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Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Breakup

It was so great in the beginning.

I was excited when I knew we’d see each other, which was basically every day. I was proud to tell people about it, and it felt like the first “real” thing going on in my life in a while, if not ever.  

It started out well. And I was good at it *hair flip*. Creating marketing campaigns and problem solving and dazzling customers with my boyish charm and finesse? This job was my bitch lover.

When things come easily to me, I work hard at the difficult things to make them come easily, too. I don’t take lightly to not being the best, so any threat of that was eradicated pretty quickly (like, I didn’t kill anyone, but I got sick pleasure out of proving some of the long-time employees wrong and convincing my boss to do things my way aka the correct way. LIFE’S TOUGH GET A HELMET). Needless to say, I have zero sentimental value attached to any participation trophy I’ve ever received.

Of course, the months turned into years, and it got a bit...monotonous.

Here’s the thing about long-term relationships: if they start to get stale even in the slightest, you’ve gotta freshen them up real quick, or they’ll dry out faster than Irish soda bread. You do the same thing every day because that’s what you’ve always done, and that’s what’s always worked. Everyone else was fine with working this way, but I require constant and varying stimulation.  

Because, inevitably, I know what’s “always worked” will stop working.

Boredom creeps in. Your eyes glaze over. You care less. It’s a tedium takeover.

I wasn’t excited anymore. It was just part of my routine. I showed up, took care of the same problems, had the same phone conversations, complained about the same issues to whoever wasn’t sick of hearing about them yet (Guess what?! Everyone was!). It was turning me into an asshole and I knew it.

Like I said, if something is difficult, I do whatever I can to make it the opposite. Failure and I don’t get along. And so, I was convinced it could get better. I would make it better. I was lucky to have this job! So many people didn’t have jobs! This was fixable!

Of course, then it got worse. Big changes occurred, and not necessarily of a positive nature. I know that love is blind, as I’ve ignored the shortcomings of many guys simply because I “cared about them” or some shit. The same disregard applied here. I wanted everything to work out so badly that I shut off the part of my brain that said, “Hey, this sucks, actually. Maybe do something that, you know, doesn’t suck, instead.”     

It felt like the people in charge of the big changes were doing their darndest to get me to quit so they wouldn’t have to fire me. It’s similar to when a guy treats you like shit but won’t break up with you so they don’t have to be the bad guy and you’ll dump them on your own. Yeah, people actually do that. I have their phone numbers.

Whatever the case, as things got more stressful, less organized, more illogical, and generally more clusterfucky, I became more of a monster to be around, both in and out of the office.
If someone asked me to add something to my already 50-point To Do list, they were issued a formidable death stare.
If out with friends, I complained about work the whole time.
If hanging out with my boyfriend, I was tired and pessimistic.
I was cognizantly becoming consistently cranky and negative, which was a huge jump from my typical obnoxious peppiness, and I couldn’t shake it.

It took crying every day in the office bathroom; getting ready for bed already dreading the next day; double dosing on sleeping pills only to still lie awake with my anxiety; and waking up feeling horrible to hit my breaking point. It was a fun journey, clearly.   

I had far too much on my plate, and my bullshit tolerance looked like a cokehead in a Yeezy sweatshirt: extremely thin and heavily distressed. I finally established a deadline by which time I would have either [hopefully] found another job, or I would quit.

Well, that date came and went. I had too much to do to leave. As much as I openly despised my job, my penchant for self-destructive diligence held strong. So I set another date. And another. And one more.

The problem was, I was making that money but also letting it make me, which went against everything the Ying Yang Twins had ever taught me.
Quitting meant being unemployed meant not having a paycheck meant not buying $6 Peanut Butter & Co Cinnamon Raisin Swirl like it was no big deal. And that shit is a very big deal to me.

It came down to one fateful horoscope in the back of the January issue of a random fashion magazine that ended up making all the difference. It might as well have been the rejected plot from The Devil Wears Prada 2.

My horoscope said that if I survived the first part of the month (due to planets being out of line or whatever astronomical fuckery was taking hold of my life), my luck would be improving near mid-January, with significant changes occurring during the last week which I should not question and just roll with.

Hmmm, continue thoroughly hating my life or let Star Jesus take the wheel? I opted to give it up to the universe. I really didn’t have much else to lose.

