Sunday, August 22, 2010

August Angst

August is here.

That means we are but a few days away from THE day. God in his sovereignty knew that I was incapable of sharing the spotlight with any amount of grace or decorum and thus allowed for my arrival into this world to take place during the only month in which no formal holidays are celebrated—at least in the Americas—well, at least in the United States of America where I have spent most of my birthdays.
And of course some skeptic who is reading will feel compelled to run through each and every month to confirm that what I am saying is accurate and I just have 2 things to say to you:

1. Seek some counseling you have trust issues
2. Yes I am including no-day off from school type holidays like St. Pattys day. (I don’t want people thinking about Ireland when they could be spending those energies penning out their words of affirmation toward me.)

But, if you haven’t heard, August –even for someone as birthday-centric as myself- can be angsty. It means another year has rolled by and my left ring finger and womb both remain suspiciously empty. This realization often provokes a full day of intermittent sitcom watching and shower crying while Kasey Chamber's Not Pretty Enough plays in the background on repeat. But today as I felt the birthday blues attempt to buzz-kill me, I decided, for your benefit as much as mine, to swim through the self-loathing and into something more hilarious.

So, last year having arbitrarily deemed it “the year of the man”, I decided to celebrate my uninterrupted birthday month by calling upon friends and family to set me up with various pre-approved gentlemen in what I saw as a very mature effort toward angst-prevention. It was a hilarious and mildly successful experiment because when push comes to shove, I consider 4 free dinners and a movie or 2 a mild success. I am an optimist thank you very much!

I went on 4 dates with three gentlemen and came out on the other side with zero love connections but lots of advice. And I figured, if by any chance these musings somehow come to sit in front of some struggling single gentleman looking for a few wooing tips, then I could be of service. And therefore the next couple of posts are your August birthday gifts from me !

Dating Tips for Gentlemen as collected in Year of the Man Experiment ’09.

Tip number one comes from date number one. Date number one was with:

The Architect

The architect was a cutie. Skinny, Bieber-y hair, a hint of a southern drawl, no problems there. He also loved art and planned one of the better dates of my life including perusing a folk art fair, sharing a delicious lunch and the all-time-best art exhibit I have ever experienced. Still smooth sailing, right? Here was the problem with the architect and I can tell you right now, you aren’t going to like it. You are going to say I am too picky and deserve to live a miserable solitary existence in which the burden of planning my own birthday celebrations will always remain on me. I don’t care. I feel strongly about this issue. I can’t help myself.

The problem with the architect was that he was punny. Not in the ironic, isn’t this so stupid that we as vivacious twenty-somethings are using such a childish and simultaneously geriatric form of communication, kind of way. But rather in the, “yeah back in college all of us guys used to call it ArchiTORTURE” and now he is in a fit of laughter at his own simple wordplay, kind of way. It wasn’t good guys. It was not good.

So, my tip for all you would-be-casanovas out there is this: If puns are a big part of who you are don’t set them aside to get the girl only to unleash your dirty little secret during the first year of marriage—that would be unkind and plus there is a segment of the female population out there who love a good pastor-style sense of humor—you guys are meant for one another. But if, on the other hand, you have no real legacy or commitment to punning but use it as an ice-breaker on dates from time to time--

Here is tip # 1. Do not use puns as an ice-breaker on first dates. Puns are goofy things shared with family members who already know your full-range of comedic potential, but your date has no such access to your humor resume. When I hear you use a phrase like “architorture” without then making fun of your own lameness I am left to assume that this as good as it is going to get with you, and I don’t think either of us wants that.Would I have gone on a second date with the architect had he been so inclined? Probably so, but with ample reservation.

Then again, as it stands he is probably writing a blog right now to ladies explaining why licking your plate clean on a first date might send an ill-advised message, so in the end it looks like we are even stevens, but this isn’t about punny Jo it is about me managing my own august angst and it is about you. And if you will take this little piece of advice I think you will find it keeps you from a little something I like to call a DATEsaster. (You see what I did there?)

Coming up on August Angst:
Tip 2 as learned on my dates with the Musician.
Tip 3 as learned on my date with the Oh My God I can’t remember what he did for a living because he was that boring!!!
Tip 4 as learned on the date I never got with the Holy Roller.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Tellers, Keepers and Accidental Peepers

The other day I went to sign a contract for a consulting job in a bustling office down town. I had never been there before, never spoken with anyone there, never played bridge with any of them or anything else that could be considered mildy bond-forming.

