My Top 5 Good Things for Getting Through These Dark Times

Welp, Donald Trump is President of the United States.

I’m not going to get terribly political here but I’ll just say this wasn’t my first choice.

And with how quickly news spreads these days, especially considering the media’s got this guy under a microscope, it’s been pretty easy to feel bummed out, to say the least.

While I do feel called to fight much of this, fiercely and ferociously, sometimes you just need a quick fix of good things and good thoughts (provided you can temporarily turn off the thought of all the people who don’t have the good things).

Tasty Videos: Nothing better to put your mind at ease than watching delicious things being mixed together to make delicious food. Watching these videos is so relaxing! Seeing different things working together, complementing one another, into a giant melting pot filled with sense, reason, kindness, and acceptance. Imagine that!

Pictures and videos of dogs being dogs: Need I explain? We should all be more like dogs.

We’re due a messiah any day now! Whether you believe he already stopped by once or not, there is a chance we’ll get a savior very soon! And if you see a big, hairy guy with a pink umbrella or a very pale, winged person dressed in white, it could be you!

This is a terrific time for comedy. With badness comes satire and with satire comes laughter. I’ve been watching more Saturday Night Live than I have in my entire life. I feel like anyone could just go onstage at an open mic and say, “Donald Trump is our president,” and that would be enough material for a whole set. Guys, this guy is our president. Previous credits include host of The Apprentice and Orange is the New Orange.

Good exists. Fundamentally, I believe most people are good, and that if you encounter hatred, combat it with kindness. Be a citizen. Be a door holder. Be present, listen intently, research fiercely, and, most importantly, consider the lobster. Each one of us only gets one life and I think we should be doing our best to make it as easy for each other as possible.

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My Top 5 Paris Gellar-isms

I had an entry prepared for last week that discussed how I was trying to mine for hope after the presidential election results came out, but ultimately decided against posting it because a) I was trying to promote an understanding that I was having a hard time experiencing and b) I was trying to make sense of something that didn’t make sense to me, and so the resulting entry was essentially nonsense.

But onward and awkward. Let’s talk about the Gilmore Girls revival. Because while women will have to continue to wait for societal equality, we will no longer have to wait for more quick, witty banter, obscure pop culture references, and Emily Gilmore zingers.

I love Gilmore Girls. It was one of my favorite shows growing up and I perhaps love it even more now. I associate it with these feelings of complete comfort and acceptance. The Stars Hollow universe was a place where people could just kind of be who they were, and when I was young, I really wanted a place like that, even if I really had no idea who I was.

In my not-always-popular opinion, the two best characters on Gilmore Girls are Emily Gilmore and Paris Gellar. It is rare to find fully-fleshed, completely grounded, complex female characters on television, and the Palladinos absolutely nailed it with these two. Plus, truthfully, I’m a bit biased because Emily reminds me of my own mother and grandmother in many ways and because Paris Gellar reminds me of me, especially me in high school and the first ½ of college—a young girl so terrified of loneliness and inadequacy that she refuses to emotionally connect with anyone, out of fear that they will make her feel lonely and inadequate, and in turn directly causes her own loneliness and perpetuates her own feelings of inadequacy (well, social inadequacy, at any rate. To compensate, she throws all of herself into feeling intellectually adequate, which I can also really relate to). A couple months ago when that “Post Your 3 Fictional Characters” thing was all over the internet, I never ended up posting mine because I firmly concluded Liz Lemon and Paris Gellar, and then I couldn’t decide between Hermione Granger and Daria. Probably will go with Hermione because it makes me less worried about myself.

Anywho, in honor of the revival, here are my top 5 most Paris Gellar-isms.

