Thursday, June 30, 2011

Stripper legs: A short anecdote

I ran out of shaving creme a couple days ago, and like a lazy poor college student, haven't been to the store to get a new bottle. Since it's summer and shorts, skirts, bikinis are the norm, I couldn't just leave my legs untamed until I go home for the 4th and beg my parents for toiletries. I had to improvise.

Sadly, the only other lotion I currently own is Victoria's Secret shimmery sparkly glitter lotion in tasteful Eau D'Streetwalker.

[I do actually possess a small bottle of somewhat expensive face creme, but I'll be damned if I'm slathering half that tiny tube on MY LEGS.]

This lotion is bad. I think I got it a year or so ago for my birthday. It is possibly 10% lotion, 90% glitter. Its "girlie" scent somehow combines a flower garden with a sleazy club bathroom. And did I mention the glitter?

A couple weeks ago, in a rush, I shaved my legs with this before visiting the boyfriend. This was at a point where I was still pretty allergic to his moms cats (I adapt over time/exposure, just like a deadly bacteria!) and I waited outside for him to collect his stuff. When he came out and saw me in the sunlight, he said:

"Why are your legs sparkling? They hurt my eyes. You look like Ke$ha threw up on you."

Yes. One slather of glitter lotion and I turned into "Ke$ha Thighs."

Sometimes glitter in moderation is appropriate - say, your six-year-old sister's princess birthday or a Twilight fan fic (scratch that, Twilight is never okay). I do love most other VS products - the Lacie is probably the best underwear out there. But in this case: bad. Very, very bad.

When it comes down to prickly, fuzzy awkwardness or shiny, shimmery awkwardness, give me the glitter any day. Maybe my legs will blind passerbys tomorrow so I don't have to field stupid questions and poor attempts at flirting from freshmen orientation boys while on my lunch break.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Heart Attack Incident: Another Caffeine Story

As I sit here, drinking my (not-very-caffeinated) Sprite and reading my last post, I realize two things:

1) This damn Sprite is not gonna cut it.
2) At least I'm not as bad as my father.

You know how doctors are supposed to be about health and stuff? They make you feel all bad for pumping your body with carcinogens and lard, but then after work you see them puffing on a cig or eating a whole box of donuts, and you suddenly realize: DOCTORS ARE JUST AS BAD AS REGULAR FOLKS. OR WORSE.

The MD is not a doctorate in common sense.

In the days of my youth (i.e. 9th grade maybe?) Dr. Dad was diligently in the throes of preparing for a super huge important major big presentation. Dr. Dad gives lots of lectures and presentations, as one of his job titles is "Overlord of the Residents" or something similar. I had even written skits for some of these presentations, usually involving some boring policy change and my costar (little watz) facing a miserable fate. But this presentation was A BIG DEAL. He commandeered the formal dining room as a full workspace (not like we have formal dinners anyways). He constantly asked me questions about basic powerpoint functions (to create a new slide, you need to click "insert slide." No, no, next tab. SLIDE. Insert. Slide.). I think he even offered me 50 cents to practice his presentation in front of an audience.

Of course I have no recollection of what this presentation was about. I thiiiiink it was about the new HIPPA regulations (Like I said, boring policy stuff) and it was to like, a bunch of higher ups and his resident underlings. Or something.

I know Dr. Dad gave a presentation about HIPPA at some point, because I went to the dentist a couple months later and he began explaining the new privacy rules to my mom - and I interrupted him, saying "yeah, yeah, we know all about HIPPA, but you should clarify XYZ because it's confusing to laypeople." I am now used to that startled and slightly suspicious look from medical professionals.

Anyway, the night before the presentation arrived. We didn't bother my dad as he sat in his presentation bunker. I tried to answer Dr. Dad's technology questions with minimal amounts of snideness. I talked him out of using ridiculous animations for making the text appear and crazy slide transitions. I advised him to not wear a stupid tie. Then I went to bed.

I woke up, startled, sometime in the middle of the night. There was no light under my door - we always left the hall lamp on. I decided to venture out and get a glass of water, maybe say hello to Dr. Dad if he was still working -

WHO THE HELL IS ON THE COUCH.

Opening my door (I'm on the second floor, with a cut-away balcony that hangs over our living room) spilled light downstairs, on a strange figure ON OUR COUCH, covered by some sort of a coat?

This clearly wasn't Lady Mother, as her moving to the couch in case of Dr. Dad's snoring involves
1) her facing the other end of the couch
2) a pile of 3 or 4 blankets

This ... person was not one of my parents. But what sort of murderer/rapist walks into a house and falls asleep? Were my parents alive? Gripping one of my BETA club awards as possible protection / defensive projectile, I determined to slip across the balcony to wake up my brother. He tends to be more rational in these situations. I began to creep -

The creature shuffled and turned on the lamp. I bit back a scream and clutched my trophy for dear life. Ready to strike.

The person shuffled out from her windbreaker and groggily identified herself as our neighbor. A bit more light proved this to be true, and I slightly loosened my grip on my projectile. Only slightly.

"Why are you here? Where are my parents? I'm waking up my brother." I tried to mask my fear with being angry. Didn't work well.
"Oh, don't worry," she groggily said, pulling her windbreaker back over her. "Your mom had to drive your dad to the hospital because he was having bad chest pains. She'll be back in the morning. Go back to sleep."

GO BACK TO SLEEP?!

This woman casually informed me that my father showed major signs of a HEART ATTACK serious enough to warrant a trip to the hospital AS A PATIENT and I only found out by accident because my parents DIDN'T BOTHER TELLING US.

WHAT IF HE DIED?

I went back to my room, turned every light on (because clearly this makes matters better) and pulled out my middle-school diary. I'd updated it once a week, sometimes monthly, usually yammering about my crush-of-the-day or how much I hated my parents. I turned to an entry from a couple months ago, with an angry black scrawl five-lines high: I HATE MY DAD SO MUCH I HOPE HE DIES. I crossed it out. One, two, three lines through it.

"Please don't let my dad die," I wrote next to it.

I paced my room. I tried to read. I decided not to wake my younger brother up, but to let him enjoy his last few hours thinking he had a dad. What was the last thing I'd said to him? He'd said "goodnight, I love you," and I'd said something along the lines of "you're stupid, don't wear a dumb tie." Worst daughter in the world.

I finally conked out and woke up again around 6am, and this time saw mom was downstairs. I ran to wake up my brother, with some jumbled freak out yelling at both him and my exhausted mom:

"Is dad okay / why didn't you tell me / heart attack / stupid tie / almost threw my BETA Club award at the neighbor / didn't get to say goodbye / what the hell is going on?"

"Did he... have a heart attack?" Little Watz asked slowly, getting to the point.

Lady Mother explained that Dr. Dad had woken her up around midnight with chest pains, tightness in his chest, a bit of tingling, fluttery heart palpitations - all classic heart attack signs. Add to a history of high blood pressure / cholesterol,  a slight beer gut, and a doctor's instincts, and he needed to go get checked out. Immediately.

Lady Mother, in classic deal-with-shit mode, talked him into going to the hospital, called a neighbor, called the hospital, drove him, dealt with the emergency room folks (which probably meant prying Dr. Dad away from 20 different conversations. He is kind of popular at the hospital.), got him into tests and whatnot, and came back home in time to drive us to school. Wonderwoman.

She told it that it wasn't a heart attack, but it could still be something serious so they were running more tests.

And yes, this was the morning of his VERY BIG DEAL presentation.

Cut to that evening. Dr. Dad blasted through every stress test and the like with flying colors. Midway through the day he tried to use his sly bedside manner to get out of being a patient and go give his presentation. No dice. The people in charge (Overlords of the Overlord of Residents?) were so shocked/amazed that Dr. Dad was actually sick, that they of course moved everything and rescheduled. People kept visiting to make sure he was alive, and to also see the mighty Dr. Dad as a patient. This must be what celebrity rehab is like.