Well, Star Jesus stepped up, guys.

The first part of the month, as the horoscope outlined, was met with so many stressful situations that I almost completely empathized with 2007 Britney (didn’t shave my head, might’ve thrown an umbrella across my apartment).

In the middle of the month, I scored a phone interview. I took this interview in a secluded corner of Penn Station with a homeless man to my left cheering me on the whole time. He had several gold teeth, so I’d like to think he was a good luck charm.

I secured an in-person interview with this company the following week. It happened to fall on a day that I was planning to be out of the office anyway. Quite a convenient “improvement,” if you ask me.  

As if you couldn’t guess, the “significant change” that took place was me getting this new job. I also bought a new brand of mascara around this time, but I highly doubt that’s what the stars were referring to (Smashbox Full Exposure, by the way. Life changing).

And now, here we are.

I’m actually pleasant to be around again, something I appreciate more than anyone else because I had to live with me 24/7.

I get an extra hour of sleep every night.
Instead of spouting it off multiple times a day, I now reserve the phrase, “Are you fucking kidding me” for special occasions, like holidays with the fam.

Ultimately, though, I learned two tremendously important life lessons:

  1. It is extremely possible to be smarter and savvier than people twice your age. Stifling how smart you are so that someone else doesn’t feel bad about being awful at their job helps no one. Don’t be a smartass, but use your smart ass to get shit done in the best way.
  2. Paying your dues when you’re young is fine. Working hard to prove yourself is standard. Working harder than everyone else makes you look good. Working so hard that other aspects of your life suffer for it is not worth it. I don’t plan to ever make that mistake again.

So, am I at my dream job? No. Life doesn’t work that way.
Am I in a position that could lead me to my dream job? I have no idea, but maybe. Hopefully.

Am I excited again? Yes, about the jar of Cinnamon Swirl Peanut Butter I’m about to dive into headfirst. And everything else, too.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

The 6 Things Every Woman Should Actually Have in Her Closet

Every woman’s magazine has published a list of all of the necessary items a lady needs in her closet to make it “complete.”

These lists typically include some kind of ballet flat, a trench coat, a little black dress, and well-fitting jeans. All of these classic pieces are supposed to give you a well-rounded selection that makes getting dressed “a breeze” and will keep your wardrobe “timeless.”

I’m all for it, but at the same time, these lists missed a few key pieces that real women need in their real closets for when real life goes down.

1. Black pants that look professional but feel/fit like sweats - You wake up on a Wednesday at 8:15 am hungover as shit because last night’s catch-up drinks with your friend Alexa got way out of hand, per usual. You have to leave for work in 15 minutes. After emerging from a cloud of dry shampoo, you will technically need pants (I don’t make the rules, girl). You’ve been trying to make leggings-as-business-casual happen, but it’s not going to happen, so you need another option.
Enter: the black jogger. Preferably high-waisted and a polyester-spandex blend, you can pair these with a button-down or any decent top and generally pull off looking like someone who’s not getting a little old to be fucked up on a Tuesday night.

2. Throwaway flats - Different from their timeless, structured variety, these life savers are the difference between strutting through the club crowd to the bathroom like a vixen, or bambi walking it out of the building at 12:30 because you literally can’t stand any longer. As a rule, you cannot have spent more than $9 on them at a Payless BOGO sale.
The key is to wear these until the last possible second before arriving at your destination, switch into your heels, and then immediately put them back on when you’re out of sight of anyone you’d like to bang. So, you’d walk to the train in the Throwaways, stash them in your clutch (yep, they’re typically pretty flexible) when you change into your sexy shoes, and whip them back out at the end of the night.
Sound lame? You’re not going to look any cooler hobbling along in the 4-inch heels you never learned how to properly walk in anyway. Take the advice.

3. An oversized, thick, long c...ardigan sweater - If you’re always cold but don’t have enough clout in the office to control the thermostat, an article of clothing that’s essentially a blanket is crucial. Sure, you’ve got the boho-hipster-chic thing working for you, but you could also curl up under your desk and take a nap at any moment. AT ANY MOMENT. That’s the kind of freedom we’re marching for next, ladies.