  1. I have this notion ingrained in my head that there is a right way to “do” parties, that socializing is a completely objective thing that I can crack scientifically through hypotheses, trial, and error. Therefore, I get excited when I go out somewhere, in the hopes that I will figure it out this time. Instead, I end up woefully disappointed and profusely regret not staying home.
  2. Yesterday, at work, I got into a heated argument about apostrophes. One of my biggest grammatical pet peeves is that many think adding an apostrophe and an “s” on a word that is not normally pluralized is the proper way to pluralize it. That is not true. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s true. I waited until everyone was gone and corrected the offending bulletin board that caused the problem in the first place.
  3. After I see a movie, I immediately start commenting on all the flaws in the script. It takes me days to decide whether or not I enjoyed it.
  4. I have a vivid memory of when I was six-years-old and some boys were making fun of me. Of course it was getting to me but instead of outwardly crying, I just looked straight at them and said, “You are primitive knuckle-draggers who don’t understand anything about anything and choose to translate your confusion into obnoxious behavior. I will not be a victim to such stupidity. Good day gentlemen.” (My grandmother watched me a lot when I was a kid and she was a big vocabulary advocate.) They just looked at me, silently, like I was nuts. Then another girl told them to eat poop. This girl ended up being my best friend for a really long time.
  5. You should see my boyfriend and me dance. Classic Paris and Doyle.

Further to the point, Paris and I also share the same bitchy resting face. I would love to see her reaction to someone telling her to smile. Also, when I argue, I argue loudly, firmly, and I talk as fast as I can. I like to think I picked that up from her.

November 25th can’t get here fast enough!!!!

The Top 5 Most Awkward Public Bathroom Situations

I haven’t done a Top 5 post in awhile, and this is a topic I’ve put a lot of thought into recently, now that I am in an office building with stall bathrooms (my last office building only had two co-ed, individual bathrooms, where men and women from all over the floor would go to have a nooner, which may merit a post in and of itself).

Public bathrooms are tremendously efficient, but they are by their own nature very flawed. By creating the public bathroom, society took processes that we have been taught are the most private things and have made them…well, public. We have become forced to share the most intimate aspects of ourselves with strangers, in an enclosed space. No behavior is safe in a public bathroom.

Because of this, they breed self-consciousness. Because of this, they are awkward incubators.

The Acoustics: What sort of sadistic bastard designed these things? Fun fact: bathrooms are number 4 on the most reverberant rooms, after cathedrals, concert halls, and speaking venues. Seriously, dude?! Sure, let’s just take the noisiest materials and make people pee on them. That’ll be fun. Then everybody waiting on the ever-present, inexplicably long line will have something to listen to. They can get an extra bit of excitement if I have to open a pad. Oh, who me? Nope, I don’t have my period. I’m just enjoying a nice bag of Doritos on the can. Don’t mind me. La di da.

The best are the people who think they stand a fighting chance of covering up their bodily sounds by rolling the toilet paper, flushing repeatedly, or turning on the faucet. Cry woe, everyone. Cry woe for the naïve. There is no escape. Pee streams are one of God’s most powerful creations.

No Toilet Paper: Has anyone ever been in a more terrifying situation than when you’ve rushed into the first empty stall you’ve found to finally relieve yourself, only to discover there is no more toilet paper? Has there ever been a time in which your critical thinking, emotional strength, and grace under pressure has been more greatly tested?

You do have options in such a situation. You can find auxiliary toilet paper in your bag. Surely the Duane Reade receipt won’t sting as much as you think it might. You can just shake it dry like a wet puppy and hope for minimal discomfort, but then there is that feeling in your heart (and in your pants) that everyone who sees you that day will know what you’ve done and will hate you for it.

You can bend to see if there is someone in the stall next to yours. If there is nobody, you can enter Cirque du Soleil mode and carefully contort your body to reach underneath for some toilet paper, and nobody is any the wiser. If there is somebody in the stall, you can ask them for toilet paper, but then they hand you a ball of toilet paper crumpled up in their palm, and I mean, you know what they’re doing in there and you know they haven’t washed their hands either. Plus, you open up the possibility for stall talk. More on that later.

