Friday, October 30, 2009

Jersey Blunt: This Is Just To Say...

...That I am going to miss you a hell of a lot. I thought of you this morning in the shower, and I was going to call you today to chill over this weekend, because it had been way, way too long.

And then I found out this morning that Jersey Blunt passed away at 4 AM today.

After a night of partying, he was heading home when he had a seizure, fell, hit his head, and died in the hospital this morning from complications and trauma. Yes, the seizure was probably drug-related, but, you know what? I don't give a fuck. He was probably happy. That's all that matters.

Jersey and I met in the fall of last year, under dubious circumstances. He was a 20 year old freshmen, after having to put his college career on hold for a year for parole, and I was his advisor. He was handsome-- Italian, 6 foot, 4 inches tall with black hair and bright blue eyes, a big nose, and a wide mouth that smiled easily. He was charming; cunningly, stunningly intelligent; rib-achingly funny, and had a heart as big as his hands. Being the oldest and most experienced in the dorm house also made him the most popular. Unlike most people, Jersey never turned anyone away from chilling with him-- the awkward, the unpopular, the underdogs-- all were welcome. He was kind. He was polite. I have never, ever seen that kind of respect and caring from an alpha male, and I probably won't see it again for a long time. He had a set of manners on him that would have made his New Jersey Jewish mama proud. He ironed his khakis before going to meet with his parole officer, for chrissake.

Though he had a shady past, he was trying to turn as straight and narrow as a natural-born hustler can. I got involved; maybe a bit too much, but that's a part of my life that made me learn, made me grow, and taught me invaluable lessons. He was possibly the most protective and caring guy I have ever even loosely been with-- he protected those around him fiercely, in quietly assertive ways. He made me promise to buy only from him, so he would know what I was taking, and would know the quality, where it came from, how much, the effects, and the dangers. He was the first there to watch your back. He was the one who would call you right back when he saw a missed message, even for something not important. He was the one I called when I was tripping hard, panicked, and didn't know what to do. He took care of me. Calmly. Soothingly. Totally. When he left for the summer, I quit that lifestyle, and the few times I saw him this fall, it seemed like he was brushing it off, too.

I saw him last week, when I was running to a meeting-- met him coming down the stairs I was going up with another one of the SoHo boys. We chatted for awhile, catching up, making plans to party together again. He asked me to let him know of any jobs I heard of that could be interesting. Dealing had stopped being his main income. He was moving on.

Some things, however, would never change. His jaw looked a little funny. Did he get punched? Was it swollen? A toothache or dental procedure? I peered at it until I couldn't help but wonder any more? "Lookit me for a second," I asked, and when he got squirrely and started blushing and fidgeting, I knew I had him.

"Awww..." he started, but I persisted-- "No, no-- look at me!" He bent down so I could see him better, and we were almost in the same position as that afternoon at the beginning of us last fall when he tucked me up to his chest and under his chin on the sidewalk as people and cars passed and snowflakes drifted down.

"Are you...chewing?" I asked him.

"Naw, I'm not chewing," he said, his eyes darting around, not looking at me, a sure sign he was embarrassed and trying to get out of it. "I'm not like Graf and spitting all over the place, but yeah, I have a lip in."

"Ewww. Why?"

"I dunno. I used to chew. I got drunk last night and bought a tin. Don't want to let it go to waste."

The guy could deliver an Oscar-worthy act to professors, faculty, friends, and members of the judicial system, but he still could never,ever lie to me. Not about drugs, not about girls-- not even about homework.

He still was into personal use of drugs, however.

He explained it to me this way, as we stood on the porch one night, smoking and debating String Theory. (Yes...String Theory. He could have gone Ivy. He made me feel ridiculously slow and dim.) "It's like that-- like String Theory. Everything I do, opens up my mind a little more. It stretches limits and makes me grow."

He was happy. He knew the risks. Knowing him was to know to expect something like this. Loving him was to love all of him, bad habits and all. Since last November, I have always awaited the phone call saying he was either back in jail, or had died. It has always been a possibility with him, but that's ok-- that's how he lived his life, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Not a second was left not lived to the fullest.

He introduced me to Purple. Gave me free beer; gave me the chance to beat him funneling my first time ever; always had sick new music to share with me; was always dependable to open the front door, help out with the other boys, or offer to lend me a few (hundred) bucks when I was struggling. Taught me what "mugobs" were, and that you should be able to depend on a man to get in touch with you, and never failed to tease me in the most delightful ways. I will always regret what I wasted when I did the "professionally right" thing and didn't get with him. Let that be a lesson to me-- take those chances, and live like Jersey did. That is a 6'4" gap in my life that no one will ever fill. I will never hear that "Bonita Applebaum" ringtone again.

He was 21.

Keep it easy, killah-- I will always, ALWAYS remember you.

The biggest XOXO of them all, for the biggest dude.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Get A Little Public.

So, this is going to be an interesting little (Aha...HAHAHA) post. I'm sorry for my lack of presence on the blog/in my apartment/in classes. I must have a new boy. Detrimental to sleep, seeing my roommates, and accomplishing things.

Operating along the lines of "better safe than sorry," this is a HUGE WELCOME to any men I know personally who happen to stumble upon my blog. Southern Charm, that's you-- though I told you after allowing you to follow me on Twitter to either NOT click the link to my blog, or to never tell me that you did-- so if you're reading this now, I suppose than you're going with the "hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil" route. Gypsy, you oh so adorable online creeper, this goes for you, too. (Ladies-- if you're a private person, steer clear of the Information Technology men. I'm pretty sure that when I ignored a "follow" request from Gypsy on Twitter and then sent him a Facebook message saying, "No, I'm sorry, but no-- you cannot follow me on Twitter," even though he said, "Fine, be as secretive as you want," he also cracked his Computer Digital Forensic major fingers and got down to business finding out why, exactly, I was being so squirrely. And as any of my Twitter followers know, I link my blog and new posts on my Twitter page. Hence why it's locked. Hence why I'm picky about who I let follow. But, I have the feeling that things like passwords and firewalls mean absolutely NOTHING to him. Oh, well.)

So, HELLO BOYS! This is my blog! Welcome to my huge embarrassment! And if you ever speak to me about it, I will deny, deny, deny till I am blue in the face, and then I will hit you over the head and hiss at you, "Alright, FINE, yes, I did say that about you in total and sincere honesty, now SHUT UP!"

Again, as Stephen Stills said, "There are three things men can do with women: love them, suffer for them, or turn them into literature." And I don't believe in being sexist, so I round the figures out by writing about you, guys.

I've been spending a bit of time out and about, as I alluded to, getting to know Gypsy. (Being in that apartment has just further affirmed my firm appreciation for Greece Lightning as well. What an easy-going, personable, chill person he is. Why did I forget to associate with him sophomore year?) It's going well-- I spent not last Saturday, but the Saturday night before that there with Emily (hence that blog post, car being towed, all that fun stuff); last Thursday night from 11 PM to 5 AM at their apartment; and last night from 10:30 PM to 1 AM. NOTHING HAS HAPPENED. I'M BEHAVING. In fact, I may have looked at him on Thursday night (a wee bit intoxicated, hence the sauciness and forwardness) and said, "I'm making you work for it."

His response? A solid "Ok."

Thursday night he actually texted me and asked me to come over. I wasn't doing anything, so I went over and was immediately introduced to two of his close friends. I'm not so used to this whole "meet the friends" thing. Most of the guys I date are in the frame of mind that introducing me to their buddies is not a good idea because A.) I am a huge flirt, or B.) they (rightly) don't see things working out with me for too much longer. I'm also not so used to the fact that he has obviously given them marching orders to be nice and interested, because one of them walked me to class the other day after running into me in the coffee shop, and another struck up random conversation at the bus stop. I love how "bros before hoes" mentality turns into "I like her, so you've gotta give a fuck about her, too" with guys. I feel like women are a whole lot more careless about these things. Your girls don't like the guy you're seeing? Ehhhh. Guess who's going to be seeing less of you around the TV on "Grey's Anatomy and Margarita Night"? It sucks, and it's so not right, but women are so much more likely to not listen to and ditch voices of reason and think below the belt for themselves and go forth and do douchebag dating and mating for the hell of it. Because we think it's ok. Truth. I said it.

The game plan Thursday night/Friday morning was to stay up all night and then walk to my 8 AM class on campus. Gypsy and I were in for the long haul, while Greece Lightning went to sleep not long after the friends (and the world's two sweetest but dumbest freshmen girls,) left. When Greece heard I was planning on staying, he furtively texted me. "Oh, so you're staying? Five bucks on where you think you're sleeping."

True, I HAD thought about it, but I'm being good, dammit, and there's nothing like someone calling my intentions into question to make me stand by them. So thanks, Greece, though Gyp might not feel the same. "Well," I texted back while Gypsy unknowingly and blissfully made PB&Js for us in the kitchen, "I assume this movie will be about two hours. I have to move my car at 6. And I guess I'm going to be napping in this chair between 6 and when I leave for my class at 8."

Greece Lightning circumvented my prudish logic and went right after the heart of the argument. "I think you should go for it. It's a pretty sure bet."

Well, thanks for the words of encouragement. And I'd love to be a fly on the wall of that apartment to hear what was said when it came up that I left at 5 AM, 2 hours after Greece went to bed, but no-- I stuck by my guns. I did not go after it. I. WILL. BE. GOOD. (Godammit.)

