorts, a letter declaring your love, a CD, a DVD, a pet dog? Whatever the item, now the humiliation or shame of the situation makes it impossible to go back and get it; Can’t call for fear of hearing that voice; seeing that face.

If having that object back in your possession is desperately important, leave the dirty work to us. With an address, we will go and retrieve your abandoned keepsake AND return it to an anonymous location of your choice, no questions asked, no appearances necessary.”

Chloe took the extra step of posting the ad in the Missed Connections section of Craigslist, including an email address, just to see if anyone would respond.

What happened next would revolutionize my idea of the isolated suffering of individual heartbreak.

Immediately, our inbox was flooded with these heart-rending, gut-spilling emails: All across the country, from Seattle to Connecticut, story after story of people mourning lost items from the messy aftermath of one-night stands to long-term live-ins.

But they all were experiences in a far distant past, slumbering memories roused again by our ad. The players long since moved on, but the need to retell the incident renewed, along with a bemused wish that “the RETRIEVERS had been around back then.”

Meanwhile — an art magazine reporter requested an interview with the Public Relations department of our company for a story on “Escape Businesses.”

Next — a woman in New York asked if The Retrievers was hiring for East Coast representatives.

And finally, boingboing featured our ad in its June 14, 2007 blog post: (Check it out!)

We struck a chord. The people had spoken. So, Chloe and I decided to try this RETRIEVERS gig on for realz. Chloe designed a flier out of our original ad and we went around the city taping it to lampposts and coffee shop bulletin boards.

retrieversAnd we waited. And we waited some more. But the emails continued to fall into the “Could’ve Used You Then” category. As if the simple telling was a kind of reclamation — redemption for a painful betrayal in the past. But nobody requested that The Retrievers actually recover a lost item in the present…

UNTIL NOW!

To “Desperately Seeking Maude,” for you and others like you — Chloe and I have decided to relaunch The RETRIEVERS, part deux, in the spirit of sequels that don’t suck (think: Empire Strikes Back and the Godfather II.) We are bigger and badder and relocated in 2 major metropolitan areas of Atlanta and NYC.

The RETRIEVERS are striking back against abandoned objects everywhere. Our services include:

  • An objective phone call
  • Email
  • Dorm (if in college) visit or public meeting ground
  • OR — the simple cathartic telling of your story.

“Desperately Seeking Maude,” in hindsight, you might come to see that your uncle’s spirit is no dimmer without the video AND that his real gift to you was an enduring confidence to remain true to yourself AND an unconditional love that transcends space and time.

P.S. The RETRIEVERS I’s only real and successful repo mission was the recovery of Chloe’s bike, Mr. Blue, who happily resides now in Brooklyn:

The RETRIEVERS:

Atlanta contact: theretrieversatl@gmail.com

NYC contact: theretrieversnyc@gmail.com

(IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: The RETRIEVERS is not in the business of indulging in any passive-aggressive acts of intentional-object-leaving in hopes of forcing a reunion with thwarted lovers.)

The “WE”-totaler’s Dilemma

Hello my patient and loyal readers. It’s time to remove your jaw-clenching dental guards because the deferred episode of “Mailbag Monday” has arrived. So, let’s not waste another nanosecond on hooey:

Dear Nerdy Romantic,

About 2 months ago I started seeing a guy I met on a popular online dating site. I really like him and think this could be something really special…but for one tiny problem:

In my previous relationships, I’ve been a bit of a “Desperate Debbie.” I go from zero-to-breaking-the-sound-barrier in 60 seconds and within a week I’m buying matching bath towels with our monogrammed initials.

But this time, I’m trying to ease back and get some perspective. It helps (or hurts?) that he requires a good deal of space; i.e. we get together twice or 3-times a week. This is totally unchartered territory and I have no clue how to navigate the time we don’t see each other. Do I call just to check in? I guess my question is — how do you ensure distance makes the heart grow fonder instead of just becoming distance?

Wow, okay. This is a doozy. But it helps that there really is only 1, single solitary place to start answering:

barney“Sharing Is Caring” chants that lovable, Prozac-snorting purple dinosaur Barney. Sure, good, fine. But what his Play-Doh-eating fan base is too young to realize is this:

When you grow up — i.e. start using your “woo-woos” and “fee-fees” for realzies — sharing can also become SCARING the crap out of someone and sending them running for the hills with no forwarding address.