Of course, no matter what, there is that the next person who rushes into the stall before you can shout your cautionary cry, and they are only able to make one of two assumptions: 1) You’re the dick who used the last of the toilet paper or 2) You’re the weirdo who doesn’t use toilet paper. You can’t win. As women, we are at the mercy of toilet paper.

Clogged Toilets: If you accidentally clog a toilet, and no one is around to see, does that mean it actually happened? You can tell a lot about a person’s moral compass when they’ve owned up to clogging a public toilet. It’s only happened to me once. And as I felt a surge of water splash over my butt, my eyes widened with panic. I had no loved ones I could call, no one I could trust. My compass was spinning in a whirlwind of right and wrong. Ultimately, I decided the best call was to put on a pair of sunglasses, wrap my scarf around my head, put my jacket on over my now wet pants, and pass a written tip to the first person I saw. My moral compass remains solidly pointed Northeast to this very day.

The Stall Talker: If there was a reality show called Public Bathroom Showdown, I’d be the one who didn’t go there to make friends. Perhaps I’m a poor multi-tasker, but I have a very hard time doing what I have to do while the person in the stall next to me is expecting me to engage in polite conversation. Someone once asked me if there was anything worse for me than small talk, and I wish at the time that I had been clever enough to say, “Yes, stall talk.”

It’s different if it’s your friends, of course. I’ve had fulfilling conversations with my ladies through the thin stall doors. And stall talkers have become a rarity in the age of smart phones. But then there is occasionally that one lady whose bathroom anxiety gets a little easier if she can describe her stall with excruciating detail and ask me questions about the phone numbers and evocative poetry written on my walls. The worst was when the girl in the stall next to mine was broken up with via text message and started crying and asking me for advice. I am, without a doubt, the worst person to talk to about such a thing. I have too many emotions and other peoples’ put me into overdrive. I believe I said something along the lines of, “Well, looks like this won’t be your only dump for the day,” because, ya know, humor. And this is why I’ll be alone forever.

Bottom line, keep that shit in the stall. Your literal and figurative shit. Or call someone from the stall. I don’t care if you talk to someone else. Just leave me be.

Which brings us to…

Anything Involving Poop: Since you’re on the internet, I’m guessing you also may have observed that people have figured out white men are treated better than other people. I can only assume that has been known for awhile but now, with Facebook and Twitter, we can be exposed to all kinds of new and exciting opinions. As a woman, I firmly respect feminism and all of its plights. However, I wouldn’t start the fight with wage inequality or our sexual freedoms. I would start the fight with a huge problem we face everyday: a problem we do not only face when dealing with men, but with each other.

That problem is poop shaming.

The fact that women poop makes the majority of people very uncomfortable, including women. And that is utterly ridiculous. Why do men get the comfort of being open about the fact that they poop regularly, and everyone is just okay with it, but as a woman, I do not only have to conceal the fact that I poop from my suitors, but from my own kind?

Having to pee has gotten to a very acceptable point. We can now pee without facing major consequences. Yay progress! But still, when we’ve just had our coffee, and things start kicking in down there, we have to engage in CIA-level protocol in order to complete our mission.

We breathe a sigh of relief when we find we are alone in the public bathroom. At least no one has seen us, no one would be able to identify us should we be found out.  Quickly, we choose what we hope is the most inconspicuous stall, pull up Pinterest on our smart phones, and begin.

Then someone walks in and we must abort. We know they know what we’re doing in here, but they can’t have any proof. Begin the clench! Then we hear the silence from the other stall, and now we know what they’re doing, and they know we know they know what we’re doing, and we have reached an impasse.

After a time, everyone agrees we must go forth. As long as one waits for the other to make their exit, no one will have been seen, and everyone can go home safely. But then, oh no! Someone walks in to do their makeup. And the silence ensues once more. Even though all parties have finished what they had come to do, we must wait again. Our butts are getting tired, but it’s the only way. Don’t forget to cover up your scent later on because the smell of fresh lemons and crap is enough to ward off any detective.

