Thursday, October 19, 2006

I Think I Need to Go Back to Bed...

I think I need to go back to bed. Here's my day so far...

1) Since I had to be at a news station at 5:10am, I woke up at 4:30am. A bad start to any morning.

2) When I got to my office at 6:30am, I discovered a GIGANTIC roach?junebug? (Seriously--hyperbole aside, the biggest bug i've ever seen) in my office. It had
eaten through a bag of hershey kisses and there was foil all over the floor! Then it ran away to hide and I have no idea when or if the exterminator will actually come.

3)I used fake tanner last night--the kind you put on like lotion. As I was walking home after work it started to drizzle. Then it started to rain. Then it
started to pour--that crazy, sideways pouring New York. And then I realized that I was dripping and leaking fake tanner all over one of only two professional shirts--the lavender button-down shirt I save for client meetings and station visits. It is now a lovely, tye-dyed orange and purple combo.

4) So I realize that since my entire body is streaked orange (massive, bizarre-looking sreaks), I need to shower. Uneventful. Until I get out and decide to take
my daily birth control pill. For the first time in my life, it jumps out of my hand and disappears DOWN THE DRAIN. That's an entire month-long package I need to throw
away because of one errant pill.

It's not even 5pm. I'm worried.

Is This Spam?

This has to be one of my favorite random emails. Is this spam? and why is his name 'John' in one place and
'Jon' in another? And does film mean "film?"

> --- John Smith wrote:
> > Date: Tue, 10 Jan 2006 07:06:01 -0800 (PST)
> > From: John Smith
> > Subject: You
> > To: jensimon
> >
> > Are you the Jennifer Simon that has appeared in
> > film? Jon

Yeah, I'm That Asshole

Since I'm sooooooo important, sometimes I travel for work. Traveling for work is high on my *overrated* list since I'm always stuck by myself in some random hotel and I have to wake up at 4am (long story). Anyway, let me tell you about a recent plane ride down to Boston. Or, rather, up to Boston. It's only an hour flight but, because it's out of LaGuardia, the flight is delayed an hour. When they finally usher us into the teeny plane (it's so small that you can only bring on books and purses--we have leave our carry-on bags at the front door of the plane), my only consolation about the small size is that I'm alone in the two-seat row. Then, the (only) flight attendant says they need someone in the first 5 rows to move to rows 6-9 and someone else to move to rows 10-13 in order to balance the plane. Comforting! So this guy comes to sit next to me. Because he's about my age, gayish, and in a suit, I consider myself lucky--it could be worse, right? It is. Remember, it's a mini plane--the short bus equivelent of a real plane. Even though we're both fairly small people, he's ontopofme. And all of a sudden, I realize that I can smell his breath. And he stinks! I can smell him breathing. In. Out. In. Out. Breathing all of his stinky nastiness into the the little, tiny pocket of air I have to breath. So I pull out a pack of gum and take a piece. And I offer him one politely. He declines. After a few minutes I can't take it, so, I withdraw to pack again and as nice as possible, I say, "I'm sorry to be rude, but can I ask you to take a piece of gum, please?"

Oh yeah, he was the stinky guy on the plane, but I was the asshole.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

False Hope

I need to stop buying lottery tickets. It's not because I spend an inordinate of money on the habit (at the most, I've invested $20 which, if you think about it, is rather inconsequential), and it's not because I acutally believe I'll win the lottery (I don't). The problem is the brief, yet powerful sensation of false hope. The belief that there's a glimmer of possibility that I won't have to worry about shit day jobs, closet-sized apartments, or my *Future*--that's the dangerous part of buying into the lottery fantasy. It's the daydream of how things could be.

Buying lottery tickets is like catching the eye of the really hot guy when you walk into the bar. You know he's probably checking out the girl behind you instead of you; you know you'll never really talk to him, let alone going out with him; yet, for the second that his glace meets yours and your body flushes in excitment and hope and possibility, you're overcome by the false hope. It's the 'maybe' that gets you. The 'what if' that transports you from everyday life.

I'm too old to count on this feeling anymore, but not jaded enough to give it up completely. I don't know yet whether or not that's a good thing.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

How to Break Up With Him the Way You’d Want Him to Break Up With You

Boyfriends—most of the time we’re so consumed by how to snare, keep, or please a man that we never learn one of the most important aspects of dating—how to break up with him!

Ever heard the phrase ‘write what you know?’ Well, I don’t know how to make relationships work. I don’t know how to maintain love after all these years or how to take a bad relationship and turn it into a good one. What I do know is how to break up with a guy. I know enough about breaking up with guys to write The Book on it. Or, at least, write an article on it. Like any skill, I learned through a very extensive trial and error process, leaving a wake of bruised egos; uncomfortable situations; and most depressing, months of prolonged, mediocre relationships. So, fear not, I learned how to do this gracefully—you can too.