It’s a fine line. And I have to wonder whether you (the self-proclaimed former “Desperate Debbie”) have in fact been on the wrong side of it — OR — whether you’ve just been with the wrong person. The distinction is this:

Door Number 1:

You’ve realized after a life of heart-doodling-around-last-name-sharing that your need to infiltrate every pore of your lover’s existence is rooted in some negative pattern of childhood abandonment that if continued, will either:

  1. Do to any potentially healthy relationship what a blaring siren does to a baking soufflé, or —–
  2. Trap you in a creepy, interconnected, ever-churning cycle of codependency that is the stuff of certain horror movies:

flowers in the atticIt’s safe to say the children of Christopher and Corrine Dollanganger — Cathy, Chris, Carrie, & Corey — would have preferred if their parents had gone to a few Al-Anon meetings.

Door Number 2:

You’re trying to change who you are, fundamentally, to fit who think the other person wants.

Because here’s the thing: There is no shortage of “WE” seeking men out there. Guys whose very dream is a sentence-finishing, bar-of-soap-sharing, iPhone calendar synching, peeing with the door open, pet name giving, kiss-blowing and “I miss you already” saying when you walk into a different room in the same house LADY.

This we-lationship could totally work, So Long As both parties are into it. And then, it becomes this two-minds-melding-into-one symbiosis. Like an angler fish and a bio-luminescence: the glowing organism lures pray straight into the sharp-toothed fish’s mouth, and in return, the fish provides a steady stable home for the bio to live on.

(Enter “Finding Nemo” heart sigh here)

PERSONALLY, I’d rather put my head in the direct path of 2 charging rams than be in that kind of we-lationship — but that’s just me.

This is you we’re talking about. Now, IF — after all of this — you are still sure of your choice in Door Number 1, then let’s walk through it:

You are entering the life of a “WE”-totaler. Cold. Turkey. No more binge-linking your names into one. In this world, Renee Zellweger doesn’t say “You complete me,” to Jerry Maguire. She says, “You complement me, in all my independent desires and separate interests.”  

It’s not about the QUANTITY of time you spend together, but rather the quality. About being comfortable in your own skin and in your own space — AS well as when those spaces converge.

I can’t remember where I heard this story. I think it was in grade school, while learning to distinguish between the different geometric shapes. But I think about it in terms of what I consider to be a balanced relationship. Here goes my greatly paraphrased version:

Sitting at the edge of a steep cliff, there is this giant, multi-sided, rhomboid-like mis-shape; all points askew and asymmetric angles struggling to organize themselves in such a way that the piece as a whole can get to the bottom of the hill. But no matter how hard it reconfigures itself, the shape won’t budge. Finally, it gets so angry and frustrated, that it breaks apart into 2 perfectly rounded circles. Looking at each other from across the cliff side, the 2 circles delightedly roll down the hill together, side by side.

In the end, no matter what kind of relationship you’re in, remember this: “That which is for you, will not pass you.”

“Higher” Education, as in 30,000 feet up in the air “high”

airplaneToday’s regularly scheduled “Mailbag Monday” has been postponed for the end of the week due to a brief sabbatical in south Florida. But just to prove that even though my physical person goes away on vacation doesn’t mean the gold lame (accent over the e) jumpsuit wearing Richard Simmons of my mind ceases to sweat its balls off.

In fact, it was in the airport itself where the inspiration for today’s post struck me. So, without further ado —

I, in my wander-lusting heart of hearts, love to see the world — whether the destination be an exotic country 4000 miles across the planet OR an unexplored city 400 miles across the border.

But by dental dam if I don’t hate, hate, hate the process of actually getting to those places.

Seriously, I hate airplane travel more than Thanksgiving Tofurkey AND bad tippers AND Toddlers & Tiaras. As a germaphobe and bad-lighting-a-phobe and general people-phobe, you can imagine why being herded into a linoleum feedlot of recycled air and public diaper changes and human Petri dishes could send me breathing into a paper bag. But on this recent trip, I peeled back that sweet Vidalia onion of neurosis and discovered a whole new layer of discontent underneath —–

Airplane travel — from arrival to departure — is a microcosm for the entire college experience — from enrollment to graduation — as an English major. (read: Bachelor of Fine (f)Arts)

BECAUSE you’re in for a bumpy metaphor:

