Tuesday, April 29, 2008


So much to talk about!

First of all, last night one of my friends got us free tickets to a major local awards ceremony followed by a gigantic gala afterparty with endless amounts of free food and numerous open bars and a DJ that played until two in the morning. And this man was at the awards ceremony as an honored guest! And although I realize that may not be impressive to you, it is very impressive to me because I'm a huge nerd like that and I know far more about renowned British Shakespearean actors than anyone really needs to know. But if you just want to go, "Oh, cool, he was in Gladiator," I guess I'm okay with that. (And if you want to know what the party was, just google that man's name + the actual name of City A if you know it, and you should be able to figure out what I was up to last night).
I went to the party with a handful of my friends, and we had a really good time. The only problem is that by starting the week with a huge party, it is really hard to convince myself that I actually have work to do for the rest of the week. I don't really know how I'm going to manage all the work I have to do in the next two weeks, to be honest. So far my coping mechanism has just been to not think about it too much, although I think I need to actually start making some sort of schedule and getting organized because seriously, the end of a semester is always crazy but this is particularly insane.
Luckily there are a lot of fun things mixed in with the work this week. A party in the grad offices on Thursday night (the grad students at the other end of the hallway throw these semi-illegal parties every couple of months, and they're always great fun), a night out with a bunch of the grad students in City A on Friday night, another trip to hang out with the boy on Saturday. Oh, and I feel confident enough about this situation now to not be terribly afraid that I'm going to jinx it if I tell you about him. He has given me many indications that he is in this for real, and so I'm pretty sure that the only reason he won't be my boyfriend at this point is if I decide I don't want him to be, and so far I still can't think of a reason why I don't want him to be. So as soon as I get my act together and actually get temporarily caught up on school work I'll do a post with some of the pertinent details since it appears as though this guy is going to be in the picture for a while. At the very least he needs a pseudonym (and I guess even if for some reason he drops off the face of the earth at this point, at least it was a really good month month and I figure it's worth writing about anyway).

Oh, also, the trip to New York this weekend was great. My paper presentation went really well, especially considering how much I procrastinated in writing it. And I learned some interesting things that I should be able to put to use in my job this summer. Also, I had a great time hanging out with Kiki. Friday night involved a restaurant in Hell's Kitchen serving the closest thing to Mexican food I've managed to find on the east coast, an entire pitcher of sangria, and a late-night trip to Toys in Babeland to giggle about vibrating cock rings because sometimes when we get together we're fifteen years old. On Saturday night we went to a birthday party for two of Kiki's friends from work, and it was one of those parties where most of the guests were gay guys and all of them seemed to be there because they were some other guest's ex. In other words, it was a lot of fun! Eventually I just stopped trying to figure out who had slept with who, because it was getting far too complicated for me. Oh, and Anthony Rapp was there! He used to date one of the birthday boys. Apparently it's Stage Celebrity Week in my world. Anyway, we chatted for a while and he was friendly. All in all it was a good couple of days. I don't think I'll ever get tired of the fact that, by living here, I can now just drive to New York City for the weekend. I really should take even more advantage of the proximity, to be honest.

Basically, I'm really diggin' my life right now. Part of me feels like I need to constantly keep knocking on wood and crossing my fingers because I'm sort of blown away by how well things have been going all year. Then again, you get so few times in your life where everything is going reasonably well all at once, so I also feel like it would be stupid not to full revel in this time while I have it.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

One More Thing

I know I'm supposed to be writing a paper, and I am (if you can call my current list of quotes from book chapters, links to articles, and notes to myself in vague outline form a "paper"), but I had to take a break because guess what I just found out?

You remember Phil's whole, "Well, as far as I know she only has sex with me and as far as she knows I only have sex with her, but even though we both think we're monogamous, she's not my girlfriend because I don't CALL her my girlfriend, and therefore I can technically still sleep with whoever I want?" Well, apparently this bizarre sort of rationalization is not unique to Phil! I was talking to Kiki this evening and she said that a guy she has been flirting with recently pulled the same story on her this weekend. After insinuating last night that he wanted to come over to her apartment and hook up, she was texting him today and mentioned that she might come over to his place and he said something to the effect of, "Don't come over right now, I'm at school with the girl." And when she was like, "What girl?" He basically gave her the same spiel about how she's not sleeping with anyone else and he's not sleeping with anyone else but she's not his girlfriend because he doesn't want a girlfriend.

WTF, mates?! What is up with these men? Are you really not in a relationship these days until you have a VERY OFFICIAL TALK and sign a decree that says that you are now a part of a couple? Or maybe it doesn't count until you've changed your Facebook status to "In a relationship"?

Believe me, I get the premise of an open relationship, and there have been times in my life when an open relationship has worked quite well for me. But as far as I'm concerned, it's not an open relationship unless I can say to you, "Sorry Bob, I can't come over to your place tonight because Fred is coming over." That's an open relationship. And it does work. Trust me, I did it for years, and it was pretty much that open (or at least open enough that the next day I could say to College Ex, "Did you not call me last night because Katie came over?" and he would shrug and say, "Yeah, sorry," and I'd say, "Oh well, that's okay"). I also understand that there's always a period of time at the beginning of a relationship where you both realize you like each other and you're spending a lot of time together but you haven't yet had a talk about whether or not you want to be monogamous. And I understand that that stage can last a while, depending on the relationship. And that's fine.