Dr. Dad has been sick maybe four times in my life. However, every time has warranted a trip to the emergency room.

After wowing everyone in cardiac-utopia with his amazing physical prowess (though hopefully not too many hot young nurses, heh heh) and getting results saying there was a 95% chance of him NOT having a heart attack in the next five years, they came upon a solution.

HE HAD DRANK TOO MUCH CAFFEINE.

It is possible to overdose on caffeine! In preparation for this REALLY BIG DEAL talk, the day before he had drank three or four cup of coffee, multiple sodas, and a cup of black tea.

Dr. Dad blames the tea.

The insane amount of caffeine in his body, as a usual one-cup-of-joe-a-day guy, added to the perfectionism stress, made his body freak out. I mean, really. HEART PALPITATIONS. Who gets heart palpitations?

I told him he was stupid and hoped he wouldn't wear and ugly tie when he finally gave his presentation.

When a brief wave of guilt sweeps over me at my third soda of the day, I think to myself: "At least I've never been to the emergency room for it. Now that's a caffeine problem."

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Sick Skiers Incident

I am addicted to caffeine.

I get worse headaches around 5pm from a day without caffeine than a night of drinking. I get more irritable and weepy without caffeine than PMS in high school. I get more homicidal rage without caffeine coursing through my veins than Hannibal Lec- okay, you get the picture.

I drink maybe two of three sodas a day. Or starbucks in the morning and two or three sodas later. The folks at my corner starbucks not only know my name, but my drink preferences depending on the weather and how tired I look, and major life events. I went there religiously first semester at 7:30am before my movement class, spending ungodly amounts on flavored, sugared, chocolatey espresso concoctions. I think they liked me because I was never like "soy, skim, no sugar, extra crushed iced, pretentious blah blah blah" but usually "can I get extra whipped cream? Of course I want WHOLE milk." They took pity on my at Starbucks because it was 1) always ungodly early and 2) after a bad breakup, and expensive coffee was one of my few comforts. Which the baristas heard about. In detail.

Anyways, free Sbux publicity aside, I know how bad caffeine is for you, being Dr. Dad's kid. I know caffeine addiction is a hop, skip and jump away from being a dope fiend. Yesterday I'm asking my friends in the drama department for an extra quarter so I can get a soda before rehearsal; next week I'm Marion from Requiem for a Dream doing ungodly things on a coffee table for more heroin. It's a vicious cycle.

I tried to quit, once. I really did. This is my harrowing story of recovery and descent back into madness.

New Year's Eve my sophomore year of high school: I decided to give up caffeine. Namely, soda and coffee.  At this point I drank maybe four or five cans a day, and it was seriously messing with my sleep and bladder. at 11:59pm, I ruefully drank the last few gulps of orange soda in my can. I wished the flavor would linger forever.

The first couple weeks were brutal. The irritability, the mood swings - I was going through actual WITHDRAW. The headaches were the worse - not completely debilitating like a migraine, where you know if you just pop some excedrin you can sleep it off. These headaches lingered, gnawing at the back of brain. It would be so simple to cure them, I thought... just a couple sips of soda. No one would know. But I held firm. In my weakest moments I - dare I say it - allowed my mom to brew me black, black tea. It didn't really count, I thought, sipping it greedily like a strung-out junkie at a methadone clinic.

I also developed the attitude often seen in recovering addicts or, more similarly, people who have picked up a new dieting craze. OH! The health benefits! I feel like a new person! The world is my oyster! Everything that was wrong in my life was because of soda! Why isn't everyone giving up soda! They must be weak - I must spread the word! I am so much better than all these poor saps still fettered to the yoke of caffeine addiction!

This exultations would usually bring on another withdraw headache, and I'd curl up in a ball on the couch for two hours.

Then came the youth group ski trip. We were going to the mountains of west virginia to go skiing. We got to ride in a big van (I hoped I'd sit next to a cute boy) for hours. It was going to be just the best thing ever.

After some really spicy Bojangles for dinner, we continued our drive north. I finished my water in two minutes and thirstily opened the cooler to grab -

The cooler was entirely stocked with soda.

Not a water bottle or juice box to be found.

I couldn't  just grab a soda. I would be a HYPOCRITE. In front of church friends! Church friends were always doing something naughty, like getting to second base, but never in front of everyone (eww). They would judge me.

"Well," I said smugly, trying to hide the fact that my mouth felt like sandpaper and the can of soda felt so sleek and sinful in my hand."I guess I'll just have to wait until the next stop to get some water. I have given up soda for New Years' and I am going to STICK WITH IT." Cue appreciative gasps from the rest of the kids (and probably eye rolls from the adult supervisors).

Two things happened in quick succession. One of the guys offered to share his water bottle, and a couple of my friends also declared they wanted to give up sodas too. Right then. We could keep each other accountable. Christian friends are all about accountability. It makes you feel superior when someone else screws up. It helps you stick with your goal. Also we got to share a water bottle with a boy.

"Oh ha," we laughed. "Hope none of us get sick! Otherwise we'd all be in trouble."

Cue the owner of the water bottle violently vomiting the entire next day.

Those of us who rode in the van, in such close proximity, looked at each other in horror after the full day of skiing. We had breathed the same air. Touched the same stuff. And for half of us - drank the same water. I might as well have been a 14th-century Snow White and accidentally called a sea of rats to clean my cottage. Sure, things would looks pristine and I would still have my dignity... as I died a vicious death from bubonic plague. We enjoyed our last few hours of life on the way back. I think one of the trip leaders even lead a prayer about how we knew we were going to get sick, but at least make it quick and as painless as possible. Two people in a different van fell out on the way home. Frequent stops.

I thankfully lasted another couple hours, but when I woke up in the middle of Sunday night, I knew I was a goner.

Between vomiting, I shooed away my Lady Mother's offering of soda to settle my stomach with carbonation and help balance my electrolytes (my parents are all about some electrolytes whenever me or Little Watz gets sick).

"Drink this! Ginger ale is good for you. It doesn't count as soda because you're so sick. You need it to restore your electrolytes."
"WOMAN," I shouted as I clung to the toilet. "I cannot give up now just because I'm sick. This is just a test. I can get through this. Get me gatorade. Or ice chips. Soda will not touch my lips. TRIAL BY FIRE (1 Peter 1:7 reference. 1000 good Christian girl points)." I alternate between really mean and really pathetic when I'm sick. "What does it matter? I'm probably going to die... sniff, sniff, at least I'll have remained resolute to my resolution until the bitter end."

I managed to overcome my sickness without a drop of soda. Those of us who drank from the bottle were hit the hardest. One of my friends called me the next day, equally sick and miserable, to admit she had drank some coca-cola to settle her stomach. I felt a little better. Morally. Physically, I think I threw up again.

I kept to my goal until summer came around. It was hot. I was bored. No one really cared that I wasn't drinking soda anymore. I think the first thing I drank was a Pepsi. Nothing significant happened. So I drank another. And another. (Though to be fair, only half the cans. I rarely drink a whole can. I tend to leave them around the house, half drunk, a testament to my presence. One day Lady Mother went around and stuck sticky notes to all of the cans, saying "EXHIBIT A" and so forth. I was not amused.)

I asked Lady Mother to hide the sodas, to maybe deter my cravings. I found them later that day, not so creatively hidden under my parents' bed. Really? What a lame hiding place.

With the challenge and my scruples gone, I returned to my caffeine-imbibing ways without much fanfare. Every now and then, usually on a weekend when I'm off my schedule, a certain gray headache will reach its bitter talons around my frontal and temporal lobes.

"Remember me?" It will ask with its fizzy, effervescent sweetness. And I will oblige.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Calzone Incident

My dear friend the Italian Saxophonist likes to to tell or at least refer to this story every time we hang out. Probably because this story involves 1) another italian 2) calzones and 3) me being oblivious.

