Sit ‘n Spin.

“Spin” is a pleasant word.  When I think of the world “spin,” I think happy things:

The sweet innocence of childhood.

Katy Perry and her boobs taking an adorable basketed bike ride.

Some guy spinning records in a Seattle garage circa 1998.
That dudechickthing from Dead or Alive who spins you right ’round, baby. Right ’round.
Spinsters.

That dumb chick from
Rumpelstilskin who spins straw into gold in exchange for a baby.

But now that I’ve been to a “spin” class, only one image comes to mind when I hear the word “spin“:

Spin class reminds me a little of jousting; jousting if there weren’t any horses or lances, and the knights just sat on stationary bikes and pedaled until they were both dead.  My spin instructor, Pedro, seemed especially content on making sure I died today.  I made the mistake of choosing a spot in the back of the classroom so that I could be confused in peace–people came in and had all sorts of rituals, adjusting levers and knobs and draping towels with geometric precision, one guy even had leather gloves a la Ryan Gosling in Drive, and he velcroed them on with Driver-like purpose and composure.  Apparently, sitting in the back put a big red sign on my forehead, and to Pedro, that sign said “PUNISH ME.”

My whole life, there have been only two kinds of men who naturally gravitate towards me: gay men and Hispanic men.  Gay men like me because I practically am one of them.  I’ve never figured out why the Latinos me gusta me.  My first boyfriend ever was from Puerto Rico, and even in middle school, he was vastly more attractive and intelligent than me. We were in the same English class, and he used to whisper the grammar exercise answers to me so that I wouldn’t cry when the teacher called on me to answer out loud. But still, I broke up with him constantly, always via a note that looked a lot like this:

My mother was convinced he was after a green card.  I am convinced that I was either born with some mysterious, spicy, taco-shaped extra chromosome undetectable to anyone but a Latin man, or that they mistake me for a ghost and are intrigued by what it would be like to have sex with a specter–mainly because Dan Aykroyd did it in Ghostbusters.

So when I saw that the Spin class was being taught by a guy named Pedro, I was like, “Score, he’ll wink and give me sexy eyes and kiss my sweaty hand after class.” Nope.  I turned out to be the only one sitting in the back row of a class of about ten people (in a classroom meant for forty). If you’ve never been on a Spin bike, let me tell you, it’s a lot like sitting on a telephone pole just slightly wider than your anus.  It also has a “Torture Knob” that increases the resistance of the pedals, making it feel like you’re trying to move an immovable bike through a brick wall while trying to keep a telephone pole out of your anus.  And you cannot slow down, or Pedro will see.

First Pedro started by making pointed eye contact with me and making a “SPEED IT UP, CHUBS” rotating circle sign with his hands.  Then, when he caught me turning down the resistance on the Torture Knob, he shouted “UH UH, PONYTAIL! YOU KEEP IT UP! I SEE THAT!” After our first minute-and-a-half-stand-and-pedal interval, Pedro announced, “That was unacceptable.  It wasn’t ‘terrible,’ I don’t blame people for ‘terrible,’ but if I see that kind of slacking again, we’re starting over,’ and then he pointed at me.  Luckily, everyone was so focused on not dying that they didn’t turn around to spit at me.  Plus, I don’t think anyone had any bodily fluids left.

Pedro continued to glare at me throughout class, and at one point told me, “YOU CAN FAIL IN HERE, THIS IS A SAFE ENVIRONMENT!” and if I had had any breath to speak, I would have shrieked, “I HAVE NEVER LONGED FOR DEATH LIKE THIS.”   But I just wheezed and gave him a thumbs up, so he continued to give me the rotating circle hands, making me want to chain him to a treadmill and crank it up, then watch until he begged for my chubby mercy.  Unfortunately, Pedro probably has what I estimate to be .5% body fat, and could comfortably sprint on a treadmill until he died of old age.

To add insult to injury, Pedro was also flamingly gay. I had no excuse. After class, he should have wanted to go straight to the nearest Claire’s to buy BFFL necklaces.  Instead, as I left, Pedro caught my eye and said, “Next time, I want to see you sitting in the front row pushing yourself.  You’re never going to win the race unless you push yourself.”  And I was like, “Really?  I’m not going to win a race on a bike stapled to the floor, AGAINST OTHER BIKES STAPLED TO THE SAME FLOOR?”  I didn’t actually say that. I just smiled and gave him the thumbs up, then limped off to chop down all the telephone poles in New York City.

These days, my middle school ex-boyfriend looks a lot like Javier Bardem. So, he won.

I’m patriotic for two weeks every four years.

THE TIME HAS (ALMOST) COME.
OLYMPICS 2012.

STRENGTH.

BEAUTY.

AMERICA.

