Thursday, November 14, 2013

So go somewhere else! (Please?)

Tonight's internet surfing led me to this article = InstaOutrage

Really, you are going to ask other people to pay for you to move to NYC? And what are you going to do once you get here? Oh, that's right, realize it's not going to work and leave

(Or move in with your boyfriend)

 After college I wanted to come to NYC, all my friends moved her instantly. They got jobs or went to (more) school and they lived here. They constantly asked me: "Why don't you live here?"
Simple truth: I couldn't afford it, so I didn't do it. I waited.

When I was looking for jobs (and getting close) my lease in White Plains ran out. I had two options, move to NYC then and there, rough it out with a low salary and a dreadful commute and no money in bank account or wait until I actually got the job.

I got my midtown marketing job weeks after the lease signed. I could have broken it. I probably could have found other people to take over my lease but I had a great friend who let me stay frequently and then met my boyfriend and spent an unreasonable amount of time at his place (insert angry roommates here.)

Then, I had had my NYC job for a year. And it was time. I found a great apartment. I pay a lot of money every month, and it sucks, but I don't have to worry about whether or not I'm going to be able to afford the next rent check. Do I get to write? Create? Be? Sure. Sometimes. Not exactly full time. But I get vacation days. If I want to be productive and "vision" with that time then, I can do that. I might go drinking with friends instead...

But that's just it. It's easy to have a dream. Living a dream, isn't easy.

I like my life. I finally have everything I want (Okay, not those awesome Stuart Weitzman riding boots I saw on HauteLook the other day) But I worked for it. Really hard. I slaved at a miserable job for two years (at one point I made $10 an hour). I worked a second job: opening a gym at 4:30am. Okay, so I was also going through a breakup and working 4:30am - 5pm seemed like a good idea at the time.

Look, don't get me wrong. In a lot of ways, I'm a spoiled brat. I don't have college debt. My only credit card is that one time when I was 18 and got my first card at Victoria Secret and didn't realize that I had to actually pay it (I thought it would magically deduct from my bank account) but on my own salary I can afford NYC.

I have to be careful. My rent is high but my place is great- for the first time i my non-living-with-parents life, I don't share a bathroom (I have my own half bath) and there's laundry in my building. It's awesome! But I do try and be good about how much money I spend on things (Seamless anyone?)

Life here in NYC can suck. It's lonely, crowded, dirty. aggressive, heartbreaking, and maybe a little soulless. You have to fight for every inch. Is it an amazing battle? Absolutely. Is it worth it?
I don't know. How do you feel about closet space?

My point is, if you can't afford to live in one of the five boroughs. Go somewhere else. Please. I hear NJ is cheap.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The blog post that almost was.

I am a marketer. I can't help it. It's how my brain operates, it operated before I even understand that it was marketing. I dated guys who were in marketing. I called my company's marketing department almost weekly to see if they had specific materials for some new group I was trying to sell into. Now of course I understand that my ideas were actually terrible, but that's because I finally learned that marketing is more than stringing words together around a group organized by some socioeconomic determination. Okay, its also that but it's also what words, and what group

TLDR: I love marketing

 The reason I was going on about this is because after ignoring this blog for far too long, I saw there were a whole bunch of hits. Not a ton, but a couple hundred, and for something I haven't really put too much effort into, that felt pretty good. I also realized that my two most popular articles were about boys and dating. I realized that I was going to do a book review, but honestly, though I love reading, I don't really like writing about books that I've read. Most of the time I hate them or really don't think I have anything original to say. Also who am I to be criticizing? At least they wrote a damn book. Grrr...

TLDR: This blog will not be about books. I think I wrote a blog post about that once. Or I did and deleted it. Or I just dreamed doing it? I TLDR'd my TLDR...

Moral: I will write more about boys and clothes. Things I like anyway.

Oh wait, I'm in a relationship and I just moved to a super expensive apartment in BK and can't afford to blow a few hundred every month on clothing anymore. Sad. Maybe I will just write about books...

PS I'm now 28. Ouch.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Book Review VII: Grave Minder

Grave Minder
by Melissa Marr

Another one of my random downloads. This book takes on the "timely" (and/or cliche, overdone, is this still a thing?) theme of zombies and gives it a unique twist.

Here's the thing. It takes a long time for the story to get started and there's all this mystery at the beginning, but this mystery is totally spoiled by the fact that every description of the book has already told you the full extent of the problem: unless dead people in this town are tended by the "Grave Minder" they come back as zombies.
To be honest, I read this, enjoyed it, was sad when it was over, but then totally forgot about it. Even while I was reading it, I knew there was something I was enjoying, but it was like sucking on sugar cubes. Sure, it's sweet, but it's rather flavorless.
The writing was a bit flat. The characters were a bit cliche and there were just too many words. I know I was finished complaining that Gaimon used to few, but this was too many. There has to be balance here people!

I am guessing that this book will be a part of a series as there were a lot of open-ended questions. And obviously the adventures of the Graveminder and her sexy Undertaker boyfriend could go on. I don't know if I'll read it though...

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Book Review VI: Ocean at the End of the Lane

I realize that it's pretty rare that I actually pick up a best-seller these days. Instead, I read whatever I can find under the "free" and "nearly free" section of Nook. Recently however, I was complaining to a colleague about the general lack of quality that I have been experiencing.

"Well, maybe you should try actually paying for a book. You get what you pay for you know. Those books might be free for a reason."

Oh. Well. Okay. Maybe. Fine.

So, with that in mind, I set out to find a "real" book- and Gaimon's was on sale.

I don't remember how much I paid but it was more than $.99, so I was instantly disappointed when I opened it and found that it only had 159 pages and BIG font.

I would say that it left me feeling a bit empty. Gaimon's story invents a wonderful world where kittens come out the ground, a lake is really an ocean, and shephard's pie sounds way better than the kind they were always eating in Harry Potter.

But then, BAM, 159 pages and it's over. Gaimon barely spends any time in this world that he created, instead he seems almost uncomfortable with his fantasy elements, spending more time describing, "how he can't describe" or a face that is only a face so long as one is looking at it, details forgotten as soon as one looks away, etc. I'm sure there were more examples but I've forgotten them.

The details and character development are sparse, although they seem rich at the beginning. Honestly, if it wasn't published I'd believe it really was only a rough draft. The story starts out with great detailing, the color of the car and the grotesque details of the dead man inside. Then the character enters a fantasy world that slowly leaks into their real life as actual details of the story leak away. A throw-away one-liner explains the character's relationship with his father, despite earlier scenes where an entirely different father/son relationship is displayed.

Overall, super disappointing. Even a bit lazy or worse cliche. And this guy is famous. And I paid!

Okay, next time I reading something free.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Book Review V: Nicky Charles- I kept reading

I know that I didn't give this gal the best review.

"Beyond that though, the book was rather flat and elementary. I tried to imagine it without the gratuitous sex scenes and realized that the book would be about ten pages long. It had some interesting elements but honestly, not enough to carry the story. "

Okay, ouch. But then, I read her next two. I guess it's a bit like eating movie theater popcorn. It's not amazing. It's really bad for you (or at least not good) but it's kind of crunchy and the next thing you know you've eaten your entire $10 popcorn. #noregrets

Alright the site disobeys all sorts of web writer rules but these books are free! Which I honestly have trouble understanding. Cheapo-me thinks it's awesome of course but writer/marketing me is screaming, "Oh come on! At least charge $.99 or a $1.99 for the next in the series!"