I was at a summer program up north when I got my first-ever boyfriend. I'd never really had the urge to date before, but everyone was getting a summer program significant other and I was kind of bored after classes. This super short (long distance in high school is always doomed) relationship taught me two valuable lessons:

1) "My parents go to church" does not mean "We are totally Presbyterian soul-mates." It means his family drags him to church, where he promptly falls asleep.
2) "I don't smoke weed anymore" means "I don't smoke weed anymore... around you. Unless you are super naive, and then I will be blazed around you all the time."

[disclaimer: This post is not to pass judgments about marijuana smokers. Some of my closest friends do it daily. This is to laugh at an awkward situation at my complete obliviousness and general "reefer madness" understanding of weed at the time.]

We head out one night to the local calzone shop around 10pm or so (Out so late! These excursions to calzone shops in my formative youth are why I blow a substantial portion of my paycheck at Artichoke & Basil.) and he sees some of his friends milling about in the back corner. I get briefly introduced and then shooed away to order my calzone and let them talk.

What? Rude.
But you know, whatever. I am cool. I am seventeen. I have disposable income with which to buy my own calzone. I am paying for my food myself like an independent young woman --

CASH ONLY.

Well, damn. I rarely carry cash, even to this day, because I'm bad with change and more likely to spend spend spend. Aha! I think - my significant other just got paid at his summer job and could surely float me $6 until we got back to our dorm and I could pull out my emergency cash. But a whole teenage-feminist (or more likely, stubborn individualist) concern stopped me. ASK a guy to PAY for me? Wouldn't that mean I was indebted to him? Would he think of it of typical googily girlfriend behavior? Would he expect me to ask him to pay for other things? Could I live with myself knowing I'd fallen into a stereotypical relationship cliche of "the guy pays?"

Rumble rumble. My stomach decided that I could live it, and I was HUNGRY NOW. Holding my head high, probably like Oliver Twist when he went to beg for some more porridge, I walked over to the clutch of guys -

Shuffling. Grumbling. Quick movements and suspicious glances. Hands in pockets. Boyfriend not happy to see me.

"I, um, don't have any cash, and if I could just BORROW $6, I would pay you back the second we got back. I promise I'd pay you back right away and it wouldn't be like, a THING, you know..."
"I don't have any money."

WHAT? I was shocked at the audacity of the lie. He had just been paid the afternoon before and had been bragging about the sudden increase in wealth. He listed things he planned to buy, put away some savings for college - all. gone.

"Now I know that's an exaggeration; you just got paid yesterday..." I was trying to be tactful.
"I spent it all."
"You spent it all? In LESS THAN A DAY? On what? ARE YOU CRAZY?!" So much for tact.
"Uhh... stuff." (Do you see where this is going? Sketchy people, suddenly depletion of money, irritability of a nosy bystander coming up...) "Go to the ATM down the street, I need to talk with my friends."

I tentatively poked my head outside the door. It was dark, with few streetlights or people. THIS IS HOW PEOPLE GET RAPED AND MURDERED, I thought. Walking around alone, in an unfamiliar city, to gather money, in the dark. I was already an anxious kid; not to mention PROGRAM RULES stated we couldn't be alone in town. Liability. I glanced back at the guy, now deep in head-bowed, muttering negotiations. No help there. My stomach grumbled again.

I RAN to the ATM, clutching my little canister of pepper spray for dear life. The ATM took forever to crank out the requisite $20, and I stood with my back to it, eyes darting around for any potential predators. It felt like a struggle for survival. I was an urban warrior.

I made my triumphant but still kind of embarrassed return to the calzone shop and gratefully received my melty meatball, mozzarella and marinara meal of marvelousness. Boyfriend seemed happy to see me again. I said "bye ya'll" to the friends, who collectively raised eyebrows at my southern sweetness, probably wondering how I managed to find my way above the Mason-Dixon line.

The next couple of evenings, after locating my boyfriend from strange, inexplicable absences, I noticed a peculiar burnt-rope type smell. I knew he smoked cigarettes sometimes, which had a lingering funk so foul I usually requested the brushing of teeth. His summer allergies must have been acting up, because late at night his eyes would be all bloodshot and red. And surely classes were taking a lot out of him, because he kept asking me to calm down when I was in the midst of chattering about ponies or rainbows or whatever teenage girls with their first boyfriends say. Chill out. Just be mellow. (Mellow... yellow? To this day, I have no idea what "being mellow" actually entails.)

The awkwardness, of course, entails when this story is told to the rapt audience of my lunch table a month or so later - a mix of AP students and the extra artsy freaks. I have a real boyfriend! Look at the quirky stuff he does! Isn't that odd?

My friends laughed harder at the story than I though its funniness warranted. I mean, fighting for my life on the cold streets of a gentrified college town while my boyfriend was a cold-shouldering jerk is humorous, but they seemed to be laughing at something else... at me.

"R. Grace, you do realize what he was doing while you were buying your food, right?"
"Being a dick and ignoring me for his friends? But I mean usually he's JUST THE BEST and-"
"He was buying weed."
"WHAAAAAAAAAAAAATTT" Came my shriek of not entirely disbelief, but shock and horror. "He would never do that. he told me he wouldn't and he really lov- well, likes me a lot. Sometimes. When I'm not too loud."
"All the allergy symptoms you listed are signs of being stoned. And the weird smell? Totally weed."
"But... but..." I realized I'd been taken for a fool.

I also realized I was less important than a plant.

This story gets retold by friends almost any time I start seeing a new guy, somewhat as a ghostly warning of the-ghosts-of-Rebecca-boyfriends-past. And the added laughter of I could probably be dating a serial killer and probably never suspect anything.

But I've heard they're usually such charismatic guys...

Happy birthday party to meee

It's been a while since I posted thanks to a really crap week and the not-crapness of planning for my (early) 21st birthday party.

Hope this picture and extra stories for the week will make up for my absence!

My birthday was Anything But Clothes (ABC) and more than half of the people (and almost everyone I knew personally) dressed up and looked fabulous!

My dress consisted of bubble wrap and wedding tulle. I made the skirt four layers thick and folded the top over an elastic and scrunched it to make a bubble wrap "bubble skirt!" The top involved me dear friend wrapping me while I was mostly naked in Z's bathroom  and putting the skirt on over. Dear friend also Macgyvered a bustle out of more wrap, since the back was a wee bit see through. Also wore an Am Appy bandeau bra over a regular one for a bit of color.

The party was a raging success! My actual 21st will probably consist of a few drinks at some bar - I'm so glad I got to dance, laugh, drink, and chat with tons of friends of all ages last night!

Loves,

R Grace

Monday, June 20, 2011

Father's day post


Fall break my freshman year of college - my mom wanted to take a bunch of family pictures and after the  millionth one I started contorting my face into horrible grimaces so she would stop.

Even though Dr. Dad and I rarely, rarely see eye-to-eye (I've come to appreciate that we have the exact same personality traits. Which is cool, but can make us really incompatible sometimes.) I kind of look up to him. He is sort of a bad ass.

Dr. Dad was the first person in his family to go to college - and not just any college, but one of the top fancy private colleges in the nation. Top fancy private college was pretty tough, but Dr. Dad continued to pursue his goal of becoming a doctor. (Thus the Dr. Dad in his title)

When Dr. Dad started applying to med schools, an interviewer sneered at him and told him that he would never become a doctor and he should choose a different career.

Talk about an awkward situation. What did Dr. Dad do after this potentially soul-crushing declaration?



Dr. Dad invited the jerk interviewer to his med school graduation a couple years later.


Dr. Dad retold this story to me when I got into fancy London drama school and couldn't afford it. I had a huge what-am-I-doing-with-my-life meltdown. The guy who was told to pick a different career is now ranked on the "Best Doctors in America" list as one of the top in his field.

Never, never, never give up on your dreams.