Gypsy moved seats from across the living room to next to me, and he and I stayed up, eating our PB&Js and half-watching a movie and talking to each other, doing the whole families/growing up/interests "getting to know you" talk. I learned a lot about him; he probably learned too much about me. It was basically the criteria you go over on a first date-- only we were sitting in stolen chairs in his apartment with our feet up on his "coffee table"-- a cable wire spool. In fact, how would I describe the decor of the apartment? Hmm. Stolen. Road signs and signs deck the walls. A pizza delivery car's roof light adorns the radiator. I love it. It's so "boy."

Though he offered again to have me spend the night, I thought about what Greece Lightning had said and decided to remove myself from the temptation. "Spindly sleeps over on it," Gypsy told me in a last-ditch attempt to have me make peace with the extra mattress. "Blowdryer Boy sleeps over on it. It's for friends who don't live nearby. It's not like we're trying to lure girls over to sleep on it." Nice, but I was more worried FOR him than ABOUT him.

So he walked me the three blocks to the place where I had (finally, after 20 minutes of driving around Fully Booked Parking, College Slum Central, Burlington,) found a spot. I gave him a ride back to his apartment. He said goodnight, got out, and then ducked his head back in. "Can I see you again this weekend? What are you up to?"

Be still my heart. A man, planning ahead? I swoon.

"Umm, my parents are coming up for Parent's Weekend, but they know I have a life and are going to be gone after an early dinner. I don't know after that."

"Ok, I'll call you or you call me."

"Sure. Night!"

"Yeah-- you, too. Drive safe!"

About 20 minutes after I got home, at 5:55 AM, my cell rang. It was a text from Gypsy. "Make it home ok?"

Again, adorable, and I swoon. Repeat.

"Mmmph. Yeah. In bed. Trying to warm up and pass out."

"Same here! :-) Two comforters does well though."

Oh, the cute just about kills me.

We were supposed to meet up on Saturday after my parents left town after dinner, but he ended up being tanked by 8 PM and too inebriated to coherently explain to me where he was. ("Sami's" doesn't quite cut it. I need a street address here, people!) Oh well. I watched "The Goonies" for the second time in a week with Melissa and went to bed early. (The Goonies Said: "Booby traps?" "That's what I said-- booty traps!" Melissa Said: "Awww-- they're skipping!" I Said: "Stripping?!" M: "SKIPPING." C: "STRIPPING?" M: "NOOO-- SKIPPING!!!" I apparently hear what I want.)

Monday, one of my roommates came down really ill and her parents drove up from Jersey to bring her home. (No Swine worries.) To give them time and get out of their way, I hopped around campus and Burlington all night, catching up with the lovely Miss Mercure and eating KKDs. I also texted Gypsy to ask if need be that I could crash on the infamous extra mattress. "I may not need it-- I may just apartment hop until I sneak back to my apartment after they all go to sleep. What time is a no-go for coming over to chill?"

"Whenever. I'll most likely be up late. And I'd wake up to let you in and set up the bed for you. Doesn't matter."

Can we just give him a medal already?

So, hmmm...Gypsy. He's intelligent, articulate, funny, sweet, and cute as all hell. Basically a five-year-old in a man's body. A bit of a drunkard and a player, yes, but the more he gets up and walks around the apartment, the more times I just want to sink my teeth into his ass. (Alli. You are so to blame for this. That, and that summer day We Shall Never Speak Of. Again. Ever. Starting Now.) He's certainly used to being an older brother and "protector" which I will admit I like as it makes me feel all taken care of inside and go girly. I am so used to taking care of myself that when other people do it for me, I just tend it. Last night, he walked me to my car-- again, parked 3 motherfucking blocks away-- and as I beeped it open and threw my purse in, he craned to see over my shoulder. "No one's hiding out in your car?" he asked, looked for himself, and then, content that I wouldn't be mauled to death by Birdman, or another one of Burlington's vagrants in my own car, declined my offer to drive him home, saying, "Naw-- I'll walk back," and then put his arms around me. I nearly ate a shoulder full of red and black plaid flannel but composed myself long enough to do that awkward thick-winter-coats-between-us-like-fat-padding embrace.

Oho. We're onto hugging, now. I almost looked at him and said, "Man up and kiss me, already."

As Greece Lightning would say, I'm "a sure thing."

I've never really been the one pursued before. This hit home again when one of my friends was talking to Gypsy randomly two weeks ago and my name came up as someone they knew in common. "She's hot," Gypsy had said. Though I admit it, I may have grooved a bit when I heard this like someone had just told me I was getting a lifetime's free membership to the Victoria's Secret Vault Of All Things Sexy, I'm still kind of baffled. ("Baffled" is an EXCELLENT word for what I am, actually.) Usually, things go like this: either I, A.) meet you, decide I want you, and go after you with varying results, or B.) we meet, we like each other mutually right off the bat, and we fall into bed and a sort of quasi-relationship together. Usually, I don't give the guys that like ME the time of day-- I'm after the ones who I like: the hard-to-reach fruit on the Tree of Temptation. Things like the apple-pie guy who came from the Tree of Temptation liking me usually don't happen. I don't think I can say I've ever had to sit there, talking to a perfectly cute, perfectly nice guy before and think, "Hmmm, do I really like you? Would I sleep with you? Would I ever want to, GASP, date you? Be in a relationship with you? How do I REALLY feel about you? Could I see/let this thing happen?"

So bizarre. I don't know how you serial daters do it.

I also like the way Gyp says my name. Usually, I pronounce it "CA-rissa," but there's this phenomenon that happens with Vermont boys, I've noticed. The soft Vermont accent turns it into "Crissa." Catholic Boy did it. My trainer's husband does it. Some of my native friends are guilty of it, too. But that's all very girly and neither here, nor there.

But god, he's opinionated and set in those opinions. I just want to shake him up a little and say, "Jesus Christ, open up your mind think about it from the other side for once!" Also, let me tell you one of the stupidest arguments in the world: "Well, I only do [dangerous things] when I'm alone. Because hey, if it goes wrong, it's just me." Yes, Gypsy, this is directed at you and your quote. But it's NEVER "just you." It's you, and your family, and your friends, and everyone else who would be left behind if you killed yourself in a moment of young adult male stupidity.

As someone whose life has been affected by far too many losses and far too many "stupid moments," let me tell you-- nothing sucks more than being someone left behind. So don't put the people you love in that position. Think. Texting while driving, or while on a motorcycle, is ridiculously dangerous. People react 18% slower to break, swerve, or speed up when texting on their cell phone. For every 6 seconds that a person spends texting while driving, roughly 4.6 of those seconds are not spent looking at the road. Nearly 25% of all wheeled accidents occur because of texting or talking while driving. Over 2,600 people per year die because of accidents related to dialling or texting on a cell phone while driving. Another 333,000 are injured. Yes-- I am guilty of occasionally texting while driving. I try not to-- driving a standard takes the two hands I already have. Pressing buttons at the same time is really pressing it for me.We all do at one time or another. But really-- we shouldn't. Don't become another statistic.

See? I can do a well-meaning public service announcement other than "use a condom!"



Thursday, October 22, 2009

Kitchen Bitches Do The Bluebird Tavern: Twice As Tasty

The Bluebird Tavern, 317 Riverside Avenue, Burlington, VT

Carissa: The Bluebird Tavern opened this pat July, owned by Sue Bette, with Aaron Josinsky, previously sous-chef at Shelburne Farms, taking a head chef position in the kitchens. In what was previously “Tortilla Flats,” a rambling, brown stucco building, The Bluebird Tavern has made its new nest. The lighting is low; the atmosphere relaxed, like you just fell off the road and into a little English pub tucked up against the pavement and river. Sit on the patio, if you can—even though we’re going into nights that are getting cold and would require you to eat with your coat on, like I did, there’s a delightful Vermont jungle feel as the sun sets over the wrought iron and brick walls with wide windows that overlook trees and greenery.

For a menu that changes every day, I noticed that a few of the “share” entrées and the “snack” appetizers were dangerously similar in meal composition: who is to say that the “snack” of lamb meatballs, harissa, and yogurt would make less of a meal than the entrée of Bluebird bacon, turnip greens, and apple cider? The wine list, however, would make my father drool and my under-21 self weep.

Alli: I didn’t grow up in a foodie-family like my lovely co-Kitchen Bitch. I wasn’t raised with lamb and fancy cheeses. I grew up on chicken pot pie and burgers, apple crisp and whoopee pies. Walking into Bluebird, sitting down, and taking a look at the menu was intimidating. I didn’t know what the hell kohlrabi was—by the way, in case you don’t either, I Wiki-ed it; it’s a German Turnip and supposedly like a sweeter broccoli stem—and, much to Carissa’s dismay, I’m not a particularly adventurous eater. It’s just not the way I roll. She might drool over the prospect of chicken livers, veal tongue, and fried rabbit, but I’ll stick with things that don’t scare me at night, thanks.

Carissa: I ordered Boylan’s Black Cherry Soda to go with my lamb ribs—the soda looked like a deep red wine on ice, and I thought it would pair with the lamb well. Lamb and cherry; you just can’t go wrong with that.