If she charges for the next one, I would probably buy it because these books have given me at least a few hours of enjoyment as I would say her writing skills have definitely improved as she wrote on and she really took a much deeper dive into the world of werewolves and I really enjoyed that she gave different perspectives on what it was like to be a werewolf.

There was the outsider (Melody) who encounters werewolves and notices them doing things like growling, using strange words like "mate" and "pup", and sniffing. The first book was completely devoid of humans so it was only a werewolf society but the second really made it obvious that these were not just people who were sort of dog-like.
The third book played with the idea of a werewolf who didn't want to be one. Constantly fighting this wolf inside her who "spoke" to her, apparently all of them see their wolves in their minds eye and have conversations with them. And created the power struggle between the two when one was at odds with the other. The wild vs the human.

 Anyway, here is a trailer for the first book (which I'm also impressed that she had made):

Anyway, moral is. I kind of admire this writer. For, if nothing else, for being prolific. And also because has created this world of wolves that coexists within our own, in a believable way. Like I said, they're totally fun reading and a good immersion in a different word. Even if not exactly a mental exercise. Oh, also she stopped having as many gratuitous sex scenes which I appreciated.

Monday, May 6, 2013

And furthermore Susan, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised...

"And furthermore Susan, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to learn that all four of them habitually smoke marijuana cigarettes... reefers." - Smoke Two Joints, Sublime

After reading a New Yorker article about Obama's stance (or lack there of) on weed I started thinking about the criminal consequences of smoking. They are severe. Getting caught with weed could be absolutely life altering, the same way that a DUI might be.


I have been to traffic court and seen DUI sentencing. White women, driving minivans, getting slaps on the wrists for first time offenses. I imagine that the punishment for weed would be similar, again, given your race and class. It got me thinking about one particular incident.

I was looking for rolling papers. Let's say it was for tobacco. Unable to find any, a friend and I went to Duane Reade. He told me there was no way they sold rolling papers (he was right) but further more, he wouldn't go in with me. He was afraid to go in because it would be deemed suspicious. Someone might alert the police to search him. He would have come up clean but he would have been humiliated.

I don't think it was psychotropic-induced paranoia. I believe he was right to be afraid. He is black. He has dreadlocks. He has been stopped and searched on the street before.

Me? The last time I got searched was when they were doing random bag checks (probably a terrorism thing) and I was only person walking through the subway at the moment. They were probably bored. The officers complimented my bag as they half-heatedly peered in, and then they gave me a free trip on the subway to apologize for the inconvenience.

I think it is just one more unfair cog in our system. Why would our law makers bother to make changes when it won't be there sons and daughters who pay the price? There are high priced lawyers and favors to be called in for this sort of minor infraction.

That is why I don't think it is a priority. Because it just doesn't have to be. They can do it behind closed doors. 

It is only their dealers who have to be afraid. 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Thoughts on writing

I am obsessed w/ Reddit. It's kind of redic. I discovered it recently and have since kind of fallen in love with it. During the Boston bombings I obsessively refreshed the homepage knowing that news would be there long before Google found it. I love their AMA's and memes. Seriously, if you haven't gone on. Do it.

Reddit also has it's downside. "Redditors" are known for being a rather aggressive species, quick to bring up their dislikes and voice complaints. Given that it's an anonymous online forum, this should be a surprise. And sometimes I read things that really annoy me.

For instance the other day someone posted a comment along the lines of: "I work 9-5 and have an hour long commute. Should I quit my job so I have more time to write?"

I expected to see comments blasting the guy.

"No, just write!"
"We all work like that, and still find time to write. You just have to make time!"

One guy suggested he had sleep apnea and maybe that was why he was "tired all the time." This was legitimately the most upvoted comment.


Oh come on. There is no excuse. Writing is hard. And life is hard. And exhausting. But there is no excuse for not writing. You are either creating things from you're brain. Or you're not.

Okay, sure, you *might* have some legitimate medical concern. Maybe. Or maybe, you're just lazy. Some writer recently said (and I'm paraphrasing): "I wish I could steal all the great ideas that I hear from aspiring writers, that I know will never make it on to paper."

Because yeah. Writing is the hardest part of writing.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Looks for Less

Today I got my Net-A-Porter-Weekly-Torture Email. I call it torture because I can never afford anything they're offering. So today I decided to devote this blog post to several of their call out items and then find a similar piece for way less money.

The Look

ERICKSON BEAMONAquarela Do Brasil gold-plated Swarovski crystal earrings

For Less

Found these by Googling Beetle Wings, which is
apparently what Erickson Beamon was also
going for
Web Nerd Hint: Check Webpage Meta Tags

Fancy Beetle Wing Earrings


By linguaNigra

Alright, I'll admit, they not quite the same thing, but for 1/5th of the price, these are elegant, on trend and totally capture the look.

I suppose you could ask the designed to attach the "wings" to a Swarsky crystal like this one and then you would have a truly original one of a kind piece.

Macramé-lace pencil skirt

Wow, really? $2,300?? What's it made of?
Oscar de la Renta's white macramé-lace pencil skirt showcases the label's couture-like approach to craftsmanship. This elegant runway design is backed with lightly structured mesh and lined in silk. We love how the contrasting black cotton appliqués add an edgy twist.

Okay, so it's well constructed but for that kind of money, I want it to be made of unicorn hair and fairy wings. Actually, that sounds cruel to fairies, but you know what I mean.

For Less

The LimitedHigh Waist Stretch Ponte Pencil Skirt
$39.99 $29.99

Again, it's not exactly the same thing but considering you could buy this skirt and then wear it on multiple Caribbean cruises which you could pay for with the money you're saving. 

Don't get me wrong. I think there is a time and a place for designer goods. And people who "know" would obviously recognize the real thing and applaud you for being better than the average human being. However, for us more mundane mortals, I think the "look" is a black and white pencil, and in that case, #missionaccomplished.

I'll come back with more of these!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Prince Charming is probably not hiding under a rock

I recently ran into a girl, 32, cute, petite, brunette, good dresser, good job. She wasn't particularly interesting but she was nice and had a sense of humor. A friend had connected us by saying: "Becca, this girl needs help. You should fix her. Or at least find out what her problem is."

Her "problem" is that she's single. And there is nothing wrong with being single. Unless you don't want to be single.

I am not a licensed therapist. And have had plenty of misadventures when it comes to members of the opposite sex but I suppose compared to this girl, I was a success story, so I agreed to drinks.

Also I like fixing things. Or at least trying. I figured out what her problem was almost immediately.

I have a lot of guy friends, and they are all constantly asking me to hook them up with cute girls. When I meet a cute girl who I think has potential, I immediately start going through the mental Rolodex for possible matches.

"What kind of guy do you like?" I ask her.
"Oh, I don't know, I'm open minded."
"Open minded?"
"Yeah, I'll give anyone a chance."
"Wait, you are 32 and don't know what kind of guys you like?"
"Well, if you don't give everyone a chance, how do you know if you're not missing someone?"

Okay, I know what some of you are thinking. "Good for her! Way to keep an open mind! She's right! You could miss the man of your dreams if you're not turning over all stones!"


No. No. No. No.

Turning over ALL the stones takes time. It is exhausting. And you are you going to go on a lot of awful miserable dates that will turn you against men. And you will either give up and run back to your parents house. Or you will settle with someone who is totally beneath you.

