Foodler is Ruining My (Social) Life.


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It all started out innocently enough…. I grew tired of the whopping panic attack that is ordering takeout.

“Hi there! I’d like a large order of crazy noodles with duck, an appetizer sampler, a small order of cold sesame noodles, mango rice and a lemon Vitamin Water.”

Okay so that’s a large noodle, appetizer, cold noodle, rice, and water?

“Uhhhhhhh….well… kind of. Lemme just repeat…..”

Address please

“119 DontRuinThis Road, Apartment 1, Somerville.”

Apartment Number?

“One.”

Phone Number?

” 401-555-9999″

401- 555- 9989? Okay 45 minutes.

“Uh no that’s 555-9999. Nine as in… nine. And, sorry, one more thing. I’d like to pay with my credit card please.”

Hold on please.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Okay. Number please.

6844 5563 3335 0009. Expiration 09/15.

Expiration?

“Zero. Nine. One. Five.”

Okay. 45 minutes.

I finally manage to exhale—palms sweating, heart racing, and anger building. You thought you saw anxious before? Magnify that tenfold when it comes to my meals. I like them the way I like them, with all of the appropriate accoutrements, served piping hot and made by happy, clean, respectful people. Phone calls like the above don’t do much to assure me I’m getting what I want. And when you’re hungover and weak on a Sunday afternoon, well, we all know takeout is our lifeline.

And if takeout is my lifeline, Foodler is my Knight in Shining Armor. And much like any good relationship, Foodler causes me to become delusionally content with the present and ten pounds heavier. Which is precisely why it has simultaneously revolutionized and ruined my life.

Foodler allows you to read, with your own eyes and brain, the menus of all the takeout joints in, well, any radius. You then get the satisfaction of checking off very specific choices:

Crazy noodles. Check.  With duck. Check. And lemon curry sauce. Check.

You can even add text to a special instructions box:

Also add 18 packets of sweet and sour sauce. Or perish.

Now, naturally, I’ve exaggerated here. Always use your most brownnosing language in the special Instructions box:

Please note: I would absolutely adore 18 packets of sweet and sour sauce on the side. I will pray for you and your entire family.

Once you place your highly-detailed, customized order, Foodler allows you to plunk in your current address, credit card, and phone number—in perpetuity. Never again will you fumble around for your Visa and re-read it to an incompetent receptionist. You can even choose the exact percentage you’d like to tip your driver… for the rest of your life.

What I like most about that feature is how I can always pick 25%. And, unlike in the past, when the staff could only understand the magnitude of my glorious, giving heart when they walked away from my front door, now they know the second I place my order. I like to imagine them all scurrying around in there.

“25% tip! Line her Styrofoam in gold! Give her the special napkins. New vat of oil for her spring rolls. Exactly 18 sauces. No more, no less. And for God sake, James, I want steam billowing out of that bag when you reach her front steps!”

Ah, Foodler. Ever the knight. I see you.

Finally, and much to my recent chagrin, I learned that Foodler rewards you. And this isn’t some chintzy “free two liter with any purchase” coupon. No no no. They give you bucks. Currency. Food currency. Do you understand what this means to a person like me? Food currency? Just ask my jeans. They’re on temporary medical leave. The discounts are nothing short of phenomenal. When I sign into the app, a “40% off” link appears next to just about every takeout restaurant in a three mile radius. Last Sunday I spent four dollars, including tip, on a thirty dollar order. And I didn’t originally plan it that way. One minute you’re ordering a pizza, the next minute you realize you have 15 bucks to burn on carbs.

And the rest, my gluttonous friends, is history. Goodbye, summer. Goodbye, self-discipline. Hello Foodler. You’re the only one who gets me.

 

 

 

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Really? Another Shower?


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I’m not sure how many friends I’m going to have after this, but for my own psychological wellbeing and hopefully yours if you can empathize, I’m going to scratch the surface of what it’s like to experience* wedding and baby shower season.

*survive

A shower can occur at any number of venues – a restaurant, a hall, a hotel, some weird aunt’s house. You never know which end of the earth you may travel to watch someone open a bunch of gifts they already know they’re getting.  Hell everyone in the room already knows what they’re getting. Because we all opened up our invitations and six little cards flew out telling us exactly where to buy them: Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel, Target, Macy’s, Babies ‘R Us, Buy Buy Baby, Williams Sonoma (you’re an asshole), and tons more. Stores you’ll probably never step your broke-ass-foot into. My kitchen is filled with canisters from the Christmas Tree Shops and old dishware from relatives who pity me. Honestly, I’m fine with it. I have everything I need and when I don’t have something, guess what? I go out and buy it.