I feel like I am, in general, a typically cynical person when it comes to Amurrica.  When I studied abroad, I lied constantly and said I was English, partly because it’s my dream to be British, and partly out of fear I would get blown up if anyone knew I was American.  I dressed in decidedly neutral colors and talked about how much I love Team America: World Police, and kept my love for country music under wraps.  I’m not, you might say, well-educated on the subject of just why I’m supposed to disdain America so much, but I do it because people who are much smarter than me do it, and they have numbers and pie charts to back up their contempt.  Sadly, this is the only pie chart I’ve ever actually understood:

Regardless, I once wrote a paper in college called The Demise of the American Dream, and wrote a lot of things like, “We could be good again.  We could be great again,” and “The Great Gatsby does a stellar job of illustrating the inherent flaws in the American Dream,” and “I have no clue, literally no goddamn clue what I’m talking about.”  My teacher was not very Paul Revered of it.

But for 2 weeks every four years, my family becomes the most patriotic bunch of hillbillies you could possibly imagine.  Because of yes, oh yes, the Summer Olympics.  In 1996, when I was but the age of 7, my mom let me stay up late every night to watch the Women’s Gymnastics team (I was taking gymnastics lessons at the time, but it became clear very early on that my strongest event was jumping on the trampoline we used for warm-up).  When I saw Kerri Strug land that vault on her injured foot and win gold for the USA team, I sobbed with joy. I sobbed harder than I did years later when I suffered my first real loss in life, as I watched Buffy Summers vault herself off a bridge and into a Hellmouth portal in season 5 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer to save her despicable sister Dawn.  Those were embittered tears of a grief.  True, heartfelt, “Harriet the Spy should burn in Hell” grieftears.  And as lame as it sounds, whenever I’m feeling my cockeye brim with those same grieftears of young adult strife (unemployment, relationship troubles, watching Muffincat’s fear during a thunderstorm), I watch this:

I’m pretty sure that I even saw a tear glistening in my New England born-and-bred father’s eye when Kerri stuck that landing.  Actually, that’s a lie, nothing makes my dad cry. I did hear a rumor once that he almost teared up at the end of October Sky, but I never heard that rumor twice.

Kerri’s moment was my moment.  In that moment, I became some semblance of a young woman, a young American woman. I remember that even then, at the tender age of 7, that communal feeling of pride in my country.  It made me want to do a whole mess of things I hadn’t even considered before.  Suddenly, I wanted to make out with Toby Keith in the back of a pickup truck while simultaneously chugging a Budweiser and voting.  I wanted to walk into my 1st grade class the next day draped in nothing but the American flag.  I wanted to buy a shotgun and start making monthly donations to the NRA.  I wanted to knock my two front teeth out, build a log cabin, then burn it down.  I wanted a tramp stamp of George Washington.

I have become increasingly zealous with each Summer Olympics since then.  This year, despite my deep Anglophilia, I will shed the tolerant veil of my liberal arts education, put war paint on my face, sit on my sofa, and curse every other country to a crushing defeat by the U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!  I will not google Kate Middleton once, or drink tea, or make any Monty Python references, or even think about Cousin Matthew Crawley of Downton Abbey. I will not have one Sir Winston Churchill sex dream, out of sheer will.  I will insist my place of work refrain from playing The Beatles.  I will–and this is truly difficult–not watch Love Actually for two whole weeks.  I will, in essence, lose the entire point of the Olympics (international tolerance and community blah blah blah) to my rampant, unfounded patriotism.

I want to see Michael Phelps dominate, I want to see him win every race and then slap his opponents in the face with a fish screaming, “THIS IS MY BRETHREN, U-S-A! U-S-A!”  I want to see all those fantastic prepubescent little gymnasts flip and flop and do the anatomically impossible while wearing their colorful Saran Wrap suits.  I fully plan on oogling the beach volleyball dream team Misty-May Treanor and Kerri Walsh as they dominate for a third Olympics, and then blasting Born in the USA and jumping around naked.

Then, at 12AM on August 12th, I will return to being the average disenchanted American.  I’ll let myself go see The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and write an apology letter to the Queen for my insubordination.  I’ll go back to being ambivalently skeptical about Occupy Wallstreet when asked at parties–“I see their point, but there’s no organization, so what will it accomplish?”–and lying about having requested my absentee ballot.

But in the meantime:

I wrote a love note to Kristen Wiig, and she hugged me.

Most of “pursuing your dreams” involves working low-paying service and temp jobs, then trudging home and weeping into your almost-expired cereal.  Fresh out of college, there’s a grace period, a Chekhovian kind of “work is fulfilling, and so I shall do it always and do it with joy!” cloud upon which you briefly float.  That grace/cloud period lasts about three weeks. Ultraman just got a job as a barista, and he’s currently going through that whole “happiness” thing.  It will end soon, but in the mean time, I enjoy stopping in to visit him:

Ultraman: Welcome, welcome, welcome, darlin’! How can I help you?
Grumplekee: You can’t. My problems are vast. Can I have hot chocolates?
Ultraman: A hot chocolate?
Grumplekee: I think we both heard the plural. Let’s not pretend.