If you were riding a bike and did the same thing over and over, and kept falling off and hurting yourself, you wouldn't keep riding the bike. But when we want to get good at something, we learn from our mistakes.

The truth is, you have to have standards. And you have to know what you like. You have to know where you are willing to compromise (and yes there are those who are unwilling to compromise and that is almost worse than being too open to anything.)

It can be hard and scary at first to say No. I used to never say no. I would go on a date with anyone. This was a bad idea. Many bad dates. A few crazy stalkers. Etc.

I also had a problem where I couldn't say no after the first 2-3 dates, even if I knew it wasn't going to go anywhere. I've been told I'm easy to talk to. I know a little bit about a lot of different subjects and over drinks can keep a conversation going for a long time. I don't mean to brag, but this is just what happens.

Which means I have had many many 1-2 month long relationships. Even though by date two I know better, I let it drag on until eventually the guy dumps me because by then we both know this isn't going to work. Iften I have totally withdrawn or I self-destruct and blast the relationship to smithereens. Or occasionally, I have worked up the nerve to call the guy and end things professionally, like a grownup.

All of this time though might have been wasted if I continued to make the same mistakes. But I like to think that over time I learned.

This summer a guy approached me and asked me out. I told him no.

I told him: "I can tell you right now, this isn't going to work. We'll go on like 5-6 dates and then we will know it's not right and break up and it will be a total waste of time."
"I never go on date #2," he said.

...I took this is as a challenge.

We went on five dates. Maybe six. Then he was slow to return my texts. Didn't ask to hang out. Not one to leave things hanging I called him. I knew it wasn't working. He talked too much. Was too argumentative. And the chemistry was warm but nothing sizzled. I'm sure he had his own problems with me as well.

"I was right. I told you this would happen."
"You were right."

Okay, maybe I called just to hear those words.

Aside from the enjoyment of being right, I also took this as confirmation that finally, I had figured out what worked for me and what didn't.

I am not saying this wasn't the last mistake I made. But it was close. I realized that if by the third date I wasn't happy with the guy, I could just say no to the next. I didn't have to give my number to everyone that asked. And that if I gave my number to someone it didn't mean I had to go on a date with them.

I stopped looking under every rock and started to only look for the things that I knew I liked. I knew my deal breakers (must have ambition) and my compromises (doesn't have to be Jewish.) And I found someone. And it just works.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Book Review IIII: The Bean Tree

The Bean Tree 

By Barbara Kingsolver

I have this issue, I hate liking things that everyone else likes. I also hate that this is now makes me a "hipster" and that to be contrary is now "in" but there is one exception to the above rule which is that if I like something before everyone else, I am allowed to continue enjoying it. It's all fine as long as I'm leading the band wagon, and not just jumping on board.

This is supposed to be about Kingsolver's book though, and not my efforts to be contrary (but it's related I swear.)

A few (okay maybe 5) years ago I read the Poisonwood Bible. I had avoided it for awhile because it was one of those books that everyone liked and there for I had to dislike. Also I don't usually trust popular opinion when it comes to books. See "Fifty Shades of Gray" and "Twilight." But I someone handed me a copy of it, and I read it and of course it was good. But it was good in that technical way. Things were just done technically right. It had the exotic setting. The ubiquitous culture clash. The obvious folly but tenacious family dynamic.

The Bean Tree by contrast seemed must less affected. It was one of Kingsolver's early works and I downloaded it off of Nook for $1.99. The Bean Tree followed a girl who could have spent her life in Kentucky but instead decided that she needed to go and do something so she sets off to drive across the country, picking up a new name and a Cherokee baby along the way. Her car breaks down in Arizona so that is where she stays. And she builds a new, albeit non-traditional, family for herself.

Unlike Poisonwood Bible, things didn't seem to go wrong that often. The tale was meandering. A few years in this girl's life. She met people and then her life moved on and they were left by the wayside. The way a normal life goes, although now we have Facebook so we become friends and eight years later I am still seeing your status updates even though I have no idea who you are or how we met, but you do look vaguely familiar so I feel guilty defriending you...

The ending is of course bittersweet. I guess this book felt a little bit like eating a roast beef sandwich. It was good, if not particularly clever or ingenious. The descriptions were excellent but at the end, it felt like you hadn't accomplished much. And you were wondering if there were any potato chips because you were still vaguely hungry.

I don't know, maybe I'm just too critical. Maybe I should start reading books I actually have to pay more than free for to find things worth reading. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Last Bastion of Male Supremacy: Fantasy Football

I love The League. I think it might be one of my favorite shows on television. Or at least it's one of the few that has me running to Netflix to check if there's a new episode. I have decided there for that I really want to play Fantasy Football. However, whenever I ask one of my male friends to join their league, I'm usually met by a blank stare, followed by a rapid change of subjects.

Okay, I get it. I speak some Boy, and this is a clear indicator that I am not welcome in their league. Today however, my coworker was finally honest with me.

"No, you can't join. You're a girl."

Wait, really did that just happen? Did they just hang a sign outside the (Augusta) club house saying "No Girls Allowed."

Yes, yes they did.

I used to think of myself as a "Girl's Guy." I like action movies, played ice hockey, don't cringe easily, and when someone asked me where I got my nails done the other day, I just stared at them. One of my friends once described me as "the girl-iest Tom Boy you'll ever meet."

But truthfully. I am a girl. I whine. I pout. And I'll notice if I break a nail. I'll flinch when a conversation gets too dirty or explicit. I don't like when guys talk about objectifying women. While I can hold my own among a group of guys, I do it as a girl. Not as one of the boys.

I used to try and just "blend in" but I've recently realized that won't work. I am just too "girly." I know my guy friends respect me and my opinions. They do not objectify me (and if they do it's at their own peril.) I think I like it better knowing that they like me for me, even if it means, I can't play in their fantasy league. (Which is probably stupid and boring anyway.)

Friday, April 19, 2013

Visitors to NYC

Visitors to NYC always go through these phases.

1) Excitement/Exhilaration

"OMGILOVEITHERE! I could TOTALLY live here! This place is sooo great!! Wow!!"

2) Exhaustion

"There's another museum/neighborhood/store/party/play/bar?? Maybe we could just nap instead. Or like watch a movie. Can we go to the movies? Wait, movie tickets are HOW much? And there's THIS many people who also want to see this? And this movie that came out three weeks ago is SOLD out??"

3) Revulsion

"Omg, why are there people everywhere? This city is so confusing! We have to wait in line for this? Why is this bar so crowded? These drinks are so expensive!"

4) Relief

"Well, this trip has been great but it's going to be great to go home. Good luck with uh... This."

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Book Review III: Amberville

Of all the books I read in the last few weeks, this one was definitely the most "out there." 


Tun Davys

First of all, it was about stuffed animals. No really. All the characters were stuffed animals. Of course some of them I had an easier time imagining than others. A stuffed teddy bear, sure. But a crow? Or a gazelle?
This is a stuffed animal gazelle so
I guess they are a thing
I don't know, seems, improbable, but that's okay.

This collection of stuffed animals lived in a place that was broken into a variety of territories, some of the nicer than others, like any city. The author, Tim Davys, has invented an entire world inhabited by stuffing-plumped characters that run across a literally colorful cityscape. He has written other books that tale place in other places in this city.