But a whole year or more of being in a relationship and not defining it?! No. That is ridiculous. I think all the men on the fence need to just suck it up. Either be in a relationship and OWN IT and freakin' call her your girlfriend and treat her with the respect a girlfriend deserves, or have a talk and decide that you're in an open relationship and treat it like an open relationship. Which means being forthright about who else you are sleeping with, and actually sleeping with other people. I'm sorry, but there's no such thing as an open relationship in name only. In order for it to be an actual relationship, at least one of the parties needs to be regularly hooking up with other people (and not doing it in secret). You can't just call your relationship an open relationship on the off-chance that it might become a true open relationship someday if you meet someone else you like. That's fucking stupid.

What happened to the simplicity of being in a committed relationship and then just breaking up if there was suddenly someone else you wanted to date (or sleep with)? How does it make things any easier/better to just stay in a constant sort of limbo where, hey, you never have to feel guilty about sleeping with whoever you want because you never SAID it was a relationship. It doesn't make things easier, it just complicates the situation for everyone involved, and I'm pretty sure it doesn't save anyone's feelings from getting hurt, either.

I'm really hoping that by some strange fluke of nature Kiki and I happened to meet the only two guys in America who believe this type of not-so-open open relationship is cool. Because seriously, does dating and defining a relationship need to become even more complicated than it already has been in the twenty-first century?

But hey, maybe I'm in the minority. Maybe there are girls in the world that never need to define their relationships at all. But I'm not one of them, and I can't really think of anyone I know that would be totally cool with never ever discussing the nature of the relationship. I mean, I like relationships to progress slowly and naturally, but even I reach a point where I feel the need to ask whether or not you're my boyfriend or whether we're still cool with seeing other people. And I imagine other people like that sort of definition too, right?
Is there anyone out there who is honestly okay with not knowing whether or not the person you're climbing into bed with at night is climbing into other beds, too? Is there anyone who has ever been in a long term relationship where the question of committed-or-open just never came up? Let me know. Because it's all just way too confusing for me and I'm annoyed with these guys acting in a manner that I view as shady, but maybe I'm just not evolving fast enough.


Remember a couple of months ago when I wanted to go to the Barack Obama rally on campus but by the time I was able to get out of the class I teach and head over there the line was already stretched halfway across campus and the rally wasn't even going to start for two hours and it was only fifteen degrees outside and I was sort of under the weather and there was no guarantee that if I stood outside in the icy weather sniffling for two hours that I would even actually get into the building before it reached capacity, so I just went home instead?
Actually, maybe I never told that story here, but that's what happened. And I was a little bummed because I thought it would be cool to see a presidential candidate speak, but I just figured it wasn't meant to be.
Well, last night I finally got to see Obama speak! The guy I'm dating* lives in a city where Obama happened to be having a rally last night. We'd already planned for me to go there for the evening so we could go to a baseball game, but instead we altered our plans somewhat. We still watched the first half of the game (which was a lot of fun) and then we walked over to the rally. It was really convenient, actually, because he lives just a few blocks from where Obama was speaking so we didn't have to deal with traffic and parking.
There were a ton of people there so it's not like I was mere feet from the senator, but we still managed to get within about half a block and had a pretty good view of him as he spoke. And we could hear his speech very clearly. There was this woman standing near us who was really rowdy at first and kept shouting things like, "I love you, Obama!" and leaping around like he was a rockstar or something. Finally the rest of the crowd around me managed to give her enough dirty looks that she shut up (although not before yelling, "YOU shhhhhh!" to everyone who was hushing her). He spoke for about half an hour and didn't really say anything new. Anyone who has been following the election pretty much knows his spiel by now, and of course the convenient thing about a rally is that you can just say, "Our country needs THIS, and I can DO IT!" but you don't have to explain how you would do it. Still, I'm glad I got to see him speak. It was exciting to be there. He's definitely a charismatic guy, telling jokes and getting the crowd excited. I looked around the crowd and there were a lot of older people there but also a ton of people my age, and I think it's great that, for whatever reason, college students have been able to get interested in politics because of him. And I just hope that he wins the nomination because I am betting at this point that whoever gets the Democratic nomination will win the general election, and I seriously don't think I can handle Hillary Clinton in the White House for four years. I've tried to give her a chance, but I just can't handle her insincerity. And the crazy thing is that I think she knows that she comes across as insincere and she's trying to change that, but it's just not working. Not for me, anyway.

I'd write more but I really need to get some work done tonight. I have two papers to write this week and I need to get on it.

*He may just stick around long enough to get an official pseudonym. He's going to Europe for most of the month of May, which is one of the reasons why I'm being tentative about getting too attached at this point. But if we're still talking when he comes back to the states, well, I figure that means something (what it means I have no idea, but something).