Let’s take a step back for a minute. In the days of yore, or so I am told, people registered for things because they were (at least a large percentage) moving out of their parents’ houses. They were starting a new life with someone and their clean slate meant no dishware. No candlesticks. No crock pots. So people had showers to acquire these items. My mother tells me some people even brought these items as wedding gifts. Can you imagine that? One gift for a married couple to congratulate them on their milestone? Perish that thought, people. Bury it far, far away. Now people get a whole year of presents and pictures and felicidades to celebrate the vows they have a 50% chance of making good on. They get to witness you staggering into brunch, wielding a massive box of mixing bowls and then, once the deed is done, they get to open up a birdcage full of personal checks and hundred dollar bills. I always picture them rolling in cash and cutlery. Raking it all into their suitcases and taking off for Aruba cackling.

But don’t you worry; they’ll be the first ones to complain to you about how all of that money didn’t even cover the cost of everyone’s plates! Gasp! Do you need a handkerchief? I’m sure you registered for one.  Also, whose fault is this again? Were you expecting to make money off of your nuptials?  Should I fill out my W-4 at the church door? Was a closet full of Williams Sonoma’s 2012 collection not enough for you? Why don’t you return it for cash now that we’ve watched you unwrap it for two hours on a Sunday we’ll never get back.

Now listen, I don’t mind giving my friends and the people I love presents. I think that getting engaged and married and having babies are all major life landmarks that deserve to be celebrated. And I like to think I give generously for my means. But I’m pretty sure you’ve already lived with this person for five years. I’ve been over to your house for dinner. I’ve seen all of the nicer, newer, jointly-purchased shit you have. And yet I’m buying you a blender?

“Well LeeMarie when it’s your turn you’ll do the same thing.” Nope. I won’t. For starters, what if I don’t get married? It’s not entirely outside of the realm of possibility. Secondly, what if I’m barren? People don’t say this aloud but hey –you never know. What if I’ve spent a decade of my life trying not to get pregnant and it was all in vain? Can’t exactly throw myself a big ol’ Barren-But-Give-Me-Gifts-Anyway party now can I? I mean, I am assuming I’ll get married and have kids at some point. But if I don’t, that’s it? I don’t get a party? I don’t get to register for wine racks? I’ll need them more than anyone!

And then there’s the entirely shallow and self-important issue of “getting back what I give out.” My father taught me how to bleed a stone, let me tell you that. The man drove a 1989 Ford Escort whose sides were rusting off. He had that car from the time I was six until the year I left for college. In high school I used to plead with my mother through tearful eyes not to let him pick me up from dances. Well guess which clunker-loving-fool is spending two weeks on a beach in Panama right now? Padre Cheapo. Since my parents retired at the ripe young age of 55, they’ve pretty much done nothing but travel. Past frugality is paying off very well for them. Probably because they didn’t drop a G-Note every time one of their friends got engaged.

In light of that fact, you can bet your ass I’ll be registering for a pepper grinder. For a room full of diapers. For a vacuum cleaner. For plates I’ll keep in my basement. For crystal champagne flutes I’ll use once a year. For everything. And I’ll have it all delivered to my house. I won’t make my friends watch me open it over a plate of eggs and yawns and mimosas. Everyone gets so excited about the mimosas. You know why? Because people need a drink to get through these things. I always befriend the cocktail waitresses immediately. I’m no fool. I was at a shower a few years ago next to some old lady who turned to me and said “I hope she finishes up opening the gifts by 4. I don’t like driving in the dark.” I’m with you, lady. We’ve been at it since 11:00AM.

And in case you’re not familiar with what goes down during those few blissful hours of time –we’re doing exactly what you think we’re doing. You know the last hour of work on a Friday when every minute is a year and every second is marked by the tapping of your own foot beneath your desk? Picture that feeling combined with a lot of forced smiling, picture taking, flowers and ribbons, trays of finger foods, fruit salads, cupcakes, chocolate covered strawberries, streamers, balloons, brightly packaged boxes, themes, games, weird favors you’ll never use like candles with the date on them or soaps shaped like fetuses. All of it.

Then we sit around playing reindeer games. And no one thinks they’re fun. No one. Grandma Ethel and her Alzheimer’s don’t even think they’re amusing. She’s asking to go to the casino. But we all sit there, nonetheless, playing “Fill In the Blank Vows,” “Pin the Baby in the Mommy,” “Wedding Word Search,” “Bridal Bingo,” “Guess the Baby Food,”  “TINKLE IN THE POT.” There are entire websites dedicated to these “games.” Pinterest practically exists for shit like this. We are all forced to sit around with golf pencils and sheets of paper, glugging our alcohol and bargaining with Jesus for our cell phones to ring with some kind of emergency soon. Please, Lord let it be before “Bridal Pictionary.”