This story was about a named Eric who is attempting to find the "death list" i.e. the list of all the animals who are going to get taken away in the red pickup truck. Or was it the green pickup truck? Anyway, the animals get taken away and delivered (as full-sized by baby animals) by a pickup truck and then live in this world that is more a less a parallel universe of our own. There are good animals and bad.
Actually, that's the entire crux of the story outside of the question of finding the Death List. What does it mean to be good? Or bad?

I enjoyed the philosophical debates of the book. To be sure there were times when questions of "What defines evil?" got to be too much for my brain and I needed to take breaks but I liked some of the debates for instance there was one good about evil (didn't mean to do that) and (and I'm paraphrasing) but basically:

Evil is only defined by the victim. There may be extenuating circumstances that excuse the perpetrator, for instance, he was beaten as a child or he is poor and needs to rob. To the victim, these circumstances don't matter. All that is important is how they experience the act, and that is to say, they are experiencing evil and there for the act is evil. 

This author also "cheats" and constantly switches POV which I allowed in this instance only because to tell the story otherwise would have been impossible. I think it could have used more extremism in the voices in order to allow for greater differentiation, not just ALL 3rd person, but hey, no one's perfect.
I don't know. I guess I would say I was entertained but I'm not rushing out to read his other books. Also I totally had a dream about a purple teddy bear that was actually a vicious killer. So, yeah...

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Book Review II: Paradise Valley

I just finished the last Game of Thrones book. I now have to wait until 2015 for the next one which means that in the mean time, I will probably read just about anything that lands in my phone's Nook app. I don't know why I am so loyal to Barnes and Noble, but I am, so Nook App it is. Which means I will download whatever shows up free.

Paradise Valley

Dale Cramer

This was one of those books that you get to the end, and you are actually sad to see that it's over. I even went and looked up the sequels online. I didn't buy them though because they are $6.99 and the plot lines were unappealing.

The premise is a pioneering Amish family flees from Ohio to avoid sending their children to the local public school in Ohio. Being Amish the main character is of course a steadfast farmer who of course embodies a pure "Moral Good" unable to commit violence even when his family is threatened. His daughters are all obedient. His sons are all hardworking.

I think I sort of loved this book because it was just so calm. It was nice to descend into a world where the cares were about farming and sure there were bandits threatening the family every so often, but it still all seemed to take place within a cocoon of safety. If George R.R. Martin had his way, everyone except two daughters would have been dead by the time the rest of the families arrived in Mexico. One would probably have run off with a Mexican though. Actually, that sounds like a better story.

In all seriousness, it wasn't a bad book. It had it's genuinely enjoyable bits. Nice scenery. Gentle characters. I read it in about two days and was totally entertained most of the time. Maybe I just needed to get out of NYC.

My biggest problem was that the POV's shifted constantly and without warning. Mid chapter. This is a pretty basic writing no-no so I was kind surprised. I guess there's a reason it was a free Nook Book and not released by some big publisher.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Book Review I: The Mating

I read. A lot. I read a couple of books recently from "unknown" writers and as a writer I wanted to share them (and my thoughts.)

The Mating 

by Nicky Charles

I have a rule when it comes to downloading free Nook books. I will download pretty much anything that doesn't have a half-naked man and/or woman on the cover. This one should have. I think by about page five or maybe ten there was a sex scene, but I liked the concept of the book so I kept reading. Also in this instance I probably should have known better seeing as it was called "The Mating."

The premise is basically that a werewolf gets married to another werewolf in an arranged "Mating" and then goes off to live with his "pack" and has to adjust to life with new people but someone is trying to sabotage her new pack.

What I liked about this book was that I thought the author did some interesting things with the idea of a wolf pack. There was a lot of talk of hierarchy and alpha's, beta's, instincts, etc. I liked this a lot, this juxtaposition of ancient instincts counter balanced in a modern society. For instance when encountering another female there's a lot of talk of displays of strength and dominance to keep people in their place. It reminded me a bit of what Jean Auel did in her books. (Also filled with mis-placed sex-scenes.)

Beyond that though, the book was rather flat and elementary. I tried to imagine it without the gratuitous sex scenes and realized that the book would be about ten pages long. It had some interesting elements but honestly, not enough to carry the story. 

Also the wolf lore didn't seem particularly well researched. Yes, there were some basic fundamentals about wolves but I think you could learn a similar amount about wolf behavior reading Twilight.

There was also a very long scene, which was basically an info dump, where the main villain explains their entire "scheme." First of all, I was frustrated the main character hadn't worked out any of it on her own. I had! And I am assuming the author had as well, so I might have had a bit more respect for the heroine if she had had a conversation with the villain, rather than the villain spelling EVERYTHING out for us. It felt like something I might have written in fifth grade, not to mention the villain's constant self-flattery. It really was like a cartoon where the villain spells everything out while the good guy wriggles out of the rope/handcuffs/etc. Except in this case there was no wriggling (practically the only time in the book) and instead big strong men show up and save her. I mean, she had a broken leg, but still... 

Okay, for fem power she was *almost* a step above Bella. She at least wanted to work and not just live off her rich husband's money. 

I don't know if I hated this book. It almost wasn't terrible. I have her other books downloaded but I don't know if I'll actually read them. As I said, it had some interesting concepts, I just wish the execution had been stronger.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

My Crusade

Created by
For the couple after reading about the controversy
For anyone who randomly stumbled across this blog and doesn't know me personally, I went on a bit of a crusade this week.

Here is the story (as I posted it on Reddit):

My friend recently tried to purchase from this seller on
She requested a few modifications to the wedding album because she and her partner are two women.

She received this response: Hi XXXXX, Sorry for the late reply! After talking with my pastor and praying about the situation, I decided that I shouldn't design your guestbook for you. Please know that I did take this into much thought though. Because I am a Christian and I believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman, I feel that designing a customized guestbook for you two will be against my belief and will mean that who I am and my business supports gay marriages. I hope that you understanding. Sorry for staying in contact with you for so long and not giving you a concrete response until now."

Is this against Etsys' policies? And if it's not, then it should be.

And I started a war.

First of all, I will admit. I made a mistake. When I first posted a friend suggested that I include the girl's email address. In my quest for vengeance I did. It was a bad thing. I was told so, multiple times, and quickly saw the error of my ways and removed it.

I was asked for proof which I couldn't initially provide, but my coworker's wife chimed in and offered screen shots of the original conversation.

I want to address why I was upset about this. But first let me set one thing straight: I believe it is everyone's right to have their own beliefs. I believe lots of things other people don't believe. And I don't expect everyone to share my beliefs. I don't eat pork because it's part of my cultural beliefs, but I obviously don't expect everyone else to stop eating pork. (I hear it's delicious.)

What I don't believe is that I can condemn anyone else for eating pork. My boyfriend eats pork. My friends eat pork. They will often tell me it's delicious. But just like I will eat a steak in front of my vegetarian friends without expecting condemnation, I feel the same about their pork eating.

 I was upset that this girl would tell another person: "Because I am a Christian and I believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman, I feel that designing a customized guestbook for you two will be against my belief and will mean that who I am and my business supports gay marriages."

Many people told me that this is fair. The seller probably did not feel like she was insulting my coworker and her fiance. After all, it was her religious belief. How could that offend someone?

I however felt it was more akin to telling someone that she wouldn't design the album because modifications were requested for an interracial couple or someone requested that the man have kippah drawn on his head. 

