Hair-Brained

A  woman’s self-esteem, as it relates to her hair, cannot be understated. And when things go wrong, it’s akin to being stripped naked and paraded through a shopping mall on the eve of an unfortunately overdue Brazilian. (Thanks, Sandman, for bringing me that horrifying dream, you sick fuck!)

A hair disaster can bring on nothing short of social paranoia. The Aggrieved Unfortunate is convinced everyone is staring at her. (Writer speaking in the third person to protect her nearly pulverized psyche)  Even if they don’t know her and therefore couldn’t possibly know what her hair looked like pre Hair Apocalypse, she thinks they’re staring.

They are.

She feels it.

She cinches her hoodie tight around her fried noggin, her posture reduced to the slump of the publicly humiliated.

Not even her friends recognize her as she reveals the source of her shame. Their greetings, once warm and comforting, have been replaced with dismayed half-smiles of “Holy mother of God, what has she done?” and ever so slight recoils of disgust… as if getting too close might infect them with her hair-brained disease.  She gives them a cryptic warning. “Don’t bother with the hand sanitizer. It’s airborne. I caught if from breathing in some cockamamie idea I got from a hairstyle magazine that made me believe I wanted to look like Miley Cyrus.”

They stare a little harder.

“Yeah. Yeah. I know. If Andy Warhol and Tilda Swinton had a love child, it would have this hair color. I’m going to get it fixed on Saturday.”

And Saturday comes….

Alas, the fixing has failed.

And it’s worse than she could have imagined. Any trace of what remained of her erased…washed away in a diabolical brew of chemical color not found in nature or otherwise.

“Now you look Irish,” one helpful friend blurts out.

“It’s just not you,” another offers, placing a comforting hand on her shoulder. (from a safe distance, of course)

“Then who the hell am I,” Andy-Tilda The Irishwoman cries. “Who? Who? Who??!!”

And thus begins the slow, agonizing process of rebuilding the woman she once recognized in the mirror as Herself.  She’s come to terms with it now. Every day a little better. Every therapy session one step closer to regaining the self-esteem she so cavalierly tossed away that fateful day.

Oh, what a price we pay for our mistakes, my sisters. Oh, what a price.

 

 

 

 

The Importance Of Being Well-Lit

By well-lit I do not mean drunk.

Then again, I did have a strong urge to slam back a shot or two after a recent shopping experience.  I debated on whether or not to call this post “An Open Letter To Nordstrom Stores” but decided broad is better.

As I stare down the short end of life-half-over there are certain words and phrases  sneaking their way into my vocab.  Like bifocals, estate planning, brow lift.  I catch glimpses of myself in mirrors and wonder who the hell this person is that’s mocking me.  Sometimes I get this crazy grade school cafeteria flashback of that horrible week when I was 9 and Lisa Wyers decided to point at me and tell everyone to hate me for no reason.  That was a million years ago and I STILL remember it like it was yesterday. I can’t eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to this day without it sticking in my throat.

Bitch!

And now a gnarly Nordstrom’s dressing room has taken Lisa’s place….40 goddamn years later!!  Not just the dressing room itself which was quite spacious.  It had a cute, padded bench, a lovely little framed print of Milan, a gigantic, three-panelled mirror plucked from a traveling Midwestern carnival…

And then came…

The lighting.

Hideous.

White.

Fluorescent.

Unforgiving?   No. Not strong enough.

Judgmental.  That’s it. Judgmental.

It revealed every crater, every bulge, every fat cell desperately trying to hide itself under relentlessly thinning skin.

It spoke to me, this lighting. It had a voice.  A voice right outta some chilling film. Sneering, mocking, sinister.  If this voice had a face?  It would be Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs.   “Love your suit.”

Here’s the deal, department stores…..

Do what Merv Griffin did in all the women’s bathrooms at the Beverly Hilton…..

He made sure the lighting was FLATTERING.

Why?

Because women in good moods makes the world a better place.  Trust me on this.

Now, I’m not a man basher in any sense of the word.  I love men.  More than I should which has gotten me in more trouble than I want to admit in writing.  However, it’s generally men who build these places and aforementioned men have not had cellulite on their asses since they were 3 months old which should preclude them from ever lighting a woman’s dressing room.

Ever!

So here’s a tip Nordstrom:   better lighting = more sales.