Shower fatigue is something no one openly admits but secretly bitches to their close friends about. And it’s infecting us all.  “UGH I got invited to another shower. The whole registry is already picked over. I’m just gonna give her a gift card and call it a day. I hope it’s open bar.” Yet we’re all going to them. We’re showing up. We’re afraid if we don’t play nice no one will give us our presents when the time comes. Well, thanks a lot everyone, because now we’re all trapped. We’ve showered too many others. We showed up. We clapped and smiled. And we’ll be goddamed if we don’t get the same thing in return. It’s only fair.  We all created this monster together. It’s exhausting, cyclical and mind-numbing. I can’t think of one close friend who hasn’t vented to me about how little free time or money they have during wedding season. You’re flying here, you’re showering there, you’re booking this room, you’re renting this car, you’re buying this dress, you’re riding this plane, you’re purchasing this Keurig. You’re broke. You’re tired. You’re hungover. You’re angry. Just admit it out loud to someone or you’ll go nuts. Maybe don’t admit it to cyberspace—you can leave that to me.

It’s all we ever do anymore— struggle to keep up with each other. We aren’t rock bottom friends we’re fluffer friends. Filler friends. People who only show our shiniest faces to each other. Our smiling, charming, look-at-all-my-stuff faces. And all I can really hope in posting this is that my truest friends understand where I’m coming from. If I went to your shower or wedding, if I traveled, if I smiled, if I clapped, if I danced, if I wrote you a heart-felt note, I meant it. Was I bored sometimes? Oh probably. You were too and you know it. But I know that my real deal friends will be there to support me and my future endeavors. They will read this and laugh. They will continue to listen to me bitch about the travesties of society as we know it. And then they’ll buy me my well-deserved breast pump. And ship it to my house.

There’s an Egg-Eating Ghost in My Apartment and There’s No Convincing Me Otherwise


Last night I arrived home after a GRUELING abs class to find myself with a real problem on my hands. It may not have been a problem in the eyes of many, but LeeMarieProblems come in all different shapes and sizes. As I went to prepare my nightly hodgepodge, because I have to taste at least seven different side dishes per meal, I noticed the olive oil I purchased the night before was unscrewed and missing about 2-3 tablespoons. A significant amount lost for something I haven’t opened (to my knowledge) yet. Hmmph. That’s odd. Maybe I’m destined to die from tampered olive oil. At least I’ll go with a belly full of cage-free eggs.

Oh wait…. There are only eleven eggs in this carton. What the? Who the? Why? Where is that egg? My roommate is in Virginia and Cheddar lacks opposable thumbs… so who is making eggs in my kitchen while I’m at work? And so my head began to swirl around the scenarios.

To prove to you people that I am, in fact, a somewhat lucid person, my first thought was that Shaw’s Supermarket is pure garbage—rife with homeless foodies who walk around dumping store-brand olive oil on stolen crusts of bread, thieving lone eggs to crack onto their electric griddles or the sidewalk if it’s hot enough out. So there’s my first thought. Since I am incapable of taking responsibility for any errors in my life, I refuse to believe that I knowingly purchased an opened bottle of olive oil and forgot to check my eggs before I bought them (SUE ME!). Perish these thoughts, people. I am infallible. Thus, scenario one is out the window. It had nothing to do with the supermarket. Sleep easy for now, Shaw’s. But from now on I’ll be inspecting things very closely. Keep your lids tight and your eggs stocked properly. Next time I won’t be so trusting.

So now Shaw’s has an alibi but the homeless people who frequent the benches in the nearby park don’t. I’m pretty sure they’re all on the kinds of drugs that suppress your appetite, but maybe they needed a single fried egg for survival? “Mack hasn’t moved for three days! Maybe someone should go into that first floor apartment and make him an egg!” And maybe they were respectful enough to just saunter into my kitchen, make the egg, and return everything to its original state? What lovely ruffians. Also, thanks for nothing Cheddar. I’m getting a dog.

Honestly I’d like to exile that thought very deep into my brain where it can never be found again. Although it did prompt the idea that maybe my neighbors , who I’m pretty sure hate me, somehow have a key to my apartment and broke in because they were baking and needed an egg and some oil? Just a little tip to you people – olive oil is not for baking. I’ve tried. I hope your pumpkin spice bread tastes like antipasto. And why can’t you at least leave a note? I’ve since dead bolted every single door, window and cranny in my apartment so even if the landlord himself wants to get in and fry up an egg, that’s too fricken bad for him.

A distantly conceivable explanation is that Japanese woman who lives in people’s cabinets and eats their food while they’re at work. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/2054057/Homeless-woman-comes-out-of-closet.html. If this bitch thinks she’s going to steal my food while I’m at work. Honestly, good luck to her. My cabinets are like a Navy Seal obstacle course. She’s definitely not just gonna be snoozing under there peacefully all night. She’ll have a coffee grinder, crock pot, pasta strainer, frying pan and baking dish all coming at her at the same time.  Not for nothing she could at least do me a solid and tidy up a little while I’m gone… especially if she’s gonna be eating my dairy products. And she better stay the hell away from my face cream and my good conditioner. And my handbags. She can have my tweezers I need a new pair.