Happy father's day.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Gawk at the Awk: Flower Girl


I'm a flower, duh. The green sweatshirt and green-checkered shorts are the stem part, and OBVIOUSLY a pink tutu looks like flower petals if you wear it around your head.
Did I actually wear this as a Halloween costume? Oh goodness.

Also, with a chin-length bob and straight-across bangs, I have the same haircut at 20 that I had when I was five. I don't know what to think about that.

The Dr. Seuss Incident

I love costume parties.

But with my own 21st birthday themed-bash coming up in exactly a week, I am reminded of a costume party that kind of ... wasn't.

My sophomore year of college, one of my friends decided his birthday would be Dr. Seuss themed. The event was made, invitations sent out, definitely a costume party. I talked with people about what they would dress up as. I plotted my costume for about a week. I was going to be the cutest Cindy Lou Who in all of Whoville.

First: the makeup. I'm somewhat a crunchy granola girl, and my usual makeup "routine" is a swipe of mascara and lipgloss. Not for Cindy Lou! I brightly lined my eyes with shimmery green liner, filled in a pseudo-smokey eye, bright lips, super-pink cheeks, and a couple freckles included.

Second: the outfit: I have an eyesore of a dress in electric pink and white stripes. Total Who-wear. Also sparkly glittery earrings.

Finally: THE HAIR. My hair, though much longer than it is now, reached slightly past my shoulders. It is superfine and superstraight,  and overall a huge pain. What would give me a mini-conical beehive? A styrofoam cup was much too tall. My roommate emptied out a fruit cup, washed it out, and fastened it to my head somehow. The odd bits of hair not covering the cone were woven into braids. This concoction head together through a slew of bobbypins and enough hairspray for Al Gore to put a hit out on my name.

The result, in comparison:
The pink comes from the animated movie;
the hair is from the live-action.



I head over to the party with two friends dressed in normal clothes with "Thing 1" and "Thing 2" safety-pinned to the front of their regular-party clothes.

"Oh poor them," I think. "They will feel so out of place when we get to the party and every is dressed up ridiculously."

We get to the party. Guess who is dressed up ridiculously?

Me.

Only me.

I am the only person with a costume on at the costume party. I am the only person with a costume that cannot even be mistaken for regular partywear. I. Am. A. Freak.

The birthday boy laughs and said he couldn't really get anything together, so he decided to dress normally. Or, maybe as Dr. Seuss himself? One friend had something taped to his chest... "The boy who refused to get dressed" or some really, really obscure character... still dressed in normal clothes.

One girl, thank goodness, had brought her costume separately and changed into a really cute Fox-in-Socks outfit. Besides the tail and ears, it was a pretty normal party outfit. And in our circle of friends, tails'n'ears could be just a anime fan thing, barely raising an eyebrow.

I, however, looked like the love child of Snooki and the Bride of Frankenstein that lost a fight with a cotton candy machine.

As the night began to progress and more people, friends of friends, started coming, I had another horrifying revelation: Not only am I the only person dressed up for a costume party, MOST PEOPLE HERE DON'T EVEN KNOW IT'S A COSTUME PARTY. They just think there is a terribly weird looking girl with an ugly dress, too much makeup and ... is that a fruit cup in her hair? Who invited the crazy?

I thought maybe one drink would take the edge off. WRONG. I'm an anxious-aholic. I felt even more tense and awkward and freakish. People were laughing at me. For some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to go outside and call long-distance-boyfriend who (wisely) didn't want to talk in the middle of the night while he was also out with friends. I hung up the phone and then everything hit me at once - being so excited about this, the shock at opening the door and seeing no one else dressed up, the laughter and sideways glances, trying to get comforted and failing - and then I just started BAWLING.

Huge, heaving, can't breathe sobs. Afterward I slipped inside to the bathroom to assess the damage.

If I had at least looked like a cute Cindy Lou Who, albeit out of place, before, I now looked like Cindy Lou Meth Addict.

Long, dark streaks of eye makeup ran down my face, smeared with the blush. My eyes were red and puffy. My hair had half-fallen out, exposing part of the plastic cup but still sticking out rabidly thanks to the hairspray. One braid had unraveled, frizzing out everywhere. A smear of grime covered my backside from sitting outside on the porch railing.

Woah, crazy chick. Time for you to go home.

I mercifully found a good guy friend to walk me back to my dorm. (Never walk by yourself at night. It doesn't matter how in-control you feel or, inversely, how much you want to hide embarrassment. Get a buddy to walk with you.) My roommate, thank goodness, wasn't in. I headed straight to the showers and washed my hair at least four times to get every bit of hairspray, and the lingering fruit syrup scent, gone forever.

What about you, readers? Have you ever had a costume-party fiasco?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Fail nails part 2: In which I try to stop biting my nails

I am a nail biter.

I know, I know. It's gross. It's not poised or classy or grateful (y'know, all the things for which I strive but fail miserably). It's unhealthy, exposing you to harmful bacteria and worms. It leads to desperate measures like trying cheap fake nails (see the previous post). It's so yucky and socially looked-down upon that I feel akin to a crack addict when I nibble a nail in class. I then usually look up to the judgmental and repulsed glare of a polished princess with a prim french manicure sparkling in the dull fluorescent light. Caught in the act!

Sometime in high school, I made the conscious effort to STOP BITING MY NAILS. I stopped drinking soda for 6 months once, and that gave me headaches and vicious withdraw symptoms. As far as I know, not nail biting never gave anyone headaches. I could do this.

I briefly entertained the idea of taking up smoking. Replacing one vice with another? But the risk of cancer in exchange for the risk of pinworms didn't seem like a solid tradeoff. Also, cigarettes make me cough and make my clothes all smell weird.

I tried gum chewing for a bit, so I had something in my mouth besides the tips of my fingers. But I had to chew gum CONSTANTLY or I'd sneak in a bite. And then I couldn't just have a hangnail there... so I would bite the whole thing off. And then the other nine nails. I can't chew gum constantly. I have TMJ - a slipped disk in my jaw. After 30 minutes or so of chewing, I hear little clicks and pops and soreness develops. Also constant chewing = headaches. NOT AGAIN, DAMMIT.

So I head to the local drugstore to get some of that spicy-burning paint-on stuff that deters you from nail biting because it enflames your mouth with agony. I just need to break the cycle. I browse the mani/pedi section for a while (the same section from which I bought my fake toenails) and saw nothing. I would not be deterred. I found what seemed like a helpful clerk.

"Excuse me ma'am, I can't seem to find something."
"Sure, hon, what're you looking for?"
"Well um, I'm looking for the spicy paint-on nail stuff. You know, like polish, except it keeps you from biting your nails?"

Her friendly, How-May-I-Help-You? smile turned to a scowl of shock and disgust. You would have thought I asked what aisle the Nazi memorabilia was on. Her eyes trailed down to my stubby nails of shame, and I quickly clasped them behind my back.

"Oh," she sneered. "That's in the BABY aisle. It's mostly used for BABIES and TODDLERS to get them to stop sucking their thumbs. That's all we have. In the baby aisle. For babies. You can find it." She glared at me.

Self-esteem shattered. This doughy drugstore woman's judgment shamed me. I was no better than an impudent child who sucked its thumb.

Clearly, the correct reply to this statement should have been: "BITCH PLZ, You work at a Walgreens. Nail biting is my only vice. Your vices seem to be fast food and QVC shopping. JUDGE NOT LEST YE BE JUDGED." But I meekly scurried down the baby aisle and got a bottle, thankfully checking out with another clerk.

I got home and painted my nails right away. And all the skin around my nails, probably up to my first knuckle. I was going to have long, healthy nails. People were going to be jealous. I was going to be a lady.

One of the characteristics of infant-designated items, from baby asprin to anti-thumb-sucking polish, is it comes in doses that are perfectly tolerable by small children. An hour later, I bit on my nails, thinking the  spiciness added a nice mild cajun flavor. So you know, as far as failures go, at least this was a tasty one.