I don’t know about anyone else out there….but this here broad will pay full boat for anything if her ass and thighs look smooth in the harsh reality of down light.  Delusion is the BFF of the female, fashion-hungry consumer.

Something to think about, retailers.

And fuck you, Lisa Wyers, wherever you are.

A Term Of Endearment?

What’s up with this whole “Cougar” thing?

Where the hell did that term come from?

Is there an equivalent moniker for men over 40 who date younger women?

Like….Typical Man Over 40? 

Is this the updated Helen Reddy version of female “empowerment?”  (God, I fucking HATE that word; not because of the word itself but because it’s been so over-exposed as psychobabble bullshit).

I looked up the lyrics to I Am Woman.

Oh, such insightful verses.

I am woman watch me grow
See me standing toe to toe
As I spread my lovin’ arms across the land
But I’m still an embryo
With a long, long way to go
Until I make my brother understand

Okay. I get it. I listened to it on some crackling FM radio station when I was young. I think I may have even liked it but that didn’t keep me from laughing my ass off when I looked it up today and found an ad for liposuction on the same page as the lyrics.  

Yes, we’ve come such a long, long way.

So, back to the Cougar question and what the hell it really means because I’m getting waaaay tired of seeing it everywhere.   

One web-site I found (cougarconvention.com) said Cougar’s are:

 “smart businesswomen, wives and mothers who have earned their stripes”.

K.

Another one was way less attractive but they weren’t selling tickets to a convention in Vegas:

“Typically, cougars prey upon men almost young enough to be their sons”.

Prey upon? 

This description had me laughing even harder because it sounds like this new-age term actually has some significance and deserves an explanation, like, say…..Francophile. 

Here is how my simple brain works:

Older woman wants to bed younger man = doesn’t need a catchword.

Francophile, I get.  

It’s consistent.

It is without contradiction (at least not that I could find).

 It’s someone friendly or interested in all things French.  There are no opposing web-sites that claim Francophiles are actually freaks with an odd fascination with the sex lives of French midget, right? 

Not the case for Cougars.  They are at once predators AND prey. 

Once again, women get the short end of the sexual stick (no pun intended since there are so many wonderful male enhancement products available today which leaves NO room for excuses.)

But The Creator (or whoever runs this crazy asylum) is a comedian because men reach their sexual peak at, like, 12 and women don’t reach it until…well, I guess until they are so desperate for good sex they’ll turn into stalkers or so the web-sites say thus making the business of sex a veritable mosh pit of gender imbalance.  Some will survive; some will be trampled.  But in the end, we’ll all somehow destroy each other.

I wonder if this is what happened to the Mayans?

Nah!  I think they were just shitty farmers.

Okay…since I’m a believer in grassroots change, here are my suggestions to help bring balance to The Great Cougar Debate: 

  1. Ladies, sleep with whoever you want so long as it’s legal.
  2. Avoid assuaging your morning-after guilt by attending a please-validate-me Cougar convention in Vegas.
  3. If you want to cut loose and go all Roman Orgy once in a while, there are discreet places for that (not that I know first hand, of course, but I read a lot…) and no one will write an article about you in the local paper like the one I just read by a young reporter attending a Cougar convention at a dive bar in Santa Cruz.
  4. Try not to make total asses of yourselves by getting drunk and grinding your faces into the crotches of visiting Irish footballers in front of God and everybody at a dive bar in Santa Cruz because it makes you look like an idiots(see above).
  5. Do not Google the word Cougar……

…..unless of course, you’re looking for good blog material.

Next up:   MILF and the Oedipus Complex: A Modern Day Comparison

The Taming Of The Shoes

My sister has a thing about shoes.

Or more specifically….shoe.

 I use the singular since I have profound  memories of seeing a variety of lone shoes in odd places in her house; odd places that a single shoe would not normally be found.

Say….the kitchen.

Or the bathtub.

You know what I’m talking about, Sister Sledge.

During this last visit, though, single shoes were more….ubiquitous. 

It made me more paranoid than usual.

Keep in mind that I’m no stranger to the unusual – like Dad’s box of miscellaneous rubber and Ho trains and a macabre hamster autopsy performed when aforementioned sister fed it too much Captain Crunch – but this shoe thing has turned into something more troubling.