The second most plausible explanation, and the second most terrifying, is that I am a sleep cooker. I know I’m becoming more and more OCD in my old age, and I do like a place for everything and everything in its place before I go to sleep or leave for work, but am I really frying up eggs and returning everything to pristine order during my REM sleep? I mean, it’s not terribly unlikely. It is pretty easy to make a fried egg without having to think or move. Pour in the oil, plop in the egg, plunk the cover on and wait five minutes. Maybe go use the restroom, finish up your dream about the first day of school, find the cool side of your bed, and then walk back in to collect the egg. Then did I eat it? In bed? In the kitchen? Did I throw it away? I need to check the garbage for clues tonight. Then I washed dishes and put the frying pan back? And somehow got the olive oil onto the sweet spot atop the stove where it doesn’t’ come crashing down giving you a heart attack every time you close the refrigerator door too hard? Asleep me is a freaking champion.

I guess I’ll have to set up a camera to figure that one out. Cross that very crazy bridge when we come to it. And all of this leads me to what is clearly the most reasonable conclusion to be drawn. I have a ghost. A ghost who has been studying me. Who has examined my lazy eating habits enough to know that egg and oil for me is like Foie gras and Filet Mignon to most. It can’t be that hard to levitate an egg. How the hell did he open the oil? Notice, also, that I assume my ghost is a man. Only a man would cause such a migraine in one’s life.  And why isn’t he cleaning the place while I’m gone either? And aren’t cats supposed to be able to see ghosts? That’s what I learned on the Science Channel. Thus, when I came to this realization… that I am clearly living with a ghost…. I walked around with Cheddar dangling from my hands. Facing the refrigerator, the stove, the cabinets, the kitchen table (maybe he sits down there and says grace first) and the sink. All he did was let out a series of low, aggravated growls. Fine. Go outside. You’re worthless.

Then I did the only thing left to do. I googled  confronting a ghost. Best to face this thing head on. In the first article I pulled up, this one lady cussed her ghost out. Apparently it was scaring her son. That just seems like a risky idea to me.  I’m not gonna start sassing the supernatural. And at least, as a friend mentioned, it isn’t a judgey vegan ghost, which we can tell by its hearty snack choice. So I stood by my counter, facing the center of my kitchen humbly (yes I can be humble), and I said “Ghost, I release you.  Please leave. Or at least please don’t eat my food. Thank you so much.”  I braced myself for some sort of earthquake or for the olive oil to come flying over at my face. Maybe all the eggs would crack in their carton or the frying pan would melt into a sea of blood. None of that went down. It was all pretty silent actually. I didn’t feel any chills down my spine. No hairs stood up on my neck. And when I lay in bed last night, in the fetal position, my entire body rolled into a hidden burrito with the exception of my eyes and my nostrils, I didn’t feel any cold breezes. Actually it was pretty friggen hot last night. All that tropical hurricane air swirling around. It must’ve cancelled out my ghost chills.

It was all very terrifying, regardless. You have no idea what it’s like to sleep alone on the first floor with either an egg-eating ghost, a Japanese trespasser living in the cupboard, homeless crack addicts breaking in to sustain their lives, potentially poisonous groceries or a newfound sleep-cooking habit. Any of which may take your life at a moment’s notice. All because you wanted to eat some godforsaken eggs.

I See What You Did There, Mom and Dad.


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The older you get, the easier it is to reflect back on what was really going on behind your mother and fathers’ parenting strategies. My parents definitely loved me so much that it turned me into the entitled, egomaniacal little bitch that you see before you today, so believe me I am not complaining… but it’s funny when you realize they were selfishly doing whatever the heck kept you quiet and unharmed. Sometimes they were actually teaching you a lesson, sometimes they were just in a good mood, sometimes they were just in a terrible mood and making you pay for it dearly, and every single time they took you to get ice cream, they were really taking themselves. I know for a fact that when I have kids I’m getting them all jazzed up for ice cream every night of the summertime, knowing full and well it’s just an easy way to shut them up and sneak in my trans fats. Everybody wins.

Many a great life lesson has come from my mother’s lips. When we were little, she thought of a very effective way to keep us from playing in the street. She took her foot, squashed the ever-living shit out of a caterpillar and said “when you go into the street when nobody’s watching, you will get squashed like a bug. Like that.” Well alrighty then. Point taken. I have not played in the street since. And I will be using this very same strategy on my own kids.