In ten minutes time I heard about:
The death of one woman's sister which had taken place a year before and left her feeling lonely in the world,

The life-threatening surgery that had taken one of the administrative assistants out of the office for an as yet undetermined length of time,

And, for reasons that remain unclear I was offered an alarming amount of information about the first orgasmic experience of one of the employees passing through the cubicle row where I stood innocently awaiting a final copy of my work agreement.

Does this happen to other people, or am I alone in illiciting such ill-earned glimpses into peopl's lives?!?!

It certainly isn't a complaint, just a query. Made me think of a poem I wrote a while back and since I have been slow to post as of late I thought I'd slap it up here and celebrate a rare occasion of two posts in one day--nay hour!


I used to be promiscuous with my stories,
telling them to anyone who would hear.
I know better now.
You can go back to their apartments for the jewelry
and the drugs,
and for your half of the movie collection.
But, you can never get your secrets back from someone like that.
So they walk around each day,
carrying your frozen footage,
and brag that they know you—which is only one version of the truth.
So now I am a waiter—
a pusher-awayer—
a quiet, persistent delay of gamer.
Now, that I am older and smarter and wiser,
Now, I am a story-keeper.

Capturing Characters

Note: This was written months ago, revised and I thought posted a week ago and now finally making it to screen.

So, a girl walks into a coffee shop. That girl is me. I meet another girl. She is gorgeous. She is talking with a fellow caffeine-drinking acquaintance about the Twilight series but he is unfamiliar so I wriggle my way into the conversation, true to my baby-child roots. It just so happens that I was persuaded last evening to join Laura and her family at the new Eclipse movie, so today, I have the opportunity, I have an opinion and I swoop in.

“Did you go see the new movie last night?” I asked. She had not. I told her it was creative, better than the others and a tad risqué which she liked. We went our separate ways, I to my computer bar and she 3 feet away at hers. Now, because I am, in fact, the youngest , I have excellent and time-tested eavesdropping skills. So, when I heard the woman’s friend ask “Is she (he gestured at me) “your first stranger of the day”, I felt an “old-school” exhilaration come over me. Not only had I heard their conversation, but they were talking about me!!!

A brief inquiry and I found out that she too was on a new blog adventure. She is meeting new people (one per day), writing about them and currently she is needing to know what to call me, because, “how could I not write about someone with such a beautiful smile?” I tell her my name and her friend smirks because, I happen to have a rather famous one. Then he asks me a lovely question: “Has it been mostly good or mostly bad living with that name?” I smile. It has been mostly good I say, thinking of all the cute boys who have lingered with me just a moment longer because they have an enduring junior-high crush on my celebrity namesake.

Enter cute boy who has a crush on said namesake. Gorgeous woman’s friend introduces me to the new guy who upon hearing my name, not only gets the shakes, but tells me that if I dress as the other Kerri he will let me into a show that he is doing for free. This sounds creepy as I type it out, but trust me he was just a nice kid doubly struck by my own beauty and the memory of my name- sharer in her younger days.

“This all must be great fodder for this writer woman”, I am thinking to myself excitedly. I loved that she was watching my every interaction as though I was the star of my own reality show. (Did I mention that I am a youngest born?) But all attention-whoring aside, I was impressed with this lady having committed to this character-capturing endeavor –just as any good writer needs to do. And just like any good neurotic writer would do, I was counting down the minutes until she finished typing and I could see how she would present me to the world.

Would I be described as pretty? Witty? Charming? Needy, Intimidating, gag-inducing? After what seemed like an eternity, she stopped typing and it was clear that her work was done. Looking at her website my worst fears were realized. She didn’t call me fat or dull or slovenly. She did not call me anything at all.
That little trollop skipped me. I was her character of the day and she had absolutely nothing to say about me. And I know that in the other ways the day was marvelous. After all, I had gotten offered free tickets as you’ll remember—just so long as I show up to an event that I have never heard of, in the previously agreed upon fantasy outfit. There is nothing fishy there, right? All on the up and up?

Nevermind, though. The horror of being passed over is always going to trump the flattery of a perfect stranger asking you to role-play for them at a public event. I think that is a generally agreed upon principal, right?

But guess what, the joke is on that gorgeous girl because I have my own blog and it is a place where everybody knows my name! You all would write about me if I was your stranger of the day, wouldn't you? Maybe if I dressed up as that other Kerri?