I was surprised when our waitress didn’t ask me if wanted my lamb dripping blood off the bone, or charred black. Trust the chef? What? What if he—gasp—cooked it well-done? This Romanian Princess doesn’t do well-done; I like my meat wet. Bloody, dare I say.

Alli: There were plenty of things that didn’t look too scary, though: poutine, fried herbs, and gravy; mackerel, chorizo, and olive oil fingerlings—those are fingerling potatoes, not appendages of slow waitstaff—double burger and frites; papardelle (turns out it’s pasta!), lamb sausage, tomatoes, and mint. And, thinking back on it, the kohlrabi-gingered apples-walnuts-mossend blue meal probably would have been a kickin’ choice that I’m going to dream about longingly tonight. If you didn’t learn from Carissa’s anecdote about how trusting the chef turned out to be the best choice she’s made all year, let me assure you: it will be the best choice you make all year. If you don’t know what to order, ask your server to recommend something and just say yes, no matter what it is. Or you could even tell the chef to surprise you. Trust in Aaron Josinsky is trust well-placed.

In the end, I went with flatbread topped with house labneh, arugula, a grated, hard cheese, and falafel. It all paired perfectly with my Pear Ginger Ale, and, in case you’re wondering, pear is the perfect ingredient in ginger ale. Whoever discovered that is, in fact, my hero.

Carissa: Our bread came out accompanied by the eponymous little round circles of Vermont Cheese & Butter Company cultured butter. Bluebird gets two thumbs up for that choice alone. It’s butter that will change your life. Children, we are in Vermont. We are surrounded by cows and dairy agriculture. There is no reason to be eating bland butter when you can eat butter that tastes like grass and milk and cow and sun and snow and autumn foliage.

Alli: The very fact that we both recognized a couple pats of butter on sight and visibly lit up with excited approval demonstrates the truth to our claim that it truly is life-changing. You’ll never again think of butter the same way.

Carissa: The cheese board came to us on what looked like a fraternity’s long-lost spanking paddle wielded by an old friend as I instantly recognized Vermont Ayr’s signature rind and a salty bleu cheese that my father had brought home one or five times. I am at home with cheese. Cheese is one of my (many) delicious vices, and there was cheese to indulge in. Two hard cheeses, one a cheddar; two soft cheeses, including a triple-crème that was divine; and the bleu were accompanied by cranberry-sized pickled yellow tomatoes that burst with flavor, an oozing honeycomb, and an otherworldly fabulous plum jam that hit all the right notes of tart and sweet on my tongue and kept me licking at the corners of my mouth. Some of the honey had made its way over to the salty yet delicate bleu cheese, and the salty/sweet combination complimented both beautifully, making me believe one should not exist without the other in the future.

Alli: The flatbread was served on the same sort of spanking paddle the cheese came on, and, at first, looked…like nothing particularly special. Good, yes. It looked good. There’s only so much you can do to make falafel flatbread as gorgeous as this tasted, though. The bread was good and sturdy, something that held up well. There was a beautiful bite to the arugula, a slight sharpness to the cheese, and a creamy zing to the labneh that culminated in what can be described in no other way than moaningly fabulous.

Then there was the falafel. After much debating and studying, I figured out how Josinsky made the falafel: it involved magic. What he does, you see, is search out all of the most beautiful Lebanese women and he collects them in his kitchen. He then waves his spatula at them, says, “you are now falafel,” and puts it on your flatbread. I’ve never had more delicious Middle Eastern flavor, and I’ve had Middle Eastern mothers cook for me. The spices—cumin, coriander, and God knows what else—were difficult to indentify (not that I cared; you reach a point where it’s just so good that the ingredients don’t matter) because the original explosiveness is then tempered with a mysteriously complex subtlety that can only be explained by my gorgeous-Lebanese-women theory.

Carissa: The tomato jelly served under my lamb ribs started sweet like…well, jelly, and ended with a kick in the back of my mouth like a particularly feisty pepper had booted my tonsils with steel toes. The house yogurt was a little salty, but toned the tomato jelly down. But I quickly abandoned both of these to focus on the real star of the show—the lamb. The tomato jelly and yogurt were soon dismissed. The lamb could stand alone.

It arrived the lovely, hearty and moist red I love to see in my red meat. And as I picked it up, it fell off the bone. Right off of the little rib bones, and into my mouth. The gristle and fat make a lovely savory crackle in my teeth, flavor exploding every time my teeth clamped down to try to catch some more of that taste. I wanted to suck on the bones. It was the best food decision I’ve made in the past year. I had to send my compliments to the chef. They were, truly, the best lamb ribs I have had in my life. And I’ve eaten a lot of lamb ribs in my 20 years. Lamb is my favorite red meat. And he gave me a foodgasm with his. In short, he is the Casanova of the kitchen, the Ron Jeremy of my dining dreams. I have a food-crush on the cooking. You may notice we use some scandalous word-choice in here. It’s just that for us, food and sex are frighteningly similar. They make you warm, taste good, fill you up, and leave you spent and glowing. When they’re good, they’re really, really good, and when they’re bad, it’s so depressing.

Alli: Carissa was nice enough to share a bite with me. If I’d been standing, my weak knees and tingling toes would have knocked me on my ass. I refused to speak immediately after from the fear that opening my mouth might distort the dreamy aftertaste.

Carissa: Being women, we couldn’t settle on one dessert, and so, ordered two to share.

Alli: Carissa told me not to look at the menu as she read the top three desserts aloud. Resisting the temptation took serious restraint, and was a little like being tied to the headboard: frustratingly gratifying. The desserts we ordered were the mind-blowing orgasm to the menu’s foreplay.

Carissa: I could taste the espresso in the espresso-whisky torte, which was drizzled with a crème and caramel sauce, whisky-infused. The End of Summer fruit tart was…summer. On a plate. Sweet, from the thick but waffle-ish almond tart base soaked in the honey-sweet juices of the fruit, to the whipped mascarpone top. Though I was leaning more toward the fruit tart in personal preference, I wouldn’t kick either dessert out of bed for eating crackers. And the espresso torte could probably keep me up all night and happy, as Alli so kindly pointed out. See what we mean? Food and sex—all feelings one in the same.

The only snag we ran into was having to ask for our French-press coffee to be brought out again after we ordered it with our desserts. You’re not going to walk away stuffed, as is the usual American dining expectation, but you are going to walk away well-fed.

Alli: Regardless of our raving, I’ll give you the skinny; it gets pricey. I’m pretty careful about where and how I spend my cash. Unlike Carissa, I hold onto the balance in my bank account longer than the week after I get my paycheck. Normally, getting the check at the end of a meal at a place like this would send me into momentary cardiac arrest. The cheese board alone was thirteen bucks. Shockingly, though, I didn’t care what the bill was—I was so enamored with the food and the man making it that I would have gladly emptied the entirety of my bank account, just as long as he kept cooking. Please, God, keep that man in the kitchen. I’ll be his bitch.

The Bluebird Tavern is Vermont Fusion at its best. The wait staff had that friendly, attentive Vermonter manner, never without a warm smile. Speaking of the wait staff, I wouldn’t mind if the waiter who brought our cheese board was dished up and brought out on one of those Bluebird serving boards. Regardless of how intimidated I was originally, the atmosphere was undeniably comfortable. There was wrought iron and exposed brick, charming French-country yellow and blue on tiles with patterns straight from Seville in the bathroom, well-dressed folk laughing over wine, and gentle candle glow lighting. There was also a football game and a fútbol game on the two flatscreen TVs behind the well-stocked bar, a man in an Iron Maiden t-shirt right at home at the table next to ours, and Petty, OAR, Jack Johnson, Hootie, Dispatch, and Dave Matthews playing softly through the audio system. It was, simply put, a chill place.

Carissa: The Bluebird Tavern does what Magnolia tries to do, and in my opinion, what Magnolia fails at—taking local food and produce, using a few other simple ingredients to enhance the natural flavors already there, and then leave it alone to speak for itself. At Magnolia, the food tasted a bit bland. At Bluebird, they rocked it, Vermont foodie-style.

Alli: If there was nothing else I could say about The Bluebird Tavern, I’d be able to say that it gave me my new happy place. No more wide open fields of flowers and ponies; oh no. The only frustrating part was trying to concentrate on my own food over Carissa’s rather vocal foodgasms.

Carissa: I’m not normally clumsy, but instead of scoring by Michelin stars, we’re going to score this meal by how many times I dropped my silverware with a clank and rattle onto the china and it slipped from my fingers. And I dropped my silverware 4 times.


Monday, October 19, 2009

"Good Girls Stay Home. Bad Girls Go Everywhere."

So, first off, let me apologize for the style of the last post-- I may have been a wee bit intoxicated, and unlike Jack Kerouac, apparently do not write either eloquently or coherently when alcohol is in my system.

So props to you if you got the drift of it. Long story short, it was a good night until my car was towed, but the Civvy is back in my possession, $72.50 later, and sprung from the impound lot, so life is good. By the way, if there was ever any question, an impound lot is basically jail for cars. It was one of the saddest sights of my life to see my sturdy little burgundy Civic behind the chain link fence with total wrecks and junkers. I can only imagine what may have happened to, all alone and in the cold overnight with the rust and mechanical failure of the other cars. After getting into it, I immediately caressed the steering wheel and stared apologizing profusely to it. "I'm so sorry, baby; you're so good to me, and I go and get you towed to car jail! You're not a bad car-- I'm just a bad owner!"