Friday, April 18, 2008


Hi. There are only about four more weeks until I am done with my first year of PhD coursework. I have to admit, while it has been a good semester and a good year in general, I can barely wait for summer to get here. True, I'll be working all summer, but it will be nice to have a few months of doing jobs that actually end when I leave at the end of the day/night.

Things are going good around here this week. I finally caught up on grading (only to be inundated with another round of papers and quizzes from both classes on Wednesday, but at least I finished a huge chunk of it). I'm still staying just barely half a step ahead on all of my coursework, but at least I'm that half step ahead and not, like, two steps behind. My goal for this weekend is to actually finish my paper for my Tuesday evening class sometime before Tuesday at noon. Every week these papers are due (and they're really freakin' work-intensive papers to do every single week) and every week it's Tuesday morning at 6 a.m. and I'm dragging myself out of bed so I can finish working on it. I do NOT want to do that this week. Anyway, my work is going well. I'm getting positive feedback in all of my classes at the moment. Every week I feel like I have probably failed, and yet I'm getting "A"s and a lot of positive comments. I don't know at what point you finally feel secure about your work. I think in my case, the answer is probably "never," because I have been getting "A"s pretty consistently my entire life and yet I never feel like I have done anything worth praising. Then again, maybe that's just a psychological thing. If I tell myself that I did badly, then if I DO end up getting a less-than-stellar response I can just tell myself, "Well, it figures, I didn't put enough effort into it. I could have done better." And if I do manage to get an "A", I'm thrilled.

Hmmm, what else? I'm still cooking a lot. This is the first year that my New Year's resolution to cook more has actually stuck. Last week I made chicken caesar burgers. This week I've been addicted to eggs scrambled with artichoke hearts, spinach, and herb cheese. Yum. I pretty much only eat out for two meals a week now on average, and generally only one of those is fast food. It started out mostly as a way to save money, but I know it is healthier for me, too. A lot of fast food grosses me out now. Weirdly, the only fast food that still sounds appealing to me on a regular basis these days is McDonalds (which has to be the fast food that is least like actual food, don't you think?) I had Quizno's the other day for the first time in a few months and it was okay but it wasn't as good as I wanted it to be. And Taco Bell, which I used to like, literally made me gag when I tried to eat a taco from there a few weeks ago. It's so bizarre. And really, I didn't want to stop liking fast food. It's inconvenient. I just wish I could find even more time to cook since I'm discovering that even with my still-pretty-pathetic kitchen skills, most of what I can make for myself is better than most of what I can get in a drive thru.

The weather is finally really nice here! It had been cold and rainy through most of March and early April, but this week the highs are finally in the 70s and it has been beautiful and sunny. And I'm loving the spring flowers. A few weeks ago there were daffodils blooming along the highway I take to campus. Now the daffodils are dying but in their place bright red tulips have popped up. I'm in awe. The daffodils popped up while I was out of town for spring break, so the bright yellow wash of flowers along the highway was a surprise on the first morning I drove to school when I got back. I actually gasped out loud the first time I saw them because they were so nice. I think I'm okay with winter if we also get flowers like this in the spring. And I realize an entire paragraph about flowers is a bit boring, but, well, I like the simple things.

Another simple thing that has made my week? The guy I've been talking to (and I'm using "talking to" here in the literal sense, not as a silly euphemism, and I'll give him a blog name if he stays in the picture long enough) sent me a link to a website that allows you to stream movies onto your computer, so I have watched a ton of movies in the last week while I've been doing school work: No Country for Old Men, There Will be Blood, Away from Her, and Atonement. I also watched my copies of Breakfast at Tiffany's and Snatch last weekend. That's six movies in the past week, which is more movies than I had watched all year prior to this point. Now I just need to see Michael Clayton and I'll finally have seen all the best picture nominees from this year (I actually managed to see Juno in the theater). I definitely think No Country was the right choice for best picture. The suspense of that movie was intense. Normally I have no problem doing other things while I watch a movie (grading, cleaning, internet browsing, whatever) but that one drew me in to the point where I finally gave up and just sat and watched it without doing anything else for the last hour, which is very rare for me. I also loved Daniel Day Lewis in There Will Be Blood, although I thought the movie itself was a bit uneven (Is it just me, or did it feel like nothing happened in the first hour of that movie and then a bunch of stuff was crammed into the last fifteen minutes? That doesn't mean that it wasn't still compelling and watchable; even in the first hour when nothing was happening it kept my interest, but still.) Anyway, now that I have this newfound ability to access movies, do you have any recommendations for things I absolutely have to see? I currently have Michael Clayton, Once, Little Children, and Gone Baby Gone on my to-watch list since those are movies I remember hearing a lot about over the past year or so. I also want to watch Persepolis, although I'm going to have to set aside time to do that since it's a foreign language film and even I can't do other work while having to read subtitles. But yeah, that's only five movies, and at the rate I'm going these days I might very well have watched all of them by two weeks from now, and then what am I going to do? (Other than get a life, I mean)

