Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Life Lessons from Jessica Simpson

I look back on my mom’s sage advice, and although I chose not to take some of it (to mixed results), I know that it is coming from a credible source. That woman is pretty darn smart.

So that got me thinking about the girls who are being raised by the doofuses of the world. Jessica Simpson, for instance. One day, if it’s in the cards, Jessica Simpson will have children. And maybe one or more of these children will be vertically-challenged, large chested mini-me’s.

One can only imagine the wisdom she will impart on these kids. I think one of the easiest ways to raise my future children is to make sure they understand that they need to do the exact opposite of whatever Jessica Simpson does. Basically, W.W.J.S.N.D. (What Would Jessica Simpson Not Do). That way, they at least have a chance in this world.

Here’s what I would tell them:

“Don’t ever give too much information away.”

Jessica Simpson, or “JS,” is the poster child of TMI. From showcasing her entire marriage on a reality TV show to tweeting pictures of her making out with her super tall ex-athlete guy, this girl does not understand privacy. Many people aren’t aware that I’m a fiercely private person. There is a line, and it isn’t even that fine, that dictates what people need to know and what needs to be kept close to the vest. Keep some things personal and private. I’ve learned by trial and error what to say and what not to say, and the easiest thing is to not say anything at all. You won’t be seeing any photos on my Twitter of me making out with anybody, no matter how good looking they are.

“Have good style.”

I don’t understand how somebody with a staff of stylists managed to emerge in public in those jeans and not get tackled on her way to the stage. First of all, what were those jeans doing in her wardrobe? Someone played a cruel trick. Basically, I’ll leave the younger generation with this: just have style, be classy, don’t look like an idiot.

“If your ex gets engaged to his long-time girlfriend, don’t try to one-up him and get engaged to your boyfriend of five months.”

Basically, you look like a jealous weirdo if you run out and get engaged to a guy you barely know immediately after news breaks of your ex moving on with his life. Taking something like an engagement as seriously as you take your selection of handbag to go with today’s outfit is a recipe for disaster.

“Being referred to as ‘sexual napalm’ by a rockstar who let you shack up on his tour bus for a little while is not a compliment.”

Make sure you aren’t in a situation where someone shows how little they respect you by humiliating you in a very public forum. I felt terrible for JS when the guy with the enormous head, John Mayer, said these things about her in Playboy last year. Yes, guys can be real a-holes. But there is something to be said about not putting yourself in a position for someone to say these things about you.

“Don’t only go for the hot quarterback.”

Great guys come in all shapes, sizes, colors, demographics… the list could go on. When you date the same hot guy over and over, and find yourself single over and over, something is wrong. It’s great to have a “type” and an idea of what you want. You have to be attracted to this person. But don’t pass over an otherwise amazing guy because maybe he isn’t tall enough or maybe his hair is thinning a bit on top, or maybe he isn’t loaded with cash money. Everyone deserves a fair chance. The less attractive guys I have dated have treated me a hell of a lot better than the super hot guys I have dated. “Men who are too good looking are never good in bed because they never had to be.” -Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City

“Smart is sexy. Don’t act like an idiot.”

Some girls think that guys want them to be ditzy. These girls are real idiots, and the guys who want this are true douches. If someone wants you to be less than your highest potential, why would you even consider spending another second with them? JS has the ditzy act down pat. No telling if she is truly this dumb, or if it is an act. Either way, not a good way to be. Some of my favorite JS quotes:

You’ve done a nice job decorating the White House.” when she met the Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton

Is this chicken, what I have, or is this fish? I know it’s tuna, but it says ‘Chicken by the Sea.’” (the world will never forget this)

On my first day of Jr. High I was in Geography class, and the teacher asked us if anybody knew the names of the continents. And I was sooo excited. I was like, Damnit! It’s my first day of 7th grade, Im in jr high and i know this answer. So i raised my hand I was the first one and I said A-E-I-O-U!” (Okay. I may have only made an 1130 on my SAT, but when I was in 7th grade, I was well aware that we had continents and could even name them all. I believe I learned that in 2nd or 3rd grade, and we’re talking about Alabama public schools here.)

Twenty-three is old. It’s almost 25, which is like almost mid-20s.

Finally, “Be humble.”