It may have been the closest to tearing up I've come in awhile. I take my cars seriously. It is basically my child.

Because I'm (becoming) a big girl, I've started to realize some things about preparedness and my social life. Or maybe that's a lie. Maybe when I saw the size of Gypsy's shower during one of my Drink n' Strip Jenga visits to the bathroom to remove under layers of clothing, I started to hyperventilate. Which turned into full-on panic-mode after my car went MIA and it looked like Emily and I may have been spending the night on the extra mattress and have to use said shower in the morning. It is basically a box that was placed in the narrow little bathroom that plumbing pipes were then put through. I have the "fit 5 people, no problem" Party Shower at home. Ok-- so "narrow" and "little" can practically describe Gypsy' and Greece Lightning's entire apartment, but I don't have to live there, so I don't care. Plus, they are boys who have apparently heard of two very important things: bleach, and cleaning. I was impressed. What terrified me was the thought of waking up in the morning, in a strange little apartment, and having to make due with yesterday's smeared make-up and bed head around a guy I would ideally love to find me attractive and keep me around. I'm pretty certain looking like a hobo is a deal-breaker. As I told Southern Charm, I don't just wake up looking like this.

So I have put together the most clever little kit that would make a sexually active Girl Scout proud. I call it the "Quick And Easy Overnight Bag." ("Quick and easy" describes the effort it took to put it together-- not, as some might think, the morality of the maker.) Here's what it consists of:

- A small clutch or bag to hold all the contents, in a fun, girly pattern. It should be small enough to slip into a medium-sized purse. (I used one of the bags that they give you at Clinque when you get the little freebie make-up kits for spending over X,Y, a truly horrifying amount of dollars, on Clinque products. It has white and silver zebra stripes and is roughly half the size of your standard shoe box.)

- An extra pair of underwear. I don't know about you, but I hate wearing yesterday's undies, especially if I have been, um, in and out of them. I put a pair of no-show seamless ones in my kit, so that no matter what you wear, you will be covered and VPL-free. (That's "Visible Panty Lines," for those of you who don't know, and they are horrendous and awful and make my best gay friend cry.)

- Small, airline-sized containers of shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel. You don't want to use whatever guy's all-in-one shampoo/conditioner/body wash, trust me.

- A toothbrush. He'll thank you, and you can probably use his toothpaste.

- A washcloth. I have to wash my face every night, to get make-up off so I don't wake up looking like a raccoon's hot trash girlfriend.

- A mini make-up kit, (you could even use the original make-up that came in the bag you're using if you're doing what I did). Mine contains a mini lip gloss, mini foundation powder and blush, a mini mascara tube, a very short eyeliner pencil, a small tube of skin cream, Q-tips (which I love and think are a totally necessary implement for removing and/or correcting eye make-up), two hair ties, a bobby pin, two cough drops, a sample-size bottle of perfume, and a few tissues. (Men don't seem to believe in tissues. I need them.)

- A box of mints. Fresh breath is always appreciated. And sexy.

- Two condoms. Always be prepared.

- An extra package of my birth control, so if I stay past the time I normally take it at home, I don't have to put it off and play Russian Roulette with my baby-prevention methods.

This is on top of what normally is in your purse, and for me, this includes my full make-up kit, cell phone, Moleskin notebook, camera, cigarettes and lighter, emergency "Is It Really That Time Of The Month?" tampons, water bottle, and a small brush. Remember, if you're staying overnight at a guy's place, he probably, (unless he happens to be Blowdryer Boy,) does not have the hair-care things that you use every morning, such as a blow dryer and a hair straightener, or an extra towel for your hair. (If he does-- worry about who's prettier, you, or him?) At home, play around with some hair styles that are flattering if you're like me and your naturally air-dried hairstyle isn't so stellar. (I like to put my hair up in a bun after a vigorous towel-dry and let it get curly from where the hair ties scrunch it. When I let it down, I have some nice waves and curls.) If you don't carry a brush with you normally, remember to throw one in. Ditto for a cell-phone charger, or remember to shut your phone off while you sleep to conserve its battery if needed. I also can't/refuse to/feel physically ill if I sleep in jeans, so I normally ask a guy for an extra pair of his shorts or a CLEAN pair of his boxers to sleep in. Most of the time, they are willing to provide you so you can be both comfortable and cute in their clothing.

The goal is not to "mark your territory" by bringing all your beauty supplies and clothing and stashing them around a guy's apartment-- the goal is to come in, use your little magic bag to transform yourself into something the next morning he isn't terrified of and is slightly in awe of how easily and breezily you accomplished it with one small bag, and then to leave with everything you came with. Comfortable for you, and comfortable for him.

(Sometimes I even leave with one of their pilfered shirts, but that's just me, and I just have a men's shirt collection to wear around the apartment on weekend mornings.)

I'll be back soon. I must update y'all on the Saturday Saga and why treating a man like he is invisible is sure to win his heart! (Yeah, riiight.) Until then, go forth and sleep over in style!


Sunday, October 18, 2009

This Is My Life.

Tonight, I--

A.) Ended up commando and bra-less in just a hoodie and jeans at Gypsy's apartment playing drink and strip Jenga with him, his roommate, and four other friends. Though it might seem a bit risque, this is actually one hell of a fun game.

B.) DIDN'T ACT LIKE A COMPLETE, MUTE RETARD and got to suss the whole Gypsy situation out. He was far more vocal or just drunk enough to let the fact that he has EXTENSIVELY creeped my Facebook profile, and god knows what else, out, than I would ever be about the fact that I have done the same to him. It was actually a good night, and even though I did let him off easy without a date, it was as important to see him in his natural setting as I thought it would be. At one point, he came over to sit in the double chair with me, putting an arm around my shoulder and the beginnings of some baby moves on. (I did not object. He was pleasantly warm. And his boxers and t-shirt and my hoodie and jeans were the naked barrier. Oh, so close.) The other girl who had been drinking and was planning on driving, he and his roommate, who we shall call Greece Lightning, let go. Me, they were not so into letting me leave. In fact, I was almost forced to stay, even though I was sober. Clothing was hidden. Numerous threats and offers were made. Flirting was done. Though his phone was chirping off the hook with other girls' texts, at one point, he threw it down and said, "I'm not even responding to that."

Other than being a player, he's witty, charming, eager-to-please, and very easy on the eyes. I can deal with this. I like him. We can pursue this. Case closed.

...Although I do believe one of the Never-Have-I-Evers was "eaten a girl out," and he did not put a finger down. That will have to change, stat.

C.) There is, in fact, an actual extra mattress.

D.) Had my car towed. Sploraine's, or Spillane's, or something has it. Stood in North House's parking lot, said, "My car's not here," and immediately picked up my cell and called Gyp to tell him my car was not where I left it, and that Emily and I would be coming back to figure things out. Again, the offer to spend the night was extended. Again, I really wanted my own apartment. Normally, I would have just said, "Sure-- give me a pair of shorts and an extra blanket, or better yet, make room in your own bed," but Mother Nature has mandated that spending the night in a guy's apartment right now would be really awkward. So we declined, yet again. We came back, he made sure I was relatively ok with life after a cigarette, and walked us back to his apartment, where he sat up and watched "Cheaters" with us until my ride (Super Hero of the Night Miss Jaime!) came to get Em and me. He made a PB&J. As we were getting ready to leave, he looked at me and said, "Yeah, I would have made you a PB&J, too!"

"I didn't realize there was an offer," I told him. "Next time I'll take you up on it."

I will bitch Carl Riden out in the morning and get it back then. Right now, I am in bed, and not so worried.

E.) Just got home. It is 4:30 AM. I am so thrilled with life.

New guy; no car; beer and strip Jenga.

This is college.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Cheaters, Inc.

I had one of the most beautifully ignorant compliments ever from a man given to me this morning. I must share. It made my day in a wonderfully ironic way.

I rolled into Tech Writing a healthy 15 minutes late this morning. Spinner buses were running a wonky 5 minutes early, so I missed both 8 AM buses. Love life. Anyway, I grabbed a coffee at Jazzman's on my way to class, because I figured, hell, might as well-- already late! and waltzed into Foster and plopped down next to Southern Charm. Who happens to be in my long report group. (He asked. Actually, he swiveled around in his chair when Warren told us to group up, pointed a finger at his chest, and then turned it to me while mouthing, "Me? You?" I may have responded with something like an empathetic head nod and a "Yesyesyesyesyesyes!" while daydreaming about other situations involving him and me and empathetic "yesyesyes"s.) This may be the reason I am now actually getting up to go to my 8 AMs, even in the cold and dark Vermont early winter. What can I say? I like looking at pretty, smart things. I am so easy.

Because I was late, So Charm turned and asked me for a stunning idea for our long report. I looked blankly at him and asked him what time he woke up.


Sami, our other group member, woke up at 7.

"6:20," I told them. "I am not responsible for any thinking."

"Why did you wake up that early?!" So Charm asked with shocked concern.

I just looked at him. "I don't just roll out of bed looking like this."

"Really?!" he asked, totally shocked. Stunned. Totally unbelieving and off-guard.

God. Bless. Him.

"...uh, no. I have to shower. And then blow dry my wet hair. And then straighten it."


"My hair's naturally wavy. It gets in the way."