Now, if the seller felt that way about any of the above, she could have just refused the request with a simple "no." She could have told a white lie. She could just not respond. Instead she had to give an albeit polite response the result of which was still, "I don't like what you represent, and I am going to remind you that there are people in this world who don't feel you deserve the same rights as everyone else."

Second, I didn't like that she uses another website to make another offering to the public and then when a request for her services is given, refuses based on her own religious beliefs. So I asked if Etsy had an apology. I did not (explicitly, and not implicitly once I removed the email) call for attacks on the seller. 

No, I wasn't happy but I was more looking for a response from Etsy. A change to their policies. Or at least force a seller to disclose if they won't work with certain populations. 
I also wanted to raise awareness that this was happening. 

Of course, it's the internet and effect can be unpredictable.

There were a number of attacks on the girl's facebook page. Posts warning that she wouldn't sell to homosexuals and other's that were a bit nastier. Many she erased, but the couple of times I looked, there were new ones.

Today when I went to see if things had died down (the Reddit thread has grown quiet) I found that her page had been removed. When I checked back on her Etsy site, that was gone as well.

At first, I wondered if the girl knew what was happening. Did she know that across the internet we were talking about her actions? Did she wonder who the people were who had written and how they were finding out? Did she get nasty emails? 
And more importantly, did she really deserve all of it?

I don't know. I think on the internet it is easy to pretend that our actions don't have consequences. Everything is anonymous. But the truth is what we do in public forum matters. We don't live in a vacuum. Just like I'm sure this girl never imagined what a rippling effect her polite email would have. 

I was a bully. Yes, I was fighting for a cause, but does that make my actions just? I can't be sure. 

Do I fear that I have driven her further from every supporting gay rights? Absolutely. 

I might also add that I think I only played a small part in this controversy. The story was picked up by Queerty and then the Huffington Post.

She probably could not have have predicted the results of her actions. Am I glad her Etsy store is gone? Yes, kind of. But do I feel bad knowing the pain that I helped inflict? Yes. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Casual Sex City

Today my internet meandering ran me across this article:

"The often discussed, much maligned, and occasionally defended "hookup culture" bears a name that perfectly captures the boring, lifeless, and dull sexuality that dominates the lives of too many young Americans. It is mechanical, technical, and instrumental. "Hooking up" sounds like something people in a bedroom would do with a desktop computer or DVD player, not something they would do with each others' bodies. It is a term belonging to machinery, not humanity."

First of all, I think this culture is not just occasionally defended but rather rabidly defended. It is our right to have casual, promiscuous encounters with objects of our attraction. If I want to walk into a bar and make out with a really hot guy, well, that's my decision, my choice. I am grown up! I can make grown up decisions! If I want cookies for dinner one night, I can have them. If I want to bring what'shisface who's-name-isn't-saved-in-my-phone home on the second date, I can do that too.

My question is, do we defend hookup culture because we think we should or because we actually enjoy the privilege of free reign over our bodies without the difficulties that come with the bigger "Soooo...Now what?" 

First of all, let's define hookups. I think the article has a pretty good run down:
"1) A hookup involves some form of sexual intimacy. 2) A hookup is brief—it can last a few minutes or, at the most, a few hours. 3) (This is the most important part) A hookup is intended to be purely physical in nature and involves both parties shutting down any communication or connection that might lead to emotional attachment."

The article argues that we use hookup culture to shy away from actual emotional attachment. This side of the hookup, I can appreciate. Feelings hurt. The lows are low. The drunk texts are embarrassing. Your friends can only listen to you cry about the latest broken heart for so long. 

Have a hookup instead. Safe. Unattached. Emotionless. But boring. Feelingless. And cold.

I realize that I am coming at this from a very different angle than I might have a few months ago. Entirely due to the fact that I have come to realize there is something really nice about being able to curl up in someones arms and feel totally safe and happy. And when it's right there's none of those annoying, nagging, insecurity doubts that taint so many outwardly promising starts.
And five months ago when someone pointed out that "safety" would be hot in it's own way, I laughed in their face.

I have (on occasion) celebrated my youth and freedom by "hooking up." I am not saying sex. Sure, sex, sometimes. But I had gotten over the one-night stand by the time I graduated from college. I made dates wait until after 6 or more dates. But my god. Has some of that sex been bad.

Here's the thing. Sex between two people is often bad. The more sex you have, the more likely you are to encounter bad sex. Just the other night a friend was telling me about a long-awaited hookup and the terrible sex that occurred. The final conclusion: "We just didn't fit."

First of all, if the sex is great, it probably won't happen just once. Like I said, there's a lot of bad sex out there. When you find good sex, you want to keep having it.

There is an argument that the more sex you have the more options you will have to sort through until you find good sex. But that's not really what a hookup implies. A hookup does not often lead to a long term romantic encounter.

I actually recently encountered a couple who had met online and the girl thought things were going really well. The guy had stayed with her for months as his apartment underwent repairs after Sandy. The guy meanwhile told my boyfriend that he had initially seen her as "just a hookup." We ate together at a restaurant in a newly reopened building in FiDi, the same building where his recently re-opened apartment was located. 
Two weeks later my boyfriend told me they had split. He had dumped her.

Conclusion: He had moved in w/ the hookup buddy until the literal storm blew over.

And further conclusion, I don't think hookups are a way to sort through the mire until we find a "good one."

This article argues the exact opposite. We use casual encounters to avoid real long term commitment. But why?

Okay, that's easy. Long term commitment is hard. And scary. The other night I got mad at my boyfriend. It was something minor and admittedly I was hungry and carb-deprived and probably over-reacting. My first thought was to "punish him" by jumping on a train and going back to Westchester and avoiding. I realized that this was not a legitimate solution because we were in a relationship and I had to face our issues. 

But that's just the little stuff. There's the big stuff like. "Is he the one?" "Am I really going to marry this guy and make babies?" "What if I'm wasting my time?" "What if... What if... What if..."
I can ask these questions forever. I could avoid commitment and risk bad sex. Or I could take the plunge. Open myself to hurt. And just say "Okay."
In the mean time, at least the sex is great.

Monday, March 25, 2013

A Guide for Writing Scams

Part of my job is to check our general email inbox. At present I have over 52,000 unread emails but rather than deal with that pile of muck, I am instead going to share one of the many junk emails I get because I think they are hilarious:
Also, if you are a scammer, please read this post, you may find some useful advice.

aka Mrs.Jane Arumba. <>
First of all, if you're going to scam people, shouldn't your fake email at least look like it might slightly relate to whatever scam you're running?

Oh, yeah, that seems legit

I wasn't totally sure, but yes, this actually a place.

Is a little proof-reading/ spell check too much to ask?

This is to inform you about the latest development concerning your (UNCLAIMED)payment which was left in our custody for sometime now.
Sometime? But you're not sure when? 

We understood that you where given a bill of ( $195 ) or so, in order to receive your payment of which you couldn't as at then for one reason or other.
No words.

Hence, Our Western Union ( Department ) of the funds holding bank is now offering a Special BONUS to help you in receiving all your payment in our custody. Now in other words we are now requesting you to just pay only $89,to receive your FUNDS left in our custody since.
WOW! What a bargain! Only $89 and I have MY MONEY???? Also you still seem unclear exactly how long you have had this money. Just make up a date. Stick to it. 