But I’ve come to discover something, a loophole, in the awful-post-grad-job circuit.  Somehow, through some twist of karma or fate or John Cusack-fueled serendipity, you run into celebrities.  At one job I was temping, Paul Rudd showed up.  A fabulous fellow temp told Paul Rudd how huge a fan I am, and halfway through the day I hear, “HEEEEY KEELY!” and turn around to get hugged by a devastatingly handsome, ridiculously friendly, plaid-clad Paul Rudd.  I sputtered some nonsense about being a fan and thinking he was grand, then tried to make a joke about having rhymed, and ended it all by running around and trying to find a window to jump out of.

Another time, the same  group of temps all stared at RuPaul from afar, each of us silently knowing that RuPaul was clearly only ever meant to be painted, and never spoken to.

My biggest celebrity experience was meeting Tina Fey–and I waited 12 hours at a book signing for that, it was no lovely coincidence.  But when I got up to the table, Bossypants clutched to my bosom, I literally blacked out.  It is something I seriously regret, because Tina Fey is a legit hero of mine.  I vaguely remember saying “I LOVE YOU” too loudly, rambling about Second City, and then ending it all by running around and trying to find a window to jump out of.

Celeb sightings at temp jobs are one thing; big, expensive events need cheap, desperate workers with shiny hair and decent teeth.  My job as a waitress has been different.  I haven’t seen one celebrity–I always somehow miss them.  People talk about serving Quentin Tarantino burgers, and seeing Susan Sarandon walk by flashing the peace sign, and Diane Lane and Josh Brolin stopping by for beers and then tipping $100.

But oh how the tables turned today.  And they turned with glorious, glorious ferocity and beauty and magic and ahhhhh yes! Today I came into work, horribly sunburned from the one hour I spent sitting in the half-shade yesterday, and my manager took one look at me and told me to go home and rest.  I lingered around for a bit to talk to the servers who were on–we’re basically all 20-something creative types, so there’s always a lot of “I got the iambic pentameter all screwed up and I want to die,” and, “they told me I’m just not ethnic enough!” and “they told me I’m just too ethnic!” etc.  Then, out of nowhere, the hostess comes up to the bar and says, “Kristen Wiig is here.”

It was like Christmas morning, but awful.  But wonderful.  But absolutely horrible.  Because I knew instantly that this was my chance to redeem myself after Feygate.  I had to convey to Kristen Wiig that she is my goddamn hero, and that she must put the lotion in the basket, without coming off as a creepy fanboy.  I had mucked it up with one hero, Gilda Radner is dead, and Carol Burnett is probably a hologram.  Everyone else was like, “Oh wow, cool, let’s go look at Kristen Wiig!” and I was like, “SHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUP I NEED TO THINK, YOU ANIMALS!”

So I sat down at an empty table with my serving pad, and anyone who asked me what I was doing was told to fuck right off.  It was business time; dream weaving time.  I went through seven drafts, and came up with the following:

It obviously doesn’t speak much for me as a writer that this was the result of seven drafts, but my signature had to be perfect.  I asked Laura, the waitress who had taken Kristen Wiig’s table, to slip it in with the check when she brought it.  And then I waited.  I sat at the bar like a hunted animal, watching Laura and not even pretending to listen to what anyone was saying.  I begged Laura not to forget to slip it into the check every time she walked by–she promised she wouldn’t forget, as long as it would be made very clear that she, Laura, had not written Kristen Wiig the love note.  I understood.  And then Laura dropped the check, and the most amazing thing happened.

Kristen Wiig asked where I was, and if she could meet me.  To ensure I didn’t black out again, I slapped myself in the face.  Hard.  Like I had seen in Western movies when a family member has just died but there’s no time for an emotional breakdown because villains are afoot.  Then I walked over to her table.

And guess what. Kristen Wiig might be the coolest goddamn person on the planet.  She hugged me, and thanked me, and said I had made her day and that she was going to hang onto my note because it meant a lot to her.  She introduced me to the guy friend she was with–noooo idea what his name was–and joked that when she came back I needed to write her a longer note, with some of my hair attached.  I suggested I also attach toenails, and that we meld into one person, non-sexually. Wow, I blew it again, right? NOPE, she was cool enough to not be terrified by that joke and run away, BUT actually laughed.  Then she left a $20 tip.

Kristen Wiig really might be the goddamn coolest person on the planet.