Until 15 seconds later when I rubbed my eye.

I let out a bloodcurdling shriek and started running around the room, probably in circles, alternately flapping my hands and rubbing at my throbbing, burning eye, only making it worse. It felt as though the fires of Hell had invaded my tearduct and were trying to burn a hole in my head. Absolute ocular agony.

This is why my future dream house will have an emergency chemical eyewash station off the kitchen.

I tossed the bottle, preferring my vision remaining intact than my mild doses of nail biting humiliation.

---

I have since mostly kicked the habit through a steady stream of manicures. Which usually leaves me broke but smugly content, until the next life crisis comes around and I bite them all off in 2 minutes flat.

I once quit cold turkey last July for over a month after accidentally stumbling across Anthony Goicolea's "Nail Biter" film in the Guggenheim. I thought I was going to vomit. It's probably the most disturbing and horrify film I've ever watched, and it's only like 4 minutes long. I'm not going to post a link, though you can find clips of it easily online. So. Much. Saliva. Yuckkk.

"Aww hayyy" -  bright highlighter-orange nails freshly manicured yesterday.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Fail nails part 1: The razor toes incident

Yes,  my life is awkward enough that I have not one, but TWO awkward stories relating to fingernails and toenails. This is a toenails story.

I don't understand foot fetishes.

I mean, not that feet are particularly more unsexy than any other part of the body. They're just kind of... awkward,

Is there an awkward fetish? Oh goodness, maybe there's hope that I won't die alone.

Anyways, the scene is senior year prom circa 2008. EVERYTHING MUST BE PERFECT. Not like I had anything stereotypically prom-ish planned, like losing my V-card in the back of a crappy car or winning homecoming queen. I coordinated a big group of about seven friends, all of us with our respective dates, for dinner, promming, and a girls-night-in movie extravaganza after. So of course, a lot of things went disastrous. But those are stories for a different day. Especially that time I had to be cut out of my dress. But I digress.

I went to the drugstore to get fake nails. Bad idea number one. I should have at least sprung for a decent set of acrylics instead of the $5 glue-ons. But I wanted to pretend I didn't have stubby, chewed to the quick stumps. I wanted to be a lady, dammit. Using regular nail polish over them hid the gooey glue patterns underneath, and my fingernails turned out looking pretty nice.

Right next to the fingernails they had FAKE TOENAILS. Bad idea number two for even looking at them. There were some really pretty french-manicure ones. T-minus 6 hours until dinner and prom festivities, and I had no hair appointment or spa appointment booked. My mom, cruel woman, reasoned that a $200 dress and tickets and everything else was more than enough expense for one night. But MOM, think of the facebook pictures! This is supposed to be the MOST IMPORTANT NIGHT OF MY LIFE. No avail. I was Cinderella, with no pumpkin or pedicure. This had to change.

I am no expert in ideal toenail length, so I just grabbed a decent-looking pack. It turned out to be the longest set of toenails in the store. BAD IDEA NUMBER THREE. These things stuck out a good 3/4 of an inch past my actual toes. I though they looked kind of cool in an avant-garde, Alexander McQueen way.

Then us girls had to do the stereotypical arms-in-all corsages picture, followed by the right-foot-in-to-show-off-shoes picture.

"WHAT IS UP WITH YOUR TOES?!"

My good friend the Italian saxophonist laughed. Everyone looked down at my feet. Wonder if there were any foot fetishists in the crowd? They certainly got an eyeful of the bizarre.

"They're fake toenails. It looks like a french manicure."
"THEY'RE SO LONG. AND SHARP."
"Okay maybe they're a little long, but it's prom and I can be outlandish for one night."
"OH GOD DON'T CUT ME WITH YOUR RAZOR TOES! THEY ARE SO FRIGHTENING. THEY LOOK LIKE TALONS. TALON TOES."
"Please stop yelling about my feet."
"RAAAAAZZZZZOOOORRR TOOOOOEEEESSSS."

And so it went.

At prom, we all kicked off our shoes and danced like dancing fiends. Then we got ready to head over to some "after party" that had maybe two bottles of vodka and lots of coca-cola. Soooo badass.

As we were changing into our-post prom gear, I located my heels and put them on, looking at my feet in horror I realized...

Only my big-toenails were still attached. There were eight missing talons, scattered about the dancefloor. The big toenails were the longest, and next to my regular-sized toenails appeared to be vulture claws. Yank. Yank. Those suckers wouldn't budge. I couldn't cover them up with closed-toed shoes because they were TOO LONG TO FIT.

I hobbled off to the afterparty, talons probably scraping the floor at the point, and made an effort to sit at tables or stand in dark corners, lest someone glance down at my feet and run away screaming, fearful that I might claw their eyes out.

After 10 minutes of soaking in nail-polish remover the next day, they finally came off. I have never worn fake nails again... but the italian saxophonist still calls me razor toes.

I am wearing the black shoes. Thankfully most of my toes are hidden by the grass, but can you see that  big toe? TALONS!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Gawk at the Awk: Viking edition

What is awkward about this picture?
1) Matching viking helmets (mine had braids because I was a lady)
2) My Harry-Potter glasses
3) Matching and lopsided fanny packs (we are prepared for anything)
4) The swords. What was going on?
5) Our facial expressions. I'm having a jovial ol' time and Josh is torn between the seriousness of the matter and looking scared.
6) American Apparel ain't got nothing on those overalls. Sexii.
7) Where were we? Busch Gardens? How many people saw us roaming around dressed like this?

Monday, June 13, 2011

The little whipping girl incident

One time, while trying to impress my 3rd grade class, I accidently almost got my parents arrested for child abuse.

Social studies always bored me the most. I was a super overachiever kid in a dirt poor rural elementary school. I got bored easily in class and would ask questions that were most in depth than my teacher could answer, flustering them. Today in social studies the teacher droned on about slavery - something to do with the civil war, I guess? Some average-reading level kid stumbled over a paragraph in our kiddie textbook about how the slaves had it rough, sometimes got beaten with whips...

My first-grade brother owned a bull whip! Santa AKA my dad (I never believed in Santa growing up. JUDGE ME MOMMY BLOGGERS.) got it for him for Christmas and my mother was appalled. This is not some sort of kinky, sexy, wow-your-familys-weird type whip. I think it was from a Cracker Barrel. This was a real manly bull whip, braided leather, wooden handle, made for rugged adventure and wrangling livestock. Sadly, we possessed no livestock on our quaint little cul-de-sac, so my brother usually resulted to wrangling me.

My teacher said something to the effect of "isn't that sad? How would you feel if you were a slave?" Something basic and banal, trying to get the class of ragamuffins engaged.

I raised my hand.

"Yeah guys, being whipped with a bull whip REALLY HURTS. It leaves big ugly welts and the initial hit isn't as bad as the stinging afterwards. The stinging's the worst."

My teacher stared at me in horror, while I daydreamed off, congratulating myself for making a "personal connection to the lesson." That was a good thing. We were encouraged to connect to what we learned about in class.

The teacher met my mom at the door at the end of the day. This was mildly annoying, as I wanted to leave right away and she blocked my path to my mom. All the other kids got to leave and I was hanging out at my desk alone. Probably talking about what a great student I was, I though.

My mom later explained that my teacher was ready to call social services, one of those 1998 cell phones in hand. Why does your daughter know what it's like to be BEATEN with a bull whip? (And I thought I was dramatic.) Is she in danger? What have you been doing to her? She announced it to the whole class, ect ect.

Apparently my mom had a long, mortifying conversation about the Christmas present, this was all Dr. Dad's poor judgment (ha!), and it would never happen again. Being a small, close-knit town, the teacher believed my mom but told her she'd keep an eye out. That crazy doctor family, she probably thought.

That night the bull whip got put in permanent time out and I never saw this again.


While accidently framing my mother for my brother's Indiana Jones-esque mischief is funny, real child abuse is no laughing matter. Check out http://www.preventchildabuse.org/ or your local domestic abuse shelter for more information in your area. 