I have a lot to do this weekend. Tomorrow I have to clean the apartment and hit the grocery store. Tomorrow night Dr. AMP is throwing a party since it's Grad Student Appreciation Week (P.S.-We get paid less than $20,000 a year and we work our butts off doing the jobs that nobody else wants to do: every week should be Grad Student Appreciation Week!) Dr. AMP invited my dog to the party. I mentioned him at the last grad student party that Dr. AMP threw, and s/he said, "Oh, you have a hound? I just love hound dogs! You should bring him over!" Well, I'd forgotten all about it until we got the party invitation and it said, "Significant others, children, and pets welcome." I figured the "pets welcome" might be directed towards me, and sure enough, my friend told me yesterday that Dr. AMP had been talking to her about the party and said, "*A* is bringing her dog, right?" She was like, "Uh, why don't you ask *A*?" So I e-mailed my RSVP and mentioned that I would bring the hound if the weather was warm enough for us to be outside, and s/he e-mailed back just this: "YES!!! Bring the hound regardless of the weather. See you there!" In other words, I don't really need to be there, but my dog damn well better be. I'm just hoping he behaves well and earns me brownie points rather than humiliating me. Because I'll admit that while I love my dog to death, but he's not the best-behaved dog in the world. He gets happy and excited to see people and he barks his fool head off, and he has a tendency to try to jump up and "kiss" people, and he thinks that the best way to befriend children is by wagging his tail like a maniac and howling in the hopes that this will make him seem approachable (of course, all this creates is a park full of sobbing toddlers with their hands over their ears). But there's no way I can't bring him when Dr. AMP is so excited. Fortunately, most people usually end up liking him, over-excited howling and all. He can be quite charming like that. And a lot of my friends who will be there have already met him and already do love him. But pretty much all of my professors will be there and all of the grad students from both sides of the department, and a bunch of ex-grad students, and apparently some visiting scholars from another school...in other words, this party could easily turn me into, "Crazy Hound Dog Owner" for the rest of my career here. Awesome.
Saturday during the day I need to get up early enough to get some work done and then I'm going out on Saturday night. Sunday is "free", except that I need to write a paper for my Tuesday class, do a bunch of research for independent study, read for all of my classes and, oh hey, I'm presenting a paper at a conference a week from Sunday and I need to actually write the damn thing. It's only a ten minute presentation and I think I can put the paper together with research I have been doing throughout the semester for other class projects, but I'm still worried about finishing it on time and making it semi-presentable.

How's that for a hodgepodge of stuff? I have a few ideas for more substantial posts in my head, posts that actually have a theme and at least a little bit of coherency. Maybe I'll actually get around to posting one soon.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Mr. Secretary

My dog gets to be in a magazine! Remember the Vote Basset website that I told you about a few months ago? (It's linked in my sidebar, if you didn't check it out at the time). Well, as a fundraiser for basset hound rescue, my friend who made the site auctioned off positions in Hoss' cabinet. All of the money raised in the auction goes to support one of the regional rescues. I put in a small bid under my dog's name, and he won! My dog is now the Secretary of Commerce! (I decided he needed to apply for that position since the job description called for someone who is well-traveled and good at picking out and receiving gifts, and that's definitely my hound!) Pictures of the "president" and all of his staff and cabinet members will be featured in the June issue of a national magazine for basset hound aficionados. Isn't that cute? I can't wait to see my boy in print! Plus I'm getting a huge kick out of referring to him as the Secretary of Commerce. For the record, the Secretary of Commerce is currently sprawled out on the couch beside me with his head resting on a pillow, like a human. What a goof.

In other news, I got the other job I interviewed for on Monday. So now for four weeks in June and July I will be the assistant director of a camp for middle school and high school students. I am thinking (hoping) it should be a pretty good situation. It's from 8:30 to 4:30 every day and it's on campus so I don't have to figure out a new commute. And they're going to pay me more than double what I'm making as a TA, so I definitely can't complain about that. This now means I'm going to be able to continue working in my actual field for more than half of the summer, and I'm actually getting paid to do so. I feel good about that. Now I just need to figure out what I'm doing for the last six weeks of summer, but I don't think I can really start looking for restaurant work until July anyway. So it's nice to have things lined up for the time being and I'm glad I get to quit doing interviews for a while.

[Insert clever transition here.] I did end up going on a date last night. But I'm still not ready to talk about it yet. Sorry. I don't know why, exactly. I just don't feel like articulating anything yet. Plus I don't want this to get all anticlimactic. I'm so used to things fizzling out (sure, they're usually fizzling out because of a decision to let it fizzle on my part, but still, fizzling out) that I'm afraid a month from now this may prove to have been not worth talking about. I'm just not sure of anything at all yet. All I know is that I keep trying to pick this guy apart, like I do with every guy I date, and so far I can't come up with a reason to stop talking to him. And we already have tentative plans to go out again next weekend. So...yeah.