"I have never seen you with wavy hair."


I love these little times in life when men realize how much effort women actually put into looking good...usually, for them. Again, it's the little differences between the sexes. Women like to look good. Men like to feel good. Who knows, maybe they're concerned with looking good, too. (Some more than others, surely. Other days, it's totally "I'm wearing the first shirt that hits my hand when I reach onto the floor," for them.) (I hate them for this. I'm forever thinking, "Who might see me in this today? When was the last time I wore it? Will anyone who saw me in it then, other than my roommates and close friends, see me today? Does it match these jeans? Do I look fat in it? Is it doing that weird thing to my hips? Can you see my bra? Do I need to wear a tank under this? Is this slutty cleavage, or "Yeah, my boobs are bangin'," cleavage? Do I really want to be dressed like this in front of my professor? Or that creepy kid in my class? And will my boss care about it? Do I even feel like wearing this shirt today? No? Yes? What are my other choices?")

Anyway. More serious things to talk about than my dressing decisions. Sorry. It's a Friday. My mind is scattered.

Recently, I found out the sad and rather angering news that one of my oldest and dearest friends has been emotionally cheated on by her S.O. Though he has since confessed to her, and pledged to reform, there have been three slip-ups, and though they've been working things out and he's trying his best, I'm still ridiculously affronted for her. Angry, upset, disappointed, pissed, sad, disgusted...these all aptly describe how I feel about this particular happening. Time, vows, and respect have to mean something. A man cannot have both feet in two different camps. There is no playing for two teams.

How can I make this clearer? Because I feel like this is something men just don't seem to get. My friend's S.O was wishy-washy about cutting off contact with the other woman for awhile. Perfect certainly made his choice deciding that commitment, or at least, the level of commitment I was willing to front, wasn't for him. Fine. Go play the field. But give me the same freedom you give yourself.

You cannot have your cake and eat it, too. Sorry. It just doesn't work that way.

I am so amazed and proud at how my friend is handling all of this-- it's almost super-human. In cases like this, the only thing that I can say is what I told her-- "You take care of you. At some point, you and your emotional well-being have to come before the two of you and the "us" and "we." You are the most important person in this-- not him. He made his choice-- now you do what's right for YOU."

The only other thing that I know to do to prevent something like this are the little, easy, stupid things: Don't let the spark die. Fan that baby, hard. Make time for each other. Stay childish. And possibly the biggest thing to do: compliment your man on one thing that you admire about him every day. It can be something as simple as "I love when you take charge like that," "That shirt looks great on you," "You're so smart," "I really appreciate when you do that," or just a simple "You are so hot," when you don't have anything else to say but drool. (This isn't just my wisdom-- I must admit, as a consummate Cosmopolitan Girl, I may have seen this tidbit, oh, two, four, maybe five times in the past 4 years of my readership. So apparently, it's important. And I don't think women remember to do it enough after the newness and honey-moon phase of a new relationship starts. [God knows I'm guilty of this.] Hence the wandering and susceptibility to women who will tell him how hot, how strong, and how smart he is. So you be that woman, so when she says it, he goes, "Yeah, thanks-- I know. My girlfriend told me this morning." Take that, BITCH. Now stay away from my man.)

I'm seeing a need for this whole "two camps= no-no" thing to be clearer and more understood lately. Last night, Gypsy texted me to tell me that we would have to reschedule our date-thing because he had a work meeting that came up. I am in the opinion that if a meeting title contains the words "Department of Defense," it is generally more important than I am. So I said fine, no problem-- life comes up; I understand. He then invited me over to his place to drink. I had gotten ABSOLUTELY SHWASTY Wednesday night (we are talking, falling down, laughing hysterically, swaying when standing, can't read shitfaced-- but still a good choice on my part after 12 hours on campus; came home to hold ice cream in one hand, and cranberry juice and raspberry Smirnoff in the other), so I wasn't feelin' it too much, due to the fact I was still feelin' the night before. I was still on campus, without my car to either get to his apartment or back to mine afterward, and told him my dilemma.

"You could sleep on the extra bed, and leave early in the morning," Gypsy told me. (Actually, he texted "eraly" because he was wasted already, but details, details.)

I looked at the text and wondered how truly naive he thought I was. I really wanted to ask him how dumb he thought I am. Maybe not quite like that. But really-- I have been told by so many men that I can sleep on their extra bed/couch/futon/sleeping bag/car/bed with them that honestly, if I had not been naive the first three times, I may still actually think that he meant I could sleep on the extra bed.

But no. That really meant, "Come over, get absolutely drunk so that you'll then sleep with me, in my bed, and do the Walk of Shame home when I kick you out in the morning, or when you have to go to class, whichever comes first."

...Actually, tempting, because I have never done a Walk of Shame, and feel like along with making friends with frat boys and going to a toga party, that is something I shouldn't graduate college without experiencing. Although I have done Drives of Shame and Running Out Of My Own Apartment in Shame before.

I begged Gypsy off with homework and not feeling up to it, although when he asked if it was his horrible spelling that was turning me away, I did admit that it was truly horrendous (Really-- do you know what "corguly" means? "Cordially," to the drunk, apparently. Also, "Awe. Well be sat," means something along the lines of, "Aww. Well, how about Saturday?"), although deciphering it was hilarious, but said we'd have to reschedule.

I didn't expect him to hop on it. I expected drunk and horny Gypsy to drop it and start humping the closest possible thing. God knows that what I would have done.

Instead, he cleaned up his act, and sent me this rather impressive text for mocking his typing abilities: "What are you doing on Saturday my dear lady, for I would very much so like to party with you."

Hmmm. So apparently Saturday. I am pacing myself. And I am not sleeping with him. Or sleeping on the "extra bed." I don't know-- I've been warned enough that he can be a player (actually, I believe the phrase so vehemently said by one person was "man-whore,") and I know it, too-- but this whole thing is bringing up the "two camps/two teams/eat the cake, too" metaphor. Yeah, it's flattering, but I almost want to say something along the lines of, "You are by no means the only one interested in me, so unless you're the one who can give me what I want or need, then you're not going to be the one getting it. Sorry." If you're going to be a player and I'm just going to be a conquest for a night or a few, sorry-- keep moving.

I'm going to make him work for it, like I suspect he never really has to. (This is where I went wrong with Perfect, who is remarkably similar to Gypsy in the luck/women falling at his feet category.) Again with the marketing-- supply and demand. There is only one of me, and I am finally, FINALLY, at 20 years of age, getting the concept that the highest bidder, (AKA: the guy putting in the most work, effort, and incentive,) should be the one I give it away to, not the guy who dropped out of the bidding halfway because some other shiny item caught his attention.

Yeah. I can play the players, because at heart, I love being a player, too, but at this point, I'm just tired of dealing with it. Step up. Go big, or go home. Don't make me waste my time. And don't make me give out to a guy who doesn't deserve it.

Oh yeah. I'm finally going to start doing things right. Whore reform.

...Hahaha...not really. Lord knows I never slept around enough to be a whore. Bummerrr.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

And The Universe Gets A "WTF?!"

Why, why, why, when you don't really want to see someone the most, do they always pop up?

I believe this falls under Murphy's Law, and he's an ass, and I want to sue him for indecent exposure, of myself, because after almost 12 hours on campus, I sure as hell don't look pretty, and who, who WHO just so happens to also be in this library that just got very hot and claustrophobic?



It goes back to the 50/50 rule I have-- you will either see them, or you won't, so plan accordingly. I forgot how easy I had it when Perfect was away and at a different school so I didn't have to look cute every day on the insanely off chance I would just happen to run into him. This sucks. Do you know how hard it is to look cute when it's 40 degrees out and dropping rapidly? Oh, yeah-- my winter coat is dead sexy. Don't layers of clothing just make you want to rip them off? And my favorite hoodie-- you better like it, because you're going to see it EVERY DAY because it's also my warmest hoodie. And I hope you don't hate Uggs, because no matter how ridiculous they look, they're the only thing that keep my feet warm. Oh yeah, winter just gets you in the mood, right?

Shoot me.

My stunning conversational coup of the day after he came over and shook my computer screen to get my attention and say hi?


High and girly. That was it. Obviously, I am a communication GENIUS. You would never guess my vocabulary is more extensive than the list of bad life decisions I have made when it's time to cut bait and actually use my mouth to speak around him. I am just always happy when things like "hhhhhhnnnnggghhhhhh..." don't come out of it instead.

...And if he comes over here one more time to get a drink from the water fountain or pick up papers he's printing and sends my into a hurried flurry to switch tabs to something banal and boring like my school email account, I am going to throw things at him.

Like my body.

But probably more likely, my cell phone or water bottle.



Excuse me. I've worked all afternoon, and it's really just time to go home and crawl into bed. But I have to go meet all my devils spawn, errr-- advisees for community conversation night. I'm gonna be here till 10:30 PM. Being a nervy and shit. It's a wonderful world.

Do you think I can make it till Friday?


Monday, October 12, 2009

S.O.S-- Save Our Sanity: What The Fuck Is A Date?

At over 20 years of age, I find myself in a situation I have never, ever been in before.

I am getting ready for my first date.