4. Red Pants - I’m not going to sit here and say, “Everyone looks great in a high waisted trouser cut!” because if you don’t feel good in that cut then what’s the fucking point. Go with whatever style makes you feel the most fabulous, I’m not Stacy London/God. The most important thing is that they’re bright red. Two reasons:
  1. If you’re having a bad day, these pants will help you fake it better. Bright colors have power. Red is a powerful color. You’re really just doubling up on your strength here. Like Dragon Ball Z.
  2. Everyone needs a pair of last-day-of-period pants after wearing black all week. You triumphed over your uterus yet again, you deserve to celebrate while still being aware that all bets are not off quite yet.

5. A Boob Shirt - Save it, feminists. Boobs are magical and make things happen. It’s science and history all wrapped into one (er, two).
Going on a third date and have already convinced the other person that you’re an intellectual with multi-faceted interests and ample artillery in the witticisms department? Well done. Unleash the money makers!
Seeing an ex after several months of not speaking to see if you guys can work things out? Remind them what they’ve been missing. Even if you don’t end up getting back together, you three made a very significant final impression.  
Boob shirts need be three things: extremely low cut, not a crop top (pace yourself), and able to tearfully bring a grown man or woman to their knees. Try Express.

6. Emergency “No It’s Part of My Outfit” Jacket - Your boyfriend invites you to dinner. Perfect! He forgot to mention that his parents whom you’ve only met once would be joining you. Not the right time to wear the sexiest LBD you own!
Luckily, you grabbed the “Just In Case” jacket on your way out. This can be conveniently left on and still look like an intentional element of your get-up. Leather jacket, army jacket, bomber, drape coat, all will work. I once misjudged the length of a skirt and worked in an office almost exclusively of middle-aged men. Didn’t plan on wearing my lightweight trench coat all day, but didn’t want to give Chet in Accounting another reason to corner me in the kitchen, either, so that was my outfit that day.
This jacket will also come in handy for beating your boyfriend with once you’ve “so nice to see you again!”’d the parentals away. Really? Not even a warning?

Hold on to your crisp white shirts and plain black turtlenecks, but add these items into the mix. A boob shirt with red pants? Are you a member of an early 2000s girl band? Try again.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Am I Sexy Yet?

The Disney movies of the 90s were inarguably some of the greatest animated masterpieces to ever grace impressionable eyeballs. You had Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas, The Lion King, Toy Story, Mulan, and all three of the The Mighty Ducks movies (not animated, but are probably the most important thing to ever happen to any of us, period).

We memorized the songs, spouted off the one-liners, bought the action figures, and dressed like our favorite characters for Halloween. We also reenacted our favorite scenes at recess.

My elementary school playground had a swingset supported by three long poles at either end. Esmeralda swung around a pole in a scene in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and every recess in second grade was dedicated to emulating her gracefulness. I logged serious hours on that baby.

I distinctly remember a teacher warily eyeing me and saying, “Maybe you shouldn’t...play on the pole like that.” A seven year old doesn’t understand the stripper-like implications of their playtime activity of choice, obviously, so I just thought, “You idiot. I’m a gypsy!” and kept at it.

It’s taken twenty years, but all of that practice finally paid off when I recently decided to take a pole dancing class.  

I never got poor enough in college to turn to exotic dancing (thanks, Mom and Dad!), so when I found out this dream could still be realized without any moral or financial stipulation, I was so down. (Nothing against strippers at all. If you want to tell your dad that you afforded his birthday gift by giving some greasy man named Chaz a lap dance, you do you, girl)

I roped a friend into attending the Intro to Pole class with me. If it went well, we shared a fun evening. If I embarrassed myself by twirling too enthusiastically and landing directly on my tailbone, we could laugh together as she helped me limp home. I’m a planner.

Upon walking into the studio, I was surprised to discover the absence of a stage. Also, no one asked what I wanted my stripper name to be (Lola Glitterthighs). Was I in the right place? There were, however, seven poles attached to the ceiling and yoga mats placed all around.

The instructor came out looking like someone who could potentially get fake-eyelashed up and be a great dancer, but would get extremely and feministically offended if you told her so. She also looked like Piper Perabo and I am a huge Coyote Ugly fan. I liked her immediately.

We started off by stretching as Violet Sanford told us what to expect from class.

“Don’t worry if you’re not flexible, or a great dancer, or sexy, or anything like that.”

Triple check. Excellent.