Here are tips, do’s, and don’ts for breaking up at any stage in a relationship.

1) Recognize when it’s time to end your relationship
While this may seem obvious, it can take a very long time to become self-assured enough to realize that you don’t have to go out with any and every guy who asks you. Don’t forget you have choices! At any phase in a relationship, you know when the spark is there; conversely, you know when it’s not. It is impossible to force yourself to like someone. Believe me, I’ve tried.
No longer attracted to him? It’s a pretty good indication your feelings are waning. If he’s mean to you, takes advantage of you, has crossed the line from having fun-on-the-weekend to being a drug or alcohol addict, or just isn’t giving you what you need and deserve, it is time to move on. Some relationships are worth working on—recognizing when they’re not is more important than trying to fix something that’s worthless.

2) Don’t go to extremes
We’ve all experienced it—the guys who don’t return calls or emails, leaving you wondering just what happened and if you’ll ever hear from him again. The post-it note explanation or the non-confrontational route can leave you confused and full of questions. That’s why you shouldn’t phase him out by ignoring him.
There is only 1 acceptable time it’s ok to not return his call or email or text (however the two of you are communicating): if you’ve only had one date. If he knows your cat’s name, that you like to be bitten, or that you like ketchup on your eggs, it’s gotten too involved to abruptly cut him off. If he has no indication that the relationship isn’t progressing as well as he thinks it is, it will be confusing and hurtful when he receives no closure and no attempt at an explanation.
It’s the other extreme—when your partner has too much to say that is often more painful than being ignored. After a whirlwind month-long relationship, my friend sat through a 4-hour explanation about why her guy no longer wanted to see her since she “sucked the life out of [him].” Another friend woke up after a first date to find a pages-long email detailing why, exactly, the guy could never go out with her again. This method is overkill. No one needs to be punished with too much information, making their head spin and their tears flow.
Both of these extremes methods are unnecessarily mean, violating the third rule.

3) Don’t be mean for the sake of being mean
Don’t explode, saying all of those ugly things you’ve been bottling up for months. There’s no point—you’re getting rid of him now. If you haven’t told him the constructive things (so maybe his breath isn’t great or he’s not always fresh down there) while you were together and wait to blurt them out at the end, you’ll seem petty and horrible. And really, there’s no excuse for that. You liked him enough to be with him initially so there’s no need to cut him down just to make yourself feel better. Rejection is hard enough for him to take—having to hear mean or rude remarks will just make him resent you.

4) Don’t use clichés
You know that old cliché ‘it’s not you, it’s me?’ This line is an easy way to excuse yourself from a relationship without pointing out the faults and foibles of the person you’re breaking up with. However, you don’t want to look like you’re being rude or insincere, so instead of relying on something so trite, use a variation of this theme. Also, unless you truly want to remain friends with your guy, don’t tell him that you do. Pretending you might have a future together will just prolong the break-up process.

5) Don’t break up with him in public
You might think a public break-up will make things easier for you since he won’t want to cause a scene, but it’s rude to do this in front of strangers and you’ll needlessly embarrass him. Remember, the point isn’t to make you feel better—you’re the one doing the dumping—you need to be considerate of his feelings. By breaking up with him while he’s at home, you allow him to stay in his comfort zone; something he’ll appreciate when he’s going through the less than comfortable break-up process.

6) Be prepared for his possible reactions
People respond differently to break-ups and it’s important to know how you’ll react when faced with a range of his emotions. Be prepared for him to bargain with you. He might offer to spend more time with you, be more attentive, or anything else you’ve complained about in the past was lacking in the relationship. Know before going into the break-up talk if his offers will be enough for you. If not, don’t be swayed by his last-ditch attempt to make things work—don’t be rude, but be resolute. Also, be prepared for him to be confused, angry, or even mean to you. While girls cry, guys often get hostile when they’re hurt. By remaining calm and in control, you can get through this awkward discussion and painful process.

7) All relationships are not created equally
Consider your time frame: just like there are different levels of relationships, there are different levels of break-ups.
Been together a month or less? Breaking up over the phone is acceptable. And no, email and texting don’t count! What would you do if a guy broke up with you online? If you’re anything like me, you’d forward it to all of your friends as evidence of his rudeness. So, don’t that texting bitch (remember, emails are evidence that only he has the power to erase), suck it up and call him. Breaking up over the phone should take no longer than 5 or 10 minutes. Be respectful and choose a night when you know he’ll be home (you shouldn’t leave a break-up message on his voice mail or machine).
If you’ve been dating for a few months or if he’s your boyfriend, break up with him in person. You should go to his place, but make sure you don’t do this under false pretenses (don’t pretend you’re going to a movie or out to dinner). You’re not trying to trick him, just talk to him. Once you get to his place, make sure he’s comfortable. Be calm. Do not attack him. Instead, be patient and, without launching into an over- explanation of why things aren’t working, have “The Talk.”