Now, this may totally shock you. You may wonder how this is possible. You know I've had many men, and just a bit fewer relationships. No dates, you say? How is this possible? Let me explain. The men I end up with usually fall into two categories:

A.) I sleep with them, and then we continue seeing/sleeping with each other. (I.E-- Perfect, Legs.)
B.) They're friends of mine and we decide (most of the time, wrongly,) to take things to the next level. (I.E-- The Flaky Artist, Catholic Boy, The Inappropriately Aged Ex-Boyfriend.)

Dates are scarce things in these sorts of relationships. True, The Inappropriately Aged Ex-Boyfriend did take me out to dinner and a hockey game around our six-month, but, looking back, he was already cheating on me, and I get the feeling it was to try and mix things up and see if he could rekindle that (statutory) spark and feel bad about porking a fat 'ho behind my back. He didn't. I kicked his ass to the curb less than a month after when I found out about said 'ho. And then there were the three Kinda Dates that all add up to roughly one jigsaw-puzzle date: The Flaky Artist and I walked to the U Mall, where he bought me my double cheeseburger; Legs asking me out to meet for our tried-to-be reconciliatory coffee this past May; and my Chinese dinner out with Perfect...and Cait.

Hmm. See? No real, honest-to-God, getting-to-know-you dates.

But no. Now I have one this coming Friday night. And it's not with anyone you know.

You are so confused right now. I know. I'm sorry. The explanation of why Perfect is on bad-boy behavior back-burner status right now is in the works. For right now, this is what you need to know: We had a fight. It was nasty. It started about the care package, and ended in me drastically realigning his place in my life right now. It basically boiled down to him saying, "You're too serious about this," and me snapping back with "What could I be serious about? The fact that you're three and a half hours away and we never see each other and you're probably shacking up with half of the freshmen class females? Oh, give me a break. I'm just a tease, JUST LIKE YOU ARE."

Ahem. Pent-up issues are explosive when the fuse is lit. I may have finally reached the end of my leash with him, and became the equivalent of a chained, baited, and disgruntled/rabid pitbull of love. But, oh well. It's out, it's done, and I haven't heard from him in 12 days since the night of the Epic Fight, because I now refuse to be the only one calling/texting/Facebooking. Fuck it. If he wants to talk to me, he knows where to find me. I'm done with it. Moving on.

So, long story short, it's been raining men for me for awhile. I'm not trying to brag or complain, but it's has been damn eerie. First, Motorcycle Man resurrected himself from the Land of Thank God, I Think That's Over when I ran into him at a dance, or, rather-- he made his roommate come over and introduce us because he didn't have the balls to do it himself. I ended up giving him and his roommate a ride home that night since they were out a car and I was already giving another girl friend of mine back, since we all live in the same apartment building. I then received an onslaught of private Facebook messages from him, basically saying, "It was great to finally meet you; you seem like a really fun and chill girl; I think you're hot; come down and chill out with me sometime; I'd like to give you a ride on my bike before I have to bring it home for the winter."

...I would like a ride on that bike. But I played it safe and non-committal with everything else, ignoring the hard attempts, and instead just saying I was glad I could give him and his roommate a ride home, and life was really hectic right now. (No lie-- it's crazy-manic.)

But then, there's been this other interesting character, whom we shall call Gypsy-- and the enlightened of you can put 2-and-2 together and laugh if you know post-Medieval European slang-- sniffing around the edges of my life for, oh-- the past 2 months. He's about 5'10", with reddish-brown hair and great, crinkly blue eyes, and a body that is just-- yeah, it's WOW. (Think a young Aaron Eckhart. Really. Very much so. Alli and I saw someone running from behind this past summer and started making all sorts of lascivious comments about the guy's ass and legs, and as we drove by, realized it was Gypsy, who we only knew from the party circuit and were totally embarrassed and swore to never tell anyone we classified his ass as "chewable.") Every single girl I have ever talked to about him wants to bone him. Bad.

It started with a random Facebook friend request from him. Yeah, ok, we have a lot of mutual friends and I've chatted with him for a few minutes at a few parties before; I know he's not some crazy psycho-killer, so yeah, I accepted that request. And then he started commenting on some of my statuses, particularly the ones about running, since he's a runner, too. (Thought about calling him Marathon Man, because, hey, if the shoe fits, but no...there's a better nickname.) And then I started getting Facebook email messages from him at odd hours of the morning (AKA: drunk messages.) They were cute, they were funny; he's cute, he's funny, so I didn't think much of it. We chatted, basically. Gypsy is one of the most popular, good-looking, social, party-going guys in my class year. I chalked the interest up to Bud Light and runner's high. (And, oh yeah-- he's a Vermont Boy, too. Who sends texts that are identical to Perfect's, down to the exclamation points and "haha"s, did track in high school and loves exercising and sports, and had floppy brown hair until he recently cut it. Shoot me now. Universe, I hate you.)

And the Gypsy was at the dance, too. We happened to both be heading up the stairs at the same time for the door-- him to leave, me to get some air and cool down. (I be a dancin' FIEND.) "Hey!" I (ok, I'll admit it--) squealed at him.

"Hey, how are you?" he asked.

"I'm good! Hey, so you went to (enter South Vermont prep-school name here)! You know like, 5 of my friends who I grew up riding with!"

"Really?" Gypsy asked. "Throw me some names!"

I did, and we chatted from the bottom of the stairs through the door, or, basically, for about 2 minutes. In this 2 minute span of time, I realized a few things about myself and Gypsy and I.

A.) I am such a writer. Give me a screen or keypad to hide behind, and I am so much more comfortable. In email or text, I have time to plan what I want to say, and be witty and charming and flirtatious.
B.) In person, Gypsy and I act like the most retarded high school students you ever saw in your old high school's hallway desperately trying to connect with each other-- my voice gets high and girly, conversation flies out the window when we seize on something small and exhaust it in 2 minutes' worth of time and panic when we realize that one safe topic has been beaten like a dead horse, and we stare at each other for a bit until we realize we're staring, and then quickly look away. We are so awkward. It may be painful to watch. It's certainly painful to be a part of.

That night, when I finally got home, I found two Facebook emails waiting for me-- one, predictably the previously stated message from Motorcycle Man, and the other, from Gypsy. "I wish I'd been at least buzzed for that dance-- it was way too hot for sober dancing, haha!"

"Totally agreed," I wrote back. "I had a broke/sober summer, so now that I have a job any, any excuse to be buzzed is a good excuse. Also, a Thursday or Friday night time spot would have been nice-- a Wednesday is such an awkward day for getting your groove on. I never wake up and think, "Hey, it's Wednesday-- I want to dance my face off tonight!""

"Tell me about it!" Gypsy responded. "I found myself low on rent money and spending too much on drinks...what a horrible idea. You should pre-game heavy then get your groove thing on at Rasputin's tomorrow with me. I mean it is a Thursday. I know a good bunch of people are going. Can I just text you in stead of this silly FB message?"

I told him that unfortunately, I had previous plans (did not mention it was going out for the most hilarious of all double-dates that the Champlain Current has ever funded, bringing Nick and Anthony of "Flannel VS. Flannel," Alli and I for "Kitchen Bitches," and Henry, the Arts and Entertainment editor and a friend mysteriously nicknamed "Dos" to the Bobcat Cafe and Brewery in Bristol. I work with Anthony, who is a little bit psychotic in an endearingly scruffy way, and Nick is from Virginia and though he's lost the accent, still oozes Southern Charm and movie-star good-looks. I touched his cheek on the ride home to prove a point about how cold my fingers were and promptly almost swooned from the proximity and the perfect amount of stubble on his cheek.) but maybe some other time? I also gave him my cell number. Less than 5 minutes later, I got a text.

"Yeah," Gypsy told me, "that was my corny way of asking you for your number."

I responded back, saying it wasn't corny at all, and I give him props for not just coming right out with a totally uncreative "what's your number?" We texted until 1:30 AM, when we both went to bed. The next morning, after a meeting with a student, a work out at the gym, and distributing the second issue of the Current, I walked back in to the Current's Dungeon Office to hear my cell ringing. I picked it up and flicked it open to see a text from Gyp.

"You can't balance newspapers on your head for crap, haha!" he said. I was mortified. After working out like a mad-woman, my arms were dead beyond belief, and I had resorted to alternative methods of carting around newspaper bundles, including, yes, balancing them on my head like women from Africa do with their water. While standing in a campus building, newspapers on cranium, I specifically looked in the surrounding classrooms to make sure no one potentially damning could see me. One was empty. In another, everyone's backs were to me. And in the third, a girl/acquaintance from another class was laughing at me with her friend. Whatever-- Sami's a nice girl. We get along. She could get a good laugh at my expense in that boring class, and I didn't care. Who I apparently didn't see, but who had a seat next to Sami and watched the entire thing, was Gypsy, watching me try to balance 30 pounds of paper and newsprint on my (unwashed, previously had been sweating in a pony-tail that had since been taken out) head, wearing bright blue boy's soccer shorts that were still visible under my white Victoria's Secret PINK sweatpants, running shoes, a black tank top, and my new teal and black plaid hoodie with the furry hood lining.

"Oh my god," I texted back. "You saw that?"


"We're going to pretend that never happened," I told him. "But for the record, my arms were dead after just working out, so I was trying to come up with alternative ways to carry them. Plus, I'd like to see you do better. Do you know how heavy those things are?!"