You see, dear sister,  I recently lost one shoe and it taunts my psyche every time I see its lonely mate.  I can’t bring myself to get rid of it.  Like it’s waiting for the return of its partner.  I’ve even considered getting one of those MIA stickers to put on the window of my car in memory of this fallen soldier.  I’ve discarded that notion for obvious reasons of respect.

But, woe is me, I have become a tortured soul.   I NEVER lose anything, damn it!  You know that!

Oh, help me come to terms with this, my sister.  How do you do it?  How do you cope?  Where do you get your strength? And you persevere…almost happy…smiling through the pain.

Wait.

Smiling through the pain?

Somethin’ ain’t right.

Could it be…..

Nah, forget it.

It couldn’t be.  You wouldn’t do that.

Would you?  

Torture the OCD sister who never loses anything? 

Are you purposely leaving grim reminders of my shoe misfortune to taunt me?

Is that why you were wearing that silly grin the whole time I was there? 

I thought that was your I’m-so-happy-you’re-here-I-can’t-hold-it-in smile.

But it was really your I’m-punking-you-dumb-ass-and-you-don’t-even-know-it smile.

Fine.  No problemo, Juanita.

First the tadpoles on the kitchen counter (I made toast with my eyes closed), then the carnivorous chickens (I keep my arms at my sides now when I walk by the cage to prevent dismemberment) and now this. 

Not funny.  Not funny at all.

I can take a hint.  Next time it’s the Holidome.  THEY have an indoor pool AND an amphibian-free continental breakfast.

Take that, sibling rival!

A Window To My Soul

No, it’s not a man.

It’s Amazon.

As in dot com.

As in they know me better than anyone has a right to which can either make me feel special OR  piss me off depending on my mood.

Today, I’m on the fence as I’m not yet sure what my mood is because I’ve only had 3 cups of coffee. 

Clearly, Amazon wants me to take a hard look at myself which I try to avoid on most days because it’s risky; like putting my face up to a 12X magnifying mirror and realizing that up close, my eye-brows have taken on an Andy Rooney-esque quality and I haven’t even  noticed.  How does this happen?  I’m better off in a state of blissful ignorance.

But no,  Amazon is determined to make me a more well-rounded  individual and who am I to argue?  Jeff Bezos is a genius and I (as stated in previous posts) clearly am not a genius.   And who knows?  I may even learn something a bout myself I didn’t already know which is always helpful. 

To wit:  Amazon’s recent recommendations selected “just for me”:

A Touch of Evil – 50th Anniversary Edition DVD – starring Charleton Heston and Vivien Lee

Okay…I haven’t figured this one out yet but I’m a work in progress so be  patient.

The Extended Phenotype:  The Long Reach of the Gene (by a really smart researcher)

I may or may not have blogged about my gene pool in previous posts.  I’m looking into that.

The Quotable Atheist:  Ammunition for Non-Believers, Political Junkies, Gadflies, and Those Generally Hell-bound

I have to admit that being called a gadfly was a little hurtful.

A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste:  (by some French guy)

I never thought of myself as judgmental.  This one bugged me because I always thought that the word “judgement” was spelled j-u-d-g-m-e-n-t (no “e”).  At least this is what spell check always told me.  Then I realized that this book was translated from French to English by a British guy and leave it to the British to fuck up a word with unnecessary vowels but, hey, I’m not judging or anything.

And here’s one I totally get:

Losing Itby Valerie Bertinelli

So, the way I see it, Amazon has summed me up this way:

I’m a little sinister because of something that went wonky in my gene pool which probably made me an atheist, really judgmental and dangerously close to madness over weight issues that I didn’t know I had.

Oh, I forgot.  There’s one more.

The End of Faith: Religion, Terror and  the Failure of Reason (by somebody who is obviously a very cheery optimist)

Actually, I am a cheery optimist.  I always try to look at the bright side albeit with a heavy dose of cynicism.  I find cynicism amusing which troubled me a bit….until….  I found the following on a web-site called everything2  dot com:

“A cynic can be optimistically defined as a person who is dedicated to perceiving the truth, no matter how awful or depressing it is. An optimist can be cynically defined as a person who looks for the kind of truth that makes him or her psychologically most healthy”.

“With a cynically optimistic definition of truth, we arrive at the cynical optimist — a person who finds out all the possible ways of looking at the truth, no matter how awful, and then chooses the one which is both plausible and psychologically healthy”.

I feel so much better now.