And now I feel redeemed.  Miraculously, the encounter did not end with me running around in search of a window to jump out of.  I did walk away shaking, and when she said she was going to keep the note, I teared up, but I didn’t screech “I LOVE YOU!” or ask for her trendy headband as a keepsake (even though I really wanted to).  I felt good, and normal, and grounded, and full of worth.

But then she left and I lost my shit and had a photo shoot with the diet coke glass she was drinking out of.

KRISTEN WIIG’S DIET COKE!!!!!!!

THE LIME IN KRISTEN WIIG’S DIET COKE!!!!!

CLOSEUP OF KRISTEN WIIG’S DIET COKE!!!!!

KRISTEN WIIG’S DIET COKE NEXT TO A COPY OF FIFTY SHADES OF GREY THAT SOMEONE LEFT AT THE BAR LAST NIGHT!!!!!

IT’S KIND OF LIKE KRISTEN WIIG AND I MADE OUT BECAUSE SHE MAYBE DRANK OUT OF THIS STRAW!!!!!

Now I have a daydream that Kristen Wiig and Tina Fey take high tea together, and my name is mentioned, and Tina Fey goes, “Oh my, that rather unbalanced girl who yelled at me in gobbledygook?” and Kristen Wiig goes, “No, no! That sweet, eloquent girl who so admires our work! I have a very well written note from her framed in gold over the vanity in my boudoir.”
And then they both smile warmly and take delicate bites of their crumpets, then talk about dear Lorne and all his goings on.

The Top 10 Age-Appropriate Movie Drinking Games No One Will Ever Play.

That’s me on the right.

I recently went to a friend’s party and played “a drinking game” for the first time since my sophomore year of college.  It made me feel young and impulsive and free, as if I belonged to no one but the fateful flip of the card, as if I was at no one’s mercy but that goddamned Jenga piece!

But srsly.  It also made me feel like a real douchebag, because I’m not in college anymore, and I shouldn’t be playing drinking games at my age.  I should be playing serious games, like Russian Roulette, or Monopoly.  I should be wearing a hoopskirt and sipping mint juleps somewhere in the countryside.  I should be complaining about taxes and taking vitamin supplements.

So I came up with some age-appropriate drinking games, and the social functions we are beginning to face in young adulthood that they might be good for.

The Emperor’s New Freud
(The Emperor’s New Groove)

Drink every time you find yourself attracted to the llama.
NOTE: You may also drink every time you remember the llama is actually Joe Dirt, and subsequently feel even worse about yourself.
USE FOR: therapy sessions

There Will Be Lulz
(There Will Be Blood)

Drink every time someone laughs inappropriately.  If you’re in a self-destructive mood, fast forward to all the Paul Dano scenes.
NOTE: Everyone waterfalls during the “I drink your milkshake” scene.
USE FOR: funeral receptions

I’m Not Hammered Enough to Watch This, Hand me Another Shot of Captain
(any movie with Nathan Fillion, i.e. Captain Hammer in Dr. Horibble’s Sing-Along Blog)

Drink whenever Nathan Fillion’s character says something Captain Hammer would say.
NOTE: Bonus points if you can get drunk off watching Waitress.
USE FOR: bachelorette parties (preferably a Captain Hammer themed party, complete with a Captain Hammer stripper)

13 Going on Thirsty
(13 Going on 30)

Drink every time you wish Mark Ruffalo would turn into The Hulk and throw Jennifer Garner into space.
NOTE: Bonus drink to anyone who can successfully incorporate “HULK SMASH” into the dialogue of a scene.
USE FOR: your niece’s birthday party, your brother’s bachelor party

The Little Shell-Bra
(The Little Mermaid)

Drink every time Ariel’s tiny little shell-bra should fall off but doesn’t because her boobs are Disney magicked.
NOTE: Everyone waterfalls during the (in)famous “tits-to-the-breeze” rock scene.
USE FOR: your best friend’s baby shower

Amadedrunk
(Amadeus)

Drink whenever you get distracted by the size of Salieri’s nose.
NOTE: To get thrice as drunk, drink every time you begin to nod off during the movie.
USE FOR: bonding with your dad (who will not nod off during this movie, ever)

Titnic
(Titanic)

Drink every time you find yourself accidentally staring at Rose’s ample bosom.
NOTE: Everyone waterfalls during the…well, you know, the scene.
*NOTE-NOTE: A variation on this game is “Sassy Bagpipes,” during which you drink every time Rose and/or Jack run around while lively bagpipes play in the background.
USE FOR: first date, or unintentional last date that ends with you coming out of the closet because you either looked at her boobs too much or not at all

Drink Up
(Up)

Drink every time you cry.
NOTE: You will be hammered two minutes in.
USE FOR: existential crises, post-getting-fired binges

Avatanked
(Avatar)

Drink whenever you hear Sigourney Weaver’s voice and think of her wig in Galaxy Quest.
NOTE: You can balls-to-the-wall this game by also drinking whenever you hear Zoe Saldana’s voice and think of Center Stage.
USE FOR: any and all parties where NYU Tisch graduates are present

Van Heldrink
(Van Helsing)

Drink every time you realize you’re actually/accidentally watching Underworld. Or are you? Drink anyway.
USE FOR: drinking alone, because no one is watching either of those movies with you

BONUS MASOCHISM GAME

Trainslurred
(Trainspotting)

Drink every time you can’t understand what someone just said.
USE FOR: suicide cults, and if you don’t belong to one, don’t ever play this drinking game, because it will end with you dying

Ghosts.