The Ramen Incident

I used to judge people who ate ramen noodles.

They are the epitome of the broke, clueless college kid stereotype. They are the most meager form of sustenance. No cooking skill or dignity required! I ate them all the time when I did this college-experience summer program in high school, when I was scared and alone and broke in another state. Ramen tastes like loneliness to me. I had more class, I had more dignity, I had more RESOLVE than to stoop to eating ramen noodles ever again.

And there I was in the Harris Teeter on Sunday, holding a 12-pack of chicken flavored ramen and wondering just how low I'd fallen.

Frequently visiting someone who does not own a working oven or a well-stocked pantry has forced me to eat ramen on multiple occasions. (The things we do for love!) I'll admit, it was tolerable and filling and not too awful. I'd been looking for ways to cut my food budget for the summer, because my craving for calzones is an expensive one (and stems from another awkward story) and let's be real - I'm stuck in my college town doing nothing but working almost full time. I might as well save money. I might become one of those extreme couponers... so bored.

At Harris Teeter, I hold the 12-pack of chicken ramen for a good two minutes. Was I really that desperate to save money? Would I even eat it? Didn't I want to eat healthily? What would my housemates think? Would I be able to live with myself after stooping so low? Are my dreams of becoming a picture perfect Williams-Sonoma housewife forever crushed?

My stomach growls and I throw it into my cart, burying it under fresh organic vegetables and cake mix. I run through the grocery store at warp speed. Being caught with a gigantic pack of ramen would be more embarrassing than that time I ran into my crush at the drugstore with a jumbo box of tampons in my hand.

I thankfully make it throw my shopping list and arrive at the check-out counter. Unmarked vegetables and my aversion to self-checkouts placed in the line of a very pleasant cashier. She began scanning my items and a bag-boy appeared out of the woodwork.

"Plastic okay? WOAH that's a lot of ramen." The second half of the statement was directed at the cashier. "They make big packs of ramen? What for?"
The cashier laughed, "yeah, they got 48-packs down at Sam's Club."
"What you need that much ramen for? Who eats that much ramen?"
"Some people you know..."
"Haha wow, that's desperate."

DESPERATE. You are a bag boy at a grocery store, sir. I am standing right in front of you. I wanted to launch on a tirade about the time saving benefits or health aids, but I couldn't think of anything. And isn't that why I bought the ramen in the first place? Desperate. And too bored and lazy to cook.

I rushed out of the store and headed home... to cook myself a bowl of ramen. Was I embarrassed? Yes. Ashamed that I'd stooped so low? Yes.

But it tasted pretty damn good.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Sober Stumble Incident

I have a confession.

I don't drink very much.

I love a good jack & coke as much as the next girl, but I'm really uncomfortable drinking at large parties or around lots of people I don't know. The exception being weddings. I can't resist mimosas.

It's a happening Friday night early in the spring, right after one of my plays had wrapped. The main drag (same street as the panties incident) is packed with people, celebrating the unseasonably warm weather. I had plans to take one of my best friends out for a drink, since it happened to be her 23rd birthday. Twenty-three seems really old to me. Maybe she would impart some sagely wisdom on me. I got ready for the night in a simple black top, skinny jeans and -

I have another confession.

I am not a "shoe person," but I absolutely love Steve Madden sky-high wedges.

I've only posted a handful of times, but I'm sure the combination of high heels + awkward person is already leading up to some pretty hilarious equations in your mind. I stapped on a pair of killer metal-studded, black wedges that must be at least 6 inches high. "Oh la," I though to myself. "I am so glamorous and chic and poised in my designer shoes, maybe I should get a pair of those 10-inch Alexander McQueen armadillo shoes. Because I am so tall and sexy and did I mention poised?"

The Alexander McQueen shoes. Probably a bad idea.

My dear friend and I go out and have to settle on a pizza place, since no bars are letting my shamefully only-twenty self in (I once got dumped by a guy because of this). She has two beers. This already makes her giggly. I have zero beers. I am stone-cold sober and the designated driver.

La la la, headed back to my car, sashay, sashay, don't I look poised? Then, I step on a pebble.

BAM. There is no way to regain balance in giant shoes. The pebble launched me forward and I sprawled across the sidewalk, on my hands and knees, scraping up my elbows in the process.

"Oh no oh no oh no" I thought maybe I'd managed to avoid being spotted or escape with a couple snickers.

"WOAH, CRAZY DRUNK CHICK." Across the street, an intoxicated young man was shouting at me, flailing his arms and pointing. Everyone in a 20 foot radius turned to look at the crazy drunk chick. I am still on the ground at this point, trying to stand up, while my friend is doubled over heaving with laughter, not helping me out.

"YOU ARE OUT OF CONTROL DRUNK CHICK. LOOK AT YOU. TIME FOR YOU TO GO HOME." Still yelling at me. There was a huge clump of people now staring at me as I stumbled to my feet and brushed my knees off. How many friends did this guy have?
My friend was still bent over laughing, and I had to drag her away from the scene.

"YOU NEED TO GO HOME DRUNK CHICK. SOMEONE TAKE HER HOME." The shouting began to fade as I thankfully crawled into my car. In the drivers seat. And drove both of us home. Soberly.

Now, I wear heels in public about as often as I drink in public... which is never.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The X-ray Incident

I have scoliosis.

I found this out after 6 years of my mom yelling at me to stop popping and cracking my back and neck pretty much constantly. But it HURTS.

Summer after sophomore year of college, I had an awesome internship at an off-Broadway theatre festival. This involved a lot of heavy lifting and moving, and I didn't have a pillow in my tiny NYU dorm room. By the time I got home, I was in AGONY. I begged Dr. Dad to check out my back. After a lecture on how much of a hypochondriac I am, Dr. Dad finally ran two fingers down my spine.

And checked it again. And called my mom over and she felt it. "Yup, there's a definite curve there. We should get you in to see a doctor."

Are you keeping track, world? I was RIGHT and my parents were WRONG.

A few weeks later I went to the doctor and got all the routine tests done before getting shipped off to the X-ray room. He was a pleasant chap, but I wished he'd stressed "You were in pain for YEARS and your parents just DIDN'T BELIEVE YOU?" so I could milk the emotional duress and maybe get like a car or something out of parental guilt. No such luck.

I head over to X-raytopia, and the two female techs ask my mom to stand outside. There is a cool stand-up X-ray in the center of the room. It looks like a teleporter from Star Trek. I dutifully remove my piercings and jewelry, clutch at my flimsy hospital gown protectively (WHY did I wear a thong today?), and get ready for 30 seconds of pretending I'm getting beamed up.

Except the techs can't find their consent forms. And my bloodwork hasn't been processed in the lab yet.

WHAT IF I'M PREGNANT?

I'm not, of course. I cheerfully tell them I know I'm not pregnant, and they can X-ray me with no worries. They look at me skeptically. They don't believe me. They think I'm lying.

"Is there any way possible you might be pregnant? Even sex with a condom can lead to pregnancy."

I'm thinking to myself that perhaps immaculate conception IS a possibility, but I think an angel was supposed to give me a heads up first. I don't want to sound snarky, so I explain the basic facts:

"Look, I'm not really sexually, um, my boyfriend's been out of town since I last had my period. I'm certain, there's no way -"
"Have you had sex with anyone else since then?"

Not only did they think I was lying, they thought I was a WHORE. Maybe it was the underwear. Next time I'm wearing frumpy gray granny panties to the doctor's.

So I wracked my brain, trying to find some way to convince these women, who still couldn't find their stupid consent forms, that I was most certainly, undoubtably NOT PREGNANT. Aha!

"Three days ago! I went to the gynecologist! I have not even TOUCHED a guy in three days."
"Do they test for pregnancy there?"