Why I’m Grumpy

Besides women who leave public toilet seats wet with their own urine, I’m grumpy because of Free Credit Report dot com. 

Since I sleep alone often (not by choice but rather circumstance), the T.V. is a nightly companion.   I turn the volume down really low when I’m ready to fall asleep… just enough to drown out any creepy noises.  

I hate creepy noises.  Always have.

Generally, I’m pretty brave but something  about shutting my eyes and surrending to sleep when I’m by myself has never been easy.  

Okay…I’ll say it!  I’m yellow… a fraidy cat….lily-livered, mamby pamby, a chicken. 

Happy now?

Well, I for one feel better for admitting it and this place is, after all, all about me so there.

And now back to why I’m grumpy (as if anybody really gives a shit but see previous statement).

There is one thing that can turn my middle-of-the-night fraidcat-ness  into full frontal aggression and that’s being jarred awake at 2 a.m. when that fucking Free Credit Report dot com commercial comes on and turns my subtle T.V. volume from soothing to sleep-through-this-regardless-0f-your-Ambien alarm clock.

Why is it that commercial has mega-watt sound?  It’s like, 20 times louder than even those male enhancement commercials which, given their time-slots and the fact that most people are watching them in bed with their partners (except me), might actually make sense.

Isn’t jarring volume used as a torture device in certain cultures?  (uh….like ours?)

Does anybody else find this irritating?

I’m assuming, of course, that there are other freaks out there with the same I-can’t-sleep-alone-without-the-T.V.-on problem which is presumptuous on my part.

I’m thinking stronger prescription.

Or I could just turn the fucking thing off.

Pissed Or Happy? You Be The Judge.

carmel-movie-set-139As if it’s not enough that I’m cursed with the affliction of  always trying to figure people out, my dog has joined the ranks of the confusing.

Don’t get me wrong, I love this guy with all my heart and soul but I fear he has somehow acquired that oh-so-human quality of keeping me guessing. 

How does he do that?

Is he smiling?

Is he pissed off  about the fact that he has to be put on that same bland diet his brother is on to keep him from getting kidney stones? 

For the love of God!  WHICH IS IT?

I’m suddenly reminded of one of my all-time favorite movie lines.  It’s from The Upside of Anger with Kevin Costner.  It comes from his boss who is frustrated with his behavior.

KEVIN’S BOSS

I know you too well and it’s a burden

But in this case (and a few others of late, I might add) I feel this way.

ME

Damn. I thought I knew ‘ya.

Alright, already!  I’ll get you some tastier food!

Geeeeez!

My New Hobby

Guilt.

The self-inflicted variety, to be exact.

It’s free, doesn’t require a glue gun and  you can take it with you everywhere you go without incurring one of those annoying over-limit baggage fees.

And no one  knows you’re practicing it unless I ramble on about it on my blog or it comes raging to the surface in the form of hives or shingles or some other dreadful skin disorder that gives it away.   To avoid this, one must perfect the art of what I like to call “emotional subterfuge”.  And that means establishing a manageable balance between guilt and it’s evil twin, angst, so you can remain enviably cool on the surface while keeping your internal Vesuvius from erupting into a full-blown external meltdown.

Let’s say, hypothetically, you go to your local Spin class with a non-biodegradable plastic bottle of water.   You sweat off 20 pounds.  You chug your Fiji water (it has the most desirable pH balance, you know).   Ahhhhh.  That’s good stuff, right?  But then you look around.  Your spinmates are staring you down as they hold up  their environmentally friendly, stainless steel water bottles filled with Brita-filtered tap water.   Panic sets in and your inside freeze up.  To make matters worse there is not a recycle bin in sight.   And then….the questions:

HYPOTHETICAL THEM (in concert):

Don’t you have a SIGG bottle?

HYPOTHETICAL ME:

Uh..no.  I just have Fiji water…in a bottle.  A recycleable plastic bottle.

I suddenly feel ashamed, like I’ve I committed a grevious act (guilt).  I feel an overwhelming dread (angst).   Breathe, relax, find your balance, I tell myself.  Take a deep breath in, hold for 4 seconds then let it out, hold for 4 seconds (I learned this on Good Morning America.  It wards off panic attacks).

HYPOTHETICAL ME:

But don’t worry.  I recycle.  I’ll just take it home and put it in my bin.