My father was definitely the disciplinarian. And a lot of times he was in a terrible mood.  I made the fatal mistake of heating up a can of Campbell’s Corn Chowder one afternoon. It tasted like rotten corn mixed with eggs and cream and hatred. I put it aside on the counter in disgust and my father, who wipes down the kitchen counter with Lysol ten times a day (a nifty little trait he has passed on to me), saw it and put it back in front of me….for the next seven hours. It sat in front of me while everyone else ate a lovely casserole. It sat in front of me during the TGIF TV lineup. It sat in front of me after everyone else went up to bed. And I cried. And cried. And ate one spoonful per hour until my mother eventually rescued me and told him to get over himself. As she tended to do.   It’s fine, I’ve managed to pay my father back tenfold since then. I think I broke the world record for the number of times a retainer can be lost in a restaurant garbage bin. My immediate family are the foremost experts at rifling through fast food trashcans to hunt down misplaced orthodontia. Even in Disney World. Sorry, guys!  I swear my teeth and I appreciate it! I loved that rainbow retainer.

I have to give it to my mother; she was actually very resourceful about making fruits and vegetables enticing and exciting things. It was such a big freaking deal when we got pomegranates or coconuts. We would fly out to the back patio with our tools and crack them open like we were stranded on a desert island. Smart, Mom. Very smart indeed. Getting us out of the house, eating fruit, not spilling it on any furniture, and really excited about it. I see you. She also made a huge ordeal of her “homemade popsicles.” You know what those were? Orange juice frozen into Tupperware molds. Pure genius. I thought they were magical. I used to brag to my friends about those popsicles. They must’ve been as stupid as I was because they got pretty damn excited too.

My mom was a fourth grade teacher so the best days ever were when I got to tag along to school with her. When I was younger than her class, I was babied and adored by all of the other kids and I spent most of the day being read to and fawned over. Naturally, I ate that up with a ladle. As I got older, I got to help her and her other teacher friends set up their classrooms, grade papers, make bulletin boards, etc. I liked to storm around with my nose turned up at being overworked and underpaid, just so I could prove to her students that I had control over her and they didn’t. I could mouth off to her but they couldn’t. I was special and they weren’t. Bitches better recognize.

Not much has changed in the sense that you can always get me to comply if there’s food present. Every Sunday we went grocery shopping, and every Sunday my mother was cunning enough to hit up the deli first. At the deli she asked to “sample” various cold cuts and cheeses. A bag of cold cuts and cheeses was code for “LeeMarie’s Compliance Pack.” It usually worked unless I was on a real bender and then I commanded fruit snacks and pudding and Cookie Crisps and a thousand other things that were bad for me. My mother said no to about 40% so if I demanded enough, I usually walked with what I wanted. If not, my grandmother had no concept of the word “no.” Most Supermarket Sundays ended in us loading up the trunk with my mother’s groceries, the back seat with my grandmother’s groceries, and two superfluous bags of snacks that I had pitied my grandmother into buying me at my feet. Win!

As I got older, a little bit more daring, caring a little bit more about boys and a little bit less about food (as if),  my mother had to adapt with entirely new strategies. The first was her famous speech. It has been told to every single girlfriend or potential bad influence that has ever walked through my parents’ front door. Always remember to be the apple at the top of the tree that everybody wants but nobody can get. NEVER be the apple on the ground that everybody can get but nobody wants.” You’ve gotta give it to her, Mary is class class class. I may be a wild child but I’ll never be a grapple (ground apple). And you can bet your ass if I have daughters they’ll be hearing that speech. Hell, so should the sons.

There comes a point, of course, when the most influential people in a kid’s life become his or her friends. I was lucky in that I had awesome friends who stuck with me from elementary school right up until this very day – but we did enjoy recruiting cute hooligans who sagged their pants and smoked stolen Marlboro Reds in front of the local movie theater. I was strictly banned from cars with boys until like… last year. To avoid this stupid rule altogether I would have my mother drop me off places and then hop in a car once I knew she was gone. Except for one thing – Mary never left. No she did not. I’m beginning to wonder if she ever left anywhere she dropped me off. She probably had snacks and a book in her car, stalking me out from a safe distance until I shipped off to college.

One particularly embarrassing night she dropped me off at the movie theater to “see a movie.” I met a bunch of my friends and some random boys we were crushing on out front, walked in, puttered around for a few, and then headed back outside to hit up the McDonald’s nextdoor and wander around the neighborhood smoking cigarettes and sharing a flask of cheap whiskey. It was all a splendid plan except that the second I emerged from McDonald’s with my Happy Meal, who was waiting out front in her car, staring me down like she could see into my soul? Good ol’ Mary. And what did I do? I threw a tantrum of course. “YOU are the MOST embarrassing person EVER! We weren’t even doing anything! We went to McDonald’s! Who said we HAD to go to a movie anyway?!”

“I did. Get in the car. I’m calling everyone’s parents when we get home.”

From that day on, much to my mortification, all of my friends called my mother “Mission Impossible.” She loved that. Loves it to this day. Her signature move was to sing Sting’s “Every Breath You Take” while I stonewalled her from the back seat. “Every move you make. Every step you take. I’ll be watching you.”