The studio’s website had recommended wearing shorts and a tank top so our bodies would provide plenty of grip on the pole. As we stretched, I caught a glimpse of my butt in these shorts, and decided that if this all went well I was going to be making bank at my newfound side gig. #squats #shegotadonk

Finally, we moved to the pole. Each pole had two ladies on it, and as fate would have it, my friend and I got split up. We’re not co-dependent by any means (I, personally, don’t even like going to the bathroom with other girls), but the amount of emotional support I require whilst hip swiveling is indefinite, and now I was going to have to depend on a stranger for that encouragement.

Jersey demonstrated how to walk around the pole. Arm high, lean out, feet close to the base of the pole, taking smooth, toe-dragging steps. “As you get comfortable with the placement of your body, you can add in things like running your other hand through your hair or down your body.” Yeah, that’s not where I shine, so I decided to just stick to the basics.

Next, we all faced the pole and learned how to body roll onto it. Need I remind you that I’m sharing this pole with a girl I don’t know. Now, we were basically grinding on each other. Women supporting women, amirite? My spine and legs were wet noodling independently from one another and I can apparently only snake from side to side, not front to back. The studio recommends taking at least three of these 90-minute intro classes before moving to the next level, and while I initially thought that was extreme, I realized that devoting 270 minutes just to body rolling might not be a bad idea.

Then we got down to the biz: spinning. The air in the room immediately electrified. This is what we had all signed up for.

First, we learned the Front Spin (side note: these all had technical names, but I was too preoccupied with how great my butt looked in these shorts to pay attention. Seriously, do your squats, gals).

Grasping the pole with both hands in sort of an isosceles triangle, you point your outer foot to the side, then with some added momentum, spin to the front. After making one rotation, the outer leg switches with the inner one, and the inner one wraps around the pole all seductive-like.

This was it. This was my Esmeralda moment. My body instinctively knew what to do, and my muscle memory kicked in to bring me back to the playground. I just needed a bojanglin’ belt and poofy blouse and my seven-year-old self could finally be proud of the person I had become. I spun like my rent depended on it. I spun like I had just bought a new tube of body glitter. I spun like every shoe in my closet was a 7-inch platform heel. It was awesome.

Oh but wait IT GOT BETTER.

We got to spin backwards.

For this one, the outer arm reached overhead to grab the pole while the inner one wrapped around it. Again, we pointed the outer foot, but this time our momentum made us trust fall to the back. As we spun, the inner leg wrapped around the pole as we spiraled to the ground and landed on our knees.

I thought I was excited by the first spin move, but this one was an instant favorite. I was already planning on backwards-spinning around every scaffolding pole I came across between this studio and the F train. My knees were getting demolished and I didn’t even care.

I glanced back at my friend, who was effortlessly spinning around the pole like an elegant goddess. What a natural. So proud.

Piper announced that we would now combine everything we learned together into a mini routine, and my game face has never been more on. She turned on Rihanna, because this was a classy place. No “Cherry Pie” by Warrant here!

After my partner (romantic or platonic? Unclear) took her turn, I grabbed the pole and commenced the walk. We seamlessly transitioned into the body roll, then the front and backward spins, finishing by flawlessly pulling ourselves up from our knees without making ugly grunting noises or climbing the pole like we were in the final stretch of the American Ninja Warrior course (harder than it sounds).

You guys. You GUYS. I didn’t look heinous! I would’ve had at least $1.50 thrown at me from a crowd, and probably not all in nickels.  

Would I go back? Absolutely. And I plan to. I have to at least get up to the level where they let you slide down the pole, or else all of my years listening to T-Pain have been a complete and utter waste.
I also want to gain back some flexibility, because losing my 16-year-old self’s ability to drop into a split whenever I pleased has been a tougher pill to swallow than I care to admit.

Ultimately, it was just really fun to be in an environment where throwing a hip swivel into every movement is highly encouraged. I tried it in the office the next day as I sauntered over to refill my water bottle, and reactions were mixed. Just wait until I bust out a trust fall spin around the legs of my standing desk.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Drinking Buddies

I like being alone.

I’m not an introvert, necessarily, but I don’t really find it imperative to include other people in a lot of my favorite pastimes.