Monday, April 7, 2008


My friend Stacy is going to London tonight to spend the week at a conference. I'm driving her to the airport later, and the only reason that I'm not currently trying to figure out how I can stow away on her flight is because I have yet another job interview tomorrow and it probably wouldn't be cool to skip it.*

I've spent the day being jealous, thinking about all of the things I miss about being in England. Things like Strongbow in 2 litre bottles, and the massive variety of Cadbury chocolate bars in all the convenience stores, and VKBlue (which isn't actually all that fantastic but brings back fun memories), and the fact that nobody cares if you take your beer out onto the sidewalk with you, and the eerie silence on the tube, and soccer on TV in all the sports bars, and the gigantic cabs, and the British Museum, and the Royal National Theatre, and scones with clotted cream, and Wagamama.
When I was studying in England in summer of 2004, there was a Wagamama right near the building where I went to class every morning, and at least three times a week a group of us would end up there for lunch. It was something we could get for cheap and eat fast as we planned what we were going to do with the rest of the afternoon. And it was good. I became addicted to the yaki soba. I still crave it sometimes, and few things are more frustrating to me than a food craving that I have no way to fulfill.
So just now I was already thinking about Wagamama because I want to remind Stacy to eat some yaki soba for me, and I was online browsing City A entertainment websites because apparently I'm going on a date this weekend** and I'm supposed to pick what we're doing and as usual I have no good ideas, and on one of the entertainment sites I saw a posting that said Wagamama is coming to City A!
True, it's not going to happen until sometime late this fall or early next year. And there's also a possibility that it won't be as amazing here in the U.S. where food is tastier and cheaper in general. I will admit that a large amount of Wagamama's appeal was probably that there's not much equally affordable competition in London.
But soon-sooner than I will get to London again, anyway-I will be able to hop on a subway and make my way to a Wagamama! There is yaki soba in the forseeable future!
Needless to say, this news has pretty much made my week.

*The interview is for a job teaching at a summer day camp at the university for middle school and high school students. I know I said my plan was to finish the two jobs I currently have taken on for the spring/summer and then look for a restaurant job for the rest of the summer to make some real money. But this job would last from the end of June until the second week of July, so in theory I could STILL do a restaurant job for the second half of July and all of August. (Plus my incentive for wanting to take a restaurant job is that I'd like to have something that I can keep through the next school year working only a shift or two a week. I don't know if that will even be possible, but it would be nice.) Anyway, it seems stupid to turn down a job teaching in my field, even if it is teaching high school and not college. I'm at least going to go to the interview, anyway, to see if this job won't conflict with my other job too much (they overlap for a week) and to see how much they are willing to pay me. If they're willing to pay enough, it'd be worth it to take the teaching job, I think. If not, I should probably stick to my original idea of finding restaurant work. This is all on the assumption that I can easily find restaurant work, of course, and I have no idea if that's actually the case here in the summer.

**I'm not ready to talk about this yet. But I figure by Saturday I'll either have an ending of or a real beginning to the story, depending on how things go. So maybe I'll talk about it eventually.

Saturday, April 5, 2008


I got to thinking today about the latest round of government sex scandals and sex in general and I ended up thinking about my personal manifesto on sex, if you will. And suddenly, I feel compelled to share it with the internet.