8) How to have “The Talk”
Start the discussion by telling him you need to talk. Yes, he’ll probably get an idea right then that things aren’t working for you and that’s fine.
Always start with a compliment. This will make him feel better about himself and it will start things off on a positive note. Without being unnecessarily dramatic, tell him that although he’s a great guy and that you’ve enjoyed the time you’ve spent together, the relationship isn’t working out for you. By using the word “me,” you’re taking ownership over the situation, instead of blaming him by saying “you did this or didn’t do that.” He’ll probably ask you some questions and you should answer them honestly, but succinctly. There’s no need to divulge mean thoughts, lengthy explanations, or explicit details about why you no longer want to be with him--the fact is that you don’t. If he presses you for a reason you merely need to say that you no longer have the same feelings for him that you once did. And that’s it. He’ll respect your honesty and directness and you’ll feel better about being so upfront with him.

9) The most important rule is to treat him how you’d want to be treated
I know, I know this might sound clichéd, but breaking up is one of those things you will most likely experience from both sides, both as the heartbreaker and the one getting your heart broken. Think someone dumped badly so you have an excuse to do it to someone else? Don’t do it—it can still happen to you again and break-up karma is a bitch.

Now, does anyone know about how I can keep my newest guy?

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Places My Sister Has Thrown Up

1. In a rental car in Orlando, Florida, the year she was 4 and I was 6. I was in the back seat with my mother because I was sick. In the front with my father, my sister began to complain that she too wasn’t feeling well. Although my father started to pull over, he didn't make it before she lost control. Because he had no bag to offer her, my father instinctively put out his hand and she puked, overflowing his hand, the vomit dripping between the bucket seats of the car. After it sat for 2 more days in the sweltering Florida sun, we returned the car to the rental salesman who stuck his head in through the window to ask how we enjoyed our vacation. Recoiling in horror, he watched as my father handed over the proof that only 5 days previous, he had sold us the complete insurance package.

2. Two years later, my sister covered a sand ashtray stand outside a shoe store in a mall, again on an Orlando vacation.

3. Paris, France. En route to the Charles de Galle airport, my nine year-old sister gave us just enough warning of her impending sickness so my mother could empty a plastic bag of food to contain my sister’s mess better than my father had in Florida. Our quandary came upon arrival, when we couldn’t leave the bag with the cab driver, nor could we dispose of it in the airport trashcans, as they were blocked due to a bomb threat. Surreptitiously placing the bag in a corner of the airport, my mother read later that due to heightened security, all unattended bags and packages would be blown up.

4. In an indoor swimming pool of the Kansas City Jewish Community Center the year she was 10. As rehabilitation for a torn hamstring (from ballet class), I had to go swimming four days a week for six weeks. Stacey and I were in the deep end when she complained of a stomach cramp. Unable to make it to the side fast enough, she got sick, and we watched as chunks of her former turkey sandwich and pieces of carrot sticks floated past us.

5. Always one of the shortest students in her class, my 11-year old sister was on the third tier of bleachers singing at an all-school assembly when the heat from the lights and the other students began the make her feel queasy. Before she could stumble out of the spotlight, she covered the two girls in front of her. She spent the next several years dodging the nickname “barf girl.”

6. Every orthodontist’s nightmare—-at 14 getting fitted for braces. The dental hygienist was trying to make an alginate mold of my sister’s lower teeth when Stacey began motioning frantically that she was about to get sick. “Don’t worry,” the hygienist tried to reassure her, “everyone gags during impressions. You just feel like you’re going to get sick, but you won’t really.” She was wrong. She didn’t know my sister.

7. In the corner entrance to Lawrence Memorial Hospital when I was 20, she was 17. On the way back to college after a weekend visit to my parents, I drove off the highway. After I was rushed to the emergency room, my parents were called and they brought along my concerned sister for the 45-minute drive from Kansas City. Upon entering the hospital, she was so nervous about my condition that she only had enough time to face the corner of the entrance before puking.

8. Flying from NY to KC for Passover. Although she was 24, she could still pass for 18 or even 16 and, on this day, she capitalized on her youthful appearance. "I'm really hot," she suddently announced, "I might have to barf."
"Let's get you some water," I suggested, summoning the stewardess. Stacey, however, had other ideas. Wrapping the airline's blanket around her waist, she unbuttoned her jeans and began to shimmy out of them.
"What are you doing?" I hissed.
"I have to--no one will notice." It was after she was pantless, of course, that she ending up throwing up, handing over the filled barf bag to a less-than-pleased stewardess.