For example, I don’t like shopping with friends. Let’s head to Zara and immediately go our separate ways, reconnecting in the checkout line with an armful of bell-sleeved tops and embellished blazers that neither of us is cool enough to pull off. I do not want to get your opinion on these items because I couldn’t give less of a fuck what you think, and if we’re true friends, you’d ignore my two cents, too.

I also hate the concept of gym partners. I don’t want to go on a run with you. I don’t want to spot you during squats. I don’t want to have a ten minute conversation between sets about what food we’re getting after this. Workout pants on, conversations off.

The one thing I can’t seem to do by myself is drink. Apparently there’s something alluring about a woman sitting alone at a bar, but I exude many things, and I am aware that neither mystery nor seduction make the list. Can I interest you in a poorly-told, long-winded story that I forget the ending of halfway through? Maybe later? God love ya.

The thing is, while I don’t want to sip cocktails in my own company, I am quite particular about the drinking buddies I do choose. Not just anyone will cut it.

Before you say, “Oh my god we need to get drinks soon!” please read the following descriptions to ensure I actually want to, like, do that with you:

The Down For Anything

“Do you want to go to House of Yes and have a fucked up yet magical time that we probably can’t ever discuss in public?”
“Can you meet me in thirty minutes with a six pack of canned rosé and an extra ponytail holder?”
“Wanna hit up a college bar and get free drinks from the frat bros because it’s like shooting fish in a barrel?”
Find someone who answers a no-questions-asked “yes” to all of these requests and more. Even if it’s just a casual Wednesday night happy hour, this person is there. It’s like that scene in The Town where Jeremy Renner asks, “Whose car we gonna take?” except with booze and almost definitely fewer dead guys.


Word of advice: wear comfy shoes. You will be doing a lot of walking on a night out with this person. On average, you will visit four different establishments, and that’s conservative. Depending on the night, the different motives for this practice will include collecting phone numbers of people they have no intention of ever seeing again; trying each bar’s “famous” drink only to hate it and order a vodka soda instead; getting kicked out; escaping an ex that they “didn’t know was going to be there;” and getting kicked out again because you guys forgot you got kicked out the first time. You’ll be utterly exhausted the next day, but you will have had a ball. Try to limit nights out with The ADHD to once a month unless you want your body to slowly deteriorate to a pile of skin, worthlessness, and blue Gatorade.  

The Homebody

This person is totally happy to go out as long as you stay within a 10 block/2 mile/15 minute radius of their own home. It does not matter that you make the trek outside of your own 10 block/2 mile/15 minute vicinity to accommodate their boundaries every time they extend the invite--the same courtesy will not, under any circumstances, be offered to you. Let it happen. You’re not winning this.

The Ball So Hard

Functioning kidneys are not for everyone. The fact that this person is even alive at weekend’s end is shocking in and of itself, but bounce back they do, right after they have done the absolute most. This is who those, “Holy shit, you guys aren’t gonna believe what happened after you left!” texts come from the next morning. This person is pushing 30 but celebrates every night out like it’s their 21st. They love shahts. They frequently indulge in messy public makeouts. They pass out in bar bathrooms. They lose phones for a hobby. They’ve overdrafted their account by $400. They’ve woken up on a bench. All of these things happened to them last Saturday. Watch but do not learn. Or do. I don’t know your life.

The Stopwatch

“Hey wanna grab a drink after work tonight?”
“Yeah sure that sounds good.”
“Cool, where do you wanna go?”
“I don’t care. Somewhere close by though. Like not too far because I don’t want to get home super late. So we should probably start early, too, if we can. Like I’d probably need to leave at like 8-ish? At the latest. Just like two drinks max. Probably only one, honestly. I’ll need to get home and take care of a few things. But we can totally go out! It’ll be fun! But not too much fun haha. Where and when do you want to meet?”
“...Nevermind...I can’t because...you’re a dick.”

The Master

This person always has the hookup. They may know someone who ushers you to the front of the line at a club, or they randomly secure a free table PLUS bottles, or they get you into some secret back room where old mafia dudes are doing drugs and smoking Cohiba’s and staring like they’d like to either murder you or take you on a trip to Mallorca. Sometimes, all three. You have to mentally prepare for a night out with The Master several days in advance, and it will take you just as many to recover, but it’s worth it every single time. Just don’t ask too many questions. It’s probably best you don’t know how/why they have all of these connections.