There is nothing wrong with knowing that you are amazing, one-of-a-kind, fierce, intelligent, and deserving of nothing less than the best. However, once you cross that line of knowing that you are awesome to the max to pompous, you’re in big trouble. Nothing turns people off faster than body odor and being so arrogant that you are looking into cloning yourself. JS once said, “All I have to say is: Jessica Simpson is the most beautiful woman on the planet!” Wow.

JS has done a lot of good things in her life to help others, and that certainly needs to be applauded. However, her acts of good will are overshadowed by the dumb things she says and does. Maybe maturity will come with age (although she is nearly 31…). All we can do is cross our fingers for her and hope that our children proudly wear their W.W.J.S.N.D. bracelets. Yeah, I said it, I would make those for my kids. Nothing wrong with a constant reminder of what not to do if you want a good shot at amazingness.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Crush Into Me

You know that feeling when you can’t wipe the goofy grin off your face? The same feeling that keeps you up at night, thinking nonstop happy thoughts. The same feeling that causes you to check your phone, your email, your facebook, your twitter, etc. ten more times within the hour just in case something new has come in.

That’s right, my friend. You have a crush on someone.

Crush. That sneaky devil that comes out of nowhere, blindsiding you and rendering you unaware of your surroundings, much like a meteor shower or Bieber Fever. In my 28 (and holding…) years, I have fallen victim to the crush too many times to count. It’s interesting to me how someone can be your friend and then poof! a switch flips and all of a sudden you can imagine yourself with that person. I mean, with that person. Sometimes a good brunch date is all it takes for you to realize that there is some actual romantic potential in this person. Sometimes alcohol is involved. I’m just trying to look at it from all sides here.

But isn’t it fun? The giddy feeling when your heart skips a little beat. I love getting texts, calls, emails, whatever, from him because it tells me that I crossed his mind, even for second. I would like to think that I’m crossing his mind and parking it there, the way that he is doing in my mind. But beggars can’t be choosers. Even one little text can make my day.

It’s really fun at first, and then it will go one of two ways: either the whole deal comes to fruition and you end up with something good or the other person simply doesn’t feel the same way about you and you find yourself clinking glasses with your best friend, muttering things like “He wasn’t that great” or “I’m way too good for him.” It’s how we make ourselves feel better. Who knew it would be this hard to lose someone you never actually had?

It’s scary for me to tell someone how I feel about them. It is even scarier to think of what they might say back. I remember when I was younger we would all get together at sleepovers and warn each other to NEVER tell a boy that you like him because he will RUN! I took that to heart, and was proven right many times over. But as we get older, is this still true? I know that if I’m remotely interested in someone, I love to hear that they have a crush on me. Sometimes it jump starts me and I find myself liking them in return. Someone please shed some light on this. Do guys want to hear if we have a crush on them?

So I have a crush on someone. And he has a crush on me too. Okay, so we're crazy about each other. Okay, so I'm madly in love with him and he's madly in love with me. How exciting is that? This is so awesome.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Little Penthouse on the Prairie

I’m an old-fashioned gal. So old-fashioned, in fact, that if I had a Flux Capacitor and ended up in 1854, I would be right at home. Don’t get me wrong, I love technology, I love electricity and running water… but I’ve gotta say, I really love the old stuff. The hard work with your hands, the simple things.

I don’t have cable and I don’t have the internets, and I get along just fine. Sometimes I miss “big tv nights” like when the MTV Video Music Awards, football, True Blood season finale, and other things are all on at the same time. I’m okay with missing this stuff, though.

Here’s how simple (some would say boring) my life is: I would rather be at home, hanging out with Bama and Cat Stevens (my pets) than tearing it up on the town. I love working in my yard, tending to my vegetable and herb gardens. I cook dinner every night I possibly can. I am an eagle eye shot and have an arsenal of guns at home. I make baby blankets with my hands, and have never even stepped foot in Babies ‘R Us. I alter and repair my own clothing. I recover my own furniture, bonus points if they are antique. I could go on, but you get the picture.