Beside,this is the last opportunity for you to get your FUNDS and you are advised to comply and you will start getting your funds ( $10,000 ) per day 2 x 1,totaling ($890.600.00 ) 
Is that a threat? I am advised to comply. That sounds vaguely like a threat. Also 10,000 x 2 x 1 does not equal that number. 

"Note" that after (3 DAYS) you did not make the payment then we will convert the funds to Government pause as the law stipulated it here or totally cancellation of payment.
Oh no! They're going to give my funds to Government!! Is that the Marxist Republic government of Bernin? Or some other thing?

Again after ( 2 weeks) of this BONUS We shall enter a new project for the year and that was the reason we are offering this help to you. 
I'm not even sure what you're going for here. 

So you are advised to send the ( $89 ) immediately so that we can key in your payment in our PAYMENT DATA BASE to enable you to start receiving it from tomorrow.
At least this number is staying consistent

After the payment of $89 you will start receiving your money every day ($5,000 X 2 ) through Western Union Or Money Gram preferably by you ( $10,000 ) until the full payment of $890.600.00 is completed. So what you will be receiving per day is ($10,000.)
Didn't we just talk about keeping #"s consistent?

Please re-confirm and forward the below info., to the paying officer to avoid wrong transfer :

Contact Officer: Mr.Melvin Udah,( Area Director, Western Union Dept.) Email; / 
I actually deleted the real emails, just in case someone tries to steal my $890.600.00

Tel:+229 66 784 146

Confirm below Info of yours to him, to avoid any wrong transfer.

Receivers Name BlogWriter, Age 27 Address What for? Tel # Are you really going to call me from Africa? ======,Occupation/Position Why on earth do you care? Country Didn't we cover this? Text,Question Again, why are you asking for this?

Answer==========Scan Copy of Any identification Ohhh, now I see. You're going to try and steal my identity. Clever clever. But, having read this, I honestly wonder what value my identity would possibly have to you. 

Seriously, this is actually a question for me. What are you hoping to get out of this? What's your end game? Do these things ever work? I mean, they must sometimes because I keep getting this emails, but don't you think you should have some stronger call to action?
Don't get my occupation. Ask me to send you the $89. Seriously, I've never understood this. 

Anyway, if anyone knows why these scammers try it this way, can you write and let me know? I am honestly curious.
Yours Faithfully. 

Mrs.Jane Arumba.


Again, points for consistency.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Trouble with the Great Maker

As I have mentioned in a few posts, I have a boyfriend. He is really great, and not just relative to the quality out there, he really is a great guy. Maybe he's not perfect but he's pretty perfect for me.

That being said, he does have one flaw. He's not Jewish.

On Monday he is being introduced to my family. I am taking him to our traditional Seder meal.

For those of you who don't know, a Seder is a long, to varying degrees religious, meal. It's a bit like Easter dinner or Thanksgiving. I compare it to Thanksgiving because this is the big annual meal when my family comes together and we have a dinner. We sing the same songs year after year. We have used the family Siddur* for over twenty years and are still asking God to allow the Jews out of the USSR. Some copies have my crayon artwork on them, for when the meal was too long for my 6 yr old ADD brain.

*A siddur is the traditional book you read from during Passover that tells the story of Exodus: Pharaoh  Moses, 10 plagues, escape from Egypt- if you don't know the story, there's a Disney movie you can watch.

Anyway, bringing a guy to Seder is a pretty big deal. I've brought a few friends before and once the guy I dated for three years. He made fun of the meal (to me) on his first go-around and I never invited him again.

To put how big a deal the Seder meal is into perspective, my freshman year I spent Passover in the dorms. I had just been home from Spring Break, it was my freshman year, I loved college. Why not? I ended up being so homesick and missing the meal so much, that every year after that, I would fly home (or extend my spring break) so I could be there for this meal. My coworker, who's from Texas, just flew home on Friday for his family Seder.

This coworker has also met boyfriend on a few occasions. He once said to me: "Not only did you not go Jewish. You really swung for the fences on the not Jewish."

My boyfriend is a blond haired, blue eyed 6'3, Ukranian.

I am not commenting on whether or not there is a "Jewish" look. I have known blond haired, blue eyed Jews. I hate when people say because when I am with my mother's family (all Jews), I am the only one with dark eyes. Some people say I look Jewish, some say I don't.

That being said, my boyfriend does not look Jewish. It will be noticed and remarked upon. I will be judged for not dating a "member of the tribe." It is not a bad thing. It is not a good thing. It is just a "thing."

This dynamic is always difficult to explain to outsider. After all, from the outside, I know it is seen as racism. I have had friends comment, resentfully, that they are offended because Jewish boys won't date them because they're not Jewish. I'm sorry? The truth is, it just makes things easier and sometimes there can be unforeseen conflicts.

One of the few "dates" I went on in college was in many ways, an early affirmation of why dating someone of the same religion "makes things easier. I don't remember his name, but him and I had been eyeing each other for months and when we ran into each other at the library, we decided we should go and get a cup of coffee together. In my college world, this was the of the closest things to a date I'd ever had.

We started talking and somehow the topic of his tattoo came up. I, having studied Medieval art, immediately recognized it as St. Sebastian.
(Sebastion! That was his name! Note to self: FB Stalk Later)
We started talking about his religious beliefs. His very elaborate St. Sebastian tattoo took up most of his bicep. I had noticed it because we took a gym class together and he often wore sleeveless shirts. It was probably my bad for going on a date with someone who wears sleeveless shirts, my only excuse is that I was young.
He told me that he had a very real problem with the church as a religious institution. I probably brought up their bloody history and he, of course, agreed that the church did not have the most stellar reputation which certainly tainted his feelings towards the institution. He explained however, that his connection with the church was not about brick and mortar, it was about spirituality. His belief in God.


We didn't go on a second date. A week later he got a girlfriend and I'm pretty sure he was just checking all his options before settling down.

My new boyfriend is a great guy. I decided to overlook religion because, as he pointed out, he couldn't help how he had been born. He also told me that it had been a long time since he had been to Church and his religion wasn't a "big deal."

J hasn't been to a religious service in month, but he carries a prayer on his key chain. It is meant to give comfort in a time of crisis, that if you should die, Jesus is waiting to take you into Heaven.

I was not raised believing in Heaven or Hell. You do good things because they were right and good for the world, not because there was some reward (or punishment) awaiting you in the afterlife. I never believed in God as someone who could help me or save me. Because Judiasm for me is not just about spirituality. Or a belief in God. It's about Seder meals.

It is about my family and our history.

I once asked my father how he felt about my having a Christmas tree. He told me: "I feel like you would be turning your back on 10,000 years of suffering and persecution."
"Oh. So, that's a no?"

I think it's important to note, that my father, the man who will not abide my having a Christmas tree, is an atheist.

So this Seder is a chance for me to show my boyfriend what my religion is to me. It's about time with family, connecting with traditions that have been carried on for thousands of years, because we married within the tribe, and we fought through generation after generation to pass the siddur down from one generation to the next.

I recently met a woman who was one of the Jews who was trapped in Russia until the 90's. She came to America and has never looked back. I knew her story because it is a part of the story we tell every year about the continuous struggles of the Jewish people.

How do I give up any part of that fight?

The problem isn't that my traditions couldn't still be celebrated in a mixed-religion household. The trouble is that they might lose power and become diluted and then my children might not feel the same zeal that I do for keeping traditions alive. And if I fail in that, than I have failed my father. And his mother. And my great great grandparents who died in the holocaust.