I recently lost a friendship.  I’ve lost friendships before, but this one is different, mainly because I have not told my former friend that we are not friends anymore.  I haven’t told her, because I’m afraid of her.

Leah, my non-friend, recently played “Starlet Ghost” on an episode of Celebrity Ghost Stories, and because she did that, we are no longer friends–because I’m really, really afraid of ghosts.
More than failure, or being a waitress forever, or office jobs, or even my cat’s well-being, I am concerned about visitors from beyond our plane of existence.  Ever since I was a kid, I’ve had to close all closet doors in my bedroom, out of fear that I’ll wake up in the middle of the night, look up, and see a fucking ghost in the doorway.  I face all mirrors away from my bed at night, so that I don’t look up at 4AM and see a fucking ghost staring out at me from the Other World.  And now, I’m afraid of Leah, because she is a ghost in my mind.  This was Leah before she became LeahGhost:

RIP

This is LeahGhost watching herself as Starlet Ghost on TV:

My fear of ghosts has also affected my professional life, especially since the last job I had was in a haunted office.  When I was working as a receptionist many  moons (a couple months) ago, I opened the office most mornings, which meant being the first and only person there for about an hour and a half.  For a full week, I came in and the office television was on, even though I was the first person there and no one ever used that TV.  Even creepier, it was always on a channel that I never knew existed: opera previews.  At all times, there were previews for operas playing on that channel; big-busted women with meaty forearms in jezebel makeup, screaming in agony.  Creepier still, when the other receptionist opened, the TV was never on.

That same week, about ten minutes after I’d gotten into the office and turned the TV off, I heard what sounded like, I do not exaggerate, a nuclear power plant alarm going off.  I was so scared that a murdered factory worker had come back from the grave in the form of a siren, I called maintenance to come up and check on it.  The maintenance guy came in, told me he liked my pants-suit, and that he had “had one just like it back in 70’s,” then walked flippantly into the back of the office.  I fully expected to hear an anguished cry and then see his disembodied head roll out into the reception area, but instead he jaunted back in about 10 seconds later, and tossed me a cell phone someone had left at their desk.  The volume was on full, and the alarm was going off.

And then I saw the office ghost.  Same week, same scenario, I came in and turned on all of the lights, turned the TV off after oogling the singer’s goodies for a couple minutes, sat down at the reception desk, and looked up to see a man walk out of the kitchen and into the back office. I screamed.  However, the reception area is encased by glass, and it’s the only office on that floor, so no one came running in to help.  I sat there, completely still and sweating profusely, for about ten minutes.  I went through all the possibilities–there was only one way into the office, it had been locked, all the lights were off–and concluded that I had just imagined it.  I hummed “Kumbaya” a couple times and got up the nerve to walk into the kitchen to get some coffee.

I walked into the back office and saw it. There it was, the ghost, in a grey maintenance outfit, pretending to wash a window.  It was the same maintenance guy who had answered my call for help when the nuclear power plant was threatening to combust.  He turned around and said, “Hey.” I slowly backed out of the room.  Even creepier, I never saw him leave the office that morning, and I didn’t see him ever again during my time at that office.  Every time someone called maintenance, a different guy came.

Since then, I have concluded that one of two things must have happened:

1) The maintenance man died during the time between answering my call for help and coming back to wash the windows, and that was his ghost taking care of unfinished business.
2) He was always a ghost, but still takes occasional maintenance gigs.

Still, I cannot be friends with LeahGhost, even though she stayed my friend after she learned that I am secretly Thor.

The Top 6 Economic Crisis Movie Sequels Never Written.

Since graduating, it has become more and more apparent that we need more relatable heroes and heroines in our pop culture.  We need people who are struggling in these hard economic times–struggling to find jobs, trying to figure out their mediocre path in life, debating whether or not to adopt a cat, etc. We need more girls with saggy boobs, more effeminate men who pretend to be straight, kids who are awful instead of adorable.
Since movie studios love already-established franchises, I give you…

The Top 6 Greatest Economic Crisis Movie Sequels Never Written:

Funding Nemo
Since the average clown fish only lives 3-6 years, we revisit Nemo at age 6 months, just as he’s graduating from high school and beginning to receive college acceptance letters.  Nemo has his heart set on attending Vassar, because he’s a big Meryl Streep fan.
Unfortunately, his loving father Marlin had to spend so much money on therapy for Nemo’s post-traumatic stress syndrome after he returned home in the original Finding Nemo, the family’s savings are gone.  We follow Nemo on his journey to try and secure college scholarships from local businesses, the Rotary Club, and through the twisted innards of the dreaded organization known as FAFSA.