So this gets interesting when I meet a guy. Either they get it or they don’t. One time, a guy suggested we go out to a nice dinner and then for a drink. Cool, I’m down. It was a fine time. Then we went out again and he wanted to stay out for another drink. Then another drink after that… but I told him that it was 10pm, I had to work the next day and I needed to get home. And he was not down. He could not believe that I was so boring (his words). I never saw him again, and that’s perfectly fine with me. I don’t need someone dragging me around Fort Worth until all hours of the night in order to have a good time.

Don’t get me wrong. I love to go out and have a great time. I am a walking contradiction, however, because I am a little bit of a jet setter with a vibrant social life. Yet what most people don’t know about me is that I’d trade all of it for nights at home with my animals, in pajama pants and a tank top. But sometimes that’s hard when you’re a mover and shaker in a bustling city.

So when most folks are hungover on Saturday mornings, I’m up early at the farmer’s market, searching for the firmest okra and the brightest tomatoes. Then I go home and cook it all and enjoy some amazing southern food, on my own back porch. Most folks spend $30 on brunch and don’t get the great view and food I get for about $8. Total.

This is what I'm talking about.

It’s a win-win for me, no question.

Monday, March 14, 2011

C'mon Baby, Light My Fire

Passion. It puts a sly smile on your face at random moments throughout the day, moments when your lover crosses over your mind. It makes your fingertips and toes feel electrified when you are in their presence. It makes you count the minutes impatiently while you’re waiting for them to show up. It keeps you up at night when you can’t think about anything but that feeling. I even like saying the word out loud… Passion. Without passion, you have nothing.

If you don’t have it, you are basically spending your time with nothing more than a friend. A friend who you happen to kiss and whatever else you two are doing. I’ll tell you one thing – I don’t kiss my friends like that. So what are you doing sticking around a platonic situation? If what you want is passion, then you’re wasting your time.

A friend came to me for advice recently, and their question got me thinking about passion, and the dangerous lack-thereof. This is what they sent me:

“I have been dating a girl for almost two years. Things were hot and heavy the first couple of months. But, we are both Christians, and we decided to cool it on the physical side of the relationship. Now days we are like best friends, but it feels like the passion is gone. It feels like the honeymoon is over even though there has not been one. The odd thing is that the more I get to know her, the more she feels like a sister and less a girlfriend. I worry that we may be too similar to complement each other. She is starting to ask questions about where this is all going. Three months in I was thinking she could be the one, but now I don’t know how to answer her questions. What do you think? I would appreciate a woman’s thoughts on the matter!”

I’m glad you asked. Here are a woman’s thoughts: In my opinion, it doesn’t matter if you’ve been together 2 months, 2 years, 22 years or 52 years. If you don’t have passion for each other, you don’t have anything. It doesn’t mean it has to be like when you first met. Passion evolves with the relationship. It ebbs and flows, just like the ocean. But it has to be there. And even if you guys are waiting to sleep together, there should still be an unbridled infatuation. I would even venture to say that if you’re waiting, then it would almost be too much to bear, that fervor between you two. But that’s not the case here apparently.

I think you are in big trouble any time you view your girlfriend, lover, significant other, as a sibling. Your lover should be one of your best friends, no doubt. One of my favorite things about being in a relationship is getting to hang out with one of my best friends all the time. But not just any best friend, one that I get to kiss anytime I want. There is a balance here, between lover and friend, that is absolutely necessary. Unfortunately, your relationship seems to have completely crossed over into “friend zone”, and that’s dangerous territory if she is expecting a future with you.

She is asking questions about where this is going, and you owe it to her to talk to her about it. I will tell you this, I’m not sure if passion is something that can be created. If it’s not there, it may never show up. And you need to be prepared for that. Ideally, it should just be there naturally. If not, then that’s a big sign that you aren’t with the right person. And if that is the case, you owe it to yourself and to her to end it.

I’ve ended relationships for this exact reason before. I promise you’ll be thankful later, when you are with someone who makes your spine tingle just by walking in the room, and who makes your heart race just by looking your direction.

Friday, March 11, 2011

New on the Endangered List: Privacy

TMI: Too much information.

Many people are guilty of blurting out too much information, no matter who is around, or whether anyone even cares about said information. I am constantly subjected to seeing and/or hearing stuff that nobody should know. And now with the social networking at an all-time high, there is no such thing as privacy anymore.