Freshman Year/ARRIVAL

First day of orientation. You show up all Pollyanna bright eyes and eager — 4 hours ahead of schedule.  There is a tearful familial send off. Then, on your own now, you walk up to the registrar’s desk/CHECK-IN COUNTER and get your dorm/SEAT assignment. In the year/HOUR that follows:

You just “take-it-all-in.” You peruse the airport art and read the historical placards in their entirety. You stop in at a cute cafe, order a hot chocolate with whip cream, and pull out your battered, dog-eared copy of the ubiquitous literary tome “The Pound Era.” You then go to airport Brookstone and – still having daddy foot your finances – splurge on a $99 chiropractical neck pillow AND travel-sized Foosball table to play with all the new friends you’re definitely going to make next year.

Sophomore Year/SECURITY CHECKPOINT:

(A.K.A. Your first sexual experience)

You stand in a long line with your ID out of its holder. You show it to a bouncer/SECURITY GUARD and are ushered through to the local open-mic dive bar/BACKSCATTER FULL BODY SCAN MACHINE. The guy/TSA OFFICER is fully clothed but can see you in all your naked glory.

You hold your hands over your head for exactly 1-2-3 SECONDS and it’s over. You walk out, rush to put your shoes back on, and gather your belongings before causing a 20-person pileup on the rapidly moving conveyor belt of virgin English majors waiting to get plucked by their very own Heathcliff.

Junior Year/DEPARTURE TERMINAL:

By year/HOUR 3, “Little House on the Prairie” English major life has become “Brokedown Palace.” Since arriving, you’ve somehow managed to lose a few articles of clothing, including your travel Foosball table balls. You’re hungry again, but now – without daddy footing your finances – your dietary standards have dropped alongside your GPA: You grab a pancake scrambler from the pop-up Krystal, toss  the 40-pound “Pound Era” opus in one of those Smart-Pack compacting trash cans, and replace it with US Weekly and Star.

Senior Year/ BOARDING:

Year/HOUR 4: Boarding. The “ZONES” represent the ability of various majors to acquire gainful employment after graduation.

  • First Class, Platinum Preferred: Pre-med, Pre-law, Pharmacy, Business
  • Zone 1: Management, Computer/Web Design, Engineering, Architecture
  • Zone 2: Linguistics, Speech Therapy, Psychology, Forestry
  • Zone 3: Music, Dance, Broadcast Journalism, Theater
  • Zone 4 — YOU: Creative Writing, Studio Art, Philosophy, Anything with the word “Theory” in it, and all “Independents.” **** This also happens to be the part of the airplane most likely to be torn asunder and incinerated in a crash.

As an English major, you are in the very last row of the airplane, right by the bathrooms. 34 B: You wedge yourself between 2, 300-pound Tweedledee Dee and Tweedledum-looking brothers who smell of burnt coffee grounds and boiled cabbage.

You use your remaining line of AMEX credit to keep the on-board Bacardi’s coming, pop a Xanax, and fall asleep drooling on “Dee’s” shoulder.

Graduation/LANDING:

Unlike the tear-soaked sendoff leading to freshman year, now nobody is there to greet you. You claim your baggage and find the airport transit station.  You get on the subway. One stop in, a schizophrenic homeless man wearing a “I Heart Zack Morris” sweatshirt and holding a mason jar of his own piss sits down right next to you.

You stare at a poster hanging on the wall of the train: It’s a smiling woman who is a “Real Life” graduate of trade school “X.” Underneath it reads “From classroom to boardroom, find the job of your dreams.”

What you don’t know then is — as an English major — the only place you will have a framed picture of yourself is on the “Employee of the Month” board in the coffee shop break room where you will work for the next 5 years before opting to use your writing skills to bang out copy for a financial forecasting firm.

“In Your Eye” — from Say Nothing

Happy Friday everyone! Today I wanted to spice things up with a little musical number. And, in keeping with the theme of online dating sites being Passive Aggressive Playgrounds (See: “F View”) — this ditty is about the ultimate DSM of mental disorders:  the Match.com “Wink.”

the screamMy song is titled “In Your Eye,” based tightly on Peter Gabriel’s iconic hit — made famous by Lloyd Dobler’s boombox serenade in Say Anything. My version is for the real-life, “WINKING” wanker, chain-yanker internet match known as Say Nothing.

Plus, I needed an excuse to sit around watching John Cusack movie clips all afternoon.

What I would give for a bouncing sing-along-ball…..