Kill Bills
After spending four years in a coma, and then two movies’ worth of time killing people, The Bride realizes too late that she has totally forgotten to pay her taxes!
The movie begins with her getting an Audit Notice from the IRS, and ends with her killing everyone in the government.

Beauty and the Lease
We revisit Belle and Prince Adam (formerly The Beast) 8 months after their wedding.  Adam has just given an undisclosed settlement to Gaston’s family, who sued him for emotional distress.  With all their money tied up in court fees, and the village people still pretty peeved about the castle fight, Belle and Adam head for the Big Apple!  They quickly realize that even though Adam is a prince, they’ll never be able to afford Manhattan real estate, so they start looking in Brooklyn.
The couple try and fail to secure leases on several apartmenst in Williamsburg, and eventually settle for a shoebox-sized pad in Bushwick which Adam, who, again, is a prince, can still barely afford.  We see the couple cope with the normal problems in any young marriage: Adam’s fear of flowers, and Belle’s inevitable weight gain once she doesn’t have a team of possessed houseware to cook for her.

Try Hard
John McClane’s son, John McClane, Jr. has just graduated from Columbia University.  Determined to be nothing like his father, he got a degree in Women’s Studies.  But after six months of post-grad job searching with no prospects, he reluctantly decides to go ahead and become an action hero in the hope of setting himself apart from other job applicants.
After seeking out a hostage situation in the Middle East, he uses his genetic-action-hero-know-how and the critical thinking skills he got from his Liberal Arts Degree to save a bunch of attractive American tourists and becomes a hero.
He still doesn’t find a job.

Try Harder
John McClane, Jr. is forced to personally pay for all the property he destroyed during Try Hard.

Exit Through the Thrift Shop
We explore the dangerous and exotic sub-community of career thrift shoppers. Their charismatic leader, Thrifty, narrates in shadow in order to avoid prosecution for being too good at looking so good for so little money.  We follow Thrifty as he fails to teach a French sorority girl how to shop on a budget.

My boyfriend is too handsome to not be an alien.

Part of the whole “I Have a Blog Mystique” is remaining perpetually, ambiguously single. But I’m gonna go ahead and say it: I have a boyfriend.  He’s named after a Superman villain in non-internet life, so we shall refer to him by a different Superman villain name: Ultraman.
We’re going to call him this partly because it’s funny, and partly because he is, in fact, the ultra-man.  He’s hilarious, he cooks, he cleans, digs on animals, is a very funny writer, and makes sure I get in my pajamas when I’m drunk and screaming, “YOU’RE NOT MY DAD”–he’s awesome. But there is one thing that’s very, very wrong with our relationship: he’s too handsome.

Oh, boo hoo for me, right? I’m so serious.  When I first met him, I immediately disliked him because I thought he might be a member of an alien race who had studied mankind extensively, programmed the perfect-looking man, and sent him to Earth to impregnate as many women as he could in order to begin a slow but steady in-bred invasion.  So in the name of patriotism, I was a real she-dick to him the night we first met.

Over time, although I have given into his charm and he’s my boyfriend now, this theory has only solidified.  This is a conversation we had recently, and it is the perfect example of why he’s an alien:

Keely: I want cake so bad right now.
Ultraman: Yeah, I’m totally craving some spinach.
Keely: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

Part of the problem with dating someone super-duper-handsome is that because he’s perfect-looking and so wonderful, he gets all of the attention wherever he goes. People meet him and they come up to me later and say things like, “Oh, Ultraman is so cute, you’re the luckiest!” and I’m drunk by then, and all, “Thanks, Ben Folds, but I tried really hard to look good tonight. Can we not spare me one teensy compliment on my more-feminine-plaid-choice?”

He also gets hit on all the time, and not in a subtle way. We’ll walk into a party, and by the time I’ve accidentally bumped into the coat rack, he’s in the middle of the room surrounded by a circle of women.  Immediately, my DUMB BITCH alarm starts going off.  My DUMB BITCH alarm consists of Liza Minelli’s voice screaming in my ear, “DUMB, DUMB BITCHES, WHY AREN’T YOU HITTING ON ME INSTEAD OF MY STUPIDLY HANDSOME BOYFRIEND?” So I’ll go over and casually drop a few Melissa Etheridge lyrics into the conversation, get completely ignored by all the girls, and accidentally ensnare yet another lifelong friendship with a gay man.