Kim Kardashian was on a recent People cover with a headline that read something like, “I thought I’d be married by now.” Well, Kim. Let me break it down for you. You're a beautiful girl. I think it’s possible you would have been married by now as well, if you didn’t have that sex tape from a few years ago, your reality show with your entire life on national television, and things like this People Magazine interview where you talk about how you just can’t find a good guy. I’m going out on a limb and assuming that the good ones are running from you, and frankly I don’t blame them. I know that I am not on board with dating someone with that level of privacy. And by “that level” I mean nonexistent.

I promise I’ll stop talking about her soon, but here’s another life lesson from Jessica Simpson. Tweeting unflattering pictures of kissing her boyfriend and jumping into his arms and wrapping her legs around him when the paparazzi are around (like people do in the movies) does not bode well for her. Who does that in real life? I’ve been super excited to see someone before, and not once has it crossed my mind that I need to leap through the air and wrap my legs around him like a spider monkey. Especially with cameras around. Queen of TMI, that girl.

Something that not many people know about me is that I am fiercely private. I have been in many conversations about this, with folks who assume that since I write about dating and relationships, have a Twitter, have a Facebook, have a Linkedin, etc. that I am letting it all hang out. What is misunderstood, however, is that I have been dating for over 14 years. This column is a culmination of all those years of dating, not dates I’ve been on in recent weeks. Some stuff is from years ago, but still very applicable today. My life as it is today is very private. Nobody gets to know that stuff.

I haven’t always been this way. Maturity came along one day and hit me upside the head, letting me know that I don’t have to publicize every move I make. Besides, nobody really cares anyway. Thank goodness I learned that lesson quickly. It’s exhausting to update the world, letting them know what you just ate for lunch and whatnot.

I have a lot of respect for people who understand the importance of keeping things close to the vest. I dated a guy once who simply could not wrap his mind around the fact that I am a writer who writes about dating and relationships. No matter how much I explained that I keep my personal matters to myself, he just couldn’t get on board. He was terrified I would write about him. And he ended up breaking up with me after a few months of dating. I have a sneaky suspicion that a lot of it had to do with my blog.

I’m not Taylor Swift. She says that she gives fair warning to the guys she dates, because it is a well-known fact that if they so much as slight her in any way, she will be at the drawing board, writing a song about them and what they did to her. I give her mad props, but that’s just not my style.

So, set that Facebook to private. Don’t Tweet to everybody in the world that you are on a date. Don’t run to change your “relationship status” as soon as possible when you realize you like someone. And speaking of that someone that you like, be a little mysterious. Putting it all out there isn’t ever a good idea. “Go Tell it on the Mountain” shouldn’t be your theme song for romantic relationships.

Some bits of advice, with love from me to you:

Keep important things close to the vest, keep special things special.

Make them seek you out, don’t be so available.

Don’t tell your friends every small detail, good or bad. That will bite you in the ass later.

Be yourself. And if they don’t like that, then they need to keep moving.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Secondhand Dating

Some call it frugal. Some call it thrifty. Some call it downright cheap. I call it smart.

I spend next to nothing for my thrift store finds, and I get compliments on my outfits all the time. You don’t have to look like a hobo while wearing second hand finds. In fact, you can have three times the wardrobe and constantly wear something different, while not spending your two-week paycheck on those jeans you’ve been coveting.

The same goes for relationships. Sometimes the “gently used” people are the best ones to date.
I’ve been in the uncomfortable situation too many times, where I find myself out and about with a newbie, someone who has little to no dating experience. It’s so uncomfortable for both people when someone is fumbling and inexperienced. Besides the fact that I don’t have time to hang around and feel like I’m on a high school date. Let’s be grown-ups and date like we know what the hell we’re doing, shall we?

It is interesting to me that sometimes people show enough confidence that their inexperience is masked for the first few dates. I’ve been duped by this before. They start off great, and then I find out that they have only been on a couple dates in their life, or that their only serious girlfriend was for a few months five years ago.

The bottom line: I don’t teach. People who have been through relationships and have been down the road once or twice are going to go a lot farther with me. I prefer to date men who have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly, because they will appreciate me and what they have with me. That is one thing I am thankful for – I know what I want, what I don’t want and where I’m willing to compromise. This is a good thing for people I date because I won’t be dragging them around while I’m trying to figure out if I want to date them or not. And of course I appreciate the same thing from the people I date.