WHAT. Do you know what a gynecologist is? How are you working at a hospital? Actually, how are you a thirtysomething woman and not know that? I fear for your ladyparts.
But I tried to remain calm. Explaining what a gynecologist is, they still seemed skeptical. They shuffled around. They tried to explain "protocol" to me. What should have taken 5 minutes was now an agonizing debate about my womb. I couldn't take it anymore (and it was lunchtime, dammit).

"Look, I'm a doctor's kid. I KNOW what will happen if you expose a fetus to radiation. I'm not just saying that I'm not pregnant because my mom's right outside, or because I don't want you to think I'm a whore (coughcough, which I'm NOT). I really just want to get this over with because I'm uncomfortable and my back hurts. I give you verbal, informed consent. If GOD FORBID I am pregnant, I will not hold you or the hospital accountable for my mutant Chernobyl baby. I promise. PLEASE. Run the tests."

They ran the tests.

I was not pregnant.

---

My spine, however, had two nice-sized though not back-brace worthy, curves. I started going to physical therapy to strengthen up the muscles but was still a little self-conscious about the whole back-deformity thing.

Later that week, Dr. Dad came home from work and tossed something white and plastic at me. It was a spine keychain given to him by a drug rep. Something seemed slightly off about it...

"Get it? It's a little spine... but it's crooked... just like your back! Hahahaha"

Thanks, Dr. Dad. Thanks a lot.

90s baby style

This is my brother and I, circa 1996 maybe? I would like to call attention to the huge lacy monstrosity on my head. I HATED bows and frills; when I was a baby I would claw them out of my hair with my tiny baby hands (which also may explain why I was mostly bald until I was two). This picture is probably a result of a class-4 hurricane tantrum.

Also, brother's shorts/bowtie/fake pocket square coordination combo in tasteful easter-egg plaid hearkens to some Vivienne Westwood punk roots, mixed with a healthy dose of what-a-dork.
Note the matching sandals? I couldn't (and still can't) walk in heels, and anything requiring tights was OUT OF THE QUESTION.

There are two more awk family photos that will make their way up here eventually - one of brother and I dressed as Vikings, complete with fanny packs (oh, the shame...) and the whole fam dressed in tartan plaid. I am scouring my photos for more pictures but until then... stay awk!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Dr. Dad Explains the Coke-Choke Incident

I called home to Dr. Dad this afternoon to find out why I felt like I had a heart attack from drinking soda this morning.

"Was it room temperature or cold?"
"I uh... room temperature? I just grabbed it from the box and headed out the door."

Apparently this is BAD. Not being economical by providing your own drinks, but chugging warm soda. Soda de-gassifies quicker at room temperature, and all the gas racing around my stomach/esophagus freaks my body out. So it causes esophageal spasms, random clenching of my esophagus - thus explaining the chest tightening and inability to swallow. Good to know. (Please don't try this at home - my chest still hurts from this morning.)

from medillustrationstudio.com
That's what the spasm would look like if you cut me open, which was probably
one of the top five things on the creeper janitor's mind. Yuck.


As for the face-swelling fiasco, he said when I come home for dear brother's graduation, he'll feed me an avocado and see what happens. Cheers?

Impress his parents... with your face-swelling abilities!

I would like to preface this that I'm not a very allergic-y type person. I can't really deal with cats, and some dogs give me the sniffles ("the sniffles" is code for running-eyes, wheezing, clawing at my throat in itchy agony), but I'm usually fully functional with a single dose of Claritin. And okay, so I can't do shellfish ever since a bad incident at a Hibachi Grill, and one reaction to silicone in contacts had my optometrist tell me I could never have breast implants buuut... overall I'm a pretty healthy person. Not like I'm allergic to air. Or wheat, like my dear Aunt (Celiac love, for all those gluten-free people out there) or break out into hives around peanut butter.

I was visiting my boyfriend this past weekend (see: panties incident) and we headed over to his dad's girlfriend's lovely house for dinner. Me, him, his sibling's, the girlfriend's children, and a pair of her friends, all eating dinner together. I am trying to be on my best, most poised behavior. Not just "to impress the parents," but I'd like to think that since I'm basically an adult I should be able to hold my own in conversations and interactions with "real" adults. I want to appear poised and graceful, able to carry on intelligent, witty conversations while helping with the dishes with one hand and gesturing to make a point with the other.

Sadly, poised and graceful are two words that will NEVER describe me, unless the word "not" is placed directly before.

We are happily nomming on chips & salsa & guacamole, waiting for the guests to get there. I rarely get guacamole because it's always like an extra $2 at the burrito store, and who has that kind of money to pay for tasty goop. Yum yum yum, tasty goop. I am happy.

The right side of my mouth is kind of tingly and puffy feeling, like that time I found out I was allergic to penicillin the night before easter. "Calm down," I thought to myself. "You know you are a hypochondriac. You probably just scraped your lip on a chip and the salt is irritating it."

You see, I can worry about a brain tumor for a week and be perfectly fine, but the moment I tell myself there's nothing wrong it all goes to hell.

The lip situation feels even puffier so I discretely excused myself to the bathroom to assess the situation. "It's not that bad," I think. "It's all in your head."

Except it wasn't in my head. It was on my face. Half of my upper lip was puffed out, hanging over my lower lip. I looked like a plastic surgeon had a psychotic break and tried to stab me to death with collagen-injections.

And then the guests arrived.

Maybe I could play it off? Pretend like it's nothing? WRONG.

Everyone noticed it immediately. Sweet boyfriend found an extra-strength claritin and I took it right away, not that any visible relief occurred. Everyone tried to offer suggestions to what it might be, possible cures, some sort of joke about Angelina Jolie. I tried really hard to retain my dignity. I played it off, carried on conversations, brushed off concerns, and tried to pretend it wasn't there. I felt like 2-inches tall. If first impressions are the most important, these guests probably thought I was a mutant freak.

"That sweet boy," they probably said to each other once they got home. "How kind of him to look past her glaring facial deformity and date her anyway." And then probably shuttered as the image of my flopping toucan-beak flitted across their minds.

And my lip was getting bigger still. I could see it in my peripheral vision when I looked down. It dragged across everything I put in my mouth. Every now and then someone would glance at it and look away quickly. It was like the Scarlet Letter, except the A was for "awkwardness."

Boyfriend disappeared to drop a sibling off somewhere (after multiple affirmations that I was not a hideous mutant freak) and I was left alone with the actual adults. Not a yung'un in sight. Lip flapping in the breeze. I like to think I managed quite well. The conversations went smoothly and I could pretend that people were looking at me when I spoke, not oogling at the proboscis I'd developed. They were wonderfully cool people, and such superstars for cooking and cleaning up after all of us. I have immense respect for people who balance domesticity and having interesting lives.

Once the boyfriend returned (I need to come up with a pseudonym for him, because soon awkward exes will be making appearances in the blog. hmm. Howard? Howard. My boyfriend named Howard.) we gratefully escaped to the den...

to play Rockband. Get your mind out of the gutter.

Get-men tip #2: Show 'em your panties.

A few hours later after the incident recounted in the previous post, I am walking down the main drag, about to get lunch before work. I am still somewhat psychologically traumatized from the choking/janitor incident, but as we all know, PIZZA CURES EVERYTHING.

Almost at the pizza place, I realize my wallet (or wristlet, for you savvy fashionistas out there) was still in my bookbag. I hate making people wait, especially in line for food (because hungry people can be vicious) so I had the not-too-startling idea to get my wallet out beforehand. I put my bag down on the edge of a planter and pull out my wallet. The mini-spine on my keychain (yes, I have a plastic spine on my keychain, more on that later) catapults out a pair of lacy underwear onto the sidewalk. I noticed this a good twenty seconds later, as I was zipping things up about to walk away. Two thoughts immediately race to my mind:

1) Why the HELL are my panties in my bookbag?
2) Oh no, did anyone see that?