I'm hoping this whole debacle was more quirkily endearing than hopelessly embarrassing. Gypsy has a playful and child-like side-- I'm praying it appealed to that side of him, and not the side going, "Dear god, I asked her out-- why did they ever let her out of the zoo?"

Anyway. Thursday night didn't work, so while I was in New Jersey this past weekend with my trainer, finishing helping her with the L Program, I texted him to try to set another time/happening up. Plan B, as I called it. Gyp said it was up to me; whatever I wanted to do. Technically, I know this is a guy being nice, but really-- guys, I hate this. If you let me choose, I'll try real hard, but I may choose something you hate. And then you're hating the date, which doesn't make it look good for Date #2. It's such a Catch-22.

At first I was thinking something festive, fun, quirky and memorable, like a corn maze, but my No-Free-Time schedule and his Equally-No-Free-Time schedule wouldn't allow. Plus, for a first date, it was kind of a hazard-- sure, if it goes well, you're together, alone, in a corn maze for a few hours as the sun sets. Endless talking time and getting to know each other. But, if it doesn't go well-- you're stuck in a corn maze together, hopelessly lost, as it gets colder and darker. That would be about when I say, "Thanks, but I'm outta here," and start bushwhacking my way out.

So we're doing the classic "grab a bite to eat downtown and stroll around the waterfront" on Friday evening. (I guess it's official-- it's happening on "Date Night Friday," so the cat is out of the bag to every person in downtown Burlington who sees us awkwardly with each other.) I'm already on full-on panic mode, even though by now, we have both mutually asked each other out once, and neither one of us has turned it down. If anything, Gyp is being really nice and attentive about this whole thing. But still-- I am a Philistine when it comes to dating. I am a ticking time-bomb. As I said to Alli when she asked, though he doesn't know it, fuck the date-- I would be willing to just stop, drop, and roll for him. I am liable to spontaneously combust, and I really need him to not know any of this. So, I'm stuck trying to cover all my bases before Friday, starting with the simple things, like wardrobe, and building up to the issues that make me squirm, like saying goodbye.

So, this is what I've got so far. The questions are what I need help with. And if you have any tried-and-true pointers, please, I would love to hear them. Like I said-- I've never, ever been on this sort of date where you sit across or walk next to someone and had to get to know them, figure out what makes them tick, or why they find me interesting/lovable/someone they'd like to fuck. (Some super Facebook creeping unearthed that his high school long-term girlfriend and I look similar, so that takes about a fourth of the "Why Me?" factor away.)

Wardrobe: It varies as of now. Until I get my hands on a weather forecast, it could be anywhere from a cute dress, scarf, cardigan and boots to jeans, flats, and a girly shirt. Whatever it is, it will be dainty, feminine, and a little revealing. I'm not totally stupid, here.

Location/Time: TBD. Somewhere downtown that's cheap and guy-and-girl friendly with the menu. And as for time-- after 4 and before midnight? That's broad enough for me. We'll narrow it down as we get closer.

Conversation: He went to high school with some of my friends. (Becky gave me some interesting info seeing as his ex was one of her friends. He can't stand flaky girls, and was/still is a bit of a player. Eh, whatev. You can't play a player, and Jay-Z might as well have penned "Ladies is pimps, too," for me.) We both go to the same college. We both live in the same town. (Sort of. He has a coveted Burlington zip-code.) We both like alcohol. We both have friends in common-ish. (His roommate went to high school with my roommate of the past 3 years, Melissa, and I've known him since freshmen year. Nice guy.) The rest-- the questions of getting to know him better; what's good to ask, what I should steer clear from-- that's where my blunt and no-holds-barred mind is at a loss. Heeeeelp?

The Three Times Rule: I am allowed to say I'll pay for my own food three times, says Alli. It goes something like this. "I've got mine." "No, let me." "No, really, I've got it." "I'd like to." "Are you sure?" "Yes. Please." "Ok, then. Thank you." (This is something I struggle with. Even when The Inappropriately Aged Ex-Boyfriend and I were together and we'd split pizza or Chinese, I had issues with him paying for it. Ok, so maybe not issues-- maybe like I can escalate this argument into a full on fight because, really-- why are you spending money on me? Although in total girl fashion, yes, if you will pay for it and are willing to reassure me of this fact numerous times, I'll let you. Unwillingly, but there is something hot about a guy who pushes my arguments aside the first time and hands the cashier or waiter money before I can protest again, I must say. Take-charge men. Yummy.)

"How Far Can I Drive This Car?" or Saying Goodbye: Hmmm. May have dug myself a hole with this night-time deal, because it allows for no easy outs, other than saying, "This was fun-- let's do it again sometime soon-- but I've got to go home now." Our stroll could turn into an invitation back to his place, which, let's face it-- it's getting fucking cold out in our little mountain state, and I get freezing so easily NASA could send me into space, no worries, but since I've already inadvertently played hard-to-get with having to turn down Gyp's first date idea, I'm seeing this thing through, the right way. I am about to become a girl who doesn't put out on the first date. As Alli, and Becky, and my own thoughts, memory, and intuition have warned, Gyp can be a bit of a player. And dammit, he's gonna work for it. First date= kiss goodnight. If it goes well. If he's lucky. If I don't just turn tail and run away, because I am notoriously nervy about first kisses.

So, that's where we're at. I'm not a total mess-- I know not to lick the plate like I can get away with at home with Melissa and Alli, and I know not to ask any dreaded Ex-Files questions or talk about babies and marriage. (Neither of which appeal to me AT ALL in the first place, so it's a safe bet anyway.) But still. I am a freaking 20 year old date-virgin. I have a date Friday night with the Hottie of Junior Year at Champlain. I have a habit of making an imbecile of myself in front of him. Let's just hope he's got a thing for imbeciles, or, really, really smart girls who just can't get out of their own way. All aboard-- this is one hot mess!

But really, I'm excited.

...Sure I'm going to vom, but excited.

As I said to my trainer, "...So you can suck my dick, Perfect." (Totally texted Cait and let her know about it so she would tell him. Bwahahahahahahaaaaa. Eat it. Eat it, Tease Boy.)

Onward. Upward. Gypsy-- get ready, because you have never met anyone quite like me.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Taking Back "Slut": Self-Marketing and Dating in the 21st Century

King of Couture Valentino once said, "I love sluts. They're some of the kindest people I know." I have to say, I'm rapidly gaining on appreciation of this quote. First, it was when my mother looked at my profile picture and said, "You're looking a little trampy again, dear." Then, it was when Alli looked at me the other day and said, "I don't get what you find appealing about being a slut." Am I? Am I a slut?

Webster's dictionary defines "slut" as, "a slovenly woman; a promiscuous girl; or a saucy girl." I decided to look up "slovenly," just to be clear-- it means "sloppy in appearance." I then looked up "promiscuous"-- "not restricted to one sexual partner."

Well, in this case: A.) Yes, some mornings, like yesterday, I do feel extremely sloppy in appearance. I do believe what I actually said about it was, "Wow, I feel like such a scrub today."
B.) Well, I have not been restricted to one sexual partner.
And C.) A saucy girl? Damn, you got me there!

So, I guess I am a slut. But in today's world, "slut" seems to be used synonymously for "whore," and this is where I put my foot down. I am not having enough sex to be considered as the modern version of a slut. I really wish I were, though. In fact, I am not having sex right now, period. I go through self-imposed dry spells far too often to be considered a slut. I'm also notoriously choosy about who I kiss, let alone sleep with. If you can please point me in the direction of all these men you think I am sleeping with, I would love to shake them by the hand and say "congratulations!" And also, possibly-- "do you want to make the rumors true?"

But if we take the attributes of a slut-- the provocative clothing, the bluntness of sexuality and a frankness in talking about it-- then yes, I might be what people would call a slut. Dating, relationships, and especially sex are important to me. Those are the things I find fascinating, but also find most people don't talk enough about truthfully, candidly, and personally. Sex is how the human race continues-- relationships and dating are what gets us there. (Most of the time.) (Unless you really are a big slut.) (I love you.) I can't tell you how many times people have said to me, "the same thing is happening to me" or "I'm so glad you said that because I never would, but I feel the same way." Furthermore, I write a blog called "Sex and the College Girl." Would you really take me seriously as someone who knew what she was talking about if I looked the same way I do on any given day in my profile picture, or is that same infamous picture that makes my mother cringe what helps give me my credibility? Is my cleavage helping you trust in me? Is my cleavage giving me credibility?

...That makes me giggle every time I write it. Obviously, I don't take myself too seriously. Another reason why I'm (for the most part) fine when someone calls me a slut.

Most of life today is about selling yourself as something-- in the workplace, in your education, in your personal and love lives. Self-marketing (to go back to the Chanel quote from the "Irreplaceable" post,) is what sets you apart. I've run into situations in life as a retail employee, as a student, and as a girl someone was dating in which self-marketing became a paramount focus. In dating itself, a woman has to market herself as many things, as Marilyn Monroe, Madonna, and Meredith Brooks all explored-- you must be virginal and farm-fresh when meeting parents; laid-back and boy-like yourself with chillin' with a significant other's buddies; and by turns ferocious or soft in the bedroom. Meeting your S.O's parents for the first time? All about self-marketing, because believe me, a good job selling yourself as "such a nice girl" does a lot to cancel out the fact that his mother knows you are also the girl sucking her baby boy's dick. Women, it appears, are marketing geniuses.