The solution for people who aren’t yet “gently used?” Get out there, date up a storm and get some notches in your belt. It will serve you and your future relationships a great purpose. Best case scenario is you meet the perfect person. If you don’t meet them for a while, at least you’ll know what you don’t want.

The flipside is the “holes in the knees” people. You know the type: they have been around the block too many times. Their reputations aren’t the best, you know several of their exes… they are on other end of the spectrum. I feel like I am in the middle, between the newbies and the serial daters. I would prefer to not date new people constantly, but apparently that is what is in the cards for me seeing as how I am still single. That said, I turn down dates that I know are going to not work out.

The moral of the story is that you can find some amazing used things, bring them home, take good care of them and they will last you a long time and make you feel great. Turns out, the same goes for people.

Monday, February 21, 2011

When His Hermes Handbag Trumps My Louis Vuitton... We Have a Problem

I spotted him as soon as I got in the airport security line. He was tall, thin (but not too thin… fit), with dark hair and good skin. He was impeccably dressed, from the Ferragamo shoes to the Versace eyeglasses. His suit was expensive, but not so expensive that he appeared to be trying too hard. I noticed his amazing Hermes leather satchel and turned to him. “Great bag,” I said, nonchalantly. In a voice higher-pitched than Jack from Will & Grace, he squealed, “Oh THANK YOU! So much.” He might as well have added a heel kick and an “OMG!” to the end of that sentence.

I’m surrounded by girly men.

Are straight men ever this stylish? Follow-up question: are said straight stylish men ever low-maintenance? Ahhh, that’s the ticket right there.

I’ve dated this guy before… the questionably straight girly man who dresses better than me, has more hair products than I do, and gets more facials than anyone I know. This man is one in a plentiful breed. Let’s explore the characteristics of this ever-growing population.

They take forever to get ready. They iron every item of clothing, including jeans they are about to wear to the grocery store. Their home is decorated almost as nicely as mine (almost). They don’t know how to fix anything around the house. They cook over-the-top meals that take many hours and about 30 ingredients. They know when my eye shadow is different. They have polished shoes. They have softer hands than I do.

I’m not saying any of these are bad things. It’s the combination of everything that makes it hard to date this guy. I can’t tell you how many times I sat in the living room, ready to go, while Girly Man was putting more stuff in his hair or looking for the right watch to match with his outfit. Now I know how guys feel when the girl isn’t ready when they get there to pick them up. Annoyed.

I love a sharp-dressed man. But is it too much to ask for that sharp dressing to be easy and effortless? And what about a low-key beauty routine? What happened to a man taking a shower, and smelling like soap? A little smell-good cologne isn’t bad, as long as I’m not searching for the gas mask when we get in the car. C’mon guys! Get it together.

I like to be the girl in the relationship, who holds the cards on knowing which night cream is best, and whether to use body scrub once a week or more frequently. It’s just my old fashioned nature I guess. Not a fan of the guy knowing more about this than me.

So are there any men out there who are impeccably dressed AND somewhat mountain man-ish? Is this possible? My experience is from one extreme to the next, so a middle ground sure would be nice. Obviously I am willing to compromise, but after dating Girly Man, I have declared my unwillingness to date a man more girly than myself.

Please follow me on twitter: @danaseals

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Twisted Sisters

I’m in a book club. One with great girls, delicious food, wine and dessert, and fantastic book choices. Here’s how it goes down at my book club: Each month, someone chooses a book. We all read the book, then meet every six weeks to talk about the book. Except we never talk about it. We talk about everything from vampires to babies to baby vampires to gossip to Gossip Girl to girls being cooler than boys. You name it, we talk about it. But the actual book?

No, we don’t usually get into that. Until last night.

This month, the ultra cool Punky-Brewster look-alike, Lacey, chose Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by John Krakauer. This book delves into the world of a branch-out sect of a certain denomination. Without going into a religious commentary, I will say that I am just not on board with these extreme fundamentalists. I’m serious, they believe in some batshit crazy things. A large component of their belief is that men are allowed to marry whoever they feel like marrying (including step-daughters and nieces), and marry as many of them as they want.

Hold up.

Pump the brakes.