Women, straight men, gay men, even children love Ultraman.  He has so much animal magnetism, even my cat loves him. And she is a cat.  I posted recently that my best friend Lilly got engaged.  She asked me to be her Maid of Honor (I wept, different story).  I asked Ultraman to go to her engagement party with me. He was going with me, the Maid of Honor, people should have been so excited to meet me because I am the kind of person who gets asked to be a Maid of Honor.  No.  By the end of the evening, all of Lilly’s little cousins were following him around in a parade, clawing at his clothes like little lepers begging for the healing hands of Jesus Christ.  I sat in the corner, eating soft pretzels and cheese dip, overhearing the occasional woman say in a swoony voice, “Oh, I just love spinach, because you can cook it or just eat it raw! Wow!”

There are, however, a lot of perks to dating good-looking people.  For example, you become more desirable by association.  People find out I’m Ultraman’s girlfriend, and they’re immediately like, “You must be really smart or something!”  Even my friends have come to view me in a different light, like I figured out some long-kept secret and joined a secret club that’s so secret, our membership rings have to be kept out of public sight, so they’re toe-rings.  But mostly, in those rare moments when I look at him and actually believe I get to date this guy, I end up feeling insecure.  It would be so much easier if he had a drug problem, or had gotten a girl pregnant when he was 16 and was emotionally damaged.  Whenever he walks into a room without a shirt on, we have the same conversation:

Keely: I think we should break up. I can’t take all this handsomeness anymore.
Ultraman: You’re so sweet and funny and quirky, I just adore everything about you!
Keely: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

 

I am a gypsy.

I have a job right now. It’s 9-5 job–well, technically it’s a 9-6 job with a mandatory unpaid hour-long lunch.  I know that I’ve said this before, but it needs to be said again: I have a degree in theatre and creative writing. I feel so many things.  I’d say that on average, 90% of my day consists of just sitting somewhere and being emotional about nothing.  To cope with this, I’ve done a number of things:

1) Drawing 3D boxes all over my work notebook, and then analyzing what that might mean (“Perhaps my creative self is trying to tell my professional self that I have boxed us in! All of the Keelys are in a box!”)

2) Constantly eating. Just constantly.

3) Venting my frustrations by creating my own memes. Here is a completely not random sampling:


4) Trying to figure out what to wear to work.  This is difficult, because for three and a half years, I was academically required to play dress-up.  It’s now ingrained in me that if I wake up feeling sassy and free-spirited like Esmeralda from The Hunchback of Notre Dame, I not only can, but should go ahead and dress up like her–because it’s what I feel, and goddamn you if you disagree, and god bless the outcasts.

I just have no idea how to dress for work. I’ve tried skirts, dresses, tights, slacks, everything. My only safe bet is to wear all black, because when I’ve tried to integrate any kind of color into my work attire, someone makes some kind of veiled (or unveiled comment). Here is s medley of my favorite comments:

Hey, Barcelona! Wanna Flamenco? –Gay Man in a Gay Bar

Wow, knee-high socks. Have you seen Spring Awakening? –Interviewee

Nice pantsuit! I had one just like in the ’70s! –Building Maintenance Man

You make such interesting shoe choices. –Coworker

That’s a brave outfit. –Building Janitor

I try to just brush it off with a toss of my hip-scarf as I shimmy away.  But where do you draw the line? It has to fall somewhere between dishy Esmeralda’s ever-bared shoulders, and Dana Scully’s hermaphroditic pantsuits.

The truth is out there.

Fantasy guys.

I can’t go to the gym anymore–not that I have been on an even semi-regular basis. I just can’t do it.  For the past three days, I’ve put on my sports bra and spandex, filled up my waterbottle, and put on my still-white tennis shoes, only to find myself still sitting on my couch an hour later, watching Legend on HBO. I think it has to do with two things:

1) I haven’t seen Girl with the Dragon Tattoo lately–and nothing makes me want to work out like seeing Rooney Mara’s coked-out ribcage.
2) Lack of a support system:

3) Lack of suitable fantasy guys.

All of the guys I fantasize about when I work out aren’t exactly the kind of guys who would demand a bodacious bod in the woman they date. I think they’d sooner demand a thorough knowledge of the Periodic Table than a chix pack.
And I’m certainly not fantasizing about their bodies.  My gym fantasies generally involve montages of studying for an AP English Wuthering Heights exam, a chaste kiss, and then an adorable water balloon fight. It’s the gayer bits of Dead Poets Society meets the paintballing scene in Ten Things I Hate About You. Except instead of beefy, foreign Heath Ledger, my gym fantasies star the following:

1) Egon (Ghostbusters)
Why: He’s an emotionally distant Bill Nye, and he has the proportions of a maypole. Perfection.