When we talk about raising kids. we come to an impasse. J criticizes my inflexibility. And I don't blame him. I am fairly rigid. I want my kids to be Bar or Bat Mitzva'd. The boys will have a Briss. These are non-negotiables for me. But he asks for compromise. I want to give it to him. If we can agree on a movie on Netflix then sure we can come to an agreement about this.

But then there comes the fundamental difference. How can we introduce two religions with inherent cultural and spiritual conflicts. As a Jewish mother, I cannot and will not allow my children to be raised believing Jesus Christ.

Don't get me wrong, I believe that there was a man named Jesus. I believe he was killed by the Romans. I don't believe he was my lord and savior. How can there be compromise when I am against the very tenant of the other religion? But how can ask someone to give up their religion when I know just how important my religion is to me?

Luckily, we have many years still before we have to answer these questions. Kids are by no means imminent. And we are still light years from even being engaged. But I still find myself asking these questions and wondering if this challenge will prove insurmountable.

When I told my aunt that the boy that I was bringing wasn't Jewish. Her response was "well, he can always convert."

People laugh when they hear this, but I know it's not a joke.

I realize this seder won't be easy for J. He will be judged. I will be judged. I don't care. He makes me happy and he genuinely cares for me. I am bringing him to this seder because I hope that it helps him begin to understand how important my religion is to me. I am hoping he sees the beauty in the ancient celebration and doesn't see it as "cult-like" as my ex did. I am hoping he sees the culture of it. The history. And that God has nothing to do with it.

Refinery29, one of my go-to blogs, just posted possibly the worst article on "Eligible Bachelors in NYC" that I have ever read.

Let me preface this by saying that dating in NYC is hard. I can only speak from from heteronormative female perspective but I've never heard anyone, gay, straight, male or female, say "Oh yeah, dating in NYC and then finding someone serious is REALLY easy."
I dated for two years. I can't count how many dates I went on, First Dates, Third Dates, Bad Dates, Great Dates. I've had my heart broken, and I may have broken a heart or two.

After two years I met someone truly fantastic and I'm really happy, but it was A LOT of work. Seriously, for awhile it was like having a part time job. A 10+ hr a week commitment. And honestly, I was much more into dating than I was into having a boyfriend.

Dating is easy. Everyone goes on dates. Everyone is looking for a date. Key word: Date. Reading through this article reminded me of exactly why dating is so impossible. I've pulled some of my favorite quotes and then offered my own translations.

Name: TJ Allers
Age: 32
Location: New York
Job Title: Public Relations Director
Sexual Preference: Heartbeat

"I am spontaneous, sometimes to a fault, I avoid drama, and I like to keep things simple…nothing worse than overcomplicating."

Translation: I am always late. Always. And don't point it out, because that will be drama. Also, I'm not really sure I'm looking for a "relationship" because that sounds like making a plan. I don't like those. How can I spontaneously check out another person w/ a heart beat if you're watching me??

Name: David Yarus
Age: 26
Location: NYC
Job Title: General Manager, Mr Youth
Sexual Preference: Ladies

What do you look for in a significant other?

"A partner-in-crime. A best friend. Someone who's doing her thing and supports me doing mine. Someone to share and explore the world with. Someone who appreciates the beauty in everything. Is easy-going. Laid-back. And, can make any situation into a good time."

Uhmm, did you copy and paste this out of your JDate profile?

What are three things a potential significant other should know about you?

"-I'm a hopeless romantic. Really.
-I don't play games. And, I don't like people who do!
-I keep kosher and observe shabbat. #Jewish."

Wait, is that a hashtag. Did you really have to Hashtag Jewish? #NoJustNo

Also anyone who says they don't play games is lying.

What's the biggest problem with dating in NYC?

"I'm all about quality over quantity. Living in the city, you can go on a date every night. But at the end of the day, it only takes one. The most beautiful, down-to-earth, all around awesome one. Like a needle in a haystack, in a city so big, where is she?"

Translation: I will never be satisfied. No matter how great you are, I believe there is probably someone better. Being in this article hasn't helped either, because now my ego will be totally out of control huge.

Name: Nary Manivong
Age: 30
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Job Title: Fashion Designer for my brand, Nary Manivong
Sexual preference: Girls, Girls, Girls

Disclaimer: I thought this guy was pretty cool. Like, maybe you could actually date him? Then I kept reading.

What's the biggest problem with dating in NYC?

"The biggest problem with dating in NYC is that people aren’t looking to settle down. Everyone puts their career first in order to be successful. NYC has a different standard when it comes to dating, a very high standard. I grew up in Ohio so it took some getting used to. Plus there is too much eye candy here!"

Translation: There's a lot of eye candy. 'Nuff said

I could keep going, but honestly, I think I've made my point and I'm just depressing myself.

So I will end with this(my favorite):

Name: Kyle Hotchkiss Carone
Age: 26
Job Title: Partner at Cole's Greenwich Village and Co-Founder of Host Committee
What do you look for in a significant other? "Long hair, an accent, narcissism."

I don't even know where to begin. Well, long hair. Okay. Sure. 

An accent? Do you mean like Long Island or were you thinking like British? And if British, London or country? So many questions. Either way, I don't have an accent so I guess despite my long hair we won't date. 
Oh wait, was that last quality again. Narcissism? So you want a girl who stares at herself so long in a mirror that she starves herself. Hmm, you know, I bet that does exist somewhere in NYC. It is NYC after all.

So when you meet this long-haired British waif, where will you take her on a date?
"I don't really go on dates. But if I did I would go to the bar at my restaurant, The Bottle Room at Cole''s a separate space off the dining room that is just detached enough that you don't feel like you are on a date. It's a place to 'grab drinks'. If it's not going well that can be one drink, if it is going well our maitre'd will read between the lines and offer you a table in the dining room to keep the night going."

Let me get this straight. You are going to take the date to you restaurant. Wait, don't you work there? Yes?  And you and the maitre'd have some secret code where he knows if you want a table or not? Well, that's weird.
Basically what you're telling me is that you're so cheap you will take me to a place where you eat and drink free, where I will feel incredibly uncomfortable because you know everyone and I know I am being judged from all angles. 

Well, that sounds like a GREAT date. So as long as you and I are enjoying each other's company so very much, what should I not talk about.

What are your biggest turn-on/offs?

"Talking about relationships."

...After free drinks you're just going to lead me back to your apartment and try to take my clothes off, aren't you? Quick question, will you at least pay for my cab home? No? It's 'cause I don't have an accent, isn't it?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Every Girl's Guide to Clubbing in NYC

I have been going to "Clubs" in NYC since I was about 17. I had a friend who was (and remains) actively involved in the "scene" and he would take me to various events through college. I remember the first time I went without him and I was shocked that asking for ID's was actually thing. Luckily I was 21 by then, but before that I had no idea why people talked about fakes like it was such a big deal.

 These days I have a friend who likes to go clubbing and so I will go with her. I am too old(27), too short(5'8), and too fat(I weigh more than 120 lbs), for that other friends current crop of women. And no, I don't have a problem with my body. I think I look far better at 27 then I did at 21 but the fact remains that while I could pass for 24/25, I am not 22 anymore. Also, I don't want to be one of those "girls." "Going out" in NYC is not an adventure to be undertaken lightly.

On Sex and the City the women always managed to get into the hottest bars and clubs without issue and once inside they would be surrounded by only the most beautiful people in the city, all in their late 20's to 30's.