As one of my book club gals put it, her husband made a comment to the tune of “I can barely handle you and the baby AND my job. Throw in more wives and more babies? No thanks.” Agreed. However, I can see why these guys want so many wives, because they are only allowed to sleep with a woman if she is in ovulation. Well, if you have tons of women in the pipeline, you don’t have to wait too long before your next sexy time. I mean, I get it. If you're a sex-craved maniac who likes to control women.

Plus, they don’t have to pay too much money for these other wives because technically they are not married, so technically they are single moms (of a billion kids), so they get a bunch of government assistance from tax dollars, such as food stamps. In light of this information, I’d like to give a shout-out to all the crazy plural wives out there: “You’re welcome.”

The men in the book all had so much in common: they are controlling, egotistical, and looking out for No. 1. Basically, they exhibit all of the personality traits that I can’t stand.

I haven’t seen the reality show Sister Wives, because I live in 1975 and do not have cable television. But we talked about this at length last night. These women (picture on left with Mr. Main Man in the center) claim to be 100% fine with their husband sleeping with the other women. Ummm, no you aren’t. I’ll go on the record right now and say that there is not one woman out there who is perfectly fine with her husband sleeping with another woman. Don’t tell me they don’t want to bitch slap each other on a daily basis.

It is "how they were raised," "God says it’s okay"… this is how they justify it. I just can’t wrap my brain around this concept.

I am not generally a jealous person. But I would be bold-faced lying if I told you that I don’t feel a twinge of some kind of jealousy if an ex-girlfriend calls or if he is chatty kathy with some girls while we are out. I think that is pretty natural to feel that way. But I am skilled at rationalizing what is cause for concern and what is not worth the emotional drain and the potential argument.

I have known some people who were insanely jealous, all the time. I always feel sorry for these people, because they are severely missing out on a happy, cool life if all they think about is what this other person is doing. Until it turns into “who” they are doing, just calm down. Give somebody the benefit of the doubt and see what happens.

If any of you jealous nellies out there read this and heed my advice, I may have just saved you a lot of stress.

Unless, of course, you are a plural wife. In which case, you probably aren’t reading this, except for the rare instance that your controlling husband is letting you read a blog about dating and relationships. The same blog that regularly tells you to grow a pair and take control of yourself and your happiness. Yeah, I didn’t think so.
(Although slow in a few places (because it goes deep into the history of the religion... zzzzz....), Under the Banner of Heaven was a very interesting book. Check it out here.)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Would You Like a Gin and Platonic, or a Scotch and Sofa?

So you’re out with your friends, looking all amazing and having a great time. You spot a good prospect over at the bar, so you try hard to look cool and not like the total stalker that you are, sneaking glances over in their direction. You tell your friends about this person, and then are mortified when they ALL look over at once.

Girls might do a little hair flip. Guys might do the smoldering stare. If there is any mutual hair flipping/smoldering staring going on, somebody will make a move. It’s like playing chess. So here you are, standing right in front of each other.

Now comes the pickup line...

Such a crucial time – this first impression pickup line situation. It can be funny and sexy, or it can fall flatter than Amy Winehouse on a sidewalk. I have heard some hilarious, great pickup lines and I have heard some that made me want to throw up in my mouth a little bit. The success rate is usually pretty low if you go for gimmicky, however. I don’t care how much swagger you have walking up to me. If you throw out something ridiculous, I’m not picking up what you’re putting down.

Back in college, I was at a bar with some girlfriends. This cowboy sauntered up to me and licked my shirt sleeve. He literally rendered me speechless. Then he put his arm around me and said “C’mon sugar. Let’s get you home and out of those wet clothes.” That one didn’t work.

One time, back in Alabama, I was at a Waffle House (I know…sexy) with some girls and a much older guy leaned over to my friend Michelle and said “You look so good, I want to put you on a plate and sop you up with a biscuit.” That one didn’t work either.

I overheard this one a few years back: “You be the tree, and I’ll wrap you like a Koala.” Kind of cute, but more oogie than cute.

I also got this one recently: “Are you from Tennessee? Because you’re the only ten I see around here.” Clever, but clearly he didn’t know of my disdain for the Tennessee Vols. Regardless, I just wasn’t interested.