Why My Parents Should Have Banned the Radio: “Doin’ It,” “Bump N’ Grind,” And Other Whimsical Songs


What in God’s name were our parents letting us listen to when we were kids? I got to thinking recently about middle school dances, trips to the mall, karaoke practice and birthday parties and the tunes that guided our paths.  Let’s have a little recap of what we were blissfully singing and slow dancing around to, shall we?

“I’ll Make Love to You” by Boyz II Men.

This was an eighth grade dance classic. I would actually sit down on the cafeteria picnic tables and wait for some handsome (only the finest Jonathan Taylor Thomas coifs for moi) young gentleman to ask me to twirl around to this song. This song about making love, relaxing, going slow, throwing clothes on the floor, pouring wine and making fires.  I liked to think I knew all about romance and love after this song came out. Oh to be thirteen again.

“Red Light Special” by TLC.

Now here’s a song you could  really blast in the back of your mom’s car on the way to the mall with friends. Singing in unison “come to my door, take off my clothes, and turn on the red light.” I never had a clue what the point of the red light was. The only red lights I had seen were the ones that kept the meat warm at carving stations and those fancy heat lamps in hotel bathrooms. I think I had some concept that this song was sexual, but mostly I just thought TLC was the best thing since Malibu Barbie. My poor, poor parents. What a transition that must have been to watch unfold.

“Bump N’ Grind” by R Kelly

What kind of inappropriate sexual playlist would this be without a feature or three from R. Kelly? I hate to keep using the word classic, but I think we can all agree this song was just that. The all-too-familiar: My mind is tellin’ me no, but my body, my body’s tellin’ me yes opener. And then everyone would scramble for a partner and race to the floor to grind around counter clockwise at a geriatric pace. Did we honestly think we were cool? By God did we ever.

“Pony” by Ginuwine

This was more of a grind than a slow dance. I’m sure everyone’s parents could rest comfortably knowing that. Same with the teachers lining the walls of my church basement. Maybe it was just me,  but even at a young age I knew Ginuwine was FINE. I have no idea where heck he is now, but I’m sure he’s still fine. This video in particular showcases that. If you’re horny, let’s do it, ride it, my pony. My saddle’s waiting. Come and jump on it. You had to give it to him, the man got to the point. And once that song topped the charts, I guess all of us 13-year-olds officially knew what the word “horny” meant. Gross.

“Freak me Baby” by Silk

I distinctly remember listening to this song with half my family on a road trip to Virginia. Awkwaaaaaard. Let me lick you up and down ‘til you say stop. Let me play with your body baby, make you real hot. I still can’t look  a few of my cousins in the eye. That song has no place in a minivan.

“Your Body’s Callin’” by R. Kelly

Here’s a more eclectic representation of R. Kelly’s musical talents. It’s only fair we show how well -rounded he was as a song writer. Instead of chanting I don’t see nothin’ wrong… with a little bump n grind, he serenaded us with the phrase my body’s callin’ for you a grand total of 100 times. Leaving no room for the Holy Ghost, we twirled around in circles to this song for three minutes and I can only imagine what it must’ve been like for the boys. I was not returning any calls, if you know what I mean.

“Nobody” by Keith Sweat

Oh Keith Sweat. You made so many thirteen year old girls cry in the bathroom because they didn’t have a dance partner for this song. It was often the last song of the night, unless “I’ll Make Love to You” or “One Sweet Day” beat it out. Who can love you like me? Who can sex you like me? Who can treat you like me? And who can do you all night long? Nobody, Keith Sweat. Nobody can. I’m so glad the lyric I want your body ‘til the very last drop was playing during such a pensive and magical memory as the last song of the big dance. The dance I specifically purchased my new stirrup pants for.

“Feelin’ on Yo Booty” by R. Kelly

Okay okay just one more R. Kelly song. At least I was fifteen when this one came out. Well on my way to realizing that whatever a booty was, I wanted one. Pleather and pocketless pants ensued. I mean, it led to an entire brand called “Apple Bottom.” See what a visionary R. Kelly was? Players wanna play. Ballers wanna ball. Rollers wanna roll….. Put your arms around me, I’m feelin’ on your booty. Again we can appreciate the honesty. This song gave clearance for a million little pervie tweens to cop a feel while slow dancing. As if they weren’t anyway.

“Doin’ it” by LL Cool J

I saved the most wildly insane for last. What. Was. Anyone. Thinking? This song still horrifies me and I’m 32. I don’t even know if I can type out some of the lyrics but I’ll try: I wanna knock your block off, get my rocks off, blow your socks off, make sure your G spot’s soft. Ummm what? I’m pretty sure I memorized these lyrics. I was thirteen. Then of course we can’t forget the quaintness of the duet kicking in: I’m gonna call you ‘Big Daddy’ and scream your name. Matter fact I can’t wait for your candy rain. I don’t really wanna get into what transpires from there but it involves discussion of using rubbers and camcorders, spanking, making things bounce, chewin’ it, doin’ it, and puffin’ L’s. I was singing porn. Thirteen. Singing porn.