While I think sex with someone you love is a truly wonderful thing and is the ideal (no sarcasm there at all, it really can be amazing beyond words), in my mind sex isn't exactly on any sort of pedestal and hasn't been since I was about twenty and realized that sometimes the subtext of sex is love and sometimes the subtext of sex is need/lust/want/experimentation/fun/passion/revenge/power. And some of those things, while not as mind-blowingly wonderful as sex-with-a-subtext-of-love, offer some interesting and memorable and FUN experiences.
Is there a line that needs to be drawn somewhere? Sure. I have no doubt in my mind that my opinion on sex is based entirely on my own personal sex life and could become something very different if I ever have an extremely negative, frightening experience. All of my experiences have been healthy and empowering for me. I have been lucky, and I realize that. The thought of sex ever being something other than fun and enjoyable is very upsetting to me, and there are no words to express how afraid I am of the idea of sexual assault and how much I feel for anyone who has had to deal with that.
So I definitely acknowledge a line between positive sexual experiences and negative ones. I also used to think that there was some sort of line that needed to be drawn to distinguish "normal" women from "slutty" ones. But the older I get, the less I believe that. First of all, there's always the major problem that guys never, ever get labeled as sluts regardless of what they do. Sure, they get called sluts or man-whores or players, but it's generally in a joking manner, and, especially when one guy is saying it to another, the comment is usually tinged with reverence. I do believe that things are starting to equal out on this front a bit, thankfully, but in general, when a woman is referred to as a slut or a whore, the context is negative. So if we're not going to call men sluts in a serious, hurtful way, then we don't need to be doing it to women, either.
Plus it's just so arbitrary. At what point does a woman become a "slut"? If you're eighteen and you've had sex with ten people in your lifetime, are you a slut? What about if you're forty and you've had sex with ten people? How many partners is too many in a lifetime, anyway? Two? Ten? Fifty? More? Does it count towards that number if you did everything else but never had intercourse? And do you get a bit of leeway if you don't settle down into a monogamous relationship until much later in life or never at all, or is a "good" girl only allowed a finite amount of sexual partners in a lifetime whether she gets married at 21 or 46? Are you a slut if you don't know the last name of everyone you've slept with? Or if you have to think really hard to recall all of their first names? What if you don't even know your "number", gee, that probably makes you a slut, huh? What if you give blowjobs but won't go all the way, are you still a slut then? Is it okay to sleep with two different guys in the same month? What about the same week? How about that time you woke up with one guy and then went on a date with another guy that night and ended up in his bed, too; that means everyone is allowed to call you a slut, right?
I'm being a bit facetious, but I'm serious about this. I don't think we can judge anyone by the amount of sex partners they have or don't have. Obviously, there are some situations that I'm more comfortable with than others. For instance, I like to know quite a bit about people I sleep with. I pride myself on being able to recall my "list" easily. I'm comfortable with my number and consider it extremely reasonable for someone who has been sexually active for almost seven years but only in a monogamous relationship for two of them. But that's the point: I'm comfortable within my own standards. Do I judge other people by my standards? No. I try really hard not to. And I don't think anyone else should judge by their personal standards, either. Some people are much more conservative than I am. Some people are much more liberal. And that's fine.
Sure, there are some things that are pretty much universally frowned upon and probably should be. I'm not talking about the rightfully illegal things here, like having sex with minors, since I think we can all agree those things are wrong. I'm talking about things like having sex with people other than your partner when you are supposed to be in a committed relationship, for example. I do think it's fair to judge then. But in those cases I think we're actually judging based on something deeper than the sexual behavior itself.
When it comes to sex,there are things that I would never do. I would never have sex for money. I would never have sex solely for the purpose of advancing my career. I would never feel comfortable having sex with more than one guy in the same night, etc. On the other hand, life experience has shown me that there are things that I'm comfortable with that plenty of other people are not comfortable with at all. In short, you can do whatever you want and it really makes no difference to me as long as you're practicing safe sex and not spreading STDs around. I don't judge, and I don't think anyone else should be judging either. It accomplishes nothing other than pitting women against each other. Which is not to say that I don't still engage in the knee-jerk reaction of referring to women as slutty or trashy or whores. But I'm trying really, really hard to stop and I wish everyone else would, too.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Bullet Points Times a Million

Hi there. I'm not even going to apologize. I warned you March was going to be a sparse month, posting-wise. Although even I thought I would do better than a pathetic five posts. Oops

Anyway, life is treating me pretty nicely these days, which means you now get to read an enormous list of bullet-pointed items, all of which boils down to, "March was a really awesome month and I'm glad it happened." So that's the summary, if you don't feel like reading the details. Incidentally, I'm beginning to think that maybe I should start giving March more credit for being a fun month, since March of last year was really good, too.