I polled my friends and here are the best pickup lines they have ever heard:
(Note: These are real life, real talk, non-fiction.)

(At the gym, flexing his bicep) “Are you a pediatrician? Because these babies are SICK!” –Angela

I was walking through Wal-Mart last July 3rd, and I had a halter top on. I had so many mosquito bites, and I was scratching my shoulder. A gross older guy walked by and asked if he could “help me with my itch”. Freaked out, I was truly speechless and for some reason on instinct my answer came out yes, thank you. I quickly corrected it, and 5 minutes later he found me on a different isle asking “Can we start from scratch?” –Tiffany

(On a college campus) “Damn, you look so educated.” –Katie

“Can you buy me a beer?” from an obviously underage girl. –Jared

“Wanna get some Nachos and F***?” –Amanda

“Hey gurl. I want to feed chu. Whatcha name is?” –Natalie

“Spend the night with me and I will help you with the restraining order in the morning.” –Wally

“Honey, is your daddy a thief? He must have stolen the stars and put them in your eyes” –Sarah

‎”Hi. What have you got to lose?” –Jonathan

“Hi. You’re my type.” –Mack (they’ve been together ever since)

“Would you like to test drive my car?” –Mandi (now married to this guy)

My favorite:
“Hey, could you loan me a dollar for a beer?” I made him sign a note that he would pay me back $1.25. He did, and 3 years later we got married. –Karen

One of my girlfriends' buddies reads my blog religiously (thank you!). He said that he reads my stuff for a girl’s perspective, to get advice. So here you go: this is what works. Walk up to them confidently (not cocky – there is a difference) and say “Hey, what’s up? I’m (insert your name here).”

That’s all you have to do. Really.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

To-Go Book Review: Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn?

The glamorous, vivacious and infinitely sexy Marilyn Monroe once said, "I'm only comfortable when I'm naked."

Almost in response, the more subdued, classy Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis said "There are two kinds of women, those who want power in the world and those who want power in bed."

Two seemingly opposite women with more in common than you think.

I just finished one of the best books I've ever put my hands on. Are You a Jackie or Are You a Marilyn? by Pamela Keogh is so brilliantly researched and written that I, someone who has loved both of these women my whole life, learned more about them than I have ever known.

Keogh has a way with words that made me want to read until the wee hours of the morning. She is funny, clever, and totally relatable. I can't wait to get my hands on more of her work. Through her witty commentary, I learned that these two women were deep. Intense. Strong. They were self-made in more ways than money. They were powerhouses. Dynamos.

I knew Jackie came from money, and I knew Marilyn came from nothing. But what I never knew is that Jackie had a very tumultuous childhood - one that money could not rectify - due to the fact that her hero, her father, was a raging alcoholic. One who was so far down into the bottle that he was too drunk to walk her down the aisle on her wedding day. She "learned" from her father that men cheat on their wives and walk out on their families, and she never expected more from any man in her life. She became a very independent woman who found out early that she would need to blaze her own trail. She could not rely on a man.

Marilyn did not have a father to make a bad example for her. Instead, she grew up in orphanages and found her independence extremely early. She let her guard down once she experienced a family structure, only to have that family abandon her as a teenager. She looked next door and decided that it would be a good idea to marry her friend and neighbor. She found herself alone again when he went to war, and the first second someone suggested that she was pretty enough to model, she left tire tracks and a trail of dust on that life. She worked harder than anyone in show business and became the most famous actress in the world.

Their similarities don't end there. They were each incredibly critical of themselves and drove themselves further than anyone should drive themselves. And it paid off. Jackie met the man of her dreams (twice) who could provide her with a comfortable life and Marilyn was allowed to enjoy the love and adoration that she so craved from the world. Everyone wants to be loved and everyone wants to be comfortable monetarily, but these separate successes met deep yearnings for these women. The desire overtook them; therefore they would stop at nothing. That is admirable, really.