So there you have it, folks. And I’d say that’s but a wee sampling. In the age of mommy blogs, quarterly family photo shoots and Pinterest, I’m glad to be at the forefront of the worst parenting fears realized. Hide your kids. Hide your wife. Hide them in your house until they’re eighteen. Look at how I turned out.

*Note: The opinions expressed about R. Kelly are mostly untrue. I look back with nothing but fondness and adoration on his creepy yet catchy music.  It will always make me want to drop whatever I’m doing and move my body like a snake, have everyone come to my hotel, start the freakin’ weekend, bump n’ grind, believe I can fly or be the world’s greatest.

Networking is So Awkward


People are always saying “you’ve got to network. It’s the only way to open doors for yourself.” There’s definitely some truth behind the concept… but let’s talk about how freaking awkward it is. You nudge your way into a bunch of uncomfortable conversations, waiting for your opportunity to interject and sound intelligent. One poor soul’s droning on about their job or their kids or their alma mater or the power of social media… and you’re forced to stand there holding your drink, nodding and smiling and asking just the right question that will elicit a string of even more boring sentences. My go-to question is always: “oh now what does that entail?” It never fails. Try it.

Then be prepared for your eyes to glass over immediately. I call it “blacking out” but in a very different way. Because when you’ve been to enough of these things, you learn how to function like a well-oiled machine. Chuckle, nod, serious face of curiosity, another nod, laugh, sip, smile, repeat. Sometimes if no one’s looking you can get a nice glug of wine in without anyone noticing… but this maneuver is only for experts. Do not glug on your first Schmoozefest. You will spill all over yourself while Jack Smith pontificates on the recession and how painful it was for his Charitable Gifts department.

A quick stop at the bar or restroom and you can weave your way into another enthralling social circle. In this one, Bobby Boredom is recapping the tours of the twelve college campuses he visited with his offspring. “Oh well Chapel Hill is incomparable. Nicholas absolutely adored it there. The library is brand new and the dining hall serves five star dinners.” How am I supposed to even contribute to this nonsense, Bob? “Oh yes I heard they have a great salad bar there. And the stadium is magical.” Glug glug glug glug glug. “I’ll be right back just have to grab another drink and say hello to my friend Get Me The Hell Out of Here.”

About face. Forward march. Third bar trip. And now we scheme our way into another loop of networkers. This time, Patrick Fitzpatrick is listing all the countries he’s traveled to on business or otherwise in the past month. “It’s been so hectic. I’ve been to China, Greece, Japan and France, and I’m in and out of our California office at least once a week! My wife feels like she barely sees me.” Your wife must thank God for that, Patrick, lest you bore her to tears. “Oh wow that must be soooo exhausting…but I’m sure you get to see so many amazing things!” “Meh.. you’d be surprised… the novelty wears off.” Oh. Well in that case, I suggest just off yourself now and get it over with. Glug. Pivot.

Next I’ll sashay into this circle of seemingly normal girls my age. Ahhh lovely, I’m just in time to hear Sarah Snotbag drone on about her new Chanel messenger bag. “It’s soooo functional because I’m all over the place with work. I need space for everything you can think of when I’m on the road. I get a ton of free stuff from clients, too, so I have four more at home.” “Oh wow. That’s beautiful. I love the color.”***

***- “I hope that gets stolen by a thug completing his gang initiation.”

“Girls I’ll be right back, I’m just going to go stab my eyeball out with this martini toothpick. Don’t worry, I’ll be back!”

This is the point where you find yourself bordering on buzzed. Or maybe that last martini kicked you right into high gear. The passed appetizers are losing their luster. You wish you could just be surrounded by your goofy-ass friends discussing important things like Family Guy and Taco Bell. It’s a good time to take a breather. Perhaps step outside or into the restroom where you can call a friend and tell them how badly you need to leave. They’ll help craft a plausible excuse and then invite you to the bar next door where PG-13 and over conversations are happening. Genius. I love my friends.

But you can’t leave! People are going to be lining up at the exit with job offers! This is your future! Throw your business cards at as many people as humanly possible. Hell, just toss them all up in the air at once. Make it rain up in this bitch! Something’s gotta bite, right?

Wrong. Well at least that’s been my experience. I’ve yet to see any concrete job offers as a result of a networking event. It’s nice to be out there. Some people really are interesting to speak to (though few and far between), and others really might have a “contact” in your desired field… but these people can only lead your potential future boss to the water….they can’t make him or her drink. And they certainly can’t prove you’re competent based on a ten minute conversation you both had about sailboats. Glug glug glug glug glug glug. Glug.

www.monster.com. It’s just easier.