There are different levels to selling yourself, I have learned, and they can be used interchangeably between your professional and personal life. Meeting someone to talk face-to-face trumps any other way of communicating to get a point across, be it a raise, or asking the guy you're seeing what is going on between the two of you. It is much harder to be turned down in person-- this is true, and this is the A-bomb in your arsenal. No one likes to disappoint anyone to their face. If you want something from someone, you have to get in theirs. From there on, voice-on-voice interaction on the phone is personal. Tone carries. People get attached to certain voices. Text is good in a pinch because it's nearly instantaneous, but then, it's just your thumbs touching, or "thumbs fucking," as my same mother who despairs in my profile picture, calls it. (If she only knew how much literal "thumb fucking" Perfect and I have done via text...the text charges would make sense to her.) Email is the worst way to try to prove a point (or the grandparent of email-- letter writing,), because so much time can lapse between the events of it being written, and it actually getting read. And then, you are separated by time and place and distance. You will never know how the other person actually took it when they read it. Sometimes, seeing a person's eyebrows flash in the moment of reading will tell you more than the formal and well-thought-out response they will give you, if any at all. Instantaneous satisfaction and knowledge is the difference between vocal and written communication.

How do women market themselves, you ask? What is selling yourself in dating? (And no, I don't mean prostitution.) How can someone use marketing techniques to further their dating game? How does it apply?

Easily. Be the hottest commodity out there. Assess your competition (other women), the needs of your client (the man you're after), and then explore how you can fill those needs not offered. Dating itself is favorably marketing yourself. What services do you offer? What are the benefits of being with you? I'm not suggests you change yourself to become "more desirable" and become someone that who you're not-- instead, conduct a mental revenue list of what is so great about yourself that it draws men to you and makes them want to be with you. Work on improving areas you're not so hot in-- communication, for me. Work even harder in areas you already rock in so that you blow the rest of the competition out of the water, and possibly, even out of the scene.

The concept of selling yourself brings you back to the concept of being a slut. Maybe I am a slut for how well I market myself as a sex, love, and relationship columnist. Maybe I am a slut for how well I appeal to men-- not just as a girl to date, hook up with, and have sex with, but also a a friend. You can argue that any woman who markets herself as a favorable dating candidate or a successful business woman is a slut. If so, then I'm going to say it loud: I'M PROUD TO BE A SLUT.


Monday, October 5, 2009

Men Are From Mars, And I Love Them For It.

It was remarked to me the other day that men are my favorite topic. They really are. A dinner party, a family function, a meeting with my boss-- I will assure you, there will be some way at all of these events to somehow work in men or relationships to common conversation. It's not just MY men and MY relationships, mind you-- it's ALL men and relationships with men. This blog would not exist without men. My passion for life, writing, and the things that go along with it wouldn't be nearly as exciting without men. And sex? Fuggetaboutit.

Men fascinate me. I figure out new things about them every day, but I still don't think I'll ever truly understand them. They always remain deliciously mysterious, even when I'm sure they are, in fact, remarkably simple. Food, fun, money, and women/sex (not in that order, or, if you're gay, substitute "men" for all "women," because same standards apply): that's what motivates men. It's just the concepts of WHAT about food, fun, money and women motivates men that remains unclear, or how men go about obtaining these things, the lengths they will go to do it, WHY in fact they really need that steak/new car/raise/girl in their life is so important, and what they MEAN by that dinner request/need for speed/cash/comment about that thing that they said last night when we told the maitre-de that you were with each other.

"Did he mean WITHwith, or did he just mean "with," as in, "yeah, we're eating with each other for dinner; other than our mutual love for this establishment's lo mien we aren't connected romantically in any way, shape, or form."?!"

People (men, especially), always say to take what a man says at face, or word, value, because that's what he really means. I'm finding that that is so totally untrue. Sure, when a man says, "Hey, can you pass me the salt?" it's probably not a cover for "Hey, I've noticed you've been getting a bit thicker in the waist lately, so why don't you move that bloating NaCl away from yourself and over to me so you don't blimp up like the Goodyear?"

But if a guy says to you, "Hey, so, _____ said that you were hanging out with _____ the other day/skinnydipping naked in the town fountain/posing for Playboy-- what's up with that?" chances are he's not meaning "Hey, so, I'm cool with you and _____ shacking up/the town getting a new mascot/13 year old boys hanging you on their bedroom walls, and can I get a copy autographed?" Chances are, what he really means is, translated into Girlversion, "Jesus Christ, please tell me this isn't true so I don't have to worry about what you're doing and my chances with you! Or, at least tell me that _____ is flaming gay."

Let's try another exercise:
He says: "I had a really good time with The Girl You're Not last night."
He means: "I had a really good time with The Girl You're Not last night, and want to make sure you hear it here first, and not from my buddy, and think I'm hiding it from you."
Not: "I'm saying this to make you want me back."
Disclaimer: Some men like making girls jealous. Most don't. Most try their hardest not to make the girls they care about feel shitty, even if you do have a rocky history. So most think that by the time they've moved on, it's ok to share these things with you because you're Just Friends now.

He says: "Hey, did you get my text last night? You never said anything back!"
He means: "Oh, shit, am I in trouble? Can you please explain why I am in trouble, and what I can do to get out of it?"
Not: "I'm doubting Verizon's coverage-- can you just affirm this?"

Someone even tried saying to me the other day, "Yeah, but _____'s not like that." Bullshit, sweetheart. Does he have a dick? He's like that. If you can listen to me and my stories about Perfect and say, "yeah, but did you think that's not what he meant?" or, my personal favorite "he's a guy; he's not going to understand," then be ready to take the same thing. Yes, he may know you well, or you may know him well, and you may even think he's different than every other guy on the face of the planet, but I'm sorry-- he is not exempt, and you are not exempt. Some men things are universal, like the fact they can't see as many shades of color as women can, and think that grilling is an acceptable way to cook anything.

And this is another reason why I love men-- they are so very different from me. But at the same time, they are a lot more like us than we would ever think. They worry about getting fat, too. They worry about hair and clothing. Some of my best, most frequent and fashion-concerned customers when I worked at American Eagle were men. They were always the ones who wanted me to stay in back near the fitting rooms so that they could do a mini- fashion show and have me OK their outfits. 8 times out of 10, a guy will ask a woman or sales associate, "Does this look OK?" before a woman will.

Some of my favorite things about men are completely nonsensical. I love the way the ALL seem to wear Old Spice deodorant. Every guy I have ever dated, except for the Douche, have always worn Old Spice. The smell of Old Spice, to me, says "boyfriend." The Douche wore Axe. To me, the smell of Axe says, "you want me, but you can't have me, because me and my Axe are not going to be reliable. Whatsoever." Sometimes, I go to the deodorant aisle in the supermarket just to take the cap off of a container of Old Spice, close my eyes, and breathe it in-- comfort, closeness, lazy afternoon, good sex, and sexily sweaty men are all contained for me under that red plastic cap.

I love watching men. I love watching them work, play, smile, laugh, frown, and play video games. I love watching them eat; watching them during sex; watching them purse their lips tightly together so that they're almost invisible when they're trying to concentrate really hard. (Almost all men do that. It's hilarious.) I love the way they walk, and I love the way they talk, and I love the way their biceps flex when they pick something up. (Mmmmm...) I love how they're so very warm at night when I'm so very not. I love the way any man will stand in front of a car's open hood with his hands either on his hips or on the front of the engine wall and have a look on his face like, "Yes, I can solve this," even if he was no idea where to put his washer fluid. But I love the fact that most men, somehow, someway, CAN figure out what's wrong, just like how they all seem to have cable's TV station numbers memorized by heart. They can do so many things that I can't-- reach shelves, kill spiders without squealing, throw a football in a perfect spiral, roll out of bed looking great, remain calm in a crisis-- and this is why they compliment me so well.

I also love watching men shave, something which is at odds with the fact that I also love when men have stubble. Stubble is a tactile thing for me-- I love to run my palms over their jawline and feel the sharp little hairs rasp against the soft skin in the middle of my hand. A lot of guys look more mature and a bit "harder" with some stubble. This is why I love stubble. It is a purely sensory love for me. But shaving is an emotional draw to me. The process, the finesse, the idea of them grooming themselves like that just fascinates me. I can sit on a sink counter or on the edge of a bathtub and just unselfconsciously watch for however long it takes them. They get so studious and focused and you can even catch a glimpse, for a brief second, of that pre-teen boy who stood next to his father at the bathroom sink's counter for the first time, holding a razor for the first time and following carefully the motions mimicked for him by the giant in his life; Superman; his dad. They are so vulnerable and manly all at once, and certainly have more guts than I would ever have for holding a razor blade over their jugular almost daily.

I generally tend to think I'm a pretty clever little minx, but men can always leave me baffled. They always have me second-guessing, keeping one step ahead, and this is another reason I love them-- they challenge me. With some, it's mental-- Jersey Blunt could run circles around me sheer, brutal conniving intelligence-wise, and Perfect, for example, knows all my buttons, and how to push them in perfect unison so I am both frustrated and turned on.

So here's to you, men: here's to the things that they do that I love, and even to the things they do that I hate (hello, leaving the toilet seat and cover up, anyone?) because that's what makes them different from me, and so, so fascinating.