Fantasy: We’d discuss his collection of spores, molds, and fungi over a candybar before catching a latenight showing of Chimpanzee.  He would not get choked up when one of the baby chimps inevitably dies, and awkwardly hand me his handkerchief.

2) Wash (Firefly/Serenity)
Why: He’s a leaf on the wind. And he almost makes the short-sleeved Hawaiian t-shirt look good.

Fantasy
: After his wife Zoey finally leaves him for Mal (cue audience cheer!), he finds solace in our daily heart-to-hearts in Central Park. After a year or so of just friendship, I confess that I have romantic feelings for him, but he, still smarting from his wife’s abandonment, doesn’t reciprocate. I weep prettily and he kisses my hand in farewell. We end up getting together around age 60, until I die tragically in a Dante’s Peak-like volcano eruption.

3) Preston (Can’t Hardly Wait)
Why: He would always give me the second Strawberry Poptart in the pack.

Fantasy: We find an abandoned tree house and spend all of our time sneaking out at night to meet and share poetry with each other and roast marshmallows on a Bunsen Burner. Sometimes we quote The Sandlot. He eventually leaves me for Jennifer Love-Hewitt, who I call “Sweater Cows” in a fit of anger (because of her huge boobs).

4) John Keats (Bright Star)
Why: Lord Byron was obvi gay. Keats was maybe only bi.

Fantasy: We make out a lot and I try not to be bothered by him weighing less than me.

5) Beaker (The Muppets)
Why: Sex. That’s why.

Fantasy: We just have lots of crazy sex.

6) Katniss (The Hunger Games)
What? I’M ALLOWED!

 I couldn’t even muster up the motivation when Lilly texted me, “oink oink.” All I could think of was Wilbur from Charlotte’s Web.

Didn't go to the gym today, Charlotte.

My BFF got engaged.

Why I have not updated for a month:

1) I have been busy trying to save money–and failing miserably because of the random products they nestle into Gristedes, like irresistible little $10 booby traps.

2) Lowered self-esteem.  My cat yells at me a lot.

3) Relationship trouble.
4) The crushing realization that my dreams of a life where I get paid to do what I love may never come true.  Or, more largely, what goes on in my head versus what’s actually going on around me.
Example:

A text I recently received:
The text I felt I should have received:

5) The discovery of a kindred spirit.

6) Unabashed selfishness.
(And yes, he tooootally did!)

7) And my best friend got engaged.

The guy in the mini-Indiana Jones hat is Nick, her fiance.

So that’s hard.

Wedding Party.

Lilly getting engaged actually has  a lot to do with my not blogging, because for a while, it made everything in life seem futile.  Firstly, Lilly will be–and this is not an exaggeration–the most beautiful bride ever.  Once Lilly gets married, there won’t be much point in even buying wedding dresses anymore.  If I ever get one of my gay guy friends drunk enough to marry me, I might as well might as well just throw on a burlap sack and crocs. That’s how beautiful she’ll be.
Even more tragically, I’ll have one less person to make fun of happy couples with on Facebook.  When Lilly and I were roommates sophomore year of college, roughly 80% of our non-homework time was spent perusing the FB, laughing at young engaged couples, being all smarmy about how mature we were to know that nothing is permanent–marriage is crazytown!  The other 20% of my non-homework time was spent writing terrifying nautical-themed notes to my friend Gillian:

Plus, there was always this very specific something in Nick and Lilly’s relationship that I felt would keep them from ever being together long-term. For the longest time,  Nick thought I was totally gaybones for Lilly–and I am, I’m super gay for Lilly.  But not in a sexual way.  I love Lilly in that chaste, courtly love kind of way, where I would write her poetry about how perfect her boobs are, but never, ever in a million years want to motorboat them. (Unless it was to make sure they’re real, cause they might be fake. No one’s boobs are that naturally perky.)  But that isn’t the reason I didn’t think they’d make it long-term, this is why:

THEY HAVE THIS IN THEIR APARTMENT!!

The first time I ever visited their apartment, I saw this thing–this THING–with red eyes, that might be a dog, but is absolutely haunted.  Its head moves, and it’s probably Satan.  For ages I’ve been expecting to walk in and find Lilly and Nick in a pool of blood, hands clutched in a final sign of love, with this nefarious dogthing on the pool’s edge, its head still bobbing.
I think that as a wedding present, I’m going to steal this, have a priest exorcise it, and then bring it back, no one the wiser.  Then, when they’re all, “Keely, we never got your present!”  I’ll just smile, look up at the ceiling, and say “Oh?”  They’ll never know that I saved their lives.  Except if they read this.

But, in all seriousness, Lilly and Nick share that rare kind of love that I hope to one day convince my gay friend Jared we might find through perseverance and denial.  Their love is rivaled only by the love Muffin has for The Dr. Seuss’s Pubic Hair Pillow.