Now, on to the bullet points:
  • First, some health-related things that make me happy that you're probably not going to care about at all, but too bad, it's my blog. I made a tuna salad tonight from last month's Everyday With Rachael Ray and a serving of this salad is filling and gives me 1/3rd of my daily value of protein and yet is only 200 calories! I am in love with this salad. I am also in love with my local grocery store, which is doing a special during the month of April promoting healthy food. For every $30 you spend on food with a Healthy Living sticker, you get a coupon for $10 off the next time you shop. Since more than half of the stuff I buy regularly happens to be included in the promotion, I ended up with two $10 coupons today. $20 worth of free groceries for me! On a similar note, I was at TGI Friday's last night with some of my girlfriends and I noticed that they now have a menu page entitled Smaller Portions, Smaller Prices, or something to that effect. I didn't pay attention to the details since I had already decided to use all of my dinner calories on Oreo chocolate cake and a mudslide, but I am intrigued. I've been saying for YEARS that I would happily patronize a restaurant that offered smaller portions for less money, and now it looks like a national chain has finally done it. Hopefully now it will catch on elsewhere. Finally, I've been following my more-protein-less-fat-healthier-eating-in-general plan for two months now and I am really beginning to notice a difference in my body. I'm not perfect at hitting my totals every day and I don't even try to be, but it really has been eye-opening to learn what I SHOULD be eating, whether I choose to stay within my range every day or not. Here's how I know I've slimmed down a bit: when I started living alone, I got into the habit of coming home and taking off my jeans pretty much immediately. Partially I was just doing this because one of the joys of having my own apartment is that I don't have to wear pants, but I guess I must also have been doing it because the jeans were fitting tightly. Now I realize that I'll sometimes sit on my couch all night with my jeans still on and it's not uncomfortable at all. So obviously this plan is working and I've slimmed down a bit. It's not a big difference since in my entire adult life so far my weight has never fluctuated more than about 8 pounds, but I suspect that I'm now on the smaller end of my natural weight range. I'll still be walking around in my underwear a lot, though, just because I can.
  • In other health-related news, I had some medical tests done over spring break and the tests show that the health issue that was worrying me is fortunately proving to be not that big of a deal at the moment. My doctor has given me the okay to not undergo any treatment or do anymore testing right now and just reassess the situation in six months or so. Sigh of relief.
  • Now on to some things that might interest people other than me (although, frankly, I think to say that is probably flattering myself). My college roommate's wedding really was a lot of fun. My only complaint is that it all went by way too quickly, and now after getting to spend a weekend with her I miss her more than ever. We kept laughing throughout the weekend about how much both of us have changed since we met each other. I think the best way to illustrate this is superficially, by using our physical appearances. When I met her, her outward appearance was basically Sorority Barbie. (I realized pretty much immediately that her outward appearance wasn't in any way reflective of the sort of person she actually is, which is why we were able to get along well. I have very little patience for genuine Sorority Barbies.) In contrast, when she met me my wardrobe consisted primarily of tank tops from Old Navy, I wore a little makeup every day but didn't feel proficient at applying it, and my hair was pretty much perpetually in a pony tail. Almost seven years later (SEVEN YEARS?!), we have completely changed roles. Case in point: when I showed up at our B&B on the Friday before the wedding, I was wearing a pair of Paper, Denim, and Cloth jeans and a form-fitting scoop neck tee from Urban Outfitters. I was wearing sneakers, but only because I had been on the plane, and I was planning to change into boots. My hair was straightened and down, and I was wearing lipstick, eyeshadow, and a little bit of bronzer. She met me at the door in a t-shirt advertising a bicycle race and workout pants. Her hair was wet and she had no makeup on. This illustrates extremes, of course. She still does wear a bit of makeup, I'm still perfectly willing to go out without it. She definitely still has the fashion sense I envied when we were college freshmen, I still don't bother to style my hair half the time. But in general, I feel like we have both gravitated much more towards lifestyles in which we feel very comfortable and can be our natural selves, and our styles are a reflection of the overall change. I wish I could better articulate the changes we have both gone through, but it would take far too long, so you only get this superficial example. Basically, I can tell that she is much more confident now because she is willing to let herself be the low-maintenance, athletic woman that I think is her true self. I can tell that I am much more confident now because I have developed at least a little bit of my own fashion sense and no longer feel like I need someone to dress me when I go out at night, and I have unapologetically embraced the fact that, yeah, I am a girly girl and I do enjoy dressing up and hey, I am sort of high maintenance and I'm okay with that. It's wonderful to see how she has grown and changed since we were 18 and realize that the same thing has happened to me. I guess I just feel like we've both come into our own, in a sense. But if you had told me seven years ago that I'd be the one helping her fix her eye makeup prior to her rehearsal dinner, I would have laughed in your face at the improbability of it all.
  • The wedding itself was great. I had so much fun, and I really did do my best to be a helpful bridesmaid. I tried to keep stressful people away as we were getting dressed. I made sure that she didn't know how frantically one of the other bridesmaids and I had to run around during the last hour of the reception trying to find a halfway decent car and a person at the wedding who was still sober to drive the car so that she and her husband could make a proper getaway. I definitely didn't tell her at the time that I had to help one of the groomsman clean an entire garbage bag full of junk out of the back of the car they eventually left in. [Why nobody had planned all of this in advance is a looooong story, but the moral of it is: when planning your wedding, even if you think you don't really care how a particular thing happens, plan it anyway because otherwise nobody else will!] The reception included an open wine bar, but my dad, being the hardcore guy that he is, had a bottle of Stoli conveniently stashed in his car in the parking lot, so I made sure that the bride was "hydrated" throughout the night. But I also made sure that she didn't get so hydrated that she would forget the evening or end up lurching around on the dance floor [I used to bartend weddings in college, and I never failed to be amazed at how many of the brides got wasted...if I ever get married, don't let me do that]. Above all, I made sure that she and her husband had a proper wedding night. This is another story that is a blog entry in and of itself, but the basic summary is that the bride's mother