This must be stopped. Only when women stop ignoring this fact about ourselves, about each other, can we achieve progress. Only then can we achieve peace.

Truthfully, this list could have been a Top 10, 15, 25, 400 things. There are long lines, running out of soap, automatic sinks and towel dispensers that do not work no matter how wildly you flail, the social hierarchy of the stalls. So if you’ve got a great public bathroom story, share in the comments! And the next time you find yourself embarrassed in a public bathroom, think of me and women everywhere and know that we’re going through the exact same thing.

My Top 5 Most Awkward “Um…I Don’t Know How to Take That” Moments

Today in America, we celebrate a man who hopped on a ship to find a better way around the tip of Africa. However, he went the wrong way, landed in a strange, rural land amongst a group of locals, and told them he came from a place called Italy in the name of a place called Spain and had now “discovered” them.

Much like those natives probably felt, there have been things said to me in my dating life that have made me scratch my head and go, “Lol what?”

I am not always a tactful person. I think I have made that pretty clear. To the point where I’ve adopted the role of the listener in all of my friendships, and try to keep my words very calculated when the time comes. I have also dated some not-overly-tactful people. And here we have further proof that double negatives don’t work in psychology. –Tact+-Tact=Compliments+Offense=Um…I don’t know how to take that. (Write it down because there will be a short quiz at the conclusion of the post. Also, I’m pretty sure it was on the GRE.)

Here is a listing of the highlight reel.

5. Him: When I first met you, I thought you were the cute and innocent type. But that’s not true, is it?

I get this a lot. People often don’t know what to make of me. I look like I’m 17, sound like I’m 52, and don’t know how to hold a conversation about normal things. The combination just contributes to my awkward. The thing here is that he didn’t elaborate. Did this make me a good witch or a bad witch? What was my type, then? Does this mean I am not cute and guilty? Like a criminal? And not even a cool criminal, but the kind who gets caught and thrown in jail and never attracts the stereotypical attentions of the other criminals because of her not-cuteness but behind her harsh exterior, she just wants to feel loved, dammit? Or was it his way of saying I’m sexy and worldly? I never learned.

4. Him: I feel like you’re the kind of girl people date.

Great so…are you asking me out on a date?

This was before I understood the hook-up culture I was growing up in. I thought that dating was what people did after they had pleasant conversation and exchanged numbers at parties. I didn’t realize being “the kind of girl people date” in college pretty much completely benched you during tonsil hockey season. Also, does anyone else see that this almost contradicts what I was told by number 5? WHO THE HECK AM I, ANYWAY?!?!

3. Him: The first time I saw you, I thought, “I wouldn’t say no.”

Thanks, I guess? I mean I suppose his not ruling me out right away is what allowed us to get to know each other better and date for a bit. But even just an, “I thought you were pretty,” or, “You seemed interesting,” are very nonchalant comments that would have sufficed. I guess it’s good to know I’m not repulsive, but what does a “not no” mean? That as long as I shave my legs, I only kind of resemble a yeti?

To recap, so far we have learned that I am a not-cute, not-innocent dateable distant relative of Sasquatch.

2. Him: I’d say you’re in my top 3.

Out of how many? Top 3 what? If your top 3s are anything like my top 5s, we may have a problem here.

  1. Him: Out of 100? I’d give you an 85.

This actually isn’t a bad score, especially if a 100 is like Grace Kelly or something. But at the time he was my boyfriend of 3 months or so, and I’ve always been a bit of a Hermione Granger type about grades. A B would bring down my Girlfriend Point Average significantly.

As I write all of this, I realize I guess I go for the candid type.

Also, I think my life’s goal is for Columbus Day to be replaced with Awkward Day, when everyone can have a day off from work in the name of all that is awkward. Because that’s what America is really about.