I toss the empty bottle into my giant leather tote bag that was most likely chrome-tanned and the run off from the tanning factory has probably contaminated some town’s water supply.

The spinners stare at me.  Is it because of my plastic bottle, my leather bag or do they just dig my work-out gear?  I don’t know.  Holy shit, I…do…not….know.  

HYPOTHETICAL ME:

Uh….my recycled bottle will probably have a second life as one of those plush toys they make from recycled plastic.  You know, the ones they sell at Whole Foods?

But this is all hypothetical and meant to be funny. I have a great sense of humor.  Really.  I laugh ALL THE TIME.   And besides, the Real Me would never be that hard on the Real Me.  That’s right.  Just all good fun that must come to end. 

So I’m off to make some long neglected phone calls and catch up on some schoolwork.  I feel bad that I’ve been remiss.  Really bad.  Like I-may-lose-sleep bad.   What might people be thinking of me right now?  I feel bad because I may have made others feel bad or neglected.

My dogs are staring at me.  They each hold  a side of a Frisbee in their clenched jaws.  They want to play and I don’t have time.

I feel bad about that.

I think I’ll take up needlepoint.

The Dream Gods Must Be Crazy

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking:  “Holy shit!  Another post about this woman’s f-ed up dreams!”

But this one takes the cake.

Cast of characters: 

Jerry Paris who played Jerry the Dentist on the old Dick Van Dyke Show.

Ed Asner (yeah, Lou Grant but it’s not as crazy as Jerry from The Dick Van Dyke Show, right?)

My dog Kobe who inexplicably became BFFs with the neighborhood cat.  I can’t tell you how out of character this would be if it were real.

And last but not least, Zsa Zsa Gabor.   This is not a joke.  (Uh…is she still alive?)

Zsa Zsa was telling me what a great writer I was and how much money I was going to make.  I swear she said something about a million dollars for something I’d written.  I can’t place what it was but, damn, it must have been good.   I mean, if Zsa Zsa said it, it must have been good, right?  RIGHT? 

I remember in my dream thinking I better wake up and write this down.  Then I dreamed that I woke up and wrote it down, which I didn’t.  I had to wait until I actually woke up to piece it together which is no easy task since dream memory takes on a Swiss cheese quality once you get too far from it. 

Since the dream took place on a movie set, I suppose this motley crew kind of made sense but I still find it a bit disturbing.  I’ve struggled with it this morning.   I need to figure it out on my own since I’m certain this is waaaaay outside the expertise of the dream dictionary.

Ed Asner…okay…as long as it wasn’t weird.  Jerry Paris….right, he’s the director.  I can accept that.

Why Zsa Zsa?  Why her? 

Well, here’s my answer to that:  Last night I was watching a trailer for the new Celebrity Apprentice and Joan Rivers is one of them.  Holy cow, does she look awful.  Maybe I replaced Joan with Zsa Zsa in my dream?  If I remember correctly, Zsa Zsa didn’t look as awful as Joan. 

The mind has a way of protecting us in an odd way, doesn’t it?

The Tao of Donna

yin-yang.jpgI love my friends!  They are an endless source of blog fodder which makes it so much easier for me when my head is otherwise devoid of interesting thoughts.  This is one such moment.

My friend Donna, after a rough patch in the road threw her life off track, has discovered the wisdom of Tao Te Ching (or Dao De Jing as they spell it on Wikipedia which always makes me a bit suspect.  Who the hell are all those Wiki-philes anyway and what do you have to do to be one??)  Anyway, she was was quite taken by a book she has purchased called The Story of Tao Te Ching and how beautiful and profound it was in its simplicity.  I was thrilled for her!  Everybody needs to find a peaceful path, right?   Why the hell didn’t I have the good sense to reach for this book 20 years ago?  I could have found the peaceful path rather than the one I was on which was the path of emotional land mines.  Oh well, I’ve always had to learn the hard way but that’s another story and it’s much more fun to expose the soft underbellies of my friends rather than my own.    I do it with the utmost love and respect…. really!

So… Donna tells another friend about this awesome book.  She tells him about the colorful illustrations and the sweet story of this ancient sage and the calming effect it had on her. 

Her friend said it sounded like a children’s book.

When she hung up the phone, she looked more closely at the cover.

Ages 7 – ll. 

Doesn’t matter how you get peace, my friend.  Just that you get it!

“Those who understand themselves are enlightened”