(Pointless) Knowledge Is (Still) Power


I read an article by CNN’s Tom Foreman in the Metro on my way in today. He says the instant access to information that comes from technology causes us to stop diving deeper into anything anymore. If something isn’t condensed to a 170 character tweet, we don’t absorb it. (For instance, you probably quit reading this post after the words ‘I read an article’). Shame on you.

But seriously… I began to have an internal monologue about this (I think way too much). I wondered if I was conditioned this way, too. Clearly I love me some technology. My iPhone screen cracked this week (I still can’t bring myself to talk about it) and I was an inconsolable wench who looked something like this: In light of all that, I still decided I wield technology better than Tom Foreman claims I do. Thank God.

It’s called Wikipedia. Well it’s mostly called Google. But Google inevitably leads to Wikipedia for me. Let me explain: A large percentage of my time on this earth has been spent debating absolutely pointless topics. For example – Did Henry VIII die of Syphillis or Small Pox? Before my iPhone, I’d have had to wait at least a full hour until I got home to my laptop and Googled. Now I can prove somebody wrong instantly. “Ha! Syphillis, you idiot!”

If it all stopped there, then Foreman would have me properly pegged. But it very much does not. That night while I sat in front of my TV watching Toddlers in Tiaras, I whipped out my iPhone and voraciously began my quest for everything there is to know about King Henry VII, Syphillis, Small Pox and, in the end, archaic diseases as a whole. The Bubonic Plague really was no joke, people. And don’t get me started on Scarlet Fever.

Television doesn’t help my cause any, either. Mad About You reared its delightful little head a couple of weeks ago (judge judge judge away) and yet again it sparked me to Google “Where is Helen Hunt?” But seriously, you guys…. where is she? She won an Oscar and then she vaporized. It took years for me to let her in as a serious actress and when she finally lives up to the expectations I set for her she disappears? Rude. And no matter how many times I Google her, I still don’t really get an answer I feel comfortable with.

Next: Robert Kardashian. Seriously… How the heck are these girls so rich? I mean now all of the money filters in from various magazines and clothing articles – skanky and otherwise. But how did it all come to be? When did we decide we wanted to “Keep Up” with them? It had to have something to do with Robert Kardashian. I guess he charged OJ Simpson one hell of a legal fee. Sidenote: I saw a pic of him and a blonde-haired Khloe. She looked way hotter with highlights. Google it.

Another necessary cyber search revolved around “Croque Monsieur.” I warn you: don’t do it. You will need to eat it immediately. I Googled it last night and I had to force myself to go to bed before I wound up at the 24 hour CVS buying processed ham, plastic cheese and Wonder Bread.

And I’ve recently taken to watching yet another embarrassingly cheesy ABC series – this one titled Pan Am. Pan Am is a period-based television series centered around the airline itself in the early 60’s (kind of a rip-off of Mad Men but with decently hot characters as well, thus making it worth watching). There are various twists and turns in which Pan Am employees working for the CIA deliver secret documents, etc., during their travels. This sparked me to Google every single thing there is to know about the Cold War, the CIA and Stewardesses. Boy we think we have problems now.

I should note: I am by no means insinuating that I’m some kind of genius because I know so much more about the Cold War than the rest of you (although it must be said that I do). In actuality, I should’ve been paying much better attention in High School World History. But I’m catching up.

I guess, at the end of the day, that’s kind of my point. Maybe the part of us that was raised by good parents, good teachers, good books, good morals, good school districts – maybe it all meant diddly squat. Because now we have smart phones. We’re capable of making ourselves smarter. That’s what we have “instant access” to, Tom Foreman, smartness.

I disagree that our entire generation stops reading after 170 characters. I think we’re diving deeper into knowledge than we ever were before. Well—at least I am. Maybe my attention span got longer. Maybe I’m just getting old and understanding why my parents would “waste their time” reading an entire Journal full of news on Sundays (I remember thinking they had legit psychoses for choosing to spend three hours in front of a mass of tiny, useless text). But knowledge really is power. And so long as we’re wielding the power of technology in an awesome way, I say keeps it coming.

And in closing, 4,391 characters later (thank you, word count), if knowledge is power, then consider me…. well, at least consider me some sort of Duke. Duchess? Duchess of Pointlessness. Expert in Archaic Disease, The Tudor Dynasty, The Kardashians, Cold Remedies, Apple Breeds, Helen Hunt, Gwenyth Paltrow’s Diet Habits, The 9-9-9 Flat Tax, Dove Chocolate vs. Dove Soap, The Original Oompa Loompas, Ricki Lake, European Cheeses, Mormonism, Single Living Princes, The Best Ways to Deep Condition Your Hair and, of course, Mark Zuckerburg’s entire life history.