thought the bride and groom should spend their first night as husband and wife at a different bed and breakfast than the one where the wedding party had been staying in the days leading up to the wedding. It was a sweet idea, I guess, letting them have their privacy and all that. Except that when I went to drop off the bride's car at the new B&B after the reception, I snuck into the kitchen planning to leave the car keys on the kitchen table and sneak back out without interrupting the marital bliss, and instead I found the bride crying in the bathroom and the bewildered groom giving me a look that distinctly said, "HELP!" Turns out the new B&B was absolute crap compared to the amazingly posh one we had been staying at for the past two days. There were dirty dishes in the sink and the bed wasn't even made. That's how crappy it was. Obviously there had been some sort of mix up, but in the moment all I could think about was how furious I was that one of my best friends was crying in disappointment in her honeymoon suite. And sure, the room was a large amount of the issue but part of it was also simply that a wedding day is really, really stressful and emotional, even if you love your new husband like crazy (especially if you love your new husband like crazy, I think) and I think she just needed a good cry. So I let her cry for a bit and then calmed her down and helped her get out of her beautiful, complicated wedding dress and helped her pick the sexiest sleepwear out of her suitcase to put on under her sweatsuit to be a wedding night surprise, and then I convinced her and her husband that it would be totally fine if they came back to the big house at the B&B where we had all stayed the night before. Since one of the other bridesmaids was still planning to stay in the house that night as well, I gave her a quick call and in the fifteen minutes that it took us to drive back to the original B&B she filled the hot tub, lit the fireplace in the bathroom (awesome!), and decorated the bedroom with candles. So in the end it was all okay, and I think overall everything worked out perfectly. I mean, I'm assuming it worked out perfectly. Since the other bridesmaid and I were staying in a bedroom on the other side of the house, I have no idea how things actually went for them, thank god. Anyway, I told her as I was drying her tears that this will all be a funny story in the future. By the next morning, I think it already was.
  • Las Vegas in a nutshell: So. Much. Fun. I won an entire paycheck's worth of money playing blackjack at The Venetian! I spent two days basking in the sun at the hotel pool and somehow managed to not get sunburned. I stayed out until 4 AM the first night, 6:30 AM the second night, and 2:30 AM the next night, and yet I woke up every morning completely hangover free. Mom, Maddi, my sister and I got to spend a fun afternoon at the spa at the Bellagio and I got an awesome massage and got to use my favorite showers on the planet. Dad treated us to really nice dinners and I pretty much ate my weight in things like smoked salmon pizza and hot donuts with chocolate and peanut butter dipping sauces. In short, I was getting to spend time with my family and my best friends in one of my favorite crazy cities, and I had a blast. Basically, I was living my fantasy life. See, I'm a multi-faceted person. I like the dive sports bar on the corner where nothing has been dusted since 1972 as much as I like $10 martinis on a terrace fifty stories above the Vegas strip. But I have to admit that given the choice between, say, camping with a cooler of beer or sleeping in a feather bed and sipping wine at a swanky restaurant, you know what I'm going to choose most of the time. I do have fun anywhere, I really do. But even though stuff like the Vegas trip is all just a huge splurge in my life and-on a professor's salary-always will be, few things are more fun to me than getting to live like a millionaire for a weekend. In a way I'm glad that stuff like that will always be a special treat, though. I never want that feeling to get old.
  • In Vegas, I witnessed the worst pick up line (if you can even call it that) that I have ever seen. Maddi, my brother, his best friend and I were at Light dancing late one night when this guy moved by me in the way that sleazy guys will at clubs, putting his hand on my waist to move me out of his way and leaving it there way longer than is appropriate. Annoying, but not a big enough deal for me to make a scene about it. But then he moved past me to where Maddi was dancing. He stood behind her for a moment, and then I watched as he deliberately slammed his head into hers. He head-butted her! On purpose! And then as she reacted in pain, he twisted his face into a startled expression as if it had been an accident and said, "Aw, babe, I'm sorry, are you okay? That guy pushed me and I bumped into you, I'm so sorry..." I didn't hear what else he was going to try to say because my brother, who had seen the whole thing as well, grabbed Maddi and said, "Let's get out of here." Once we were all outside he told her what we'd been able to see from our angle. She was really mad. We were all really pissed off. How fucking ridiculous is that?! She wanted to go back in there and knee him in the balls and then be like, "Aw, babe, I'm so sorry, the bar is just so crowded I couldn't help it..." but we convinced her it wasn't worth it. What an asshole. What the heck makes him think that that's a good way to meet women?!
  • I could tell you a lot more about my spring break, but I think you get the picture. If you want to literally get the pictures, you can go to my photobucket album and click on the Spring 2008 sub album. More details are on my AIM buddy profile, if you can't remember my photobucket name.
  • Remember that job I applied for weeks ago but that nobody had called me about? Well, I interviewed for it last week and ended up getting it! I ended up taking the other job that I mentioned as well, so I now have two jobs. Both involve doing work in my field. One of them is a very low-key volunteer gig that basically involves doing a bit of research and writing an article. The other is a much bigger deal. To give a gist of the job without blowing my lame attempt at anonymity, I'm helping to manage a project that has never been done before and I'm working with a lot of professionals who could potentially help me to make some important connections to people outside of the academic circles I usually run in. Best of all, the second job actually pays me! They don't pay me a ton of money; once the work starts I'll basically get paid what I'm getting paid to teach right now. Still, it's better than nothing. The first job started last week and the majority of my work on it will be done at the beginning of May. The second job starts the first week of May and lasts until the end of June. So basically, by July I'll have two new lines on the resume and still have two months of summer left to hopefully find a restaurant job. Which is exactly what I wanted! Thank you, universe!
  • Oh, school. School is going fine, by the way. Nothing really momentous to report, I'm just trudging through the coursework, generally feeling pretty decent about the work I have been doing lately. The last two weeks were super busy, but this week coming up should be relatively easy, hopefully. I need a little bit of a breather before we get into finals time, which is coming up much more quickly than I would like to admit.
  • I still haven't written the paper that I have to give at a conference in three weeks. Will I actually start it this weekend? Probably not.