It's not like that.

First of all, "the hottest clubs" won't take girls/women over 25. Even a group of women. Miranda? No way. And Samantha? She'd be more twice the age of any other girl there. Possibly even three times as old as some of the younger attendees. Yes, there are 15 yr old models roaming the floor. That's not saying "it's impossible" to get into these places. There are shortcuts. Befriend promoters and doormen. Go early. Have a group of friends go in on a bottle or a table- make sure the ratios are at least 3:1 girls over boys. Make sure the girls are "hot."

Hot= Tall (5'7+ and wearing 3"+ of heel), pretty (or at least caked heavily in makeup), thin or curvy (thin preferred). That's not to say all girls look like this. If they're attached to a table or are friends w/ a promoter, or they pay the cover, then they can get in.

Guys: Doesn't matter as long as they're paying(a lot.)

If you're a girl and you don't fill the above "Hot" requirements, you can get in, just expect to pay guy prices. What? This sounds like a horrible, cruel, self-aggrandized system? It is!

Clubbing sucks. Oh, did I forget to mention that part? Yeah, clubbing really, truly sucks. I should know, I've done it enough. I've done it at high end places, and I've been where everyone and anyone can get in. I've waited in line and I've been walked in by the owner. I realize that saying it sucks followed by pointing out how often I've done it, doesn't exactly lend weight to my cause that I hate it, but that's not really the point.

There is some measure of thrill and excitement about going clubbing. There's the fight to get in. Well, battle. To be fought with coy looks and credit cards. Find the right person at the door, and you won't pay a dime. Piss off the wrong person, and you will wait for hours in the cold (in very high heels and a short skirt.) Okay, the latter hasn't actually happened to me because I refuse to wait and will just go somewhere else. It's NYC, there is always some place where loud music is playing and over-priced drinks are being served, where you can get in.

Then there is the fun that takes place inside. My favorite game to play is: Don't buy self any drinks. If you're dressed right and look the part, there will be multiple offers of tables where drinks will be liberally poured. Oh, and just a word to the wise. Watch the drink get poured. Unless you know and trust the person, don't just take some drink that gets handed to you. I find a well stocked table to be your best option for getting drinks because the pours will be liberal and the line to the bottle is a lot shorter than at the bar.

The downside to taking a drink from a table is that then a man may feel that he has partial ownership of you. For at least the evening. I feel that a drink is worth a conversation. Not more. Especially if drinks run dry at the table. Then move on. Most of the time, these guys aren't looking for a date. Or a real girl. At least not at a club. If they're any type of quality they don't want to date some girl they met at a club. Never mind if you are a fantastic human being, they will assume the worst about you, just as you will assume the worst about them. Disclaimer: I have dated one guy I met at a club. And he was a really nice guy, but our relationship definitely kicked off under false pretenses and never recovered.

About this ownership thing. I know too many girls who will then stick by the guy because of the one drink. No. It's okay. You can walk away. Unless you really like the guy. Or think he's really cute. Or really want to hook up with him that night. Otherwise, walk away. If you stick around too long, you are actually doing yourself more harm than good.

How? Well, if you're not planning on going home with him that night, you are now officially a cock block. And the guy hasn't bought you dinner yet, which means that unless you want to piss him off (maybe his ex offered you $200 to make sure he goes home alone) take your drink and go. By all means, exchange numbers. Make out a bit if the mood moves you. But otherwise, move along. He'll appreciate what you're doing. Because trust me, he hasn't dropped $1000+ to flirt a bit. And if he's a serious club rat, then he's really not interested in a new table fixture.

There are two types of tables at clubs. The regulars and the "Guy's Night Out." Oh, there are girl's nights out too, but stay away from those unless you want a cat fight. Seriously, save your hair extensions from pulling, and stay away.

Guy's night out: 

These guys look out of place. They have way more dudes than girls. There will be one who's in charge. The Night Out was probably his idea. Often times it's hedge funders or tech guys, they made a bunch of money and are looking to blow it. There are either a couple of girls or no girls at their tables. If there are girls, they are probably way underdressed and staring around uncomfortably. Their boyfriend/husband invited them and now he is talking to his coworkers and completely ignoring her and she feels weird, awkward, and way way underdressed. And she is worried that her boyfriend is checking out every scantily clad woman that comes within five feet of their table.

Who to talk to: Not the guy being celebrated. He'll be wasted. Not the guy who's in charge. He's in major Alpha dog mode and is way to distracted making sure his boys have a good time to pay attention to you. Look for the guy on the fringes. He's probably talking to a friend and wishing he had the courage to actually approach a female. Talk to him. Seriously, make the first move. If he's with a friend, grab your friend and go in for the attack. These guys (if you can spot them and their not too deep in "Dude Mode") are low hanging fruit.

The Regulars (and there are 2 Kinds)

The Promoter: 

This one's easy. He's got a table full of women dressed in BEBE and a couple of dudes who don't look rich enough to be there (no nice suits, no ties, check the shoes).
Who to talk to: Any of the dudes. They'll all be quick to offer drinks. If you're having fun at your present location, get the promoter's #. Get on his list. If you're on a list you'll get texts Thurs-Saturday night about various events in the city. Don't stick around long. There's nothing for you here and the girls in these circles are usually a dime a dozen.

The Club Rats: 

These guys look far too at home. They're sprawled out at their table, eyeing the scene. They're wearing nice suit jackets and shirts that aren't buttoned up all the way.
Who to talk to: This is actually the hardest group. These guys, unless one of them is particularly attracted to you, has no interest in you. They know every girl is trolling for free drinks and they do this all the time and they've seen 10,000 girls who look just like you. Don't bother approaching this group, you are wasting your time. If they want you, they will come for you.

And remember, you can get in just about anywhere if you are a girl and do the following: Show up early & dress to impress.

Friday, March 22, 2013

More Late than Fashionable

H&M announced today that they're going to be offering online ecommerce. OMGREALLYWOW

No, seriously H&M you are really really late to this party.

India's big box stores are getting online before you.

I honestly didn't even realize H&M wasn't online until I read that.

"Things are changing very quickly. Especially with the ability to shop on smartphone apps, you have to be online to take part today," said Nils Vinge, aka Captain Obvious, H&M's head of investor relations.

Seriously, not being online is as outdated as jokes about Captain Obvious.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Away We Go

I always thought if I started a blog it should just be about one thing, like fashion, the state of our society, marketing, writing fiction, food, work, dating, etc. Then I realized that lot's of people have these same interests, so there was no reason to limit myself to just one topic.

Okay, that's enough about that.

So this week I entered a March Madness pool at work. I have only ever entered one other March Madness pool. It was in college. I watched ESPN Sport's Center with my friend Aaron and then picked everyone the experts didn't pick, thinking I would win with underdog points. I didn't. I lost miserably.

This year, with $10 riding on it, I decided to go with the expert's picks. But then this totally took the fun out of it, because let's face it, I probably have the exact same picks as everyone else. I decided though, I wanted to at least be a competitive player. I wanted to look like I knew what I was doing, and I'm hoping to stay in the running as a "winner" for at least a little while. Why? Well, because in all honesty, I work at a male dominated office. And while I love action movies, you can only discuss "Is Iron Man better than The Dark Knight?" so many times. This at least can be a new source of conversation.

I'm wondering if it means I actually have to watch the games?