The first question had an easy and not-lame answer. I had been to visit my boyfriend for the weekend, and instead of carrying a suitcase, pack all my things and overnight gear in my bookbag. That usually gets a "wow, what a low-maintenance girlfriend, only one bag of stuff" nod of approval from parents. I thought I had cleaned out my bag - My computer, notebook, first book in the Dexter series were all in their place. Apparently a rogue pair of panties missed my 8am cleaning whirlwind.

The second question, unfortunately (or fortunately, for you dear reader) should have an obvious answer. Midday. Popular street. Lunch time. 20 seconds. Clearly, couldn't-be-mistaken-for-anything-else panties.  As I stuffed them into the dark recesses of my bag, rueing the day I was born, I looked up to see if anyone had seen this moment of shame...

Right into the eyes of a homeless man. Yes, I had chosen to put my bookbag next to the hobo holdout on a set of benches near the tea shop. Smelly old men were leering at my unmentionables. I did what any poised young woman in this situation would do: run away and hide in the pizza shop for a good ten minutes, and then take a different route back to work.

***

Side note: D the future politician made a glaring accusation that they were actually granny panties and I was spicing up the story for the internet. This is not true. First, I own very few pairs of frumpy underwear, and I certain would not bring them to a boyfriend's house (believe it or not, I try to avoid shaming myself). Secondly, I would never embellish a story without proper notice - my journalism roots would strangle me. If you must know, they were a pretty purple with a crosshatched pattern. Definitely panties. Definitely embarrassing.

***

This is me, by the way. I have no makeup on nor have I straightened my hair today.
Life goes on.

Choking to death: Cosmo's new #1 get-men tip

I finally took the leap into blogdom (blogtopia? the blogosphere? blogtown?) after a long time of wanting to blog but HAVING NOTHING INTERESTING TO SAY. I'm a PR/Theatre major; networking and social media blogs have been done to death, and I rarely see enough shows to constitute even a weekly post. And researching news, other blogs, far-away events... no thanks. I'm a college kid. I barely have time to sleep.

Then today happened, and I realized that I do have something consistent to write about.

I am consistently embarrassing myself.

9am: I am being a good student for my summer class. I got to my building super early to eat breakfast (packed from home, trying to be economical) and catch up on my reading for the day. I grab my favorite arm chair and open my computer, starting chugging my soda for a much needed caffeine rush and...

I CAN'T SWALLOW.

My chest tightens up like I'm having a heart attack or something and I inhale half of it into my lungs (a text to my doctor-parents later reveals I might have had a spontaneous throat spasm. What the heck is that?) So I'm wheezing and in agony, with my ribs feeling like caving in, and there's a janitor watching me.

Oh thank God, I think, someone to help me.

"I can't breathe... I... I feel sick. My chest..."
"You party too hard last night, ma?"
"WHAT? I... no, I don't party... AHHHH"

At this point I was breathing but still in pain, and certain this knight-in-shining-armor was not going to be of any assistance. So I hurriedly pack up my stuff and try to rush to the bathroom, because this adrenaline rush and clenched stomach is flashing MUST PUKE NOW red lights. He asks me where I'm going as I stand up to rush away and...

Have you ever tried to stand up after a lack of oxygen? BAD IDEA. Cold sweat, spots, dizziness. I half fall over, half sit down in the middle of the floor. The janitor is still staring at me. NOT HELPING.

"I can't move."
"There's a water fountain right there. Water would probably help."

Thanks, Dr. Obvious. After some serious deep breathing, I get back to my chair and tentatively sip my soda. No explosions. I can do this. The janitor, seeing I'm not about to seizing or spurting blood from my eyes, speaks again.

"So, you want to hang out some time?"
"I'm sorry, what?"
"You want to hang out some time?"

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this guy saw me choking, wheezing, turn pale, fall over, crawl to my chair, offered NO ASSISTANCE, and still thought I was one bangin' babe. I was completely and utterly flabbergasted.

Unfortunately for him, I am not into erotic asphyxiation. And I have a boyfriend. And how do I know if we were out at dinner and I started choking that he wouldn't just let me die? Joe the Angry Marine told me that my survival skills in the face of near death made me an appealing mate from a genetic level. I feel like the fact that I got myself into this near-death situation by my own awkwardness should cancel that out.

I finally hauled my humiliated (and now thoroughly creeped out) ass outside to finish waiting for my class on one of the outside benches. If I choked again, hopefully there would be more people around, right? Anyone know CPR?

Why an awkward blog? / FAQ

This was my first post wayyy back in June. I'm updating with an FAQ, and the original post is still underneath. Cheers.

Who are you?
I am a twenty-one year old Public Relations and Drama double major at an illustrious college in the south. I plan to pursue acting/performing arts management once I graduate, and will be moving to a great big city far away. I live in a cottage that looks like a cupcake and is surrounded by bamboo. My hobbies consist of acting, comedy, reading, rock-climbing, hiking, and charcoal sketching. I am a Christian but not the jump-down-your-throat variety. Peter Pan is my favorite story.


Why are you writing this blog?
One day in early summer, a series of bizarre embarrassing events had me near tears. My friends, en masse, told me the situations were actually hilarious and they wished they could hear more. I then realized that laughing with people was more enjoyable than feeling pitiful and pathetic. Also, everything is funny is retrospect. Thus the blog was born, to remind myself of particularly funny moments and to keep my "this is the worst thing ever / the world is over" feelings in check. I also like to write (re: journalism major) and if I could ultimately publish a collection of these stories, that would be great.

Also, to fellow awkward ducklings out there: It gets better. In the moments when you feel like the biggest dweeb in the world, remember there are other people out there screwing up just as much, or even worse. You will laugh about it later, I promise.

Why don't you write about relationships more? Or sex?
Um wut. I will NEVER write about sexytimes because 1) ewww 2) half my readers attend my hometown church 3) this is a humor blog, not softcore erotica. Sorry bout it.
Regarding boyfriends, I have a self-mandated three-year moratorium from the end of the relationship to writing about it. High school stories are game; college ones are not (yet). Partially out of respect, partially because I'm still in contact with most of the people and don't want to belittle or mock them. I do enough awkward things outside of relationships to fill up the space.
(This might change as events/times warrant?)

You are so overdramatic.
That's not a question, but I'll respond anyway. Part of a humor blog is emphasizing the humorous parts. I also try to remember feelings exactly as they were in the moment, and I think people in general react more strongly in real life than they tend to realize. I'm not a mellow person by nature; half because I am very theatrical and high-energy, half because I struggle with anxiety and panic attacks that definitely make everything seem 100 times worse in the moment.
But it's always funny later.

How much of your stories are true?
As a journalism major, and clawing my way through both media ethics and media law, I'm almost physically incapable of fluffery. It's true, all true, painfully, dorkily true. Some of the set-up dialog may be paraphrased as my memory holds it, but the most inflammatory and ridiculous things are definitely word-for-word. I have a very heavily episodic memory so I remember minute details of events very well. I change names and locations to respect the privacy of others, but not so much that anyone who knows me wouldn't know to whom I am referring (re: why I don't blog about recent exes.)

Got another question? Feel free to ask!

---------------------------

You may ask, why a blog about being awkward? Isn't it... embarrassing? Humiliating?

Yes. And Yes.

But I figured blogging about my daily awkward experiences (and throwing in some gems from the past if I'm having a particularly uneventful day... which is a rarity), other people would feel a little bit better the next time they dump mashed potatoes on themselves in front of a cute waiter. Get the world to laugh WITH you, so to speak.

Also, my middle name is Grace and I am quite honestly the clumsiest, klutziest, goofiest person in my group of friends. The irony of being an Awkward Grace is not lost on me. Might as well embrace it. That being said, I would love for others to share their awkward experiences in comments or guest posts.

Wave your klutz flag proudly (before you trip on the sidewalk and poke yourself in the eye with it.)

- Most names are changed, and maybe a few physical descriptors for privacy reasons for my friends. Nothing to be deceptive or malicious.