The more I read, the more I lost respect for Jackie and gained respect for Marilyn. I am critical of myself, but I would never be critical of others. Jackie was so critical of others that she didn't allow daughter Caroline to eat more than a very small portion because she didn't want her to get fat, and thus not attract a suitable husband. I get that people need to take care of themselves, but when you are telling this to a young girl, you are setting her up for some serious self-esteem issues. Jackie expected the highest level of perfection from everyone around her. I know I expect a lot, but I also try to understand that not everyone is going to live up to my expectations, and there are people in my life who rarely do. But I love them anyway. I have to make a decision sometimes: make them live up to my crazy high expectations (and drop them if they don't), or love them the way they are, quirks and all. Sometimes I choose the latter. Sometimes I choose the first one. It just depends. But for Jackie, it was never the latter.

Marilyn was more understanding. An imperfect, wounded bird herself, she didn't expect anyone else to be perfect either. She knew that people would have good days and bad days, and memorably said, "Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring." That's my kind of girl. I could hang with her, no problem.

Although Jackie was known for her brains, Marilyn was also very smart. She is rumored to have had a higher IQ than JFK. The "dumb blonde" act was just that - an act. Marilyn once said, "I've never fooled anyone. I've let people fool themselves. They didn't bother to find out who and what I was. Instead they would invent a character for me. I wouldn't argue with them. They were obviously loving somebody I wasn't." At home, she was known for not wearing any makeup or jewelry. She was incredibly down-to-earth, and just plain Norma Jeane. She had to spend hours to "become Marilyn."

If you know anything about me (reminder: hopeless romantic), then you know I enjoyed reading about the two women's many lovers. Both were surrounded by men at all times. Men really liked Jackie. But men LOVED Marilyn. Men felt that Jackie was interesting, intelligent, riveting. But men were CRAZY about Marilyn and couldn't get enough. They would camp out on her doorstep and show up every day with flowers, just hoping for a few seconds of her time. Two very different dynamics.

JFK was not the love of Jackie's life. It is clear from what I read that JFK was a very inattentive lover, but that Ari Onassis was the polar opposite. When times were good, Ari and Jackie were crazy about each other. However, a little time passed, Jackie's spending was out of control (an average of $50,000.00 per day... seriously), and Ari was struggling with the sudden death of his son. They separated and Jackie came home to New York while Ari was grieving. Then before any reconciliation could happen (if that was even in the cards), Ari died of a heart attack. Who knows what could have happened between them and what the future held.

Marilyn was married three times. After leaving first husband, James Dougherty, for Hollywood, Marilyn eventually ended up in the arms of Joe DiMaggio. They had short, passionate, tumultuous marriage. Joe wished that Marilyn would always be the person she was at home. But she could not make him understand that the public expected her to be "Marilyn." They divorced after a year of marriage, and attempted to rekindle the flame many times after that. Eventually Marilyn married playwright Arthur Miller, who showed her a slower pace of life. She welcomed it for a time, but became restless. They soon divorced. In the end, Joe DiMaggio was the love of her life. Before she died, she and Joe were talking about getting married again. It was Joe who claimed her body at the morgue and planned the funeral. Joe loved her so much that he sent flowers to her grave three times a week until he died twenty years later.

Jackie lived a long life, whereas Marilyn's was cut short. And although Jackie was around a lot longer, it is Marilyn who has remained as famous as if she were alive just yesterday. Marilyn created sexy, and although many have tried, no one can touch her unique persona. Jackie is an icon, no doubt. But it is Marilyn who will remain timeless.

When I picked up this book, I figured that I was 50% Jackie and 50% Marilyn. I am like Jackie in that I am classy and polite, I immediately send out thank you notes for even the smallest favor, I pride myself on my intelligence, and I can rock some nautical stripes and big sunglasses. Adversely, I am like Marilyn in that I am rarely on time, am constantly searching for approval and adoration, I love to laugh and be giddy, and I can be overly critical of myself. And I'll never forget where I came from, no matter how amazing my life turns out.

But now, I figure that I am 25% Jackie and 75% Marilyn. And I'm proud to be more like Marilyn. Above everything else, she was kind. To me, that matters more than anything.

Before I read this, I would have put money on the idea that Jackie and Marilyn were polar opposites and would have never existed in the same universe. Although similar in most ways, the two never met. Something tells me they would have severely disliked each other. It would be interesting to know who would have won, if they were to fight each other. Jackie was athletic, Marilyn was scrappy. My money is on Marilyn. "Scrappy from the streets" almost always wins.

(Go to Pamela Keogh's website - http://www.pamelakeogh.com/)